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Paizo’s ORC May be Worse than the OGL?

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By Nelson Schneider - 08/21/23 at 12:33 AM CT

The world of tabletop roleplaying has been thoroughly shaken-up in 2023, with the OGL debacle that has seen long-lasting tankage of Wizards of the Coast’s sales numbers, including their movie endeavors with “Honor Among Thieves.” In the aftermath of Wizards’ attempt at taking draconian control of tabletop gaming, numerous other options started crawling out of the woodwork. The last time Wizards tried this ploy, with the GSL and D&D 4th Edition, Paizo Publishing, the third-party printer who had been publishing Wizards’ Dungeon and Dragon magazines for years took the opportunity to bite the hand that fed them, resulting in the release of Pathfinder 1st Edition and a massive schism in the player community between the huge exodus of players fleeing official D&D for Pathfinder and the smaller number of players who insisted that D&D 4th Edition was somehow good.

Paizo is, of course, back at it, with their Pathfinder 2nd Edition. But not only that, the publisher has also released the final draft of the legal framework for their proposed ORC license, which was intended to compete with the Wizards of the Coast-backed OGL license.

According to Canadian lawyer, Dungeon Master, Youtuber, and Raistlin Majere doppelganger, Roll of Law, however, the ORC license might actually end up as a worse deal for the small-time third-party tabletop publishers it was intended to help.

Personally, after watching this, I’m not sold on the ORC license either. Honesty, I’m not even sold on Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Indeed, Paizo itself has been reeking of some of that Wizards of the Coast control-stench for a while. For the time being, I’m looking at either Troll Lord Games’ Castles & Crusades rules revision or Kobold Press’ Tales of the Valiant – formerly known as ‘Project Black Flag’ – to be the next version of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not D&D” to take over the tabletop roleplaying space.

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