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Thinking about the OGL 1.2 kerfuffle, and what comes next.

So it seems like everyone in the universe who plays D&D, and a lot who don’t, have been chiming in about the Open Gaming License (OGL) issue. 

What issue?

For those that don’t know about it, Wizards of the Coast, for the upcoming next version of D&D, tried to put out an update to the Open Gaming License, by which other companies can use some of the D&D rules and IP to make their own stuff that can be used by people in their D&D games, and it was really a horrible change.

It implied that they could just take anything you made and use it themselves, and also changed it from “free to use” to “if you make a decent amount of money with it, you have to pay us a bunch”. This could have crippled some of the medium-sized creators and been a punch in the gilhoolies to the larger ones. If you want a more detailed version, the journalist who broke the story original has a very nice slideshow about it on io9.com right here for you to go through.

After a while and a lot of screaming, they backed down (for how long, being the question).

the OGL Surrender Message
The OGL Surrender Message

So what does it mean for my work?

A lot of my writing has been based on my D&D characters – Meliantha, Juliette, Imago, Lady Mara. While their rollback means that anything I create about them – character sheets, adventures with them, et cetera – doesn’t fall under a revised OGL, it might do so in the future, especially since three of the four are in the Wizards of the Coast Forgotten Realms gameworld.

In the long run, what I will have to do to minimize any issues I have will be the following:

  1. Finish designing my own gameworld.
  2. Work out how to move all four of them there.
  3. Do statblocks for them in more systems than just D&D 5th Edition and Pathfinder 1st Edition.

OK, so that means…?

I’m going to be doing a bunch of design work, to get the world going. I’ve got some ideas – see the previous posts about the gods of the world, and the Magnificent Mimic Inn and Tavern.

I think I can find ways to fit them all into the world, and even with Meliantha not have to rewrite too many things. I mean, if I do, I do, but then I know for certain it’s completely mine. (And honestly, some of the older stuff really needs a reworking and remaking. I wince at some of the stuff and how ham-handedly I wrote some of the things. But that’s more for me to work with.)

If I ever expect to publish anything at all other than on AO3 – which isn’t a bad thing, at all! but if I have aspirations of more – I’d have to do this anyway. If I ever want to get this out, I can’t depend on another person’s world. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings, and the Belgariad/Malloreon, and the Deed of Paksennarion and Paksennarion’s Legacy, and all of these have their own worlds that they live and breathe in, and while I’m not the writer those authors are, my ladies deserve no less.

They deserve a world where Meliantha can stride and bring down the wrath of a god on those who would do wrong, where Lady Mara finds the secret worshippers of evil gods and brings the power of righteousness to them, where Imago robs cults blind and reports them to the authorities, and Juliette cheerfully duels and duets and loves her way through the world. They may not cross over, but they deserve that room.

They deserve it and I need to forge it.

It’s time for me to get things in order.

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