Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast will drop attempts to modify the Open Gaming License (OGL). The announcement, made on Friday, comes after weeks of bitter anger from fans and third-party publishers that sent the story to international headlines – and on the eve of a high-profile film starring Chris Pine.
The OGL was developed and refined in preparation for the 3rd edition of D&D, and a version of it has been in place for over 20 years. It provides a legal framework through which people were able to create their own tabletop RPGs alongside the Hasbro-owned brand. It also supported the entire role-playing game industry, spawning popular products from Paizo, Kobold Press, and many individual creators. But the proposed changes to the OGL, disclosed and first reported by io9 on January 5, it looked like they were going to create a contentious relationship between Wizards and its community. The story has since made headlines around the world – including a nearly 10-minute segment this week on NPR All things Considered and lengthy write-ups by organizations such as CNBC.
On January 19, new D&D executive producer Kyle Brink offered a full-throated apology, a stark contrast to the petulant response published in an unsigned post earlier this month. Brink also released a new, New OGL – dubbed OGL 1.2 – and a request for fan feedback. The comment window was due to close on February 3, with rounds of revisions to follow. It seems that regardless of the feedback Wizards has received over the past few days – of “over 10,000” fans – was enough to short-circuit this process.
Unfortunately, the damage may already be done. People took to social media behind the #OpenDnD hashtag, with many publicly pledging to no longer support what was once considered the most popular tabletop role-playing game in the world. Other publishers also volunteered, including a coalition of developers in Europe and others here in the United States.
Sudden distaste for the brand can have a noticeable impact on the success of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Thieves, the film starring Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez. The film — a major move for Hasbro’s eOne subsidiary and a feather in CEO Chris Cocks’ cap — is due to hit theaters on March 31.