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Like JARNDYCE v JARNDYCE but with Magic Missiles.

January 11, 2023

You may or may not have heard that there is a kerfuffle going on in the world of The World’s Most Popul;ar RPG Whose Initials Are D and D. The publishers have decided that from now on they want a cut of third party publisher’s profits above a certain level and not only that but the rights to the intellectual property that is thus generated. They have for decades had an Open Gaming Licence by which people who are not them can use their game system for their own publications and projects. No pay, no fuss and very little interference by Wizards of the Coast and their corporate masters at Haboro

But now they want to monetize this relationship

From now on if you were to found a YouTube channel and it became the next CRITICAL ROLE or publish a setting and it became the next PTOLUS or RAVENWOOD then not only would you have to pay Wiizards Of The Coast/Hasboro for the privilege but you would have to give them the fruits of your writing if they wanted it. So that they could use the setting you have so lovingly made and probably bugger it up horribly.


Now nobody seems to be saying they can’t do this (though lots and lots of people seem to be thinking it’s crazy and short sighted me included) but the punchline is that they want to retroactively convert the licences which they issued under the old Open Game Licences into ones under the the new more restrictive version, retroactively changing the deal by which material has been published for the last twenty years and more. A deal that was supposed to be perpetual and irrevocable.

Well, it behooves me (and it currently behooves THE BUNDLE OF HOLDING) to remind you that there are lots of other game systems with which you could run your super duper YouTube channel that will make you a fortune. Speaking as someone who hasn’t touched DnD since 1979, I would point to Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS and to the many variants of RUNEQUEST one of which (MYTHRAS) is in this new bundle.

I just hope that all of the people who are irritated with this move by Hasboro can agree to pool their legal resources and get the thing quashed in court before it does any damage to the hobby. I heard yesterday of a DOCTOR WHO game published using 5th Edition mechanics. Is Hasboro going to attempt to claim that all the Daleks are belong to them? Retroactively what’s more? I’m pretty sure that’s against the Laws of Time if not American intellectual property law.

3 Comments
  1. Lindy permalink

    I thnk you have the qwherewithal for an article for mainstream press here. Such goodies – fantasy gaimng, morals and ethics, business and capitalism and you could frame it within a fantasy game of your own devising….

    • That would require me to employ an Actual Lawyer of my own. And a defamation lawyer at that: they’re expensive.

      I’m sure that there will be press coverage of this. It’s all over the geekish social media.

  2. Lindy permalink

    Ignore the extra q – I seem to be adding letters willy nillllly at present.

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