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D&D 5E Which are the most popular types of WOTC Adventures for 5e?

Mistwell

Legend
I am curious. If we were to make a list of all the official WOTC 5e Adventures and ranked them by sales, and then by popularity in terms of reviews, what would that list look like?

I am wondering if we'd find certain types of adventures are more popular than others for 5e. For example, where does "plot driven railroads with set piece combats" or "sandbox exploration" or "dungeon crawl" or "role playing heavy political/mystery" etc. find itself on such rankings?

My suspicion is Curse of Strahd is close to the top of both the "sales" and the "reviews" charts, but I don't know for sure.

Is there an existing list which ranks the official adventures based on the sales data we have from places like Amazon, Roll20, FG, etc?
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Come up with a list, and make a poll, and maybe you will find out? ;)

CoS was ok, but so predictable IMO. I just started running Frostmaiden, but so far prefer it. I love TftYP (particularly AtG because I played it a lot in 1E and 2E) probably the most.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I am loving Ghosts of Saltmarsh (I was already familiar with the 1E versions of the main path and a couple of the ones from Dungeon). I bought Tales from the Yawning Portal on a whim and immediately regretted it because the maps were terrible - too small and colored awfully. I wish they'd stick to black and white or blue-tone maps. Thankfully, I have some of the original modules so I'll use the maps from them or download the original versions from internet scans to supplement the 5E adaptation.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I am loving Ghosts of Saltmarsh (I was already familiar with the 1E versions of the main path and a couple of the ones from Dungeon). I bought Tales from the Yawning Portal on a whim and immediately regretted it because the maps were terrible - too small and colored awfully. I wish they'd stick to black and white or blue-tone maps. Thankfully, I have some of the original modules so I'll use the maps from them or download the original versions from internet scans to supplement the 5E adaptation.
Maps do not seem to be this edition's strong suit.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I bought Tales from the Yawning Portal on a whim and immediately regretted it because the maps were terrible - too small and colored awfully
I actually like the maps for the most part, but I agree they are often too small. What should be a full-page map is barely one-quarter page, etc. But, like you said, you can find wonderful maps online (great battle maps ones if you want to pay for them--I bought ones for AtG).
 

In order of preference (excluding starter set and essentials as they stop at 5th level)
1) CoS (Both of my group had a blast in this one).
2) TftYP.
3) DotMM (current game, but it is postponed until we are no longer in lock down...)
4) OoTA
5) ToA.

Not having played RotFM. But I do plan to run it.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I am interested in the favorites of people here, so keep them coming. But I am even more interested in sales data, and massive aggregated review data.

Here is the list:


Lost Mine of Phandelver
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
The Rise of Tiamat
Princes of the Apocalypse
Out of the Abyss
Curse of Strahd
Storm King's Thunder
Tales from the Yawning Portal
Tomb of Annihilation
Dragon Heist
Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Hunt for the Thessalhydra
Ghosts of Saltmarsh
Dragon of Icespire Peak
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus
The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness: Big Rick Energy
Rime of the Frostmaiden
 

As a DM, I do not like APs. I'm currently running a Saltmarsh campaign, having splashed a couple of TftYP adventures in, and will wrap things up after The Final Enemy. As it's a nice location based sandbox, I can easily revisit it with the old (or some new) PCs at a later date. The only other one I've run is part of Lost Mine of Phandelver, which is an excellent introductory adventure (I've used it 3 times to introduce people to 5E).

I've played in OotA, but it was... terrible. Not only was it a super-railroad, but we really had no idea what we were doing or why. Currently playing in BGDiA and enjoying it, but probably not because of the adventure. The DM is a huge fan of the Abyss/Hells, and he's been adding all kinds of stuff, expanding the adventure quite a bit. We've been told by the DM that the adventure is normally a railroad, but he's given us plenty of options... most of what we choose keeps us on the railroad anyway.
 

