Friday, January 20, 2023

The OGL is Still Dead...but Might Become an Undead Weapon

I have made no secret about stepping away from Hasbro and WotC for years now. I was never going to give them any money for any new sparkly version of DnD regardless of this whole OGL mess. While I will not be using any OGL from Hasbro going forward, I do want to raise a klaxon, warning anyone who thinks that any concessions Hasbro gives publishers are worth a morality clause, or that a morality clause is something that should be a part of any other Open License.

In order to demonstrate how strongly I feel about this, I give you James Raggi — someone whose published works I largely dislike and will no longer purchase for reasons of personal morality:



Morality clauses are weapons and you can never predict how and when they will be used, who will use them, and who will be the target. Weapons always have unintended consequences.

I try to stay away from politics, but there is a really illustrative political example that hopefully makes my point. Under Obama, the Democratically controlled Senate got rid of an old gentleman's agreement that certain weighty measures required a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority. They had things to accomplish and needed the weapon of a simple majority to beat down their Republican opponents. Little did they expect Trump to win in 2016 and have that very same weapon of a simple majority get used against them again and again and again. Trump's legacy is going to have a much longer and larger effect on the United States because Democrats created a weapon they never imagined would get used against them.

Any morality clause in the upcoming Hasbro License or in the ORC License will weaponize our hobby. If this is tied to the legal language of irrevocable, it will be a weapon that anyone can use against anybody now and forever with consequences we can't even imagine.

Please allow me the freedom to choose for myself what is morally acceptable and what I feel comfortable supporting with my money, my time, and my play. I pray you do the same, lest we all someday become a target for weapon that never needed to built in the first place.