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


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.
Yeah, they all.have historicrun downs on the DMsGuild by Shannon Apple cline.

They don6have a great reputation, which is why 4E Dark Sun ignored everything after Tyr is freed.
 

Yeah, they all.have historicrun downs on the DMsGuild by Shannon Apple cline.

They don6have a great reputation, which is why 4E Dark Sun ignored everything after Tyr is freed.
Oh god I bet they follow the Prism Pentad or something, the worst D&D-related books ever written (in my experience anyway!), that'd explain "bad rep" and "4E ignored them" and also "Ruin Explorer mentally blocked their existence" lol.
 

Oh god I bet they follow the Prism Pentad or something, the worst D&D-related books ever written (in my experience anyway!), that'd explain "bad rep" and "4E ignored them" and also "Ruin Explorer mentally blocked their existence" lol.
:LOL: It's worse than that, believe it or not - they actually have the PCs follow in the tracks of the Prism Pentad, doing comparatively minor B-plot stuff while the main characters of the Prism Pentad save the world!

Well, not all of them to be fair. The later modules like Black Spine etc bring up new threats to post-Pentad Athas which the PCs can take the lead and deal with. But in the initial run of adventures like Freedom and Road to Urik, the PCs are 100% the understudies of Rikus, Sadira et al.
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So... I think what this shows, more than anything, is a generational change in buying and playing strategies.

Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms all did HUGE BUSINESS on the boxed sets. But they were also chock full of material that only one person at the table needs or even "Should" have.

Think back to the 70s and 80s. Who DMed? Was it one person only or were multiple DMs more common? Did everyone feel the need to get the boxed set so they could run a game of their own? I feel like that was kind of the case. I remember in the early 90s there were a handful of DMs in the social circles I knew through the gaming shop, rather than everyone trying to be a DM on different days of the week or different months or whatever.

I think what these numbers are showing is the Birth of the Forever DM™.

So around 100,000 Dark Sun boxed sets were sold over the entire course of it's existence, right? Almost half of them in the first year, about 50,000. Plus another 19,000ish the following year, for 69,000ish (nice).

07e1055b-ef29-400a-9bc6-5d9e2c06d44c-jpeg.253810


Take a look at how many Adventures sold in '92 for Dark Sun, too.

0fac4cb4-e652-40c3-a14f-1fbc00e83da8-jpeg.254598


50,000 boxes, 250,000 adventures. And there were 4 adventures released in 92. If every DM who had a boxed set of Dark Sun bought all four adventures (and the 69,000ish figure was spot on) they would've sold 276,000 adventures in 1992. So. Y'know. Less total number of adventures sold than four for each box set, but -pretty- close.

Then 1993 saw 200,000ish adventures sold, interest waned and people probably also were trying out other settings released around the same time, but those 200,000ish adventures also includes adventures released in '92.

In '94 one was released and 80,000 total units of adventures were sold. But at this point 90,000 or so boxed sets for Dark Sun had been sold. So that's -still- pretty good for saturation of DMs who bought the boxed set grabbing the adventure. And, yeah, obviously it eventually tapered off to a dribble, but still.

One person buys the box, and the adventure, and shares it with everyone at the table. Instead of everyone buying the box and the adventure. compare to FR just a few years earlier (and also alongside Dark Sun).

42e39039-8568-4d69-b3d7-e7312d8dfe9f-jpeg.253672

Nearly 4 times as many lifetime sales!

Don't get me wrong, FR is more popular than Dark Sun by far (for a variety of reasons)... but I'm beginning to wonder if this was a change in the playerbase that TSR didn't think to account for.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So... I think what this shows, more than anything, is a generational change in buying and playing strategies.

Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms all did HUGE BUSINESS on the boxed sets. But they were also chock full of material that only one person at the table needs or even "Should" have.

