Pathfinder, Cthulhu, Level Up: D&D Competitors Start To Sell Out

One side-effect of 'OGL-gate' is that games other than Dungeons & Dragons are starting to see increased sales--in some cases, drastically so--as gamers explore other possibilities. Games like Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and our own Level Up, are all experiencing sales surges right now in scenes reminiscent of WotC's 'Game System License' backlash in 2008, which also led to a boom in Pathfinder's popularity.


We at EN Publishing have sold as many copies of Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition in the last month as we did in the 6-months prior. Paizo talks about Pathfinder's recent sale boom -- "Thank you for the kind words these last few days, and for the overwhelming support of our product and our OPENGAMING sale. It has been a critical hit!" -- and shared that the Pathfinder core rulebook has sold out (a new print run will arrive in April).

We were inundated with many weeks' worth of orders. We have brought in additional hands to help with shipping, and are working overtime to send you your new print products as quickly as possible. We apologize for longer than normal ship times as we work through the queue.

Additionally, we have run through what was an 8-month supply of our Pathfinder Core Rulebook in the last 2 weeks, and demand on our Beginner Boxes is surging too. We have already ordered another print run of the hardcover Core Rulebook, which will arrive in mid-April.

In the interim, we have some supply of the Pocket Edition still available. Happily, Pathfinder exists in many forms

Chaosium also reports a similar surge, reporting that they will be running out of Call of Cthulhu starter sets months ahead of schedule (they also have a new print run coming in).

Woah – there's been a truly monstrous surge of "Cthulhu curious" gamers coming to in the last two weeks! As a result, we're likely going to run out of Call of Cthulhu Starter Sets, months ahead of schedule.

But never fear, there's already a new shipment on the way – it's due in early February, and there's an even bigger Call of Cthulhu shipment coming by sea in March!

To Call of Cthulhu fans, thanks for your support and for sharing our eldritch game with curious newcomers. And if you're new to tabletop gaming in the Mythos, we look forward to journeying with you into the black seas of infinity...
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This whole OGL controversy sooner or later is going to impact Hasbro's bottom line. If their bottom line is severely affected by WoTC's critical fumbles, one can only hope that they'll pull on WoTC's leash and tell them to back off on deauthorizing the OGL 1.0a.
It's not going to happen as soon as you think, unfortunately. Checking today, the D&D PHB is Amazon's top 165 selling book - not RPG books, not fantasy books - all books. Even after almost ten years and all this controversy it's still in the top 200 selling books on the world's largest online retailer.

Like it or not, all these lost sales are little more than a rounding error to Hasbro at this point. (I'd argue that a significant amount of these "lost sales" aren't really lost sales at all, but people that would never, ever buy another 5e product anyway but are suddenly motivated to try something new)

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I read that title as the other meaning of "sell out" and was very confused for a moment. It's really good to see that other publishers are actually benefiting from WotC's attempted assassination, even non-OGL products. I haven't bought a 5E book in years, but all this commotion has convinced me to pick up softcovers of the PF2 rulebooks (when they're back in stock at my FLGS, anyway).
Same. I was like "Oh no!"

Glad I was wrong.


This is great, I hope i can get some locals to try something else for a change, their bonehead move at least may have had something good come from it.


I think the harsh reality is that the majority of players are toe dipping dabblers. They got into TTRPG as a social outlet and choose the most obvious in D&D. As school, jobs, family, and other hobbies compete for time, they just dont have the energy and/or drive to branch out. Though, perhaps we are in the right stage of a generational shift in TTRPG players that this can change?
I think this is largely correct, but I also think that many more folks are more flexible about learning new games than we often hear about on these boards. IME so long as there is a patient teacher willing to walk them through the process, the rules in the range between complexity and lightweight that they prefer, they're interested in the genre being played, and they have fun in the very first session people are willing to try anything. It also helps if the game they're being taught doesn't have mechanics that are too off the wall compared to other games they've played. (this approach also works IME for teaching new board games). It's not foolproof, but I've had good luck with it with casual players.

The tough part is that "rules are in the complexity range they prefer". It's tough to judge that with strangers or even folks who become acquaintances because they show up at your table regularly. When you have friends you've gamed with for a while and can pick up on their preferences it's a lot easier. (I know I'm lucky in that regard - my core gaming group is very casual but has never said no about any game I've wanted to try with them, though there are games I'd never ask them to play because I know those games are out of bounds for the kind of game they want to play - either too light or too heavy in mechanics, or just not a genre all of them would play).

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
People keep talking about the name recognition and brand power of DnD, and while true, that makes it your Dad’s RPG. It’s got some retro-cool maybe but it’s not too hard to see it going out as the Facebook of RPGs.
Hasbro would be thrilled if D&D was the Facebook of RPGs. For all the hype about Meta and Facebook fading each of its three platforms were in the top four most popular. The least of these, Instagram, is almost twice as used as the much more hyped TikTok.

Don't confuse momentary zeitgeist and buzz with what people are actually doing.

The 5e PHB is still a top 200 book overall on Amazon, despite all this angst and anger.


World of Kulan DM
While the only new physical book I've book this month is the Realms of Terrinoth hardcover for the Genesys System, I have bought tons of PDFs off of DriveThruRPG including the Cypher System Rulebook, three Level Up rulebooks, the Starjammer Core Rules for both Pathfinder 1E and Starfinder, four books for the Pugmire setting, some OSR stuff, and tons Pathfinder 1E compatible books (including several Scarred Lands books, as well as the Skybourne Player's Guide).

I took advantage of Paizo's code to get the Lost Omens World Guide for free, and I also downloaded the free Castles and Crusades Players Handbook from Troll Lord Games online store.

Last week, I traded some older books, include two 5E books, to acquire two used PFRPG 1E books. I'm going to be doing more trading this weekend. :D

When I was trading books, the owner of that FLGS told me there has been tons of people bring in their 5E books to trade away for Pathfinder 2E. He told me that four other people had been there THAT DAY to dump their 5E books for Pathfinder.

WotC is really shooting themselves in the foot with all this "deauthorize the OGL" nonsense.

Von Ether

True. You either need a deep passion or a lot more free time. I think those of us who started when we were back in school and college forget that sometimes.


How soon do you think it will be before 5e D&D drops from the #1 position? And how far do you think it will fall thanks to RPGs like Pathfinder and Level Up? I think it will be soon because of the critical fumbles on WoTC's part. As for how far, I have no idea. But I would like it if Level Up supplanted it.
there is such a large size difference here that this won't happen any time soon. PF as the second biggest is already sold out, they cannot even print fast enough to get there, even if this continued for quite some time ;) Not that it would continue to that level anyway

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