Friday, April 19, 2024

Wizards of the Coast Do Not Understand the OGL

It was recently announced that Cynthia Williams, CEO of Wizards of the Coast, the company which controls the Dungeons and Dragons brand, will be resigning.  Wherever else she goes on to, within the D&D hobby, Cynthia Williams will forevermore be known as the woman who oversaw the OGL scandal and completely tanked all brand trust for the official D&D brand.  I originally wrote this last year in January, during the height of the OGL fiasco.   Before I could publish it, WOTC completely folded to public pressure and released the entire SRD 5.1 under a CC-BY license.  Despite the last-minute act to salvage public good will, the OGL scandal continues to plague WOTC and D&D.  With the recent announcement that Cynthia Williams will be leaving, I thought it worthwhile to revisit the OGL fiasco.


My last post was a very long break-down of the OGL situation, describing how the OGL works, its purpose, the nature of what Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) are doing, and what I hope would happen.

Since writing that, more news in the area has occurred, including the draft OGL 1.2.

What is clear to me, is that many people, including WOTC, do not understand even what the OGL is in the first place.  So in this post I just want to clarify in as brief a way I can how the OGL works, how it does not work, and why this is a big deal.

This is going to be a very in-depth look at the legal wording of both the original OGL 1.0, and the proposed OGL 1.2.  My thesis in this is, that WOTC do not understand the OGL 1.0, do not know what it is, and have been misconstruing it (deliberately or not) in order to push forward with their plans.