We've been told by the DM that the adventure is normally a railroad, but he's given us plenty of options... most of what we choose keeps us on the railroad anyway.
Once the DM says "this adventure is a railrod but Im going to let you have choices", etc for me it seems counter productive. The DM should've given the players the illusion of having options while staying on the adventure path IMO. This way the players would have been none the wiser and felt like their decisions had consequences and results.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I am interested in the favorites of people here, so keep them coming. But I am even more interested in sales data, and massive aggregated review data.
Lost Mine of Phandelver and Tales from the Yawning Portal. I prefer dungeon modules over straight-up adventures, which tend to be a little too linear for my tastes.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Amazon sales data is not publicly available. You need to have a seller account and access your Seller Central Dashboard to get sales numbers for individual products.

What you can see publicly on Amazon is just a product's current sales ranking. For instance, currently Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is #7 in D&D Game while Curse of Strahd is #19 in D&D Game.

Best seller rank is determined by a number of factors including Current and historic sales, Product price changes and promotions, and Competitive products. So it's not just total overall sales since the product started being sold. There's an algorithm that tracks sales velocities (and many other things).

So, with that hefty grain of salt, here's what Amazon tells us today, Friday, November 27th...

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden #7 in D&D Game
Curse of Strahd #19 in D&D Game
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist #20 in D&D Game
Ghosts of Saltmarsh #22 in D&D Game
The Rise of Tiamat #23 in D&D Game
Tales from the Yawning Portal #25 in D&D Game
Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus #26 in D&D Game
Tomb of Annihilation #27 in D&D Game
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage #28 in D&D Game
Out of the Abyss #32 in D&D Game
Storm King's Thunder #35 in D&D Game
Hoard of the Dragon Queen #39 in D&D Game
Princes of the Apocalypse #54 in D&D Game
 

Mistwell

Legend
Amazon sales data is not publicly available. You need to have a seller account and access your Seller Central Dashboard to get sales numbers for individual products.

What you can see publicly on Amazon is just a product's current sales ranking. For instance, currently Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is #7 in D&D Game while Curse of Strahd is #19 in D&D Game.

Best seller rank is determined by a number of factors including Current and historic sales, Product price changes and promotions, and Competitive products. So it's not just total overall sales since the product started being sold. There's an algorithm that tracks sales velocities (and many other things).

So, with that hefty grain of salt, here's what Amazon tells us today, Friday, November 27th...

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden #7 in D&D Game
Curse of Strahd #19 in D&D Game
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist #20 in D&D Game
Ghosts of Saltmarsh #22 in D&D Game
The Rise of Tiamat #23 in D&D Game
Tales from the Yawning Portal #25 in D&D Game
Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus #26 in D&D Game
Tomb of Annihilation #27 in D&D Game
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage #28 in D&D Game
Out of the Abyss #32 in D&D Game
Storm King's Thunder #35 in D&D Game
Hoard of the Dragon Queen #39 in D&D Game
Princes of the Apocalypse #54 in D&D Game
You're right of course, we would need an aggregate tool which tracked sales rank over time since publication of each book and then scored it based on an estimated sales number matched with that daily rank. I was hoping someone had access to such tools (I know they are out there, and I know CamelCamelCamel used to be one but they changed their tracking tools about a year ago). JungleScan did but they are gone. I think DataHawk does it now?
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think a common element of the most popular adventures is that they are more location-based than event-based. Curse of Strahd does have a plot, sort of, but it’s largely a sandbox in Barovia. Tales from the Yawning Portal and Dungeon of the Mad Mage are literally just dungeons. I haven’t read Frostmaiden yet because I might end up playing in it, but I’d wager it’s similar to CoS in that it has a plot, but is really more about exploring the 10-towns region and the plot facilitates doing that.
 

Once the DM says "this adventure is a railrod but Im going to let you have choices", etc for me it seems counter productive. The DM should've given the players the illusion of having options while staying on the adventure path IMO. This way the players would have been none the wiser and felt like their decisions had consequences and results.
He didn't bring it up until about half-way through the campaign, as he was surprised how closely we followed to the rails, even though he gave us a lot of freedom. It wasn't the illusion of choice we had, it was simply us following the most logical path, which is what the adventure assumes. We could have spent a lot of time off the rails, but since we feel like we're on a time constraint (the longer we take the more people who'll die and be damned), we want to stay on track as much as reasonably possible. IMO we've just pulled off the rails a bit during our last two sessions, but it's possible that by taking this longer route, we may save time in the end.

