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Kobold Press’ new rules use Paizo’s DnD OGL alternative

Kobold Press plans to start playtesting Project Black Flag, a new RPG system using Paizo’s alternative to the D&D OGL, sometime in February

DnD Kobold Press Project Black Flag art by William O'Brien

TTRPG publisher Kobold Press released its first announcement for Project Black Flag, a “core fantasy RPG” system that allows “any publisher or creator” to develop third-party content. Sharing the news via its official blog on January 18, Kobold Press says the system will operate under Paizo’s upcoming Open RPG Creative Licence (ORC).

The ORC was created as a response to the recent DnD OGL controversy, where a leaked Open Game License document confirmed D&D’s publisher Wizards of the Coast planned to overhaul the third-party licence and implement new, more restrictive rules. Wizards has since scrapped the document’s more unpopular ideas and issued two apologies – but not before many publishers vowed to leave 5E behind and Paizo announced the ORC.

It seemed that Project Black Flag’s open RPG ruleset was also born from the flames of the OGL leak, but Kobold Press says the game’s lead designer, Celeste Conowitch, “has been working on Project Black Flag behind the scenes since the summer of 2022”. There’s an open sign-up for playtesting the game, and Kobold Press says the first phase will begin in February 2023. It seems the playtesting period will last until at least summertime, as Kobold has also put out a call for volunteer GMs to trial Black Flag games at Gen Con 2023 in August.

“Project Black Flag will support Open RPG Content under the Open RPG Creative License, usable by anyone”, says Kobold Press. “Open Content will be released after playtests conclude.” “Kobold Press expects to support both print and digital formats for Project Black Flag’s final release”, it adds.

DnD Kobold Press Project Blag Flag - cover art for Deep Magic volumes 1 and 2

While Kobold Press’ currently-funding or for-sale projects remain 5E-compatible, the blog post also says “Deep Magic (both volumes) will be forward-compatible with the Project Black Flag rule system.” These are third-party books offering new 5E spells, 5E feats, and magical options for various DnD classes, with volume two currently funding on Kickstarter. It’s not yet clear how the books will be ORC-compatible and 5E-compatible.

The art featured in this image was sent to Kobold Press by William O’Brien.