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Gaming on a Budget

Using the D20 Licence

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The 3.5 or D20 licence development kit is a great tool to use, it provides the core mechanics for the D20 system, and makes designing and developing products for WotCís Dungeons and Dragons game a much more easier process.

I plan to write and develop a campaign setting for Ancient Rome, and the plan is to make use of the D20 core rule system, so this will become the backbone of my planned project. Entitle ďAll Roads Lead to RomeĒ will be made available as a free to download PDF file, and will also be sold through Lulu, so that people who prefer a hard copy can purchase one.

So why use the kit, well its gives you the core elements of the system. You can change the descriptions, add new elements, or remove existing ones. Basically it there for you to use, and make fit to your planned end product. Recently there has been a glut of retro clone D&D RPGís, all of which have an old school feel to them. They have achieved this by adjusting elements within the D20 system, either by removing aspects or tweaking them to give the rpg a more old school flavour. My plan is to change some of the descriptions, so that they sit more comfortably within a historical setting. I also intend to add new elements that will provide a more historical/Roman flavour to the campaign.

As this is going to be based on an historical time period, Iíll be taking a closer look at the magic system and adjusting it so that it more historical than fantasy. There will also be a reduction in races, as most only existed within myth and folklore, thatís not to say they wonít be ruled out. As I plan to allow players/GMís the ability to run a mythical Roman campaign, but it will based on the myth, folklore and stories of the Roman/Greek world rather than high fantasy.

So what does the D20 allow me to do?

Basically the D20 licence will require publishers to exclude character creation and advancement rules. You will also be expected to apply certain notices as well adhering to particular content policies as well. Though if you publish under the OGL (Open Gaming Licence) licence this isnít required, as OGL isnít bound by the same restrictions as the D20 licence. This is because the D20 system still requires you as the player/GM to need the Dungeons and Dragons core books published by Wizards of the Coast. It must also be noted that all products published under the D20 licence, also come under the OGL as well.

When Wizards released the D20 licence, this helped to jump start the then fledgling PDF market. Many of the small publishers at the time, were simply put amateurs, gaming fans who decided to develop their own companies and publications. Using the PDF format allowed them to publish products very cheaply, which didnít require the minimum returns that larger print publishers needed. Some of these small companies eventually became fully fledged game publishers, moving into print.

Next Post I'll take a closer look at the actual D20 licence
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