The State of D&D: Products, Psionics, Settings, & More - Page 16
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  1. #151
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    Some novels may have been NYT bestsellers but it doesn't mean they were making much ROI. For every Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984), there were lots of bargain bin copies of Tales of Uncle Trapspringer (1997) rotting. The publishing business is tough, especially as the market settles out, fiction doubly so. I imagine the promotional budget for the 4E books was astronomical and did not grow the core brand. Unless, I missed a lot of players brought to D&D by the Spellsword trilogy.
    Hasbro is not adverse to fiction lines, but they are adverse to the risk of bad fiction lines. Hopefully, they are as shy about bad movie franchises... Battleship the movie says no...
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  2. #152
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    Something else about publishing people need to understand...

    Being a NYT bestseller doesn't automatically equate to a lot of money.

    Yeah, really. While none of my own books have made the bestseller list (*sob*; seriously, more of you need to follow me over from RPGs to fiction ), I'm friends with several people who have. Most of 'em ain't rich, by a long shot.

    Now, some bestselling authors are rich, of course. And a couple of them have written for TSR/WotC, and made the company a decent chunk of change. I'm just saying, a book being a bestseller doesn't automatically equate to windfall profits.
    Last edited by Mouseferatu; Tuesday, 14th November, 2017 at 04:30 AM.
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  3. #153
    Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
    Why not both? Yes, their market research showed that people like the multiverse approach... it's fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sword of Spirit View Post
    This is probably correct. I know that for me that D&D multiverse is my favorite thing about the game. Without it, I'd rather play something else.
    It's possible to facilitate the multiverse - by presenting all the components - without actually affirming or asserting it. I think the fact that they seem to be actually affirming it, in accordance with their market research, tells us something about the relationship of the D&D market to "canon".

    After all, what's the difference between being given all the components, and being told as well "And these make up the D&D multiverse?" The difference is one of canon.

  4. #154
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    It's possible to facilitate the multiverse - by presenting all the components - without actually affirming or asserting it. I think the fact that they seem to be actually affirming it, in accordance with their market research, tells us something about the relationship of the D&D market to "canon".

    After all, what's the difference between being given all the components, and being told as well "And these make up the D&D multiverse?" The difference is one of canon.
    They have also been very slippery on Canon, however: the nature of the current status of the Forgotten Realms has been put in quantum flux specifically to free up DMs from worrying about canonical shennanigans. A somewhat defined, brandable default metasetting that the books explicitly explain how to remove or avoid (repeatedly) if that's your jam is hardly creating a Star Trek sort of situation in terms of Canon.

    It's easier to take a default metasetting out in a home game than to put it in, so WotC serves the greater need.

  5. #155
    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    Actually, this Ĺonly thingĺ is highly objectionable.

    The DM says Cthulu doesnt exist? Too bad, it does. The DM is officially wrong. Prepare for the objectively existing Farrealms to rip thru the reality of My Little Pony.

    The DM says polytheism doesnt exist? Too bad, it does. The DM is officially wrong. Prepare for the Forgotten Realms religion and its fanatic idolatrous Clerics to invade the multiverse.

    The Ĺonly thingĺ is one thing too much.
    Sword of Spirit is wrong (reading the DMG....particularly Chapter 1 and even Chapter 2 will verify this) but if you are playing "official canonical D&D" or whatever I guess you could argue that WotC's default universe implies FR and the other places do co-exist, linked by the planes. But again, the DMG provides extensive tools and advice on building universes that have nothing to do with any of that so YMMV.
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  6. #156
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    It's called focusing on core competencies. I'm glad you liked the novels, but the novel business wasn't working for them. It's not really their core competency despite having tried to do it for many years with only mixed results most of the time. It's sort of like calling Disney a Sports company because of ESPN. Sports isn't a core competency of Disney, despite tremendous work on ESPN, owning the Ducks hockey team, etc.. Sometimes a company just needs to focus on what they do best. And apparently, despite you enjoying their novels, they don't think it's what they do best.
    I agree that if they've decided it's not working for them for whatever reason, it makes sense not support.

