Second Draft of the ORC License Ready for Public Comment

Monday, May 15, 2023

Back in January, Paizo and an alliance of more than 1,500 game publishers announced our intention to support the development of the Open RPG Creative (ORC) License, a system-agnostic, perpetual, and irrevocable open gaming license that provides a legal “safe harbor” for sharing rules mechanics and encourages collaboration and innovation in the tabletop gaming space. Since then, we’ve been hard at work conceiving and developing the ORC License, and today we’re pleased to announce that the second draft of the license is now ready for public comment!


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


This second draft incorporates changes and suggestions from hundreds of participating publishers on the ORC License Discord community, adds significant clarity to key terms and definitions, substantially increases the size and scope of the project’s official FAQ, and introduces several basic quality-of-life improvements across the board.

You can download a copy of the ORC license and its associated FAQ/AxE (Answers and Explanations) document below. Our intention is to solicit “final” feedback on the ORC License Discord until the end of the day NEXT Monday, May 22nd. We intend for this wave of commentary to be the last round before presenting the truly final version of the license, which we plan to release by the end of May.

Our deepest thanks to all project participants. Your feedback has been invaluable in making the ORC License an ideal open gaming license that will serve the community long into the future.

A new era of open gaming is nearly here!

Download the Orc License

Download the Orc AxE

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Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo)

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Glad to see that an update has been posted. Thank you for providing such a wonderful and community building game for us all.

Long Live the Age of the ORC.


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From the Axe:

“I primarily produce game content of a mechanical nature (spells, magic items, etc.), with very little content that could be considered Product Identity. With so little to hold back as “mine,” it feels like my publishing strategy gets fewer protections under the ORC than others who have a higher percentage of non-mechanical material they can hold back for themselves. Is there a way I can designate more of my mechanical content as Product Identity?

o No. While creating this type of mechanical content may involve just as much effort as creating Product Identity, copyright protection is not based on “sweat of the brow.” All users of the ORC license agree to contribute all of their mechanical content to downstream users. If that contribution does not fit your publishing strategy, or you feel that doing so is too generous, it is likely that the ORC license is not the best option for that product.”

I’m glad they spelled this out. By keeping Orc “viral,” they’ve created a license that is not going to suit everyone’s needs. I’m fine with that, although I don’t like the viral nature. I’m glad they spelled out what being viral means (although they didn’t use the term).


In III.b.i the font changed. Seems like a copy-paste error. You should have pasted it with Ctrl+shift+v


We love you too, Paizo. <3 <3 <3 Thank you forevs.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would have liked to have seen something about the seemingly infinite growth of the attribution section. I feel like that's going to be a bit problematic as time goes on.


borg286 wrote:
In III.b.i the font changed. Seems like a copy-paste error. You should have pasted it with Ctrl+shift+v
NielsenE wrote:
I would have liked to have seen something about the seemingly infinite growth of the attribution section. I feel like that's going to be a bit problematic as time goes on.

You need to make those comments in the ORC Discord channel. They won't be seen if you only post them here.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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NielsenE wrote:
I would have liked to have seen something about the seemingly infinite growth of the attribution section. I feel like that's going to be a bit problematic as time goes on.

It was only marginally problematic when you had to also reproduce a 900-word license, so we're hoping that by not having to do that in the future, folks with larger attribution sections will still come in with a smaller license footprint than they had under the OGL.


NielsenE wrote:
I would have liked to have seen something about the seemingly infinite growth of the attribution section. I feel like that's going to be a bit problematic as time goes on.

Plus it's possible that III.b.i. allows some wiggle room with:

ORC wrote:
"For the avoidance of doubt, both Licensor and all parties similarly credited under Licensor’s attribution notice should be included in Your attribution notice unless otherwise reasonably indicated by such parties."

So there's at least some legal breathing room that does not force everyone to absolutely 100% have to reproduce the entire attribution section even if those attributed are all ok with simplifying.

With the OGL there wasn't room to do that even if everyone involved agreed. Their hands were tied. So there's some allowances for potentially simplifying attribution notices as long as everyone involved agrees.

(Funnily enough - there was even early debate with the OGL about whether you had to copy the entire Section 15 of every work you used even if that meant a ton of duplicate entries, like citing the SRD a dozen times. But it was generally agreed that it would be ridiculous to require that, so everyone just sort of agreed to be fine with removing duplicate entries regardless of which way the OGL technically stated. So it the Section 15 growth problem could technically have been much worse! ORC will be fine in comparison.)

But as was said, the ORC Discord is the best place for these sorts of comments. Even if think you're just talking into the wind and it doesn't really matter, the ORC license will never be updated, so those of use who are planning on using it really, really want to make sure any possible issue is caught and every interested opinion is heard!

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