Out of the Abyss (the Underdark Express) doesn't even grant the illusion of choice, or at least not the parts we slogged through before calling it quits. You have to figure out how to get from point A to point B, then point B to point C, etc. etc. with no real decision making process involved. This is the only other 5E AP I've experienced, and it was a nightmare.
 

He didn't bring it up until about half-way through the campaign, as he was surprised how closely we followed to the rails, even though he gave us a lot of freedom. It wasn't the illusion of choice we had, it was simply us following the most logical path, which is what the adventure assumes. We could have spent a lot of time off the rails, but since we feel like we're on a time constraint (the longer we take the more people who'll die and be damned), we want to stay on track as much as reasonably possible. IMO we've just pulled off the rails a bit during our last two sessions, but it's possible that by taking this longer route, we may save time in the end.

Out of the Abyss (the Underdark Express) doesn't even grant the illusion of choice, or at least not the parts we slogged through before calling it quits. You have to figure out how to get from point A to point B, then point B to point C, etc. etc. with no real decision making process involved. This is the only other 5E AP I've experienced, and it was a nightmare.
For the record I havent played or DMed any WotC 5E adventures except for a bit of DotMM, which I didnt care for. If the adventure is that linear with a clear cut goal and only one way to complete it then I suppose it stands to reason that there wouldnt be many decision points outside of those for completing the quest. In LotR things probably would have turned out much different had Frodo and Sam decided that they didn't feel like going to Mount Doom to destroy the one ring.
 

Retreater

Legend
If I had to guess I would say Lost Mines of Phandelver and Curse of Strahd, both in fan reception and sales. On here when we did a popularity poll a year ago or so those came up at the top, with I think Tomb of Annihilation in third.
If that's the case, those are all sandboxes that include a "large" dungeon/site to explore (in the case of LMoP, the "large" dungeon is suitably scaled down to match the rest of the content).
The ones that ranked the lowest at the time we did the informal poll were DotMM and Dragon Heist. Having DMed both of them, I can say that is accurate.
DotMM was a bad dungeon crawl, even from the view of good dungeon design. Dragon Heist was a railroad that ended in one of the most anti-climactic ways I've seen in a professional adventure.
 

Eltab

Is this a moon, or is it a space station?
I think a common element of the most popular adventures is that they are more location-based than event-based. Curse of Strahd does have a plot, sort of, but it’s largely a sandbox in Barovia. Tales from the Yawning Portal and Dungeon of the Mad Mage are literally just dungeons. I haven’t read Frostmaiden yet because I might end up playing in it, but I’d wager it’s similar to CoS in that it has a plot, but is really more about exploring the 10-towns region and the plot facilitates doing that.
No spoilers, so...

The early part of Frostmaiden does encourage you to get around, interact with people, learn about the Ten Towns / surrounding area, and do things that qualify for the Folk Hero background.

After one particular quest-resolving confrontation, you meet the NPC who shows you the Plot Path and invites you to come along.

The first part looks like it will be fun and rewarding to play through. The second part looks like "now you earn that 'adventurer' title".
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
No spoilers, so...

The early part of Frostmaiden does encourage you to get around, interact with people, learn about the Ten Towns / surrounding area, and do things that qualify for the Folk Hero background.

After one particular quest-resolving confrontation, you meet the NPC who shows you the Plot Path and invites you to come along.

The first part looks like it will be fun and rewarding to play through. The second part looks like "now you earn that 'adventurer' title".
That sounds pretty cool! I’d love to run it at some point, but I still have a Dragon Heist game on hold, which may end up continuing into Dungeon of the Mad Mage. So I want to remain unspoiled on Frostmaiden, especially since my DM for Humblewood has expressed interest in running Frostmaiden after.
 

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