Well, another major company has said “no thanks” to Wizard of the Coast’s new D&D 4th Edition game system license. Green Ronin won’t be signing on – see their site post on the topic here. They sum up the main issue well –
“We had hoped to include 4E support in our plans, but the terms of the GSL are too one-sided as they stand. We certainly do not blame Wizards of the Coast for wanting to defend their intellectual property and take more control over the type of support products D&D receives. We do not, however, feel that this license treats third party publishers as valued partners.”
Unfortunately, no GSL for them means no 4e. I don’t really care since I don’t like 4e and don’t plan to play it, but hopefully in Kenzer gets some legal precedent down this won’t be the choice everyone has to make.
This truly is Wizards cutting off their nose to spite their face. When I was helping launch 3rd Edition at is premiere at Gen Con 2000, I bought a copy of Death in Freeport, the first scenario available for 3e, and it was by Green Ronin. Freeport later grew into a huge game line for them; this initial adventure got our gaming group in Memphis fired up on Freeport and 3e in general. Freeport and 3e went together like chocolate and peanut butter for us; we’d play other stuff – all the scenarios from Wizards and the other third parties that cranked into full steam with the debut of the OGL – but our characters would always come back to Freeport. Exciting times. Which apparently Wizards doesn’t want to relive.
There is no doubt that Green Ronin contributed heavily to the 3e launch and its high quality products contributed to the overall health of 3e gameplay. Slavish devotees of Wizards, no matter what their practices, will claim that can’t be *proved.* And no it can’t; economic causality is impossible to prove even if the indistry involved didn’t hide sales numbers like they were state secrets. But I lived it, with my gaming groups and with all the Living Greyhawk groups I interacted with. Wizards, you want a bigger slice of the pie, but you’re shrinking the pie to get it, and that’s idiotic. Wake up.