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

Riley

Hero
II think that is what a lot of the smaller selling settings lacked, a champion and face to put to the setting. FR has Ed Greenwood. Greyhawk is Gygaxian and has had many champions over the years. Dragonlance has Hickman and Weiss. Dark Sun? Troy Denning was the author of the DS Prism Pentad, but he is a prodigious author of lots of material in lots of settings. Planescape? Ravenloft? There is no 'go to' person for answers about what is the setting about.
For me, Dark Sun is defined by Brom, and Planescape by Tony Diterlizzi. The art is the setting. (and I love them both for it.)
 

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For me, Dark Sun is defined by Brom, and Planescape by Tony Diterlizzi. The art is the setting. (and I love them both for it.)

Brom was amazing. I didn't really run Darksun. I loved that first box set and that did create my initial impression and respect for the setting, but it was hard to be a gamer in the 90s and not be impacted just seeing Brom's covers for the dark sun line on those shelves (even if you were buying books for other setting material). Never read anything beyond the first boxed set for Dark Sun but those images made me very curious about the setting modules and supplements.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
And that is the problem of Planescape and Dark Sun. They are defined by artists who had a definitive style that they applied to their own art and other products. I loved the art of Dark Sun. I only used the original box set for the games I ran. The setting immediately was changed dramatically and the rest of the line had less and less definitive art and style. A more central figure to promote the setting may have boosted the signal. Many fans over the years have done the herculean task of keeping the hope alive for Dark Sun, Planescape, and Spelljammer. But they sometimes have different ideas of where to go and often were undercut by official releases either in Dragon i.e. Spelljamer or, for Dark Sun, the 4E version of the setting.
 

Hmm, so my experience with Planescape sales was not just anecdata or at least corresponded with the actual data. What is interesting is what happened after WotC acquired TSR and what happened with setting sales. 3E focused mainly on FR and Eberron with 2 small Greyhawk books to promote RPGA. 4E focused on FR and DS. We know WotC was skeptical of releasing Eberron in 5E. VRGtR and Spelljammer 5E will also give a lot of data on how sales of campaign material will do in the current market.
I am omitting the MtG setting books and Exandria because the data would be determinable by the size of those properties' fandoms. They were much easier decisions to make.
4e also had very good support for Eberron. And of course you could consider the inherent PoLand to be a rather well-supported setting as well, though there isn't any specific product which covers it.
 

Reynard

Legend
4e also had very good support for Eberron.
Eberron is an inspired D&D setting. I wish it had gotten much more support in 5E than it has. They could have easily done multiple big campaign adventures in Eberron, but for whatever reason they chose the most inoffensively boring option possible and we got the Sword Coast again and again and again.
 

Sure, that’s why I added technically. And Ghostwalk was one and done. I suspect WotC knew the proliferation of settings had contributed to TSRs issues and was gun shy for quit a while. Eberron arrived when 3E sales started to flag perhaps.
Honestly? Why publish new settings? The existing TSR offerings cover a pretty hefty chunk of the spectrum! I mean, you could argue there may be a niche or two here and there that could still be filled. Eberron was pretty precisely calibrated to fill the need for a 'magitec' setting, which is really the biggest thing missing from TSR's offerings (Spelljammer is KINDA magitec, but not really). I think WotC sees settings as more of an adjunct to other parts of their product line, frankly. They're willing to put out something like an M:tG inspired setting for instance, but that seems calculated to increase sales of both 5e and M:tG products. I doubt they believe it will make money on its own!
 

Reynard

Legend
Honestly? Why publish new settings? The existing TSR offerings cover a pretty hefty chunk of the spectrum! I mean, you could argue there may be a niche or two here and there that could still be filled. Eberron was pretty precisely calibrated to fill the need for a 'magitec' setting, which is really the biggest thing missing from TSR's offerings (Spelljammer is KINDA magitec, but not really). I think WotC sees settings as more of an adjunct to other parts of their product line, frankly. They're willing to put out something like an M:tG inspired setting for instance, but that seems calculated to increase sales of both 5e and M:tG products. I doubt they believe it will make money on its own!
I like the idea of one shot settings with very focused uses. Both Ravenloft and Dragonlance SHOULD be one off settings. A setting like Eberron or Spelljammer is wide open, though, and deserves plenty of official support.
 

I like the idea of one shot settings with very focused uses. Both Ravenloft and Dragonlance SHOULD be one off settings. A setting like Eberron or Spelljammer is wide open, though, and deserves plenty of official support.
Well, Ravenloft was originally just an adventure, but it does kind of naturally beg to be a bit more, and TSR leveraged it to create a classic horror genre 'setting' (though, honestly, it seems more like a bunch of very loosely affiliated "and now, another Boris Karloff movie knockoff!" kind of things. I mean, later they sort of tried to tie it all together in some sense, but I never much saw the point. 4e giving us the Shadowfell as a home for all this stuff was a pretty nice move, and to a degree gave them all a PoLand (or at least World Axis) home.
 

darjr

I crit!
The video game planescape torment eventually sold 400,000 copies but it’s first year was a bit substandard at 70,000. More than the boxed set ttrpg at 40,000. I suspect the crpg is were a lot of the nostalgia comes from.
 


Riley

Hero
I still have mine. :)
I apparently have two copies- one from 1985, and another 1e reprint with the 1991-92 2e-era gold TSR logo.

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That reprint seems worth mentioning, as TSR apparenty sold approximately zero copies of Lankhmar in 1991 and 1992 (and very few even in 1990).

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(The 1993 spike was when they released a 2nd edition version of the setting.)
 

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