D&D General Darksun Adventure sales from Ben Riggs author of Slaying the Dragon

GreyLord

Legend
I’m not calling anyone a liar. Ben is making claims and refuses to back those up with any evidence. It’s Schrödinger’s Truth. It’s in the box but we don’t know. It’s fairly common to want people to cite their sources. We’re not talking about military secrets and troop movements here. It’s the sales data for a company that ceased to exist 30-odd years ago.

I think this would absolutely be true if it were a history book. You HAVE to cite your sources. If it is a primary source, it is stronger than a secondary source. An unknown source is considered unreliable...most of the time.

However, in journalism, you have to protect journalistic integrity, and that means when a source doesn't want to be known, you need to protect it. It is part of the ethics of the entire thing.

The question is what type of book is this trying to be. A history of something, or a report on something?

Sometimes, even history books rely on articles from journals or newspapers, sometimes with those having confidential sources.

Tough call on what to call the book in that light. Still, it does seem interesting, and it is probably one of the most informative books on that time period that has been written thus far. It's a little more information that most have had prior to this, and probably more information all together gathered into one spot than anyone has had before.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

darjr

I crit!
It’s not like I’m happy we don’t know the source. But I am satisfied that Ben has got it as right as he can and isn’t being deceitful. After all he wants to do a sequel.

At the same time I’m open to the idea he could be all wrong.

I just don’t think he is.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think this would absolutely be true if it were a history book. You HAVE to cite your sources. If it is a primary source, it is stronger than a secondary source. An unknown source is considered unreliable...most of the time.

The question is what type of book is this trying to be. A history of something, or a report on something?

Sometimes, even history books rely on articles from journals or newspapers, sometimes with those having confidential sources.

Tough call on what to call the book in that light. Still, it does seem interesting, and it is probably one of the most informative books on that time period that has been written thus far. It's a little more information that most have had prior to this, and probably more information all together gathered into one spot than anyone has had before.
It’s fairly clearly a history book. At least that’s how he’s marketing it.

Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons.

“Role-playing game historian Ben Riggs unveils the secret history of TSR―the company that unleashed imaginations with Dungeons & Dragons, was driven into ruin by disastrous management decisions, and then saved by their bitterest rival.”
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It’s not like I’m happy we don’t know the source. But I am satisfied that Ben has got it as right as he can and isn’t being deceitful. After all he wants to do a sequel.

At the same time I’m open to the idea he could be all wrong.

I just don’t think he is.
I’m not claiming to know either way. I don’t know. I have no reason to think he’s being deceitful. But I also have no reason to think he’s being honest. We won’t know either way until the source comes forward, is revealed, or independent corroborating evidence is brought to light.

I’m not sure what the bolded bit has to do with the truth value of his claims.

I am skeptical by nature. You tell me it’s raining and I’ll look outside.
 

WotC is printing just as much product as TSR was
Was this happening though?

I just had a look at wikipedia's list of Forgotten Realms products. In the 2e era, by my count (the page isn't the clearest...) TSR put out 58 FR sourcebooks/boxed sets and 47 adventures (this is a bit blurry, there's a few edge cases like crossovers with Ravenloft, OA products retconned into the Realms once Kara-Tur was shoved into Faerun, the Maztica line, etc etc). The vast majority of these were in the 8 years between 1987 and 1995.

In the 3rd ed era (the 8 years from 2000 to 2008), WotC released by my count 20 FR sourcebooks and 9 FR adventures.

That's a massive drop in pace of release, even accounting for the fact that a 3rd ed product was on average higher in page count than a 2e product. And FR was the line that WotC produced significantly the most material for - Eberron was the runner-up but the line was at best 75% of the size of the FR line, and there was no real third place. Nothing like the early/mid 90s when TSR are pumping out FR and Al-Qadim and Dark Sun and Planescape and Ravenloft all at once, and all at high pace. I mean, the volume of Ravenloft releases alone - through the mid 90s there were routinely 9 or 10 Ravenloft products alone coming out every year.

