It’s been quite a week for many of us in the TTRPG community since the leak of Wizards of the Coast’s supposed draft of the Open Game License 1.1. Verse Online’s entire portfolio of books and zines, both published and planned is based on the OGL 1.0 and so the news that the license was to be unilaterally revoked, our IP put at risk and a series of other grim changes likely due to be imposed on us led us to some pretty swift and inescapable conclusions.
It’s time to move on from 5th Edition.
There are some voices in the community who argue that the OGL might now, after uproar from DnD players worldwide, not be as harsh as previously feared. This, we believe, is precisely the wrong way to approach corporate bad faith. The following facts are unavoidable. WOTC is owned by Hasbro, a publicly traded company whose sole raison d’etre is to maximise shareholder returns, mainly for institutional investors who don’t care if their money comes from RPGs or auto parts, just as long as they continue to accumulate returns on investment. That means that if the community survives this attempt on its autonomy, another one will come eventually (or some other attempt to gouge as much profit as possible), because it has to. Chief executives of publicly traded companies have a fiduciary duty, a legal obligation to shareholders to maximise profits no matter what they destroy. So be in no doubt, WOTC is regrouping, not retreating.
Verse Online has Kickstarters and other pledges to fulfill and so the first of our announcements is that backers of The Arclander and The Book of the Phantasm don’t have to be concerned, irrespective of what WOTC finally announces, we will honour all pledges. The Book of the Phantasm, however, will be our last 5th Edition title. Our second and bigger announcement is that our bespoke system, Psion, is coming this year.
In the past year we have been busy creating Psion, our multiverse system that combines cinematic gameplay and combat with free-form character design and universe building. One of Psion’s core features is a collaborative system for GM and player world building. As you campaign together you co-create the universe. For players and GMs that just want to play, we will be including three new universes in our core book for urban fantasy, super hero and space western genres. In addition to this the actual Psions themselves are all powerful cosmic entities that shape the realities of players for good or ill. In due course, Arclands will join the Psion system and our next journey into the Arcverse will be the second edition of our core rules, Arclands: Fire and Fate.
We will of course be offering our own license to enable fellow creators to build and monetise their own universes. Our vision is simple and really, it’s only ever been one thing:
Let’s dream together.
The only reason we do any of this is to share the fun of dreaming and imagining together with you. It helps if it’s profitable of course, but the joy of storytelling, and hearing your epic tales is what really makes this worthwhile. So get ready for new stories, new journeys and new universes, abd let’s build extraordinary things together.