The Systems Reference Document (SRD) contains guidelines for publishing content under the Open-Gaming License (OGL) or Creative Commons. The Dungeon Masters Guild also provides self-publishing opportunities for individuals and groups.
Use of D&D content in streaming, fan art, cosplay, and other fan content is not related to the SRD, OGL, or Creative Commons, but is permitted as described in Wizards’ Fan Content Policy.
The OGL, Creative Commons, and Dungeon Masters Guild offer different kinds of publishing opportunities. Below is an overview of the programs.
Last updated on 01-30-23. See below for a list of updates and the FAQ.
|Activity||OGL & Creative Commons||DMs Guild|
|I want to design content using the fifth edition rules for D&D||X||X|
|I want to publish my original campaign world using fifth edition rules||X||-|
|I want to publish content using the Forgotten Realms||-||X|
|I want to print and sell my fifth edition D&D product on my own||X||-|
|I want to sell my product in the D&D online marketplace||-||X|
|I want my content rated by the largest network of D&D players||-||X|
|I want my content considered for additional publication by Wizards||-||X|
|I want my content considered for inclusion in Wizards digital games||-||X|
|I want my content considered for inclusion in Wizards marketing||-||X|
SRD 5.1 Creative Commons Update
The full contents of SRD 5.1 are now released under both the terms of OGL 1.0a and the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (“CC-BY-4.0”). This means the following:
- You may choose which license to publish your SRD 5.1 content under.
- Content you publish under OGL 1.0a must use its attribution terms as specified in the license.
- Content you publish under Creative Commons must use its attribution terms as specified in its SRD 5.1 preamble.
SRD 5.1 FAQ
Why does the SRD only have one background and one feat? Why do the PC races not include all of the subraces? The goal of the SRD is to allow users to create new content, not to replicate the text of the whole game. We encourage players, DMs, and publishers to come up with their own backgrounds and feats.
Why is the SRD missing some spells, magic items, and monsters? In general, the criteria for what went into the SRD is if it (1) was in the 3E SRD, (2) has an equivalent in 5th edition D&D, and (3) is vital to how a class, magic item, or monster works. For example, the 3E SRD has the delay poison spell, but in 5th edition that's handled by the protection from poison spell, so protection from poison is in the SRD.
Why do the bookmarks not have spaces in them? The SRD is built in Microsoft Word and converted to a PDF. The bookmarks are created in Word and translated into the PDF (which means we don't have to manually add all the bookmarks into the PDF every time). Word's bookmark function doesn't allow spaces, so the bookmarks in the PDF don't have spaces.
Will more content be added to the SRD? The full 5th edition game and its expansions are available for use via the DMs Guild. New material will be added to the SRD if it is necessary to keep this document and its contents compatible with the latest D&D rules.
Creative Commons FAQ
What is Creative Commons? As posted on the Creative Commons website: “Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity.” They do this, in part, by creating licenses that make it easier for someone, like Wizards, to let people use their content. You can read more at the Creative Commons website.
What does Creative Commons do? Creative Commons writes open-source licenses. These licenses are standardized, well-written, widely accepted, and trusted around the world. The CC-BY-4.0 license we chose to use is also irrevocable and Wizards can’t modify it.
What does Creative Commons not do? Creative Commons does not take ownership of the content that we are licensing. They do not take ownership in the content you create either. They do not administer the license. They do not have an active role in the process.
If Creative Commons doesn’t administer the license, who does? Nobody. There is no need for anyone to have any active involvement. Once we made the SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license, the process is complete. There is nothing left to administer; licensed content is irrevocably available for the world to use. We still own the content we put into SRD 5.1, but anyone can, at any time, use the content we make available under a Creative Commons license as long as their use follows the rules that Creative Commons spelled out in the license itself.
What exactly is CC-BY-4.0? Creative Commons has a wide range of licenses to choose from. CC-BY-4.0 is the specific license we selected. We picked CC-BY-4.0 because it is the one that places the fewest restrictions on how third-party creators can use our content. The only requirement is that the user must provide attribution. As long as they do that, they can use the content commercially and they can make new works based on the content.
How is this different from the OGL? The OGL places more requirements on creators and contains more restrictions on what they are permitted to do. Creative Commons provides a more modern license, more freedom for creators, and more certainty that the content released under the license will remain available under those terms forever. We put the SRD 5.1 under Creative Commons license in January 2023 so that creators have certainty that Wizards can never revoke or deauthorize SRD 5.1 content.
What about VTTs? Are there any restrictions on the types of content that can use Creative Commons? No. The content of SRD 5.1 can be used in any creative expressions, like TTRPGs and VTTs.
OGL 1.0a FAQ
What is OGL 1.0a? Open Game License (OGL) 1.0a is a license agreement between you and Wizards of the Coast to access the core rules of Dungeons & Dragons through an SRD. This license agreement was created by Wizards in 2000 and has been used by the creator community since then to develop their D&D compatible products.
Do I need to sign an agreement to use OGL 1.0a? No, you will instead need to include the full text of OGL 1.0a in your product to confirm it was published under this license.
Then is there any benefit to publish my content under OGL 1.0a v Creative Commons? We expect most creators will start using Creative Commons due to its benefits. Still, OGL 1.0a has been the means by which creators have published their D&D compatible works since 2000. We want you to have the choice on which license to use.