D&D 5th Edition OGL


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Scott Betts wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
...you should never build a house on land you don't own...
To be fair, though, you can make money off of your "house" (read: your work), and the "land" in this case is the RPG IP equivalent of Upper East Side Manhattan.

I'm speaking from the perspective of an independent publisher offering advice to would-be independent publishers. Never base your business ("build your house") on a single, revocable license to someone else's IP ("land you don't own").

That's not a value statement about WotC's DMG Program (which is much better than, say, Paizo's Adventure Card Creator). That's a suggestion that aspiring publishers read and understand the full ramifications of any license they want to use, and then develop their business model accordingly.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Vic Wertz wrote:

I think the problem here is that they left a "content gap"—that is, anything that isn't in the SRD and isn't also in the statement of Product Identity is currently not covered under the OGL (as I understand it), so it is protected only inasmuch as copyright law protects it—meaning the ideas can be used, though not the actually words.

If Wizards were to include the OGL in future printings of their core rules, and state that anything in those books that isn't in the SRD is Product Identity—or just add a statement equivalent to that to the PRD—then I believe no content gap would exist; that is, anybody using the OGL would be unable to include derivations of that content. I'm not clear on whether or not "closing" that content could trigger retroactive effects, though.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at regarding the new SRD.

If the SRD had been either more permissive or less permissive, it would have been much more effective.

A more permissive SRD would allow third-party reference sites to explicitly include core D&D character options, generating familiarity with WotC-published content and promoting WotC's vision for the game.

A less permissive SRD would have allowed third-party publishers to expand upon the D&D 5e rules without also being able to create comprehensive reference sites that dilute the authority of the PHB.

Instead, WotC chose a middle route that has the disadvantages of both. The SRD is just restrictive enough that you can't create an authentic reference site, but just permissive enough that you can create a designer-impostor reference site. That's probably the least beneficial result WotC could get from releasing a System Reference Document.


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Epic Meepo wrote:

I'm speaking from the perspective of an independent publisher offering advice to would-be independent publishers. Never base your business ("build your house") on a single, revocable license to someone else's IP ("land you don't own").

That's not a value statement about WotC's DMG Program (which is much better than, say, Paizo's Adventure Card Creator). That's a suggestion that aspiring publishers read and understand the full ramifications of any license they want to use, and then develop their business model accordingly.

Excellent advice - it's not hard to imagine some disgruntled beginner publishers down the track not quite understanding what they were signing up for.


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Pathfinder style-AP and modules for 5e a possibility now? Make it happen Paizo! ;)


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From here:

Vic Wertz wrote:

Just for a little technical clarity here... Wizards released their SRD 5.0 using version 1.0a of the Open Game License, which has been around for 15 years and is the exact version of the OGL that we've been using all along. Which means if our designers see anything in SRD 5.0 that they think would be a good addition to our game, they can put it in. (I'm not saying they will—I'm just saying they could... and assuming Wizards is going to put the OGL into their future 5.0 products, it's just as easy for Wizards to use any Open Game Content we've created.)

That said, I don't expect any major changes to come out of this for us. Our focus is the Pathfinder RPG, and we don't currently plan to create content for 5E.


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Out of all the things I like about 5th edition, the one thing I would love Paizo to take and incorporate would be the legendary and lair actions (especially the latter) for the BBEG of their APs.

What I would like to see WotC take from Pathfinder would be a number of their class options and classes themselves (looking at you, sorcerer bloodlines most). Other than that, things are good. While I would love to see Paizo create some things for 5th edition, them focusing on Pathfinder is the better decision.


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Okay, has anyone worked out how the DMs guild works with art assets that are creative commons or in the public domain.


It's hard to say. One claim is that it would be allowed, because of it's CC status, and because WotC is not claiming ownership of the work in question. But it can also be argued the other way, that they claim the exclusive right to reproduce "your work" and the art is part of that, and that WotC would then be claiming that no-one else could use that art. Complicated by the fact that you also don't own it, and are only allowed to use it by the permission of the creator, and therefore can't transfer rights to it to a third party. I'd avoid it, until that was clarified.


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I wouldn't use any art but the free pieces WotC has provided through the DMs Guild, for the reasons that Bluenose points out above.


