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Is using 5th Edition legal?

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  • Is using 5th Edition legal?

    I was happy to see that 5th edition is going to be fully supported in the new Scarred Lands player's guide, but I am curious as to how that's going to work, given that there's no OGL for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. The kickstarter mentions that the Gauntlet of Spiragos has not been released in 5th Edition in hopes that there will be an official statement (presumably from WotC) about the legality of 3rd party 5th edition products, but is that likely to happen?


    Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
    Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

  • #2
    Well, they aren't the first third party publisher to use the '5E' moniker is all I know.

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    • #3
      I've no idea myself, but I've put down for a 5e pdf on the bet that they know what they're doing. I would assume they'd not make it if they didn't expect to get away with it.


      Dex Davican wrote: I can say without exaggeration or dishonesty that I am the most creative man ever to have lived

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      • #4
        Writing material for "fifth edition" is not at all illegal without a license, so long as you don't do anything that actually is illegal when you do said writing.

        To clarify what I mean, the OGL is not a "you may now write material for the d20 system" enabling license - you can write material intended for a game system all you want. It is a "you may include these specific terms and game details which are protected by trademark, copyright, or otherwise reserved as intellectual property."

        The best example to make sure I am clear: If you want to say an ability you wrote gives "advantage" (a D&D 5th edition game term) and don't want to get in trouble for doing so without licensing which says you can, you take the Frog God Games approach and call it "tactical advantage" instead. It's different (legally speaking), while still being clear to someone trying to use it what it means.

        I expect that what is meant by waiting for an announcement is that OP are waiting to see if they have to do what is being done by other 3rd party publishers now, change a bit here and there so that any legal issues are avoided, or if they can do what would be entirely more preferable of actually saying "Dungeons & Dragons" instead of "fifth edition" and using the same terms in other cases as well.


        Not so noble anymore.

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        • #5
          I hope WotC sees it this way and doesn't try to shut down the 5th Ed book.


          Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
          Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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          • #6
            These people are professionals with decades of experience, of course they have their legal ducks in a row.

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            • #7
              The Scarred Lands books were some of the earliest d20 books available on the market. Particularly in d20's early days, a lot of people jumped on board, their enthusiasm for making material outweighing their due diligence, and thus they violated the license in numerous ways (for example, by including the d20 logo on the cover, but not including the contents of the license in the book). The Scarred Lands books were early major examples of products which followed the terms of the license accurately.

              Many of the people working on Scarred Lands now are the same ones who worked on it then, and have decades of experience both making games and working with the legalities surrounding them. It's safe to assume that they have a pretty good idea what they're doing.


              Ian A. A. Watson
              Onyx Path Community Manager

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              • #8
                Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
                The Scarred Lands books were some of the earliest d20 books available on the market. Particularly in d20's early days, a lot of people jumped on board, their enthusiasm for making material outweighing their due diligence, and thus they violated the license in numerous ways (for example, by including the d20 logo on the cover, but not including the contents of the license in the book). The Scarred Lands books were early major examples of products which followed the terms of the license accurately.

                Many of the people working on Scarred Lands now are the same ones who worked on it then, and have decades of experience both making games and working with the legalities surrounding them. It's safe to assume that they have a pretty good idea what they're doing.
                Thanks for taking the time to respond, Ian. It's cool to know that the people who're working on Scarred Lands have had a lot of experience navigating these waters.


                Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
                Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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                • #9
                  Whoa, WotC created an OGL for 5th Edition, and it was linked on the Scarred Lands KS!
                  http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/feat...e-document-srd


                  Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
                  Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Octavo View Post
                    Whoa, WotC created an OGL for 5th Edition, and it was linked on the Scarred Lands KS!
                    http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/feat...e-document-srd
                    Well, what do you know?! Funny how that worked out.

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                    • #11
                      Man, it's almost like they knew or something.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RichT View Post

                        Well, what do you know?! Funny how that worked out.
                        Well played.

                        I've decided to go ahead and back the KS. I like the 5th edition rules and am intrigued by the Scarred Lands setting.


                        Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
                        Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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                        • #13
                          In case anyone is interested, the Modifier podcast wrangled a lawyer onto the show to explain the new OGL.

                          http://oneshotpodcast.com/podcasts/m...gets-a-lawyer/


                          Maids + Exalted = Maid the RPG: Exalted Edition! More chaos than you can shake an artifact feather duster at! Also, my Obsidian Portal page.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by teleute View Post
                            In case anyone is interested, the Modifier podcast wrangled a lawyer onto the show to explain the new OGL.

                            http://oneshotpodcast.com/podcasts/m...gets-a-lawyer/
                            Hey, that's cool! Thanks!


                            Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
                            Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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                            • #15
                              Spam Removal
                              Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 05-20-2016, 03:39 AM.

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