Content and Format Questions

Jeff Montgomery -

What can I use in my titles on the Dungeon Masters Guild?

When you create your own title for the Dungeon Masters Guild, you get access to a hoard of resources. Your work can use any of the 5th Edition D&D rules published by Wizards of the Coast, plus decades of published material for the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, and Theros settings. Additionally, Wizards and OneBookShelf will from time to time make additional resources such as stock art, template cover designs, template stat blocks, and other such assets available on the DMsGuild.com site for you to freely use in your Dungeon Masters Guild titles.

As other authors create content for the Dungeon Masters Guild and expand the Forgotten Realms through their titles, you then have access to use that material in turn. Was there a subplot another author didn’t fully explore? A tavern you’d like to re-use in your own adventure? All Dungeon Masters Guild authors contribute to a pool of community content that can be re-used, expanded, and explored by other authors in the Dungeon Masters Guild community.

I don’t see anything that would stop me from publishing a Greyhawk or Zendikar or Dark Sun product on DMs Guild. Can I do that?

For now, DMs Guild is limited to the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, and Theros settings only, although you can also publish anything for 5th Edition that (i) is generic enough to be used in a permitted setting without effort and (ii) doesn’t explicitly use anything related to another official Wizards setting.

For example, you can mention Forgotten Realms deities such as Azuth or Mystra, but you can’t mention Boccob, Lunitari, or any other deity from another official D&D setting that hasn't been permitted here. Some deities or characters (such as Vecna or Lord Soth) appear in several settings; they can be mentioned only in the context of approved settings.

Is DMs Guild going to remain Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, and Theros only, or will other settings be considered in the future?

As we did with Ravenloft when Curse of Strahd was released and with Eberron when Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron was released, we intend to open up additional settings and IP as D&D 5e grows.

However, for the time being, only Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, and Theros are permitted.

I have a new game setting I’ve developed. Can I post it to DMs Guild?

No. The DMs Guild site is geared toward setting-neutral, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, and Theros content only.

If you have a campaign setting of your own, that would fall under the OGL and be perfect for your publisher account on DriveThruRPG.

Can I use iconic Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Eberron, Ravnica, or Theros characters like Drizzt, Elminster, and Strahd in my DMs Guild title?

Yes.

Can I use characters/locations/etc. from other intellectual properties that partner with Dungeons & Dragons (for example, the Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook)?

When crafting content for the Dungeon Masters Guild, you may not use content (including characters, locations, artwork, or any other elements) from any products for which D&D has licensed/partnered with other properties, or used intellectual properties with permission, as resources for your own products.

Such products include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook
  • Stranger Things Starter Set
  • Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty boxed set
  • The characters of Arkhan the Cruel, Krull the Tortle, Torogar Steelfist, and their distinct likenesses, which appear in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
  • Explorers Guide to Wildemount sourcebook

Can I create and sell content for older D&D editions on DMs Guild?

No. The DMs Guild site is geared toward 5th Edition content only.

Can I copy any information from the 5E core rulebooks in my DMs Guild title?

You can include information like summary stat blocks of monsters from the Monster Manual in your adventure. Similarly, you can include spell effects and other useful information as needed to make running your adventure an easy and streamlined experience. Please note that sometimes it’s just as easy to refer the Dungeon Master to the Monster Manual or other core rulebook instead.

In short, avoid copying large sections of Wizards titles. Stick to summary information needed and not easily referenced.

Can I convert old D&D content from earlier editions to 5E and publish it on DMs Guild?

With some restrictions, the answer is yes. You can convert magic items, monsters, character classes, spells, etc. from earlier edition books to 5th Edition and publish your conversion at DMsGuild.com.

There are two exceptions:

  • Do not convert content from settings not yet released in the DMs Guild program, with the exception of classic D&D adventures (see #2 below).
  • No direct, full reprints of classic adventures converted to 5E. If you want to publish something based around a classic adventure like Against the Giants or Queen of the Demonweb Pits, then you could consider options like:
    • a distinctly new 5e adventure that is perhaps a prequel or sequel to the classic adventure content;
    • a streamlined, bare-bones conversion guide for someone who already owns the classic adventure (i.e., encounter-by-encounter conversion notes with any 5E stats needed, leaving out all other content, augmented with ideas for setting the adventure in the Forgotten Realms); or
    • a unique take in the spirit of the classic adventure. Yeah, Acererak’s tomb is horrific, but what about that other lich’s place?

Can I publish comic books, novels, spell cards, item cards, computer games, apps, etc., on DMs Guild?

No. The DMs Guild site is geared toward D&D 5e RPG supplements only. We do not allow .ext .xcl Google Sheets or Doc files, or other file types not conducive to RPG supplements.

Note: In the case of Fantasy Grounds content we do allow .mod files, but no other file type may be used when creating Fantasy Grounds content unless they are supplemental to Dungeons & Dragons specifically.

Can I sell my Dungeon Masters Guild title in print as well as PDF?

DMsGuild staff has bandwidth to oversee production of only a handful of print titles each year. As of March 5, 2020, print-on-demand projects will be undertaken by invite only for the foreseeable future. If you have an upcoming project you'd like to bring to our attention, please contact lysa@onebookshelf.com. Due to the number of requests, staff only guarantees responses to projects we are able to pursue.

