D&D 5E Settings played in D&D: cause or effect?

hawkeyefan

Legend
I just want to focus on this for a moment.

I think you are giving Wizards a little too much credit here. Let's look at a few things.

1: D&D was going to sell well in the beginning years really no matter what.

2: Who's it's nearest competitor? A 14 year old ruleset made by a company who sells most of it's products through it's own online store which consists of books, dice, tile sets, PDF's, toys, etc... Not to mention the fact that you can get all the game material for free online through the SRD.

Do we really even know if it's reached number 1? If you compare Amazon and store sales then it would be number 1 amongst those but if you look at Paizo's entire franchise through their online store then we don't really know because they aren't going to hand out that information.

We aren't talking blood, sweat, and tears here.

So if D&D was guaranteed to sell well in the beginning years no matter what, then at this point, they haven't truly established themselves, right? So now you want them to branch out into new settings when according to you, they don't know how successful they actually are, right?

Doesn't that seem kind of like the exact model used in 4E?
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm not following that. It's not like folks who are mad that WotC is not making Ebberon can just go to another game company and get Ebberon stuff.

D&D is not the only fish in the sea and other fish take care of the those that buy their game. They don't alienate

You can filch from all the settings online. And homebrewers are varied for sure, but I doubt most of them absolutely won't filch from the FR related material. Why not?

I don't need to buy FR stuff to filch a little bit from it, and I certainly won't spend what WotC is charging in order to take a little material for my game. I'm only going to buy it if I'm going to use the vast majority of the product, in which case I'm playing FR.

No, my point was exactly the opposite...that 100% of the fans is an impossible audience to obtain or satisfy. So they have to look at the resources at their disposal and decide how best to use those resources.

100% is impossible, that doesn't mean that you don't satisfy anyone outside of a single group. What you don't seem to be getting is that those that buy the realms also buy other settings. Of the 5 other regular DMs I've played with over the years, 4 of them and myself bought multiple campaign settings and supplements during 2e.

So no, you don't put out options that only 1% want, but neither do you ignore options that say 20-30% want just because you have a setting that 35% currently play.

So far, it seems that they don't feel that publishing another setting would provide as significant a return on an investment as producing FR related material. They are not doing so to alienate their fans. They're doing so because that's what they feel is the best approach for the longevity of their product.

And all the fans that they are alienating with that decision, and there are a whole lot of them, could cost them more in the long run than they are making short term. I won't stay with a game that doesn't offer me support, and I know many others like that as well.

I think that there are enough indicators that hint they plan on using other settings at some point. It just seems like they want to do so when they feel the time is right and they have their resources aligned to make the most of it.
My read on the article was that the might set an adventure in say Ravenloft, but not actually make a Ravenloft setting. That's not setting support as it requires the DM to create Ravenloft for 5e in order to use it, or else just have one adventure in Ravenloft and then leave, which prevents it from being used as a setting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So if D&D was guaranteed to sell well in the beginning years no matter what, then at this point, they haven't truly established themselves, right? So now you want them to branch out into new settings when according to you, they don't know how successful they actually are, right?

Doesn't that seem kind of like the exact model used in 4E?

4e's major problem was the mechanics used, not the model used for product.
 


Lojak

Explorer
My take away is that the obvious conclusion from the pie chart is that WotC should be making materials for homebrew games. Such materials would include short, setting-neutral modules; cruch books for class options; monster manuals; and magic item books. In fact, WotC has released almost none of that stuff.

Therfore the claim that they are giving the people what they want is just marketing gloss to allow them to try to create some kind of cross-market IP out of D&D. If you want to sell video games, movies or TV shows, you do need a default setting and Forgetten Realms is as good as any for that (and likely the best choice given this data). Its a decision driven more by the desire to cross market than by what the data says about their tabletop RPG customers.

At least, that is how I read it. Its a reasonable decision from a business standpoint even if I would prefer they create products I would use more.
 

graves3141

First Post
To me FR is a map with place names and as much detail as I choose to use, and NPCs with backgrounds that I can either use or ignore.


This is how I do it as well. The map of the FR is used pretty much as is but the details of what and who exists on that map are up to me. I use the FR setting (mainly 2E and 3E) as a guide and then decide what I want to change. For example, I like the idea of Cormyr but some of the published details about it are not to my liking... specifically, things like needing to get adventuring charters, peace strings on swords, wizards over 5th level have to register, etc... that is far too much bureaucracy for me so I just ignore those things.

