System Reference Document:
Frequently Asked Questions




The questions and answers below refer to sections of the System Reference Document.

Q: What is the System Reference Document?

A: The System Reference Document (SRD) is a comprehensive toolbox consisting of rules, races, classes, feats, skills, various systems, spells, magic items and monsters compatible with the d20 System version of Dungeons & Dragons and various other roleplaying games from Wizards of the Coast.

Q: Is the System Reference Document released?

A: The SRD is continually being updated. At this time it contains information from the core rules, psionics, and epic rules. In addition, there is a Modern System Reference Document. See the official documents for the text.

Q: Why are there so many sections?

A: It was easier to develop, edit, and proof separate sections than one large document. Plus, the sections create logical divisions in the material that may aid developers in finding what they need or deciding what they want to change.

Q: Can you provide the document in other formats?

A: Currently the SRD is only available in RTF format. We may release additional formats in the future. Because the SRD is Open Game Content anyone can distribute the SRD in alternate formats provided they follow the terms of the OGL.

Q: What's missing from the SRD compared to the core D&D rulebooks?

A: Mostly the "flavor" elements. There are no named gods, none of the spells have significant NPC names, there's no mention of Greyhawk, etc. You'll also note that there are no rules for character creation, for advancing characters in level, calculating experience, or anything else related to the topics forbidden by the d20 System Trademark Guide.

Q: Can I use the SRD verbatim?

A: Sure.

Q: Could I publish the whole thing?

A: Sure. If you think someone would be willing to pay for it, you're more than welcome to try.

Q: There's a lot of material in the SRD that seems too simple to copyright or comes from the public domain. Why does Wizards of the Coast call the whole thing Open Game Content (OGL)?

A: One of the objectives of the OGL/d20 project is to create a "safe harbor" that clearly identifies material that can be used, derived from, modified, and distributed without fear of litigation. To that end, the SRD contains material that is public domain, copyright, and somewhere in between. But using the OGL, it all carries with it the same, uniform set of rights, thus creating the safe harbor.

Q: Will there be additional sections added to the SRD?

A: Yes.

Q: When?

A: Additions to the SRD should become a fairly regular occurrence. The intention is to add major subsystems and content from various releases over time. Wizards must first extract their contents into an SRD format, review that content with the RPG Research & Development team for errors, omissions, and things we do not wish to license as Open Game Content, and then we will add it to the SRD.

Q: Why not just say that the D&D books are Open Game Content?

A: Because they aren't. Those books are full of examples, artwork, trademarks, and characters and settings we don't want to give a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive right to copy modify and distribute. The SRD makes it crystal clear what Wizards of the Coast considers to be Open Game Content and what it does not. Again, this reinforces the concept of the safe harbor.

Q: If I find something in a Wizards of the Coast book and I think it should be Open Game Content, can I just write a version of that material in my own words?

A: If you can do so without creating a derivative work as that term is used in Title 17 of the US Copyright law, infringing a trademark you don't own, and any number of other legal landmines, you're more than welcome to do so. Of course, you should consult your legal counsel before attempting such a thing.

Q: How will you handle trademarks from licenses in the System Reference Document?

A: There will not be any trademarked content in the SRD. That means that the SRD will never contain words like "Elminster," "Wookiee," "Jedi," or even "the Force."

Q: I've found an error in the SRD. Who should I contact?

A: Send any comments about the SRD to Andrew.Smith@wizards.com.

Q: The tabbing in the SRD is off in some places. What gives?

A: We're working to produce an SRD that looks the same regardless of browser, font, machine, etc. However, our primary focus is getting material online. Making it look nice is a secondary concern. If something looks really bad, drop us a line. Please include which file you were looking at and what program you were using to view it.

Q: Will Wizards of the Coast incorporate my Open Game Content into the System Reference Document?

A: Probably not. That said, if at some point in the future, Wizards of the Coast adds third-party Open Game Content to a published product, and the contents of that published product are extracted for the SRD, it is possible that the content could find its way into the SRD.



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