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DDAL DDAL Legal DMs Guild Books

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The Border Kingdoms
This is a list of books on the Dungeon Master's Guild which have been 'officially' approved by WotC and are D&D Adventurers League legal. This does not include actual DDAL adventures.
 

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tommybahama

Adventurer
Are these regional guides like the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide or adventures like Descent into Avernus?

I don't see any Roll20 games advertised for Eberron so I wasn't sure if it was just a guide or widely unpopular?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Are these regional guides like the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide or adventures like Descent into Avernus?

I don't see any Roll20 games advertised for Eberron so I wasn't sure if it was just a guide or widely unpopular?
The answer to your question is but a click away! :)
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Cool. Nice to see WotC reaching even a little bit outside the fold, even if it is for mostly the same designers.
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
The answer to your question is but a click away! :)
I did. Some of the descriptions mention "adventure hooks" but I wasn't sure what that meant. Part of my confusion is that I recently heard that the Sword Coast guide sold poorly. I wasn't sure why WotC would repeat the same thing again by publishing more guides. :unsure:
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I did. Some of the descriptions mention "adventure hooks" but I wasn't sure what that meant.
An adventure hook is generally a short (paragraph or so) seed for an adventure. It's not a full adventure; it's just designed to give you ideas and get your started.

Part of my confusion is that I recently heard that the Sword Coast guide sold poorly. I wasn't sure why WotC would repeat the same thing again by publishing more guides. :unsure:

Wildemount sold incredibly well. Theros probably will do, too. I assume Eberron did.

But WotC isn’t making these. Third parties are publishing them in DMs Guild.
 
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I did. Some of the descriptions mention "adventure hooks" but I wasn't sure what that meant. Part of my confusion is that I recently heard that the Sword Coast guide sold poorly. I wasn't sure why WotC would repeat the same thing again by publishing more guides. :unsure:

I very much doubt that it sold poorly in the sense that it didn't make a lot of money for WotC. The actual hardcover book may have had limited sales, but when you consider the secondary sales on D&D Beyond, Roll 20 and so on, which are at full price (or near to it), I am quite sure it and basically any other book with a decent amount of character options in it has sold a far larger number of "copies" than their Amazon sales might indicate.
 

jeremypowell

Adventurer
I very much doubt that it sold poorly in the sense that it didn't make a lot of money for WotC. The actual hardcover book may have had limited sales, but when you consider the secondary sales on D&D Beyond, Roll 20 and so on, which are at full price (or near to it), I am quite sure it and basically any other book with a decent amount of character options in it has sold a far larger number of "copies" than their Amazon sales might indicate.

Right. But WotC has decided to limit the number of books they release annually, as part of their overall "don't flood the market/overwhelm casual players" approach for 5e. And that means they want every one of their limited number of releases to sell as well or better than whatever else they might have released instead in that "slot." This is why, when SCAG sold less well than any other early 5e release, they put the kibosh on further setting guides for a while.

Then, when the corporate synergy of a Magic: The Gathering setting proved irresistable, they did Ravnica, and it sold extremely well, opening back up the setting guide option for official releases.

However, they've now done three consecutive setting guides (Eberron, Wildemount, Theros) and even though those three all seem to be selling/preselling very well, I'd be surprised if we get yet another setting book anytime soon.
 

gyor

Legend
Right. But WotC has decided to limit the number of books they release annually, as part of their overall "don't flood the market/overwhelm casual players" approach for 5e. And that means they want every one of their limited number of releases to sell as well or better than whatever else they might have released instead in that "slot." This is why, when SCAG sold less well than any other early 5e release, they put the kibosh on further setting guides for a while.

Then, when the corporate synergy of a Magic: The Gathering setting proved irresistable, they did Ravnica, and it sold extremely well, opening back up the setting guide option for official releases.

However, they've now done three consecutive setting guides (Eberron, Wildemount, Theros) and even though those three all seem to be selling/preselling very well, I'd be surprised if we get yet another setting book anytime soon.

I disagree with you on setting guides, there is a reason why WotC appears to be doing more setting guides, they sell very well, the top type of book required in surveys were Campaign Setting books, and they have produced alot of APs, more then most folks can play thru right now, so slowing the release of APs makes sense. And Campaign Setting books are a great way to mix setting lore, Player options, and DM resources in a single book, with a introductory adventure so they can get costumers beyond just a settings fans.

Now that they know these setting books are splitting up the fan base as they feared, there is no reason not to do more of these books.
 

jeremypowell

Adventurer
Now that they know these setting books are splitting up the fan base as they feared,

Assuming you mean to write "are not splitting up the fan base," I think you may be right, in the sense that the setting books they've done in the Ravnica format have all performed well in the market.

