Paizo Announces System-Neutral Open RPG License

Thursday, January 12, 2023


Open RPG logo over-layed over an image of pathfinder champion Seelah leading a battle


For the last several weeks, as rumors of Wizards of the Coast’s new version of the Open Game License began circulating among publishers and on social media, gamers across the world have been asking what Paizo plans to do in light of concerns regarding Wizards of the Coast’s rumored plan to de-authorize the existing OGL 1.0(a). We have been awaiting further information, hoping that Wizards would realize that, for more than 20 years, the OGL has been a mutually beneficial license which should not–and cannot–be revoked. While we continue to await an answer from Wizards, we strongly feel that Paizo can no longer delay making our own feelings about the importance of Open Gaming a part of the public discussion.

We believe that any interpretation that the OGL 1.0 or 1.0(a) were intended to be revocable or able to be deauthorized is incorrect, and with good reason.

We were there.

Paizo owner Lisa Stevens and Paizo president Jim Butler were leaders on the Dungeons & Dragons team at Wizards at the time. Brian Lewis, co-founder of Azora Law, the intellectual property law firm that Paizo uses, was the attorney at Wizards who came up with the legal framework for the OGL itself. Paizo has also worked very closely on OGL-related issues with Ryan Dancey, the visionary who conceived the OGL in the first place.

Paizo does not believe that the OGL 1.0a can be “deauthorized,” ever. While we are prepared to argue that point in a court of law if need be, we don’t want to have to do that, and we know that many of our fellow publishers are not in a position to do so.

We have no interest whatsoever in Wizards’ new OGL. Instead, we have a plan that we believe will irrevocably and unquestionably keep alive the spirit of the Open Game License.

As Paizo has evolved, the parts of the OGL that we ourselves value have changed. When we needed to quickly bring out Pathfinder First Edition to continue publishing our popular monthly adventures back in 2008, using Wizards’ language was important and expeditious. But in our non-RPG products, including our Pathfinder Tales novels, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and others, we shifted our focus away from D&D tropes to lean harder into ideas from our own writers. By the time we went to work on Pathfinder Second Edition, Wizards of the Coast’s Open Game Content was significantly less important to us, and so our designers and developers wrote the new edition without using Wizards’ copyrighted expressions of any game mechanics. While we still published it under the OGL, the reason was no longer to allow Paizo to use Wizards’ expressions, but to allow other companies to use our expressions.

We believe, as we always have, that open gaming makes games better, improves profitability for all involved, and enriches the community of gamers who participate in this amazing hobby. And so we invite gamers from around the world to join us as we begin the next great chapter of open gaming with the release of a new open, perpetual, and irrevocable Open RPG Creative License (ORC).

The new Open RPG Creative License will be built system agnostic for independent game publishers under the legal guidance of Azora Law, an intellectual property law firm that represents Paizo and several other game publishers. Paizo will pay for this legal work. We invite game publishers worldwide to join us in support of this system-agnostic license that allows all games to provide their own unique open rules reference documents that open up their individual game systems to the world. To join the effort and provide feedback on the drafts of this license, please sign up by using this form.

In addition to Paizo, Kobold Press, Chaosium, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and a growing list of publishers have already agreed to participate in the Open RPG Creative License, and in the coming days we hope and expect to add substantially to this group.

The ORC will not be owned by Paizo, nor will it be owned by any company who makes money publishing RPGs. Azora Law’s ownership of the process and stewardship should provide a safe harbor against any company being bought, sold, or changing management in the future and attempting to rescind rights or nullify sections of the license. Ultimately, we plan to find a nonprofit with a history of open source values to own this license (such as the Linux Foundation).

Of course, Paizo plans to continue publishing Pathfinder and Starfinder, even as we move away from the Open Gaming License. Since months’ worth of products are still at the printer, you’ll see the familiar OGL 1.0(a) in the back of our products for a while yet. While the Open RPG Creative License is being finalized, we’ll be printing Pathfinder and Starfinder products without any license, and we’ll add the finished license to those products when the new license is complete.

