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How do you figure that exactly?

The role Green Ronin Publishing will play in the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons landscape is still to be determined. It is the middle of March and it has been almost ten weeks since we and others were invited to participate in a conference call with Wizards of the Coast about the future of third party publishing and their plans for the new edition. The license under which third party publishers would be allowed to publish has not yet been made available and we have seen no more of the rules than have been released as previews or shown off in demos.

Green Ronin was an early and enthusiastic adopter of the original Open Game License and we were proud to have released support products for 3rd Edition D&D to such critical acclaim over the years. We certainly see our role in the 3E marketplace as that of a strategic partner to Wizards of the Coast. We are one of very few companies that can say Wizards thought highly enough of our designs to use our Open Game Content in their own books. As the environment in the market changed (more publishers entering the same territory, fewer options for books that hadn’t been done already) we used the Open Game License to spin games out in different directions (emulation of romantic fantasy in Blue Rose, superheroes in Mutants & Masterminds) but not because we suddenly hated d20 or had it out for Wizards of the Coast or anything like that.

Recently Pramas got a look at 4th Edition in play and wrote up his impressions of the experience. This sparked quite a lot of discussion, both on his blog and on other boards where the story was picked up. One of the memes that sprang up around those discussions is this idea that Chris was being overly or unjustly negative in his comments (along with the gross oversimplification of his comments as “saying 4E is a CCG”) and this was “obviously” because Green Ronin is a “competitor” and all commentary must be tainted by the fact that we have “a competing product”, which is usually portrayed by the commenting party as an entry level game trying for WotC’s market-share or as the game that was designed to be what we thought 3E should have been.

Frankly, I’m a little put out that people are so willing to jump on the idea that Green Ronin is a WotC competitor. We created products to fill niches we perceived in the marketplace, and yes, we’ve developed a couple of OGL-based systems that stand on their own and are doing pretty well. After 8 years of publishing, after releasing umpteen hundreds of titles that directly supported D&D, after following WotC through revisions and updates, and after signing up to be among the early adopters of 4E just as soon as Wizards actually gets us those documents they were promising 10 weeks ago, I think our credentials as third-party publishing partner are pretty well established. Considering the state of the roll out of the GSL and the 4E Design Kits, I think our abundance of caution is certainly justified. I don’t consider our place as competition to WotC in any meaningful way and I certainly don’t see us as adversarial. I really want to stomp on this idea before it grows out of hand.

I’m on my way out of town for the weekend and I really wanted to get this off my chest before going. Have a good weekend everyone!

72 comments to How do you figure that exactly?

  • Sometimes I really hate people. The rest of the time, I feel even worse.

  • Sometimes I really hate people. The rest of the time, I feel even worse.

  • Sometimes I really hate people. The rest of the time, I feel even worse.

  • Sometimes I really hate people. The rest of the time, I feel even worse.

  • I’m sitting here, twiddling my fingers yet armed with some of the finest minds at my disposal, waiting for the GSL and 4E kit. With the massive changes to the equipment and racial themes I’m also having to hold back artists just itching to draw green dragons emerging from underground lakes threatened by with men with spears.

    I personally believe that 3rd editions success was partly due to the furrow plowed by Green Ronin first and the other early adopters soon afterwards. It upped everybodys game and I would bet that Wizards benefited far more than they lost out from having other quality publishers doing OGL books.

  • I’m sitting here, twiddling my fingers yet armed with some of the finest minds at my disposal, waiting for the GSL and 4E kit. With the massive changes to the equipment and racial themes I’m also having to hold back artists just itching to draw green dragons emerging from underground lakes threatened by with men with spears.

    I personally believe that 3rd editions success was partly due to the furrow plowed by Green Ronin first and the other early adopters soon afterwards. It upped everybodys game and I would bet that Wizards benefited far more than they lost out from having other quality publishers doing OGL books.

  • I’m sitting here, twiddling my fingers yet armed with some of the finest minds at my disposal, waiting for the GSL and 4E kit. With the massive changes to the equipment and racial themes I’m also having to hold back artists just itching to draw green dragons emerging from underground lakes threatened by with men with spears.

    I personally believe that 3rd editions success was partly due to the furrow plowed by Green Ronin first and the other early adopters soon afterwards. It upped everybodys game and I would bet that Wizards benefited far more than they lost out from having other quality publishers doing OGL books.

