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D&D 5E The Pitfalls of Success: Hasbro Success Story, Take 2

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I think the biggest problem with "The Brand" of D&D is that to go wide with it you have to have characters and places and other proper named things for people to hitch their wagon to. In the 3e era there was some traction with getting some of that name recognition by having the iconic class characters that repeatedly showed up in various places. I still know Regdar and Linda.

With 5e you don't have that....you just have various different pieces of art for whatever page you are reading with no proper names and just sort of a generic set of rules without a baked in setting.

This, then, leads you to having to look at an actual campaign setting for those names, and the Forgotten Realms would be the biggest horse in that stable, other than Critical Role for some but I'm assuming that's off the table for use.

If they wanted to make "The Brand" of D&D get huge, they would have to tie their cart to FR so hard that to the public D&D would be synonymous with The World of Drizzit and Elminster.

That would get the general public on board....and at the same time would honk off all the actual D&D players who hate the FR.

In a way I think that Pathfinder might be a better "Brand" as they tied the ruleset to a setting and have been building on the same iconics since it was introduced. 5e doesn't have this.

I will sum it up with this anecdote. I really enjoy boardgames. I own Lord's of Waterdeep (a super popular boardgame). I played it with my brother, sister in law, and one of their friends....none of whom have ever thought about playing actual D&D.

After the game was completely finished and we were cleaning up I explained to them what Waterdeep was....and that the game we played was set in a world of Dungeons and Dragons. They had no idea it had anything to do with D&D, and while they liked the game enough to buy their own copy they STILL couldn't name any of the proper names besides Water deep to this day.
 

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That would get the general public on board....and at the same time would honk off all the actual D&D players who hate the FR.

Judging by the sales of hardback adventures, most D&D players are just fine with the Forgotten Realms. They could probably dramatize one of those goofy LH Franzibald novels and make it entertaining enough for the silver screen.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
They could probably dramatize one of those goofy LH Franzibald novels and make it entertaining enough for the silver screen.
I can already see how that would split the fandom:

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Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
Magic is still by far the bulk of the revenue and profits for WoTC and I imagine that Arena is their leading digital property by far.

AAA game publishers are unlikely to pay licensing fees for D&D when most of them already have fantasy A games in their stable.

I am not even 100% certain what the path to making a 2xprofit via D&D is. Stranger Things started with friends playing D&D, and made it clear that them being used to the idea of monsters made it easier for the kids to adjust to actual monsters. But that is about it. There was no real link between the series monsters and classic D&D.

I can only see a D&D movie being a LitRPG (like the TV show - players become characters) or a generic fantasy movie with D&D slapped on the title.
 

My two coppers after studying this over the years: D&D was originally a live-method expression of Fantasy; we could play imaginary characters partaking in imaginary circumstances in an imaginary realm. Imaginary = Fantasy. So in order to progress past brand, about what has been branded as a methodology used --RPGs--to enable the expression of Fantasy, Hasbro must replace the horse before the cart, not the opposite. Thus synergy is again achieved. D&D creates Fantasy because Fantasy allowed for the creation of D&D. The brand is the cart, not the horse; the horse is Fantasy. Once they figure that out and put first what made D&D possible, they win, IMO. I am hoping that is what the movie will be, fingers crossed.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Interlude 3: The history of D&D, and how it's always been corporate since Arneson went to Gygax to figure out how to monetize his idea.
That didn't happen. Gygax took Arneson's idea and monetized it. There was a whole big court case about this. Dave Arneson won that court case, by the way.

And yes. D&D has been corporate since before any of us even heard about it. We heard about it because it was a corporate property sold nationally and internationally.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
That didn't happen. Gygax took Arneson's idea and monetized it. There was a whole big court case about this. Dave Arneson won that court case, by the way.

What are you talking about? Seriously???????

No, not at all. That is not the history of D&D.

Gygax and Arneson knew each other from the hobbyist days. They were in different "groups" (Twin Cities, Lake Geneva), but had met (Geneva Convention) and had worked together (Don't Give up the Ship).

Arneson (and Dave Megarry, of Dungeon fame) went and showed his nascent ideas to Gygax. This was always intended to be a commercial product, and Arneson and Gygax went back and forth over it (along with others); then we have the formation of the company, TSR, as well as the assignment of royalties.

Arneson later joined TSR for a brief period of time, but the it was only the later attempt to take the royalties away that was "the big court case."

Ugh.


EDIT- In case any of this is unclear, the lawsuit (which was in 1979, by the way), was not about Gygax "stealing" D&D from Arneson. It was about the contractual royalties that Arneson was getting from D&D. Back in ye olden days, when Gygax formed TSR (with Kaye, etc. blah blah blah, after Arneson and Gygax struck out with AH and Guidon), Arneson was guaranteed royalties from D&D in perpetuity.

After a few years, this began to rankle Gygax, whether through greed, or because he thought he was doing all the work with the company while Arneson just got the royalties, or both. So he decided to create a new "branch" of D&D (AD&D) and argue that Arneson shouldn't get royalties from it, because ... you know, it wasn't D&D. It was an incompatible new game created by Gygax. I mean, whatever works. Anyway, it wasn't about "stealing it," it was a contractual dispute as to what the royalty language would allow, and what it wouldn't. Which settled in 1981.
 
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Would you say the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary is accurate?
Yes. It tells a fair story without demeaning or detracting from Gary's obvious and telling involvement. However, the Game That Changed Everything was not available to them then and is an eye-witness account by me that describes that legendary meeting in November 1972, the demo-game we played in Blackmoor (Village, Castle, Outdoor adventures), and the resulting paradigm-shift-explosion that this set off, which brings us to... now.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Yes. It tells a fair story without demeaning or detracting from Gary's obvious and telling involvement. However, the Game That Changed Everything was not available to them then and is an eye-witness account by me that describes that legendary meeting in November 1972, the demo-game we played in Blackmoor (Village, Castle, Outdoor adventures), and the resulting paradigm-shift-explosion that this set off, which brings us to... now.

Mmm. I think that there are times that it oversells its thesis in an attempt to find balance (iow, if you are familiar with the history, there are too many times when it's like, "OMG, no one knows about Arneson!") and I also think that it tends to overvalue uncorroborated and/or contradicted eyewitness testimony ... some of which can also be explained by the necessary limits of the video format, but as a piece with a lot of the other scholarship we are getting in the last six years, from more scholarly work (such as Peterson and what you've been up to), to some of the more erudite forums out there, it's edifying that so many people have been putting together the missing pieces of the puzzle.
 

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