Declaring Public Domain and a Challenge to other 3rd Party Publishers


Product Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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In memory of Aaron Swartz, I will be declaring most of Phoenicia: City of Psionics' product identity to be in the Public Domain once it's formally published as a PDF. I've come to this choice to honor the man who has effectively stopped PIPA and SOPA with his organization Demand Progress.

Nina Paley, another Content Author, has worked hard and jumped through hoops in order to get people to understand that they have the rights to show her work, to fight DRM of her work, and to do many other things, has recently released Sita Sings the Blues into the Public Domain.

Basically, Copyright Law has been perverted, and the OGL, although the best thing to happen to the Gaming Industry; is largely ignored by everyone except by Paizo, LCC. For most of the OGL's history, other content providers for D20 has ignored other content providers' OGC, resulting in many wheels being reinvented.

Although we are seeing progress in the Era of the Pathfinder RPG (see Seas of Thought as a GREAT example); there isn't enough progress being made in how much should be used or what can be used.

In Aaron Swartz's memory, although I will be declaring my PI to be in the Public Domain; I'd like to challenge every other Content Provider to include at least one rule they like from some other Publisher's OGC besides Paizo, LCC; and Dreamscarred Press in at least one of their future products. The OGL was invented to allow game rules invented by someone else to be used. As Nina Paley said in her post about her frustrations with her work: Not using knowledge is an offense to it. Change this to be relevant to our community to say, Not using PFd20SRD to it's full potential is an offense to it!

Don't do it for yourselves, do it for Aaron Swartz.


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I think I have sat here thinking of the proper response for this for about 30 minutes without getting political and opinionated.

I commend your view and say we have already accomplished your challenge. We did it for Combat Style Feats.
There has been several 3PPs that have also already done such.
:-)

The Exchange

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GM Elton wrote:
"Not using d20PFsrd to it's full potential is an offense to it!"

Fixed that for you!


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This is a stirring statement, a grand vision, and an inspiring challenge. I can't speak for other publishers, but as the head of design for Necromancers of the Northwest (www.necromancers-online.com), I've toyed with the idea of using content from other publishers, and always came to the same conclusion: I don't want to have someone buy a book that we make, and then find out that they need to buy someone else's book in order to fully use it, which is why we have tried to avoid that sort of thing (nothing would make me happier than if someone used our OGL content, but, as of yet, that has not come up).

That said, after seeing this post, and sitting down to politely point out this potential issue, I couldn't help but point out to myself that, at Necromancers of the Northwest, at least, we also produce free content on a regular basis, which neatly sidesteps this issue (it also occurs to me that I suppose you could just reprint the relevant material, assuming you only needed to reference a small section of it). So, I hereby take up your challenge. We produce our articles a ways in advance, so I can't promise it will be soon, but it will be happening.

Contributor

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Misfit Studios (of which I'm a member) has already done this with the SpirosBlaak setting in 3.5 (we are updating to PF now). We had hoped others would use the kingdom as a stepping stone to create other products, but it honestly never happened. Still, I'm a fan of opening up content, and I appreciate and use material from other publishers.

It's very possible to use open material that doesn't require the reader to purchase another book. That being said, I'd like to see publishers allow others using their OGC to give them permission to do an official thank-you credit up front (not in Section 15 of the OGL--which most players ignore). It could spark interest in other publishers' material. As we are all small companies, getting individuals to consider taking a look at other products can only be helpful to all.

Shadow Lodge

Well done, and Good luck!

Shadow Lodge

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We all sit upon the shoulders of giants in this industry. I find myself often wishing that more companies would offer their content up to the d20pfsrd.

I think there is a pervasive thought that this is a lost income opportunity, when if done properly - the opposite is true. You can release a portion of your content on the d20pfsrd and build exposure and sales for the entire product.

Not to mention, if you have a great piece of content, by putting it on the d20pfsrd other publishers will be able to build upon your work, further acknowledging your grand vision and creativity.

If you have books that are no longer selling, why not declare it open content and get it up there?

Contributor

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I know I've purchased several pdfs after perusing d20pfsrd.com and finding the source of the OGC. I think it's a way to generate some income.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Necromancers of the Northwest wrote:
This is a stirring statement, a grand vision, and an inspiring challenge. I can't speak for other publishers, but as the head of design for Necromancers of the Northwest (www.necromancers-online.com), I've toyed with the idea of using content from other publishers, and always came to the same conclusion: I don't want to have someone buy a book that we make, and then find out that they need to buy someone else's book in order to fully use it, which is why we have tried to avoid that sort of thing (nothing would make me happier than if someone used our OGL content, but, as of yet, that has not come up).

