I've tried posting this over at both ENWorld and RPG.net and not gotten a single response. I'm hoping someone here might be able to answer...
I think I've got an ok handle on how the OGL works. At least, ok enough for doing any kind of homebrew project that I'd be posting.
But I _do_ want to make sure that I do stuff right, especially since I'm looking at creating an SRD from a game where the company doesn't exist and the authors can't be contacted.
So I've actually got two things I want to be sure of.
1. The core rules for the SRD and listing of the copyright.
The way the PI/OGC section is phrased is:
The following is designated as Product Identity, in accordance with section 1(e) of the Open Gaming License, version 1.0a: All [company] names, logos, identifying marks, and trade dress; all character and place names; all examples; all artwork, symbols, desighns, depictions, illustrations, likenesses, poses, symbols, and graphic designs; all stories, storylines, plots thematic elements and dialogue are property of [company].
Rules and rules dealing with the d20 gaming system are designated as Open Game Content.
This basically means that while I can take the character classes and the mechanics associated with them, I can't take the actual names and other fluffy bits, correct? In other words, I basically need to write new setting material to locate these mechanics in.
Now, in the copyright section I _do_ need to list the copyright of the company, but that's the _only_ place where I list the name of the book, the company name, and the year. Right? I need to indicate the _source_ of the material, and since it's being listed _there_ I'm not infringing on any rights or implying compatibility or anything else like that, since I can't actually contact them in the first place.
2. "Nested" OGC and other sources
Next up, the lovely issue of "nested" OGC content.
I have the Feat book from AEG. If I take and use some feats from it in the thing _I_ put out, how's the listing supposed to go? Do I make the s15 entry "Feats, Copyright 2002, Alderac Entertainment Group Inc" or do I actually have to list all the s15 entries from the Feats book as well as adding in a new entry for the AEG Book?
I've got the Fantasy Concepts from Samardan Press (Jason Kemp). It's nifty enough (if you dig d20 tweaking), and you can pick it up here: http://www.lulu.com/content/1444818
Anyway, he's got a bloody extensive s15. If I go ahead and pull or derive mechanics from Fantasy Concepts, does that mean I need to duplicat his s15 and make another entry for him in the s15 I create, or is it sufficient for me to simply make an entry in my s15 referencing Fantasy concepts and its copyright?
Part of the reason for my uncertainty is looking at the Tome of Horrors from Necromancer Games.
In the back of the book (page 449-450 of my Tome of Horrors rev pdf) they instruct you to make a seperate entry for each monster that you're using. Specifically they say:
Using Multiple Monsters The monsters in this book are so cool that we are sure you will want to use several of them in your products. Does that mean you should do a whole new entry in your Section 15 for every monster you use?
Unfortunately, yes. That is a side effect of our desire to credit each author and the original source material properly and accurately. We thought it was so important to give proper credit that we are sure subsequent publishers will not mind this slight inconvenience. We just couldn’t find another way to do it.
Now, is this an actual function of the way the OGL is _supposed_ to be used, and many people just "slide by" and cheat it by referencing a book (like the Feat book from AEG) instead of creating a giant-ass s15? Or is that a function of the way that Necromancer Games has chosen to allow _their_ material to be used, and therefore only applies to pulling specific entries from that particular product?
No, I'm not planning on trying to make money off of what I make, I just want to make sure that all my ducks are in a row, my "i"s are dotted and my "t"s are crossed. I want to put something out there for folks to enjoy and get benefit from, and I don't want to be stepping on anyone's toes in doing so. Even if they're not around to be annoyed I think it's poor form to do otherwise.
And if I use stuff from Jason's work, I want to make sure that the proper people get the credit they're supposed to.
Of course, if I don't _have_ to create a giant-ass s15 I'd be pretty pleased by that. But I'll do it if it's actually the terms of the license, regardless of what other folks do.