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

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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.

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darksun.jpg
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dragonlance.jpg
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't understand why people are so against actually doing dungeon crawls correctly in 5e is. All the talk of "old school sensibilities" of 5e and the popularity of OSR and the suggestion of actually making an official Old School 5E thing and people just can't.

It's weird.
Not sure what you mean by "doing dungeon crawls correctly in 5E." There are lots of ways to run a dungeon, and some are easier than others, but is there a such thing as a correct method?
 

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Reynard

Legend
Not sure what you mean by "doing dungeon crawls correctly in 5E." There are lots of ways to run a dungeon, and some are easier than others, but is there a such thing as a correct method?
There are indeed a lot of ways to run a dungeon crawl, but we were talking explicitly about Old school, Greyhawk era dungeon crawling -- which, while not monolithic, definitely fits intoa tighter definition than it does in the modern era. Saying one doesn't need to alter 5E to make it work for that era of dungeon crawling is, IMO, entirely ignoring the procedures and playstyle of that kind of play.
 

Hussar

Legend
As a person that started playing in 5E here's why I don't really have any interest in Greyhawk as a property:

It's just a fantasy setting, or at least, that's what it comes across as.

Eberron, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, Dark Sun etc. are all dramatically different from a typical fantasy setting, they have gimmicks and novelties that set them apart and draw interest. Whilst there is a touch of Greyhawk in 5e, I'd wager that most players didn't notice and don't care, Saltmarsh being set there is just a bit of 'neat' trivia to me personally, it doesn't fundamentally change the experience.

That said, should they choose to sell Greyhawk stuff it will sell well, not because of Grognards with disposable income, but because 5e sells well.
If I could toss this into the mix.

There's a fantastic Dungeon Magazine adventure from the tail end of Paizo running Dungeon magazine. Erik Mona is a MASSIVE Greyhawk nerd and just loves the setting and you can see it in a lot of the adventures that Paizo Dungeon banged out. I mean, they didn't call it PaizoHawk for nothing. All three of the first Adventure Paths - Shackled City, Age of Worms and Savage Tides were love letters to Greyhawk. They really were Greyhawk adventures, just with the serial numbers filed off.

But, there was one stand out adventure that really caught my eye as probably encapsulating Greyhawk the best called War of the Wielded (Dungeon 149). Here's the elevator pitch:

Centuries ago, two rival thieves' guilds crafted a number of intelligent weapons to aid them in their conflicts. Although the guilds are now long dead, their weapons remain, and have begun to recruit new soldiers from the people of Sasserine. Can your PCs put an end to this deathless war?

This, to me, just highlights everything Greyhawk. You have ancient magic - check. You have a completely morally ambiguous conflict (the two factions were both evil) - check. You have a conflict which is ultimately futile and nihilistic - check. There are no heroes in this story really. The conflict is pointless, everyone who was fighting this war is long dead but, the evil of the conflict lingers, causing pain and destruction long after the war is over. It's a REALLY dark story and, honestly, I'd LOVE to turn this into a full blown campaign. What a fantastic seed - the PC's are now embroiled in this secret war being fought between intelligent weapons which use their power to take over people and continue the war.

THIS is a Greyhawk adventure in a nutshell. It just hits all the right notes. You wouldn't generally see this kind of adventure in Forgotten Realms (not that you couldn't, of course, but, rather, it just doesn't really fit with the general tone of FR adventures). FR adventures are mostly pretty heroic - Hoard of the Dragon Queen being a prime example. The baddies are really bad. The party is good. Same with most of the WotC Forgotten Realms based AP's in 5e. Evil cultists (generally) are trying to enact some scheme and the heroic PC's are trying to stop them from their dastardly deeds.

To me, this is what sets Greyhawk apart from Forgotten Realms. This whole morally grey nature. Even in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the main source of trade in Saltmarsh as far as the PC's are concerned anyway (she's the only source of magical items for sale) is a tiefling in Saltmarsh, there to trade for food for Iuz. Since Keoland isn't at war with Iuz, she has no real problems doing business in Saltmarsh. This isn't something I've generally seen in Waterdeep where the "good folks" only really deal with other "good folks" and the "bad folks" keep to the "bad folks". I don't see free trade between Waterdeep and some Underdark city, for example. Which is something you totally would see in Greyhawk.