Think back to the 70s and 80s. Who DMed? Was it one person only or were multiple DMs more common? Did everyone feel the need to get the boxed set so they could run a game of their own? I feel like that was kind of the case. I remember in the early 90s there were a handful of DMs in the social circles I knew through the gaming shop, rather than everyone trying to be a DM on different days of the week or different months or whatever.

I think what these numbers are showing is the Birth of the Forever DM™.

So around 100,000 Dark Sun boxed sets were sold over the entire course of it's existence, right? Almost half of them in the first year, about 50,000. Plus another 19,000ish the following year, for 69,000ish (nice).

07e1055b-ef29-400a-9bc6-5d9e2c06d44c-jpeg.253810


Take a look at how many Adventures sold in '92 for Dark Sun, too.

0fac4cb4-e652-40c3-a14f-1fbc00e83da8-jpeg.254598


50,000 boxes, 250,000 adventures. And there were 4 adventures released in 92. If every DM who had a boxed set of Dark Sun bought all four adventures (and the 69,000ish figure was spot on) they would've sold 276,000 adventures in 1992. So. Y'know. Less total number of adventures sold than four for each box set, but -pretty- close.

Then 1993 saw 200,000ish adventures sold, interest waned and people probably also were trying out other settings released around the same time, but those 200,000ish adventures also includes adventures released in '92.

In '94 one was released and 80,000 total units of adventures were sold. But at this point 90,000 or so boxed sets for Dark Sun had been sold. So that's -still- pretty good for saturation of DMs who bought the boxed set grabbing the adventure. And, yeah, obviously it eventually tapered off to a dribble, but still.

One person buys the box, and the adventure, and shares it with everyone at the table. Instead of everyone buying the box and the adventure. compare to FR just a few years earlier (and also alongside Dark Sun).

42e39039-8568-4d69-b3d7-e7312d8dfe9f-jpeg.253672

Nearly 4 times as many lifetime sales!

Don't get me wrong, FR is more popular than Dark Sun by far (for a variety of reasons)... but I'm beginning to wonder if this was a change in the playerbase that TSR didn't think to account for.
Well, Dancey always argued that TSR split the Ayer base, so that a DM would buy the Dark Sun box set and all the Adventures, but nothing from Forgotten Realms or Spelljammer product lines. So they essentially created silos of players who were doing different things, not buying a dull range of TSR products.

Odds are that the FR Adventures and Setting modules dwarf the other Settings: hence the past 25 years of WotC product line decisions.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Well, Dancey always argued that TSR split the Ayer base, so that a DM would buy the Dark Sun box set and all the Adventures, but nothing from Forgotten Realms or Spelljammer product lines. So they essentially created silos of players who were doing different things, not buying a dull range of TSR products.

Odds are that the FR Adventures and Setting modules dwarf the other Settings: hence the past 25 years of WotC product line decisions.
I don't know -anyone- who played Dark Sun exclusively. Or Ravenloft. Or Planescape. Spelljammer. FR. Anything.

Pretty much everyone I knew was down to play in a variety of settings. Still are!
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't know -anyone- who played Dark Sun exclusively. Or Ravenloft. Or Planescape. Spelljammer. FR. Anything.

Pretty much everyone I knew was down to play in a variety of settings. Still are!
Yeah, who knows, but that was WotC conclusion about what was happpen8nh based on the numbers.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Yeah, who knows, but that was WotC conclusion about what was happpen8nh based on the numbers.
Like everything in life, it was almost certainly a massive conflux of factors. Little bit of this, little bit of that. Little bit of the other.

But for Dark Sun's Boxed Set/Adventure sales comparison... it really does seem like it was one DM buying everything.

Though, taking a look at overall figures for 2e D&D: 4.7 million core rulebooks sold over the course of 1979 to 1998... Vastly more books than all the campaign settings so far presented combined.

So maybe it did split the playerbase, some? But it looks like the -vast- majority of D&D players and DMs just didn't bother with any of the offerings TSR put out for settings.
 


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