There has been some interesting discussions going on lately about the GSL, or Game System License, which allows third-party publishers to produce and market products for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Under the GSL, 3rd Party Publishers (3PP) can market their own adventures, character classes, monsters, and other source material within certain guidelines as provided in the GSL System Reference Document. If you have never checked out the GSL rules, you can download all the information here from the WotC site.
But it has been noted that there is a certain dissatisfaction amongst the 3PPs trying to publish material under the GSL. In fact, there is a thread on the Wizards of the Coast Community forums asking if “Anybody here is earning money selling his/her own GSL products? “ Given the responses to the thread, it does not look like many publishers are finding it easy to create products compatible with D&D 4E.
It becomes starkly apparent that publishing 4E compatible products under the GSL is not a popular undertaking, particularly if one looks at sites like DriveThruRPG.com and RPGNow.com, which provide a sales “storefront” to market PDF versions of role-playing game and game products. Just comparing the products available, one can find over 5000 third-party published works available for d20/OGL (i.e. 3.5 and 3rd Edition), but only few hundred products for D&D 4E. Considering the 4E has been out for over two years now, it seems like quite a disparity in the numbers of published product.
As it happens, I have begun doing some research into how the D&D 4E Community feels about Third-Party Publishers and GSL products as a whole for an editorial I will be publishing in a few weeks. In additon, I am also gathering information on the problems that D&D 4E publishers have making their products available to the 4E gamers out there.
And so, in the spirit of US Election Week, here are some polls about GSL for the 4E gaming community to weigh in on about 3rd Party Products and GSL published material. Please feel free to fill out the polls, and to also leave your comments as well, as any and all feedback will be very helpful in creating my exposé!
So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!