D&D 5E The Audience - Do you feel like you're the target audience?

Hussar

Legend
Forking this over from the https://www.enworld.org/threads/manual-of-the-planes-for-5e-on-dmsguild.700597/ thread where this sidebar is taking away from the excellent work those folks are doing.

Something that was said in that thread caught my eye:

I'm not a casual gamer but most of the people I've played with over the last five years have been. I wouldn't have purchased Forgotten Realms setting sourcebooks for Icewind Dale or for Chult, but I did buy Frostmaiden and Tomb of Annihilation. With setting materials imbedded into "mostly adventure" books, I actually read and engaged with the text with improved reading comprehension and retention. Trying to read setting sourcebooks generally makes my eyes glaze over. I didn't buy campaign settings for any editions that I've played (starting with 1e). I became familiar with the Forgotten Realms and Planescape through Balder's Gate and Torment CRPGs. During the 3E years, I spent a lot more on Dungeon Magazine than I spent on rule books.

I guarantee the casual players I know didn't and would not have purchased setting materials. A few of them wanted to try their hands at DMing, and they purchased adventures to run. None of them are reading D&D novels or lore-dumps in their off hours.

I do absolutely love the idea that such an enormous volume of material is available on DMs Guild although I'm not the paying audience they're looking for.

See, this is how I feel about it. I was doing a bit of a nostalgia dive into my 3e books collection and I realized pretty quickly how much I do not want those kinds of books anymore. I've got, for example, pretty much the entire run of Scarred Lands. LOVED the setting. ADORED it. Reading it now? Zero interest in running it because I realize that despite having all this lore and background and whatnot, any campaign I build in Scarred Lands is going to be me pretty much home brewing 100% of the campaign. Sure, it will draw on various Scarred Lands ideas, but, since there are almost no actual, practical, usable elements in the books (other than monsters I suppose), I'm stuck writing 99% of everything myself.

I have neither the time, inclination or frankly, skill to do that. I really don't. I freely admit that. I don't want books of setting material. Setting material books are completely useless to me. Don't tell me that there is a thieves guild operating in this city. Instead, give me two or three short adventures plus a half dozen sidebar adventures using that thieves guild. Sure, that means I get less background material for the city. I get that. There is a limit on page count after all. But, that adventure location with NPC's, maps, and actual adventures is something I can use RIGHT NOW. It doesn't mean that I have to take the pages of setting material and then incorporate it into whatever adventure I happen to bake. And, even better, I can use that material as a skeleton framework to build and scaffold a larger adventure onto.

I do not want setting books. I truly hope that WotC continues to produce books that are practical for running the game, rather than books that are meant to be read. I don't need books to read. I HAVE books to read. I want books to use.

It's why I actually really like the Spelljammer set. Almost zero lore, but, a whole adventure path that I can mine for use in my own game. Fantastic. My current adventure is borrowing the Lizard Folk lair from Ghosts of Saltmarsh, used one of the mine levels from Dungeon of the Mad Mage and will likely borrow from Shattered Obelisk and Light of X pretty soon. Being able to mix and match and borrow and steal from adventures to build a coherent larger adventure is the primary purpose that I buy books.

So, finally, after decades of being told that nope, D&D books should be these lore tomes building massive libraries of material - what we got for most of 2e, 3e and 4e - I'm FINALLY dead square in the middle of WotC's target audience. Please excuse me for being really happy about that.
 

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I'm the opposite. I enjoy setting books for the lore and almost never use adventure modules, because it is ten thousand times easier to remember things I make up myself than the things in an adventure. It takes me less time to make an adventure than learn someone else's.

That said, I'm happy with ALL kinds of products. The more people that buy things I don't like, the more money/freedom they have to eventually make something I DO like.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm the opposite. I enjoy setting books for the lore and almost never use adventure modules, because it is ten thousand times easier to remember things I make up myself than the things in an adventure. It literally takes me less time to make an adventure than learn someone else's.

