Another Update on Old-School Essentials and the OGL

Over the last 8 weeks there have been a lot of announcements across the RPG world about new games, revised games, new licenses, etc, triggered by Wizards of the Coast's short-lived plot to revoke the Open Game License. This situation affected many publishers' plans, and understandably fans of Old-School Essentials were eager for news on how the situation affected OSE. While we've tried to satisfy people's need for news and updates, things have developed so rapidly that some previous announcements are now no longer relevant.

As things seem to be settling down now, it feels like a good moment to clarify our current position:

  • We will continue publishing and reprinting Old-School Essentials in its current form.
  • We will continue publishing new adventures and supplements for Old-School Essentials in its current form.
  • We no longer feel it will be necessary to make a revised version of Old-School Essentials.
  • Dolmenwood will be published as a standalone game, with a slightly tweaked OSE ruleset, customised and expanded to enhance the flavour of the setting and streamlined to be an easy-to-learn introduction to old-school play.
  • None of the tweaks, streamlining, or extras in Dolmenwood will affect Old-School Essentials.

It is of course impossible to say what might happen over the next few months, the next year, or the next decade, and whether we might once again be put in a situation of legal uncertainty. We'll assess any future events as and when they arise, but until then we will continue as described above.

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This all looks good to me, particularly now that you’re making it a stand alone game. I’ve long been a fan of making the rules fit the setting, rather than settings constrained to fit a generic rules set—this way, you can make Dolmanwood the best game it can be. I shall look forward to backing it the moment it appears on Kickstarter.

Earnest Bunbury

Happy the licensing situation has been resolved.

Mixed feelings about Dolmenwood being its own game, even if it’s broadly OSE-compatible. I was already disappointed with the decision to have a separate Player’s Book rather than a single gazetteer. I adore the setting but it feels like we’re moving away from the modular, DIY nature of the OSR, and into a new “franchise”.


Absolutely perfect way forward. Thank you for the update. Looking forward to Dolmenwood!!

Major E

I’m thrilled you’re not going to edit the OSE core and adventures stuff (barring infernal plots we aren’t privy to). Whilst I’m fine with edits for Dolmenwood (and I actually applaud it), I would prefer to use “vanilla” BX for the main system if it’s feasible. It makes it a lot easier to get people into a game if we’re not saying “it’s like, sorta like magic missile” or any translation shenanigans.


Awesome. That all sounds great. Thanks for the clarifications and I’m eager to see the tweaks to Dolmenwood.


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