D&D General Dungeons of Drakkenheim & Lairs of Etharis: WotC Adds Third Party Products To D&D Beyond

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WotC has just announced that it is adding products from Ghostfire Gaming and Dungeon Dudes to the D&D Beyond platform. The products in question are Ghostfire's Grim Hollow: Lairs of Etharis and Dungeon Dudes' Dungeons of Drakkenheim (produced in conjunction with Ghostfire Gaming) which made over $1M on Kickstarter in 2021.

Ghostfire is often seen on the TTRPG Kickstarter charts and has been involved with multiple 5E million-dollar campaigns.

While material from Critical Role has appeared on DDB, this is the first time that something from a publisher without a visibly established prior relationship has been seen there.


Today Wizards of the Coast announced a partnership with publisher Ghostfire Gaming to bring two exciting new products to its digital toolset on D&D Beyond. Grim Hollow: Lairs of Etharis showcases twenty horror-fantasy adventures with more than 75 new monsters while Dungeons of Drakkenheim presents a full campaign set in a ruined city for players to explore created by the popular Dungeon Dudes YouTube channel. Maps, monsters, and more in these offerings will be available for Dungeon Masters to use across D&D Beyond, including full integration in the Maps feature available to subscribers. With these two additions and more on the horizon, Dungeons & Dragons continues to invest in its talented partners and the inspiring creative community and surrounding the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game.

“It's incredibly important to us to showcase the ingenuity of the D&D community, and we’re excited to share the love of fantasy roleplaying with more fans by bringing the Dungeon Dudes and Ghostfire Gaming to D&D Beyond,” said Marjory Laymon, Vice President of D&D Beyond Product and Tech at Wizards of the Coast. “This is just the first step as we’ve got even more surprises planned for next year as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of D&D.”

Grim Hollow and Drakkenheim really are passion projects for Ghostfire and the Dungeon Dudes, respectively, with rich worlds meant to be explored and have stories woven within,” said Ben Byrne, Creative Content Director at Ghostfire Gaming. “That so many new D&D fans will be introduced to them through D&D Beyond is incredibly humbling.”

The locations, maps, and monsters within these offerings will be available to all fans who purchase them to use in their campaigns on D&D Beyond. Players can add feats, spells, and magic items to their character sheets, choose a new background for their character, or indulge in crafting items from parts harvested from adventuring. Dungeon Masters can quickly reference more than a hundred new monsters, faction NPCs, and more in the D&D Beyond compendium.

Dungeons of Drakkenheim began like every other D&D campaign; as a labor of love shared amongst a few friends at the game table (and a small audience of passionate viewers!) We started this project as a way to express our love of the game and showcase a world filled with all the aspects of fantasy role-playing games that we enjoy most: a blend of gripping action and cosmic horror where the player’s choices matter,” said Montgomery Martin and Kelly Mclaughlin, the Dungeon Dudes. “The original Drakkenheim characters were built and played on D&D Beyond, and so sharing the adventure we created on the platform is a dream come true. We can’t wait to hear the stories of other players’ adventures through the ruined city.”
 
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Remathilis

Legend
I'd hardly put them all under the same tent like that.
Kobold has TotV. Paizo has Pathfinder. Goodman has DCCRPG. Monte has Cypher. They all share some DNA with D&D (in various amounts) but they aren't directing people to buy the PHB from WotC. Are you going to work to support a product that sells WotC a PHB or one that sells your own core book?
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
They all opted to support their own homemade systems. More power to them, but WotC is probably interested in products that sell their Players Handbooks, not someone else's.
They all sell WotC PHBs. The number of people who will only buy the ToV players book but not the 2024 PHB -- no matter how people may feel right now -- is going to be tiny.

These objections are very small potatoes thinking. Getting more people on DDB means more opportunities to sell more stuff on DDB, of which WotC gets everything from X (whatever the cut they're getting of the third-party sales, which isn't going to be a small number) to 100% for the majority of it.

