So D&D’s new license has been released and it’s more restrictive than the near-as-dammit Open source OGL of Third Edition. Here’s the official link though I prefer the version currently on ENWorld’s front page. Darn, it’s annoying I can’t link to daily posts on ENWorld. Get new software, people!
In short, it’s pretty much what we knew it would be. There’s links and references that third parties can use, but nothing like the access to raw usable crunch we players find so darned useful. Putting this into perspective though, we were very, very spoilt rotten with the OGL, and knew it was too good to last. Even so, Wizards’ are being darned generous with allowing other companies to build on what they’ve created and deserve applauding for that rather than barracking for taking stuff away. They didn’t need to do this at all, and could have kept everything to themselves, after all.
It’s still good, but not as good as the last good thing.
We gamers loved the OGL (and still do). It meant we could legally copy-and-paste text into our own nefarious adventures. We could use our computers to for easy reference, using sites such as http://www.d20srd.org/ for free, and have character generators like PCGen and Redblade to make our life easy. Instead, with 4e that’s all swallowed into the delayed black hole called DnDInsider which, let’s be honest, no one is really excepting to be much good. I hope to be proven wrong
What the 4e GSL does give us though is the opportunity for third parties to concentrate on making new stuff rather than padding books with existing content. I’m all for seeing adventures that just have monsters stated out as 2 Kobold skirmishers (MM167), 2 fire beetles (MM30), 1 stirge (MM248), XP 500 if it means more fluff and quality overall. Sure, it’s a bind having to flick the Monster Manual but the reality is there’ll be no shortage of unauthorized, non-GSL approved goodies out very shortly that’ll solve that, even if DnDInsider doesn’t let you build and print customized encounter stat blocks yourself. I dunno whether it will, and care too little about it to check.
In fact, my main concern about the GSL is with Wizards’ new definition of Core Rules. Y’see, in Third Edition, Core Rules was just that – the PHB, MM and DMG. Everything else wasn’t. Now, the 4e Core Rules is those three, plus every other PHB, MM and DMG they plan to release, ever, and they’re all covered by the GSL.
So what happens if Necromancer Games releases a Tome of Horrors 4e (looking increasingly unlikely) with stats for a Krenshar, say, and it’s also gets an entry in Monster Manual II at a later date? Have Necromancer violated the GSL retroactively?
It just seems so poorly thought out, and a hefty chunk of folks online are already picking holes in it.
But it’s still good. Honest