That said, I'm happy with ALL kinds of products. The more people that buy things I don't like, the more money/freedom they have to eventually make something I DO like.
How dare you post something so reasonable and charitable on this site, in defiance of all our cherished traditions and rituals.
 

mamba

Legend
See, this is how I feel about it. I was doing a bit of a nostalgia dive into my 3e books collection and I realized pretty quickly how much I do not want those kinds of books anymore. I've got, for example, pretty much the entire run of Scarred Lands. LOVED the setting. ADORED it. Reading it now? Zero interest in running it because I realize that despite having all this lore and background and whatnot, any campaign I build in Scarred Lands is going to be me pretty much home brewing 100% of the campaign. Sure, it will draw on various Scarred Lands ideas, but, since there are almost no actual, practical, usable elements in the books (other than monsters I suppose), I'm stuck writing 99% of everything myself.
depends on what you consider useable information I guess. I am not familiar with Scarred Lands, but I would want information about each region, major city, etc.

Not interested in whether a thieves guild operates there, but who is in charge, what are the main things it is known for, what are interesting locations, adventure ideas, that kind of stuff.
For some really major cities, give me a map and more details, ie treat them as a region of their own.

I’d reverse the page count from eg Dragonlance (mostly adventure, some setting) to Ravenloft (mostly setting, an intro adventure) for setting books. To me there is value in one book for the setting (might depend on the size of the world…), if I am interested in the world. Having a supplement for every country and major city is overkill.

Anything that does not fit in here, you can detail out further in APs like ToA, RotFM and all the others, but one book covering the setting would be nice
 

aco175

Legend
I have not bought that many 5e books. I seem to play in Forgotten Realms by default for 5e over choosing it for the lore. I like it fine mid you, but seem to develop much of the campaigns I run with just a FR shell that could have been Greyhawk or Nentir Vale if 5e was based there. I ran a bunch of 2e Fr and had a lot of the books and there is a lot of lore that can be found if people want to get that deep. It does come in handy when tying in old dungeons to an old dwarf clan or elf group, but not needed and likely the players do not care.

I have not bought any of the other setting books for 5e, though Dragonlance and a Greyhawk might be something I would buy. I do not buy the campaigns that are too far from what my group likes. I guess we are kind of basic.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I enjoy new campaign settings, and there's several dozens I would love to run. I'm not much for the deep, deep lore (on the level that's available for say, FR), but I'd like enough information that I can have an idea of what to run and what would "feel right" - without it running roughshod over me to to box me in. If nothing else, they're usually gold mines for getting me thinking about how I'd do something similar in my homebrew. I tend to do far more reading than I include as lore in-game, but that is pretty enjoyable to me as I like to daydream about what it might be like to be in one of those worlds and have adventures in them that aren't tied to dice, mechanics and other things that tear down that fantasy pondering.

I love FR, Greyhawk, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Mystra, Planescape (mostly), Ravenloft and all the others - well, except Horde, Maztica and most of Karu-Tur. The 2E campaign boxed sets and a book or so about the immediate area I'd like to run a campaign in is pretty much all I need. So far, 5E has been a bit too light for my tastes. It actually bothers me that I don't seem to be WotC's "target audience" and I end up feeling like I have to go to other companies to actually get what I want (often to find out it too isn't all I was really hoping for).

I am apparently not WotC's target audience - and I don't want to have to bend my own fantasies to accommodate them. I like what I like, and that is what I like. And lately, I don't feel like I've been getting it from WotC.
 

Scribe

Legend
I thought there would be a poll. I came for a poll.

Shock What GIF by ProBit Global
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don’t think there’s a single target audience. Different books appeal to different people. There’s stuff with different tones, stuff for nostalgia, stuff for kids, stuff with body horror, whimsical stuff, heroic stuff. D&D is a pretty broad tent these days. I wouldn’t expect everybody to like everything WotC puts out, but a decent percentage of folks will like something.
 

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