WotC isn't hurt by having Exandria on DDB. It's an opportunity to put some of that Critical Role money in their own pocket and then turn around and also sell those customers Eberron.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Kobold has TotV. Paizo has Pathfinder. Goodman has DCCRPG. Monte has Cypher. They all share some DNA with D&D (in various amounts) but they aren't directing people to buy the PHB from WotC. Are you going to work to support a product that sells WotC a PHB or one that sells your own core book?
Of course they're not going to sell Pathfinder or DCCRPG or Cypher on DDB. But all of those companies also sell 5E adventures and many of them sell supplements. (I suspect the monster books alone keep the lights on at Kobold Press.)

"Hey kids, want to buy more monsters on this platform I control?" is the way to get lots of people to break out their credit cards.
 



Zaukrie

New Publisher
Dungeon Dudes put out a video on their adventure being released on Dndbeyond... and they are excited.

Wearing a blink 182 shirt is no way to increase my confidence in your work :) I'm very happy for them. Really great for them. I can't imagine how stoked I'd be if WotC wanted my work......(I guess I could ask a couple friends who had stuff in Dragon or Dungeon).
 

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
I have controversial thoughts on this.

Adding other 5e publishers' material to D&D Beyond increases WOTC's dominance in the overall TTRPG hobby and they've proven they cannot be trusted to act in the overall hobby's best interests.

During the last (only?) D&D Community Summit I heard community members lobbying for WOTC to include third party publishers into D&D Beyond as though it was good for the 5e TTRPG community. I don't think it is.

It's good for those publishers blessed by WOTC to be accepted into D&D Beyond. They get access to a WOTC's large D&D Beyond customer set (that they bought for $145 million) with an excellent non-exclusive license deal.

It's good for WOTC who gets a taste of products they didn't have to write. They also get to look like good guys: "Hey, we're supporting scrappy independent publishers like Darrington Press and Ghostfire Gaming".

Maybe it's good for GMs who prefer to have all their stuff under D&D Beyond and don't mind letting WOTC vet which 5e published material they can buy there.

But it certainly increases WOTCs dominance in the 5e TTRPG hobby, and we know they can't be trusted to always act in the best interests of the hobby overall.

And what about those benefits for other 5e publishers publishing on Beyond? WOTC is both the owner of the platform and a direct competitor publishing on the same platform. Consider WOTC's advantages:

  • Other 5e publishers have to pay a fee to WOTC. WOTC's own products don't have to pay that fee.
  • WOTC gets to see all the data for sales for all products. Publishers only likely get to see their own.
  • I doubt publishers get access to direct customer data like the opportunity to subscribe them to the publisher's newsletter.
  • WOTC gets to decide who to allow to publish and who not to. They probably get to choose which products are published.
  • WOTC gets to advertise their own stuff for free. If they advertise products from other publishers, they're either being extraordinarily nice or charging them.

Publishing other 5e publishers' products on D&D Beyond makes D&D Beyond an even stronger gravity well for the 5e hobby overall. It hurts other publishers like EN World and Kobold Press whose variants of 5e almost certainly won't be available on D&D Beyond. The more dominant D&D Beyond becomes in the overall 5e hobby, the more we must trust one company to do what's right for the hobby. That's a dangerous place to be.

All of the control WOTC hoped to achieve by deauthorizing the OGL, they seem to be gaining with D&D Beyond.
 


All of the control WOTC hoped to achieve by deauthorizing the OGL, they seem to be gaining with D&D Beyond.
Yeah, it makes perfect business sense to do this, and I find it ridiculous that this wasn't their first approach instead of the OGL scare. But, being the biggest fish in a small pond lets you keep trying until you stumble into the obvious.

On the positive side, I'm happy that Drakkenheim gets to be on there, because being one of the first to come out with some level of Maps integration is a big deal. I'm glad it goes to a good product.
 

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