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How can I use this OGL?


D&D 3.5/d20/OGL


I've been interested in creating my own RPG, set in a post apocolyptic world filled with massive hordes of the undead. I've been looking at all this Open Game License and SRD material which brings me to wonder, Can I use any of the OGL content for Pathfinder and add/subtract system rules and combine them with system rules for other OGL like d203.5 and d20 modern? I've just come to the conclusion that the only way I can get what I need to make this game work is to combine different system rules from different OGL, tweak the numbers a little, and adapt it to the lore of my post apocolyptic zombie game. What can I do about this? Help plz. At least point me in the right direction. =P


I'm not a lawyer, but I believe such a thing would be possible (I'm not sure how much of D20 Modern is OGL).

My best advice is this: Hire a lawyer who can help you with the various licenses and what you need to do to stay within the law.


Are wrote:

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe such a thing would be possible (I'm not sure how much of D20 Modern is OGL).

My best advice is this: Hire a lawyer who can help you with the various licenses and what you need to do to stay within the law.

Unfortunately not enough of d20modern is OGL which is where it gets rough. Alot of the rules for Pathfinder and D&D3.5 are obviously great reference points for an RPG. The problem I'm having is in the adaptation of those in a modern setting. Luckily though, there is enough OGL for d20modern that I could use. I'm also refraining from reading any actual product materials so that I don't accidentaly incorporate any rules that isn't OGL. As for the whole lawyer advice, luckily I know one. =) Where could I find people who have done projects of their own using the OGL? And contact them for advice?


ParallaxIsGod wrote:
Where could I find people who have done projects of their own using the OGL? And contact them for advice?

You should probably check out the Compatible Products from Other Publishers forum on this site. Several third-party publishers frequent that forum, and there are some advice-threads there (plus you could post one of your own).


Are wrote:
ParallaxIsGod wrote:
Where could I find people who have done projects of their own using the OGL? And contact them for advice?

You should probably check out the Compatible Products from Other Publishers forum on this site. Several third-party publishers frequent that forum, and there are some advice-threads there (plus you could post one of your own).

That sounds like a perfect place to look. Thank You. That's enough of what I need to know for now. =)


Are you saying you want to publish this RPG for sale, or are you just looking to put together mechanics to support your play (or a free download product)? Also, have you looked at The Modern Path since it does a lot of the work to translate Pathfinder to a modern setting?

For using OGL, you can indeed combine all of the rules/systems and your own work for some larger whole. Even with that, you still have to ensure compliance with the requirements of the license with regard to citations, declaration of IP, not claiming compatibility, etc. If you are not comfortable reading the OGL and uderstanding these bits, definitely get some legal advice before trying to publish something.

If you are actually more interested in getting your setting material published, you might be better off pitching it to an existing third party publisher. As an example, The Modern Path doesn't have any setting material published. Assuming Game Room Creations is still looking to produce materials, you could pitch your setting to them. This apporach helps by cutting out the steep learning curve required for taking an idea all the way to actual production and sale.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Here's a question you should be asking yourself: do you want to run a business? If you want to spend time dealing with self-employment taxes, local business laws, legal licences, advertising, art direction, layout, ... (you get the idea) then publishing is for you. Otherwise I have two recommendations: 1) if you want it out there for anyone to use, start a Wordpress blog. You can post of the whole setting there. Plus because you are not making money off of it, you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line. Alternatively, 2) you can approach one of the 3rd party publishers to publish it for you. You'll have to work out the specifics with whatever publisher you go with, but more than likely you will end up with a percentage of each sale.

While you can try option 2, but I would not get my hopes up. 2 Reasons: 1. settings are normally hard sell since they tend to not sell as well as general setting products. And more to your specific situation 2) There are already 2 settings that match the basic premise of your setting. Shadowsfall (my own setting) and Obsidian Apocalypse (from LPJ Design). Many publishers you approach are going to wonder if that niche is already sufficiently covered.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I merged the threads on this topic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line.

Unless that material is OUTSIDE of what Paizo has deemed "Community Use" (see Paizo's Community Use Policy HERE)


Well in all honesty, right now this project of mine is just a labor of love. If I could get it published, cool. I just want to be ready in case on some miracle it gets published by avoiding any potential suits. My big concern was combining different mechanics that is considered OGL. I was very unsure of how that all worked out but now I have a pretty good picture. I haven't checked out any other games with this setting but I am familiar with the names of others. I'll have to research more into it. Basicly the theme to this setting, which by the way I know is a familiar theme that has recently popped up in zombie literature, is that the zombies are not your greatest threat. They just happen to be a huge epidemic. The real threat is humanity. After all in my setting, humanity brought itself to where it is in that world. I'm drawing heavy inspiration from such material as The Walking Dead(comic book), George A. Romero's Dead series, 28 Days Later, Human Element(A next gen game in development for consoles and tablets). I've always loved the aspects where the characters weren't fighting off the horde, they were fighting themselves. One of my examples focuses heavily on those themes. The others delve into in some form or another. I'm hoping to make something people will enjoy. At least a good community of gamers could enjoy. How I get it out to the public is undecided at this point since I'm still in the early development stages.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
There are already 2 settings that match the basic premise of your setting. Shadowsfall (my own setting) and Obsidian Apocalypse (from LPJ Design). Many publishers you approach are going to wonder if that niche is already sufficiently covered.

