There was some rejoicing today when Mongoose Matt of Mongoose Publishing announced “a brand new Traveller Open Content programme.” I’m not rejoicing; this new Open Content program confirms to me that Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
Open Content? My a$$.
“…allowing gamers and publishers to build their own products using the most recent edition of the Traveller rules.” This Mongoose Open Content program is exactly what WotC is trying to do with “deauthorizing” the OGL—force gamers and third-party publishers (3PP) to use their SRD which they control. Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
“…new SRD based upon the Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022…and a logo license.” Not the Cepheus Engine SRD. Further, a logo license is a mark of compatibility, not open content. Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
“…looking to the ORC license to maintain openness.” The more I hear about the ORC the more I see it as a repository for SRD’s, not a true Open License. Without a truly “open” OGL Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
“The current TAS programme…will continue to run separately, but alongside, Traveller Open Content.” TAS allows gamers and 3PP to publish using the latest edition Mongoose rules and the Charted Space setting. This new “Open Content” program will allow gamers and 3PP to publish settings beyond Charted Space, but they MUST use a Mongoose-defined SRD. Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
It appears Mongoose is banking on WotC eventually “deauthorizing” OGL 1.0a. When that happens, the open license upon which the Cepheus Engine SRD rests goes away, and CE disappears. CE gamers and 3PP will be forced to use the Mongoose Open Content Program SRD. I don’t think Mongoose will overreach like WotC did and demand royalties (but I wouldn’t really be surprised if they did) but given TAS has an IP grabbing clause I kinda expect one to show up here. Either way, Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
I once again am going to point to “Beware the Gifts of Dragons: How D&D’s Open Gaming License May Have Become a Trap for Creators” from EFF – The Electronic Frontier Foundation published on Jan 10. The Mongoose Traveller Open Content program is no different than what WotC tried to do with OGL 1.1. Mongoose is not a knight in shining armor coming to rescue CE. With the Traveller Open Content program Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
—Some Additional Thoughts—
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The only way to save Cepheus Engine is to use a Creative Commons license. Alas, today’s Open Content Program announcement makes it clear that Mongoose is NOT pursuing that path. Without an open license like Creative Commons Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
I note that in the aftermath of the Mongoose announcement I can’t find the voices of Cepheus Engine 3PP like John Watts of Independence Games or Paul Elliott of Zozer or the like. Mongoose Matt claims he is “talking” to CE creators and “will be working with” them but I don’t hear them rogering up to this program either. Which means every 3PP must decide if they will buy into the Traveller Open Content Program because Cepheus Engine is DEAD!
What of Mr. Miller? I don’t expect him to weigh in on the side of Cepheus Engine. He has his own Traveller RPG (5e) and is paid by Mongoose for their license. While I think everyone would appreciate him making the basis of the Cepheus Engine SRD open content, he has no financial driver to do so. I don’t blame him…money talks—and Cepheus Engine is DEAD!