The 403-page Dungeons & Dragons game system is now licensed under Creative Commons • TechCrunch

It’s now official: Dungeons & Dragons is licensed under Creative Commons. This makes the popular tabletop RPG “freely available for any use,” Dungeons & Dragons executive producer Kyle Brink wrote in a blog post today.

Just a few weeks ago, this outcome would have seemed impossible. About a month ago, Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) – the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons and a subsidiary of Hasbro – sent a new Open Game License (OGL) document to top Dungeons & Dragons content creators, asking them to sign what they called “OGL 1.1.” The existing OGL, which had been in effect since 2000, allowed third-party creators to use the expansive game system to sell their own spellbooks, modules, virtual tabletops (VTTs), and other content that helped the game grow. into the mega-success it is today. But certain conditions in the updated document would have made it impossible for these independent businesses to continue operating. Some creators leaked the document in protest, revealing its predatory nature that would suffocate the prolific fan community. Over 77,000 creators and fans signed an open letter opposing these changes, with some going so far as to cancel their subscriptions to D&D Beyond, an online platform for the game. Finally, WoTC admitted that they “rolled a 1”, or in other words, messed up very badly.

Last week, fans were pleasantly surprised when Brink announced that the company planned to release game material under a Creative Commons license, a complete reversal from its original, restrictive plan. Today, after receiving feedback from over 15,000 fans, Dungeons & Dragons officially released the game system under this lenient license, in all 403 pages of its glory.

The company even addressed concerns about how last week’s initial Creative Commons proposal would affect VTTs, or software that enables people to play TTRPGs remotely. Now the WoTC has even gone back on these provisions, while the original OGL is in effect.

“This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use,” Brink wrote in today’s blog post. “We don’t control that license and can’t change or revoke it. It’s open and irrevocable in a way that doesn’t require you to take our word for it. And the openness means there’s no need for a VTT policy. Placement of [Systems Reference Document] under a Creative Commons license is a one-way door. There is no turning back.”

As it turns out, fan communities can accomplish a lot when they come together. Just ask Ticketmaster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *