Critical Role issues an official statement regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast.
Critical Role has commented on the ongoing controversy surrounding Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast.
On Twitter, Critical Role issued an official statement regarding WotC’s leaked Open Gaming License (OGL) 1.1 for Dungeons & Dragons. “Critical Role has always supported creators and game development in the tabletop space,” the web series wrote. “We stand by our industry peers, as well as anyone who takes a risk creating a new system or developing an original idea.” One of the main criticisms of the altered OGL is WotC’s restriction on independent creators’ content, including merchandise, fiction and miniatures.
Wizards of the Coast’s DnD OGL 1.1
D&D‘s Open Gaming License emerged in 2000, allowing people to design their own materials based on the popular TTRPG while setting minimal guidelines on what merchandise designers could profit from. In addition to products, D&D‘s original OGL allowed content creators like Critical Role and Adventure Zone to make money from live-streaming sessions of the TTRPG. However, it’s unclear how or if WotC’s planned OGL adjustments may affect these web series, as the leaked document noted it might make private deals with certain companies. Notably, those that receive $750,000 from their business must pay WotC 20 to 25% in royalties for anything past that amount.
After the OGL appeared online, fans rushed to social media to express their frustration with WotC’s restrictions. Consequently, the hashtag #OpenDnD became trending and led to an open letter demanding WotC to cancel or change the Open Gaming License update. “It chokes the vibrant community that has flourished under the original license,” the letter read. “No matter the creator, it locks everyone into a new contract that restricts their work, makes it mandatory to report their projects and revenues to Wizards of the Coast, and gives WotC the legal right to reproduce and resell creators’ content without permission or compensation.”
WotC Responds and Third-Party Creators Part From DnD
A week following the OGL leak, Wizards of the Coast responded to the mass criticism of the document. Its main reason for altering the OGL was to prohibit third-party developers from selling merchandise featuring “hateful and discriminatory” content. WotC claimed it would not release the new OGL yet, considering the company needed to adjust the original draft, like modifying the language used to prevent confusion.
In response to WotC’s OGL decision, third-party tabletop role-playing publisher Kobold Press announced it would create its own fantasy TTRPG. The company’s dedicated fan base crashed the codename Project Black Flag‘s website several times after the announcement. Pathfinder developer Paizo revealed its partnership with Kobold and other third-party creators to establish a new, “system neutral open RPG license” that would be “open, perpetual, and irrevocable” due to WotC’s OGL updates.
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