D&D 5E D&D 5E’s Top-Selling Adventures and What It Means for the Hobby from Teos Abadia aka Alphastream.

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That truly is crqzy: 3E seemed big at the time to me, as a geeky Teen...but the number smake sense of why so many WotC folks got fired and 3.5 was rushed out, and then 4E came out within just 5 years. Gyildmaster's Fuide to Ravnica, ad a random exa.ple, has been in print about as long as the 3.5 PHB was!
Video games made a decent jump in technology and MMOs were coming online. I think that hurt potential of the hobby growth for a period there in the aughts (including 4E).
 

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dave2008

Legend
The quote says: "A quick interesting comparison. The original AD&D 2E Spelljammer campaign setting, a boxed set, sold 54k copies in 1990 (data from Ben Riggs). The 5E version sold 84k in about 10-11 months."

What did I mis read?
The point @Parmandur is making is that the lifetime sales of the original spelljammer were only 81K, so in the rest of its run it only sold an additional 27K.

That total sales number was provided elsewhere I believe
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The quote says: "A quick interesting comparison. The original AD&D 2E Spelljammer campaign setting, a boxed set, sold 54k copies in 1990 (data from Ben Riggs). The 5E version sold 84k in about 10-11 months."

What did I mis read?
Ah, sorry, missed that. If you look to Ben Riggs data, the final lifetime sales for Spelljammer were 81k. So this new set has, at a minimum, outsold the original already and is actively selling well still. If this data is 75% of total sales (the general.estimate for Bookscan data, but in this case it may be much lower), then it has way more than doubled 54k.
 


Reynard

Legend
Ah, sorry, missed that. If you look to Ben Riggs data, the final lifetime sales for Spelljammer were 81k. So this new set has, at a minimum, outsold the original already and is actively selling well still. If this data is 75% of total sales (the general.estimate for Bookscan data, but in this case it may be much lower), then it has way more than doubled 54k.
Ah. I did not know that. Even so, I would have thought the modern numbers would be MUCH higher given how many people have entered the hobby. At least, i don't think the number of people playing AD&D 2E in 1990 approaches the number playing 5E now.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Ah. I did not know that. Even so, I would have thought the modern numbers would be MUCH higher given how many people have entered the hobby. At least, i don't think the number of people playing AD&D 2E in 1990 approaches the number playing 5E now.
Well, looking at these numbers...the majority of people playing aren't buying most of these books, even the biggest Curse of Strahd has only sold like a third as many copies as the DMG.
 

mamba

Legend
A couple of surprises in that list, given how much negativity is heaped upon these products here and elsewhere:
  • Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is the second-highest-selling 5e adventure of all, behind only Curse of Strahd. In fact, almost five years after its release, it's the second-highest-selling adventure of 2023(!), behind only the early 2023 release (Keys from the Golden Vault).
  • Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is the sixth-highest-selling adventure, at a $70 nominal price point, less than a year after its release. In fact, it is by far the fastest-selling 5e adventure.
shows you that people do not read reviews ;)

Amazon discounted SJ from$70 to $40, that resulted in a spike
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The point @Parmandur is making is that the lifetime sales of the original spelljammer were only 81K, so in the rest of its run it only sold an additional 27K.

That total sales number was provided elsewhere I believe
It's not really a fair comparison, though and @Parmandur is ignoring a few things. If the 2e version were released tomorrow for 5e, with the vastly increased numbers of 5e players, and at a time when D&D is main stream and no longer for the "nerds," it would sell FAR more copies than it did and probably blow the current 5e version out of the water. The 2e version had comparable 1st year numbers with a far more limited supply of people to sell to.
 

Reynard

Legend
Well, looking at these numbers...the majority of people playing aren't buying most of these books, even the biggest Curse of Strahd has only sold like a third as many copies as the DMG.
If the numbers WotC has put out there are anything liek reality, it doesn't look like the majority of 5E players buy anything at all. The lifetime sales of the 2014 PHB are nowhere near the "13.7 million" players that is claimed, even if you double it for FLGS sales.

It makes you wonder where WotC's stupidly high revenue is coming from. Are there that many paying subscribers to D&DB?
 

Kurotowa

Legend
I’d be curious to see Spelljammer sales numbers against the Ravenloft and Eberron books, personally.
I wish there was some way to split Spelljammer the campaign setting data from the Light or Xarysis adventure to see how the adventure portion was received.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and it's important to note that both Rising from the Last War and Van Richten's Guide came with adventures packaged into the books. They're just much smaller adventures than books more in the Spelljammer style. So that model of content has been the 5e standard from the very start with Curse of Strahd. It's just a question of the ratio of setting almanac to bestiary to adventure path.

Spelljammer is on the higher end of adventure page count, being closer to books like Witchlight and Strixhaven. Rising from the Last War and Van Richten's Guide have shorter adventures, about 20 pages long, but still not the shortest. That credit goes to Theros and Ravnica, where the packaged adventure is only about 12 pages. Then at the other end of the spectrum we pass into the pure campaign paths like Descent into Avernus and Rime of the Frostmaiden where the setting is fully an adjunct to the adventure.

I don't know if WotC is still deciding what ratio is best, or if they've decided that one size doesn't fit all and that it's fine to shift the ratio on a case by case basis. But most of the people unhappy with Spelljammer seem to be folks who wanted a more setting focused book in the Eberron or Ravenloft end of the spectrum, and were unhappy they got something further to the adventure focused end. Maybe it's the newer players without preconceptions who are happy with Spelljammer being what it intended to be.
 

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