Summer Witching Program: Can I sell it?

Description: I'm working on a Microlite20 based game. Would I be able to make money off of it?

Topic Tags: monetary pay what you want rpg

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Summer Witching Program: Can I sell it?

Post by CrossedWires » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:04 pm

Hi there,

I have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a scummy question.

I'm working on an RPG idea (essentially a summer school/ adult-education program for witches and wizards). I feel like Microlite 20 would make a really good "base" for this game. My question is whether I'd be able to put the game on and DriveThru RPG for pay-what-you-want?

I understand that M20 is released under the Open Game License, but I'm not 100% sure what the OGL means. I don't know if any work produced under the OGL license is still under the OGL, or if it just protects the work itself from Wotc lawyers.

I'm also unsure whether this would be against the "spirit" of M20 as well, given that lots and lots of people have released their games created with M20 for free.

Thanks for your time, if anyone has a better understanding than me, or their own views and opinions, then please let me know :)

-- Cross

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Re: Summer Witching Program: Can I sell it?

Post by quaffeine » Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:47 am

I'm also planning on producing an m20-based ruleset, so I can share what I understand, which is hopefully correct.

1) Check this thread, which also describes the difference, but the main distinction is between OGL Content (freely available) and Product Identity (owned by the creator.


2) So as you're assembling the content, feel free to include OGL Content. It's maybe good form to attribute the source if you pull directly from OGL Content, but not strictly required? However, the important thing to remember is that OGL Content you use needs to remain OGL Content once you release. You can't use OGL content and say it's proprietary. By the same token, if WotC has labeled their own content as OGL (as they did with their SRD and 5E Basic rules I think), they can't stop you from using it, lawyers or no. Unless they revoke that license at a later time, maybe they can do that...

3) On the other hand, content you create yourself can be labeled as Product Identity. This prevents others from using it as-is in their own products. You may consider specifying items such as e g.. your world's name (e.g. Dragonlance's Krynn), character/monster names (like Drizzt), etc. One important thing to note here is that you can't copyright a concept, only its presentation. So if you come up with the world's greatest slap fight mechanic for your game and call it Product Identity, someone else can describe it with different words and artwork. They just can't use precisely YOUR presentation of it.

4) Lastly, there's nothing wrong (or even "scummy") about planning to sell some work you've created, whether or not its based on existing OGL Content. You're still expending your time and energy to assemble it, edit it, give it nice formatting, maybe some artwork, etc. If you do borrow largely from m20, particularly the Compendium, I might suggest making a contribution to if you end up making some dough off it. As I said before, not REQUIRED by the OGL license, but arguably good form.

Maybe some wiser and more experienced authors than I can fact-check me here...


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Re: Summer Witching Program: Can I sell it?

Post by Vanya » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:00 pm

Yeah, that's more or less the gist of it. And making your own content based on OGL stuff is kinda the point of the OGL in the first place.
And every OGL source will have Open Content and Product Identity spelled out in the its own OGL section.
Lastly, a good rule of thumb is that most things that refer to a specific campaign setting is usually Product Identity.
Like quaffeine said, you wouldn't be able to use Dragonlance, Krynn, Drizzt, etc.

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