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86 votes
Accepted

Why are feminine pronouns used for GMs in rule-books?

Female pronouns are used to be gender-inclusive. First off, singular "they" as a gender-less pronoun is not yet agreed upon as standard English again (see the next paragraph for why I used ...
Oblivious Sage's user avatar
  • 55.2k
58 votes
Accepted

What was going on with D&D's leaked OGL 1.1 in January 2023? How does it affect me?

Not at all As of January 27, 2023 Wizards announced they would not be modifying OGL 1.0a or revoke it. Instead, they put the SRD 5.1 under Creative Commons. We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. ...
minnmass's user avatar
  • 18.6k
49 votes
Accepted

What is the proper way to style references to D&D game elements?

You can find examples of most of these (thus demonstrating the proper way to use them) in the Sage Advice Compendium. Class feature names Class features, such as Cunning Action, Wild Shape, Draconic ...
V2Blast's user avatar
  • 49.9k
40 votes
Accepted

What software does the WOTC design team use to layout the rulebooks?

According to Mike Mearls, Wizards of the Coast does their design and layout in Adobe InDesign, which is the industry standard for any sort of graphical book publishing. InDesign is a layout program ...
Mike Riverso's user avatar
  • 5,378
34 votes

Is it legal to design and publish a game with D&D's ability scores?

Yes I am not a lawyer and anyone can sue anyone for anything. However... Many RPGs, not under license from D&D using the OGL or otherwise, have used identically named ability scores since 1975 ...
mxyzplk's user avatar
  • 175k
33 votes
Accepted

How do I get started learning how to design my own RPG?

I'm going to take a shot at being more concrete than the question asks. This answer thus focuses on the what you have to do, rather than the "where to find resources to tell me what to do". That is ...
Frames Catherine White's user avatar
30 votes

How to enter the OGL into my work

The OGL itself contains full instructions on using the OGL Using the Open Gaming License requires following its instructions to the letter. That's the nature of a license: it tells you exactly and ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
29 votes

What is a "Game Jam"?

An event where many people try to make a game within a time limit, and often to a specific theme. "Game jam" actually has a Wikipedia entry which summarizes it quite well: A game jam is an ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Where did the concept of community copies originate in the indie scene?

It started before me, but I was the one who gave it the name and wrote enough of a tutorial that people could replicate it. I wrote a bit about it on my site: It used to be that if you had a price on ...
Dee Pennyway's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Do Fate's licenses allow including core rulebook text in a for-profit expansion?

I run Evil Hat and am one of the originators of Fate, so I've got some XP to spend on this one. :) In either case you can include the entire content of the SRDs available on the Fate licensing site (...
Fred Hicks's user avatar
  • 1,786
26 votes

What was going on with D&D's leaked OGL 1.1 in January 2023? How does it affect me?

According to leaks—not official statements, though the leaks look pretty authoritative and Wizards has said “we’ll have a statement soon” rather than “no definitely not” so something here is probably ...
KRyan's user avatar
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23 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to design and publish a game with D&D's ability scores?

Short version: Str/Con/Dex/Int/Wis/Cha appears to be available for use, but tread carefully. This is a very gray area, and any advice you get isn't worth much, unless it's from your lawyer. If you ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 17.1k
21 votes

Does the OGL let me write D&D 5e compatible rulebooks legally?

If you're only using content from the SRD and your original work, then you can release it under OGL. A conversion of someone else's non-OGL rules from a previous version would not be allowed under the ...
Adeptus's user avatar
  • 28.5k
20 votes
Accepted

DMs Guild: can stories be set in the past of the Realms?

Yes, according to DM's Guild Since Mearls always disavows speaking with authority, here's someone who is speaking with authority, writing today (7 June 2016): Hello [redacted], Thank you for ...
nitsua60's user avatar
  • 102k
20 votes

Why do RPGs have metaplots?

