D&D General Behold! A mega chart of AD&D 1st and 2nd ed monster products sales!

darjr

I crit!
Behold! A mega chart of AD&D 1st and 2nd ed monster products sales!

Products listed in the chart are on the right.

The fact I think most interesting about the chart concerns the 2nd edition Monster Manual, which I have helpfully labeled in hot pink on the chart.

In 2nd edition, TSR replaced hardcover books of monsters with loose leaf papers and three ring binders and called it the Monstrous Compendium. The idea was that players could add to the binder as new monsters came out, but the design of the sheets never made this convenient.

After five years of attempting to make the binder and sheets model work, TSR gave in and released a proper hardcover Monster Manual for 2nd edition. The following year, sales for most of the Monstrous Compendium line were in the negative, with more products returned than sold, though the chart does not make this particularly easy to see.

It certainly seemed that once customers were given an opportunity to buy a traditional book with monsters, they rushed to do so.

Gaming legend and Mage designer Phil Brucato has a new novel of urban fantasy on Amazon. It’s called Red Shoes and you should check it out! Link below.

Also, my book of D&D history, which people are saying is dishy and unputdownable is for sale everywhere books are sold! Pick it up and see what all the hubbub is about.


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Jer

Legend
Supporter
Almost a 50K difference in year of release for the MC1 vs. MC2.

That's wild - the MC1 and MC2 were basically the Monster Manual cut in half. I would have assumed they would have sold in nearly the same numbers. But it looks like the MC1 was treated as the "real" Monster Manual for 2e by most folks and the MC2 was treated like a supplement.

And that number for the Dragonlance MC sales - oof.
 

RuinousPowers

Adventurer
The Dragonlance MC was definitely a weak part of the collection- I don't remember really using any of it in my homebrews.

MM2 outselling MM1? That just feels like sacrilege!
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Almost a 50K difference in year of release for the MC1 vs. MC2.

That's wild - the MC1 and MC2 were basically the Monster Manual cut in half. I would have assumed they would have sold in nearly the same numbers. But it looks like the MC1 was treated as the "real" Monster Manual for 2e by most folks and the MC2 was treated like a supplement.
Were they? My recollection is indeed that the MC1 had all the "core" common monsters, and that MC2 was much more of a supplement, with weirder stuff in it. I definitely was one of those who bought 1 but not 2. Edit: my recollection was wrong!

Certainly that was the case with the original Monster Manual and Monster Manual 2 for 1E. The main thing MM2 had going for it was the revised random encounter system and charts, although in retrospect those expanded charts were totally wrongheaded and more space should have been devoted to explaining to DMs how to construct their own more useful 6-10 entry charts for a given play area.
 
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aco175

Legend
I remember having the loose-leaf compendium and needing to get the circle protectors since the pages kept ripping. I never did just take out the monsters I was using for that night like the sales pitch said I should do to make things easier. Maybe that is why I needed to reinforce the pages.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Yikes, the MM2 sales dropped off a cliff and still sold 100K the next year!

1985 must have been the year they did the revised cover for the MM - that was around when I got my copy.
I think you're right. I believe I read that the MM2 was the first orange-spined 1E hardcover Jeff Easley did the cover for, and so he did revised covers for the PH, DMG and MM after that.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
If I remember right, 1984 was a big year for the Satanic Panic. Big stories in California of abuse in schools. Summer of ’84 was the murder in New York. I think that’s when the Panic went from a kooky sideshow to parents burning books.
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
Were they? My recollection is indeed that the MC1 had all the "core" common monsters, and that MC2 was much more of a supplement, with weirder stuff in it. I definitely was one of those who bought 1 but not 2.
I had to go googling to see if I could find a list of what was in the MC1 and what was in the MC2 (my own MC is mixed together because MC1 and MC2 were I think the only ones where the intermingling of pages actually worked with no monsters needing to slide in between two monsters printed back-to-back).

Found these lists: List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition monsters

Just glancing down from the top I see in the MC2 the Basilisk, the Bulette, the Doppelganger, the Dwarf, the Drow, the Ettin, the Cyclops, the Griffin, all of the Hags, the Hell Hound, the Mimic, the Rust Monster, the Shambling Mound, and the Stirge among many others that I would now consider "core" monsters but might not have at the time.

Certainly that was the case with the original Monster Manual and Monster Manual 2 for 1E.
Right - the MM2 was "here are a bunch of new monsters". But if you wanted a 2e replacement for the 1e Monster Manual with almost all of the stats in it you had to get the MC1 and the MC2. Eventually TSR either realized their mistake or the MCs got expensive to produce because they switched away from looseleafs and to actual books, and when they did IIRC the hardcover Monstrous Compendium basically had the creatures from MC1 and MC2 in it.
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I had to go googling to see if I could find a list of what was in the MC1 and what was in the MC2 (my own MC is mixed together because MC1 and MC2 were I think the only ones where the intermingling of pages actually worked with no monsters needing to slide in between two monsters printed back-to-back).

Found these lists: List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition monsters

Just glancing down from the top I see in the MC2 the Basilisk, the Bulette, the Doppelganger, the Dwarf, the Drow, the Ettin, the Cyclops, the Griffin, all of the Hags, the Hell Hound, the Mimic, the Rust Monster, the Shambling Mound, and the Stirge among many others that I would now consider "core" monsters but might not have at the time.


Right - the MM2 was "here are a bunch of new monsters". But if you wanted a 2e replacement for the 1e Monster Manual with almost all of the stats in it you had to get the MC1 and the MC2. Eventually TSR either realized their mistake or the MCs got expensive to produce because they switched away from looseleafs and to actual books, and when they did IIRC the hardcover Monstrous Compendium basically had the creatures from MC1 and MC2 in it.
Yeah, thanks for digging. I tried googling as well but hadn't found that list yet.

My memory must have been off, because I definitely had those monsters too. I must have bought both and then just consolidated them into the big MC1 binder.

I don't have it anymore because it eventually got damaged/broken moving house about 17-18 years ago, and I threw the whole thing out. I almost never throw away gaming books, but the MC binder was just so large, unwieldy and fragile that I didn't want to deal with it anymore.
 

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