Paizo, the publisher behind the Pathfinder roleplaying game, has announced a new Open Game License and threatened legal action against Wizards Of The Coast.
It comes after the Dungeons & Dragons publisher tried to change its existing Open Game License (OGL), which was created in 2000. The public copyright document allows any tabletop role-playing game developers to modify, copy, and redistribute content designed for the Dungeon & Dragons games.
However, last week it was revealed that Wizards Of The Coast is looking to change the original OGL, which would allegedly make the previous version “unauthorised” and introduce rules that meant anyone earning money through a product built around the OGL would need to report earnings to Wizards Of The Coast.
The decision to try and monetise this longstanding agreement was met with backlash by fans. In response, Wizards Of The Coast deleted the document from their website entirely.
Now Paizo, the publisher behind tabletop roleplaying game Pathfinder which was created around the OGL, has announced it is willing to take legal action against the Dungeons & Dragons publisher.
“Paizo does not believe that the OGL 1.0a can be ‘deauthorized,’ ever,” Paizo said in a statement (via Polygon). “While we are prepared to argue that point in a court of law if need be, we don’t want to have to do that, and we know that many of our fellow publishers are not in a position to do so.”
“We have no interest whatsoever in Wizards’ new OGL,” it continued. “Instead, we have a plan that we believe will irrevocably and unquestionably keep alive the spirit of the Open Game License,” with Paizo announcing the creation of their own OGL, called the Open RPG Creative License (OPC).
The OPC is currently being developed by Azora Law. According to Paizo, Azora co-founder Brian Lewis “was the attorney at Wizards who came up with the legal framework for the OGL itself.”
We have announced a plan for a system neutral open RPG license in collaboration with other game companies. We believe it will irrevocably and unquestionably keep alive the spirit of the Open Game License. Learn more:https://t.co/uQNKiz0wzv #OpenRPG #pathfinder2e #starfinder pic.twitter.com/JJOW9DiioO
— Paizo (@paizo) January 12, 2023
Paizo is footing the bill for the legal work but won’t own the ORC. Azora Law is set to provide “stewardship” until a non-profit with a history of working with open-source licences can be found.
“We invite game publishers worldwide to join us in support of this system-agnostic licence that allows all games to provide their own unique open rules reference documents that open up their individual game systems to the world,” continued Paizo.
According to Paizo, the likes of Kobold Press, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Roll for Combat, Rogue Genius Games, and Chaosium support the initiative with more publishers reaching out. Wizards Of The Coast is yet to comment on the situation.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Wizards Of The Coast were set to cancel five unannounced games however one studio working on a project alongside them denied that their project had been impacted, despite the reports saying otherwise.