DM's Guild: One Week In - The Best & The Worst
  • DM's Guild: One Week In - The Best & The Worst


    The Dungeon Master's Guild has been around for about a week now, and in that time nearly 500 player-created products have been uploaded to the website. It can't be denied that the thing is spurring a blast of creativity. Anyhow, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most popular items on offer, as well as the highest rated items, which include new archetypes, an Epic Level Handbook, some Forgotten Realms background material, and various monsters and feats.

    UPDATE: Three of the items listed below have been removed from the store. I've noted them accordingly.





    Most Popular Items

    The ten most popular items are as follows. I've listed the price in the last column, and where an item is Pay What You Want (PWYW), I've noted the average contribution. I've no idea what the actual sales figures of these items are, but it's interesting that the first two by Matthew Mercer have 40+ ratings, while the third drops to 7 ratings. Of course, Mercer's work was on there from launch.

    1 Gunslinger Martial Archetype for Fighters Matthew Mercer PWYW ($1.64)
    2 Blood Hunter Class Matthew Mercer PWYW ($1.57)
    3 Extra Feats (5E) Igor PhoenixRion $1
    4 DnD 5e Epic Level Handbook [since removed] Gerard Shore, Mark Altfuldisch PWYW ($1.63)
    5 Blood Magic (5E) Joshua Raynack PWYW ($1.25)
    6 New Feats Andrew James Woodyard $1
    7 D&D Denizens: Drow & Driders Scott Holden $0.99
    8 Swordmage Class Juan Marcano $0.99
    9 D&D Citizens Scott Holden $2.95
    10 D&D 5th Edition Spell Cards [since removed] Matthew Perkins PWYW ($2.30)

    Highest Rated Items

    For highest rated items, I have not included items with fewer than 5 ratings. Most items only have 1-2 ratings, so that took some pecking and hunting!

    Lowest Rated Items

    It'd be a bit mean to highlight the less well thought of items on the site (so I guess I lied a bit in the article title), but talking in general terms there are 10 1-star items there, and 33 2-star items. That's not too bad out of a selection of nearly 500 products, and implies that the quality on DM's Guild is reasonable. I count 171 items with more than 3-stars, which - when you consider that a lot have not been rated at all - puts the average item above average in quality.

    One of WotC's stated aims for DMsG was to spot upcoming new writers. From the above lists, James Introcaso has two items in the top-10 rated list. I'm already aware of him from the excellent Round Table podcast, as well as some of the 5E articles he's written for EN5ider. Scott Holden has two of the most popular items on DMsG, and so could be worth following.
    Comments 101 Comments
    1. Sacrosanct's Avatar
      Sacrosanct -
      And popularity doesn't necessarily mean quality. There are 3 in the top 10 that have less than 4 stars. 7 in the top 25, and the includes some that aren't even reviewed. To round out the rest of the top 25 as popularity:



      11.
      Additional Archetypes
      $1.00
      12.
      Demonologist - Arcane Tradition (5e)
      $0.99 $0.50
      13.
      Tome of Templates
      $0.99
      14.
      D&D 5e Monster Expansion
      Pay What You Want
      15.
      D&D Denizens: Goblins
      Pay What You Want
      16.
      D&D Denizens: Orcs
      Pay What You Want
      17.
      15 New Backgrounds - World Builder Blog Presents
      Pay What You Want
      18.
      5 Minute Workday Presents: Feats
      $0.50
      19.
      D&D Denizens: Duergar
      $2.95 $0.99
      20.
      Monster Mausoleum
      $2.95

      21.
      Adventurers of Kara-Tur
      $1.95
      22.
      18+1 Feats by DiBastet
      $1.00
      23.
      D&D Citizens: Elves
      Pay What You Want
      24.
      Booklet of Infinite Horrors
      Pay What You Want
      25.
      Races Revived: Rare Elf Subraces
      Pay What You Want
      26.
      D&D Citizens: Dwarves
      Pay What You Want
    1. SunGold's Avatar
      SunGold -
      Thank you for not singling out "the worst" items. I made a bit of a face when I saw the article title, so I was glad to see you didn't actually go there. That's the sort of thing that could crush new and inexperienced content creators who may have stumbled on their way out of the gate.

