No d20 STL

Looks like my hunch was right.

Scott Rouse, Brand Manager for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, has made the announcement over at ENWorld:

“There will not be tiers within the OGL.

There will be Wizards official D&D products (which will include licensed D&D products for foreign language translation) and OGL products made by third parties like Paizo, Expeditious Retreat, etc.”

For those who don’t understand the difference, I’ll sum up: The Open Game License (OGL) is the license that allows publishers (and non-publishers, for that matter) the right to use core elements of the rules system that drives Dungeons & Dragons. The d20 System Trademark License was a secondary license which allowed publishers the right to use this symbol:

to indicate compatibility with those rules.

This announcement means that while there will be Open Content in the forthcoming 4th Edition of D&D, allowing publishers to produce 4e-compatible products, there will NOT be a d20 System Trademark License. No official logo to show that your product can be used with D&D.

I’ll be interested to see how this shakes out, since it will now mean that there will be a push for publishers to come up with methods of indicating compatibility (expect a dozen or more competing logo co-ops, with various publishers signing up for each…as well as a few dozen more publishers who go their own way and use their own sole-use logo), and it will require a lot more product-knowledge savvy on the part of retailers and consumers.

It does affect me directly, since it effectively means the end of d20 MasterKit as a line, since the trademarked logo will no longer be usable.

Also: Still no word on when, exactly, we publishers are going to get a look at the rules, so we can start prepping releases.

13 Replies to “No d20 STL”

  1. Still no word on when, exactly, we publishers are going to get a look at the rules, so we can start prepping releases.

    Is there any reason to believe that WotC will release the rules in any form before the actual release of the game itself? If they’re not going to allow “official” compatibility anyway, why even bother with an SRD (let alone “early release” of one)?

  2. Yeah, I’m with you on that one. Rouse did say at GenCon that they’d expect to have an SRD to publishers no later than January or February, but my confidence is not high.

  3. As more and more information about 4th edition trickles out of the beast that is WotC, the more I’m convinced that all the “we’re thinking about it” and “we’re considering it” and the ever hopeful “we’ didn’t realize that mattered so much so we’ll look into changing our position on that” that came out of GenCon is more lip service than anything else . . . and we all failed our Will save . . .

    I’ve done a little bit of work for The Le Games and Dreamscarred Press, and was looking to do more in 2008, but as it stands now, who knows what’s going to be possible/allowable/legal . . .

  4. The recent Ogre Cave Audio Report podcast has some talking about the strange way WotC is distributing information about their game (“Why are we finding out the latest information about 4th Edition from a .org website?”) and thoughts about the d20 STL. This podcast was pushed live a few days ago, so that STL discussion is probably moot.

  5. Actually, that’s not what he’s saying at all. Scott’s responding to the claim that only certain big name publishers will get to publish d20 products, and that all smaller publishers will have to go through one of the bigger publishers to be able to do so. All Scott is saying is that Wizards isn’t going to force any publisher to have to go through another publisher to publish their stuff. If you haven’t already read the “news item” he’s referring to, it puts the quote in context. Scott just used OGL to refer to all 3rd party support for D&D there.

    As of yet, any theoretical changes to the d20 STL have not been spoken of publicly at any point yet.

  6. Actually, that’s exactly what he said:

    There will be the OGL and Wizards D&D products period. No d20 STL (tiered or otherwise) to be even more clear.

    As I posted in that thread, this really throws a monkey wrench into the Dawning Star works. I’ve got some thinkin’ to do.

  7. Indeed. While it’s nice of Rodney to jump in to defend his corporate masters (hi Rodney!) I’m afraid he’s wrong. I read it the same way you do. Scott made himself clear.

  8. Yeah, sorry folks. I wasn’t really trying to defend my corporate masters so much as keep the panic level down (it seems to jump up every few days or so) but looks like I was as wrong as I can be about this one. I apologize to everyone who was involved–and looks like I need to take my own advice and read more of the thread before jumping in next time. The “No d20 STL” was news to me. So sorry, again I apologize for any confusion I might have caused.

  9. This stuff happens. I suspect it’s one reason people end up feeling oike no one from wotC is willing to say anything. Because, when you do, you all to often discover a new decision you didn’t know about was made upstream.

    At least you didn’t post this in 8-foot high burning letters on your own blog.

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