  • I’m sitting here, twiddling my fingers yet armed with some of the finest minds at my disposal, waiting for the GSL and 4E kit. With the massive changes to the equipment and racial themes I’m also having to hold back artists just itching to draw green dragons emerging from underground lakes threatened by with men with spears.

    I personally believe that 3rd editions success was partly due to the furrow plowed by Green Ronin first and the other early adopters soon afterwards. It upped everybodys game and I would bet that Wizards benefited far more than they lost out from having other quality publishers doing OGL books.

  • I think a lot of people fail to realize how, for lack of a better phrase, inbred the gaming industry is. They might realize that a freelancer works for more than one company, but I’m not sure they realize how much we appreciate one another’s products. I mean, we’ve got 4th Edition Pathfinder games going on in the office here, and I’ve been working on a 4E conversion of the Freeport Trilogy to use to teach some people how to play D&D. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the original purposes of the OGL to be something that allowed third party publishers to support D&D (specifically, via adventures).

    Every person that buys the D&D core books is someone that can potentially buy a 3rd party product, and everyone buying a 3rd party product is someone who continues to play D&D. It’s very win-win. Now, I imagine what has some people thinking in a more confrontational matter is the changes from the OGL to the GSL, but I think it should be evident that it’s a Good Thing ™ for cooperation to happen between WotC and 3rd party publishers of all stripes. Any two companies are never going to see 100% eye to eye, but that doesn’t stop them from being literal or symbolic partners.

    • I have not heard this from GR but speaking of ten weeks, I do keep hearing, a lot and by an increasing amount, the speculation that WotC is purposefully witholding the GSL et al to sandbag non-WotC companies when 4 first releases—to ensure WotC is the only one with 4 material in the first weeks of release.

      I don’t really believe that accusation because I’m a firm believer in the axiom of not attributing to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

      I’m just asking: Is WotC aware of how seriously damaging this delay is to its reputation among distributors, companies, and customers? Have you overheard anything you can repeat?

      • WotC could have simply said “no 3rd party 4E books in 2008″ from the outset and I at least would not have complained. D&D is their game. If they had wanted to ensure the first six months of the release were all about the official product, I wouldn’t have blamed them at all. If that is how the folks in charge really felt, that’s fine; they just had to say it. It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

        • I completely agree—except for the not complaining part. I would have complained bitterly because I want my 3rd party 4 content.

          •  
            Wordity Word Word. Third party publishers have produced some fantastic stuff for 3rd edition, and I look forward to seeing them continue to fill in the gaps in product types and themes that WotC declines to address.
             

        • It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

          A-friggidy-men.

          ….and now I’ve heard rumblings that they’ll push back the “Phase 2 publishers” window to make up for the fact that they’ve hosed the “Phase 1 publishers” roll-out. This would be a PR snafu of monumental proportions, in my opinion.

          At this point, they should just release the GSL with a single go-live date. Yes, it means that they won’t have the extra 5K income from some early adopters, but as a sign of goodwill, they should make a gesture of foregoing that fee, since they’ve ham-handed this so badly.

        • I was very excited about 4e after the call, had ideas a’plenty and planned to have several products well on the way to completion by now. After this 10 week wait however, I’m beginning to think that there won’t be a GSL and they’re just trying to figure out how to tell us in a manner that causes the least amount of PR issues and using the reliable delaying tactic for that purpose.

  • I think a lot of people fail to realize how, for lack of a better phrase, inbred the gaming industry is. They might realize that a freelancer works for more than one company, but I’m not sure they realize how much we appreciate one another’s products. I mean, we’ve got 4th Edition Pathfinder games going on in the office here, and I’ve been working on a 4E conversion of the Freeport Trilogy to use to teach some people how to play D&D. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the original purposes of the OGL to be something that allowed third party publishers to support D&D (specifically, via adventures).

    Every person that buys the D&D core books is someone that can potentially buy a 3rd party product, and everyone buying a 3rd party product is someone who continues to play D&D. It’s very win-win. Now, I imagine what has some people thinking in a more confrontational matter is the changes from the OGL to the GSL, but I think it should be evident that it’s a Good Thing ™ for cooperation to happen between WotC and 3rd party publishers of all stripes. Any two companies are never going to see 100% eye to eye, but that doesn’t stop them from being literal or symbolic partners.