      I'm grateful to everyone putting their content out there for the rest of us, and hope that those with low ratings can take it in stride and learn from their feedback.
    1. Sunsword's Avatar
      Sunsword -
      As an author with 5 products launched and 3 with reviews, feedback is important. Its hard when you get a single, low review. But I've already revised one product and am having multiple people look at a second product based on feedback. A low review, while a stab in the heart, especially an honest review helps you learn and hopefully grow. Its been an interesting 2 weeks.
    1. Xethreau's Avatar
      Xethreau -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sunsword View Post
      As an author with 5 products launched and 3 with reviews, feedback is important. Its hard when you get a single, low review. But I've already revised one product and am having multiple people look at a second product based on feedback. A low review, while a stab in the heart, especially an honest review helps you learn and hopefully grow. Its been an interesting 2 weeks.
      Yeah, exactly. I only have one product, but it has received only a single star-rating (2); and yet I have also seen some poorly executed products given a 5-star rating. And at least mine was proofread.

      One of the things that is happening, and which I hope to remedy in part with this thread, is that only the (spasmodically) top-rated titles seem to get attention. If everyone does their part and downloads a few titles, at least looks at them, and then rates them, the community will have a much better idea of what is available and what is worth exploring.

      I rate, uh, things as another job, and we use a 5-star system. My recommendation is that 3 = Average/Usable, 4 = Recommended/Very cool, and 5 = Superlative/Can't do without.
    1. ASchmidt's Avatar
      ASchmidt -
      One thing I'd love to see coming out of this is how much content is worth... such as what does the community feel is an appropriate price point for a background? For an archetype? For a full base class with multiple archetypes? Because right now the pricing seems to be all over the map as people are trying to answer this question. I'm also hoping to find out just how often people are paying for content that is marked "pay what you want". Is that like homebrew+ in that people can download it for free but then give you money in support if they like your content? Or are people just putting a zero in the box and the author might as well be giving it away?
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by ASchmidt View Post
      One thing I'd love to see coming out of this is how much content is worth... such as what does the community feel is an appropriate price point for a background? For an archetype? For a full base class with multiple archetypes? Because right now the pricing seems to be all over the map as people are trying to answer this question.
      Phil Reed (now at SJG) pioneered the "massive number of bite-sized RPG PDFs" back in the year 2000 with his company, Ronin Arts. EN5ider does it now. It's not a new question, and it gets answered fairly regularly. It'll settle down quickly enough.

      What's more interesting the widespread use of PWYW, which many of us small press publishers tried for a while on DTRPG and ... well, let's say we stopped trying it. Though we do it on EN5ider, there's no $0 option.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      While we don't know what the sales figures of these things are, here's a point of data.

      Item #66 is Teos Abadia's Admantine Chef. James Introcaso tweeted that it has 15 sales (at $4.99 each).

      So we can extrapolate a little for those wondering how much they can make.

      Item #66 has therefore made (revenue) $74.85. Half of that goes to the creator, so you'd make $37.43. That's at position #66 of roughly 500 products.

      Random stupid projection stats which mean nothing, but are fun to play with. #66 puts it #434 from the bottom, or at 86% going up. Assuming #500 makes $0, we can extrapolate that the average product, being #250, makes its creator $20. At least thus far.

      That's not too bad - average of $20 profit. Put enough out regularly, you can turn that into a decent sum each month.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      While we don't know what the sales figures of these things are, here's a point of data.

      Item #66 is Teos Abadia's Admantine Chef. James Introcaso tweeted that it has 15 sales (at $4.99 each).

      So we can extrapolate a little for those wondering how much they can make.

