OGL 1.2 summary
Finally have had a chance to look through properly. I do strongly suggest following people like Gabe Hicks and James Haeck, who are game designers with extensive experience working with WoTC but neither of whom are currently employed by them; Hicks also has done extensive design on other TTRPGs (as showcased in Dimension 20's Shriek Week; they are also a developer for Motherlands RPG and worked on the Uk'otoa tabletop game). Both have had pretty thorough and thoughtful criticism that is grounded in the facts of the matter.
Also: I am doing my best but I am not a lawyer. Please defer to verified lawyers if my paraphrasing is incorrect. Additionally, I am rephrasing things in simple terms, so do not jump to conclusions based on my word choice; if you are looking at the highly specific legal implications of a word you should refer to the actual OGL 1.2 document. And, most importantly, All of this can be commented on at this survey link.
The core rules, not including classes/races or specific spells, will be covered by a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license. This includes things like ability checks, saving throws, the core stats stuff, conditions (prone, exhausted, etc) and creature types (but not the creatures themselves). The full SRD 5.1 is available here if you want to check for yourself.
It affirms the fan content policy (never affected by 1.1, but worth mentioning given how often it came up; Actual Play is covered here)
D&D Beyond and DMs Guild are, also as previously, under their own standards that are available for review on those sites. (I think I may have made some errors regarding DMs Guild being a WoTC property with its own rules in the past, but it is and you can review some of their policies here.
The OGL 1.0 is deauthorized, which means that once the OGL 1.2 (or whatever version is ultimately finalized) takes effect, new works must abide by OGL 1.0 rules; however, older materials originally created under 1.0 are still valid under 1.0. The full revocation was perhaps the most problematic part of OGL 1.1, so this is a good step forward and means existing 3PP materials you have can continue to be sold as is.
The actual OGL 1.2 stuff
This applies specifically to commercial content using material in the WoTC SRD not covered by the CC-BY 4.0 license created after this license goes into affect. Again. Does not affect streaming or other fanworks including free homebrew; does not affect other games; does not affect material published in the past.
It also only applies to static published materials and to VTTs; VTTs have a separate section.
Third party works under the OGL 1.2 are owned by their creators in full (this means no possible claims from WoTC to royalties or the IP created by those third parties). There is a clause stating that in the case of unintentionally similar content (the "3PP creates a fire-based druid around the same time as Tasha's came out" case I mentioned previously) a lawsuit may only be for financial damages, not injunction (which I understand to mean things like emotional impact etc) and must rely on proof that WoTC "knowingly and intentionally" copied the work. This is, from what I am given to understand, extremely standard in copyright law because coincidences do happen and people do try to sue over them, and has been deliberately rephrased to affirm that WoTC does not own the third-party content provided the terms of the OGL 1.2 are maintained.
Works must also indicate they are derived from OGL content using appropriate signifiers as put forth by WoTC, clearly state they are third-party and not endorsed by WoTC (this is why Griffon's Saddlebag has been foaming at the mouth) and creators must be in a position to enter into the terms of the license (of age or has had a legal guardian review the terms as proxy), cannot infringe on material that is not in the SRD, cannot violate the law; and there is a morality clause regarding no hateful conduct, the decision of which is made by WoTC.
Additionally, the OGL 1.2's terms cannot be modified, other than the specific details of how to attribute, and some legal pieces at the end regarding notifying creators.
SRD materials are permitted in VTTs these do not and have never included official images as the SRD does not have images. Fan images are permitted. This information must be static; stat blocks are permitted, but, per the example given, animations such as that of a magic missile are not.
I will direct you to James Haeck about VTTs. I have said before I don't really like VTTs. I don't even have a D&D Beyond subscription. I went to cancel mine and found that I was actually just using the free tools (I've bought some books through D&D Beyond, to be fair but I have not subscribed to share them and I have under 6 characters). Personally, I find myself in the awkward position of "I love theater of the mind and imagination in TTRPGs and so I think having an animated magic missile is kind of stupid; honestly I'm not even into D&D Beyond animating the dice rolls" and also "you shouldn't disallow things at a business level solely on the belief that they are kind of stupid." So: worth providing feedback on that one! Also, more relevantly, is this only about licensed D&D content? Can you provide animation for your VTT if you're doing things in a different game, just, once there's SRD content in play on the field, you must stop? Can you provide animation in D&D as long as it's not material covered in the OGL, ie, can you have a sword swinging animation or can the player sprites move rather than just appear in a space, neither of which are unique concepts to D&D (vs. magic missile which is)? In summary: my feelings aside re: VTTs, clarification is in order and I will be providing the latter feedback.
