I have not much comment, but this song has been running through my mind since the news cycle started to cascade through the Discords and other social media I’m on:
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s elfgame stuff and you would probably know if you cared, but just in case, well, see here, I guess. Social media is on fire with memes and hot takes and links to thinkpieces about it, and I don’t need to add to that.
But since I’m trying to start blogging again, okay, a few thoughts:
I agree with everyone paying attention that the terms of the leaked OGL are really gross—in a way that’s all too familiar to creatives—and that literally nobody should sign on with it. (Seriously, when someone tells you that you retain copyright, but they also effectively and for all intents and purposes own your creation, back away. When someone demands 25% of the income—not even profit, income—for a creative project, back away.) Sadly, that may be part of the point. But not signing on doesn’t mean stopping creating things: it simply necessitates declaring independence. You don’t need to use the OGL, as some have pointed out.
(What the trad RPG/old school world could use right now is a totally independent SRD/Open License that nobody can ever revoke, that presents the core rules common to old school games with a particularized expression that nobody owns and which anyone can use, that is explicitly and irrevocably free. An OGL isn’t necessary, but it can help lower the barrier to entry for someone who’s interested in designing game materials that can work across a range of existing rulesets, rather than looking to design rulesets. I’ve thought for a while it might be handy to loosely systematize some things as a way of aiding interoperability—you know, like web protocols and MIDI did—and I was even considering trying to devise such a thing myself, except it looks like maybe Kobold Press has taken up the task? Maybe? We’ll see, I guess. I think it’d be a good thing to have even if WotC backpedals away from the OGL 1.1 and from deauthorizing the OGL 1.0(a), to be honest, because, you know, not doing so now doesn’t mean they cannot do so next year.)
Other than that, I don’t have much to say, except to roll my eyes at Wizards of the Coast.