Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Paizo and the Old School Renaissance?

Erik Mona, Publisher at Paizo, commented over at Grognardia on the fact that Pathfinder has sold out their first print run. Cheering news for Pathfinder and OSR/Neoclassical gamers alike:

"Thanks, guys. I appreciate the kind words even (or perhaps especially) from those of you who have no stake in the product because you've got a different game of choice. From where I sit, ANY success in the RPG industry is worth cheering about.

And while we have not released sales figures, I can say that we don't consider 10,000 units "hugely ambitious," and we'll be bringing well more than 1000 copies to Gen Con. Still, I'm worried about selling out, because the game appears to be moving much faster than any of us anticipated.

And while we have not formally thrown our hats into the "old school" or rules-light field, our hearts are very sympathetic to the cause, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see something down the road.

First things first, of course.

--Erik Mona"

Many of us have long-hoped that Paizo would turn part of their attentions towards a classically-designed/OSR entry. It would appear this newest comment gives us fresh hope that it just may eventually happen.

(Hat tip to Benoist at RPG Haven)


Tom said...

Careful what you wish for. It's somewhat unclear whether or not the clones infringe on actual old school DnD (basic, Oe, 1e)

If a major publisher like Paizo decides to produce for them, Wotc/hasbro may take notice.

Anonymous said...

It's not unclear. All of them but OSRIC use the OGL, which WotC released themselves.

JimLotFP said...

OSRIC uses the OGL.

Dyson Logos said...

Just because you use the OGL doesn't mean it can't infringe on protected material. Just look at Fast Forward Entertainment.

While I tend to believe that the majority of the OSR games are working well within the safe harbour of OGL, there are others (including lawyers who work in the RPG industry) who have indicated that they feel that some of these games include material that was definitely not released by Wizards under the OGL but that is definitely drawn from releases they own the rights to.

The presence of the OGL does not instantly make it clear and safe.

If I were to take the Star Frontiers RPG and repackage it and release it under the OGL it would not be "safe" and "clear", it would be an infringement on Wizard's copyrights.

Until a major publisher steps up and puts some weight behind the OSR, there is zero chance that Wizards will step forward at this time (they didn't go after Secrets of Pact Magic at the tail end of the 3.5 days - a book which released the binder class from a non-OGL book into an OGL book), but the fact remains that at least one lawyer has stated that he feels they have the right to come after at least one of the OSR games.

JimLotFP said...

You are correct, but I'm guessing support material using OSRIC, just for an example, would be much easier to keep infringement-free than a rules-set... and just because OSRIC itself might be (for argument's sake) infringing doesn't mean things written to be compatible with it would be infringing.

Remember that at least one lawyer was involved in creating OSRIC as well. And remember that some of the legal detractors have other reasons they could be against the clones as well.

And Goodman Games has released 1e stuff (without labeling it OSRIC) so you don't even need to use one of the clones to do oldschool D&D compatible stuff.

... and I'm pretty sure Paizo is pretty good at navigating the ins and outs of the OGL so anything they would make would be clear.

Mad Brew said...

Games rules/mechanics are not copyrightable, and here is the official statement from the U.S. Copyright Ofice.

Unless you reprint the fluff/description there are no grounds for infringement (not that it prevents someone like WotC from sueing).

You could recreate any non-ogl elements (classes, spells, feats) as far as the mechanics go, you just need to provide your own fluff.

You don't even need the OGL, but it does add an extra layer of frivolous lawsuit protection (concerning possibly trademarked terminology).

And you don't need to be a lawyer to understand law, because it is all publically available. So, if you have a firm grasp of the English language and logic, anyone can understand the law.