Licensing options coming for AGE system?

According to comments made by Jack Norris and Chris Pramas on various forums, Green Ronin publishing is having plans to introduce a license next year that will allow others to release material for the Fantasy Age system with their official permission. The intention is to use something similar to the licensing options for Savage Worlds, which after a quick lookover seem very similar to those offered for Numenera. The approach is quite different to the d20 OGL in that it requires each product released under them to make it very clear that it is an extension to the official game, something you are explicitly forbidden to do for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. They also don’t allow you to replicate the entire rules in either unaltered or modified form. You can create new rules and even have them override regular rules of the standard rules system, but either way there is no legal way to make a stand alone product.

How the lincenses for Fantasy Age will look specifically we’ll have to see once they are publically announced. But I already consider this very good news. Fantasy Age really feels like a system that is perfectly suited to be released to the crowds and modified and adapted to a wide variety of creative ideas. People have criticized the Basic Rulebook for being a bit too generic and lightweight, which is not entirely unjustified. But as a basic rules system to expand upon it really seems quite perfect. Having it be just the bare bones actually seems beneficial for that purpose, as adaptations for specific genres and settings mostly only have to add new rules instead of removing or overriding existing ones, which would be a lot easier to manage and less confusing for readers.

The OGL was a huge boost for the do it yourself crowd and small business publishers of RPG, even though in my oppinion the d20 system is really quite terrible. The big mistake WotC made was probably to force publishers big and small, as well as fan creators, to clearly renounce any kind of association with the company or the Dungeons & Dragons game. Because they did just that and did their own separate things. What did they expect to happen with a license like that? The Savage Worlds and Numenera licenses are much more sensible in that way and not only require any buyer of these products to buy official rulebooks as well, but also constantly promote the main game. The AGE system seems so much better suited as a generic system than the d20 system (and also Savage Worlds, in my oppinion), and I am quite excited to see what we might be getting if these plans for licensing agreements come true.

I, for one, welcome our new green overlords. I’ve been working on my Ancient Lands campaign setting for four years now and have very determined plans to eventually release it to the public in one way or another. The big question has always been whether to make it completely system independent or to provide a section with rules specific material for some open system or another. As I said before, Fantasy Age is very close to what I would have wanted to make if I were to make my own game and it really seems quite a perfect fit. Being able to release the Ancient Lands as an AGE system campaign setting would be a dream come true, and even if the license were more restrictive than those for Savage Worlds and Numenera, it would still work for my purposed. I don’t expect anything to happen for another year or so, but it’s still exciting to see an announcement of the plans that are currently being considered at Green Ronin.

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