It's worth noting that if you reprint the re-used content in full, this isn't an issue.

...though to be fair, then it becomes an issue of "I'm paying for something that I (might) already have in another book." Heck, even if it's re-used material that's available in the d20PFSRD, then it's "they're referencing material that I can't use because I'm not online right now."

There are always reasons not to do something; the OP is pointing out that there are also good reasons for doing it too.

Personally, there are a number of other companies that I wish would be much more liberal when using the OGL. I was flipping through a copy of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG the other day, and while I loved it's magic system, I was disappointed to see just how restrictive its use of Open Game Content and Product Identity were.

Contributor

The DCC folks have a license, I believe, if you'd like to publish material for that game. I haven't looked into the details, though, Alzrius.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Christina Stiles wrote:
The DCC folks have a license, I believe, if you'd like to publish material for that game. I haven't looked into the details, though, Alzrius.

Oh, I know they do, but that is - in and of itself - more restrictive than simply releasing something under the OGL.

I freelance a little bit, here and there, and when I read through DCC's magic system, I was thinking "wow, I wonder what this would look like if it was adapted to Pathfinder?" This led me to start wondering about working on a PF-specific conversion in my spare time, with idle thought of publication, and so I looked at the PI and OGC declarations in the book.

...and that was the end of that.

My understanding of the DCC License is that you can use it to write DCC-specific-compatible material. That's nice, but it's not as nice as if the book were more open under the OGL.

Silver Crusade

d20pfsrd.com wrote:
GM Elton wrote:
"Not using d20PFsrd to it's full potential is an offense to it!"
Fixed that for you!

Thank you. You know, it's really easy to transpose certain characters in your name to make a misspelling! :)

Silver Crusade

Amora Game wrote:

I think I have sat here thinking of the proper response for this for about 30 minutes without getting political and opinionated.

I commend your view and say we have already accomplished your challenge. We did it for Combat Style Feats.
There has been several 3PPs that have also already done such.
:-)

thank you, very much. :) The key word, though, is Future. :)

The Exchange

GM Elton wrote:
Thank you. You know, it's really easy to transpose certain characters in your name to make a misspelling! :)

Believe me.. I know. You don't know how many times I've been speaking to people, in person, who use the site many times per day, who still screw it up. You're looking at one of them too :( lol

Shadow Lodge

d20pfsrd.com wrote:
GM Elton wrote:
Thank you. You know, it's really easy to transpose certain characters in your name to make a misspelling! :)
Believe me.. I know. You don't know how many times I've been speaking to people, in person, who use the site many times per day, who still screw it up. You're looking at one of them too :( lol

Thank goodness for internet history. I just type "pf" or "pfs" and it immediately fills out the rest of the URL for me.


We support other folks work with our Renegade Series of stuff.

We have done 101 Renegade Class Feats and The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes. I have used Ironborn (from malhavoc press), Wyrd and Lurkers. I will be doing Blinklings and Wretched (from green ronin).

I have never stopped anyone from using 3rd party material in Adventure Quarterly we simply reprint a monster's full statblock if we need too.

I used all kinds of OGC monsters in The Book of Monster Templates.

Nearly every Npc from Faces of the Tarnished Souk uses someones OGL content.

I have also been working on The Demolished Ones (FATE) which is OGL as well.


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I'd like to commend Rite Publishing for their level of support and utilization of 3rd party material. It's nice to see a developer that doesn't always go out and reinvent the wheel, even when there is a completely suitable round wheel available for them to use free of charge. I appreciate the effort of finding the best mechanics to use, and not contributing to unnecessary rules bloat.


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Seconded, Caedwyr!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

The problem with putting something in the public domain is then you don't even need to credit the source. That's why I prefer something like the Creative Commons license, which you can designate By Attribution and leave it at that.

And I've seen tons of 3PP that adapted and used other 3PP. Most OGL declarations show more than just Wizards SRD and Pathfinder Core.

It does depend a lot on the type of product you are making. An adventure is likely to use different monsters, but unlikely to bring in random feats from another source.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

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Thus far, Legendary Games has been pretty narrowly focused on our connections to Paizo product, to the point where for a while we kept limited even reference to our OWN products, on the principle of not wanting to force people to buy multiple products just to use a new product.

That said, we've started departing a bit from that within our own products, such as expanding our ki rules from The Way of Ki in Meditations of the Imperial Mystics, and incorporating our simplified Madness rules from Tomes of Arcane Knowledge in our various Gothic Grimoires. I actually had a fun just yesterday ask if we were planning to produce product in support of Frog God Games and their settings, considering the connections some of our group have with Necromancer and Frog God.