      Item #66 has therefore made (revenue) $74.85. Half of that goes to the creator, so you'd make $37.43. That's at position #66 of roughly 500 products.
      There's also the metal sales charts, with each being proportionately harder to reach. Copper is somewhere around the 75-copy mark. Item #14 is a copper seller while item #15 isn't. The top 10 are all at least silver, with a coupe golds at the top and an electrum below that, demonstrating sales aren't high.
    1. bedir than's Avatar
      bedir than -
      I just bought my first today. I've got a "DnD budget" that until today was only spent on Patreon, official gear and generic office supply stuff. I know I'm not going to leap into open source stuff from authors I don't know, yet. I expect there is some subset of users that are cautious. They want more stuff, but they want things that they know will be quality. I'm also not going to go PWYW or free. If something has value, it has value. By being free, or essentially free, my default assumption is that the creator feels it has no value.
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by Xethreau View Post
      Yeah, exactly. I only have one product, but it has received only a single star-rating (2); and yet I have also seen some poorly executed products given a 5-star rating. And at least mine was proofread.
      Much the same: I have one well-reviewed and one middle-of-the-road. That middle-of-the-road one, though, got several fantastic pieces of feedback, all of which I incorporated into the product and re-released it, along with a major face-lift. No new ratings have come in despite the changes and subsequent purchases, so it's a little frustrating as a creator to see some valid criticism, put the elbow grease in to address it, and...nothing.

      But, keeping in mind this is only a few weeks old, that's really not a big deal. There's PLENTY of time for things to get spotted, purchased, and pick up some new ratings, so long as the product has the legs to stand on with regard to getting recommended for whatever role it is hoping to fill.
    1. Lhorgrim's Avatar
      Lhorgrim -
      I tried to follow the link for the #10 most popular item in the list (spell cards), and the site says it is unavailable. Any ideas on what happened? I wonder if they violated the terms.
    1. Psikerlord#'s Avatar
      Psikerlord# -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      This post was generated by a news article which your device or browser is not displaying directly. You can view the article directly here.
      I thought DM Guild was FR stuff only...? Having a quick skim, there's all manner of setting neutral material on there. Eg: revised ranger, epic level handbook, etc?
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord# View Post
      I thought DM Guild was FR stuff only...? Having a quick skim, there's all manner of setting neutral material on there. Eg: revised ranger, epic level handbook, etc?
      It's not FR only - it's "no non-FR settings". Setting neutral stuff is fine.
    1. GMforPowergamers's Avatar
      GMforPowergamers -
      ok, first of all my heart jumped into my throat and stayed there through the whole time I was reading this...while I silently prayed... I knew my little 5 page try wouldn't hit the top 10, but it would have made me cry if it was 'worst'...

      having said that, 6 sales in no one has reviewed it on the DMguild site... I even offered it as "Hay if you want to show what I did wrong" to reviewers and still no takes (I was secretly hoping the answer would be it wasn't that bad). I plan on putting out a second one larger about magic items...
    1. Xethreau's Avatar
      Xethreau -
      So crazy idea. People who want reviews should go and review things?

      It's not just good faith, but good practice. You get to see what you're competing against and then elevate your work to that standard.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by GMforPowergamers View Post
      ok, first of all my heart jumped into my throat and stayed there through the whole time I was reading this...while I silently prayed... I knew my little 5 page try wouldn't hit the top 10, but it would have made me cry if it was 'worst'...

      having said that, 6 sales in no one has reviewed it on the DMguild site... I even offered it as "Hay if you want to show what I did wrong" to reviewers and still no takes (I was secretly hoping the answer would be it wasn't that bad). I plan on putting out a second one larger about magic items...
      Don't worry. I have years-old products on DTRPG with hundreds or thousands of sales which nobody's ever commented on, rated, or reviewed. Stuff we spent months crafting. Welcome to the scary world of publishing. The deafening silence is intimidating, but keep writing anyway.
    1. dd.stevenson's Avatar
      dd.stevenson -
      Quote Originally Posted by neuronphaser View Post
      Much the same: I have one well-reviewed and one middle-of-the-road. That middle-of-the-road one, though, got several fantastic pieces of feedback, all of which I incorporated into the product and re-released it, along with a major face-lift. No new ratings have come in despite the changes and subsequent purchases, so it's a little frustrating as a creator to see some valid criticism, put the elbow grease in to address it, and...nothing.

      But, keeping in mind this is only a few weeks old, that's really not a big deal. There's PLENTY of time for things to get spotted, purchased, and pick up some new ratings, so long as the product has the legs to stand on with regard to getting recommended for whatever role it is hoping to fill.
      DTRPG suffers from much the same problem as Steam, in that users (for valid reasons) don't tend to browse very far off the front page. So if you're not currently featured on one of the big landing pages on the DMGuild, it's a safe bet that your sales will drop to a trickle.

