I am runnig a game with all official D&D 3.5 rulebooks available + Dragonlance Campaign books from WoDC, SoveignPress and MW Productions (since it is a Dragonlance campaign). I discard classes/PrCs/items etc that does not fit into the campaign, but rest are all available.

One of my players finds a spell from Kalamar Campaign (Spell Haste), and asks for the spell. But before thinking about if the spell fits into campaign, I wish to be sure about the offical-ness of the book, since I want to be honest to my players about the available books.

It carries D&D logo but belongs to some other publisher (Kenzer & Company). Is it an official book or carries D&D logo according to some license-based issues and counts as a 3rd party source?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since it's officially licensed (though under duress), this is what is known as a "second party" publisher. Had that clarified by a publisher on a podcast I was listening to recently. Compare en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development_party \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 20 '13 at 13:06

Kalamar is third-party, published by Kenzer & Company. There's an interesting reason why it bears the official D&D logo: Kenzer & Company won the rights to use the logo as part of a settlement in a lawsuit against Wizards of the Coast.

If I understand the story correctly, Kenzer & Company owned the rights to Knights of the Dinner Table, a comic strip which ran in Dragon magazine, about a gaming group that played a (then fictional) parody of AD&D called Hackmaster. When Wizards of the Coast republished the magazines in their Dragon Magazine Archive CD, Kenzer & Company sued.

As part of the settlement for the lawsuit, Kenzer & Company gained a license to produce derivative products from Dungeons & Dragons until 2007. This led to the creation of an actual HackMaster RPG in 2001. Kenzer & Company also won the right to use the official D&D logo for their D&D-compatible products, unlike most third-party publishers who could only use the D20 logo or OGL.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Very interesting indeed! Probably somewhat less official like that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 19 '13 at 1:29

It was published by another company, but licensed the D&D logo for the book. Similar things happened with Dark Sun, Ghostwalk, and Oriental Adventures. It’s similar to the situation of Dragon magazine (which, in the 3.5 days, was published by Paizo for all it was Wizard of the Coast’s official D&D magazine). This sort of relationship is usually termed “second-party” because it’s closer than third-party (which are materials made on the open platform but without any special relationship to Wizards) but it’s not first-party (Wizards themselves).

Whether or not that that is good enough to count as “official” is largely up to you. There is no official definition of the term “official,” heh.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Dark Sun, Ghostwalk, and oriental Adventures are all Wizards' products. They are First-party. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Sep 20 '13 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeanMcMillan Not 100% sure on Ghostwalk, but Wizards never released official Dark Sun material for 3.x (they did own the property, which they picked up from TSR, they just did nothing with it until 4e), though both Paizo through its Dragon magazine articles and Athas.org were licensed to produce 3.x material for Dark Sun. There was one Wizards-published Oriental Adventures book (Oriental Adventures itself), but Alderac also published numerous additional 3.x books for the setting (mostly blank of Rokugan books) that were not by WotC. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 20 '13 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. It seems these are bad examples, as there are no purchasable d20 Dark Sun products, and the main OA and Ghostwalk books are WOTC-produced. Did the AEG Rokugan books have the D&D Logo? \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Sep 24 '13 at 13:50

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