FAR WEST PDF Finally Released

Today, 12 years after starting on this very long road, we finally released the PDF of the FAR WEST Adventure Game, to my long-suffering Kickstarter backers, and to the public via DriveThruRPG.

The process of designing and creating the game may have ended, but the journey is just beginning — first, the print version needs to go out to the backers, then a POD version made available through DriveThru, and then adventures, and supplements, and more fiction, and and and…

Well, you get the picture.

If you’re interested, here is a link to the product page at the store. Check it out, if you’re so inclined.

12 years. To quote the Foo Fighters: “Done, done — on to the next one.”

OGL Apocalypse Averted?

It’s been a month, and I’ve been remiss in updating (again).

Wizards of the Coast put out a questionnaire about their proposed changes to the OGL, which they soon abandoned after they received over 15,000 responses, with over 80% disapproval of what they were attempting to pull.

In response, they announced:

1) That they were going to leave the OGL 1.0a untouched and intact, and

2) They were placing the 5th edition SRD into Creative Commons — which is irrevocable.

Interesting times, indeed.

The question remains what sort of corporate fuckery will be coming down the pike with the forthcoming new edition of D&D, but honestly, that’s a bit outside of my concern, as I’m not entirely sure we’ll be producing any D&D material. I was more concerned about the continuation of the original OGL framework for what it meant for other systems released under it, such as the D6 system and FATE.

For now, it appears we can continue as before. I’ll call that a win.

OGL Apocalypse, Part The Second

As I expected, the tabletop games industry has entered Interesting Times (in the Chinese proverb meaning of the phrase).

Gamers collectively began to unsubscribe from D&D Beyond — the online tool set for Dungeons & Dragons, to send a message to WOTC/Hasbro. This was, apparently, not a small amount of lost revenue.

Yesterday, Paizo (publishers of Pathfinder), along with a still-growing number of other publishers announced that they’re developing a system-agnostic irrevocable license which will be called the Open RPG Creative (ORC) License. (Click through to read the announcement.)

Today, WOTC released their statement, which was basically: “Uh… oops. My bad. More info coming later.” They attempt to address some concerns, but spin-doctor their way around the major issue — the attempted “de-authorization” of OGL1.0a. I suspect they’re still going to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

This is not an abstract issue for me. My FAR WEST game uses OGL1.0a, in the form of the Open D6 rules which were released as open content by the previous owners of West End Games, as well as some elements of the FATE system, also released under OGL1.0a. I’ve struggled for a decade to get that game finally released, and I’ll be damned if I am going to have the rug pulled out from under me when the finish line is in sight.

I’m certain that I could release under existing US Copyright Law, which specifies that systems and processes are not protected content — but whether the courts feel that includes RPG systems is not a matter of settled law. I’m certain that it could be proven to be so in court, but would require expensive litigation against a massive corporation. OGL1.0a offer a ‘safe harbor’ that would prevent that litigation.

I’m hoping that the forthcoming ORC license includes language that grandfathers in material that was opened under OGL 1.0a. I’ve signed up to the mailing list, and will be doing what I can to offer suggestion in that direction.

I suspect there will be further updates to this story.