Well, here we are, folks, on the brink of what some has called a nuclear bomb to be dropped on the gaming industry. I felt it important to reach out to our fanbase, let you all know where we stand, and what lies on the future of Elf Lair Games in the face of Wizards of the Coast's upcomping assault on small publishers in the gaming industry.
The Open Game License 1.1
So all the news these days is surrounding the imminent OGL 1.1. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and in truth, even attorneys are split on the eventual legal fallout. I am not an attorney myself, and all I can do is go with what my attorney advises, so I'm not going to lay out my full opinions, save to say that ELG feels that this is an underhanded, low, dishonest, and unfair attempt by Wizards to undermine and destroy publishers across the industry. Whether it's legal or not remains to be seen.
The road ahead for Elf Lair Games, however, is quite clear: we will not be reporting every publication to Wizards of the Coast so they can review and catalog it. We will not be handing them copies of our games. We will not be giving them blanket perpetual permission to do whatever they like with our product.
In short: we will no longer be using the open game license for our product.
What This Means for Elf Lair and O.G.R.E.S.
In the end, this means very little for us (and you, on the player end). The sum total of open content in the O.G.R.E.S. system is the six ability scores, a few other scattered terms, and the spell descriptions. As such, moving forward, the following changes will be made:
New Ability Scores:
Dexterity - Agility
Constitution - Toughness
Intelligence - Intelligence
Wisdom - Wits
Charisma - Persona
Armor Class (AC) - Defense Value (DV)
In addition, Tim and I are working hard to rewrite all spells so that they contain no wording from the SRD, but still retain all game mechanics. In the end, the new O.G.R.E.S. 1.1 will be 100% compatible with the original, just with some basic terminology changes that are synonyms. Our game system is removed enough from the base d20 system that it stands as an original work.
These changes will debut in Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, our forthcoming swords-and-sorcery / fantasy RPG. New sourcebooks for Night Shift: VSW will incorporate the new terminology, and when the current print run of the core game sells out, the changes will be made for the next printing, which we will call Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars (Revised). We're not calling it a second edition because aside from the simple terminology chages, removal of the OGL, and inclusion of errata, the game is not changing in any way at all. We understand that this will create some minor confusion until the game sells out, but we will publish a PDF cheat sheet to help on our website, and it is the best way forward for Elf Lair into the future. We will be completely independent of detrimental reliance upon a company that has proven themselves to be a corrupt bully.
So, the short version is: Our games aren't going anywhere, our trademarks and IP are still in place, and they will still be Powered by O.G.R.E.S. All that is required is some terminology changes. We'll continue on exactly as we always have, and we will still be completely compatible with most old-school gaming systems due to the intuitive nature of our new terminology, but now we will truly be our own company. We will not be beholden to the goodwill of untrustworthy corporations (or anyone, for that matter). This development is a pain, and will cost us in the short term, but I actually think in the end it will be good for the industry as a whole.
What about Wasted Lands?
I know we've talked a lot about Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, and I know that releases have been slow this past year, but rest assured, we have made massive strides on this game. Tim and I are well into rewriting spells now, and the game is coming along very well. It will debut on Kickstarter later this year, along with several new works for Night Shift: VSW. I'm excited for you all to see it.
Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age is the second part of a trilogy of core games that will allow us to cover all aspects of gaming with one system. Night Shift: VSW covers just about any sort of modern adventure gaming you want (you could even do high adventure pulp with it). Wasted Lands: TDA will cover just about any style of fantasy you want, while providing gritty swords-and-sorcery roots. The third game, coming within the next couple of years, will be a science fiction game taking you everywhere from H.G. Wells to the far future. I don't want to say too much about that one just yet as there's a long way to go before it's ready for prime time.
In the end, you'll have three games and one system that will alow you to explore any type of game you like. All your games can be Powered by O.G.R.E.S.!
I am hoping, within the next month or two, to have a preview of Wasted Lands available.
We also have a couple more books for Night Shift: VSW in the works, and are hoping to get those out. With any luck if money and the fates align, this can actually be a banner year for us! I hope you will be patient and stick around for the ride. We're looking forward to the future.
ELG and Conventions this Year
To that end, Elf Lair Games is not going to be at Gary Con this year. I am hoping for a return next year, but it will depend on how finances and fate falls. I myself will likely not be at the con, either, as I have a lot of work to do and personal life has interfered. Rest assured, though, that I'm still here and ELG is still here.