 

Can I publish content for Adventurers League?

Dungeoncraft adventure titles using the Adventurers League guidelines found in the Organized Play section of the D&D website here: https://dnd.wizards.com/ddal_general may be published on DMsGuild. Dungeoncraft titles MUST use the Dungeoncraft filter, this way they will show up in the Adventurers League ribbon on our home page.

AL Dungeoncraft titles can also use the Adventurers League Community Logo found in our Logos and Artwork section.

What is a Phone PDF and how can I create one?

Read all about our Phone PDF format, including design tips and file specifications, in our Phone PDF Information and File Creation Guide.

How do I prepare the PDF of my title for sale?

There are many different programs to lay out and prepare your book for digital download. Here are some things to help you ensure your PDF will download properly and look great:

  • Create. If you want to lay out your Digital PDF from scratch...
  • Prep. You've already created your PDF and just need to see if it is all set to upload.
  • Enhance. You've already created your PDF and want to add enhancements.
  • Ready. Once your print files are ready to upload...
    • UPLOAD - Will show you where and how to upload your files for digital download.

What are other rules or requirements for my content?

More than a platform, Dungeon Masters Guild is a license of Wizards of the Coast’s fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Because titles published under the DMsGuild license are strongly associated with Wizards of the Coast, they must follow content guidelines intended to protect the Dungeons & Dragons brand. Please read below for specific guidance for all Community titles added to our catalog December 2020 or later. If you have questions or concerns about these guidelines, please e-mail dmsguild@onebookshelf.com

This license does not allow:

  • Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, discriminatory, or other bigoted views or hate speech.
  • No mentions or implications of rape or other forms of sexual assault as defined by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Content warning: This link details definitions of assault, rape, force, etc.
  • Mentions of overt real-world political organizations or individuals. For example: A parody of a politician is ok, but the exact likeness and name of that politician is not.
  • Gratuitously explicit depictions or descriptions of harm being done to children, especially such descriptions that cannot be distinguished from real life. For example: A scene that details how a human bandit tortures a child after kidnapping them is not ok. A reference to monstrous hags luring children into a forest is ok with no “on-screen” depictions of harm. A scenario involving a human bandit restraining but not harming a young prince to abduct him for ransom is acceptable.
  • Explicit descriptions of sexual acts. Any reference to sex or suggestive behavior by or targeting creatures under the age of consent in their respective fantasy cultures.
  • Sexually-derived or excessive profanity.
  • Illegal and Infringing content. It is the content creator’s responsibility to ensure that their content does not violate laws, or copyright, trademark, privacy, or other rights.
  • Create, don’t copy. We reserve the right to stop publishing and selling your work if we think it goes against the spirit of the Dungeon Masters Guild program. All authors should respectfully use the content originally created by Wizards of the Coast or other Dungeon Masters Guild creators. For example, if a Dungeon Masters Guild author releases a trilogy of adventures, and another author takes those three adventures, compiles them, and republishes them as a single collection, without substantive original additions or changes, then we would stop publishing and selling that collected work because it adds no value to the Dungeon Masters Guild community content. It’s simply one author copying another author’s work and looking to make a royalty on it.

This license does not allow artwork that depicts:

  • Real or simulated sexual acts (including manual, oral, anal, vaginal, etc.).
  • Full nudity or exposed genitals. The region of the breast, coded for any gender, that contains the nipple and areola must be covered by an opaque material and not be visible as an outline through that material.
  • Extreme gore, mutilation of body parts, and intense violence. Some fantasy and unrealistic violence allowed. For example: Bloodless dismemberment is acceptable.

D&D historically has touched on dark or mature themes. To help you navigate the boundaries of what is listed above, here are just a few examples of what is allowed:

This license allows:

  • Alcohol use, tobacco use, and fantasy drug references. For example: A phosphorescent mushroom that produces hallucinatory effects when eaten is allowed. A reference to a real-world drug like cocaine is not allowed.
  • Suggestive themes, including references or non-explicit depictions of sexual behavior in written material and any same-sex or gender-queer expressions of said behavior.
  • Depictions of disease, physical illness, and mental illness that are respectful of the dignity and personhood of real-life individuals with similar illnesses.

Please keep in mind that your DMsGuild customers will have varying degrees of comfort with these themes and others. When in doubt, we highly recommend including a Content Warning in your product description to list any mature or controversial themes and always treating such themes with thoughtfulness and respect. This resource gives some instruction on how to give an effective content warning.

If a creator violates one of the guidelines above, a DMsGuild staff member will contact them to address changes, potentially deactivating the title from sale until necessary changes are made or working with the creator to move their title to another platform provided it follows the Open Gaming License. Violations identified by our internal team or reported by customers are reviewed by Dungeon Masters Guild employees. Questionable violations are reviewed by the OneBookShelf team and discussed with the author.

It is always our goal for the guidelines above to be all encompassing of all content produced for all time. However, we must recognize the possibility a future title could shed light on a guideline we had not considered. As such, these guidelines are subject to change, and such changes are made with serious consideration and external feedback/consultation. Creators are expected to adhere to the most recent version of these guidelines.

 

 

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