    But WotC was in the novel business for close to 30 years, and they invented the concept of the RPG/IP tie-in novel to begin with. To suggest that they did not (at one point) have a firm grasp on this (or think they did) is silly. They definitely commanded a major presence in the fiction market in the 90's and early 2000's. Countless other publishers have tried to emulate them on this course (including Paizo, which come to think of it, I should check and see if they still do....hmmm)

    It is much likelier that as the market changes and WotC did as well, a combination of loss of talent plus a reduction in demand (for whatever reason, I have my opinions on that) led to a collapse in the ROI that they could get, and it was a corner of the brand that they could let go.
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  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Futurity View Post
    I agree that if they've decided it's not working for them for whatever reason, it makes sense not support.

    But WotC was in the novel business for close to 30 years, and they invented the concept of the RPG/IP tie-in novel to begin with. To suggest that they did not (at one point) have a firm grasp on this (or think they did) is silly. They definitely commanded a major presence in the fiction market in the 90's and early 2000's. Countless other publishers have tried to emulate them on this course (including Paizo, which come to think of it, I should check and see if they still do....hmmm)

    It is much likelier that as the market changes and WotC did as well, a combination of loss of talent plus a reduction in demand (for whatever reason, I have my opinions on that) led to a collapse in the ROI that they could get, and it was a corner of the brand that they could let go.
    The entire fiction novel industry has taken a massive dip in the past 10 years. The quantity of fiction novels for sale has increased, but sales have stagnated and even decreased, even with e-books. Most books are only selling to people who previously bought books from that author or universe, and that number of people drops each year without replacement buyers. That, combined with a level of saturation for their stories, and I think it's pretty clear the market for these novels has meaningfully changed in the past decade. We're just not talking about the kind of market that was here in the 80s for the Gord and Dragonlance books, or the 90s and 2000s for Forgotten Realms books.

    It's not that WOTC couldn't try and break back into that industry, but the effort required to obtain a lot of new readers would mean a whole lot of focus and marketing on those products, which would distract from their focus on the successful game line. In some ways I guess you could say the massive success of the RPG line, which remains in the top 100 of all books sales even almost four years later, makes it more difficult for them to pull focus onto the novels. Even with more staff, it requires a level of coordination and dedication of time and resources that would necessarily cause some level of distraction from the more successful lines. And, it just doesn't seem like the potential payoff from that distraction would be worth it.

    As others have said, if the movie is a big success, I suspect that will be enough to justify the time and resources to devote to a novel line again. But right now, in this fiction market, with this level of saturation and other products to focus on, it just doesn't make enough sense to do it.
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  8. #158
    Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
    Basically, Dragonlance Adventures, but with 5E rules. I could dig it.
    Me too. The first D&D product that was mine and not stolen from my older brother.

    If it focused on the core of the original trilogies (and even the War Of Souls) you could use it as the ôWar Storiesö RPG genre.
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  9. #159
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    The entire fiction novel industry has taken a massive dip in the past 10 years. The quantity of fiction novels for sale has increased, but sales have stagnated and even decreased, even with e-books. Most books are only selling to people who previously bought books from that author or universe, and that number of people drops each year without replacement buyers. That, combined with a level of saturation for their stories, and I think it's pretty clear the market for these novels has meaningfully changed in the past decade. We're just not talking about the kind of market that was here in the 80s for the Gord and Dragonlance books, or the 90s and 2000s for Forgotten Realms books.

    It's not that WOTC couldn't try and break back into that industry, but the effort required to obtain a lot of new readers would mean a whole lot of focus and marketing on those products, which would distract from their focus on the successful game line. In some ways I guess you could say the massive success of the RPG line, which remains in the top 100 of all books sales even almost four years later, makes it more difficult for them to pull focus onto the novels. Even with more staff, it requires a level of coordination and dedication of time and resources that would necessarily cause some level of distraction from the more successful lines. And, it just doesn't seem like the potential payoff from that distraction would be worth it.

    As others have said, if the movie is a big success, I suspect that will be enough to justify the time and resources to devote to a novel line again. But right now, in this fiction market, with this level of saturation and other products to focus on, it just doesn't make enough sense to do it.
    Good overview, totally agree.
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  10. #160
    Quote Originally Posted by Hutchimus Prime View Post
    Me too. The first D&D product that was mine and not stolen from my older brother.

    If it focused on the core of the original trilogies (and even the War Of Souls) you could use it as the ôWar Storiesö RPG genre.
    It's a perfect D&D example of Epic Fantasy as a genre: as gone over in the DMG, I could definitely see them fitting that in. Maybe a reboot War of the Lance AP, and a "Epic Fantasy" genre setting book with Kyrnn as an example...?

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