We hope that you will continue to support Paizo and other game publishers in this difficult time for the entire hobby. You can do your part by supporting the many companies that have provided content under the OGL. Support Pathfinder and Starfinder by visiting your local game store, subscribing to Pathfinder and Starfinder, or taking advantage of discount code OpenGaming during checkout for 25% off your purchase of the Core Rulebook, Core Rulebook Pocket Edition, or Pathfinder Beginner Box. Support Kobold Press, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Roll for Combat, Rogue Genius Games, and other publishers working to preserve a prosperous future for Open Gaming that is both perpetual AND irrevocable.

We’ll be there at your side. You can count on us not to go back on our word.

Forever.

–Paizo Inc

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Tags: Community Paizo Paizo Staff Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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19 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Huzzah!!!

I was here. And I am all for it. Thank you Paizo for hearing the voice of the community.


14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

GROUND FLOOR IN A LEGENDARY BLOG POST THREAD

Dark Archive

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah!


8 people marked this as a favorite.

It's sad that this has become necessary. But necessary it has become.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Woo hoo!

Sovereign Court

4 people marked this as a favorite.

HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Exciting news!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

An amazing moment in history!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am HERE for it!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Love this, love you guys. Fan for life.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Awesome news!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

HUZZAHHHHH!!!!!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Bravo!! This right here is why I love Paizo.
I just hope this new license allows making video games using the pathfinder ruleset, something that was possible with the OGL (if a bit obtuse, and overcomplicated)


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Wonderful!!
Thank you, thank you everyone involved!

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Brilliant news. Well done!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I am beyond delighted by this, really a classy move Paizo.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo)

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Excited to see the Age of ORC taking over the Age of OGL


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Fantastic! I love it.

All of my groups are now officially switching to PF2e, with the Beginner's Box coming up this Sunday.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Good Call. You have my support Lisa and Company.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That is awesone news.

Horizon Hunters

3 people marked this as a favorite.

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Bravo!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm crying with joy at this announcement. Than you so much for this!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

HECK YEAH!!!!!! GOD BLESS PAIZO!!! DO IT - YOU HAVE MY LOVE AND SUPPORT ALWAYS!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Awesome - keep on rocking in the free world!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Goodbye WotC!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Amazing to hear! Cannot wait for more people to hear this news and for publishers to get the help they need!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Outstanding! So glad to hear it.


22 people marked this as a favorite.

I personally will not be supporting this revolting decision to reject the Kreative Open Boardgame Opportunity Licensing Deal, and plan to take my business elsewhere.

Hang on, I'm getting a...

*opens flip-phone*

Really? A 'C'? That can't be right. Okay. Fine.

I have just been informed that there is some sort of "misspelling" in our acronym. As such, we are thrilled to patronize ORC, which ought to be just fantastic.

No, seriously. In the words of Stephen Glicker, "This is huge."


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Savage


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for using the clout you have in the industry for good, AND for not claiming ownership.

Wayfinders

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Best news to come from the 1.1 leak.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

WOOHOO!!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

BOOM!

Scarab Sages

7 people marked this as a favorite.

ORC is a damn good acronym!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

HUZZAH!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Great news!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Nice Paizo! Very thankful for this!

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Huge news!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Awesome, now bring pawns back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

#iamaORC


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This is what I needed to hear. It's just good to hear thank you Paizo. I was so worried that it would cause real damage with this... stuff.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah!!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Great news! I love this community

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So glad I jumped on this particular bandwagon after the 4e boondoggle. Well done, Paizo.


46 people marked this as a favorite.

I was there, in RPG R&D, at WotC in 200.
I was there, on the phone with Erik, in 2008.
I'm here, now.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I am with you, guys. Let's gather a horde of ORCs!


7 people marked this as a favorite.

You down with O R C?

Yeah you know me!


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Alright, this is extremely cool. Y'all are making waves right now and I actually love it. Keep it up <3


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I've always loved this company. Way to go Paizo.

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