Morality/Hateful conduct clauses are complicated. I absolutely agree that I do not trust a corporation to determine what's hateful. I also 100% do not trust the community either, and I 110% do not trust people who say the community will police itself. I've been open in the past about how I don't fucking trust the D&D community on Jewish depictions (spoiler: actually, non-Jewish people handwringing about goblins, golems, and phylacteries has often been extremely condescending and misinformed, and while obviously Jewish people are not a monolith, my primarily Jewish D&D tables have never taken issue with these things as presented within WoTC materials, but have taken issue with fan-created depictions, and I'm tbh hardcore side-eyeing the Hasbrodeus module for like 20 reasons, of which that is one). However, the same is not necessarily true for other minority groups, notably PoC, of whom there have been some quite harmful depictions; and I think most of us are aware that morality clauses have long been exploited to label queer depictions as obscene: I don't have a good answer for this other than "needs more specificity." A good start for the latter issue would be spelling out bigotry (ie, "discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation or gender presentation") and providing a clear process for appeal. I do understand where WoTC is coming from given the whole issue with the new TSR but this is incredibly complicated and impossible to outline in a one-size-fits-all clause. Worth noting, however: DMs Guild, again, has separate and more rigid standards. This does not mean the horny gay vampire game that was removed from it would be permitted to be self-published under the OGL 1.2; it also does not indicate that it wouldn't, because, again, lacking in specificity on what "obscene" means.
I find the choice to make the core mechanics Creative Commons but not the class structure (which is under the OGL 1.2 proper) to be a really interesting one, and I mean this in a neutral-to-complimentary way. Not sure what the implications are, but excited to find out, because I think it might lead to more interesting indie games that can capitalize on the widely known core combat/ability check mechanics of D&D but develop wildly different class structures.
DnD Shorts continues to shit the bed in the extreme; for real, do not listen to this dude. His twitter is currently a wild self-contradictory mess, his journalistic integrity never existed, and he is literally a clickbaity mediocre white man who has probably been playing D&D for less time than you. I understand that not everyone learns how to determine trustworthiness of a source online but like...why would you trust a guy who has no reason to have insider information and every reason to want clicks and attention. He isn't even a creator affected by the OGL (unlike, say, Hicks or Haeck), and some of what he said was literally obviously false to anyone who's filled out a UA or OneD&D survey.
Honestly, in general, I think the end takeaway really has been "try to determine the motivations and concrete actions of people talking about this." Are they pushing a specific game (rather than generally providing alternatives for those looking)? Do they run channels that don't rely on the OGL 1.0 OR 1.1/1.2 in any way but do rely on clicks? Are they a creator genuinely concerned for their livelihood, or are they a person who thinks that when a game company gets sufficiently large (or even when they don't...see someone asking a tiny Native-owned TTRPG for their SRD) IP laws should no longer apply?
Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast owns Dungeons & Dragons.
If you play Dungeons and Dragons (or really, have any exposure to it at all), chances are, you either use or are in some way influenced by D&D content created (and probably published) by someone who is not WotC. If you use hand-drawn battle maps made by artists like Czepeku, or VTT tokens drawn by ForgottenAdventures, or perhaps you use a spell or subclass created by KibblesTasty, or an enchanted item created and illustrated by The Griffon's Saddlebag. Or maybe you just use roll tables, adventure modules, virtual tabletops like Foundry VTT, or prewritten settings made by people who are not WotC. This includes the big names, like Tal'Dorei: Campaign Setting Reborn from Critical Role. On that note: Critical Role. Maybe you've heard of it. Dimension20, The Adventure Zone. The list goes on.
All of these things are known as 3rd-party creators. That means these people just happened to like the D&D franchise, and made content for or about D&D which they profit from. But they do not work for Wizards of the Coast and have absolutely zero ties to the official company.
This is possible through something called an OGL, or Open Game License, in combination with an SRD, or System Reference Document. In short: WotC wanted (initially) to allow their players to grow the community by making their own 3rd party content. To encourage this, they went through the core rules of D&D5e and selected bits of it to put in a System Reference Document. Then they created the Open Game License, which is a legal document that explains how anything within the SRD can be more or less referenced and used for anyone to profit off of (whereas things they built into D&D but did not put in the SRD were still off-limits to protect their intellectual property from being completely public domain).
The OGL1.0 had one small revision shortly after launching, which is known as OGL1.0a. OGL1.0a has been the active license for about the past decade, untouched beyond that initial small revision. This OGL allows all the aforementioned creators to do what they do freely and passionately without having to worry about things like lawsuits for using the D&D intellectual property.
