Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, has seemingly cancelled the public release of its updated D&D Open Gaming License (OGL) for a second time. An announcement set to share new details of the game’s license was allegedly planned for Thursday afternoon ET – however, io9 reports plans have now been scrapped.
According to sources speaking to the website, Wizards of the Coast is struggling to generate a response to fans understandably upset about changes to the OGL. The leaked draft of the document suggests that many creators will lose the ability to monetise Dungeons & Dragons-adjacent content, including third-party publishers who release standalone adventures. It’s a significant change that will impact entire careers and livelihoods.
‘The OGL wasn’t intended to fund major competitors and it wasn’t intended to allow people to make D&D apps, videos, or anything other than printed (or printable) materials for use while gaming,’ the leaked OGL draft reportedly reads. ‘We are updating the OGL in part to make that very clear.’
Any company which adapts the rules of Dungeons & Dragons for their own use – for example, in alternative tabletop roleplaying games like Pathfinder, will likely be required to make changes to comply with the updated OGL rules.
Fan backlash against the planned changes has been loud and severe, with several prominent industry voices pointing out that the original OGL is the reason why Dungeons & Dragons became popular in the modern era – as the more open license granted the ability for everyone to create new stories, share adventures, and create engaging content online.
’20 yrs ago I helped create the OGL which helped save [Dungeons & Dragons],’ original OGL co-creator Ryan Dancey said of the changes on Twitter. ‘Today that license is at risk of being changed by Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. I am hoping that a coordinated response by the community might make them reconsider their plans.’
Others in the community, like cosplayer and content creator Ginny Di, have called for a boycott of Dungeons & Dragons content.
‘For those asking how they can help push back against OGL 1.1 – we now know that WotC is looking at DnD Beyond subscriptions as a relevant metric,’ Di said. ‘This is your chance to send them a message. Just sent mine.’ This was accompanied by a screenshot of a cancelled D&D Beyond subscription.
Many fans have taken this advice to heart, cancelling their subscriptions to send a clear message to Wizards of the Coast about their opposition to the updated OGL. Briefly, this response crashed the D&D Beyond servers, with the landing page reportedly shut down temporarily due to website errors.
It’s possible this rush, and related backlash online, is what forced the alleged cancellation of the public OGL announcement. How this standoff will be resolved is currently unclear. With mounting hostility amongst its most passionate fans, Wizards of the Coast may be forced to reconsider its plans for the future of Dungeons & Dragons. For now, fans await official word on company changes with bated breath.