The Glatisant: Issue #36
The Old-School DnD Newsletter from Questing Beast
Welcome to The Glatisant, Questing Beast’s monthly newsletter. You can read previous issues here and support the newsletter on Patreon here (where you can also get access the the latest version of Knave 2e). Subscribe to get new issues in your inbox and get entered in my RPG giveaways!
A bunch of publishers have put together a huge 52-book sale on the Humble Bundle, including rules and adventures from Old-School Essentials, Frog God Games, Greg Gillespie and Castles & Crusades. $887 worth of books for $25!
The OGL Saga
January began with the revelation that Wizards of the Coast planned to “de-authorize” the original OGL, something they had previously said was impossible, and replace it with an extremely restrictive license that included handing WotC the right to republish creator content (without payment), mandatory reporting of OGL revenue, a cut of revenues from big publishers, and even a morality clause. Why was WotC doing this? Ryan Dancey (the architect of the original OGL) breaks it down:
The backlash was immediate and devastating. Every major DnD YouTube channel and publisher condemned the move as a (possibly illegal) betrayal, with many planning to dissociate themselves from DnD entirely. Small OSR publishers were faced with the prospect of having to scrub all of their books of SRD content. Numerous publishers announced plans to create their own 5e-like systems. WotC’s biggest rival, Paizo, announced that they were creating an alternative OGL framework, the ORC, and said that they were willing to take WotC to court over the OGL cancellation. Thousands of fans began cancelling their DnD Beyond subscriptions, crashing the web page, and 77,000 people signed an open letter demanding that the original OGL be preserved.
After more than a week of silence, WotC released a very strange apology and said that they would work with the DnD community to craft a more acceptable OGL. That did nothing to quell the outrage, which spread out of the RPG sphere into mainstream YouTube and traditional news networks. Cartoonists, bloggers, major Hasbro stockholders, and former WotC employees like Monte Cook (designer on 3e) all condemned WotC’s plans.
A second draft of the new OGL was released and was widely rejected. Finally, WotC surrendered to the PR cataclysm and announced that the original OGL would be preserved, and that furthermore the entirety of the 5.1 SRD would be immediately placed under an irrevocable CC-BY-4.0 license. This meant that anyone would be allowed to use that SRD’s content, for any purpose, including commercially, forever. They would not need to use any OGL to do so, just a brief attribution of the material to WotC.
In other words, here at the end of January, DnD rules and mechanics are more free and open than they ever have been.
And now a word from our sponsors…
Vast Grimm: Into Oblivion expands its space-punk, sci-fi core rules (Mörk Borg compatible). The Kickstarter contains 3 new rulebooks featuring an adventure campaign, starship combat/creation, and space raiders' hex crawl. It’s got a bitchin’ patch program too. It even includes the core book, if you don’t have it yet.
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Block, Dodge, Parry is a classless levelless OSR RPG and contains 16 lightweight careers, 97 diegetic skills, a free-form magic system, weapons, training, and more. Building upon the basics of Cairn, BDP acts as an 'Advanced Edition' but also functions as a system-neutral toolbox!
Announcing the Demon Lord Expansion for Twelve Years solo+ RPG! You crowned the Lich King, but now a more sulfurous foe emerges. Can you find all six sigils and survive long enough to perform the banishing ritual? A gorgeously crafted and illustrated zine from Max Moon Games. Follow on Kickstarter!
Cloud Empress is an expansive, Nausicaa-inspired setting for the Mothership RPG. Cloud Empress imagines a far-off future ruled by giant psychic cicadas. Find a way to live, thrive and love in the psychic wreckage of Earth among the junk of ancient people who abandoned it. Back now on Kickstarter!
Have an upcoming Kickstarter or an RPG project you want to promote? Advertise in The Glatisant (14,000+ email subscribers) or on Questing Beast (73,000+ subscribers) by emailing me at questingmaps at gmail dot com.
Ten Foot Pole gives his “Best” award to two adventures: Aberrant Reflections and Gilded Dream of the Incandescent Queen (free).
Geek Gamers reviews Central Casting Dungeons.
Over at Questing Best I look through CY_BORG, the cyberpunk follow-up to MORK BORG, and recommend some alternative RPGs for people leaving DnD 5e.
If you would like to submit a product for review consideration on Questing Beast, mail it to: Ben Milton, 6505 E Central Ave, Box #127, Wichita, KS, 67206, USA.
Prismatic Wasteland created a bracket for best blog post of the year and had Twitter vote on it.
At Questing Beast I announce my 8 favorite OSR books of 2022!
Goonhammer has a long history of Gorkamorka, a Warhammer 40k specialist game. Patrick at False Machine responds with an idea for how Games Workshop could survive in an age of cheap 3D printing.
Grognardia posts the Code of Ethics that TSR promulgated in 1995, restricting the content its writers could use in their adventures. In a related video, LotFP explains the hidden problems with putting morality clauses into RPG contracts.
Analog Game Studies: An Analysis of Early 1980s English Language Commercial TRPG Definitions
The Alexandrian has an excellent history of the Open Gaming License. Lots of things I didn’t know about.
For those who missed it last month, Dungeon23 is a year-long project created by Sean McCoy, where participants create a new megadungeon room each day. On his newsletter, he advises everyone to slow down and focus on the process.
Mazirian’s Garden continues his work on the Catacombs of the North Wind.
Bearded Devil begins work on the Apocalypse Archive (1, 2, 3, 4), filled with his distinctive maps.
Jacob Hurst at Demogorgon is building his megadungeon from the bottom up, beginning with the Abyss (1, 2).
Goblin Punch returns to blogging with a dungeon packed with characteristically strange-but-gameable ideas. (1, 2, 3).
Dyson Logos’ draws a dungeon:
Theory and Advice
Wizard Thief Fighter: Roleplay is Folk Art
Tomb of Tedankhamen: The Stupidity of Social Skills in Combat
Rise up Comus: Natural Language Game Design
Monkey Blood Design: How to create a Zine Layout in Affinity Publisher
Traverse Fantasy: Switch Tables
Goblin Punch: Puzzle Do’s and Dont’s
Was it Likely?: Puzzlebox Monsters!
I found this video by Matt Colville to be quite moving:
Mythic Mountain Musings: The Monsters Don’t Know What They’re Doing
FASCINATING series by Trilemma Adventures: A Taxonomy of Roleplaying Utterances, Further RPG Transcript Analysis: Old School, and RPG Transcript Analysis: Critical Role
Monster and Manuals: Random Encounter Theory
Alex Schroeder: Don’t Overthink Treasure Placement
I Cast Light: Empty but not Nothing: Thoughts on Actionable Empty Rooms
A Knight at the Opera: Picture Book Gameplay
The Alexandrian: Are You SURE You Want To Do That?
Meguey Baker at Lumpley Games continues her worldbuilding series: Follow the Thread (part 3) (part 4)
A viral tweet explores the story of Red Hair, a background character in Conan the Barbarian.
Goblin Punch: Some Words on Dwarven Gender and The Smurgh
Throne of Salt: Dan Reviews Conlangs and How to Easily Make a Diverse Fantasy Setting.
Coins and Scrolls: The Secret of Wealth
Rotten Pulp: Culture Vampire
Tabletop Minions: You Can Make Your OWN LORE in Wargaming?
Little Wars TV takes a look inside Alan Perry’s (of Perry Miniatures fame) magnificent gaming room.
That’s it for this issue, see you next month! This newsletter makes use of affiliate links, which help support Questing Beast at no cost to you.