TSR treated its release schedule like a comic shop's. An enthusiast, much less a completist, could rock along once a month and expect a handful of new books to have been released that they might want to pick up. WotC has increasingly tried to make book releases more of an event, with loads of anticipation and strategic leaks etc which is possible because they're not trying to hype up two Ravenloft adventures, an FR region guide, an Al-Qadim boxed set, and the Complete Nilbog's Handbook all being released in the same month.
 

darjr

I crit!
I’m not claiming to know either way. I don’t know. I have no reason to think he’s being deceitful. But I also have no reason to think he’s being honest. We won’t know either way until the source comes forward, is revealed, or independent corroborating evidence is brought to light.

I’m not sure what the bolded bit has to do with the truth value of his claims.
His credibility is at stake. With us and with his sources for any future history book. Him being wrong or willfully deceitful tarnishes or ruins that. And if anything I dint think he’d risk that.

Finally we do have corroboration. From earlier instances of folks telling little bits of numbers that match and TSR alum that mostly, and I mean almost all of them, and I’d include Bruce even, have not contradicted his numbers.
 

darjr

I crit!
Also D&D was treated like a loss leader by WotC. They were willing to cut very thin margins, if I remember right, because the ceo belived it had legs if they could just spread the faith a bit more.

At TSR D&D was the bread winner. And that bread got very thin.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Bens numbers are in the ballpark on known numbers from other sources and interviews with ex TSR.

They don't contradict Danceys statements either as we know that some of the more elaborate boxed sets were selling as a loss. And presumably some of the adventures.

Remember when WotC did reprint some of the setting and Eberron they changed the format (boxed set vs book) and only did one and done deals exceptbFR and Eberron.

Or they licensed bstuff out.

They didn't do boxed sets, follow on adventures, a line of novels and premium bits and pieces with cloth maps etc.

Adventures bwetent really selling compared with big items like FR boxed set. DS put some reasonable numbers in but over 9 products some of which were boxed sets (which they may have lost money on).

Adventures don't sell was in reference tolate 90's not early 90's and early 80's which were big numbers.

Paizo made it work presumably because they were happy with smaller margins but more importantly had a lit of good will and reputation for making quality adventures due to their Dungeon Magazine tenure.

TSE 2E adventures have the opposite reputation mist of then are junk.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
His credibility is at stake. With us and with his sources for any future history book. Him being wrong or willfully deceitful tarnishes or ruins that. And if anything I dint think he’d risk that.
I don't know him well enough to make a judgement either way. Generally speaking people don't want their reputations ruined. Others don't care if they see big enough dollar signs. Take James Frey's A Million Little Pieces as an example. Though I doubt there's enough dollar signs in the RPG industry (outside of WotC itself) to be worth ruining one's reputation over.
Finally we do have corroboration. From earlier instances of folks telling little bits of numbers that match and TSR alum that mostly, and I mean almost all of them, and I’d include Bruce even, have not contradicted his numbers.
Except that Bruce Heard did call him out and asked for a source for those numbers.
Bens numbers are in the ballpark on known numbers from other sources and interviews with ex TSR.
You'd think if everyone had accurate numbers they wouldn't be "in the ballpark"...they'd be a bit more exact than that. But, that could be earlier numbers were guesses and Ben has boxes of spreadsheets. None of us know except Ben. I'm just not convinced his numbers are accurate. And I won't be until there's corroborating evidence or the source is revealed.

But I'm bowing out of this particular tangent as it's clearly going nowhere.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I don't know him well enough to make a judgement either way. Generally speaking people don't want their reputations ruined. Others don't care if they see big enough dollar signs. Take James Frey's A Million Little Pieces as an example. Though I doubt there's enough dollar signs in the RPG industry (outside of WotC itself) to be worth ruining one's reputation over.

Except that Bruce Heard did call him out and asked for a source for those numbers.

You'd think if everyone had accurate numbers they wouldn't be "in the ballpark"...they'd be a bit more exact than that. But, that could be earlier numbers were guesses and Ben has boxes of spreadsheets. None of us know except Ben. I'm just not convinced his numbers are accurate. And I won't be until there's corroborating evidence or the source is revealed.

But I'm bowing out of this particular tangent as it's clearly going nowhere.

Well other interviews and sources have had similar numbers.
The adventure and campaign setting numbers are kinda new but Bens edition bnumbers seem to check out with previous sources eg Gary, Dancey, Stan!, Paizo staff, other ex TSR staff, the acaceum etc.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top