Anyway, I've rambled on too long. I hope this does make it clear though what the difference between the settings is.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
If I could toss this into the mix.

There's a fantastic Dungeon Magazine adventure from the tail end of Paizo running Dungeon magazine. Erik Mona is a MASSIVE Greyhawk nerd and just loves the setting and you can see it in a lot of the adventures that Paizo Dungeon banged out. I mean, they didn't call it PaizoHawk for nothing. All three of the first Adventure Paths - Shackled City, Age of Worms and Savage Tides were love letters to Greyhawk. They really were Greyhawk adventures, just with the serial numbers filed off.

But, there was one stand out adventure that really caught my eye as probably encapsulating Greyhawk the best called War of the Wielded (Dungeon 149). Here's the elevator pitch:



This, to me, just highlights everything Greyhawk. You have ancient magic - check. You have a completely morally ambiguous conflict (the two factions were both evil) - check. You have a conflict which is ultimately futile and nihilistic - check. There are no heroes in this story really. The conflict is pointless, everyone who was fighting this war is long dead but, the evil of the conflict lingers, causing pain and destruction long after the war is over. It's a REALLY dark story and, honestly, I'd LOVE to turn this into a full blown campaign. What a fantastic seed - the PC's are now embroiled in this secret war being fought between intelligent weapons which use their power to take over people and continue the war.

THIS is a Greyhawk adventure in a nutshell. It just hits all the right notes. You wouldn't generally see this kind of adventure in Forgotten Realms (not that you couldn't, of course, but, rather, it just doesn't really fit with the general tone of FR adventures). FR adventures are mostly pretty heroic - Hoard of the Dragon Queen being a prime example. The baddies are really bad. The party is good. Same with most of the WotC Forgotten Realms based AP's in 5e. Evil cultists (generally) are trying to enact some scheme and the heroic PC's are trying to stop them from their dastardly deeds.

To me, this is what sets Greyhawk apart from Forgotten Realms. This whole morally grey nature. Even in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the main source of trade in Saltmarsh as far as the PC's are concerned anyway (she's the only source of magical items for sale) is a tiefling in Saltmarsh, there to trade for food for Iuz. Since Keoland isn't at war with Iuz, she has no real problems doing business in Saltmarsh. This isn't something I've generally seen in Waterdeep where the "good folks" only really deal with other "good folks" and the "bad folks" keep to the "bad folks". I don't see free trade between Waterdeep and some Underdark city, for example. Which is something you totally would see in Greyhawk.

Anyway, I've rambled on too long. I hope this does make it clear though what the difference between the settings is.
I mean, there us an entire Underground city to facilitate trade between Waterdeep and the Underdark and outer space at the same time, there is plenty of moral ambiguity to go around.

I'd be so cheeky is to say that the real difference is that the Forgotten Realms is a Canadian conception of Heroic Fantasy, while Greyhawk is American Midwestern.
 

Hussar

Legend
I mean, there us an entire Underground city to facilitate trade between Waterdeep and the Underdark and outer space at the same time, there is plenty of moral ambiguity to go around.

I'd be so cheeky is to say that the real difference is that the Forgotten Realms is a Canadian conception of Heroic Fantasy, while Greyhawk is American Midwestern.
Kinda sorta? Sure, the underground city exists in Waterdeep - but, it's illegal. It's not part of Waterdeep really. Or, well, of course it's part of the setting, but, it's not something that some random Waterdhavian commoner can just walk into and do business. Skullport is meant as a black market, quite literally.

As I said, compare that to Saltmarsh. Not only is the representative of an evil god openly doing business on the main street of Saltmarsh, but also the party is expected to not really have any problem with this. Add to this, the fact that half of Saltmarsh is in favor of smuggling and the town is in conflict over the imposition of the rule of law from Keoland. It's a major element of the Saltmarsh setting - those who are in favor of the new prosperity offered by increased intervention from the Crown and those who want things to remain as they were - a little light smuggling and whatnot is an amusing peccadillo. :D

Thinking about it, your cheeky assertion isn't too far off the mark I'd say.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
There are indeed a lot of ways to run a dungeon crawl, but we were talking explicitly about Old school, Greyhawk era dungeon crawling -- which, while not monolithic, definitely fits intoa tighter definition than it does in the modern era. Saying one doesn't need to alter 5E to make it work for that era of dungeon crawling is, IMO, entirely ignoring the procedures and playstyle of that kind of play.
Yeah, I'm going to echo one of your earlier posts. I strongly disagree, but I'm not gonna argue about it.
 

