I’ve been playing some form of Dungeons & Dragons since Advanced D&D 1st edition, way back in the 80’s, and I’ve been DMing them since the early 90’s. I used to play D&D all the time … every weekend my friends and I would gather around the table around 10 am with our books, dice, snacks and drinks to begin exploring the recesses of our imagination. These fantasy marathons would often continue into the wee hour and we’d stop only when we could no longer keep our heads off the table or our eyelids propped open, usually around 2 or 3 in the morning! Some nights we even played through the night … this was only frowned on by our wives when they were unable to stay awake, and missed out on the extra hours of fun. 🙂 The peak of our gaming was 3/3.5 and let me tell you we had a blast. There are so many stories I could share, like how our “good” parties killed everything on sight in a dungeon, but our “evil” parties wanted to negotiate and strike a bargain. I’ll save the stories for another time.
Recently my friends and I have been getting back into D&D (we took a break during the 4th edition). As I said I’ve DMed for years so I wanted to get a feel for the game and I figured what better way to explore the new setting than to read adventure modules that Wizards’ and others are putting out. I went to DriveThruRPG and started looking for modules. I found some 5E modules I could buy. This lead me to the idea, “hey what if I write my own modules?”
This seems like such a simple question, could I write my own modules and sell them through my site and sites like DriveThru RPG? Well sometimes the simplest question doesn’t have the simplest answer. In the past, Wizards has released guidance on how to create modules for D&D, for example the D&D 4th edition Game System License. So I hit Google and figured I’d have my answer in seconds. Well an hour later I still didn’t have a clear answer to my question. I found several “sea lawyers” giving all manner of advice ranging from “it’s fine, just don’t use the word beholder” to “don’t target 5E, use the OGL and you’ll be fine.” These answers didn’t work for me, so I kept digging and digging.
After searching on and off for a few days I finally found a lead. Wizards has a page providing guidance on building Fan Sites, which seemed promising… Sure enough in the 3rd paragraph it had a link to asking questions about digital rights. The link led me to Wizards: Use of Wizards’ Intellectual Property which provides instructions on how to request permission to use Wizards’ work in your work. While this isn’t as straightforward as the OGL, it does provide a path forward until Wizard releases easy-to-consume guidance.
So I finally have my answer and my path is clear! I can request permission to use their intellectual property by filling out some handy-dandy paperwork and then start designing my adventures!
Until next time, roll a crit for me!
TL;DR: Request Use of Wizard’s Intellectual Property to have a chance at using their work in yours.