Wizards of the Coast has responded to rumors of changes to the Open Game License and System Reference Document as it works on a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. For weeks, rumors have swirled about the future of two documents critical to the publication of third-party material for Dungeons & Dragons. The Open Game License and the accompanying System Reference Document allows third-party publishers (ranging from companies like Paizo or Kobold Press to self-publishing creators) to publish and sell material that uses 5th Edition rules. The Open Game License acts as a public copyright license, while the System Reference Document specifies which rules and game mechanics can be used when making third-party material.
Earlier this month, the YouTuber Indestructoboy claimed that Wizards of the Coast would not create a new System Reference Document for One D&D, the codename for the upcoming new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This would prevent publishers from making material specifically for One D&D, although they could still use the existing 5th Edition System Reference Document to publish material 5E material that could be “backwards compatible” with One D&D. While not creating a new System Reference Document for One D&D wouldn’t snuff out third-party material, it would certainly discourage publishing or force publishers to turn to the DMs Guild, a digital marketplace that uses a separate license in exchange for Wizards of the Coast and DriveThruRPG (the manager of the DMs Guild) taking a 50% cut. We’ll note that Wizards of the Coast previously turned away from the Open Game License for the release of 4th Edition D&D, with a more restrictive Game System License used instead.
ComicBook.com reached out to Wizards of the Coast about whether they planned to update the Open Game License and System Reference Document. Wizards of the Coast responded with the following statement: “We will continue to support the thousands of creators making third-party D&D content with the release of One D&D in 2024. While it is certain our Open Game License (OGL) will continue to evolve, just as it has since its inception, we’re too early in the development of One D&D to give more specifics on the OGL or System Reference Document (SRD) at this time.”