Based on recent interviews, actions and choices made by WotC/Hasbro, I feel it's safe to presume that what has happened is that WotC/Hasbro have loved seeing the boom in popularity for D&D over recent years, but have found themselves restless about how so much of that success went into the pockets of 3rd party creators. They acquired a new CEO, who in an interview, declared D&D to be "under-monetized". Instead of seeking to rectify this by listening to the community and producing more content they wanted, their solution to this apparent ""problem"" (D&D as a franchise makes hundreds of millions of dollars per year, btw) was to move towards a new edition of D&D, and with it, establish a new OGL.
The new edition is, basically, D&D6e, but is being referred to as "OneDnD" during these early developmental periods. With the development of OneDnD/6e, a new OGL was drafted, because evidently, they very much regretted the OGL put in place for 5e, because it gave them no way of taking a slice of the pie that 3rd party creators had made into the gourmet dessert it has been. The new OGL they drafted is referred to as OGL1.1. However, despite the label as an OGL, it is not an Open Game License. It is anything but open. It creates not only harsh and predatory restrictions for all 3rd party creators, but with its release, it also renders the old OGL null and void.
In short, every single 3rd party creator has a choice right now that they are being forced to make on an extremely small time crunch: either sign on to OGL1.1, and in doing so, forfeit all rights you had under OGL1.0a that you based your entire business upon, giving WotC your soul and full ownership over all your creations, with freedom to use them however, whenever, and wherever Hasbro chooses without owing you any compensation at all, or cease publishing 3rd party content for profit. Or continue to do so and face a lawsuit.
To reiterate/sum up:
Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast is trying to develop the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and with it, they are TORCHING the old licensing system that has allowed 3rd-party creators to make their livelihoods around the D&D fandom. They are instead rewriting this license to force said creators to either sign on and comply, thus granting Hasbro total and compensation-free use of anything and everything the 3rd-party creator publishes amongst other predatory clauses--or else legally barring 3rd party creators from otherwise continuing to publish their work as they have been.
If you're wondering about the big names like Critical Role, they are no doubt under an NDA right now, as I'm positive WotC reached out to them well in advance to lock them into said NDA and OGL1.1 contracts as soon as possible. Due to their high earnings, WotC is now being payed 25% of their GROSS income as a royalty fee. Gross=Before expenses. So this is not 25% of Critical Role's profits, this is 25% of everything they make, before they spend any of that money on expenses--which undoubtedly cuts majorly into their profits, and consequentially, the new ventures they are able to pursue. If you don't care about CR, replace them with any similarly big-name D&D based company, like Dimension20, TAZ, Kobold Press, etc. Edit: Please refer to my original post for full details! To be clear, this 25% royalty applies only to creators making over $750k gross /year--but under OGL1.1, WotC can change (including lowering) that threshold to whatever number they want.
Hopefully that helps clarify some things! Full details of all the red flags I'm screaming about are in my other prior post. This is, unfortunately, not fearmongering, either. This is the cold and bitter factual reality of the matter. It really is this nasty.
Skit Contest Entry 10
“Ogres and Oubliettes” - By MagnaFae
INT. - TARDIS LOUNGE
The TARDIS door creaks open and then shuts. Hoofsteps sound
at a trotting pace on a metal floor.
Welcome back, Derpy! Are you prepared
for a game night of unrelenting fun?
I sure am! And since it's my week to
pick the game, I have something new!
Did you procure a new expansion pack
for Seekers of the Lunchbox?
Good guess, but no. Let me show you!
A saddlebag is opened, followed by the clacking of dice, the
rustling of paper, and the gentle thump of a hardback book.
Dice? Character sheets? And a
handbook...this couldn't be - ?
Ogres and Oubliettes!
Huh. No pony pun? I don't know
whether to find this refreshing or
What manner of game is this?
It's a tabletop role-playing game! We
tell a fantasy story together and
roll these dice to decide the results
of the characters' actions. It'll be
like an adventure with the Doctor,
but with none of the danger!
Oi! Can you really call it a proper
adventure without a little danger?
Sure, for a real adventure, but this
is for game night! And there's no
room for real stress at game night.
Sound of multiple dice bouncing on the table during TICK
TOCK's following line of dialogue.
Your collection of dice for this game
greatly intrigues me, Derpy. You have
cubes, tetrahedrons, octahedrons,
dodecahedrons, icosahedrons, and even
So you...wanna play?
