As you no doubt know, the OGL has been the subject of “some” controversy over the last week or so. The debate and controversy rage on, and I won’t rehash any of it here.
While the OGL controversy has major implications for Raging Swan Press, I’ve also been thinking about how this might affect Citadel on the Wilderlands. A large part of Citadel on the Wilderlands will be a richly detailed setting ripe for exploration. This part of the book could easily be designed to be system neutral. However, much of the book also comprises a large sandbox-style adventure; it is exceptionally hard to design an adventure without including any game mechanics.
Given principal design for Citadel on the Wilderlands doesn’t finish until October, it is likely that the new OGL—in whatever form it takes—will be out by then. If the 1.0a OGL is still in force—as I suspect it will be—then all is well, and I’ll release Citadel on the Wilderlands as I had originally planned. If WotC has forged ahead with their plan to de-authorise 1.0a, a legal battle will likely rage, and I’ll have to rethink my plans; how I do not know.
And this brings up an aside. Business owners like myself crave stability and predictability; they enable us to invest in our business by hiring freelancers and so on. The OGL controversy has plunged the industry into confusion. I suspect many projects, large and small, teeter on the edge of cancellation, delay or extensive re-writes.
I’d be insane to hire someone at the moment to write something I may never be legally allowed to publish. I suspect it is no coincidence that I’ve received more prospective emails from freelancers looking for work in the last few days than I did in all of December combined.
So where does that leave Citadel on the Wilderlands? My plan is to continue designing the flavoursome parts of the setting and ignore any mechanical elements beyond the absolute basics. This gives me flexibility in the face of future developments and ensures I am not designing something that I’ll never be able to release.
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Creighton Broadhurst is the Publisher of Useful Items at Raging Swan Press. He lives on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. He is not planning to voyage far.