[quote]WotC announces plans for 4e SRD and OGL
On January 7th, Wizards of the Coast held a courtesy call with the 3rd party publishers who had expressed close interest in gaining advance access to the 4e rules.
Attending the call were:
- Adamant Entertainment
- EN Publishing
- Expeditious Retreat Press
- Fantasy Flight Games
- Goodman Games
- Green Ronin Publishing
- Mongoose Publishing
- Necromancer Games
- Paizo Publishing
- Paradigm Concepts (*)
- Privateer Press
Their formal announcement can be found here, but here's what we learned from the call.
4e publisher support will be released in two phases.
Phase One is for publishers who want access to the 4e rules early. Taking a lesson from software publishers, WotC will be making available an OGL Designers Kit. This gives early access to rules and is offered to any publisher, not just the ones on the conference call. Access to the kit requires a legitimate business license, a signed NDA, and a one-time $5000 fee.
This kit will be available within a matter of weeks, as soon as several legal logistics are complete. It provides three hardcopy pre-publication versions of the three core rule books, copies of the OGL and SRD, and a FAQ. Publishers will continue to receive updates to these rules as changes are made, one in the beginning of February and possibly one in March. Publishers will also receive advance copies of the final rule books. Importantly, publishers who purchase the kit may begin selling product on August 1, 2008 â€“ earlier than other publishers.
Phase Two is free and begins on June 6th, when the OGL goes live. Any publisher can then produce D&D supplements under the OGL, but these cannot be published until January 1, 2009.
Effectively, this means that publishers who pony up the $5000 fee get four months of advance production time for their products, can sell their products at GenCon and Christmas without a whole lot of competition, and have a five month grace period when theirs are the only 4e products available. Publishers who choose not to pay the fee will enter the market at a later date.
I took notes during the Question and Answer portion of the call, and the following Q&A comes from my notes. In some cases the information is paraphrased instead of an exact quote.
1. What's the current status of the core rules?
The Players Handbook heads to typesetting on Wednesday. The Monster Manual heads off at the end of January, and the Dungeon Masters Guide in the middle of February. Additional changes and corrections will continue to be made in the galley through the end of March, but the rules are largely complete. Lots of playtester feedback, both internal and external, has been incorporated.
2. Tell us about the 4e OGL and SRD.
The 4e OGL will contain some aspects of the old d20 license, and is more restrictive in some areas than the prior Open Gaming License. We are tying the OGL more closely to D&D. There is a free registration process, a community standards clause, enforceability clauses, and no expiration date. Phase One publishers who sign a NDA will have the opportunity to read the OGL before they pay the $5000 early licensing fee.
The 4th edition SRD will be much more of a reference document than the 3e SRD. The current edition contains almost all of the rules and allows â€œcopy and pasteâ€