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Have sent a message asking for clarification on the subject.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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In these quotes taken from a Reddit discussion, the D&D folks at WotC have confirmed that they have no plans to add more content to the SRD aside from a few mistakenly omitted items. So, thanks to the content gap in the SRD, the biggest third-party "5e" reference site will inevitably become a D&D clone competing with (instead of complementing) D&D. *sigh*

On the plus side, the D&D staff say the folks running DriveThruRPG are working on a solution to the problem with artwork in the DM Guild, and expect that the concerns folks here and elsewhere have raised should be addressed in the near future.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

Looks like the commission on Dungeon Master Guild products is 50% (split somehow between OneBookShelf and WotC). How does that compare if you want to distribute a self-published PDF through the various sites?

It's at the high end, but not completely outside the range of what other distributors charge. OBS normally charges between 20% and 35% (35% base, 25% for products sold exclusively through OBS, and the affiliate program can get you a little bit extra). Paizo is a bit wonkier in that they charge a different rate for PDFs than for print. For PDFs Paizo takes a smaller cut than OBS (according to Neil Spicer on the forums, lemme see if I can find that post....) On the other hand, Paizo charges 50% (!) for print, and requires the publisher to cover more of the expenses related to print products than OBS does. Bradley Crouch (the owner of Interjection Games) estimated that he would make three times as much of a profit from selling a hardcover on OBS as he would from selling the same hardcover for the same price on Paizo, and many other small publishers sell print products only on OBS but sell PDFs on both Paizo and OBS.


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It's also worth keeping in mind that the Dungeon Master Guild allows you to publish products for Forgotten Realms, which you can't do otherwise. If you want to publish a product for Golarion, you're out of luck, no matter how much you give Paizo. The only other RPG company that I know of which is allowing anyone to write and sell products in their campaign world is Purple Duck Games. PDG went further than WotC has and made their entire Lands of Porphyra campaign world open gaming content. So, if you're keeping score as to how "open" different RPG publishers are about their campaign settings, then Purple Duck Games > WotC > Paizo (and pretty much all other RPG companies, since most RPG companies control their settings about as tightly as Paizo).
But it's not a competition, really!
If you aren't making use of non-OGC world content from WotC, then the Dungeon Master Guild is almost certainly a bad deal for you, but fortunately the OGL is still there.


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Epic Meepo wrote:
In these quotes taken from a Reddit discussion, the D&D folks at WotC have confirmed that they have no plans to add more content to the SRD aside from a few mistakenly omitted items. So, thanks to the content gap in the SRD, the biggest third-party "5e" reference site will inevitably become a D&D clone competing with (instead of complementing) D&D. *sigh*

I'm sure it will be complementary, not competing. The third party reference site isn't going to be making revisions to core rules, it'll just be hosting additional 3rd party content alongside the official SRD rules. Exactly like they do with Pathfinder.

I doubt we'll see any truly divergent forks until the 5E PHB is out of print.


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137ben wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Looks like the commission on Dungeon Master Guild products is 50% (split somehow between OneBookShelf and WotC). How does that compare if you want to distribute a self-published PDF through the various sites?

It's at the high end, but not completely outside the range of what other distributors charge. OBS normally charges between 20% and 35% (35% base, 25% for products sold exclusively through OBS, and the affiliate program can get you a little bit extra). Paizo is a bit wonkier in that they charge a different rate for PDFs than for print. For PDFs Paizo takes a smaller cut than OBS (according to Neil Spicer on the forums, lemme see if I can find that post....) On the other hand, Paizo charges 50% (!) for print, and requires the publisher to cover more of the expenses related to print products than OBS does. Bradley Crouch (the owner of Interjection Games) estimated that he would make three times as much of a profit from selling a hardcover on OBS as he would from selling the same hardcover for the same price on Paizo, and many other small publishers sell print products only on OBS but sell PDFs on both Paizo and OBS.

Cheers.


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Bluenose wrote:
It's hard to say. One claim is that it would be allowed, because of it's CC status, and because WotC is not claiming ownership of the work in question. But it can also be argued the other way, that they claim the exclusive right to reproduce "your work" and the art is part of that, and that WotC would then be claiming that no-one else could use that art. Complicated by the fact that you also don't own it, and are only allowed to use it by the permission of the creator, and therefore can't transfer rights to it to a third party. I'd avoid it, until that was clarified.

not a lawyer, doctor, musician, or whatever

Public domain art should be fine, if its status is clear and broadly recognized as such. Some art is public domain in one place and not another, for instance due to differing laws on length of copyright protection; if this is the case, it won't work because the Guild agreement requires you to have unfettered permission or ownership to use any artwork. Other art that's universally considered public domain, such as works expressly released as such by their creators, should be fine.

