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4e OGL info
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TOPIC: 4e OGL info
#27659
4e OGL info 6 Years, 6 Months ago  
Copied from ENWorld:

WotC announces plans for 4e SRD and OGL

On January 7th, Wizards of the Coast held a courtesy call with the
3rd party publishers who had expressed close interest in gaining
advance access to the 4e rules.

Attending the call were:

* Adamant Entertainment
* EN Publishing
* Expeditious Retreat Press
* Fantasy Flight Games
* Goodman Games
* Green Ronin Publishing
* Mongoose Publishing
* Necromancer Games
* Paizo Publishing
* Paradigm Concepts
* Privateer Press

On the line for WotC were Scott Rouse, Linae Foster (Licensing
Manager), Andy Collins, Bill Slavicsek, and Chris Perkins.

Their formal announcement can be found here, but here's what we
learned from the call.

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.

Effectively, this means that publishers who pony up the $5000 fee get
four months of advance production time for their products, can sell
their products at GenCon and Christmas without a whole lot of
competition, and have a five month grace period when theirs are the
only 4e products available. Publishers who choose not to pay the fee
will enter the market at a later date.

I took notes during the Question and Answer portion of the call, and
the following Q&A comes from my notes. In some cases the information
is paraphrased instead of an exact quote.

1. What's the current status of the core rules?

The Players Handbook heads to typesetting on Wednesday. The Monster
Manual heads off at the end of January, and the Dungeon Masters Guide
in the middle of February. Additional changes and corrections will
continue to be made in the galley through the end of March, but the
rules are largely complete. Lots of playtester feedback, both
internal and external, has been incorporated.

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.

3. How will publishers indicate 4e compatibility with D&D?

There will be no front-cover logo. There will be specific
compatibility language that indicates a book is "compatible with 4th
Edition Dungeons & Dragons," or something similar. There will also be
verbiage to be included in the book that includes an official "visual
statement" linking the product to D&D.

WotC will work to educate distributors and the market about D&D-
compatible products, but expects publishers to help educate consumers
as well.

4. Will subsequent core releases be promptly added to the SRD?

Subsequent content will be added when it is Open Source.
(In my opinion, Scott Rouse sounded a little abashed when he added
that subsequent rules would be added more promptly than 3rd edition
rules were. That's probably a good sign for publishers who want to
utilize rules and monsters from subsequent releases.)

5. Under Phase One, how are rules distributed to freelancers?

A company's NDA covers their agents and contractors. As such, any
freelancer for a publisher is legally bound by their NDA. The pre-
release rules will be three copies of a physical document (although
WotC is flexible on the quantity, and may provide more copies if
necessary.) Companies working together as partners only pay one fee.

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.

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.

8. Does the NDA prevent publishers from announcing that they are
participating in Phase One?

Absolutely not. They're free to promote their involvement.

9. Will the Phase One program make subsequent releases (the PHB 2,
for instance) available to publishers more quickly?

No, it won't. The program only applies to the games' launch and the
first three core books. However, we will likely allow Phase One
developers to distribute free 4e material on Free RPG Day, and to
show (but not sell) sample books at Origins.

10. Who's the contact person for publishers interested in Phase One?

Linae Foster (linae dot foster at wizards dot com) is WotC's contact
person for purchasing or learning more about the OGL Developers Kit
Harneloot
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#27660
4e OGL info 6 Years, 6 Months ago  
good info
Shadox
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#27661
4e OGL info 6 Years, 6 Months ago  
Hey, anybody remember that Sword & Sorcery Studio scooped WotC by releasing the Creature Collection before the Monster Manual came out for 3rd edition? I suspect that WotC won't let that happen again.

:D
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Kradlo
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