Community Content Publishing (OneBookShelf)

What, a post so soon?

It’s Day 1 of 2021 but I’m not using that naming convention for these blog posts anymore.

I mentioned in my end of year post about potentially publishing content for games other than D&D.

Whilst doing some reading of the other Community Content Programmes on DriveThruRPG I thought it may be of interest to others how this works.

Before we dive in though.

I am NOT an expert on this subject but I have spent a fair bit of time reading the info on DriveThruRPGs website and doing some digging around the interwebs.  If any of this is wrong, please let me know!

If you’re creating something that is not tied to an existing RPG and you want to publish it on DriveThru then you have two options:

  1. Exclusive
  2. Non-Exclusive

What’s the difference?  This page explains and here’s the table for speed.


Download Exclusive

Download Non-Exclusive

Earnings on digital sales

70% of customer price you set

65% of customer price you set

Digital sales channels

Only resold through

Sold anywhere

Earnings on printed sales

70% of print margin*

65% of print margin*

Printed sales channels

Sold anywhere

Sold anywhere

Enhanced title rotation



Bonus on-site promotion



If you want to create something that IS tied to an existing RPG then worth looking at the Community Content Programmes on DriveThru.

Three things to consider.

1. If you’re planning to create products for one of the Community Content Programmes on DriveThruRPG then first you need to decide which one. This page lists all of them –

All of them give you access to their IP and in many cases provide artwork, templates for InDesign, Word and Affinity Publisher to create content and a variety of other resources.

This is really important to consider when creating something.  If you’re wanting to write for a specific RPG then it’s an easier decision to make because you are actually writing for that RPG.  If you don’t want to lose that 15% or 20% then you have to ensure that what you produce doesn’t infringe on copyrights or at the very least uses Open Gaming content.

2. The trade off is in the Earnings %.

In the main the Royalty % is 50% although there is one exception I could find (Savage Worlds) and a few where I couldn’t find the %  on the DriveThru website (those in italics).  I’d err on the side of those being 50% too though.

Community Content ProgrammesRoyalty
Canis Minor (Pugmire)50% Royalty
Chronicle System Guild (Green Ronin)??% Royalty
Cypher System Creator Program50% Royalty
Disciples of the Demon Lord??% Royalty
DMsGuild50% Royalty
Free League Workshop50% Royalty
Genesys Foundry50% Royalty
Gumshoe Community50% Royalty
HERO GAMES50% Royalty
Hero Kids Creator’s Guild50% Royalty
Infiniverse (Torg)??% Royalty
Jonstown Compendium (Runequest)50% Royalty
Miskatonic Repository50% Royalty
Pip Worlds ???50% Royalty
Savage Worlds Adventurer’s Guild60% Royalty
Scriptorium Aventuris (The Dark Eye)??% Royalty
Slarecian Vault (Scarred Lands)50% Royalty
Storypath Nexus50% Royalty
Storytellers Vault50% Royalty
Stratosphere (Unknown Armies)??% Royalty
TinyTrove (Tinyd6)??% Royalty
Travellers’ Aid Society50% Royalty
WOIN (What’s Old Is New)50% Royalty
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous50% Royalty

Stuff not listed would include games / systems like PathfinderPowered by the Apocalypse and FATE mostly because they either don’t share their IP or have no specific IP to share.  If you’re using these then you’re not using a Community Content Programme and if you publish for these on DriveThruRPG then you’re able to take advantage of the Exclusive / Non-Exclusive options above.

3.  If you’re publishing D&D 5e compatible material you have 2 options.

  1. DMsGuild
  2. 5e OGL / SRD on DriveThruRPG

The former gives you access to the D&D IP and the dedicated D&D platform for customers that is DMsGuild. Although that’s with a 50% royalty.

The latter gives you access to (most of) the core of D&D 5e as a game and gives you 65%-70% royalty. Although that’s with being in a marketplace (DriveThruRPG) that isn’t targeted at the D&D community.

That said it is worth noting that if the OGL / SRD approach means you can publish stuff wherever you like whether that’s or Kickstarter or frankly anywhere.  DMsGuild produced stuff can only be sold via DMsGuild.

Beyond that we get into the area of ownership of what is created.

It’s here that I need to clearly state that I am not a lawyer.

Below is a summary from Travis Legge comparing three such offerings.  Travis also isn’t a lawyer, but he’s been involved in self-publishing for many years so certainly a good guide.

DMsGuildThe FAQ states, “Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP.That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.”What this means is that if you create a Wizard named Blinky McScuzzlefort and in an adventure you create for the Dungeon Masters Guild, you have Blinky McScuzzlefort get kidnapped by Mind Flayers (A Wizards of the Coast IP property) that you own Blinky McScuzzlefort and Wizards keeps ownership of Mind Flayers.If Wizards wants to later use Blinky McScuzzlefort in a book they create called “Blinky McScuzzlefort’s Guide to Stuff” they have to purchase that intellectual property from you in order to do so. This seems to confuse a lot of people, but it is really that simple.
OGLThis is the part of the OGL that new creators seem to find the most challenging. When you publish under the OGL, you effectively split your content into two types, which you must clearly designate in the title or legal page of your text.The first type of content is Open Game Content, which is game systems, rules, numbers, stat blocks, etc. This is effectively added to the SRD in terms of ability for people to draw from and use in their own publications. It becomes open source. Anyone can use it, so long as they follow the guidelines laid out in the Open Game License.The second type of content is Product Identity. Product identity is generally Proper Nouns, setting elements, trade dress, storylines, and other non-system items, which you retain ownership and copyright over. Others using the Open Game License can reuse your Open Game Content, but they cannot use your Product Identity. 
Slarecian Vault / Canis MinorThese community content programs each list specifics regarding the Product Identity you are allowed to use and the ramifications of publishing under these programs. The Slarecian Vault FAQ, available here, explicitly states that Onyx Path owns the content you create under the Slarecian Vault. This is not the place to publish ideas that you wish to retain ownership of. You won’t.The Canis Minor FAQ, available here, makes the same stipulation. In effect, you are using their Product Identity to contribute to their Product Identity. This is something to be aware of and create accordingly.

If protecting ownership of any Community Content you create is important to you, worth reviewing the wording of these FAQs etc very carefully.