Creative Commons art is unlikely unless it's under the most permissive versions, like CC-BY (only attribution required). Any Commons artwork under Share-Alike licenses won't work because it requires you to let anyone redistribute under the same terms and Wizards' terms for the guild prohibit redistribution outside of the Guild store. Any Commons artwork under Non-Commercial licenses probably won't work, even if you don't charge for your product, because the terms of the Guild require you to allow Wizards and everybody else in the Guild to use your work, including for commercial purposes (even if nobody ever does).

In other words, unless the art is licensed in a way that already allows everybody, including Wizards, to use the artwork for commercial purposes, it won't fit the terms of the Guild.

It also looks like the agreement's language will change regarding art, per Mike Mearls at Wizards.

EDIT: Steve at OBS is OKing stock art:

Steve W wrote:
We're going to be issuing an update to the Community Content Agreement today or Monday to update that section c and clarify the usage of stock art in DMs Guild products. This author's use is/will be permitted and they discussed their usage of stock art with us in advance of their release.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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137ben wrote:
If you aren't making use of non-OGC world content from WotC, then the Dungeon Master Guild is almost certainly a bad deal for you, but fortunately the OGL is still there.

If you're trying to join WotC's stable of 5e freelancers, the DM Guild is arguably a better deal than entering RPG Superstar. The "voters" in the DM Guild vote for up-and-coming freelancers with actual dollars, so you might make a few bucks even if you don't crack the Top 32 DM Guild bestsellers.

---

deinol wrote:
The third party reference site isn't going to be making revisions to core rules, it'll just be hosting additional 3rd party content alongside the official SRD rules. Exactly like they do with Pathfinder.

Like nature, OGL designers abhor a vacuum. I've already stumbled upon an online discussion where designers were debating the best way to replace the rules omitted from the SRD with similar but differently-worded 3pp content, to be hosted on the same website as the official SRD.

Incentivizing designers to create a reworded PHB knock-off that will be more widely available in an electronic format than the actual PHB can't be good for D&D as a brand. You want to create a situation where third parties generate familiarity with the core rules of your game, not one where third parties create potential confusion by blending a fraction of your official rules with reworded rules written to fill an intentional content gap.


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I think 5e system is compatible for a fast pace space setting


Epic Meepo wrote:
In these quotes taken from a Reddit discussion, the D&D folks at WotC have confirmed that they have no plans to add more content to the SRD aside from a few mistakenly omitted items. So, thanks to the content gap in the SRD, the biggest third-party "5e" reference site will inevitably become a D&D clone competing with (instead of complementing) D&D. *sigh*

I'm not sure why you think that opening practically everything up would lead to complimentary products, instead of competing products. They opened up nearly everything in 3.5 (at least from the core rules)....which directly lead to Pathfinder...a competing product.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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thenovalord wrote:
I think 5e system is compatible for a fast pace space setting

Just as long as they figure out a quick and fun way to run ship v. ship combat where everyone can contribute.

I remember running d20 Future, and we did a ship fight, and basically everyone watched as 1 player and I rolled tons and tons of dice.

24d12???? Ugh!

Grand Lodge

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Norman Osborne wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
In these quotes taken from a Reddit discussion, the D&D folks at WotC have confirmed that they have no plans to add more content to the SRD aside from a few mistakenly omitted items. So, thanks to the content gap in the SRD, the biggest third-party "5e" reference site will inevitably become a D&D clone competing with (instead of complementing) D&D. *sigh*
I'm not sure why you think that opening practically everything up would lead to complimentary products, instead of competing products. They opened up nearly everything in 3.5 (at least from the core rules)....which directly lead to Pathfinder...a competing product.

Through their own actions though by closing Paizo out with 4E thus forcing the competeing product.


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SmiloDan wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
I think 5e system is compatible for a fast pace space setting

Just as long as they figure out a quick and fun way to run ship v. ship combat where everyone can contribute.

I remember running d20 Future, and we did a ship fight, and basically everyone watched as 1 player and I rolled tons and tons of dice.

24d12???? Ugh!

Never played it. Sounds grim. Ship to ship should be no slower than any other combat


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RyanH wrote:
Norman Osborne wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
In these quotes taken from a Reddit discussion, the D&D folks at WotC have confirmed that they have no plans to add more content to the SRD aside from a few mistakenly omitted items. So, thanks to the content gap in the SRD, the biggest third-party "5e" reference site will inevitably become a D&D clone competing with (instead of complementing) D&D. *sigh*
I'm not sure why you think that opening practically everything up would lead to complimentary products, instead of competing products. They opened up nearly everything in 3.5 (at least from the core rules)....which directly lead to Pathfinder...a competing product.
Through their own actions though by closing Paizo out with 4E thus forcing the competeing product.

Like RyanH said, WotC brought rise to the competing product of Pathfinder because of what they did with 4th Edition. Paizo had to make Pathfinder so they could continue with their Adventure Path line, or I am sure they would have gone out of business. If WotC would have been more lenient with the 4th edition things, Pathfinder may never have been created and many more people would have had to either stop playing or suck it up and play 4th Edition. Will we see a new "Pathfinder" out of this when the inevitable 6th Edition comes out? Well, that depends on WotC.


Frankly, as open as the tag-team of the OGL and SRD made v3.5, a competing system that used some variant of 3.5 was a certainty. If it hadn't been Paizo, it would have been someone else. Maybe not as successful or with as high production values, but there would have been another d20 fantasy RPG that was almost D&D v3.5.

The Exchange

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Norman Osborne wrote:
Frankly, as open as the tag-team of the OGL and SRD made v3.5, a competing system that used some variant of 3.5 was a certainty.

Well, the fact is, there wasn't. Noone was even trying to compete with WotC at that time, because a) noone would have stood a chance and b) why even try it when most of the (core) rules were already to be found at the SRD site?

And even Paizo didn't create Pathfinder to challenge WotC's spot as the RPG industries' #1 (at least it wasn't the primary goal; don't know if Lisa and Vic foresaw what would happen as a consequence of how WotC handled 4E) but to support their own products which an existing line of Rule Books.

So while Pathfinder RPG only was possible because of the OGL, It didn't come into existence before 3.5 support was officialy stopped by WotC.


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We'll have to wait and see, of course. My bet is that the brand power will be sufficient that a 'pseudo-D&D' website isn't going to supplant D&D as the genuine article.

Given the pushback and prejudice against 3PP products, I think such a website would damage themselves were they to stray too far from what's included in the core books (since there will inevitably be DMs who then declare such a site "overpowered", "unofficial" or "houserules" or whichever pejorative they prefer).

My guess is that we'll soon see an online resource with feats like sharpshooting instead of sharpshooter, heavy weapon expert instead of heavy weapon master, and so forth. I don't see that as bad for the game at all. (For that matter, I wouldn't be particularly concerned even if some broader website began to gain traction).

This move seems very much in line with Wizards' approach to 5E - they are effectively outsourcing the online support, just as they've outsourced the adventures, sourcebooks (via the OGL and other licensing) and now even part of the Forgotten Realms IP (via the DM's guild) - they seem to be clearly just keeping the game in print, whilst focussing on the computer games, novels and movies (where there's more chance of significant monetary return).

I'm also happy that, should Wizards decide to bring out a sixth edition, someone would now be able to replicate Paizo's efforts and put out a 5th edition clone with much more certainty.


I'm honestly not happy with the idea. Looking at Pathfinder, based off of v3.5, they clung to a lot of poor mechanical decisions like descending iterative attack bonuses, poor feats, class-ineptitude, and Full-Actions. It was like Pathfinder grabbed some band-aids to fix open-heart surgery.

Now I admit that 5e is a lot more mechanically sounds and takes greater care to make the options viable so maybe 3pp content will build off that and make good products compared to the dearth we received in 3rd edition.

I guess my biggest problem is the potential for yet another edition war should WotC want to do something new or different with the D&D IP. As if ALL the previous content instantly becomes null and void.


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Depends on how drastically WotC changes D&D from 5th edition to 6th edition, and how well the community likes the changes. WotC has decided to remake the wheel every time they release a new edition. 3rd edition was a drastic change from AD&D, 4th edition was a drastic change from 3rd edition, and 5th edition is a drastic change from 4th edition (3.0 and 3.5 are the same edition to me, so I don't make the distinction).