DorkForge

Explorer
If I could toss this into the mix.

There's a fantastic Dungeon Magazine adventure from the tail end of Paizo running Dungeon magazine. Erik Mona is a MASSIVE Greyhawk nerd and just loves the setting and you can see it in a lot of the adventures that Paizo Dungeon banged out. I mean, they didn't call it PaizoHawk for nothing. All three of the first Adventure Paths - Shackled City, Age of Worms and Savage Tides were love letters to Greyhawk. They really were Greyhawk adventures, just with the serial numbers filed off.

But, there was one stand out adventure that really caught my eye as probably encapsulating Greyhawk the best called War of the Wielded (Dungeon 149). Here's the elevator pitch:



This, to me, just highlights everything Greyhawk. You have ancient magic - check. You have a completely morally ambiguous conflict (the two factions were both evil) - check. You have a conflict which is ultimately futile and nihilistic - check. There are no heroes in this story really. The conflict is pointless, everyone who was fighting this war is long dead but, the evil of the conflict lingers, causing pain and destruction long after the war is over. It's a REALLY dark story and, honestly, I'd LOVE to turn this into a full blown campaign. What a fantastic seed - the PC's are now embroiled in this secret war being fought between intelligent weapons which use their power to take over people and continue the war.

THIS is a Greyhawk adventure in a nutshell. It just hits all the right notes. You wouldn't generally see this kind of adventure in Forgotten Realms (not that you couldn't, of course, but, rather, it just doesn't really fit with the general tone of FR adventures). FR adventures are mostly pretty heroic - Hoard of the Dragon Queen being a prime example. The baddies are really bad. The party is good. Same with most of the WotC Forgotten Realms based AP's in 5e. Evil cultists (generally) are trying to enact some scheme and the heroic PC's are trying to stop them from their dastardly deeds.

To me, this is what sets Greyhawk apart from Forgotten Realms. This whole morally grey nature. Even in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the main source of trade in Saltmarsh as far as the PC's are concerned anyway (she's the only source of magical items for sale) is a tiefling in Saltmarsh, there to trade for food for Iuz. Since Keoland isn't at war with Iuz, she has no real problems doing business in Saltmarsh. This isn't something I've generally seen in Waterdeep where the "good folks" only really deal with other "good folks" and the "bad folks" keep to the "bad folks". I don't see free trade between Waterdeep and some Underdark city, for example. Which is something you totally would see in Greyhawk.

Anyway, I've rambled on too long. I hope this does make it clear though what the difference between the settings is.
Whilst I'm sure that does a good showing of Greyhawk, I just don't see how that exact thing couldn't happen in any number of fantasy settings. Which is my point, there's literally nothing stopping these kind of story beats happening in a place like FR (I'm not attached to the realms, it's just serving as the generic fantasy setting). Like dealing with someone that isn't 'good' that's entirely story dependent and just takes the adventure saying they're there, but if you want an actual example from the WotC realms, I'm running dragonheist right now as an evil campaign. I didn't even have to adjust the game for a faction, the game presents the Zhentarim as an option by default.

Ultimately the in depth parts of FR and GH that matter for these things don't matter to new players, if it's the 'tone' that sets it apart that tone can be imposed on any setting via the adventure you're running. Only fans of those settings will know, appreciate and actual care that certain things are inherent to the setting.

Whereas other settings offer actual differences in style of play and play options, which is really what people (IMO) want from settings nowadays.
 

Hussar

Legend
Whilst I'm sure that does a good showing of Greyhawk, I just don't see how that exact thing couldn't happen in any number of fantasy settings. Which is my point, there's literally nothing stopping these kind of story beats happening in a place like FR (I'm not attached to the realms, it's just serving as the generic fantasy setting). Like dealing with someone that isn't 'good' that's entirely story dependent and just takes the adventure saying they're there, but if you want an actual example from the WotC realms, I'm running dragonheist right now as an evil campaign. I didn't even have to adjust the game for a faction, the game presents the Zhentarim as an option by default.

