The Future of Sagaborn

I am sure everyone has heard the buzz about the new OGL 1.1 . At first, I thought, well, they can do what they want, and I’ll just keep doing my little indie thing. But today, I realized if they can change OGL 1 (and from what I can tell, they can, I listened to a lawyer break it down), then they can keep changing it. The new OGL is awful, greedy, corpo bullshit.

And even if they backtrack and change it due to the backlash, it doesn’t change that this is what they want. If you found out a person was going to betray you and spent months documenting and writing a manifesto on how they were going to do it, would you ever trust them again if they decided not to? Because the only reason they didn’t do it is that it was more profitable not to. This means indie games built on the OGL will never be safe from corpo bullshit and greed.

Here is the breakdown of how this affects a small indie creator like me. In 2010 when I started writing my stuff, the OGL seemed great. “the Contributors (WoTC) grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.” This line made me feel like I could build my projects on this with freedom. And I did. 

I have put out quite a few books over the years, mainly as a labor of love. Sure I had some good Kickstarters, and at shows, many fans have bought copies. But I have lost so much money on books it would take a decade of only profits to pay back the losses. And that was fine because I loved doing this.

But now Hasbro wants to dip their fingers into everyone’s drink. Sure it seems their current $750,000 level only effects the top makers of OGL content. But that can change anytime. And we all know corpos are so good at taking care of people.

Also, the new OGL states any work published under the OGL can be used and sold license-free by Hasbro. What? They want to take my life work? 

And the nail in the coffin is knowing they can change stuff at any time. 

So now, how do I put out anything with the threat of a deep-pocketed greedy corporation looming over? My Starter Kit for Sagaborn 1.5 just went out to the editor. Dane just finished with our final proofread of the 1.5 Core Rulebook. We used the SRD. I know there is some text from the SRD in my book. We are a team of two with some independent contractors. It took me 2 years to get to this point. And now, I will never trust putting out another OGL project. Someone said, “well, just rewrite it.” Let me repeat; it took me and Danny 2 years of heavy work and many years before to get the 1.5 system to where it is now. And the rug has been pulled out from under us.

I hope they burn for this. The RPG hobby is better than this. The board at Hasbro should suffer deep losses in profits because of this. They parade around and change the wording of Races to Species and say “hey look at how good we are.” But in the end they are just corporate greed. Doing what they need to make more money.

“D&D has never been more popular, and we have really great fans and engagement, but the brand is really under monetized.” — Wizards of the Coast CEO Cynthia Williams

Keep this in mind next time you go to buy that D&D t-shirt at Target. The next time they rerelease the Curse of Strahd Special Deluxe Gold Edition book. The next bungled setting book they want you to buy. The next time they try and make you team D&D.

If you want to support creators, don’t support corpos.