If the D&D licensing controversy was a game session, it’d be the sort of garbage-truck-on-fire disaster that becomes legendary amongst your group. But the reality isn’t something you can laugh about over a beer. For third-party creators like Richard August, lead RPG writer at Steamforged Games (perhaps best known for its tabletop adaptations of Dark Souls and Elden Ring), it’s an own-goal that is “badly misjudged on every conceivable level”. In fact, it may have created D&D’s next big rival.

The original D&D Open Game License – or ‘OGL’ – has been kicking around since 2000, allowing other creators to use mechanics from one of the best tabletop RPGs in their own products. The result was a thriving community that tackled new concepts or expanded on ideas D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast had introduced.

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