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  1. #1

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    Some Interesting 4ed OGL News

    There is a thread at EN World here that talks about the 4th ed roll out. Of interested in particular is there is some news about the 4th Ed OGL that came out in the Q&A section of the conferance call:

    2. Tell us about the 4e OGL and SRD.

    The 4e OGL will contain some aspects of the old d20 license, and is more restrictive in some areas than the prior Open Gaming License. We are tying the OGL more closely to D&D. There is a free registration process, a community standards clause, enforceability clauses, and no expiration date. Phase One publishers who sign a NDA will have the opportunity to read the OGL before they pay the $5000 early licensing fee.

    The 4th edition SRD will be much more of a reference document than the 3e SRD. The current edition contains almost all of the rules and allows “copy and paste” publishing. WotC would prefer to see 3rd party publishers to use their creativity and talent instead of reformatting or slightly changing pre-existing rules. As such, the 4e SRD will contain more guidelines and pointers, and less straightforward rules repetition.

    The community standards clause will follow the same spirit as the current version. It will lay out in broad brushstrokes what’s appropriate and what isn’t in a D&D-compatible product. If publishers have any questions, they’re always welcome to ask WotC about specifics. This clause applies to content, and wouldn’t apply to (say) a shoddy or ugly cover. (Note that this is a rare occurrence anyways; according to Scott Rouse, there has only been one case in the last two years where the community standards clause came into effect, and that was amicably resolved.)

    In any case, material that’s open under the 3.5 OGL remains open, and there will be no language in the 4e OGL to restrict 3.0 or 3.5 products.
    The other interesting question was:
    7. With the OGL tied more closely to D&D, how would that impact the future impact of games like Spycraft or Mutants and Masterminds – games that in 3e used the core d20 concept but diverged radically from D&D?

    The new version of the OGL isn’t as open-ended as the current version. Any 4e OGL product must use the 4e PHB as the basis of their game. If they can’t use the core rule books, it won’t be possible to create the game under this particular version of the OGL.

    Future versions of the OGL, including a 4e d20 Modern version, may make certain games possible where they weren’t before.

  2. #2
    While I'm still reading through the thread, the important part that applies to FG is here:

    4e publisher support will be released in two phases.

    Phase One is for publishers who want access to the 4e rules early. Taking a lesson from software publishers, WotC will be making available an OGL Designers Kit. This gives early access to rules and is offered to any publisher, not just the ones on the conference call. Access to the kit requires a legitimate business license, a signed NDA, and a one-time $5000 fee.

    This kit will be available within a matter of weeks, as soon as several legal logistics are complete. It provides three hardcopy pre-publication versions of the three core rule books, copies of the OGL and SRD, and a FAQ. Publishers will continue to receive updates to these rules as changes are made, one in the beginning of February and possibly one in March. Publishers will also receive advance copies of the final rule books. Importantly, publishers who purchase the kit may begin selling product on August 1, 2008 earlier than other publishers.

    Phase Two is free and begins on June 6th, when the OGL goes live. Any publisher can then produce D&D supplements under the OGL, but these cannot be published until January 1, 2009.
    So, for those that want access ASAP they have to pay 5k. That is a bit cheesy in my world.

    More as I read through things. Thanks for the post Griogre.
    Last edited by Thore_Ironrock; January 8th, 2008 at 23:53.

  3. #3
    Hmmmm ...

    6. Can 3rd party publishers get involved with Gleemax or DDI?

    Publishers are welcome to have a product support page in Gleemax. At this stage, plans to integrate 3rd party publisher support in the DDI have not reached beyond the discussion phase.
    That is interesting. I wonder if they'll have a fee for such "integration" and what it might be.

    Hmmmm ...

  4. #4
    I dunno. A $5k fee will probably pay off for the people it's aimed at - namely bigger publishing houses like Mongoose, who have a large presence in stores as well as on the web. You not only get a 6-month head start on the rules, you also get a 5-month head start on sales. If you think you can make the $5k back with profit in the 5-month head start, you end up being one of the "go-to" 4e development houses; I know I bought quite a few off-the-shelf 3rd party books when 3.0 went live in those first few months simply because they were there and they were 3e. Being the only guy on the shelf does have its advantages.

    Note that they more or less confirmed in these statements the existence of D20 Modern 4e. That makes a lot of sense, given the limited scope of the product updates for 4e D&D. It fills in the months not used by the PHB, DMG, MM, Tome of Treasures, spell powers and campagn setting series'.
    Last edited by Illrigger; January 9th, 2008 at 01:30.

  5. #5

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    It also looks like they are allowing teams to pay the 5K. The 1st Phase publishers will they be the only 3rd party publishers to be able to release for Christmas. Still, 5k is pretty big money to most publishers in the industry. They'd have to move about 15K retail before they break even. Still with a team that might be a good bet for a 4 month head start, including GenCon and Christmas.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Griogre
    It also looks like they are allowing teams to pay the 5K. The 1st Phase publishers will they be the only 3rd party publishers to be able to release for Christmas. Still, 5k is pretty big money to most publishers in the industry. They'd have to move about 15K retail before they break even. Still with a team that might be a good bet for a 4 month head start, including GenCon and Christmas.
    That money will easily be made up at Gen Con. For those that have the cash to spend and a large fanbase that will benefit from 4E products, it is actually a good deal.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thore_Ironrock
    More as I read through things. Thanks for the post Griogre.
    You're welcome. The answer about the fees for 3rd parties on DDI will tell a lot about just how serious WotC is about online and how they view it.

  8. #8
    Actually, I think the thing that has the biggest impact on FG is this bit from the WOTC forums:

    The 4e SRD will be a "reference document" for publishers working under the 4e OGL to know what content can be used in their own products. It will reference sections and passages from 4e D&D books and will also contain table/formating guidelines like the monster stat block to allow for consistency among products.

    It will not be a stripped down core rulebook (PHB) that largely allows you to play D&D.
    So, no 4th Ed SRD as we know it today in 3.5 land.

  9. #9

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    Ah, well. As long as I can still go to http://www.d20srd.org/ , I'm happy.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dachannien
    Ah, well. As long as I can still go to http://www.d20srd.org/ , I'm happy.
    From what I've read all the 3.5 stuff will be left as is, they're introducing new licensing regarding 4th Ed so you should be good there.

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