Given that most 3PP products, especially PDFs, are relatively inexpensive, perhaps we as publishers need to simply abandon that phobia about "I don't want them to buy another product; then they won't buy mine" and instead adopt more of an iTunes mentality of "if I can make my product accessible and connect it to other accessible products, they'll buy them both (and a couple more besides) without even worrying about it."

We have a lot of products in the pipeline already, so I'm not sure when any of our contributors will have time to invest, but I certainly think it's an idea with potential and we'd be interested in collaborating with people, whether using our mechanics and setting stuff or theirs.

Contributor

Sounds interesting, Jason! That method would be worth a try.


I've been using the OGC of other companies since I started freelancing back in the d20 days. It's all about how you use it. Adapting the harvested material to the theme of your product is key. If you're really good, the casual reader, even after looking at your declaration page, won't recognize the original material because of the way it's newly presented (see my time travel book Temporality from Dark Quest Games as an example). I've also been proud to offer up everything possible as OGC from my own company for others to use.

Minister of Propaganda, Super Genius Games

From day one we've tried to keep prices as low as possible. When we launched our Pathfinder line every PDF was $1.99 and 2.5 years later we mostly stay between $2.99 and $3.99. The higher price is one reason why we wanted a lower priced entry product, which led to the Bullet Points line which always sells for $1.00.

Additionally, without spending too much time researching it, I believe we're well into our 2nd year of opening up almost 100% of each and every PDF we produce. I'll have to double check, but that's easily over 100 products, and that number will only grow since none of us have any desire to restrict things unnecessarily.

We also try and use any existing 3pp stuff if possible and as far as I know we've never said no to anyone asking if they could use something Super Genius has produced.

Silver Crusade

Rite Publishing wrote:

We support other folks work with our Renegade Series of stuff.

We have done 101 Renegade Class Feats and The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes. I have used Ironborn (from malhavoc press), Wyrd and Lurkers. I will be doing Blinklings and Wretched (from green ronin).

I have never stopped anyone from using 3rd party material in Adventure Quarterly we simply reprint a monster's full statblock if we need too.

I used all kinds of OGC monsters in The Book of Monster Templates.

Nearly every Npc from Faces of the Tarnished Souk uses someones OGL content.

I have also been working on The Demolished Ones (FATE) which is OGL as well.

Yep, I knew that one of the Tarnished Souk. I didn't mention it since . . . well, you know. :)


Well, it took a while, but we've finally gotten around to getting making good on our promise from two months ago, with an entire week's worth of article's devoted to expanding on a product from another company.

We wound up choosing Rite Publishing's Sutra Magic book as our product of choice, and over the course of the next week there will be new sutra-related archetypes, feats, magic items, and even some new sutras, all available for free, at www.necromancers-online.com.

The first article, which focuses on providing several archetypes designed to make sutra magic a little more widely appealing, can be found here.

The sutra magic book itself can be found on this very website, here.


Two thumbs up @ NNW! Sutra Magic rocks!


Rite Publishing wrote:
We have done 101 Renegade Class Feats and The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes.

My experience as a buyer: I love SGGs Witch Hunter. When I saw Rite offering support for it in the 101 'Renegade Class Feats' I bought it. I liked what I saw for my Witch Hunter, but my curiosity was also peeked with the other classes in the book. So I did buy the Armiger of SGG and 'The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes' by Rite, even if there is no Witch Hunter Archtype in it (which should be corrected soon!). Some other classes featured in both books are interesting me also now, so I think I'll try to get the Guttermage by 0one once I have some money again - and so on I guess.

So more crossovers would be greatly appreciated, even if its bad for my money pouch!

Silver Crusade

Oliver Volland wrote:
Rite Publishing wrote:
We have done 101 Renegade Class Feats and The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes.

My experience as a buyer: I love SGGs Witch Hunter. When I saw Rite offering support for it in the 101 'Renegade Class Feats' I bought it. I liked what I saw for my Witch Hunter, but my curiosity was also peeked with the other classes in the book. So I did buy the Armiger of SGG and 'The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes' by Rite, even if there is no Witch Hunter Archtype in it (which should be corrected soon!). Some other classes featured in both books are interesting me also now, so I think I'll try to get the Guttermage by 0one once I have some money again - and so on I guess.

So more crossovers would be greatly appreciated, even if its bad for my money pouch!

I hope you like The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes ! I put a lot of research, work, love and time into it.

For Witch Hunter archetypes, keep suggesting to the big boss at Rite how awesome having a TSoRA II would be, and who knows ?... ;)


@NNW - great article - I really like the Fighter archetype - Warrior of the Path - and especially the Talismans ability.