    • I have not heard this from GR but speaking of ten weeks, I do keep hearing, a lot and by an increasing amount, the speculation that WotC is purposefully witholding the GSL et al to sandbag non-WotC companies when 4 first releases—to ensure WotC is the only one with 4 material in the first weeks of release.

      I don’t really believe that accusation because I’m a firm believer in the axiom of not attributing to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

      I’m just asking: Is WotC aware of how seriously damaging this delay is to its reputation among distributors, companies, and customers? Have you overheard anything you can repeat?

      • WotC could have simply said “no 3rd party 4E books in 2008″ from the outset and I at least would not have complained. D&D is their game. If they had wanted to ensure the first six months of the release were all about the official product, I wouldn’t have blamed them at all. If that is how the folks in charge really felt, that’s fine; they just had to say it. It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

        • I completely agree—except for the not complaining part. I would have complained bitterly because I want my 3rd party 4 content.

          •  
            Wordity Word Word. Third party publishers have produced some fantastic stuff for 3rd edition, and I look forward to seeing them continue to fill in the gaps in product types and themes that WotC declines to address.
             

          •  
            Wordity Word Word. Third party publishers have produced some fantastic stuff for 3rd edition, and I look forward to seeing them continue to fill in the gaps in product types and themes that WotC declines to address.
             

        • I completely agree—except for the not complaining part. I would have complained bitterly because I want my 3rd party 4 content.

        • It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

          A-friggidy-men.

          ….and now I’ve heard rumblings that they’ll push back the “Phase 2 publishers” window to make up for the fact that they’ve hosed the “Phase 1 publishers” roll-out. This would be a PR snafu of monumental proportions, in my opinion.

          At this point, they should just release the GSL with a single go-live date. Yes, it means that they won’t have the extra 5K income from some early adopters, but as a sign of goodwill, they should make a gesture of foregoing that fee, since they’ve ham-handed this so badly.

        • It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

          A-friggidy-men.

          ….and now I’ve heard rumblings that they’ll push back the “Phase 2 publishers” window to make up for the fact that they’ve hosed the “Phase 1 publishers” roll-out. This would be a PR snafu of monumental proportions, in my opinion.

          At this point, they should just release the GSL with a single go-live date. Yes, it means that they won’t have the extra 5K income from some early adopters, but as a sign of goodwill, they should make a gesture of foregoing that fee, since they’ve ham-handed this so badly.

        • I was very excited about 4e after the call, had ideas a’plenty and planned to have several products well on the way to completion by now. After this 10 week wait however, I’m beginning to think that there won’t be a GSL and they’re just trying to figure out how to tell us in a manner that causes the least amount of PR issues and using the reliable delaying tactic for that purpose.

        • I was very excited about 4e after the call, had ideas a’plenty and planned to have several products well on the way to completion by now. After this 10 week wait however, I’m beginning to think that there won’t be a GSL and they’re just trying to figure out how to tell us in a manner that causes the least amount of PR issues and using the reliable delaying tactic for that purpose.

      • WotC could have simply said “no 3rd party 4E books in 2008″ from the outset and I at least would not have complained. D&D is their game. If they had wanted to ensure the first six months of the release were all about the official product, I wouldn’t have blamed them at all. If that is how the folks in charge really felt, that’s fine; they just had to say it. It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

    • I have not heard this from GR but speaking of ten weeks, I do keep hearing, a lot and by an increasing amount, the speculation that WotC is purposefully witholding the GSL et al to sandbag non-WotC companies when 4 first releases—to ensure WotC is the only one with 4 material in the first weeks of release.

      I don’t really believe that accusation because I’m a firm believer in the axiom of not attributing to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

      I’m just asking: Is WotC aware of how seriously damaging this delay is to its reputation among distributors, companies, and customers? Have you overheard anything you can repeat?

  • I think a lot of people fail to realize how, for lack of a better phrase, inbred the gaming industry is. They might realize that a freelancer works for more than one company, but I’m not sure they realize how much we appreciate one another’s products. I mean, we’ve got 4th Edition Pathfinder games going on in the office here, and I’ve been working on a 4E conversion of the Freeport Trilogy to use to teach some people how to play D&D. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the original purposes of the OGL to be something that allowed third party publishers to support D&D (specifically, via adventures).