Look, I'm a fellow Forgotten Realms junkie who would love to see WotC release a new FR setting book several times a year as actual WotC products, starting with a true, Faerun-wide setting guide for 5e. But here's why I don't think it's likely we'll see anything of the kind from WotC -- perhaps ever, and certainly not soon. Let me explain my thinking.

Of the setting books they've released so far, only one out of five (or six, if you count Ac Inc) is set in the Forgotten Realms. Even taking into account Fantasy Grounds, D&D Beyond, etc., that book has sold the fewest copies of any 5e book WotC has put out. Personally, I think the reasons for this have to do with the book's release date (very early in 5e's lifespan) and the book itself (they hadn't yet "perfected" the 5e setting book formula that Ravnica and all subsequent releases have used, and many of the player options in SCAG are rather unimpressive). Still, I can easily imagine the bean counters looking at all the sales figures right now and saying "I guess setting guides sell great, so long as they're not the Forgotten Realms." And I can imagine with comparable ease the creative team saying, "Many other settings are totally ignored at present, so the Forgotten Realms gets only the adventure books -- at least until we see how the Realms movie turns out."

It's also likely they think that setting books haven't split the fan base yet. The D&D deciders at WotC are very cautious when thinking about what products work, and why. And even in the 90s, whenever TSR released a setting book (or box set) for a new setting, it tended to sell very well. But the second, third, nth setting books for a given setting (with exceptions, of course) tended to sell less and less well. They've partly addressed that problem with the "something for everyone" approach you described so well. But I'd say it's still unproved whether or not a second setting book in (say) Eberron would perform as robustly.

I also am keeping in mind the kinds of lead times these products usually have. Back when they gave the greenlight to the next year's worth of releases, they didn't really know how well the recent setting books would sell. And they probably thought that releasing three setting books in a row could be a bit of a risk. I doubt they have adopted an "open the floodgates" approach for setting books, but even if they have, they probably did so only after seeing the sales/presales for Wildemount and Theros. Personally, I'd be shocked if any of the next, say, three hardcovers turn out to be setting guides. Perhaps delighted, but also shocked.

Edit to add: In the meantime, those of us who do want more official setting content should absolutely be ordering the excellent print-on-demand products on DMsGuild, whether the Border Kingdoms book, the upcoming Exploring Eberron book written by Keith Baker, or even the less official offerings such as the Great Dale guide or the Malar deity sourcebook. It is 100% true that WotC keeps tabs on the DMsGuild's successes (and high-profile failures).
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I very much doubt that it sold poorly in the sense that it didn't make a lot of money for WotC. The actual hardcover book may have had limited sales, but when you consider the secondary sales on D&D Beyond, Roll 20 and so on, which are at full price (or near to it), I am quite sure it and basically any other book with a decent amount of character options in it has sold a far larger number of "copies" than their Amazon sales might indicate.
The SCAG is not available on Roll20. It has been stuck in Backlog Hell for years. But I think they have finally committed to releasing it this year...
 

gyor

Legend
Assuming you mean to write "are not splitting up the fan base," I think you may be right, in the sense that the setting books they've done in the Ravnica format have all performed well in the market.

Look, I'm a fellow Forgotten Realms junkie who would love to see WotC release a new FR setting book several times a year as actual WotC products, starting with a true, Faerun-wide setting guide for 5e. But here's why I don't think it's likely we'll see anything of the kind from WotC -- perhaps ever, and certainly not soon. Let me explain my thinking.

Of the setting books they've released so far, only one out of five (or six, if you count Ac Inc) is set in the Forgotten Realms. Even taking into account Fantasy Grounds, D&D Beyond, etc., that book has sold the fewest copies of any 5e book WotC has put out. Personally, I think the reasons for this have to do with the book's release date (very early in 5e's lifespan) and the book itself (they hadn't yet "perfected" the 5e setting book formula that Ravnica and all subsequent releases have used, and many of the player options in SCAG are rather unimpressive). Still, I can easily imagine the bean counters looking at all the sales figures right now and saying "I guess setting guides sell great, so long as they're not the Forgotten Realms." And I can imagine with comparable ease the creative team saying, "Many other settings are totally ignored at present, so the Forgotten Realms gets only the adventure books -- at least until we see how the Realms movie turns out."

It's also likely they think that setting books haven't split the fan base yet. The D&D deciders at WotC are very cautious when thinking about what products work, and why. And even in the 90s, whenever TSR released a setting book (or box set) for a new setting, it tended to sell very well. But the second, third, nth setting books for a given setting (with exceptions, of course) tended to sell less and less well. They've partly addressed that problem with the "something for everyone" approach you described so well. But I'd say it's still unproved whether or not a second setting book in (say) Eberron would perform as robustly.

