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

That and some of those boxed sets were being sold for a kiss espicially the more lavish ones eg Planescape.
Boxed sets were pretty much all sold at a loss, i thought. And the revised Dark Sun boxed set would have been worse than most because it had a cloth map in it (which was apparently so expensive that they cut it out of later printings, like the one i have!)

Jeez, though, thinking of a line like Al-Qadim which wasn't a huge seller but which was almost ENTIRELY comprised of boxed sets - that must have been an absolute money sink...
 

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darjr

I crit!
So in the latest podcast Ben said that the first novel sold more than all the Darksun gaming stuff, combined.

They also LOST on average a dollar for every darksun adventure they sold.

So that 250000 item sales year? It COST TSR $250000.

Start at 34:04 , but really listen to the whole thing.

 
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teitan

Legend
That and some of those boxed sets were being sold for a kiss espicially the more lavish ones eg Planescape.

And we don't know the profit margins on the actual adventures either. Looks like big numbers to us but if they were also sold at a loss.......

Think Dancey was saying a few adventures also sold under 10k or a few thousand. We may not be looking at typical adventures sold here.

2E adventures were also generally terrible so there's also that factor. Maybe adventures didn't sell because they were garbage.
And 2e was a very DIY edition with a lot of books dedicated to how to craft campaigns and modify the system to play what you wanted such as the Historical series, the Castlebuilders, Dungeonbuilders and Worldbuilders guidebooks. The Complete Priest was essentially a “how to make a pantheon” sourcebook. The revision was an even deeper take on giving tools to DMs to make AD&D what you wanted it to be than probably any edition provides resources for with the Skills & Powers and Combat & Tactics sourcebooks. So adventures weren’t a priority but the gems in the era were definitely highlights like the Vecna series, the Planescape Dead Gods series, and Dungeon Magazine were the real highlights.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Boxed sets were pretty much all sold at a loss, i thought. And the revised Dark Sun boxed set would have been worse than most because it had a cloth map in it (which was apparently so expensive that they cut it out of later printings, like the one i have!)

Jeez, though, thinking of a line like Al-Qadim which wasn't a huge seller but which was almost ENTIRELY comprised of boxed sets - that must have been an absolute money sink...

Ironically apparently Al Qadim didn't lose money according to a Stan! Interview.

It wasn't as lavish as Planescape or the revised DS box.

I remember I took the PDF of the first DS boxed set to a printer. Getting one map printed at poster size was similar in price to a boxed set off eBay at the time.
 

teitan

Legend
So in the latest podcast Ben said that that the first novel sold more than all the Darksun gaming stuff, combined.

They also LOST on average a dollar for every darksun adventure they sold.

So that 250000 item sales year? It COST TSR $250000.

Start at 34:04 , but really listen to the whole thing.

And here I thought I was being generous with my .25 in my example. Holy dog toes.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
And 2e was a very DIY edition with a lot of books dedicated to how to craft campaigns and modify the system to play what you wanted such as the Historical series, the Castlebuilders, Dungeonbuilders and Worldbuilders guidebooks. The Complete Priest was essentially a “how to make a pantheon” sourcebook. The revision was an even deeper take on giving tools to DMs to make AD&D what you wanted it to be than probably any edition provides resources for with the Skills & Powers and Combat & Tactics sourcebooks. So adventures weren’t a priority but the gems in the era were definitely highlights like the Vecna series, the Planescape Dead Gods series, and Dungeon Magazine were the real highlights.

Yeah I have a lot of 2E material ilike it and the DIY parts.

Only good adventures were Dungeon magazine and some of the late boxed setseg Night Below and return to series
 

teitan

Legend
Ironically apparently Al Qadim didn't lose money according to a Stan! Interview.

It wasn't as lavish as Planescape or the revised DS box.

I remember I took the PDF of the first DS boxed set to a printer. Getting one map printed at poster size was similar in price to a boxed set off eBay at the time.
Yeah but that is a one off. Producing 200k probably has a massive breakpoint so that it is a buck or two in today’s money.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Yeah but that is a one off. Producing 200k probably has a massive breakpoint so that it is a buck or two in today’s money.

Without the information I wouldn't asume all the boed sets lost money. WotC made some after all during 2E.

Depends on how lavish they were I think.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
So in the latest podcast Ben said that that the first novel sold more than all the Darksun gaming stuff, combined.
That's not surprising. RPGs are (were?) an incredibly niche hobby. Most fantasy and sci-fi fans are voracious readers. Taking a chance on a novel is no risk at all. Worst case you're out a few bucks and you read a terrible book which you can trade to someone else for something you might like.
 


teitan

Legend
That's not surprising. RPGs are (were?) an incredibly niche hobby. Most fantasy and sci-fi fans are voracious readers. Taking a chance on a novel is no risk at all. Worst case you're out a few bucks and you read a terrible book which you can trade to someone else for something you might like.
I would say are outside of D&D but that’s why you should play pf2e instead and here’s why *rimshot
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
So in the latest podcast Ben said that that the first novel sold more than all the Darksun gaming stuff, combined.

They also LOST on average a dollar for every darksun adventure they sold.

So that 250000 item sales year? It COST TSR $250000.

Start at 34:04 , but really listen to the whole thing.

I don't wonder why TSR went out of business, but I often wonder how they lasted so long...
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
I don't wonder why TSR went out of business, but I often wonder how they lasted so long...
The novel sales were definitely a chunk of the explanation. For a few years there TSR was king of the bookstores.

But that died off in the early 90s I think. So the existence of their generous Random House arrangement was the piece that made it click for me how they could have limped along after their novels stopped being the draw that they once were.

Especially when you don't pay your writers what they are worth.
There's no "this makes me angry" button on these boards, so I have to settle for just clicking a like even though I don't like it :mad:
 

Reynard

Legend
The novel sales were definitely a chunk of the explanation. For a few years there TSR was king of the bookstores.

But that died off in the early 90s I think. So the existence of their generous Random House arrangement was the piece that made it click for me how they could have limped along after their novels stopped being the draw that they once were.


There's no "this makes me angry" button on these boards, so I have to settle for just clicking a like even though I don't like it :mad:
I am just at the part in the book where Thompson comes in and obliterated the book department.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
So weird to think that the fiction lines were what kept the lights on at TSR and it is no more. I wonder if the D&D brand will look to expand again into fiction sales or is it a dead industry to them? I wonder if the profit level on the fiction lines was similarly low to none after remainders and returns? Lord knows they paid well below industry standard to their authors.
 

Wait Dark Sun had adventures other than the one from the original box? And they sold loads of copies? Wow.

I don't think I have any of those, despite having both Dark Sun boxes and I believe all the Dark Sun sourcebooks.
 

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