Why the lack of 3rd party adventures - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzard
    I was thinking about this the other day and I believe I came up with a pretty good explanation. Sure, there is a fair selection of 3rd party adventure publishers, but given that WotC has decided to go back into the field due to what they perceive to be a lack of material, there must be some sort of problem.

    What I decided was that WotC simply hasn't OGLed enough of their material. People like new stuff to play with, and we are all pretty familiar with the fact that WotC sells the most toys. Just take a look at the amount of stuff in the SRD vs. the amount of stuff WotC publishes.
    I came to a different conclusion. The members of EN World (and other RPG message boards) are, in general, more savvy and knowledgeable about what is out there than Joe Average RPG Player. I believe the perceived lack of adventure support is due to the vast majority of D&D players using only WotC material.

    I can't tell you how many times I've posted on Wizards boards in "no adventures" threads telling people about third-party adventures and the people there had no idea these things were available. And these are D&D players following their hobby on the internet by joining WotC's messageboards. My guess is that the vast majority of D&D players who perceive a lack of adventures do so because they only consider adventures by Wizards. Many, even upon learning about third-party adventures, are interested only in WotC adventures.

    Given how small the market is for non-core sourcebooks, crossed with how small the market is for adventures in general, I don't believe opening up more material would lead to enough third-party adventure sales to blunt the perception of a lack of adventures.

    Just my point of view.

    -Dave

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Thayan Menace
    Agreed; my myconid module is currently thwarted by this issue.

    -Samir
    Dungeon needs adventures!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzard
    I was thinking about this the other day and I believe I came up with a pretty good explanation. Sure, there is a fair selection of 3rd party adventure publishers, but given that WotC has decided to go back into the field due to what they perceive to be a lack of material, there must be some sort of problem.
    The problem is probably lack of sales.

    WotC got out of publishing adventures in the first place because the conventional wisdom was that they don't sell particularly well (The Sigil notes the reasons why, above). Their hope was that the third-party publishers would step in and fill that role. Well, they did, for a while, and then many of them got back out of it...likely due to weak sales.

    Were the weak sales due to the adventures not being appealing enough, because they didn't contain the non-OGL crunch in the WotC books? It's hard to say. I've bought a lot of third-party adventures in the past 6 years...and, you know what? An awful lot of them were just bad...poorly written and edited. That's a flaw that more OGL wouldn't cure.

    I think, as several others have noted here, the resurgance of Dungeon in recent years may have something to do with it, as well.

    As you note, WotC has now reconsidered, because they do apparently believe that the niche needs to be filled by someone.
    Last edited by kenobi65; Thursday, 8th June, 2006 at 03:13 AM.

  4. #24
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    I'd rather have a pdf sourcebook on warlocks than an adventure with warlocks in it.

    I would love for WotC to open up more stuff so more publishers can play with and support their products, Incarnum, Tome of Magic, etc.

    In addition I would love to have access to this stuff in the srd for personal use as I do with the srd instead of the core books for my online games.

    However publishers can use a ton more than the srd. Even discounting the monster books that keep all descriptions and monster names proprietary, there is a lot out there that is open. Revised Tome of Horrors for instance has a metric ton of D&D monster OGC that can be (and sometimes has been) used in 3rd party modules (Necromancer and Bastion come to mind off the bat as having adventures with stuff from there).

    I don't remember any non core stuff in Bloodspike Prison which I recently got, do other recent WotC modules have non core stuff in them?

    Nobody using the OGL can really compete with WotC on market penetration or art and production values. I just think WotC does not consider expanding the srd a priority and I won't hold my breath waiting.

  5. #25
    I think the answer is just one of numbers.

    1. Adventures don't sell as well as sourcebooks. For a 3rd party publisher, especially one publishing in PDF every sale counts.

    2. Dungeon does it better. First you get several adventures delivered to your door.

    2a. Since there are several adventures, it's a better deal because odds are at least one will be usable right away.