Ultimately the in depth parts of FR and GH that matter for these things don't matter to new players, if it's the 'tone' that sets it apart that tone can be imposed on any setting via the adventure you're running. Only fans of those settings will know, appreciate and actual care that certain things are inherent to the setting.

Whereas other settings offer actual differences in style of play and play options, which is really what people (IMO) want from settings nowadays.
I'm not really sure I agree with that actually. Tone matters. Like, a lot.

After all, what sets Ravenloft apart from Forgotten Realms? The only real difference is tone. You certainly could do horror stories in FR. Heck, my players joked that the first half of Candlekeep Mysteries feels much more like Ravenloft than Forgotten Realms - they are predominantly horror stories for the first four or five modules.

There's nothing particularly mechanically distinct about, say, Darksun. More psionics? Maybe? But, it's still very distinctly D&D. Even Spelljammer is actually set (currently anyway) right in Forgotten Realms.

So, no, I'm going to disagree that play options play much of a role in what people want in settings. There's extremely little different in the play options between most settings. Play options aren't what set Eberron apart from Forgotten Realms. It's almost entirely about tone.
 

wellis

Explorer
After all, what sets Ravenloft apart from Forgotten Realms? The only real difference is tone.
Tone, culture, and tech level. From what I've read of Ravenloft, the Domains are far more humanocentric, the tech level feels more distinctly Renaissance (guns are bigger thing), and it leans more on gothic horror tropes and such.
 

DorkForge

Explorer
I'm not really sure I agree with that actually. Tone matters. Like, a lot.

After all, what sets Ravenloft apart from Forgotten Realms? The only real difference is tone. You certainly could do horror stories in FR. Heck, my players joked that the first half of Candlekeep Mysteries feels much more like Ravenloft than Forgotten Realms - they are predominantly horror stories for the first four or five modules.

There's nothing particularly mechanically distinct about, say, Darksun. More psionics? Maybe? But, it's still very distinctly D&D. Even Spelljammer is actually set (currently anyway) right in Forgotten Realms.

So, no, I'm going to disagree that play options play much of a role in what people want in settings. There's extremely little different in the play options between most settings. Play options aren't what set Eberron apart from Forgotten Realms. It's almost entirely about tone.

The tone of Raveloft is achieved through it being an inescapable place controlled overall by mysterious forces and immediately, probably by an evil character that's almost like a god in their own domain. That is not the same as just creating a horror game in other settings.

Dark Sun isn't distinctive? A giant desert where you're heavily restricted on resources, where metal weapons are valuable and magic weapons are incredibly precious. where arcane magic not only functions differently but has a social stigma to it. And yes, heavy presence of Psionics as well as other playable races.

The point of Spelljammer is that you get to go on a fantasy spaceship, as well as the variety of weird and wonderful races that come packaged with that.

The wide magic sets Eberron apart from most settings, but typically when players are excited about playing in Eberron they're also excited about playing Eberron options: Changlings, Shifters, and Warforged, not to mention Artificers that fit more naturally in the world.

Ravenloft gave you the change to play a half vampire among other things, I just don't see the claim there isn't much difference for the play options between those settings.

On the other hand, I don't see the difference in play options between GH and any other largely stock fantasy setting.
 


Hussar

Legend
Tone, culture, and tech level. From what I've read of Ravenloft, the Domains are far more humanocentric, the tech level feels more distinctly Renaissance (guns are bigger thing), and it leans more on gothic horror tropes and such.
Ahh, are we talking about 5e Ravenloft, or earlier, because that will change the answer a bit.

But most of the changes in Darksun are largely cosmetic. Sure, no metal weapons, but, your mechanics for a sword are still the same - d8 damage and whatnot. Yes, there's defiling, so, that's a thing. But, big desert? That's just tone. There are certainly honking big deserts in FR where you could have the same monsters, same cities, and races and whatnot. So, yeah, it's tone that sets the difference, not mechanics.

I dunno, I seem to feel that most of what you, @DorkForge are pointing to is mostly just flavor stuff. It's not mechanical differences. Yup, you can play a warforged in Eberron. But, then, there's no problem playing warforged in Forgotten Realms too. I know because I have one right now. And certainly not the first one either.

