Does the SRD of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition now allow the use of some iconic monsters like Beholders and Illithids (Mind Flayer), since the SRD is now under CC license? Or they are still protected?

Can these monsters be used if the CC-licensed SRD is used?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you provide a specific example? There are no Beholders neither Illithids in SRD. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Jan 9 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Both beholders and "mind flayers" are mentioned in passing (but do not include stat blocks). \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Commented Jan 9 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


Mind Flayers and Beholders are still not open content

While beholders and mind flayers are referenced in a couple of places in the SRD1, that does not give you the right to use a protected creature in your works. That these terms are protected is stated explicitly in the introduction for the OGL version of the SRD (which is not part of the OGL itself):

The following items are [...] not Open Content: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master, Monster Manual, d20 System, Wizards of the Coast, d20 (when used as a trademark), Forgotten Realms, Faerûn, proper names (including those used in the names of spells or items), places, Underdark, Red Wizard of Thay, the City of Union, Heroic Domains of Ysgard, Ever Changing Chaos of Limbo, Windswept Depths of Pandemonium, Infinite Layers of the Abyss, Tarterian Depths of Carceri, Gray Waste of Hades, Bleak Eternity of Gehenna, Nine Hells of Baator, Infernal Battlefield of Acheron, Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, Twin Paradises of Bytopia, Blessed Fields of Elysium, Wilderness of the Beastlands, Olympian Glades of Arborea, Concordant Domain of the Outlands, Sigil, Lady of Pain, Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, beholder, gauth, carrion crawler, tanar’ri, baatezu, displacer beast, githyanki, githzerai, mind flayer, illithid, umber hulk, yuan-ti.

Unless WotC explicity grants you a right to use these protected terms, you cannot use them. The absence of a repeat prohibition in the SRD 5.1 does not grant you any rights to use the protected terms. You need something that gives you license to use the otherwise protected assets.

There are two different licenses now:

  1. the OGL SRD 5.1 with the above intro, and all the OGL boilerplate and the rules text, and

  2. the CC-BY-4.0 SRD 5.1 with the much shorter Legal Information boilerplate:

The CC-BY license guidance further advises you as a user

Pay attention to what exactly is being licensed. The licensor should have marked which elements of the work are subject to the license and which are not. For those elements that are not subject to the license, you may need separate permission.

(Note: I'm not a lawyer, and don't claim to be one. Get legal advice, if you need it, from a lawyer).

1 Mind flayers are mentioned under creature types and damage types, beholders under creature types and in the deck of many things; the term illithid is not used.

P.S. For a deeper discussion of how copyright and trademarks work in regrads to these monster names, see Which D&D monsters are copyrighted?


You must log in to answer this question.