With the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Basic Rules being a free PDF, they are practically the SRD.

But is there a license available for content creators that want to create commercial products based on 5e?

Wizards still lists only the Revised 3.5 under OGL and 4e GSL, but I realize that 5e is still in the release process.


3 Answers 3


Yes, originally expected in 2015, 5e OGL and SRD arrived on Jan 2016.

OGL is now embedded in the SRD, available on the Wizards site here: Systems Reference Document (SRD)

5e OGL is essentially the same with 3r OGL word for word (see below).

Like 3r SRD (and unlike 4e's), it contains de-flavored basic player and DM resources that you can use to create other OGL materials. Please keep in mind that Basic Rules is not SRD5, and SRD5 is not 3r SRD. For example, SRD 5.0 includes experience table (under "Beyond 1st Level", page 56), but simplified all classes to their archetype, and contains only one feat.

Wizards of the Coast has also created a new online market, Dungeon Masters Guild, that allows you to extend proprietary materials such as Forgotten Realms and sell them, sharing the profit with Wizards.

Otherwise, what you can do with the SRD and what you cannot do remains the same as 3r. You can still distribute (and sell) your SRD based OGL materials, outside the guild, as long as the materials does not use "Product Identities" and does not violate other copyrights.

Differences between 5e OGL with 3r OGL:

  1. Term 7, last sentence, rights are now retained for Product, not Product Identity.
  2. Term 15 now refers to "System Reference Document 5.0" instead of "System Reference Document". The years and authors have also been updated.
  3. Legal Information, Product Identity list now includes "Underdark", and also refers to new SRD 5.0.

Historically, the plan was an announcement @ 2014 fall and release in 2015.

Here is an official post about it:

We want to ensure that the quality of anything D&D fans create is as high as possible. Basic D&D is aimed at new players ... not for material that you want to share broadly.

It'll take time for everyone to absorb the rules and how they all interact.

While the details are still in flux, we can say that we plan to announce the details of our plans sometime this fall. After that announcement, we plan on launching our program in early 2015.

This matches some other third party comments, which hints that they want to do something different from OGL:

Mearls' plan for D&D is largely the same goals that were created for the OGL. The difference was that the OGL (assumed) that publishers would create a better game by cooperating through iterative design; instead, authors were motivated to ignore each others' innovations and recreate the same rules so that they were paid additional cents per word.

It may be related that Wizards has not granted any translation license yet. Perhaps the developers are focusing on core rulebooks and neglected licenses. The real reason may be unrelated, of course.

As far as I know, as of 2016 Aug, there is still no official 5e translation. Everyone may translate and release SRD5 under the terms of OGL, however, which is what Hobby Japan do.

(Update 2017 March: Finally, after 3 years, Gale Force Nine will translate D&D 5e into multiple languages, starting with French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese. This stands in contrast with previous editions where a local publisher would buy the right to translate and distribute the local language.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Since the only people who will read this post live in a world where WotC has issued a translation license, I think it's be better to incorporate the GF9 info into the post proper and either remove the paragraph about there being no license or remove to an endnote the idea that there wasn't for many years. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ For those unfamiliar with the history of tabletop RPG design, that second quote translates to "we didn't expect people to use the OGL to make Pathfinder and other D&D retroclones that directly compete with D&D." \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ After the OGL1.1... let's say "drama", WotC published SRD5.1 under the CC-BY-4.0 license (Creative Commons) as well as OGL \$\endgroup\$
    – Drejzer
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 21:28


Wizards of the Coast released the OGL and SRD for 5e D&D in January of 2016, and updated it in May of 2016.


You can download it for free. (Version 5.1 dated 04 May 2016, which fixed a few errors/omissions).

Be advised, for each race it only has one sub race, and for each class only one archetype. The spell list does not have all of the spells in the PHB, but it has most of them.

Mr Mearls has, on Twitter, advised that the lack of Eldritch Blast was an oversight (which is now included). With the release of 5.1, most of the 'missing' info is less likely to be an accidental omission and more likely to be purposeful limitations in content.

‏@Barantor @mikemearls was the exclusion of the cantrip "Eldritch Blast" in the SRD an oversight or intent?

Oversight - we have an email and contact info embedded in the PDF for precisely this sort of thing

This release coincided with the Dungeon Masters Guild initiative on producing D&D content, and the split on revenue: one half for the creator, the other half split by Wizards of the Coast and OneBookshelf, who is partnering with WoTC.

As I read the language, the OGL is the same as for 3.5e, since the date cited is 2000. From page 2 of the document:

  1. COPYRIGHT NOTICE Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, LLC.
    System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Sims, and Steve Townshend, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

There is a 5e SRD and related documentation now on the Wizards website.

It is important to note that some vendors have used the previous SRD to create 5e compatible products. Primal Thule 5e, a book from Sasquatch Studios created 5e materials for WotC/Hasbro and have crafted their "5e" book based on the 3.x license. They also have versions for 4e and Pathfinder.


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