In June of 2013 last year, three former Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) employees got together to form their own company, Sasquatch Game Studio, consisting of CEO Richard Baker, design director Stephen Schubert, and David Noonan. When the company was formed, they curiously made a commitment to support 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons just as the line was winding down in preparation for 5th Edition. It begged the question: why would former WOTC employees form a third-party publisher supporting D&D without an Open Game License (OGL)? Morrus at ENWorld revealed the answer yesterday.
In a fashion similar to how the 3.5 Edition of Dungeons & Dragons spawned several third-party publishers created by former WOTC employees who had enough knowledge to move quickly into the OGL space, Sasquatch Game Studio has been tapped to publish the Adventurer's Handbook and Princes of the Apocalypse:
Adventurer's Handbook (March 17, 2015; hardcover; $39.95) -- A Dungeons & Dragons Accessory...Not inherently evil, elemental power can be mastered by those with both malevolent and benign intentions. The Elemental Evil Adventurer’s Handbook provides everything that players need to build a character that is tied directly into the Elemental Evil story arc, with skills, abilities, and spells meant to augment their play experience throughout the campaign. Additionally, valuable background and story information provides greater depth and immersion. An accessory that expands the number of options available for character creation for the Elemental Evil story arc, providing expanded backgrounds, class builds, and races meant specifically for this campaign...Provides background and setting information critical to having the greatest chance of success.
Princes of the Apocalypse (March 17, 2015; hardcover; $49.95) -- A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure...Called by the Elder Elemental Eye to serve, four corrupt prophets have risen from the depths of anonymity to claim mighty weapons with direct links to the power of the elemental princes. Each of these prophets has assembled a cadre of cultists and creatures to serve them in the construction of four elemental temples of lethal design. It is up to adventurers from heroic factions such as the Emerald Enclave and the Order of the Gauntlet to discover where the true power of each prophet lay, and dismantle it before it comes boiling up to obliterate the Realms. A super-adventure for the Elemental Evil story arc, Princes of the Apocalypse provides everything a Dungeon Master needs to create an exciting and memorable play experience. Fans of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Roleplaying Game can get a sample of what this product has in store for them through the D&D Encounters(TM) in-store play program.
Between major publishers like Necromancer Games and Goodman Games forging ahead without permission of WOTC to publish their own 5th Edition-compatible products, and deals worked with former employees of WOTC like Sasquatch Game Studio and Kobold Press, the release of an Open Game License seems largely irrelevant.