What is CC/Open Domain/OGL/etc

Hey, I’m sorry if this is a silly question, or if it’s in the wrong place, but when faced with something you don’t know, you can either look stupid or stay stupid, heh.

I’m a writer on the DM’s guild and I focus on adapting legacy content for 5e. Obviously, publishing WOTC/TSR content has it’s own rules, that’s not what I’m asking about.

Me myself, 100% of the time ALWAYS make sure that I get my sources legally. I know a lot of people don’t care, but it’s important to me that my sources are legal. So if I’m writing about something Dark Sun, and an internet source gives me what I need, I always make sure that they are legally allowed to tell/show me what they are telling/showing me.

I’m currently working on adapting some of the content from Dark Sun into setting-non-specific 5e works. My biggest problem is that I don’t know what sources I need and what I don’t. The easiest solution would be to buy/read/sort everything that has been released about Dark Sun, but it’s just not feasible to take the time/energy/resources to do that.

There’s things like TSRarchive.com, but those don’t tell me what the license is for sharing them, only what articles exists. Which is a great starting point, but then if I see a magic item from Dune Traders that somebody posted on their blog and I think “Oh, I should include that in my adaptation” then it takes me forever to find out if I need to buy Dune Traders or if Dune Traders has been released under CC BY-SA 4.0 and I’m good to take what has been shared with me and adapt it, or if it’s been listed under something else, or whatever.

So…help? Is there a list somewhere that shows what Dark Sun sources have moved under which licenses or maybe a way to search which items are under which license, or literally anything that would help in this area? I’ve spent hours trying to figure this out, but things like internet archive, unrelated results, and other random things dominate my searches (yes, I know how to use a search engine, but even still).

This is a common enough of a problem that I’m sure there’s some tool somewhere, but I still haven’t found it. You’d be saving me hours upon hours and honestly probably hundreds of dollars by helping me out, so I really would be so grateful. Obviously this goes for any D&D materials, but Dark Sun is what I’m specifically working on right now.

Thanks in Advance!

Welcome to the community!

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or professional legal consultant, you follow my opinion at your own risk.

To the best of my understanding, the default is that everything published by TSR is still owned by WotC and thus by extension controlled by Hasbro.

The OGL simply gives terms and conditions for using any content released under said OGL, it has no content by itself.

The SRD and MSRD, two monsters from the MM2, and most but not all of the Unearthed Arcana (3.5 edition) are the only materials released by WotC under the OGL, and thus can be freely shared under the terms of the OGL.

Athas.org materials appear to have taken the stance of only making things that appeared in the SRD (and thus are duplicated in the Athas releases) OGL. Nothing else is released under the OGL. The unique Fan Site License only applies to Athas (if it still does, which is debatable), and thus is of no use to you.

Since you are using the 5e DM’s Guild as your license, you will need to review what that license allows you to do. If you do not understand what is and is not covered, you really should consult a legal authority.

Nothing Dark Sun specific has been released under a Creative Commons or Open Gaming license, nor has anything Dark Sun been released into the Open Domain, to the best of my recollection.

Since Dark Sun is not yet released on the DMsGuild you can’t put anything Dark Sun up there yet. Creating generic content based on Dark Sun is doable, but you lose the flavor, which is what people want. I’ve seen a few Psionics systems and “defiling” systems for magic to mimic Dark Sun, but as far as I can tell they don’t seem to do well with the name support. A few folks have attempted to make similar settings, but WotC found them too close to Dark Sun and took them down.

The only way you can tell if something is official or not is to look in a book rather than rely on the web.

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Thank you! If nothing Dark Sun specific has been released under a Creative Commons or Open Gaming License, then that answers one of my questions. Thanks again!

Yeah, I definitely won’t be dropping the names Dark Sun, Athas, etc. haha. I’ll keep looking through books and manually checking licenses then. Thanks!