D&D and Why We Do What We Do
By Kumo McMahon
[Everything written in this piece is alleged. Don’t Trust, Verify.]
Roll for initiative! We are in the war to win hearts and minds and there is a lesson we as Bitcoiners have learned already but is currently being learned from another community. The Tabletop Role-Playing Game Community to be specific. From its controversial early years to today where it has hit the mainstream, Dungeons and Dragons has been at the top of the Tabletop Role-Playing Game hobby. Collaborative storytelling with friends and family, pretending to be haughty elf wizards and grizzled dwarf paladins, meeting together around the table to enjoy each other’s company. However there is a dark storm over the horizon.
You see, Dungeons and Dragons has allowed 3rd party companies to produce supplemental materials and even whole RPG systems like Pathfinder with no need to pay anything to Wizards of the Coast for some 20 years (There’s some controversy in the late 2000s due to a different license by WotC but that’s not relevant to this piece.) Because of this, the hobby of tabletop RPGs has grown and expanded to astronomical proportions, Shows such as Critical Role have become the most viewed shows on Twitch or its appearance in Stranger Things has also aided in its growth. The way WotC had allowed this was a document called the Open Game License (OGL), a sub-900 word document that had some minor stipulations on what material is allowed to be replicated and what wasn’t. Smaller companies benefited by selling works that fell into the design space of D&D but also expanded on it while WotC benefitted by the hobby expanding and more corebooks being sold. This peaceful arrangement would however not last and in January 2023, something changed.
Linda Codega, A reporter allegedly received a copy of a new licensing document called OGL 1.1. This document was a far cry from what the OGL 1.0 was, from than 900 to over 9000, the new license documented a new system that would now require companies and individuals making money off of the new OGL pay a percentage of their earnings in fees to WotC with a discount if funded by Kickstarter, in addition to this, any company using the OGL 1.1 must also allow WotC to be able to have irrevocable, persistent and free rights to take whatever content that company produces and take it as their own. What’s worse is that Wizards is able to change the OGL 1.1 and also ban individuals and companies from using their system as long as there is 30 days notice given. In addition to this the previous OGL would be repealed and those previous products and systems would need to be remade to no longer have OGL properties. This alleged document took the Tabletop RPG world like wildfire. Though some creators have remained on the fence or defended WotC’s decision, many people in the hobby were outraged, livid, and many more adjectives to describe mad. Wizards thought this alleged document was going to be an easy way to put a chokehold on the community and also their wallets, but some companies had other ideas.
Enter Paizo, Kobold Press, Green Ronin, and more tabletop companies as well, have decided to create an Open RPG license that can be used as a base layer system that is uncensorable, is airtight in its wording so it’s secure from would be capture, and anyone can use it to make content. This now named Open RPG Creative License, or the ORC License is being done and then given to an intellectual property legal firm so no single game company can take the rights and make changes similar to what Wizards allegedly may be doing. At the time of this writing WotC has decided to back down on their decision but defends their frame of mind as it was to “protect the system from being used by bigots or used for NFTs”. Many players are seeing through this however and have decided to boycott wizards still. For now the OGL survives and will be likely replaced by the ORC, the community has won. Now for the question some of you may be thinking.
“That’s great and all Kumo, but what does that have to do with Bitcoin?”
I’m sure Bitcoiners have already drawn a few parallels between what has happened with this D&D OGL situation and what we have experienced when it comes to shitcoins or the fiat system. A system that is used by many that is controlled by a large powerful singular group that can change the rules at any time, censor individuals preventing them from using said system and even stealing from them, though in the case of RPGs it’s a little muddied as IP is a can of worms that is beyond the scope of this piece. The important thing to realize as Bitcoiners is these cultural pieces and situations can be used to educate people on Bitcoin.
When a friend who’s a tabletop nerd is complaining about what WotC is doing but is also an Ethereum maxi (I know sometimes our friends make dumb decisions but we still love them.) you can say “Yeah, and you know this is just what Ethereum has become as well, Ethereum changing the rules and censoring transactions is just like what these guys are doing.” While no analogy is perfect, using things that are culturally relevant to explain concepts in Bitcoin and the perils of the fiat and shitcoin world may be another avenue of orange-pilling people. While this writer’s previous piece promoted being the signal and living the best life we can, it doesn’t hurt to engage culturally with no-coiners. This doesn’t have to be just things like Dungeons and Dragons, this could be music, art, comics, anime, video games, and even beer. As long as you are able to use these things to explain your concepts you just may well help your friends and family in these cultural circles. This is why we do what we do after all. In addition to saving ourselves from money that robs us, we also spread the message so our people are saved too. Roll for initiative, the battle has only begun.