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Role Playing (Games)

D&D 4th Edition Game System License Announced 131

Wizards of the Coast has announced plans for a brand-new system license for the fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons . As with the d20 STL for Third Edition, this is a royalty-free license that will allow third parties to publish products using the rules developed by WotC. The new system reference document will be made available early in June (just after the release of the new edition). That license only covers fantasy gaming, but a second license (the d20 GSL) will be released allowing for any type of gaming product to be developed. For analysis and follow-up on the announcement, the ENWorld boards have full details.
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D&D 4th Edition Game System License Announced

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  • by creature124 ( 1148937 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:53PM (#23112454)
    In my humble opinion, the 'useless' skills they are taking out in D&D 4.0 aren't half as useless as people make them out to be. Of course, that all depends on the DM. Our DM runs more free-form games than the standard lead by the nose dungeon dive. And it's awesome. Decipher script isnt such a useless school when the DM regularly throws encrypted documents into the game as quest hooks and whatnot.
  • one question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:12PM (#23112584)
    As with the d20 STL for Third Edition, this is a royalty-free license that will allow third parties to publish products using the rules developed by WotC

    Does this free license apply only to pen-and-paper games or could you build a [non-commercial] computer RPG based on the WoTC rules?

  • by santiago ( 42242 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:19PM (#23112636)
    It's because in Magic, the cards are the product, and selling them is where the profit lies. Additionally, Magic is a game in the competitive sense, and maintaining a balanced environment is key to overall player interest in the product. Wizards doesn't trust third parties to maintain that balance, because escalating power level is a good way to increase short-term sales while damaging the long-term viability of the product. Also, much of what drives the appeal of new Magic sets is novel mechanics. Letting other companies chew up potential design space would eat into what Wizards itself could then sell.

    In RPGs, by contrast, core books outsell supplements, even from the first party publisher, by an order of magnitude, yet the amount of work to produce a book is roughly the same for both. Supplements make the core books more attractive to potential players, yet are much less profitable to produce. So, in a stroke of generosity, WotC enables other companies to tie into their product, thereby increasing the salability and appeal of the D&D brand without having to invest in supplements no one will buy.
  • by Lord of Hyphens ( 975895 ) <> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:32PM (#23112706) Homepage

    Also, much of what drives the appeal of new Magic sets is novel mechanics.
    That and banning old cards in tournament play.
  • by HeavensBlade23 ( 946140 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:45PM (#23112782)
    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. You seem to be under the impression that the novels are a hook to get people playing the game, when in fact I'd wager it's the other way around. There's no immediate connection to the P&P game when someone picks up a Dragonlance novel, but anyone who plays D&D likely has at least a passing familiarity with the Dragonlance setting.
  • Re:Does a 21 save? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:08PM (#23112924) Homepage
    This needs to be modded higher.

    For mods that don't get the joke []
  • I wonder why they chose to "open" the D&D system but left their CCG systems closed?
    1: Because D&D's patentable innovations were created twenty years before WotC bought TSR.

    2: Because Ryan Dancy convinced them that it's save tabletop gaming as a whole, and D&D's bottom line in particular, to let smaller companies support D&D.
  • (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:53PM (#23113216)
    As long as something as useful as [] is produced under the new license, I will be happy.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @08:01AM (#23115754)
    I love when somebody gives me permission to do something that I already had the legal right to do anyway, but attaches caveats...

    Under what made up law did they think they could stop people from creating 100% original content that works within their game rules?
  • Re:Game Rules (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @10:01AM (#23116722) Journal
    There is actually a lot of uncertainty in what is a "particular expression" of the rules. Verbatim copying is certainly out but what about a "character" called a "cleric" who casts "third-level spells" against a monster with 10 "hit dice?" Those terms are all expressions of the rules...

    Well, he said you can't use "names", and yes, it would be risky to use names like "hit dice", or names of spells.

    But then words like "character" and "cleric" are words that already existed to describe the terms they are used for - they can't claim copyright over that! Just about every fantasy game and story has "characters" and "clerics" - and on that note, most mainstream commercial roleplaying systems seem to rip of the game mechanics off each other anyway, and they seem to be doing okay.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @11:57AM (#23118488)
    Nothing to see here, this is just some guy who wishes for a BSD style license when the OGL is a GPL style license. Essentially if you use their stuff you agree that others can use your stuff. There's nothing preventing you from continuing to use your stuff, unless you breach the license.

    Apparently this is unacceptable to the parent.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.