Last Friday, Wizards of the Coast published the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the first major release of the game in eight years. During the development of the game, the company has been so generous with confidential information that it got almost 1,000 people locked under non-disclosure agreements.
The company has followed this up with a friendly warning that in spite of the game's release, these people are bound until the end of time by the agreement:
Q: Can I talk about my playtest experiences, or about the playtest versions of the rules?
A: No. That information is still considered confidential and may not be discussed, shared, or distributed in any way.
Q: Now that 4th Edition is on sale, is my NDA void?
A: Absolutely not. Your Non-Disclosure Agreement with Wizards of the Coast still obligates you to "keep strictly confidential all Confidential information" in your possession.
Q: But how is 4th Edition still considered confidential?
A: Once a product is published, the information presented in that product is no longer confidential. However, all prior versions of the rules (as well as playtest instructions and all other correspondence between you and Wizards of the Coast, Inc. regarding your playtest experiences) is still considered confidential.
In the new edition of the game, people who employ excessive secrecy are likely to be followers of Vecna, the chaotic evil god of necromancy and secrets. "He rules that which is not meant to be known and that which people wish to keep secret," according to page 163 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. "Evil spellcasters and conspirators pay him homage. He commands them to: Never reveal all you know" and "Find the seed of darkness in your heart and nourish it; find it in others and exploit it to your advantage."