    2b. Since being published in Dungeon pays well by the standards of RPG writing *and* has a certain cache (looks great on a resume and has a chance to lead to freelance work with Wizards) they get a LOT of submissions, allowing them to pick really strong adventures month after month.

    By contrast if a major print publisher called for fully written adventures to be submitted, with the writer not knowing if he'd be paid for his work or not, he wouldn't get very many.

    A major publisher like Green Ronin might get 1/10 what Dungeon gets, a PDF only publisher would be lucky to get ONE.

    3. Time is money. If you can write a module and make X dollars, or write a sourcebook and make X+5, which would you do, if it were your time and your money invested?

    As a writer what frustrates me about these threads is people say "why aren't there more adventures" and then we lowly writers come and tell folks why over and over.

    But our reasons are rejected out of hand by the folks that want more adventures, who simply say we should do it anyway, or that we're wrong about what the sales will be, etc.

    One writer's two cents.

    Chuck

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Gneech
    Well, even items that aren't OGL (Complete classes and so forth) can be licensed, can't they? I don't know what (if any) policy WotC has on this, but I'd think that a nominal fee and a "THIS PAGE NOT OPEN CONTENT" blurb should be reasonably doable...
    Actually, I inquired to WOTC licensing about something similar last year. I was told in no uncertain terms that the only thing they want to see are 100% official "Dungeons & Dragons" products from WOTC, or "d20 System" OGL stuff from 3rd parties, and to never mix the two in any way.

  7. #27
    It seems like Goodman Games is doing a decent job selling adventures, as well as Necromancer.

    If you want some OGL monsters, check out the Tome of Horrors series. Just. Awesome.

    But if all you are looking for is WOTC non-OGL monsters and splat-book stuff, then you are forced to rely upon Dungeon and WOTC themselves. Who are doing a darn good job in their own right.

    If Dungeon can give you 3 adventures a week and the WOTC website gives you maps and adventure seeds in addition to publishing an adventure every month or two (lately), how much more playing material do you need?

  8. #28
    I'm not sure about Necromancer. Sales of some of their recent ones were apparently disappointing (like their stuff through Kenzer and Trouble at Durbenford).

    OTOH, Green Ronin just started up a new adventure line. "Bleeding Edge".

    But really, I do think it's just companies can't really compete with WOTC (either via Dungeon or their own print adventures), unless they try something novel. Which in Goodman's case, is try to do retro adventures (which also sorta applies to Necromancer's stuff), or be Edgy (or Bloody), in Green Ronin's new attempt.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy
    I'm not sure about Necromancer. Sales of some of their recent ones were apparently disappointing (like their stuff through Kenzer and Trouble at Durbenford).
    That's too bad, because Family Affair, Six Spheres of Zailhhessh and Doom of Listenshire were pretty good (though Six Spheres was a bit linear). I haven't read Coils of Set or Diamond Fortress yet.

    And RARe is going to be awesome, but I imagine their sales decline is what prompted a limited edition print to 1000 copies.

    Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy
    OTOH, Green Ronin just started up a new adventure line. "Bleeding Edge".
    And it's also a nice adventure too. Good backstory and interesting plot elements that draw the characters in at different angles. Isn't one of the selling points behind these "Bleeding Edge" adventures is the use of non SRD material from OGL sources?

    Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy
    But really, I do think it's just companies can't really compete with WOTC (either via Dungeon or their own print adventures), unless they try something novel. Which in Goodman's case, is try to do retro adventures (which also sorta applies to Necromancer's stuff), or be Edgy (or Bloody), in Green Ronin's new attempt.
    This is a good point, and this may be why 3rd party companies are doing setting type books (Ptolus, Bards Gate, etc) and "campaign in a box" adventures are being done (RARe, Shades of Gray, Drow War series, and Ruins of the Dragon Lord). And yet, I do not necessarily agree with the OP, since I see enough material being produced by WOTC in print, online and in Dungeon.

  10. #30
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    People come up with new solutions to these issues thoughů
    Think about: http://customadventure.livejournal.com/

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