    Every person that buys the D&D core books is someone that can potentially buy a 3rd party product, and everyone buying a 3rd party product is someone who continues to play D&D. It’s very win-win. Now, I imagine what has some people thinking in a more confrontational matter is the changes from the OGL to the GSL, but I think it should be evident that it’s a Good Thing ™ for cooperation to happen between WotC and 3rd party publishers of all stripes. Any two companies are never going to see 100% eye to eye, but that doesn’t stop them from being literal or symbolic partners.

  • I think a lot of people fail to realize how, for lack of a better phrase, inbred the gaming industry is. They might realize that a freelancer works for more than one company, but I’m not sure they realize how much we appreciate one another’s products. I mean, we’ve got 4th Edition Pathfinder games going on in the office here, and I’ve been working on a 4E conversion of the Freeport Trilogy to use to teach some people how to play D&D. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the original purposes of the OGL to be something that allowed third party publishers to support D&D (specifically, via adventures).

    Every person that buys the D&D core books is someone that can potentially buy a 3rd party product, and everyone buying a 3rd party product is someone who continues to play D&D. It’s very win-win. Now, I imagine what has some people thinking in a more confrontational matter is the changes from the OGL to the GSL, but I think it should be evident that it’s a Good Thing ™ for cooperation to happen between WotC and 3rd party publishers of all stripes. Any two companies are never going to see 100% eye to eye, but that doesn’t stop them from being literal or symbolic partners.

    • I have not heard this from GR but speaking of ten weeks, I do keep hearing, a lot and by an increasing amount, the speculation that WotC is purposefully witholding the GSL et al to sandbag non-WotC companies when 4 first releases—to ensure WotC is the only one with 4 material in the first weeks of release.

      I don’t really believe that accusation because I’m a firm believer in the axiom of not attributing to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

      I’m just asking: Is WotC aware of how seriously damaging this delay is to its reputation among distributors, companies, and customers? Have you overheard anything you can repeat?

      • WotC could have simply said “no 3rd party 4E books in 2008″ from the outset and I at least would not have complained. D&D is their game. If they had wanted to ensure the first six months of the release were all about the official product, I wouldn’t have blamed them at all. If that is how the folks in charge really felt, that’s fine; they just had to say it. It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

        • I completely agree—except for the not complaining part. I would have complained bitterly because I want my 3rd party 4 content.

          •  
            Wordity Word Word. Third party publishers have produced some fantastic stuff for 3rd edition, and I look forward to seeing them continue to fill in the gaps in product types and themes that WotC declines to address.
             

        • It’s the announcing one thing and doing something else that has people on edge.

          A-friggidy-men.

          ….and now I’ve heard rumblings that they’ll push back the “Phase 2 publishers” window to make up for the fact that they’ve hosed the “Phase 1 publishers” roll-out. This would be a PR snafu of monumental proportions, in my opinion.

          At this point, they should just release the GSL with a single go-live date. Yes, it means that they won’t have the extra 5K income from some early adopters, but as a sign of goodwill, they should make a gesture of foregoing that fee, since they’ve ham-handed this so badly.

        • I was very excited about 4e after the call, had ideas a’plenty and planned to have several products well on the way to completion by now. After this 10 week wait however, I’m beginning to think that there won’t be a GSL and they’re just trying to figure out how to tell us in a manner that causes the least amount of PR issues and using the reliable delaying tactic for that purpose.

  • It is the middle of March and it has been almost ten weeks since we and others were invited to participate in a conference call with Wizards of the Coast about the future of third party publishing and their plans for the new edition. The license under which third party publishers would be allowed to publish has not yet been made available and we have seen no more of the rules than have been released as previews or shown off in demos.

    That still amazes me. Why bother with the call if there’s still nothing to provide your potential third-party partners after ten weeks?

    You would think the GSL would be done, approved, and in hand before contacting any partners on a call like that.

  • It is the middle of March and it has been almost ten weeks since we and others were invited to participate in a conference call with Wizards of the Coast about the future of third party publishing and their plans for the new edition. The license under which third party publishers would be allowed to publish has not yet been made available and we have seen no more of the rules than have been released as previews or shown off in demos.

    That still amazes me. Why bother with the call if there’s still nothing to provide your potential third-party partners after ten weeks?

    You would think the GSL would be done, approved, and in hand before contacting any partners on a call like that.

  • It is the middle of March and it has been almost ten weeks since we and others were invited to participate in a conference call with Wizards of the Coast about the future of third party publishing and their plans for the new edition. The license under which third party publishers would be allowed to publish has not yet been made available and we have seen no more of the rules than have been released as previews or shown off in demos.

