Are there any free game mechanics engines other than D&D 2nd ed? (WAS: OGL and the d20 system)

From: Artovil (
Date: 10/22/01

At 19:51 2001-10-21 -0400, you wrote:
>>How would this go together with the CircleMUD/Diku licenses?  Could I use
>>the d20 system if I simply had snippets of the mechanic aspects added on
>>our homepage?  Would that be sufficient?  I am going to ask WOTC as well,
>>since they own the d20 concept and trademark.  I just wanted the CircleMUD
>>community's opinion on this, and since IANAL I might need some help here
>>before I violate every license know to man. ;)
>This is not a very good idea. First off, I believe that using the d20
>System is illegal in an 'interactive game' format like a MUD or MOO,
>but also, check this out, from the OGL FAQ at
>Q: Does this mean that someone could take Open Game Content I wrote
>and distributed for free, and then put it in a product and sell that
>product to someone else?
>A: Yes.
>Q: To be clear: Does this mean that Wizards of the Coast could take
>Open Game Content I wrote and distributed for free, put it into a
>Dungeons & Dragons product and make money off it?
>A: Yes.
>Q: And they wouldn't have to ask my permission or pay me a royalty?
>A: No.
>Q: Isn't that pretty unfair?
>A: If you don't like the terms of the Open Game License, don't
>publish Open Game Content. Since the terms of the License are public
>knowledge, and they apply to everyone equally, including commercial
>publishers like Wizards of the Coast, your decision to use the Open
>Game License means that you consent to abide by its terms freely and
>without coercion. That's about as fair as anything ever gets.
>Unfortunately, if you're d20, you're d20, and never the twain shall
>meet. The d20 License (in my opinion, anyway) was a simple ploy to
>get more people to invest money in producing product to support D&D,
>and to make the Player's Handbook fly off the shelves.
>I won't have anything to do with the OGL, as it started as what
>appeared to be a good effort, but is simply weighed down by the
>corporate rigmarole. Anyway, the chances that Circle licensure and
>d20 licensure playing nice together are pretty nil. I would advise
>against it.
>I, of course, am not a lawyer, but I've written a lot about copyright
>law and the DMCA, and software licenses, as well (nine months as a
>Slashdot Author will do that to you). Take my words with a grain of
>salt, please.
>Emmett Plant

I see right now that this would be in a clear violation with any licenses
not my own, which means both DIKU and CircleMUD. So screw d20 to hell and
back in a hand basket with a pink bonnet on it.

Ok, now I come to the question; are there any good systems out there that I
can use without violating laws to the left and right?  I am not overly fond
of the D&D 2nd edition system.  I tried searching on the web, but there are
little or no information about copyrights and licenses on the pages that
relate free game mechanics systems.

Especially for magic use, does any company have the copyright for the spell
circle/spell book/reagent system used in various games such as Ultima and
others? Or can I safely use a similar system as long as I write my own code
and mechanics?

Then for combat I would like something else, other than the THAC0/AC system.

I have seen several muds out there with a similar system, Materia Magica
and The Inqusition being two of them, if they have special licenses I am
not aware of, but I would like to know more about this before I start
working on the system (which will be very soon).

If anybody has anything to recommend, please, send me some links and ideas
to me privately, please.

Kind regards,

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