Note, I said that there was very little mechanically distinctive about these different settings. They're all D&D. The classes are (more or less) exactly the same. The spells are the same. A magic missile is still a magic missile no matter what setting you are in. What really distinguishes these different settings are the tones. Darksun is all about survival, Man Vs Nature stuff, lots of post-apocalyptic tropes. Ravenloft is Gothic horror. Spelljammer is more or less steampunk. Mechanically? Not really a whole lot of differences and far more similarities. But thematically? Oh, totally different settings.

Could you do post apocalyptic survival stuff in Forgotten Realms? Sure. yeah, you absolutely could. But, we generally don't. Same as we generally don't do Gothic Horror or Steampunk. Because FR is high fantasy. It's very much good heroes fighting the good fight against the baddies. Great stuff. Greyhawk, OTOH, leans far more in the direction of, say, Moorcock to use an older example, or Glen Cook's Black Company series for a newer approach.

To put it another way, if you were going to set, say, Game of Thrones in a setting - neither of us would use Ravenloft or Darksun, I don't think. Just totally bad fit. But, Game of Thrones thematically fits Greyhawk far, far better than Forgotten Realms. Simply because that's the stories that are typically told in the different settings. It's not a value judgement at all, in case anyone thinks I think one is superior to the other. Very much not. Witcher is another good example of a Greyhawk style setting. Very morally ambiguous. Whereas what I know of Wheel of Time or Shanarra (sp?), or Tad William's Dragonbone Chair are far better fits for Forgotten Realms.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I'm not really sure I agree with that actually. Tone matters. Like, a lot.

After all, what sets Ravenloft apart from Forgotten Realms? The only real difference is tone. You certainly could do horror stories in FR. Heck, my players joked that the first half of Candlekeep Mysteries feels much more like Ravenloft than Forgotten Realms - they are predominantly horror stories for the first four or five modules.

There's nothing particularly mechanically distinct about, say, Darksun. More psionics? Maybe? But, it's still very distinctly D&D. Even Spelljammer is actually set (currently anyway) right in Forgotten Realms.

So, no, I'm going to disagree that play options play much of a role in what people want in settings. There's extremely little different in the play options between most settings. Play options aren't what set Eberron apart from Forgotten Realms. It's almost entirely about tone.
The story of those settings is what makes them matter. That's why I was so irritated with VRGtR. They changed the story.
 

Hussar

Legend
The story of those settings is what makes them matter. That's why I was so irritated with VRGtR. They changed the story.
For all the things we disagree about, this I am totally with you on. And, a perfect way to phrase it. It's the "story of the setting" that matters.

((to be honest, on the specifics of Van Richten's Guide, I have no opinion. Haven't read it and haven't even looked at it. :D But, I totally agree with the basic sentiment.))
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
For all the things we disagree about, this I am totally with you on. And, a perfect way to phrase it. It's the "story of the setting" that matters.

((to be honest, on the specifics of Van Richten's Guide, I have no opinion. Haven't read it and haven't even looked at it. :D But, I totally agree with the basic sentiment.))
Nice to find some common ground. Worth calling out when it happens.
 

wellis

Explorer
Ahh, are we talking about 5e Ravenloft, or earlier, because that will change the answer a bit.
Earlier I guess. What are the big changes for 5e Ravenloft? I've heard itbwasn't considered a great conversion?
But most of the changes in Darksun are largely cosmetic. Sure, no metal weapons, but, your mechanics for a sword are still the same - d8 damage and whatnot. Yes, there's defiling, so, that's a thing. But, big desert? That's just tone. There are certainly honking big deserts in FR where you could have the same monsters, same cities, and races and whatnot. So, yeah, it's tone that sets the difference, not mechanics.
Dark Sun has breakage issues for weapons (and armor I think) and extreme heat. Hence why metal weapons are especially prized for their ability to go through the armors of the setting much better.

Also, all the nasty city-state rulers (though as I recall Hamanu was pretty nuanced for an evil bastard).

Also, Dark Sun feels a little limited as well. It's a really cool setting but adventure reasons might revolve around certain themes far more than others.
 

Hussar

Legend
Earlier I guess. What are the big changes for 5e Ravenloft? I've heard itbwasn't considered a great conversion?

Dark Sun has breakage issues for weapons (and armor I think) and extreme heat. Hence why metal weapons are especially prized for their ability to go through the armors of the setting much better.

