From Forgotten Realms to Red Steel: Here's That Full D&D Setting Sales Chart

Whether this will end a thousand internet arguments or fuel another thousand, Ben Riggs, author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons, has finally published the combined chart of cumulative sales for every AD&D setting from 1979 to 1999.

Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Oriental Adventures, and Dragonlance lead the pack. The least selling setting was Red Steel in 1994. There was a clear decline in sales of all settings from 1989 onwards, so that's not necessary a comment on quality. Planescape, certainly a cult favourite, sold surprisingly few copies.


In order, the best-selling settings were:
  1. Forgotten Realms
  2. Greyhawk
  3. Oriental Adventures
  4. Dragonlance
  5. Ravenloft
  6. Dark Sun
  7. Spelljammer
  8. Lankhmar
  9. Al-Qadim
  10. Planescape
  11. Birthright
  12. Maztica
  13. Karameikos
  14. Red Steel

dndsales.jpg


These stats were compiled as part of his research into his book, Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons, which you should totally buy.


Let's dive into some individual sales charts! Note, these are for the primary setting product, not for additional adventures, supplements, etc.

birthright.jpg
redsteel.jpg
planecape.jpg
maztica.jpg
al-qadim.jpg
lankhmar.jpg
darksun.jpg
ravenloft.jpg
realms.jpg
dragonlance.jpg
motp.jpg
greyhawk.jpg
oa.jpg
1ephb-dmg.jpg
basic.jpg
 
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Von Ether

Legend
In those waning conditions, Birthright seemed to sell as well as it could. I had Red Steel. It was an odd ball setting that I liked but I can also see why it didn't take off.

It didn't help that it was really a mini-setting inside FR and thus had to also waste time on rules for why Red Steel infected characters lost their powers when going back to FR proper.

If it had been set in it's own universe, it might have been fun to see how the infection impacted things beyond the region.

[EDIT: Doh! It was in Mystara, which was one of the reasons I picked it up! ]
 
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