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DnD boss responds to charity RPG bundle backlash

The Head of D&D responds to criticism aimed at a 20% WotC licensing fee attached to a charity TTRPG bundle raising money for Ukraine

DnD charity bundle backlash fantasy bar fight illustration

March 15, 2022 OneBookShelf confirms a “miscommunication”, and all proceeds will now go to charity

Online Dungeons and Dragons marketplace Dungeon Masters Guild announced on Monday that it was offering “charity bundles for Ukraine” that provide “85% off tons of DMs Guild titles”. However, while the bundles contribute donations to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, DMs Guild received criticism online for a 20% licensing fee attached to the products – this means that 20% of the money paid for the bundles will go to D&D creator Wizards of the Coast rather than the charity.

Head of Dungeons and Dragons and game designer Ray Winninger tweeted in response to the charity bundles’ announcement a few hours later, saying “we (WotC) didn’t know anything about these charity bundles. We’ll work with DMs Guild on this.” Winninger did not elaborate on how Wizards plans to work with DMs Guild, so it can’t be fully confirmed whether this discussion is related to the negative response surrounding the licensing fee.

While Winninger wasn’t explicit about his reaction to the charity bundle, D&D fans on Twitter quickly made the connection between the online backlash and Winninger’s response. One Twitter user thanked Winninger for his “transparency” and for “looking into the issue”, while others remain critical of what they perceived as DMs Guild’s lack of communication with WotC.

Despite several showing excitement for the fundraiser online, many of the replies to the bundle announcement were highly critical of WotC as well as DMs Guild – which may have prompted Winninger’s clarifying response. DMs Guild has not made a statement about waiving Wizards’ licensing fees. Wargamer reached out to DMs Guild’s parent organisation OneBookShelf for comment, but as of press time has not received a response.

DMs Guild tweeted again today to announce that the “all proceeds from the bundles sold since the promotion started will be now passed onto Doctors Without Borders.” “In our haste, we misunderstood a recent directive from the good folk at Wizards,” DMs Guild says, “and, without checking, erroneously did not include them in this charity offer at first.”

At the same time, DMs Guild’s sister site DriveThruRPG is also offering charity bundles for Ukraine, and tweets from DriveThruRPG claim that “all proceeds” of this bundle will be “donated to Doctor’s Without Borders.” DMs Guild also confirmed on Twitter that both websites’ parent company OneBookShelf “organised [DriveThruRPG’s] charity bundles, and is donating all of its fees as part of the initiative”.

For more profit-free D&D, check out these DnD setups from an RPG hobbyist in Florida. We also have a definitive guide to the best D&D sourcebooks from Wizards of the Coast.