The Open Game License (OGL) is a public copyright license by Wizards of the Coast that may be used by tabletop role-playing game developers to grant permission to modify, copy, and redistribute some of the content designed for their games, notably game mechanics. However, they must share-alike copies and derivative works.

Language of the license

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The OGL describes two forms of content:

Open Game Content (or OGC)

...the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright law, but specifically excludes Product Identity....

Product Identity (or PI)

...product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark...

Use of another company's Product Identity is considered breach of the licensing agreement.


3rd Edition

The OGL (v1.0) was originally published by Wizards of the Coast in 2000 to license the use of portions of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, via a System Reference Document (SRD), thus allowing third-party publishers to produce compatible material. This move was spearheaded by Ryan Dancey.[1][2] Publishers could also use the separate d20 System Trademark License to include a logo indicating compatibility.

Those individuals, groups and publishing companies that license their works under the OGL and similar documents are sometimes collectively referred to as the "open gaming movement".[3] The OGL led to the development of the stand-alone Pathfinder Roleplaying Game which is a modified version of the 3.5 game.[4][5]

4th Edition

In June 2008, Wizards of the Coast transitioned to a new, more restrictive royalty-free license called the Game System License (GSL), which is available for third-party developers to publish products compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.[6][7][8] The GSL is incompatible with the previous OGL. However, by its own terms the OGL is irrevocable, and remains in widespread use.[6][5]

5th Edition

On January 12, 2016, Wizards of the Coast released the 5th edition SRD under v1.0a of the OGL, marking a return to the Open Gaming format.[9][10]

Additionally, content creators can access an additional license option by publishing through the Dungeon Masters Guild storefront;[10][11][12] this license goes a step further by allowing individuals and third party publishers to create and sell content based on specific Wizards of the Coast intellectual property such as the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, and the Magic: The Gathering planes.[13][14][15] Content creators are allowed to set their own price, however, Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf take a 50% cut of the proceeds.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Dancey, Ryan (February 28, 2002). "The Most Dangerous Column in Gaming" (Interview). Interview with Ryan Dancey. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved February 26, 2008.
  2. ^ Cook, Monte. "The Open Game License as I See It". Archived from the original on May 1, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
  3. ^ Wizards of the Coast (January 26, 2004). "The Open Gaming Foundation: Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved February 26, 2008.
  4. ^ Baichtal, John (March 25, 2008). "No D&D 4E for Paizo?!?". Conde Nast. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Hall, Charlie (August 1, 2016). "The story of Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragon's most popular offspring". Polygon. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Tito, Greg (December 28, 2011). "The State of D&D: Present". The Escapist. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "No '4th Edition d20 STL'". November 13, 2007. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  8. ^ "D&D 4th Edition Game System License". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on April 28, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  9. ^ "System Reference Document (SRD)". Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Lemon, Marshall (January 12, 2016). "Wizards of the Coast Puts Out New Dungeons and Dragons Open License With Forgotten Realms Content | The Escapist". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "D&D's Dungeon Masters Guild Wants Players To Monetise Fan Content". Kotaku Australia. July 31, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  12. ^ Sims, Chris. "You Can Now Publish Your 'D&D' Adventures Through The DM Guild". ComicsAlliance. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "The D20 Beat: The DM's Guild is a fantastic way for D&D to resurrect old settings". VentureBeat. July 29, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Content and Format Questions". DMs Guild Support Site. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Hall, Charlie (January 13, 2020). "Dungeons & Dragons basically has DLC now, and it's excellent". Polygon. Retrieved January 16, 2020.