I also am keeping in mind the kinds of lead times these products usually have. Back when they gave the greenlight to the next year's worth of releases, they didn't really know how well the recent setting books would sell. And they probably thought that releasing three setting books in a row could be a bit of a risk. I doubt they have adopted an "open the floodgates" approach for setting books, but even if they have, they probably did so only after seeing the sales/presales for Wildemount and Theros. Personally, I'd be shocked if any of the next, say, three hardcovers turn out to be setting guides. Perhaps delighted, but also shocked.

Edit to add: In the meantime, those of us who do want more official setting content should absolutely be ordering the excellent print-on-demand products on DMsGuild, whether the Border Kingdoms book, the upcoming Exploring Eberron book written by Keith Baker, or even the less official offerings such as the Great Dale guide or the Malar deity sourcebook. It is 100% true that WotC keeps tabs on the DMsGuild's successes (and high-profile failures).

Acquisitions Inc is actually also set in the Forgotten Realms, their Verdan race is tied to events that occurred in FR, and it's canon,
but I don't even know how to catagorize that book honestly.

The relative sales of the SCAG weren't that bad and the book wasn't even primarily written by WotC at all, like the Tiamat AP it was subcontracted out.

And the bean counters are bean counters because they know how to count beans, which means they take in other mathematical elements like the size of the market for 5e products then compared to now. Plus smart bean counters take into account context, bean counters for example would take something like the pandemic right now into account.

And smart bean counters would not just take the one setting book into account, they would take into account all the FR 5e Books, and the successful history of sales for FR. If all the 5e FR books like the APs for example sold well, and bean counter will wonder if there is some other reason for the SCAG falling behind those in popularity, comparing to structure and timing to the other Setting Books would tell the tale.

And bean counters also take into account liencing opportunities, which are extremely profitable for FR when well managed, but the requires updating content to get the most of it. Which is why I think a 5e FRCG book will have strong ties to Baldur's Gate 3 and maybe even Dark Alliance.
 

jeremypowell

Adventurer
Oh yeah, you're right—since Ac Inc is just about the least palatable flavor of D&D for me, and I did no more than skim the book and set it aside, I'd forgotten they put that in the Realms.

As for the rest, you do make good points, gyor. I suppose time will tell. But for now I'm sure we can all agree the DMs Guild has been really coming into its own lately. When I can order a new Ed Greenwood Forgotten Realms supplement in hardcover, and soon a Keith Baker Eberron supplement in hardcover, then I'd say the platform has evolved into something even more exciting than it already was.

Incidentally, I spoke to Baker at a convention in December and he said the future of 5e Eberron material (and his involvement in same, which he would like to be extensive) depends on how successful the upcoming book Exploring Eberron turns out to be. COVID throws a wrench in that plan—anyone trying to read market-demand tea leaves based on sales of a product being released right now certainly has their work cut out for them—but still, if we want more of a certain kind of 5e product, we should be supporting (exemplars of) that kind of product on DMs Guild.
 


Which is why I think a 5e FRCG book will have strong ties to Baldur's Gate 3 and maybe even Dark Alliance.

I kind of wonder how many people are playing/running the FR in 5E. In 2E, I know it was a large number, from talking to people online, and that seemed to continue into 3E, despite 3E's brief, abortive attempt to make Greyhawk a "thing" again. 4E was less clear (in part because of so many people switching to PF or the like). But of the people I know who still play/run D&D, or are new and now run D&D in 5E, none of them actually run the FR. The closest I can think of is a Ravenloft campaign that started in the FR.

I also really doubt BG3 will get people excited about the FR because every single screenshot, video, and bit of dialogue I've seen from BG3 is utterly "generic fantasy", rather than the FR's take on that. There is literally nothing about that game, beyond that it's technically set there, that says "FR" (or Sword Coast). It's all muted colours (like almost DA2 levels of muted), weirdly bland scrubby terrain or creepy spaceship interiors, generic snarky dialogue, characters with totally un-FR names and backstories and even appearances (the High Elf, for example, shows zero signs of being an FR High Elf - i.e. a Gold Elf or Moon Elf). The muted colours thing seems particularly weird, because previous games by Larian didn't have this, and FR art absolutely doesn't do that. The focus on illithids and their spelljammers doesn't exactly scream "FR" either. It's almost like Larian are intentionally trying to distance themselves from all the existing FR material and both previous BG games, which seems inappropriate for a numbered sequel.
 

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