Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Sincere Apology

For years, people have been talking on messageboards about petitioning WotC to do a reprint of AD&D. I thought they were idiots for even wasting their time on such an impossible, Quixotic idea. I'm pretty sure I never flat-out said, "you're an idiot," since I completely sympathized and agreed with the sentiment ... but I'm also pretty sure that I posted some wet blanket types of responses like, "that will never happen."

You guys were right, and I'm the idiot. Which is really cool, given that I'm pleased to be wrong about this and to find that those reprints are actually being planned.

In terms of the whole retro-clone initiative, from my perspective this doesn't really change much since the purpose of OSRIC was to make the content available for third-party publications rather than for at-the-table gaming. On that particular project, the only way in which WotC could actually step beyond OSRIC would be to (a) make AD&D open content, which OSRIC already is, and (b) to allow some way for a third party publisher to mention compatibility with the AD&D trademark. Part (b) is the territory into which OSRIC can't venture, and I doubt that WotC would be willing to go so far.

And thus, in hopes of getting lucky a second time, I'll repeat the "you're an idiot" formula that worked so well last time, as an invocation. If you think that WotC will allow the AD&D trademark to be referenced by third-party publishers ... then "you're an idiot." Hopefully I can get the same result with that opinion as I did this time! :)


  1. " Part (b) is the territory into which OSRIC can't venture, and I doubt that WotC would be willing to go so far."

    Well, here's to hoping you are wrong about that point as well!

    1. Yep, I hope I'm wrong, too!

      Although my one concern would be that if they DID come out with a trademark-usage license, it would be open enough to stop the grassroots publishing that's coming from OSRIC, but at the same time contain restrictions that would shape AD&D third party publishing into a particular structure defined by WotC.

      I would not be utterly shocked (I would be shocked, but not utterly) if they let AD&D content out as open game content. It's essentially already been done through OSRIC, so no loss there.

      However, allowing a trademark reference would be surprising, especially if they don't get something in return. I think that "something" would be designed to support 5e in some way, which might be okay, or might be unduly restrictive. It would depend on what they put into that contract, if they ever decided to do it in the first place.

      On one hand it might be awesome, and on the other hand it could be used to restructure the independent AD&D community in various ways.

      "Unity" is a great goal, but it also means "Destroy the splinter communities." Some splinter communities would much rather be destroyed, since they are splinter communities only due to abandonment. But we want to be absorbed by the Federation, not by the borg, if that makes sense.

  2. Yes, part (b) is the part I'm really curious to see about what happens next (as well as, perhaps, if anything happens on the Greyhawk front).


  3. What I’d like to see is a dual Fan (do what you want so long as it’s for free) and Licensed (make money but follow some lenient restrictions) model like Savage Worlds has (see

    What’s probably more realistic is that they end up with something like Paizo’s community use policy:

    Which let’s you do just about anything so long as it’s free. Commericial stuff is more restricted though.

    I think it's pretty clear they are trying to turn over a new leaf and they may surprise us with what they do next!

  4. Awesome news. I'm glad that the nay-sayers (myself included) were dead wrong!

  5. It's pretty clear that the release is for collectors purposes only, "Limited Edition Premium". Or did I miss a non-premium version?

    3rd Party people can write for OSRIC, that's not going to change--and honestly that's good enough for me.

    But I'm sure if you have the money to pay for a licence from Hasbro/WotC, anyone can publish something for AD&D (1e). That will never change either.

  6. Just for those keeping score: Paizo has both a Community Use policy and a free Compatibility License.