Affirmative. I simply must know how
these various polyhedrons are
implemented into the game.
(drawn out, pleading)
Will you play too, Doctor? Please?
Oh, alright! I'm not about to pass on
game night with my companions.
Yay! Ogres & Oubliettes night is on!
INT. - TARDIS LOUNGE
Alright! Let’s go around the table
and introduce our characters.
Starting with...Tick Tock!
Oh, um, okay. My character is a...
You're playing as yourself?
(Printed with the demonstration version of Fade In)
Not necessarily. His class is
soldier, subclass artillerist.
Still sounds like you, Tick Tock!
And he's blue.
(sheepish at the end)
Yes. A blue unicorn artillerist
soldier named Blueprint. Apologies
for my unoriginality.
Actually, I think the name Blueprint
is very clever! I'm excited to see
how you use the mana cannons!
Thank you, Derpy. I am eager to roll
all these dice for said mana cannons.
DERPY giggles in anticipation.
Now you, Doctor!
Alright! I’m playing a griffon
detective rogue. No one knows his
real name, but he's a drifter, so
everyone calls him "The Drifter". And
he wears a Stetson!
Are you going through another hat
phase? Typical Doctor.
On the contrary, I find these choices
to be rather atypical of the Doctor.
Really now? Care to elaborate?
Gladly. I hypothesized that you would
create a red-haired unicorn
character, in order to attain some
form of personal wish fulfillment.
Wish fulfillment?! What for? No
fictional gingercorn of mine could
ever compare to the genuine article!
You mean...me? Um, thank you?
You're welcome. Moving along - Derpy!
I'm playing Sugarplum the reindeer.
She's an oracle mage who has visions
of the future in her dreams.
And would you say these visions of
Sugarplum's...dance in her head?
The DOCTOR laughs at his own joke. DERPY sighs in
Doctor, we can't understand your
jokes if they're only funny in
I swear, this whole blasted pony
universe wants to make me the joke...
Incidentally, Derpy, that character
concept is reminiscent of your
historical alias from Neighers,
Bright Eyes. Was that intentional?
Oh wow, I didn't even make that
connection! I guess we're all playing
characters based on ourselves, huh?
We have established that Blueprint is
not me. He is blue. And fictional.
Alright! Are we all ready to begin?
Yep! Give me just a moment to find
the right page, and I'll set the
scene for our adventure. Ahem...
Sound of pages turning, which transitions to the sound of a
winter wind blowing through dry leaves.
INT. - TARDIS LOUNGE/IMAGINARY NEVERFREEZE JUNGLE
Blueprint, the Drifter, and Sugarplum
are walking along a hoofpath, deep in
the Neverfreeze Jungle. A sudden cold
snap settles over the land, which is
not normal for this tropical region.
Night is falling, and so is the
temperature. What do you do?
A short segment of copyright-free Wild West instrumental
whistle music plays over the DOCTOR's next line of dialogue.
Rest easy, pardners. My torches will
keep ya'll warm and shed light on the
path ahead of us.
The music abruptly ends.
Doctor, why are you speaking like
Oh! That's how my character talks!
I wasn't aware that we had to change
our voices to distinguish the
characters from ourselves.
Oh! You don't have to do any of that,
Tick Tock! You can just describe what
Blueprint says and does without
talking "in character".
In that case, Blueprint accepts the
Drifter's offer of a torch and
examines his surroundings.
The sound of one die bouncing on a wooden table.
TICK TOCK (cont'd)
Seventeen on the Perception check. I
think that is relatively high.
It is! In the torchlight, you spot a
nearby cottage. The windows are dark.
Hmm...I wonder if Sugarplum has seen
this cottage in a dream before.
The sound of bouncing thuds of two dice on a wooden table,
followed by the sound of pages turning.
That's a seventy-two out of one
hundred on my Premonition percentage,
which means...Yes! Sugarplum says,
"We should knock on the door! I have
a good feeling about this place and
the zebra who lives here."
A zebra?! Oh, fantastic! I'm going to
walk up and knock on the door!
Drifter, you knock on the door and an
old zebra in a nightcap opens it. She
looks grumpy because you woke her up.
No worries, I can smooth this over.
A short segment of copyright-free Wild West instrumental
whistle music plays over the DOCTOR's next line of dialogue.
Evenin', ma'am. We're a trio of
humble travelers lookin' fer a place
to bunk down. Can ya spare us a room?
The sound of bouncing thuds of one die on a wooden table.
That is...twelve total for the
With a twelve...the zebra says she
isn't accepting any tenants.
