Dungeons & Dragons community takes a stand against new license royalty rules, and wins

Dungeons & Dragons community takes a stand against new license royalty rules, and wins
Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

  • Updated:

Wizards of the Coast (WotC), the infamous publisher of the legendary Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, was about to release a draft statement about updated regulations. In it, Hasbro and WotC were going to claim royalties from any use of its license or related sales. Thanks to a leak of the draft, the D&D community took a stand, signing petitions and withdrawing from the game completely. Thankfully, D&D Beyond issued another statement, changing the stance.

The initial plan was for WotC to release an official statement of the draft updated open license agreement on January 12, 2023. When some parts of the document leaked online, the new changes became clear. Hasbro and the D&D publisher were planning on placing royalties on any content or games that held the brand name. Hasbro was looking to take at least 25% of the sales.

The community went into an uproar. Many of them used the open license to create new adventures, setting the stage for decades of gaming and quests. During lockdown, D&D became increasingly popular as an RPG tabletop game. Dungeon Masters and content writers also published their work to make sales and spread their tales to others around the world.

When it was apparent that Hasbro and WotC were looking to cash in on their creations, many D&D players in the community pulled out. They even signed petitions, showing how disgusted they are by this turn of events.

So, what did Hasbro and WotC do? They turned the tables and said the leaked information was understood. In a D&D Beyond statement, they said that they weren’t targeting the community. Instead, they grew tired of large corporations making money off their license without remuneration, such as in games, movies, and NFTs. Apparently, the draft update to the open license regulations will now be amended to reflect what they claim they meant.

That doesn’t mean that all is forgiven. The community expected an apology, where none was received. Also, many players are still leaving after what they deem a distasteful move on WotC’s part. We’ll have to wait and see what the new license rules look like, if they ever get published.

I often play D&D with my children at home, and we sometimes make up our own adventures. I actually considered making my own adventure book with quests last year, being a fantasy author. Making quests and creating suspense is something I rather love doing.

Now, however, I guess I’ll put those plans on the back burner to see what happens. Many of us have been waiting to see what the upcoming D&D series and movie will be like. If they don’t proceed with fining those of us creating adventures in the D&D universe, perhaps I’ll proceed with publishing my stories.

I would have loved to have seen Sheldon and Leonard’s reactions to this in The Big Bang Theory.

Dungeons & Dragons community takes a stand
Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

I live in South Africa, Cape town, as a father of two children. I've been gaming almost all my life, with plenty of experience writing reviews and articles on the latest titles. With 15 years of experience in local government performing Facilities Management functions, I moved towards becoming CEO of my own company, Celenic Earth Publications, which serves to publish author's books, including my own. I'm a published author of horror and fantasy novels, while I also dabble in game and movie scriptwriting.

Latest from Shaun M Jooste

Editorial Guidelines