Episode 520 – licensing crunch

* (0:30) Introducing Dale of Jon Brazer Enterprises.

* (7:11) The story of Jon Brazer, the character.

* (9:07) How the degree of crunch changes your options for creating material. The OGL and similar licenses.

* (24:26) Half of your money?!

* (33:09) Revisiting the relationship between crunch (or the lack thereof) and what that lets you create.

* (43:37) The positive role of more stuff.

* (49:40) Getting started with Traveler.

Hosts: Chad, Dale, Dan, Wayne

Comments (2)

C. DanielAugust 15th, 2019 at 6:04 pm

As someone who has sold on DM’s Guild, there are two corrections I’d like to make. The first is that there are two licenses. The first is non-exclusive, so you can sell on other sites as well, but they take a 40% cut. The other is exclusive and they only take a 30% cut. Neither of them are 50% cuts. I obviously can’t speak to Traveler or its specific licenses, but at least my experience was not that bad, cut-wise.

Tyler KamstraAugust 15th, 2019 at 11:18 pm

Hi Booters,

I’m a best-selling author on DMsGuild, so I thought I would share some information on the DMsGuild licensing stuff.

A lot of the information is available on this page:

First, authors recieve a 50% royalty. From the “Payment, Pricing, and Account Questions” page:
> “Once you activate your Dungeon Masters Guild title for public sale, your account will begin to accrue a 50% royalty every time your title sells.”

If you link people to your own product with the affiliate program, you can get a total of 55%, but that’s still not great.

So that’s the bad part. A 50% royalty isn’t great compared to selling through other channels (including DriveThruRPG, which is owned by the company that maintains DMsGuild with a license from WotC).

But the good part is usage rights to WotC’s intellectual property. Some highlights from the Ownership and License (OGL) page:


>”Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications.”

>Can I use creatures like the beholder and mind flayer, which the OGL lists as “product identity,” in my DMs Guild title?
>Yes. Product identity exclusions apply only to publishing under the OGL. Product identity has no meaning under the DMs Guild program.

So you get WotC’s built-in audience (which is small on DMsGuild, if we’re being honest), plus you get to use WotC’s product identity. There’s some restrictions on what settings you’re allowed to use so you can only use the settings which have been published in 5e (Forgotten Realms, Eberron, and Ravenloft currently), but you can use any of their proper nouns. Drizz’t, Pelor, Beholder, etc. are all available.

To summarize: DMsGuild takes a huge cut, but you get almost free use of their use of WotC’s Intellectual Property so long as your stuff is for 5th edition and either setting-agnostic or within the current settings. If you don’t need those rights, DMsGuild is an objectively bad deal because they take such a big cut. But if you want WotC’s IP, it’s literally the only way to go. I’ve been one of the top sellers for over a year and a half, and my product was literally impossible without WotC’s IP, so there was nowhere else for me to go.

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