Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


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!



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