OGL Bullshit

I'd been avoiding it because the last few weeks have been brutal, but have a few non-lawyerly notes on why I don't trust the new "playtest" OGL 1.2 bullshit and think others should hesitate as well.

I'd experimented with putting out 5e stuff this year, but I've already pulled it from DTRPG and will be pulling it from Itch on Feb. 1. I'm not going back to D&D 5e as a publisher, DM, or player, and will not be publishing anything under a Hasbro or WotC-controlled license going forward. I still plan to pull everything published under OGL 1.0a by the end of year to avoid yet more Hasbro shenanigans.

  • Hasbro's still engaged in a blatant attempt to squash non-WotC OGL game creators, even though they've benefited substantially from that market and recruited most of the full-time D&D team from. Mike Mearls created the OGL-based game Iron Heroes at Malhavoc. Jeremy Crawford co-created the original Blue Rose (the basis for True20) at Green Ronin. Greg Tito has a co-author credit on ACKS. F. Wesley Schneider worked on Pathfinder at Paizo.
  • While actual attorneys have done a good job on why the CC-BY material they're currently planning to release is bullshit, much of it isn't even original to WotC, who didn't create many of the more distinctive mechanics. For instance, the system now called advantage/disadvantage was a popular mechanic in d20-based fantasy games well before 5e, and appeared in Barbarians of Lemuria under those names way back in 2008.
  • "Hateful conduct" is a smokescreen. Hasbro execs and their chosen attorneys will be the ones determining what constitutes "hateful conduct" (according to the draft agreement, if I accept the agreement, I waive my right to legally challenge their decisions). If you think those execs and attorneys are going to care or enforce fairly without relentless, aggressive, and widespread pressure, I've got a collection of bridges to sell you.
  • I won't trust a megacorp with phrases like "obscene" or "illegal": we're living in a decade when drag performance and "flamboyant femininity" could get criminalized in some places and excellent anthologies like Honey & Hot Wax deemed obscene. "You should trust us," is what Hasbro will say. I can't and shouldn't. Even if I like, know, and support current WotC D&D Team, they're not the ones who are going to be making these decisions (they might not even be on WotC's D&D team when Hasbro's decide to threaten to enforce it). Remember how much both Hasbro and WotC have changed as an org since 1.0a went into effect in 2000. I may have met and liked WotC staffers, but they may not be there in 3 years (or even 1 year) and they're unlikely to have any real control over license enforcement even now.

Again, this is "why I'm ditching 5e and will be ditching all OGL 1 material." It's not legal advice, just how I'm making decisions.


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