The drastic changes from AD&D to 3rd, a lot of people liked, though many preferred AD&D (OSR type stuff we have now). Enough people liked AD&D to where they made the OSR clones, which is thanks to the OGL. The drastic changes from 3rd to 4th, a lot of people hated (just look at the forums of many rpg sites during 2008 and 2009). Pathfinder came to be thanks to WotC and their policy with creating content for 4th edition, so in order for Paizo to continue on with their Golarion stuff, they changed 3rd edition just enough that the large portion of 4th edition haters (strong word, and doesn't apply to everyone who went Pathfinder over 4th edition) who loved 3rd edition could continue playing their preferred edition, with a few slight changes.

So, WotC will ultimately dictate if there is going to be another Pathfinder in regards to the switch between 5th and 6th editions. They could be smart and do what TSR did, and make the transition between them similar to the transition between AD&D 1e and AD&D 2e. But knowing them, it will be a complete rewrite from the ground up. Which will more likely lead to another Pathfinder. That's if a company can be as good as Paizo was in the sea of terrible 3rd edition 3pp.

Do I hope the new SRD and OGL for 5th edition creates another Pathfinder? Honestly I am torn. The drought of products being released by WotC (which outsources the writing to other companies like Kobold Press, slaps some artwork they commission from previous edition contributors and people on deviantart (like Paizo does) and sends it to be printed) makes me want someone to emerge and make a new Pathfinder that will release both adventures and character options (and new monsters) instead of adventures only. I want someone to provide pdfs as well as printed books for those people who enjoy either or both. I would rather that "someone" be WotC, but I would take another Paizo if that is what it would take.


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It's already happening.


From what I understand, you can use the OGL with DmG. Like I couldn't convert or use PF Mythic rules in a product that I release on DmG because DmG publishes exclusive content.


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Adjule wrote:
...Pathfinder came to be thanks to WotC and their policy with creating content for 4th edition...

I seem to recall Vic saying that, although the GSL contained at least two clauses which would have been deal-breakers for Paizo, the actual reason for not going with 4E was aesthetic.

That is, that they didn't want to design material for 4th edition but would prefer to continue producing 3rd edition compatible material. Given that edition was out-of-print, it was sensible to produce a standalone, 3.5 compatible game which would remain in print for people who wanted to continue using Paizo works.

I may be misquoting him, but I don't think the restrictive 4E license was actually a significant factor in the decision (although it also would have prevented them going ahead with supporting 4E, had they wanted to) - my understanding was that, even if 4E had come complete with its own SRD, Paizo would still have stuck with 3.5.


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Lisa's account was easier to find.

Auntie Lisa's Story Hour wrote:

Jason's mission was to learn as much as he could about 4th Edition, play it as much as he could, and report back with his findings. From that, we would ultimately make a decision that could make or break us. The tension was agonizing. I could barely sleep at night as my mind wrestled with the options. If we made the wrong decision, it could very well mean the end of Paizo.

When Jason returned from D&D Experience, he laid out all the information that he had gleaned. From the moment that 4th Edition had been announced, we had trepidations about many of the changes we were hearing about. Jason's report confirmed our fears—4th Edition didn't look like the system we wanted to make products for. Whether a license for 4E was forthcoming or not, we were going to create our own game system based on the 3.5 SRD: The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.


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Thanks to Joana, I have no need of learning how to use the search function. :)


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WormysQueue wrote:
Norman Osborne wrote:
Frankly, as open as the tag-team of the OGL and SRD made v3.5, a competing system that used some variant of 3.5 was a certainty.

Well, the fact is, there wasn't. Noone was even trying to compete with WotC at that time, because a) noone would have stood a chance and b) why even try it when most of the (core) rules were already to be found at the SRD site?

And even Paizo didn't create Pathfinder to challenge WotC's spot as the RPG industries' #1 (at least it wasn't the primary goal; don't know if Lisa and Vic foresaw what would happen as a consequence of how WotC handled 4E) but to support their own products which an existing line of Rule Books.

So while Pathfinder RPG only was possible because of the OGL, It didn't come into existence before 3.5 support was officialy stopped by WotC.

Actually, there were. Nobody who expected to rival D&D, but long before Pathfinder there was True20, Arcana Evolved, and Iron Heroes. Those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.

