I've had artistic skills since I was a kid and I love D&D, and I want to create some books. I would be trying to fund them with KickStarter — 100 new monsters, 100 NPCs, 100 map tiles, and stuff like that. I would be doing all the art.

Is this something I can do? Is copyright a problem, and if so is there any way to avoid those problems?


1 Answer 1


Angry GM (theangrygm.com) wrote a comprehensive article on the subject here. You'll learn a lot about Open Game License (OGL), System Reference Document (SRD) and other copyright considerations there. However, be warned that his writing, while full of good advice and wisdom, is liberally sprinkled with rude and vulgar language (I'm borrowing nitsua60's words here).

Basically, you have to choose between two models:

  1. Limit yourself to the content given in the SRD (with all its limitations). You're free to create completely new material, but you can't reuse or reproduce anything defined as "Product Identity" per the terms of the Open Gaming License.
  2. Sell your work through the Dungeon Masters Guild. Be aware, though, that if you choose this latter model, you won't be allowed to distribute it (even for free) anywhere else, and that includes any copy you would want to give as rewards to your contributors.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, as much as I enjoy his site, his inability to use 50 words, but instead 500, is off putting, even with profanity allowed for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LupaShiva Unfortunately, successful professional publishing (i.e., that results in making money instead of losing money) is an activity that requires either knowing a lot of information on how to do it, or investing time and energy into learning that information. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LupaShiva One thing I'm sure of is you have to understand perfectly the ins and outs of this business. AngryGM might not be the most concise writer, but the legal texts are not going to be easier to navigate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Meta4ic
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 20:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ While Angry can be a bit ranty and long-winded, when he gets to the meat of what he's talking about he makes it as clear as he can. This topic is simply very difficult to navigate in general. I enjoy Angry's work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aviose
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 22:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuybrushMcKenzie: I think the terms of DMsGuild and DriveThruRPG are quite different, despite both being part of OneBookShelf, due to DMsGuild being officially partnered with WotC. I've seen Kickstarters and the like do that with DTRPG, but not DMsGuild. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 6:44

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