Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

Wizards of the Coast Is Finally Giving ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Fans What They Really Want

Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast is finally, fully listening to its fan base regarding its plans to release a new Open Game License (OGL) to coincide with the upcoming ruleset update known as One D&D.

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Following weeks of backlash after a version of the OGL 1.2 was released to io9‘s Linda Codega, Wizards announced that a new OGL 1.2 would be released under Creative Commons, making it permanent and irrevocable. The company also opened a community survey for feedback on the document, which was meant to be open for two weeks.

However, the feedback from creators and players was so vehemently against the proposed revocation of the original OGL 1.0—which was introduced in 2000 as a means for third-party creators to produce content compatible with D&D 5e under a “perpetual” license as defined by a System Reference Document (SRD)—that Wizards closed the survey early. Dungeons & Dragons executive producer Kyle Brink shared a statement on January 27 with a surprising announcement: Wizards is no longer attempting to revoke the OGL 1.0a, and it is releasing the SRD 5.1 under a Creative Commons license.

This news is huge, and it’s a direct result of community feedback—just like every other move Wizards has made in the last month.

In Brink’s statement, he notes that more than 15 thousand people filled out the OGL 1.2 survey, and the numbers break down like this: “88 percent do not want to publish TTRPG content under OGL 1.2. 90 percent would have to change some aspect of their business to accommodate OGL 1.2. 89 percent are dissatisfied with deauthorizing OGL 1.0a. 86 percent are dissatisfied with the draft VTT policy.” And 62% like the idea of including SRD content in Creative Commons, with “the majority of those who were dissatisfied” asking for more SRD content in CC.

These numbers are overwhelming in their near-unanimity. Wizards has closed the survey and pre-released a PDF version of the SRD 5.1 with the Creative Commons license, which the company cannot revoke or change in any way now that it is in CC. Additionally, Wizards states that the OGL 1.0a will remain in place, as is. Creators can choose which license to use for their content, which blows the doors wide open for the future of third-party D&D content and how people choose to engage with the game.

“This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use. We don’t control that license and cannot alter or revoke it,” Brink says in the statement. “It’s open and irrevocable in a way that doesn’t require you to take our word for it. And its openness means there’s no need for a VTT policy. Placing the SRD under a Creative Commons license is a one-way door. There’s no going back. Our goal here is to deliver on what you wanted.”

Brink continues, “We wanted to protect the D&D play experience into the future. We still want to do that with your help. We’re grateful that this community is passionate and active because we’ll need your help protecting the game’s inclusive and welcoming nature. … We’ll keep talking with you about how we can better support our players and creators. Thanks as always for continuing to share your thoughts.”

This statement not only acknowledges the trust Wizards has lost from its community, but attempts to build a bridge toward reclaiming that trust. That said, the company’s next moves will matter immensely, especially because the community is watching so closely. It’s still possible for everything to blow up, especially as contracts are drawn, but hopefully, that won’t be the case.

(featured image: Wizards of the Coast)

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.