The OGL Issue, First Principles,& Agnvs Dei Studios
Our official statement.
Today we’re going to share what’s been on our hearts about the Open Gaming License issue, in a concise way.
We also want to share with you the specifics of our company’s first principles, and our own third-party publishing license for The Epic of Dreams, our flagship role-playing game.
We know this issue has been really tiring for everyone, and we’ve felt the pain too.
In case you need a quick TL:DR version, our statement is as follows;
Agnvs Dei Studios is a publisher of games, art, and stories all aimed towards the pursuit of transcendent wonder.
Our work is to blaspheme the spirit of despair and glorify the Sorrow King.
We are here, and we are excited to serve you.
The Open Gaming License Update
We imagine that if you’re here, you’re probably up to date on the seemingly ever-changing situation surrounding the OGL; a third-party publishing license made by Wizards of the Coast, the company that currently produces Dungeons and Dragons.
If you need a refresher, here’s an article that covers the jist of everything.
Whatever Wizards of the Coast does with Dungeons & Dragons’ Open Gaming License will have no effect on The Epic of Dreams or Agnvs Dei Studios, as it is not a game that required the OGL to produce.
For those who have a copy of the 2018 Kickstarter edition of The Epic of Dreams, you may notice we had the OGL text in the back of our book, but this was in part because we didn’t know what we were doing at the time, and it seemed like a good CYA buffer - “just in case”.
But the design of The Epic of Dreams relies on its own maths, game rules, and expressions, not on any content inside of the Open Gaming License.
Depending on how things ultimately end up with the OGL, some planned releases of ours that relied on the third-party publishing licenses of games that do rely on the OGL may have to be scrapped, or retooled to fit different RPG systems.
If that happens, we’ll still release cool stuff, just with our own game systems.
However, we see the developments surrounding Dungeons & Dragons as the revealing of the true face of the current spirit of the company that owns it, and as we here are all avid fans of the legacy of the game, it breaks our hearts to see them act in this manner.
The First Principles of Agnvs Dei Studios
Perhaps the most tragic part of this story was the realization that corporate-minded decision-makers broke the trust of one of the most dedicated niche fan bases to ever exist.
Before we talk about anything about us, the first thing we need to say is that small companies like us stand to gain a lot from big flashy events like this, and that you should always take what articles like this one say with a grain of salt.
Regardless of however sincere my words written here truly are now, in 20 years, if this company passes to the hands of other folks and we make the damning mistake of mishandling our intellectual property, the same story could repeat itself (of course, we’d have to be “successful” first).
On the About page on our website, we have the following written:
“Agnvs Dei Studios is a publisher of games, art, and stories all aimed towards the pursuit of transcendent wonder.
Our work is to blaspheme the spirit of despair and glorify the Sorrow King.”
We’d like to take some time now to break down and clarify what each of those points mean, so you can get to know us.
Hi, my name’s Drew, and right now, I am Agnvs Dei Studios.
“Agnvs Dei Studios Is A Publisher of Games, Art, and Stories”
(Pronunciation: AG-nus Day; the “v” spelling is just for aesthetic, because we like metal music)
For us, role-playing games are a (preferred) medium to convey art and story.
Though right now they are our bread and butter, as we have more capital and means to produce content in other mediums, and a fanbase to serve that content to, we will embark on producing works of literature, cinema, animation, computer games, podcasts, videos, and more.
However, we believe the magic of RPGs is the core through-line of the entire tradition of human storytelling, and we hope you enjoy our role-playing game products.
Every other medium of story is comparatively more passive than group storytelling, and with each step away from “the campfire”, the more cosmetic and brittle the power of the story becomes.
”All Aimed Towards the Pursuit of Transcendent Wonder”
There’s a very special moment in life where a child is able to exist as they are, untainted by any stresses of life, running around, playing imaginary games with their friends.
We believe that this state of childlike wonder is crucial to the spiritual health of the human race, and that as we progress into the days of tomorrow, our modern effects serve to estrange us from that spiritual health.
We believe the sum of the canon of the mythologies of days past contain the most precious moments of the human condition, and we adapt stories and symbols from these myths to bring meaning back to the heart of man.
In a world of cynicism and smartphones, we want to bring people to a place where they can believe that all things can be made new, and that the grand mystery of life is indeed worth living.
We do not wish to be an island unto ourselves, but instead one among an archipelago of friends and conspirators.
Though the words may sound trite, Agnvs Dei Studios is welcoming to all people of all walks of life, and wishes to partner with whoever shares that simple desire for Wonder to produce art and story.
“To Blaspheme the Spirit of Despair”
Against all bad news and doomsayers, we believe that the future of humanity will be a bright one.
Our past has been extremely messy -at every turn- but there is worth and beauty to be found both in the human race at large, in the wonderful Earth we live in, and within the soul of every person.
To destroy all the things that haunt your soul and mine, we tell stories to inspire and empower the good in humanity; that despair, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, and insecurity may be found limp, dead, and dismembered.
“…And Glorify the Sorrow King”
Our heritage lies inside the Christian faith.
It is embedded in who we are, and we celebrate what we have been given.
We will never use our platform to proselytize or preach a specific lifestyle, worldview, or moralize a specific topic.
Likewise, we have a deep respect for all worldviews, and emphatically welcome all walks of life.
Instead, our goal is again; to inspire and empower the souls of our readers through various mediums of story.
Likewise, it is not our intent to tell “Christian stories”, in the modern sense, or produce narratives for any “Christian” agenda.
It is our aim to instead tell undeniable stories of all kinds that captivate and inspire solely by the quality of storytelling presented.
For us, this act itself is a sacred expression of worship we consider ourselves privileged to perform.
Separate from any of our stories, we do hope that one day, all who enjoy our offerings experience for themselves the transforming mystic love that lay inside the eyes of Jesus. He has brought us immeasurable joy and peace.
The Agnvs Dei Manifesto
Below is our game design manifesto, which is more or less the narrative rules we follow while producing content.
We have this posted on our site, and wanted to clarify them here a bit too, two birds one stone.
All these do is speak to the tone of content one can expect from our official releases.
There will still be many memes to be had, rest assured.
1. THE WORK MUST INCITE WONDER
2. THE WORK MUST EVOKE FEAR
3. THE WORK MUST MAKE THEM QUESTION
4. THE WORK MUST BE QUICKLY KNOWABLE
5. THE WORK MUST BE UNKNOWABLE
6. THE WORK MUST COMPRISE ONE UNIFIED WHOLE
7. THE WORK MUST BE TIMELESS
8. THE WORK MUST BRING LIFE
9. THE WORK MUST REVEAL TRUTH
Powered By the Muse: Third-Party Publishing License Preview
And finally, our upcoming third-party license and SRD.
This entire section is only a preview. None of the content shown here is in force as of yet.
Our third-party license and System Reference Document will be freely available alongside the public release of The Epic of Dreams: Basilisk Edition.
Some of the language may change in the final, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before if you’ve been around RPGs during the past 20 years.
For you who are here today, we also have a downloadable preview of The Epic of Dreams System Reference Document here.
Please, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about anything in this correspondence, either in the comments on Substack, or in our Discord server!