New Program Allows Self-Published D&D Content
January 15, 2016 Leave a comment
Wizards of the Coast, the company which produces both Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons (the first collectable card game and role-playing game, respectively), has teamed up with OneBookShelf to launch a new program called the Dungeons Masters Guild.
The Dungeon Masters Guild is a marketplace where people can self-publish their own D&D products in PDF (and eventually print) form, and charge whatever they want for them. They get half the cover price, and the rest gets split between Wizards and OneBookshelf. This is a new direction for Wizards, who back in the early 2000s introduced the Open Game License (OGL) for Dungeons & Dragons, which allowed people to use some aspects of the system to publish their own content. The OGL breathed a lot of new life into the role-playing game industry, and even allowed Paizo Publishing to make their Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which outsold the fourth edition of D&D.
The new Guild program is a little different though. Products published through it can only be published there, and contribute to a sort of community pool, allowing people to build off others’ work, within reason. Most importantly, it allows designers to use IP belonging to Wizards, namely the Forgotten Realms, the most popular, and longest continually supported, setting for the D&D game. That wasn’t possible under the old (or the new) OGL.
It’s a very new program, and with most PDF products of this type going for only a couple of bucks, probably isn’t going to bring in a landslide of money. However, it does give Wizards a chance to build a meaningful community, by supporting something players do anyway (making new content) and allowing them to share it easily and make some money off it. It will also give them a ready testing ground for potential new writers, designers, and artists, which are always in demand, but can be hard to actually find.