Instead, I like the idea of Cormyr as being more like medieval France with a corrupt government sort of like Louis XIV (the Court Suzail is already a bit like Versailles). However, instead of a corrupt king, I prefer a decadent sorcerous queen with questionable motives and dark appetites. After I decide on political changes like those, I then move adventure locations around... like, Undermountain and the Yawning Portal exist under Suzail, replace High Horn with the keep from Keep on the Borderlands (that's not my idea, I just ran across it on the Internet), replace the town of Battlerise near the Vast Swamp with the town of Saltmarsh as detailed in the 3E DMG II, place the Rappan Athuk dungeon in the stonelands (maybe make it the Ruins of Amazandar), decide that the Sinister Secret of Whiterock DCC 51.5 will begin in or near whatever village you choose, put the Village of Homlet and the nearby mouthouse somewhere in Cormyr, etc...

I could probably spend a day or two just deciding stuff like this. Many people who have been playing awhile have a lot of gaming material and "setting up the gameboard" so to speak is great fun.
 
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graves3141

First Post
My take away is that the obvious conclusion from the pie chart is that WotC should be making materials for homebrew games. Such materials would include short, setting-neutral modules; cruch books for class options; monster manuals; and magic item books. In fact, WotC has released almost none of that stuff.

This is what I would prefer, some shorter generic modules and things like 32 or 64 page books on running a city or adventuring on the planes, etc... just some variety would be nice. Maybe WotC will swing around to this way of thinking eventually but I'm not going to hold my breath. I think they want 5E to last 10-20 years (which is fine, I love the core rules) but their way of ensuring longevity is to release things at a snails crawl. Maybe in 15 years we'll have the same amount of stuff that was released for 4E between 2008 - 2010.
 
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fjw70

Adventurer
I am finding the FR more interesting than I imagined. The northwest region feels very much like a points of light setting like the 4e Nentir Vale.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
D&D is not the only fish in the sea and other fish take care of the those that buy their game. They don't alienate

I don't need to buy FR stuff to filch a little bit from it, and I certainly won't spend what WotC is charging in order to take a little material for my game. I'm only going to buy it if I'm going to use the vast majority of the product, in which case I'm playing FR.

100% is impossible, that doesn't mean that you don't satisfy anyone outside of a single group. What you don't seem to be getting is that those that buy the realms also buy other settings. Of the 5 other regular DMs I've played with over the years, 4 of them and myself bought multiple campaign settings and supplements during 2e.

So no, you don't put out options that only 1% want, but neither do you ignore options that say 20-30% want just because you have a setting that 35% currently play.

And all the fans that they are alienating with that decision, and there are a whole lot of them, could cost them more in the long run than they are making short term. I won't stay with a game that doesn't offer me support, and I know many others like that as well.

My read on the article was that the might set an adventure in say Ravenloft, but not actually make a Ravenloft setting. That's not setting support as it requires the DM to create Ravenloft for 5e in order to use it, or else just have one adventure in Ravenloft and then leave, which prevents it from being used as a setting.

I am not failing to understand anything. I'm following what you're saying just fine. And I'm not even against them producing setting material. I'd buy Planescape and Dark Sun material in a heartbeat. I also don't blame you for not buying any material you don't feel is worth your money. I wouldn't expect anyone to do otherwise.

My point is that it's a question of resource allocation. Do they devote money and manpower to making a Ravenloft setting guide at the cost of something they feel will be a better seller for the same amount of effort? Kind of like your view on books...would you buy a sourcebook with less pages and less material you would use, or would you buy one that's the same price but with twice the content? It's the same principle in play. I think for us, it's easy to see it as a simple thing.....but I don't think it is. I don't think we have enough relevant data to know for sure.

It's like when people claim not to have enough time to spend homebrewing material for Dark Sun or Ebberon or whatever...well why not? Because they have jobs and school and families and so forth. They have limited time and budget. The same applies to WotC....they can't just make anything and everything. They have limited time and budget and manpower. So they have to pick and choose what to put out.

So I think they've gone the route they have because FR is a pretty generic setting overall, although it also had plenty of potential for more specialized material. I think it's sound logic because:
- their published material has a default setting that is easy to grasp
- the default setting is incredibly easy to adapt or to borrow from
- there is a ton of source material already available about all of their settings, and so people can use that info to create their own content or modify existing content for their needs
- they recognize that some fans may feel alienated, but they accept that they must risk that portion of the fanbase to try and branch out

I am sure we'll get more settings over time, but it will be when it makes sense for them to do so. Until we do, I think it would serve folks to not see WotC's policies as some kind of personal vendetta.
 


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