True to the intent of crossover possibilities and the greater consumer penetration/saturation I checked out your site generally - I'm really happy to see your site AND the amazing free stuff you have produced. Somehow you guys have slipped under the radar until now... Again, nice work NNW and here's to more OGL collaborations and growth!!!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I've bought products from Kobold Press, Allura publishing, and Gaming Paper. I buy 3PP, but I almost always check for reviews first and if you have content on srd I'm way more likely to consider purchasing your product because I can see samples and judge if I think your rules are balanced or your setting is suitable to my playstyle.

The smartest thing 3PPs can do is make alliances with one another. Worried someone has to purchase another product referenced in yours? Maybe work out a discount with the other publisher or come up with a bundle deal.

You guys aren't WoTC or Pathfinder, but some of you put out amazing products. I personally have a goal of becoming a 3PP myself, I highly encourage you to consider yourselves a community and build relationships with one another. You can either be competition for one another or support one another. There's more than a few games that won't give 3PPs a chance, you are already fighting a stigma of sorts why fight each other?


I try to open up as much content as possible, and I enjoy collaborating with other publishers who do the same. Fistful of Denarii continues to sell copies every month.


Maxximilius wrote:


I hope you like The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes ! I put a lot of research, work, love and time into it.
For Witch Hunter archetypes, keep suggesting to the big boss at Rite how awesome having a TSoRA II would be, and who knows ?... ;)

If the author of TSoRA is willing and able I am willing and able to publish it :)

Liberty's Edge

I absolutely loved TSoRA and would be thrilled to see a second one. Also, I didn't know that was your book Max, great work!


Maxximilius wrote:

I hope you like The Secrets of Renegade Archetypes ! I put a lot of research, work, love and time into it.

For Witch Hunter archetypes, keep suggesting to the big boss at Rite how awesome having a TSoRA II would be, and who knows ?... ;)

Of course I liked it, great work! And since your boss meanwhile has given green light to it: Witch Hunter Archtypes, please! And maybe for the Gypsy from Dreadfox also? The Elven Archer from Kobold/Open Design? My list is longer if there is more room :-)

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

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JBE's Shadowsfall: Favored Class Options details favored class options for 11 different races. The classes covered are the Paizo Base classes, TPK Games' The Malefactor, all the psionic classes in Dreamscarred Press' Psionics Unleashed and Super Genius Games' Time Thief and Time Warden classes.

Shadow Lodge

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I have to commend Rite Publishing and Jon Brazer Enterprise's use of the Malefactor in their works. We've used Super Genius Games' work before in Infamous Adversaries: Urizen the Bleak Lord. No matter what, using other's open content is a win for everyone.

I fear too many companies feel that they have to protect their work, and then sell half as many copies because of it.

Silver Crusade

Rite Publishing wrote:
If the author of TSoRA is willing and able I am willing and able to publish it :)

I do believe said author is actually willing and able. ;)

Well guys and 3PP, if you want archetypes for specific classes, I think it's time to throw your requests and suggestions in my general direction.

=> @GM Elton: Challenge accepted (again) !

@ShadowcatX: Glad you loved it ! I wrote the news on my official thread when the finished supplement was put on Paizo, but it can be easy to miss among the monthly updates I usually post.

@Oliver Volland: Great suggestions there, especially for the two 3PP we haven't done yet... I'm putting these three on the list. You may keep suggesting things if you have others in mind. No promises, we'll see how the final list turns out. ;)

Grand Lodge

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Maxximilius wrote:
Rite Publishing wrote:
If the author of TSoRA is willing and able I am willing and able to publish it :)

I do believe said author is actually willing and able. ;)

Well guys and 3PP, if you want archetypes for specific classes, I think it's time to throw your requests and suggestions in my general direction.

=> @GM Elton: Challenge accepted (again) !

@ShadowcatX: Glad you loved it ! I wrote the news on my official thread when the finished supplement was put on Paizo, but it can be easy to miss among the monthly updates I usually post.

@Oliver Volland: Great suggestions there, especially for the two 3PP we haven't done yet... I'm putting these three on the list. You may keep suggesting things if you have others in mind. No promises, we'll see how the final list turns out. ;)

My suggestions would be the White Necromancer from Open Design/Kobold Quarterly 19, a LN and CG Paladin, the Wolf Shifter from Wayfinder 5, the Guttermage from Urban Adventures: The Great City Player's Guide (0one Games), and a racial archetype for gnome barbarians (Rawr).