      Companies on steam work around this problem by availing themselves of the sale promotions that valve offers, and in this way get their older products back on the radar for a week or so every quarter. DTRPG does similar things on its main store, but will they do it for DMGuild authors & customers? That's an interesting thought.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
      DTRPG suffers from much the same problem as Steam, in that users (for valid reasons) don't tend to browse very far off the front page. So if you're not currently featured on one of the big landing pages on the DMGuild, it's a safe bet that your sales will drop to a trickle.

      Companies on steam work around this problem by availing themselves of the sale promotions that valve offers, and in this way get their older products back on the radar for a week or so every quarter. DTRPG does similar things on its main store, but will they do it for DMGuild authors & customers? That's an interesting thought.
      It'll get harder. It's a volume issue. For individual producers, the fewer items in the store overall, the better for them. For the store, the more items overall, the better for them. The best way to mitigate it is to work out some way of marketing the stuff yourself and linking directly to it. Talking about it at places like EN World is a good start, as it's easy and free.

      Other than that, plugging away for a long time and slowly but surely building a reputation is hard work, but it's tried and tested.
    1. Sunsword's Avatar
      Sunsword -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      While we don't know what the sales figures of these things are, here's a point of data.

      Item #66 is Teos Abadia's Admantine Chef. James Introcaso tweeted that it has 15 sales (at $4.99 each).

      So we can extrapolate a little for those wondering how much they can make.

      Item #66 has therefore made (revenue) $74.85. Half of that goes to the creator, so you'd make $37.43. That's at position #66 of roughly 500 products.

      Random stupid projection stats which mean nothing, but are fun to play with. #66 puts it #434 from the bottom, or at 86% going up. Assuming #500 makes $0, we can extrapolate that the average product, being #250, makes its creator $20. At least thus far.

      That's not too bad - average of $20 profit. Put enough out regularly, you can turn that into a decent sum each month.
      I'll share my sales data. I've launched 5 products since launch. I've sold 92 items total for $136.12 (of which I have made $68.06). One of the products is PWYW, so I don't get data for people who download it for free, only for those who pay for it, OneBookShelf is looking in on how to offer me that data.

      I can offer a further breakdown if anyone wants it.

      A couple other wrinkles, on the DMsGuild site, I'm an Author, not a Publisher. I can't respond directly to a review, only in the Discussion part of a product. Also, I was accused of poor business practices for NOT offering a Preview of my product, when I don't have that tool at my disposal. Finally, I have several people who want to review my product, but as an Author I can't send them a comp copy via the site. I can, of course send them a Gift Certificate. I can also send them a free copy via e-mail, but then they can't post a review.

      I am extremely impressed with the tools we have been given and look forward to some improvement that OneBookShelf tells me they are working on. I mean its ONLY been 13 days?

      I am learning how important Reviews are and am becoming more ardent about my responsibility as a consumer.

      While I take my 2 low review seriously, its an obstacle to have a single review tear your rating down to the bone. However, this is just part of learning a new industry and I hope to use it as motivation to grow as a publisher.
    1. MwaO's Avatar
      MwaO -
      I'd note a few things:
      One of the issues with reviews is that with 'pay what you want', I believe someone who decided to pay $0 for it can give a review. Especially when there's no context of what was wrong, that tends to create some issues. Or the 1st one bought is at a low price and then that sets the 'average' price paid.

      The chart is based on sales/time on store for popularity. Things will naturally drop - something that's sold 20 over 10 days is lower than something that's sold 5 over 2 days when from what I can tell, the 1st is more impressive than the 2nd.

      The system is kind of messed up - sometimes I can get a most popular 100 list, and sometimes not. But I find it kind of scary that no Adventurer's League mod is in the top 30.

      It is possible to put material in that violates the SRD - the spell cards could have incorporated non-SRD WotC spells, which are out there. And as I think there's a competing paid product spell card which the producer of likely paid money for the rights to produce cards...
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