There has been much talk in the past week regarding the possible “de-authorization” of the Open Game License Version 1.0a. This is the current license agreement under which I have been producing my gaming materials. While there has yet to be any official news about this matter, the possibility that such a change is even being officially considered demonstrates that the License is no longer a viable option for small independent designers like myself.
I have decided that the Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair” will not be an OGL game, no matter how the current situation is resolved. I am convinced that, even if the worst-case scenario does not come to pass, the OGL can no longer be relied upon. Likewise, Play-Test Version B of “The Ready Rules of the Road” is being rewritten to remove legacy terms and material. Apart from including “The Ready Rules of the Road”, the system-neutral text of “The Uncanny Highway” never required the OGL at all.
“Ghastly Affair” never functioned mechanically like the game described in the System Resource Document, using a fundamentally different resolution procedure. I merely used legacy terminology and concepts to make the game easier to learn for people familiar with Old School-style rules systems. The loss of the OGL as a viable license is an opportunity to make Ghastly Affair a more unique gaming experience. The changes I have already explored will make it a better fit for Gothic Romance and possibly even easier to play. Likewise, removing the legacy material from “The Ready Rules” makes them even better for the kind of casual, pick-up games they are intended for.
In the future, my gaming material will probably remain Open Source in some manner; but I have not yet decided what form that might take. However, I am thinking of some kind of license whereby others can freely release scenarios, supplemental materials, and rules hacks, without being able to just copy my stuff word-for-word and sell it as their own. It is perilous, however, to craft any kind of legal agreement without a team of lawyers. Just going with Creative Commons is an option, of course.
Look for “The Ready Rules of the Road – Play-Test Version B”, sans OGL, to be presented here in the very near future. Further updates about the future of “Ghastly Affair” will be forthcoming, once there is more clarity about the ultimate fate of the OGL.