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  1. #1
    ddavison's Avatar
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    SmiteWorks Official Statement about OGL 1.1 and Open Gaming Licenses

    SmiteWorks established Fantasy Grounds as the first virtual tabletop (VTT) to receive an official license for D&D back in 2015. In many ways, SmiteWorks paved the way forward for online D&D and for online roleplaying from many other game publishers and game systems. Our partnership with Wizards of the Coast has benefitted us greatly and I believe it has similarly benefitted Wizards of the Coast.

    Regarding the OGL 1.1

    I shared my thoughts with Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) privately on Monday, January 9th, regarding the OGL 1.1. I view it as being harmful to the RPG community, an overreach by WOTC, and I view it as being harmful to WOTC as well. I genuinely want Wizards of the Coast to succeed and continue to grow. I want them to do this alongside the many amazing game publishers and creators that coexist in the RPG space.

    My thoughts were detailed on how I viewed the language in the OGL 1.1 to be anti-competitive and contrary to WOTC's stated goals. I predicted a very strong community response to the proposed language, and we've seen that play out very much as predicted. My hope is that WOTC will course correct in a very public way and will reinforce the OGL 1.0a and/or similar documents.

    D&D is the most popular system for playing fantasy RPGs and this is based on a mix of name recognition, branding, quality of content, historical contributions, and intelligent design choices. It is also due to the OGL, where WOTC was viewed as a benevolent leader for an entire industry.

    I look forward to an official announcement by Wizards of the Coast on this subject and I sincerely hope they succeed in regaining some trust that they have lost with this recent event. We want to help them in this endeavor and we would like to continue releasing great D&D content in an environment that is fair to everyone.

    At the same time, I publicly offer my support for the Open RPG Creative (ORC) license proposed by Paizo, Kobold Press, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, Chaosium, and other publishers. We are happy to continue working with all publishers, big and small, to provide players with the greatest choice of games available and to lift all boats.

    We are committed to our fans above all others. Our license with D&D is still live and active. It renews annually and has been renewed already for 2023. Should we ever lose our license, customers will continue to have access to anything they have purchased. This includes being able to reinstall content. This is the same for every single publisher on our platform. If something is ever unable to be sold due to license issues, we would still be able to provide access to customers for anything they've ever purchased.

    We appreciate the support that our fans have provided us since 2004 and since I took ownership of SmiteWorks in 2009. We are eternally grateful and we will do our best to support your gaming needs and wishes for decades to come.

  2. #2
    ddavison's Avatar
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    Wizards of the Cost has just released their statement and it is what I hoped it would be.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ddavison View Post
    Wizards of the Cost has just released their statement and it is what I hoped it would be.
    I hope you're right but I'm not very hopeful.

    Our plan was always to solicit the input of our community before any update to the OGL; the drafts you’ve seen were attempting to do just that.
    That OGL was given to people to sign a week or so ago. They didnt solicit anything or draft, you dont send a draft as a contract to sign...
    Fantasy Grounds AD&D Content Bundle (All The AD&D Content)
    Documentation for AD&D 2E ruleset.
    Custom Maps (I2, S4, T1-4, Barrowmaze,Lost City of Barakus)
    Note: Please do not message me directly on this site, post in the forums or ping me in FG's discord.

  4. #4
    Thank you for making a statement. I, along with many other FG users, I'm sure, have been and will continued to be, concerned. My love and support of Fantasy Grounds will continue, whatever WotC ultimately does, though I hope they will come to see the value of the community that they claim to see now and keep renewing their relationships.

  5. #5
    I don't mean to seem cynical, but the fact that they canceled their livestream yesterday seems to undercut their sincerity here. If all this was their original intent, if this was all just a draft for review, if this was all for our benefit, then why not carry that narrative into the livestream as planned?

    It seems as though they were forced to adjust their narrative, and they needed time to regroup and recalibrate their messaging.
    Which is fine. Companies frequently need to adjust their tone for the sake of optics.

    But this isn't just an adjustment in tone. Like many others, I took a look through the OGL 1.1. That document's brazen intent was profitability and broad-stroke intellectual property barony.

