Wizards’ OGL and the future of Braythe
As most of you have probably heard by now, there’s a heated discussion going on regarding the future licensing plans by Wizards of the Coast. The Open Gaming License (or OGL, which allows for 3rd party content like Braythe) might get replaced by a far more restrictive version that – short version – will make game development for 5E games very unattractive (to say the least).
With Braythe being a 5E setting, what does this mean for its future?
I’ll start with the most important thing first: This will not be the end of Braythe.
The future of the OGL is still unclear
The community backlash against WotC’s plans is heavy – and might lead to the company rethinking their plans. As of now, pretty much everything is possible. Some people hope that the old license will stay intact. I personally doubt it – but I can imagine that a less restrictive version of the new OGL will be released in the end. As most 3rd party creators, I’ll have to evaluate the situation when there’s more than leaks and rumors. The setting’s future in the context of 5E entirely depends on the decisions of Wizards of the Coast.
There is new content already in the works or even almost finished that I hope to release soon – but I’m not putting in any further work there until I know more about the future licensing situation.
Braythe is more than statblocks
Whatever happens with the OGL – Braythe doesn’t really need it. Of course, it’s important to have game mechanics to play a game in the setting. But as I’ve been looking into possible solutions for the current situation, I developed ideas to create my own Braythe game system. If I go this way (and I do indeed like the thought), I already have ideas to make a conversion from 5E easy. Which also means that converting content *to* 5E for possible future releases will be easy, too.
Whether there will be a Braythe game system or not, if the whole OGL situation turns out good for us 3rd party creators, I’ll continue releasing 5E content for Braythe. I might even do parallel releases for both 5E and a future Braythe system. And if things don’t turn out well, Braythe will live on in a new game system. If an apocalypse can’t stop the worlds of Braythe, a new licensing situation most definitely can’t!
I also firmly believe that the real value of Braythe: Shattered Realities is not in its game stats, whether creatures, player races or magic. It’s the lore, the theme, the characters and adventure stories. The actual fiction, if you will. And that can be transferred to any game system.
The short-term effects
Despite my positive outlook for Braythe: Shattered Realities, the current situation does have some impacts at least in the short term. Right now, it doesn’t make much sense to put more work into future 5E releases. Wizards might decide any day to release a restrictive new OGL, and stop me from releasing anything even it’s ready to publish. I believe the existing content out there is safe, but future releases might not be. In other words, there will be no new releases until WotC publishes the final new OGL – or makes an official statement that everything will stay as it is.
I’ll use the time to explore the ideas of a new game system – which I might work on no matter what WotC decides. My current plan is to focus on that project next. I have one more adventure almost ready to release (it’s currently in playtest), and if the OGL situation clears up in a good way, that adventure is still going to be published. All other releases will probably be delayed until after I finish the new system.
I don’t expect this to take too long, though. I will definitely base it on an existing system, like Powered by the Apocalypse. The ideas I have would make it realistic to create my own system within a couple of months. Additional time will be needed for playtests, of course – but when I’m in that stage, I can already focus on other works again.
Put short: Unless WotC really prohibits future 5E releases for me, I expect to release my next adventure very soon – and future 5E content sometime in late 2023. A Braythe game system is also highly probable to be released in 2023.