Also, all the nasty city-state rulers (though as I recall Hamanu was pretty nuanced for an evil bastard).

Also, Dark Sun feels a little limited as well. It's a really cool setting but adventure reasons might revolve around certain themes far more than others.

Yeah there’s a danger here in giving too much credence to criticism. Raven loft is an unparalleled success in 5e. Massively popular. So popular that they actually went back to the well for a second book. Nothing in 5e has gotten two books.

So I’d say that despite some grumbling, 5e rave loft is a smashing success.

But again sure there are some setting specific mechanics in Dark Sun. Although, again stuff like weapon breakage and whatnot is part of the overall post apocalyptic theme.

Like was said, it’s the story of a setting that really sets a setting apart.
 

For now, but there are plans for Kobra Kai spin offs, fans are taking about a Mr. Miyagi origin spin off.

And Manga and Anime have become huge in the west, with Manga out selling DC and Marvel.
Right, but it is still one property. I mean, I don't want to dismiss the power of one IP (after all, 300 made hoplites and spear-soldiers cool again for TTRPGs almost solo), but in general it takes a lot more than that to make a fad or trend.

Manga and Anime are completely different things whose relevance to the discussion I don't understand. They happen to be Japanese initiated art forms/movements, but that's not the same thing as the (centered on the) 80s western martial artist/ninja fad. There are sometimes martial artists or ninjas in Manga and Anime, but not consistently or I'd say even most of the time.

I don't know.

Perhaps because they were, in fact, wargamers, and such a game was simply outside their wheelhouse?
I'm not clear on what you mean. It was their wheelhouse -- Gary played Braunstein and other domain-centered play. That's what he expected people to do with their characters* once they hit high level. Once he realized that it wasn't wargamers, but instead mostly high school and college kids new to the scene who were picking up D&D, he could have made similar rules (or even bought/licensed Braunstein).
*if anything, I think this notion that you were supposed to play them as leaders and rulers gets overblown, and oftentimes that was just the explanation of what they did when you retired them.
There are indeed a lot of ways to run a dungeon crawl, but we were talking explicitly about Old school, Greyhawk era dungeon crawling -- which, while not monolithic, definitely fits intoa tighter definition than it does in the modern era. Saying one doesn't need to alter 5E to make it work for that era of dungeon crawling is, IMO, entirely ignoring the procedures and playstyle of that kind of play.
Exactly what the old school sensibilities 5e has are really up to interpretation. IMO, 5e could be hammered into place to do this, but to really make it the same beast as bitd Greyhawk era dungeon crawling, a lot would have to be modified. Stuff like eliminate light cantrips, make treasure obtained the XP metric, makes sessions end when you left the dungeon to rest, and so forth.
 

Right, but it is still one property. I mean, I don't want to dismiss the power of one IP (after all, 300 made hoplites and spear-soldiers cool again for TTRPGs almost solo), but in general it takes a lot more than that to make a fad or trend.

Manga and Anime are completely different things whose relevance to the discussion I don't understand. They happen to be Japanese initiated art forms/movements, but that's not the same thing as the (centered on the) 80s western martial artist/ninja fad. There are sometimes martial artists or ninjas in Manga and Anime, but not consistently or I'd say even most of the time.


I'm not clear on what you mean. It was their wheelhouse -- Gary played Braunstein and other domain-centered play. That's what he expected people to do with their characters* once they hit high level. Once he realized that it wasn't wargamers, but instead mostly high school and college kids new to the scene who were picking up D&D, he could have made similar rules (or even bought/licensed Braunstein).
*if anything, I think this notion that you were supposed to play them as leaders and rulers gets overblown, and oftentimes that was just the explanation of what they did when you retired them.

Exactly what the old school sensibilities 5e has are really up to interpretation. IMO, 5e could be hammered into place to do this, but to really make it the same beast as bitd Greyhawk era dungeon crawling, a lot would have to be modified. Stuff like eliminate light cantrips, make treasure obtained the XP metric, makes sessions end when you left the dungeon to rest, and so forth.

It's shows that there is still a very strong interest in Asian cultures, especially Japan.

There was also Shang Chi movie that is one of the few marvel movies in the last few years that didn't under preform for expectations. It's on my to watch list.
 


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