Critical Hit? Dungeons & Dragons-Inspired Web3 Game Pivots Amid ... - Decrypt

Critical Hit? Dungeons & Dragons-Inspired Web3 Game Pivots Amid … – Decrypt

When leaks about an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons license shakeup surfaced earlier this month, many fans and creators were aghast at apparent changes that could limit their ability to make derivative games, shows, and other content.

But ultimately, NFTs proved to be the biggest target—concerning news for Web3 gaming company Gripnr, which was building a project that attempts to capture the allure of the fantasy-themed tabletop smash for a new era. Now the firm is changing course as it becomes clear that D&D’s parent company wants nothing to do with NFTs.

For over two decades, the current version of the D&D Open Game License has enabled fans and companies to create content compatible with the storied tabletop experience by borrowing certain elements—such as game mechanics—via a System Reference Document. 

Even though Wizards of the Coast recently removed some of the more onerous conditions—including mandated royalties—of the new license following considerable backlash, the license’s newest iteration remains steadfast in prohibiting D&D’s content from being integrated into NFTs.

“We wanted to address those attempting to use D&D in Web3, blockchain games, and NFTs by making clear that [Open Game License] content is limited to tabletop role-playing content,” D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast wrote in a blog post, calling its response to third-party Web3 projects one of the firm’s main goals in updating the license.

However, combining elements of Dungeons & Dragons with Web3 tech was pretty much what Gripnr had originally set out to do. 

The Louisiana-based company began working on The Glimmering, a blockchain-based tabletop game, in late 2021. Leveraging Ethereum sidechain network Polygon, it set out to facilitate play while recording currency, items, and experience points on-chain, among other features like rewarding creators and those who oversee sessions of The Glimmering.

Referencing the Open Games License and System Reference Document, the game’s whitepaper states that the two documents would be used to “bring The Glimmering to life.” A meeting was called among some members of Gripnr’s top management immediately following the leak of the controversial license update, lead game developer Stephen Radney-MacFarland told Decrypt.

“It was a good amount of chaos,” he said. “We had to go back and rethink, ‘How are we going to do this?’”

GRIPNR isn’t moving forward with OGL 1.2 or SRD 5.1. It’s not protective of creators nor meets our standards of “open.”

To be blunt, Wizards has no broad right to prevent the use of Web3, blockchain, or NFTs in TTRPGs.

Our statement: #DnD #OGL

— The Glimmering (@The_Glimmering) January 20, 2023

Gripnr decided that its best course of action was to move forward with the project while revoking all uses of the Open Games License and System Reference Document. And Gripnr believes its game does not infringe on any of the intellectual property that’s protectable by Wizards of the Coast.

Radney-MacFarland said the ban on NFTs under the proposed version of the license wasn’t entirely shocking, as the company had previously received communications that suggested Wizards