Friday, May 17, 2013

More OGL Musings

I've rambled on in the past about my waffling on the OGL.  I don't play Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry for the most part. I own the real D&D books - B/X, Rules Cyclopedia, OD&D - and primarily use those as my references when I run my game at the table. I play D&D, as heavily house-ruled as it may be, as opposed to one of the clones. As a result of that house-ruling and such, I need to be able to share those changes and additions with my players.  My issue has long been that I also want to share my creations with the online community, but at the same time, I'm too lazy to do it right, all OGL-legal and official.

It was actually this post by Dyson Logos, where he explains his reasoning behind NOT sharing his work in a PDF format, that ultimately clarified my own position on the OGL.

I find great inspiration in the boundless creativity of the online OSR community. Blogs, forums, Google+: These all contribute a wealth of information and like most other gamers I'm sure, I make great use of what I find.  Sometimes it's used whole cloth, other times it tweaked, folded or mutilated into something I can use. But for something that will ultimately only be used at my table, I don't want to be bothered keeping track of where exactly I found a particular useful tidbit - who wrote it, it's OGL info if there even is any.  Credit where credit is due, yeah that's important, but mostly it's not very recognizable as the original material anyway.  To be honest, I don't know where the line is that makes it the original OGL content they shared versus something inspired by that, but no longer the same.

Artwork is also an issue.  I;m no artist and my booklets and documents I use at the table are all gussied up with real artists copyrighted works.  I don't have permission to use them and could never get it. But you know what?  I decided I don't really care.  I'm not making a penny sharing this stuff, and I see it as free advertising.  If  someone ever sees their work in a PDF I post on the blog here and wants it pulled, then just ask and I'll remove it, or put a credit in there if that's enough to satisfy.  I'm not a dick.

So here's how it will work going forward.  I love to see other peoples house rule books, campaign guides and all that (Outland and Planet Eris, I'm looking at you).  It's great to see how they've lovingly done all the layout work to ape the format of the OD&D booklets, or the old Mystara Gazetteers, and that's the cool looking stuff I want to share too. Part of the fun for me is playing around in Photoshop making covers and fiddling with layouts and making things look pretty and "official." Making the houserule and player reference booklets I throw out on the table for my players look like real supplements to the books I use as DM. It is what it is, and I want to share the fruits of those labors.  Occasionally, I'll throw a PDF up here someplace for people to look at if they are interested  They won't be legal, or OGL compatible in any way.  Just your run of the mill fan works.  They'll use trademarked D&D terms or TSR era content WOTC won't let us use in OGL products.  They'll have art and non-TSR content that may or may not be credited to the creators.  These are documents I made for me, not for you, but I also don't want them to languish on my hard drive with no one but me getting any use out of them. Enjoy them for what they are.

Want to use anything I actually wrote myself? Want to keep it legal? I posted here, back in 2011, that stuff I posted here on the blog was shared under the OGL.  That will continue to be the case.  Like Dyson's maps and content on his blog, the content posted here on the blog is yours to use, and if it contains someone else's OGL content, that will be indicated as required by the terms of the license. Steal away.