Deadlands: A Case Study in Metaplot Deadlands is a "weird west" roleplaying game that started in 1996 and has had a pretty extensive metaplot, so it's a good case study as to why a metaplot ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 15.8k
18 votes

What is the average number of sales of adventures (modules) and adventure settings (hexcrawls) for OSR publishers?

You're asking one of the hardest questions in the industry. Tabletop game publishers are very reluctant to release firm figures, being very skittish about appearing as 'weak'; this problem has ...
sgfit's user avatar
  • 1,389
18 votes

Can I publish my own continent or pantheon on the Dungeon Master's Guild?

From the page you linked: publish my original campaign world using 5th Edition rules: OGL (Yes), DM Guild (No). Once you say that "Clearly, it's not canonically 'the Shadowfell'," you're saying, "...
Azuaron's user avatar
  • 1,256
18 votes

What was going on with D&D's leaked OGL 1.1 in January 2023? How does it affect me?

Wizards of the Coast has published a blog post backing away from some of the changes, including the retroactive license change and the royalty structure. According to them, this is all just a big ...
DawnPaladin's user avatar
17 votes

Why are feminine pronouns used for GMs in rule-books?

In addition to the current tendency to be gender inclusive, using different pronouns helps to clarify different roles when a manual, role playing or otherwise, describes interactions. We see it in ...
Kasper van den Berg's user avatar
17 votes

I want to use the kinds of monsters that appear in tabletop RPGs for commercial use in writing; how can I tell which content is public-domain?

Even public domain things can have elements subject to copyright and/or trademark For example, the word “drow” is public domain: it refers to mythological northern Scottish elves. If you use it in ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
16 votes
Accepted

What is a community copy?

"A limited pool of freely available copies that anyone could claim." Dee Pennyway explains community copies on their blog (emphasis mine): It used to be that if you had a price on your game,...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
15 votes

Is it legal to design and publish a game with D&D's ability scores?

Assuming that this is written with U.S. law in mind, game rules cannot be copyrighted, at all; neither can words. Thus, you can certainly use the same names for ability scores without infringing on ...
Jerry Stratton's user avatar
15 votes

I want to use the kinds of monsters that appear in tabletop RPGs for commercial use in writing; how can I tell which content is public-domain?

Find them in other public domain works. Gary Gygax faced the same problem when TSR was threatened with a lawsuit over creatures appearing in the works of Tolkien. His solution was to prove that these ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Which is the “poison pill” provision in the D&D 4e GSL?

The GSL History of 2008 The Fred Hicks Interview quoted in the opener already indicated, that the Poison Pill must have been a clause that could be sued over, or which could put the viability of the ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 43.4k
14 votes
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How can I reference a Monster Manual stat block in an OGL adventure?

The simplest way to reference monsters is to follow the lead of WotC published adventures and not include page numbers at all. At the beginning of your publication, explain your writing convention ("...
Derek Stucki's user avatar
  • 27.7k
14 votes
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Creating an RPG with a similar setting to Shadowrun: is it a derivative work?

What you're describing is a genre — specifically the fantasy-cyberpunk genre. Genres can't be copyrighted, so derivative work isn't a set of concepts that are relevant. If you were actually using ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to make a D&D 5e character sheet app?

I am not a lawyer. But the following is my understanding of current law and the licenses. It does not constitute legal advice. To publish an app that has OGL content, the OGL content inside your app ...
J. A. Streich's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

What is the typeface or font that is used for the text of the Moldvay Red Box basic D&D set?

The Moldvay edition uses Souvenir, according to the unofficial TSR & WotC Font Usage FAQ. For other editions, you can check there as well.
Carl Pinder's user avatar
11 votes

Can I publish my own books for use with D&D 5th edition?

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. ...
Meta4ic's user avatar
  • 5,370
11 votes
Accepted

How to turn hand-drawn maps to digital

There's no silver bullet Map-making for “good” copies of maps is really a matter of redrawing them from scratch (digitally or physically), using the original design as a reference. There's no easy or ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar

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