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

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Legendary Games is starting to branch out in this direction, though not extensively thus far. We did include the Lord of Darkness antipaladin archetype from Fire Mountain Games (by way of d20pfsrd) in our supplement To Serve a Prince Undying. Hopefully more to come!

Liberty's Edge

@Maxximus: I might have known at one time and just forgotten, I've been away from the hobby for quite a while.

I'd love to see an archetype for the death knight from SGG. That'd be something pretty amusing as well as it'd be an archetype of an alternate class of an alternate class of a base class. Its like one of those Russian nesting dolls. It boggles the mind.

And of course, I'd love to see an archetype for anything from Rite, though to be fair that isn't really keeping with the idea of this thread. (And on that topic, has Rite even released any new classes since the previous renegade archetype book? Dark Mistress needs to crack her whip in that regard.)

I also wouldn't mind seeing racial prestige classes for some of the DSP races for non-psionic 3pp classes, though realistically they would probably be far too narrow in scope to really appeal to anyone.


I believe Kobold Press material is mostly not open so be sure to check.

Grand Lodge

Thanael wrote:
I believe Kobold Press material is mostly not open so be sure to check.

It says Open Game License in the back of their magazines. *shrugs*

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

If it is pathfinder compatible material, it has to have an open game license in it somewhere. But that doesn't mean that the material is open content. KP has to state elsewhere what is and is not available for others to use.

Shadow Lodge

Jason Nelson wrote:
Legendary Games is starting to branch out in this direction, though not extensively thus far. We did include the Lord of Darkness antipaladin archetype from Fire Mountain Games (by way of d20pfsrd) in our supplement To Serve a Prince Undying. Hopefully more to come!

For anyone wanting to drop an antipaladin baddie in their game, I would gladly like to point out for any unaware that the LOD archetype allows for Antipaladins of all three Evil alignments, not just CE. So if you want your tyrannical LE dictator-general or your NE warlord of battle, the LOD gives you those option in addition to the blasphemous CE base alignment of the antipaladin =)


Necromancers of the Northwest wrote:
I can't speak for other publishers, but as the head of design for Necromancers of the Northwest (www.necromancers-online.com), I've toyed with the idea of using content from other publishers, and always came to the same conclusion: I don't want to have someone buy a book that we make, and then find out that they need to buy someone else's book in order to fully use it

First off, let me say that I love some of you guys' work. I've even recommended some of the stuff published on your site to someone on this forum.

To address the quote though, that's the beauty of the d20pfsrd. People DON'T have to buy the stuff in it in order to use whatever you publish using that content. It's already freely available and all you would need to do is include an appropriate reference inside your material to ensure the user could easily find it.

(Granted this is all dependent on the continued health of the d20pfsrd, which isn't something that can be guaranteed, no matter how likely it may be.)

Silver Crusade

Wow! I'm glad people are still discussing this. :)

As for the Necromancers of the Northwest, Competition is a good thing but so is corporate co-operation. If the OGL was used to it's fullest philosophical potential, there would be a great deal more co-operation and less competition.

I think the reason for your post is because Wizards pretty much set the standard with the OGL. for the first 8 years it's been in existence, Wizards held back most of their toys. I called for the challenge mainly so that there would be a spirit of Co-operation amongst the PF 3rd party publishers.

As far as I know, I'm the only one willing to relinquish his monopolies on his content. I didn't call for anyone to do the same. It would be hypocritical on my part.

Liberty's Edge

kevin_video wrote:


My suggestions would be the White Necromancer from Open Design/Kobold Quarterly 19

An excellent idea!!! Although, you might want to wait until Kobold Press releases the Expanded White Necromancer in a month or so :)

Silver Crusade

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kyrt-ryder wrote:


(Granted this is all dependent on the continued health of the d20pfsrd, which isn't something that can be guaranteed, no matter how likely it may be.)

And the availability of the Internet. The Internet could go *poof* one day.

Shadow Lodge

GM Elton wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:


(Granted this is all dependent on the continued health of the d20pfsrd, which isn't something that can be guaranteed, no matter how likely it may be.)
And the availability of the Internet. The Internet could go *poof* one day.

Sadly if it did that would be the end of much of our hobby as we know it. I'm not sure how much of Paizo's business is done through their website, but I'd estimate it's a significant majority, between subscriptions, website store orders, and 3rd party stuff sold through the site store.


Marc Radle wrote:
kevin_video wrote:


My suggestions would be the White Necromancer from Open Design/Kobold Quarterly 19
An excellent idea!!! Although, you might want to wait until Kobold Press releases the Expanded White Necromancer in a month or so :)

Wasn't that a closed content class, or am I getting it confused with another of the Kobald Press Expanded classes?

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