I'll have to check those out. Where could I find Shadowsfall?


If you use the OGL only, then yes you can use all kinds of open game content that also uses the OGL (including parts of PFRPG). Publishers have to say what parts of their products are open content and of course any rule from the SRD (3.5 and modern) are open content. You can tweak these rules however you want, in fact you could almost not use any of them if you wanted. For example, a lot of d6 material was released using the OGL but its mechanics only slightly correspond to the d20 system.

Now one thing to keep in mind, in order to apply for the Pathfinder Compatibility license, the material you produce must be essentially plug and play with the PFRPG system. If you change the rules too much, to the point you can't really claim compatibility, then you couldn't use that license. Not really a big deal, but you couldn't claim your material was compatible with PFRPG and use the icons they allow for use with that license.


Well that's not so bad since I want this to be a standalone project that is OGL compatible and not Pathfinder Compatible or anything like that. Basicly I found heavy inspiration in what Paizo did to get Pathfinder off the ground. I really just want to try and see how this experience will pan out. I've always been a creative mind. Be it music, writing, film, painting, sketching, and others. Game development is always something I've been fascinated by and want to get into in various forms.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
1) if you want it out there for anyone to use, start a Wordpress blog. You can post of the whole setting there. Plus because you are not making money off of it, you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line.

I'm not understanding that advice. If you're using OGC via the OGL, then you have to follow the rules whether it is for profit or not.


DMFTodd wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
1) if you want it out there for anyone to use, start a Wordpress blog. You can post of the whole setting there. Plus because you are not making money off of it, you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line.
I'm not understanding that advice. If you're using OGC via the OGL, then you have to follow the rules whether it is for profit or not.

I agree. Wouldn't that still be considered distribution?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

ParallaxIsGod wrote:
DMFTodd wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
1) if you want it out there for anyone to use, start a Wordpress blog. You can post of the whole setting there. Plus because you are not making money off of it, you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line.
I'm not understanding that advice. If you're using OGC via the OGL, then you have to follow the rules whether it is for profit or not.
I agree. Wouldn't that still be considered distribution?

Yes. The OGL doesn't care whether you're making money or not.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
ParallaxIsGod wrote:
DMFTodd wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
1) if you want it out there for anyone to use, start a Wordpress blog. You can post of the whole setting there. Plus because you are not making money off of it, you do not have to worry about the OGL and getting tripped up on small bits of non-OGL material that are in Paizo's roleplaying game line.
I'm not understanding that advice. If you're using OGC via the OGL, then you have to follow the rules whether it is for profit or not.
I agree. Wouldn't that still be considered distribution?
Yes. The OGL doesn't care whether you're making money or not.

*imagines an OGL in a worn-out t-shirt and jeans saying "yeah, whatever"*

Silver Crusade

Are wrote:

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe such a thing would be possible (I'm not sure how much of D20 Modern is OGL).

My best advice is this: Hire a lawyer who can help you with the various licenses and what you need to do to stay within the law.

And curse Mary Tudor while you do it.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
*imagines an OGL in a worn-out t-shirt and jeans saying "yeah, whatever"*

OGL Badger?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Are wrote:

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe such a thing would be possible (I'm not sure how much of D20 Modern is OGL).

My best advice is this: Hire a lawyer who can help you with the various licenses and what you need to do to stay within the law.

Quite a bit of the core of D20 Modern is OGL:

D20 Modern SRD

As far as a lawyer, lawyers are expensive, and the OGL really isn't horribly complicated.

Read it, re-read it. If you want a lawyer, by all means, but for a small start-up? It really is a waste of money.

If you can understand the rules of the D20 system, you shouldn't have any issue understanding the OGL.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
There are already 2 settings that match the basic premise of your setting. Shadowsfall (my own setting) and Obsidian Apocalypse (from LPJ Design). Many publishers you approach are going to wonder if that niche is already sufficiently covered.
ParallaxIsGod wrote:
I'll have to check those out. Where could I find Shadowsfall?

Sorry I missed this reply.

Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane

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