A Note by Natalie Boyd

Download the full note here.

In early January 2023, the Dungeons and Dragons publisher, Wizards of the Coast, became the center of widespread controversy, with over 60,000 people signing an open letter condemning their actions after a revised version of their open gaming license (“OGL”) was leaked (the “Leak”).[1] Dungeons and Dragons, a popular tabletop roleplay game, has used an OGL since 2000 to allow fans and publishers to create works compatible with the original game.[2]This OGL has allowed third party creators to use Dungeons and Dragons rules and systems without any form of royalty fees.[3] Since 2000, third party content created under this OGL has helped build a large network of Dungeons and Dragons gamers who have innovated the game while driving it into mainstream success.[4]

The Leak revealed major potential changes for third party creators including the termination of the original OGL, and a new OGL that imposed restrictions and royalty systems.[5] Third party creators such as Foundry Virtual Tabletop and Sly Flourish signed the open letter condemning the proposed OGL.[6] This open letter expressed concerns that the proposed OGL “chokes the vibrant community that has flourished under the original license.”[7] The letter noted how the proposed OGL would affect small time creators as well as larger third party creators.[8] While smaller creators would face restrictions on their work and need to report their revenue, the larger creators would face high royalty fees.[9] The royalties would make it near impossible for these small businesses to afford publishing products.[10] The backlash did not end there as Paizo, a company who relies on the original OGL, announced that they did not believe the original OGL could ever be deauthorized and were “prepared to argue that point in a court of law if need be.”[11]

[1] Benjamin Abbot, D&D OGL Controversy, Explained – All the Drama Explained and Why You Should Care, Games Radar (Jan. 30, 2023),

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Open Letter, Open DnD, (last visited Apr. 25, 2023),

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Paizo Announces Systems-Neutral Open RPG License, (Jan. 12, 2023),