Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Mail Call: Enter the Creative Commons Era

 To recover from their massive PR screw-up involving the OGL, Wizards of the Coast swang the completely other direction and released the D&D 5 SRD under the Creative Commons License. 

I know much less about this license than I do about the OGL. I am pretty competent in the OGL and have been part of the Open Gaming Foundation since its beginning. So yeah, I have had nearly 23 years of practice with it. 

I got my copy of the new Swords & Wizardry Complete Revised via their Kickstarter recently and it looks fantastic.  It uses the CC 4.0 By Attribution license.  So I thought I'd grab some more Creative Commons books and see how they are made.

Creative Common books

Not a bad collection, really.

The Arcanum 30th Anniversary Edition is an update to the venerable Arcanum and Compleat books from the 1980s.  I always have had a soft spot in my heart for this series. The 30th Anniversary Edition also does a good job of updating these rules and provides a nice history.  

It has been released under the CC BY-SA - Creative Commons Share Alike license. Sadly, Zila Games seems to be either defunct or at least lost their website. 

In a move I think surprises no one, Basic Fantasy RPG Core Rules 4thEd from Chris Gonnerman also has gone Creative Commons. This one was also released under the CC BY-SA - Creative Commons Share Alike license.

All three are worthy updates to their original versions. If somewhat thicker.

Creative Commons and Originals

The rules have not really changed all that much. The presentation of all three is also better, with Swords & Wizardry inching out as the best-looking update.

This might be just what I needed to help get over my creative hump on my High Witchcraft book I have been playing around with for years.


Dick McGee said...

Still rather have the older S&W just for the cover art. Pretty sure it's my favorite art out of any OSR product I've seen, and it might be the best D&D thing ever for me as well.

Kevin S. said...

I'm not sure that Swords & Wizardry is itself licensed under the CC-BY license. The notice in the front of the book says that the SRD 5.1 is released under that license, but it says nothing about S&W itself. Matt Finch is supposed to be working on his own Mythmere Games open license, but nothing's come out yet.

I do believe, even though I don't have the new Basic Fantasy books, that it is, in fact, released under Creative Commons, as well as the OGL and ORC.