They had goals beyond just "revise and continue 3.5", but they were variants based on 3.X that competed in the same niche.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

thenovalord wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
I think 5e system is compatible for a fast pace space setting

Just as long as they figure out a quick and fun way to run ship v. ship combat where everyone can contribute.

I remember running d20 Future, and we did a ship fight, and basically everyone watched as 1 player and I rolled tons and tons of dice.

24d12???? Ugh!

Never played it. Sounds grim. Ship to ship should be no slower than any other combat

It was a Firefly-esque campaign, so fortunately, ship-to-ship combat was not a big part of the campaign.

It probably could have worked better with more gunner pods or whatever, like on the Millennium Falcon, if there was an engineering character who could make checks each round to repair the ship or give it boosts, a co-pilot to Aid Another, etc. etc.

And if the rules had Ship AC and Ship Hit Points, so we could roll Ship Damage dice, like 2d6 instead of 24d12 or use average damage dice.


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Dan, I'm absolutely, completely, totally not talking about anything I'm adapting to 5e, but have you seen White Star by James Spahn? Sounds like you might enjoy it.


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Tru20, Iron Heros, and evolved Arcana had a relatively tiny readerships, most of which (near as I can tell), continued to purchases official DnD at about the same rate.

A serious competitor only emerged when WotC seriously upset a very significant portion of their readership.


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Zombieneighbours wrote:

Tru20, Iron Heros, and evolved Arcana had a relatively tiny readerships, most of which (near as I can tell), continued to purchases official DnD at about the same rate.

A serious competitor only emerged when WotC seriously upset a very significant portion of their readership.

Yep, that's about right. Although I didn't -- wait I did -- but I cherrypicked what I wanted out of WotC to tell the stories I wanted. I was more mad at WotC for not expanding the SRD. There was a lot of stuff they kept.

When Pathfinder happened after they rocked the boat, they learned some hard lessons. D&D 3rd Edition was a success, 4th Edition wasn't, and 5th Edition came out of what they learned.

What's good for us is that they made an SRD. What is bad is that people will think of running with it in bad directions. The DM's Guild is probably the best way they can think of to slow it down a little.

With Pathfinder, the genie is already out of the bottle. With the DungeonMasters' Guild WotC can -- hopefully -- keep it in. And no, not all of 3rd Edition 3rd party was bad (the World of Warcraft RPG and Advanced d20 Magic were good). But it was hard to pick the pearls from the swine (Mongoose Publishing, I'm looking at you).

Even working with a Pathfinder 3P Publisher, your work doesn't win a lot of friends. Some of my friends will only buy Paizo made material.


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EltonJ wrote:

What's good for us is that they made an SRD. What is bad is that people will think of running with it in bad directions. The DM's Guild is probably the best way they can think of to slow it down a little.

With Pathfinder, the genie is already out of the bottle. With the DungeonMasters' Guild WotC can -- hopefully -- keep it in. And no, not all of 3rd Edition 3rd party was bad (the World of Warcraft RPG and Advanced d20 Magic were good). But it was hard to pick the pearls from the swine (Mongoose Publishing, I'm looking at you).

Even working with a Pathfinder 3P Publisher, your work doesn't win a lot of friends. Some of my friends will only buy Paizo made material.

I don't think there is any reason to think that the DM's Guild material will produce quality material at a higher percentage than d20/Pathfinder 3pp. Uploading a product is an automated process, Wizards will only take things down if they are offensive/adult material, not because your homebrew half-vampire race is terrible.

In fact, since DM's Guild only gives you access to FR material but a lower sales percent, most quality 3PP for 5e will release OGL material directly on drivethrough for a higher percentage.


hmmm . . .


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Zombieneighbours wrote:

Tru20, Iron Heros, and evolved Arcana had a relatively tiny readerships, most of which (near as I can tell), continued to purchases official DnD at about the same rate.

A serious competitor only emerged when WotC seriously upset a very significant portion of their readership.

My point was variant core rules did exist. Yes, it took Wizards abandoning and Paizo being in a position with enough existing readership to launch an alternative that would actually become a viable competitor, but people we making variants before wizards made their own 3.5 variant. People will probably start making 5th edition variants soon as well.


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Well, to work on Forgotten Realms material is a good start, I think. I've got ideas going around in my head when it comes to Forgotten Realms.

