Open Games License 1.2 Survey
The past two weeks has been a rollercoaster of leaked documents, sweetheart deals, Suits and Managment at Wizards of the Coast essentially badmouthing the playerbase, and a change to the open games license, the thing that has been at work for the past tenty years allowing a plethora of amazing content that has allowed Dungeons and Dragons to thrive in the tabletop hobby sphere and remain relevant in the face of stiff competition.
The following is a result of their first question being 'tell us of your concerns' and giving absolutely no character limit or upper bound to the response length.
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I am someone who has played Dungeons and Dragons since the early ninties with my older brother, cousins, and friends. I have played within online community spaces (largely IRC as well as MUD/MUSH servers) through this period, and have been part of player discussion groups ranging from mailing lists, forums, and actual dialup BBSs, ranging up to current social media, and I have viewed this hobby as being an outlet for expression, and a means to keep touch with what I feel is a peer group that has helped reassure me that I am neither alone nor a freak.
I am disabled both by way of ADD, and likely would likely in modern times be diagnosed with a form of autism. More to the point I have been incapable of driving for my entire life due to poor vision (and have gone to an actual School for the Blind as a result.) Even with recent eye surgeries holding down a 'normal' life is not something I am capable of doing.
Plus I help care for two special needs siblings, a family with health concerns, and live somewhere that is non-conducive to anything resembling decent standards of living without the ability to drive.
So, in closing to my background introduction. I must explain I share all this, as well as the fact that in spite of my living in an extremely right-wing bordering on authoritarian state, most of my friends are some variation of Gay, Trans, Non-Binary, Disabled, and or otherwise non-conformal to what those with more bigoted views see as persons 'safe' for me to spend time around in spite of those being persons I either most identify with or wish to spend time around. This game is an escape and a form of expression that is desperately needed now more than ever.
I write now because i care and pray to God that my voice is heard.
1. There is no way to sugar-coat this, so I shall be as forthright and forceful as politeness allows. It is my sincere absolute and honest belief that this survey is purely to remove the discussion from public avenues (reddit, Facebook, twitter, Youtube, etc) and into a form that is both privately facing so that others in the hobby space will not see the problem, but also so that you can ignore the problem by discarding anyone's responses whom you feel are problematic by whatever metrics that you decide and have deemed that we should not know for the sake of 'preventing people from getting around our content filters.'
2. The leaked 'draft' documentation as well as accompanying news that companies were given contracts to sign along with these so-called 'draft' editions of OGL 1.1 as well as news that several outlets were given so-called 'sweetheart' deals. Combine this with the leaks of internal discussions giving very negative views towards customers and the Dungeons and Dragons community by policy makers within Wizards of the Coast (WotC) as well as Hasboro, and this gives the feeling of an advisarial enviroment in what is supposed to be a collaborative hobby-space, one peopled by those who often find themselves socially rejected as they do not conform to societal norms.
3. The language concerning removal of objectional content, what that content is, and what that recourse exists, and the overal tone of this sub-clause. The vagueness of this language as well as lack in recourse if WotC decides to act, as well as lack in innumerated obligation on WotC's part leaves little confidence that this exists as little more than shield and bludgeon to give a false sense of morality (Point 2, in my opinion, has demonstrated WotC has no morality,) as well as giving WotC a ready made excuse to revoke a third party entity's license at any time.
3b. Per my background information, I view some manner of policing to be quite welcoming and nessicary to allow this hobby to shed the shackles of its less than stellar past. Examples of this past include an 'old boys' mysoganistic culture where any women entering the hobby were viewed as trying to scam and shame at best or at worst were activly used as objects of lust as opposed to fellow players. By the current language and common interpretation of OGL 1.2, WotC themselves would be in violation (prostitution tables from one of the earlier editions springs to mind, as does several of the prior descriptions of monsters and societies for differing species being quite blatantly discriminatory.) Failure to acknowledge this as anything beyond 'oh that was regrettable Moving On' feels like WotC is trying to claim a moral high ground that their behavior past and current suggests is wholeheartedly undeserved.
3c. With that said, however, I view this language as a shield to hide behind. The fear goes along the lines of 'complaint leveled about WotC or OGL.' 'What we're being super inclusive! YOU aren't saying that's BAD are YOU?'
3d. The current wording causes problems in that what is and is not considered legal is region dependant. Examples include the legalization of marajuana exists in several US states, but not others. So does mentioning Pot or some Pot-Like substance constitute illegality? What of LGBT relationships and non hetero-normative persons? There are many countries where this is officially outlawed, and many others where this is heavily frowned upon.
4. The clauses concerning Virtual Tabletops feels blatantly anti-competetive in that features are wholesale barred from non-WotC offerings that WotC's DnDNext advertises heavily upon. This gives the feel that WotC both has no faith in their own product, and had some hypothetical company existed before, WotC would have been barred from their own market if such measures andl anguage were put into place.
5. The core rules the mechanics that is, are non-copyrightable. Thus any mention of the rules being avalible feels like padding and a red herring to distract from the anti-competetive measures the proposed OGL 1.2 would introduce.
6. This 'discussion' has only come about after WotC has been caught just before the rollout of OGL 1.1. This colors the entire shape and form of everythign that results into an antagonistic argument, as opposed to a meeting of peers. Had the leaks not happened 1.1 would by this point be the way thigns are, and outrage would have been ridden out after empty PR statements by whoever WotC's managment decided was going to be the community punching bag.
To whomever reads this. I wish to feel that my more cynical self is incorrect, or at least vastly over-estimating the problem. However that must come with showing the proposed changes BEFORE they are to be implimented and with enough time and communication to course correct. Empty PR statements and words given in a non-legally-binding manner does not give confidence.
You destroyed my ability to trust your willingness to play fair. Were I the group DM I'd be holding you on a short leash because you're cuasing everyone at the table to have to step out of the game to deal with your unwillingness to treat everyone fairly. I am the sort of DM that has told people to leave and that they were unwilling to return. I am the sort of customer that views the behavior shown as reason to never look at another of your products again.
I view those within the design group as largely wanting to make a product that is pro-community and player friendly.
I also view those in corporate as player-hostile. 'Dungeons and dragons is under monetized and all.
I view the suits up top as shielding themselves from consequences.
DnD has been part of my life for thirty years.
I do not want to end that relationship, but I will if I feel things do not improve.