What actually is the OGL?

What actually is the OGL?


There has been a lot of stirring in the marketplace through leaked information from WOTC to redact the current OGL and replace it with an updated version OGL 1.1. Whilst this is a particularly disturbing occurrence to many we just thought we should share some information about what it is, who was involved and why it was created in the first place.

What is the Open Game License (OGL)?

The Open Game License (OGL) is an agreement that allows game creators to use certain components of a game product in their own creations, as long as they follow certain guidelines. The OGL was first introduced in 2000 by Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of the popular roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons. The purpose of the OGL was to provide a way for other game companies and independent creators to use the mechanics and ideas from Dungeons & Dragons in their own games, while still allowing Wizards of the Coast to protect their intellectual property.

OGL Guidelines and Restrictions

Under the OGL, game creators are allowed to use certain “Open Game Content” in their own products. This includes things like game mechanics, character classes, and spells. However, there are certain restrictions on what can be used. For example, game creators are not allowed to use the specific names or descriptions of characters, monsters, or locations from Dungeons & Dragons without permission. When a game is released under the OGL, it is considered an “Open Game.” This means that other game creators can use the Open Game Content in their own products, as long as they follow the guidelines in the OGL.

OGL in the Gaming Industry

The OGL has been used by many game publishers and independent creators to create new games and supplements. Some popular examples include the d20 System, which is used in many fantasy roleplaying games, and the Savage Worlds game system. The OGL has also been used to create a variety of “retro-clones” which are new games that are designed to emulate the feel and mechanics of older roleplaying games like the original D&D.

OGL's Possible Overturn

It is theoretically possible for the Open Game License (OGL) to be overturned, although until recently that was considered unlikely to ever happen. The OGL is a legal agreement that is governed by contract law, which means that it can be amended or terminated by the parties involved. However, the OGL has been widely adopted and used by many game publishers and creators, and has become an industry standard for creating and publishing role-playing games. Overturning the OGL would have significant implications for the role-playing game industry and would likely be met with strong resistance from game creators and publishers who have built their businesses around the OGL. Additionally, the OGL was created by Wizards of the Coast and they would have to decide to change it or not. It's important to note that the OGL is a legal document and any changes to it or legal issues related to it would require a thorough examination by legal experts and would have to go through the proper legal channels.

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