    That still amazes me. Why bother with the call if there’s still nothing to provide your potential third-party partners after ten weeks?

    You would think the GSL would be done, approved, and in hand before contacting any partners on a call like that.

  • It is the middle of March and it has been almost ten weeks since we and others were invited to participate in a conference call with Wizards of the Coast about the future of third party publishing and their plans for the new edition. The license under which third party publishers would be allowed to publish has not yet been made available and we have seen no more of the rules than have been released as previews or shown off in demos.

    That still amazes me. Why bother with the call if there’s still nothing to provide your potential third-party partners after ten weeks?

    You would think the GSL would be done, approved, and in hand before contacting any partners on a call like that.

  • Wow.

    See, I always thought of Green Ronin as like, best friends with Wizards. Which is just as silly an outsider view as the opposite, I suppose, but it seemed to make sense given how much of your stuff works together.

    I also find it funny, cause Chris’s comments actually made me more positively curious about 4th ed, rather than less, to see all the haters hating by accusing him of hate.

  • Wow.

    See, I always thought of Green Ronin as like, best friends with Wizards. Which is just as silly an outsider view as the opposite, I suppose, but it seemed to make sense given how much of your stuff works together.

    I also find it funny, cause Chris’s comments actually made me more positively curious about 4th ed, rather than less, to see all the haters hating by accusing him of hate.

  • Wow.

    See, I always thought of Green Ronin as like, best friends with Wizards. Which is just as silly an outsider view as the opposite, I suppose, but it seemed to make sense given how much of your stuff works together.

    I also find it funny, cause Chris’s comments actually made me more positively curious about 4th ed, rather than less, to see all the haters hating by accusing him of hate.

  • Wow.

    See, I always thought of Green Ronin as like, best friends with Wizards. Which is just as silly an outsider view as the opposite, I suppose, but it seemed to make sense given how much of your stuff works together.

    I also find it funny, cause Chris’s comments actually made me more positively curious about 4th ed, rather than less, to see all the haters hating by accusing him of hate.

  • This honesty and intellectual bravery is part of what makes you and Pramas awesome. I appreciate you a lot, and I agree with you completely. As Skarka says, Wizards has blown this for one reason or another, and they should make it right.

  • This honesty and intellectual bravery is part of what makes you and Pramas awesome. I appreciate you a lot, and I agree with you completely. As Skarka says, Wizards has blown this for one reason or another, and they should make it right.

  • This honesty and intellectual bravery is part of what makes you and Pramas awesome. I appreciate you a lot, and I agree with you completely. As Skarka says, Wizards has blown this for one reason or another, and they should make it right.

  • This honesty and intellectual bravery is part of what makes you and Pramas awesome. I appreciate you a lot, and I agree with you completely. As Skarka says, Wizards has blown this for one reason or another, and they should make it right.

  • Eh, I think people just want to complain. And I think they want to feel relavant (sp? I’m taking meds for flu, so not too awake today). I mean, look at the idiots spewing forth on EN World – they need to feel important, and they like to make others look small in the meantime.

    As for negative comments – nothing can be all things to all people, and some aren’t going to like 4e, personally and/or professionally. I don’t care for 4e, but the hubby is pretty excited about it.

  • Eh, I think people just want to complain. And I think they want to feel relavant (sp? I’m taking meds for flu, so not too awake today). I mean, look at the idiots spewing forth on EN World – they need to feel important, and they like to make others look small in the meantime.

    As for negative comments – nothing can be all things to all people, and some aren’t going to like 4e, personally and/or professionally. I don’t care for 4e, but the hubby is pretty excited about it.

  • Eh, I think people just want to complain. And I think they want to feel relavant (sp? I’m taking meds for flu, so not too awake today). I mean, look at the idiots spewing forth on EN World – they need to feel important, and they like to make others look small in the meantime.

    As for negative comments – nothing can be all things to all people, and some aren’t going to like 4e, personally and/or professionally. I don’t care for 4e, but the hubby is pretty excited about it.

  • Eh, I think people just want to complain. And I think they want to feel relavant (sp? I’m taking meds for flu, so not too awake today). I mean, look at the idiots spewing forth on EN World – they need to feel important, and they like to make others look small in the meantime.

    As for negative comments – nothing can be all things to all people, and some aren’t going to like 4e, personally and/or professionally. I don’t care for 4e, but the hubby is pretty excited about it.