Paizo has announced plans to release a new system-neutral Open RPG license that will allow independent game publishers to allow third-party publishers to use their own game systems. Today, Paizo announced plans for the Open RPG Creative License (ORC for short), a new system-agnostic license that allows any publisher to authorize the use of its gaming system for use by third-party publishers. “As always, we believe that open gaming makes games better, improves profitability for all involved and enriches the community of gamers participating in this great hobby,” Paizo wrote in the blog post announcing the license. “And that’s why we invite gamers from around the world to join us as we embark on the next big chapter of open gaming with the release of a new open, perpetual and irrevocable Open RPG Creative License (ORC).”
Although Paizo will pay for the development of the ORC, it will not own the new license. Instead, the ORC will ultimately be owned by a non-profit organization with a history of open source values, just as Linux is owned by the non-profit Linux foundation.
Paizo noted that many other tabletop publishers will also be involved in the licensing. In addition to Paizo, Kobold Press, Chaosium, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and a growing list of publishers have already agreed to participate in the Open RPG Creative License, and in the coming days we hope and expect to add substantial this group,” Paizo said.
When announcing the ORC, Paizo also addressed the use of Wizards of the Coast’s Open Gaming License (OGL) in its scout and Star Finder game. scout was originally built around the system reference document describing how to use Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules under the OGL. Although Paizo has been released Path finder 2E in 2019, which no longer used the D&D 3.5 rules framework for its gaming system, it continued to publish its rulebooks under the OGL.
In the blog post, Paizo noted that they used the OGL in it Path finder 2E do not use Dungeons and Dragons’ System reference document, but instead so that other publishers can use the Pathfinder rules when creating their own material. “By the time we started working on Pathfinder Second Edition, the open game content of Wizards of the Coast was significantly less important to us, so our designers and developers wrote the new edition without disturbing Wizards’ copyrighted expressions of game mechanics. use,” Paizo wrote. “While we were still publishing it under the OGL, the reason was no longer to allow Paizo to use Wizards’ expressions, but to allow other companies to use our expressions.”
It is clear that Paizo will continue to publish scout and its sister game star seeker, even if it separates from the OGL. Products currently at the printer will have the OGL 1.0(a) printed on the back pages and future products will be made without any license until ORC is completed.
The announcement of the ORC and Paizo’s plans to move away from the OGL is the latest development in the ongoing turmoil surrounding the current Wizards of the Coast-owned OGL. Last month Wizards of the Coast announced plans to “update” the OGL with a royalty system that would impact Paizo and several publishers producing content compatible with Dungeons and Dragons 5E. A leaked copy confirmed that a 25% royalty fee would be placed on OGL published revenues in excess of $750,000, along with several other restrictions around rights. The leak also confirmed Wizards of the Coast’s intent to “revoke” the previous OGL, which would force publishers into the more restrictive license. While Paizo and several tabletop designers working at Wizards of the Coast at the time of drafting the OGL contest Wizards’ right to “revoke” earlier versions of the OGL, many publishers have announced their plans to move away from Dungeons and Dragons 5E compatible material, and several plan to release their own custom gaming system instead.
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