TSR settings sales numbers from Ben Riggs, starting with Lankmar, Maztica, Al-Qadim and Planescape!

darjr

I crit!
Ben is releasing quite a few settings today so I thought I’d do a mega thread for those. I’ll update when things are posted.

Lankhmar is one of my favorite things. In fact after The Hobbit it was among the first fantasy I read.

In 1985, TSR produced Lankhmar: City of Adventure based on the works of Fritz Leiber.

The chart below shows that it had pretty low sales compared to other setting releases in the 80s, not breaking even 100,000 copies in its first year.


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And now we have Maztica. Another I never owned or got into.

In 1991, the Forgotten Realms got a major expansion with a boxed set bringing Mesoamerican cultures into Faerun with Maztica. Apparently, TSR kept records for Maztica as though it was its own setting, which is why I have sales numbers for it. It repeats the pattern we’ve seen of a product's first year being its best year, and like so many other products we’ll look at today, that first year wasn’t so good from a historical perspective.


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And now Al-Qadim.


In 1992, TSR put out a middle eastern AD&D setting in Al Qadim. It broke up the release of the setting into Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures which was essentially all rules, and then a boxed set, Land of Fate, which truly detailed the setting.


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Because real life has interfered, I am stopping my posts for today. I'll start up again on Monday with TSR's less-famous settings: Red Steel, Planescape, Birthright, and Karameikos.
Have you preordered my book on D&D history, Slaying the Dragon, yet? If you preorder now, you get a free Jeff Easley bookplate! This offer ends in a mere four days, so take advantage of it now!



Behold! Below are sales for the Planescape Boxed Set between 1994 and 1999. Despite being a work of genius, the setting did not sell like prior TSR settings did.

Next, I’ll post numbers for Karameikos, Red Steel, and Birthright. Then I’ll post a mammoth chart comparing total sales of all TSR settings from 79 to 98.

Have you preordered my book on D&D history, Slaying the Dragon, yet? THIS IS THE LAST DAY TO PREORDER! If you preorder now, you get a free Jeff Easley bookplate! This offer ends IN HOURS, so take advantage of it now!

Also, in comments below are snips of the actual data used to generate the charts.

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Red Steel

Behold the lowest sales for any D&D setting published by TSR, Red Steel! (I would take this moment to point out that one of the motifs of late TSR is that the quality of the product had nothing to do with its sales.)

But yes, those first-year sales are less than 20,000 units. A mere 17,986 copies sold.

Next, we will look at the last of TSR’s minor settings, Birthright!


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Birthright!
Behold, the sales for the last setting to be published by TSR before it was purchased by Wizards of the Coast, Birthright!

Next, I will publish a comprehensive graph of TSR setting sales covering totals sold from ‘79 to ‘99


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Here is the summary

Behold the cumulative sales for every AD&D setting from 1979 to 1999!

Earlier settings did not just sell better. They sold EXPONENTIALLY better. Not to take anything away from Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms, but it pains me to see the Planescape and Ravenloft numbers. I LOVED those settings, and I’m surprised they didn’t do better.

Have you preordered my book on D&D history, Slaying the Dragon, yet? THIS IS THE LAST DAY TO PREORDER! If you preorder now, you get a free Jeff Easley bookplate! This offer ends IN HOURS, so take advantage of it now! Link below!
2E5B675A-E413-42DE-B7FB-0A3A9EA49F50.jpeg

Buy his book! Slaying the Dragon - Macmillan
 
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Jer

Legend
Supporter
For those curious about what that bump in 1993 is - that is when TSR released the 2nd edition of Lankhmar City of Adventure. Under exactly the same name, which is an odd thing for them to have done.

I don't own the 2e version so I have no idea if it's the same book just with 2e stats or if it's something different with the same name. It uses the same cover image though.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Lankhmar actually did pretty well, consider.

I wonder how many people just plopped it into Greyhawk and renamed it Dyvers or whatnot...? Or put Greyhawk and Faerun on the same continent...
 




Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Does anyone else find the divisions of the Y-axes of these listings to be odd? I mean, having three markers breaking up divisions of twenty thousand in the Lankhmar listing, and the same for divisions of five thousand in the Maztica listing, just strikes me as not being very intuitive. And yet he's been consistent in graphing them that way.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Does anyone else find the divisions of the Y-axes of these listings to be odd? I mean, having three markers breaking up divisions of twenty thousand in the Lankhmar listing, and the same for divisions of five thousand in the Maztica listing, just strikes me as not being very intuitive. And yet he's been consistent in graphing them that way.
Most programs will take the highest number add a bit, and make that the top of the graph. They're not all listed side-by-side so they don't use the same scale.
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Most programs will take the highest number add a bit, and make that the top of the graph. They're not all listed side-by-side so they don't use the same scale.
I didn't mean the differing scales between the graphs; I meant the use of three divisions between each listed number, despite said listings not being in multiples of three.
 




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