We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Kobold Press pushes on with open RPG despite DnD OGL backpedal

Though D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast reinstated its original Open Gaming Licence, Kobold Press continues plans for its own open RPG system

DnD Project Black Flag continues - Kobold Press art of a pirate

Third-party RPG publisher Kobold Press says work on its open RPG system will continue, despite D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast walking back plans to deauthorise version 1.0 of its Open Gaming Licence (OGL). “Project Black Flag is going forward”, says a Kobold Press blog post from January 30. “Our timeline is unchanged.” “The first phase of playtesting releases at the end of February 2023”, it adds.

First announced on January 10, Project Black Flag is an open RPG ruleset designed by Kobold Press. The publisher described the system as “available, open, and subscription-free”. The ruleset was announced in response to a controversial DnD OGL leak that revealed plans to overhaul Wizards of the Coasts’ third-party gaming license.

After an apology and a fresh OGL draft that missed the mark with fans, Wizards of the Coast cancelled all changes to OGL 1.0. It also made its current Systems Reference Document (SRD) available under a Creative Commons licence, making content like DnD races and DnD classes free and available for any use.

“Kobold Press thanks our colleagues at Wizards of the Coast for listening to the community and responding by releasing the SRD 5.1 into Creative Commons”, says Monday’s blog post. “This change ensures that 5E remains available to everyone, including Kobold Press.”

DnD Project Black Flag continues - Orc illustration by Bryan Syme

While Project Black Flag will be a unique design from Kobold Press, it will also apparently be compatible with 5E content. “Regardless of what comes, Project Black Flag maintains core compatibility with the 5E products you already know and love, but with a Kobold spin”, it says. “Project Black Flag will embrace 5E and expand upon it.”

“Our goal is to keep 5E products vibrant and available in print and on our VTT partner platforms”, the Kobold Press blog post adds. “Project Black Flag is one step in making this a reality.”