    And today--after monitoring what must have been a painful exodus of DnD Beyond subscribers over the last 24 hours, as well as having to endure censure by other tabletop and general gaming industry leaders and influencers at every level--today their message is vague contrition hummed in a tone of, "Oops, shrug. You got us."
    Our goal was to get exactly the type of feedback on which provisions worked and which did not — which we ultimately got from you. Any change this major could only have been done well if we were willing to take that feedback, no matter how it was provided — so we are.
    They didn't want our feedback. This wasn't presented to us for our feedback.

    This was leaked, because it had to be. Otherwise, we would have awoken today to news stories of how WotC suddenly shut out all their competition, how they secured broad power over tons of small press intellectual property, and how the tabletop gaming market was simultaneously shaken to its core, at the same time it lay nearly completely in Wizards' iron grasp.

    So today we wake up to news that it was all just a drill to procure feedback. It was all for our own good.
    [...]you’re going to hear people say that they won, and we lost because making your voices heard forced us to change our plans. Those people will only be half right. They won — and so did we.
    However, it’s clear from the reaction that we rolled a 1.
    Wink, grin and nod.

  6. #6
    ddavison's Avatar
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    I’m heartened to see that the RPG community looks out for one another.

  7. #7
    The statement is pretty much what I expected it to be in face of the backlash, but it doesn't go anywhere near to regaining trust. There's some pretty boldface lies in that statement about how things went down...they were never intending on asking for feedback, that's provable (and seriously..."we didn't even think about stealing content" they really expect us to believe these people at the top of the industry are really this stupid, that they wrote all that without thinking of it? Hanlons Razor aside given what's been pretty much confirmed about how this went down behind closed doors I think it's far more likely they think we are stupid enough to believe them).

    I am not going to be buying any more WotC stuff. I'll keep supporting creators for 5E as long as they are able, or the successor to 5E arrives (probably Black Flag).

    5E returning to the OGL after the 4E GSL debacle was their second chance. We'd be fools to give them another. They've told us who they are by letting that license get as far as it did. That's the part we should believe. Not the PR Damage Control version they want to present to us.

    All that being said your support of ORC is wonderful news. I look forward to many more happy years using FG, with what ever rulesets may land
    Last edited by drempel; January 13th, 2023 at 20:17.

  8. #8
    Doug, thank you for your response and am also looking forward to what the future holds on both sides of the aisle (Open RPG and OGL) -- I am glad what I have purchased for 5e will be available for me to use, no matter what. As a DM this was my BIGGEST concern - whether i was going to have to invest hundreds (or thousands) in another ruleset/system or continue to use what I've paid for over the last 2 years!

    Keep up the great work Smiteworks!

  9. #9
    I saw the community rallying this time last week. There were internal discussions at Grim Press about what this meant for our future. We're a big 3P publisher in the Fantasy Grounds pond, but we're a little publisher in the larger D&D pond. It was scary. We have/had projects planned, some already finished just waiting to be posted to Kickstarter. But this kind of halted us all in our tracks.

    After watching several videos and reading commentary by lawyers (at least claiming to be), I thought this was building to a lawsuit. And since almost everyone was against this, I thought it would be a massive class action against WotC/Hasbro over the OGL "revocation/deauthorization". And then I considered how WotC could possibly fight such a large legal battle and remain solvent. And since WotC has been pretty much the only profitable part of Hasbro for years, how would Hasbro respond to a threat of a lawsuit they couldn't afford to fight and probably wouldn't win?

    So I was pretty sure they'd back down from OGL 1.1. But I guess the most astonishing thing has been the way the community at large has responded. While it's been great to see the big 3rd Party Publishers like Kobold Press, Paizo, Nord, Frog God, etc. step up and announce they're moving on from WotC and the OGL, the really amazing thing has been how the average player/DMs out there who aren't 3PPs have stepped up in support. So many people cancelled their DnDBeyond subscriptions that the DnDBeyond cancellation portal crashed (or they took it down in fear).

    There's something magical about a community that is usually pretty divisive, outspoken, argumentative, and opinionated suddenly coming together in support of one goal ... #opendnd

  10. #10
    The only way WotC can recover any face is by decoupling the OGL from thier corporation... ahla what Paizo are suggesting.... I can't really see that happening though.

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