But she'll answer our questions if we
Blueprint asks the zebra what she
knows about the sudden cold snap.
Okay! The old zebra says...
Sound of turning pages as DERPY checks her session notes.
...that last night, she heard some
howling winds and then snow started
falling early this morning!
Does this account remind Blueprint of
any local legends?
Hmm...you can roll a Lore check to
jog your memory. All of us can,
actually. Throw those dice!
Brilliant! I put seven skill points
into Lore! C'mon, Detective!
The sound of three dice bouncing on the wooden table.
How did you-?
Sweet Celestia, that's a high roll!
The Drifter recognizes this as the
work of one or more windigos.
You know, I've encountered the
wingidos before. Does that mean my
character knows their weakness?
No, Doctor. That's metagaming.
It means cheating.
But the Drifter does know that
following the cold air upwind should
lead to the windigos' lair.
Fantastic! Let's be off then, fantasy
DERPY & TICK TOCK
INT. TARDIS LOUNGE/IMAGINARY WINDIGO LAIR
Tense, copyright-free instrumental battle music plays over
the following exchange of dialogue.
Alright, nobody panic, but the
Drifter is out of HP.
Again?! Doctor, Sugarplum's gonna run
out of spells at this rate.
Well, you don't have to heal him! At
least, not immediately.
I guess, but every turn he's
unconscious with frostbite, the
windigos get free healing.
Oh...probably should've considered
that before flying in with my
Yeah Doctor, why do you keep running
into melee? Just shoot your bow and
arrows from the back, up in the air!
Because all Sugarplum has are ranged
spell attacks and Tick Tock -
Blueprint has spent the past three
rounds not doing his job as the
I already explained that I'm setting
up my artillery.
We don't need three mana cannons!
There's only two windigos!
These are scattershot mana cannons.
Based on the average damage output of
each cannon, three will defeat both
windigos in one round. Efficiently.
Well, we could have beaten them
without the cannons if you just - !
Everypony, time out!
The tense, copyright-free instrumental battle music stops.
We're supposed to be having fun - as
a team - and we're not even listening
to each other. Please, can we all
just take a deep breath and...
DERPY, TICK TOCK, and the DOCTOR inhale and exhale slowly.
Relax? Good. It's just...a game. I'm
sorry for complaining so much.
I'm sorry as well, Ditzy, Tick Tock.
I suppose I got a bit heated there.
Apologies accepted, and likewise, I
apologize for neglecting my duties as
the designated melee combatant.
No no, Tick Tock, I completely
understand. You just wanted to use
the cannons because you get to roll a
lot of ten-sided dice if they hit.
That is...a correct assessment. But
now that we're in this predicament,
how do we claim victory?
Well, there are three cannons now,
and three of us. Maybe we can...?
The tense, copyright-free instrumental battle music returns.
That's...yes, that can work. But
first, Blueprint administers a
healing potion to the Drifter.
Then he will aim a scattershot mana
cannon at the windigos and urge the
Drifter and Sugarplum to do the same.
Done! Now what?
TICK TOCK chuckles in anticipation. The music fades out.
We fire. Roll to hit.
A heartbeat sound quickens and grows in volume during the
next two lines of dialogue.
I'm gonna shake my dice for luck...
(under his breath)
C'mon, roll high, roll high...
The sound of three dice bouncing on the wooden table. TICK
TOCK gasps, and then DERPY and the DOCTOR cheer.
All three of us rolled a natural
twenty?! W-what?! That's amazing!
That's...amazing is an
understatement. There was only a one
in eight-thousand probability of that
Doctor, did you rig our dice with
your Sonic Screwdriver?
And tarnish the sanctity of game
night? Perish the thought, Derpy!
Tick Tock? Would you like to do the
honors of rolling our total damage?
Sound of TICK TOCK's magic flaring.
Three critical successes. Applied to
three scattershot mana cannons. I get
to roll...fifteen pentagonal
Sound of fifteen dice clattering noisily onto the table.
DERPY and the DOCTOR cheer. TICK TOCK chuckles.
TICK TOCK (cont'd)
That was immensely satisfying.
Guess we have to count it all up now.
Or we can use a teensy-weensy sonic
The Sonic Screwdriver buzzes.
Ninety-nine damage total. That's
Sound of turning pages, followed by DERPY's excited gasp.
Royalty-free victory music plays.
It is! We beat the windigos! Victory
Sound of movement as DERPY pulls the DOCTOR and TICK TOCK
into a group hug. DERPY giggles. TICK TOCK sighs contently.
I love game night.