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Kobold Press announces new “open” RPG ruleset amid DnD OGL row

As the DnD OGL controversy rages, RPG publisher Kobold Press has announced it's working on a new RPG ruleset which will be open and subscription-free

DnD OGL Kobold Press - artwork of a wizard casting a shield spell

Amidst worries about the new version of the DnD OGL, publisher Kobold Press has announced it’ll release its own tabletop RPG ruleset as an alternative to D&D, which will be “available, open, and subscription-free”.

The D&D third-party publisher says it will release its current Kickstarter projects, and that these will remain compatible with Dungeons and Dragons 5e. After that, it’s apparently developing its own “Core Fantasy tabletop ruleset” codenamed Project Black Flag.

“Kobold Press has been and always will be committed to open gaming and the tabletop community,” the publisher said via its blog on Tuesday. “As we look ahead, it becomes even more important for our actions to represent our values.”

DnD OGL Kobold Press - a four horned skull beast and several undead.

“While we wait to see what the future holds, we are moving forward with clear-eyed work on a new Core Fantasy tabletop ruleset: available, open, and subscription-free for those who love it.”

This statement has been made during a fortnight of turmoil in the wider D&D community, after a leaked report seemed to give weight to already bubbling fears about the next iteration of the DnD OGL: the Open Gaming Licence which allows third party publishers to create 5e-compatible content. Many are afraid that the freedoms allowing RPG creators to sell their work under an open version of the 5e ruleset are about to be curtailed

As a result, and after days without a clear statement from Wizards of the Coast, 40,000 people have signed an open letter demanding Wizards #OpenDnD. Kobold Press tweeted out its announcement under the OpenDnD hashtag, and traffic to the blogpost promptly crashed the publisher’s website.

DnD OGL Kobold Press - artwork of a kobold with a spear

Kobold Press has not said it plans to cut ties with D&D over the leaks, as some smaller RPG publishers have done. However, creating its own RPG system will obviously give the company greater flexibility and freedom to manoeuvre once the official version of the OGL emerges and we all, at last, get to see exactly what Wizards of the Coast has planned.

“We aim to play our part in making the game better for everyone,” Kobold Press’ statement concludes. “Rest assured, Kobold Press intends to maintain a strong presence in the tabletop RPG community. We are not going anywhere.”