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I was looking at the SRD for Spirit of the Century, and I noticed the Wizards of the Coast OGL license at the bottom of the document. I did a bit of digging, and FATE states that it is a derivative of Fudge, and thus must use the OGL (which implies that Fudge is based off of the OGL).

This all seems a bit strange to me, as the OGL is typically applied to d20 systems as far as I am aware.

In what manner does FATE (and Fudge) use the OGL, and what is some of the history behind that?

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2 Answers

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OGL for d20 Only?

The OGL, or Open Game License, was originated by Wizards of the Coast in the year 2000 to use for the D&D rules. But since then, other people have used the same license to openly license other systems. It's like the MIT or Apache or GPL software licenses; anyone can use them, they are not "owned" by the parent company in any meaningful way. Same thing with the OGL; you can apply it to any game you care to (and own the rights to). Other non-d20 games released under the OGL and with online SRDs include Action!, Mongoose Traveller, and Mongoose Runequest. In fact, fairly recently (2009), the old d6 system from WEG Star Wars and Ghostbusters was released under the OGL. Of course there are a lot of d20-ish SRDs - d20 Modern, Anime D20, True20, Pathfinder, etc. Here's a reasonably comprehensive older list; here's another. But the OGL is not specifically tied to d20 in any way whatsoever; it's just that d20 is the only OGL game most casual gamers come into contact with.

Fudging FATE

Grey Ghost Press decided to open license Fudge under the OGL on April 6, 2005. So, just as the OGL makes people able to adapt d20 into various other OGL strains and variants, Evil Hat published the Fudge variant FATE via the OGL and then later the FATE 3rd Edition as featured in Spirit of the Century.

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An adjunct answer that goes directly to the original question updated for FATE 3.0 as presented in The Dresden Files: While the Dresden Files RPG does use the OGL, it deems everything not found in the Spirit of the Century rules to be product identity. So from Evil Hat's point of view, you can't use the new rules, though it is actually a misuse of the OGL license, since you can't really close off derivative mechanics.

They have opened certain sections of the Dresden Files RPG to be under the OGL since the release of the Dresden Files RPG (1), but they are taking a deliberate approach to what they do license under OGL.

Ref: Using FATE with the OGL.

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