Paizo Isn’t Backing Down from Creating Its Universal RPG License

Artwork for TTRPG publisher Paizo.

The story of Dungeons and Dragons’ Open Gaming License (OGL) has been nothing short of a saga throughout the month of January. That change made by the game’s publisher Wizards of the Coast resulted in widespread, nationwide backlash from players, and the publisher finally walked back those plans just yesterday.

In the early days of the OGL controversy, fellow publisher Paizo announced its plans to create its own Open RPG Creative License, aka the ORC. The move was made as a way to secure the TTRPG world’s future that Wizards had suddenly upended, and Paizo said from the jump that it planned for the ORC to be open to all third-party developers. Even as Wizards is now choosing to leave its original OGL alone, Paizo confirmed on Twitter that it’s sticking with its plans to create the ORC.

“We still believe there is a powerful need for an irrevocable, perpetual independent system-neutral open license that will serve the tabletop community via nonprofit stewardship,” wrote Paizo. “Work on the ORC license will continue, with an expected first draft to release for comment to participating publishers in February.”

When io9 talked to Paizo president Jim Butler shortly following the ORC’s announcement earlier in the month, he said that his plan with the creative license was to be “flexible enough to cover all types of RPGs and to be protected from any attempt to alter its primary mission.” He stressed the importance of it becoming a gateway to the larger TTRPG space and create “an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration, even among publishers who are competitors.”

Even as Wizards’ final decision was met positively and largely with relief, no one would be wrong in having one foot in the door while also looking at other tabletop games or systems to spend their time on. Paizo’s right in sticking the course with its ORC, if only because the next time Wizards tries to make a move with D&D that pisses off the fanbase, the company would be in a position to point those angered players to other systems that may serve as suitable replacements.

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