I wanted to work on Lost Vale material first, maybe bring the saurials up to speed and add two new saurial races (Lacertas (velociraptor), and Rexi (Nano-tyrannosaurus)). Then, when up to speed, do a 5th Edition version of my own CS I've been designing for a long time.


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Allow me to give an example of why the 5e SRD is not as limited as some may think.

Per Circular 34 from US Copyright Office: Copyright Protection not available for names, titles, or short phases. These have to be trademarked like Dungeons & Dragons or Forgotten Realms. The federal trademark statute covers trademarks and service marks—words, phrases, symbols, or designs that distinguish the goods or services of one party from those of another.

Per the OGL, if not trademarked, they have to be listed as Product Identity like beholder, mind flayer, or carrion crawler.

Here is example that is neither trademarked or listed as product identity. It is not in the 3e SRD or the 5e SRD.

It is the druid/sorcerer/warlock/wizard cantrip: poison spray. A cantrip name made up of two common words. Per Circular 34, I can definitely use it in a list for an NPC, monster, or character. In fact, since the format and terminology of the spell description is present in the 5e SRD, the spell could simply be rewritten and fall under Fair Use. There is no reason to do that because the 5e SRD is about writing new not trying to copy existing material.

What one can absolutely not do is take the 5e Player's Handbook and remove all the trademarks and Product Identify, slap the OGL in the back, and sell your very own version of the 5e PH. This is direct violation of Fair Use where one is attempting to profit by copying WoTC's original literary expression.


EltonJ wrote:
Well, to work on Forgotten Realms material is a good start, I think. I've got ideas going around in my head when it comes to Forgotten Realms.

As do I, but they all involve the complete destruction of the entire crystal sphere.


It seems like 5E's business plan is strikingly different to 3.0 / 3.5

Releasing a core ruleset then focussing on campaigns every six months and occasion books with primarily flavour and a small number of expanded class options. Miniatures and cards/accessories to suplement the books.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?

The only addition seems to be the strong digital tie in with computer games which I would imagine brings in a substantial amount of revenue.


Norman Osborne wrote:
EltonJ wrote:
Well, to work on Forgotten Realms material is a good start, I think. I've got ideas going around in my head when it comes to Forgotten Realms.
As do I, but they all involve the complete destruction of the entire crystal sphere.

ka-boom.


I hope someone will publish the ultimate Faerun fixing story


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Always surprised by the forgotten realms hate.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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thejeff wrote:

I could wrong, but I don't think they can do that. They can't just arbitrarily claim things are product identity. Fictional creations - setting, adventures, even invented monsters are protected under copyright law, not just the actual words, but the basic concept. You can't use them without permission, just like you can't sell a story set in Middle-Earth, even if you don't quote Tolkien.

Game mechanics on the other hand aren't copyrightable - beyond the actual expression. Saying something is Product Identity doesn't change that in the slightest.

The only protection they have here is copyright law. Everything else derives from that. The OGL loosens that protection, letting others use content that would otherwise be protected. But it can't go past that and limit anything beyond what would normally be allowed.

It can, and it does. The OGL is not a gift—it's a trade. Publishers who use the OGL gain the ability to use Wizards’ own expressions of all game mechanics that Wizards (or anyone else) has declared as Open Game Content, in exchange for which they must give up the ability to use anything that Wizards (or anyone else) has declared as Product Identity, even if that use would be legal under copyright or trademark law.

One such example is the ability to say that your product is “compatible with Dungeons & Dragons,” or “better selling than D&D,” or “preferred by customers over D&D 4th Edition,” all things that are legal to say under the “nominative fair use” doctrine of trademark law, but which cannot be said if you use the OGL.

Another is that, since copyright law protects tangible expressions of ideas but not the ideas themselves, you are able to describe a beholder using your own words without violating Wizards' copyrights, but because Wizards specifically declared beholders as Product Identity, when you agree to use the OGL, you agree to give up that ability.

(Obviously, Paizo believes that using the OGL is a worthwhile trade.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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thejeff wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Ah. Yeah, I always thought Herolab needed more than just the OGL anyhow for some complicated legal reason about licenses or somesuch.
Much like you can't make computer games using OGL material - which keeps Paizo from licensing a computer game that actually uses the PF rules.

That's a misconception. The old d20 license had prohibitions against "interactive game" software, but the OGL has no media restrictions; in fact, the OGL's Software FAQ specifically addresses how to do it.

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