Why We Should Work With WotC

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
My position is that we can't move forward by looking backwards. WotC isn't going to change their mind on the OGL 1.0a. Nothing that's been said over the last month or fortnight or week seems to have budged them. It's a non-starter.
Your definition of "haven't budged" is strange to me. They went from OGL 1.0a is dead and nothing more can be done under it(original leak) to OGL 1.0a is going to die, but if you have something in the works you have 6 more months to okay, okay, if you've produced something under 1.0a you can keep using it forever. That's a hell of a lot of budging.

They aren't as rock solid on this as you are making them out to be.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Trouble is, the reason Spelljammer did bad, if it did, isn't because people didn't want more D&D books, but because they didn't want that super-weird format, and Spelljammer was always the "Snakes on a Plane" of D&D internet discussion.

What do I mean by that? That people loved to talk about Spelljammer, because it was meme-tastic, and I say this with love - kind of idiotic in a fun way - but like Snakes on a Plane (or Morbius for that matter lol that re-release!), as much as people like to talk and meme about Spelljammer, people weren't actually that excited to buy a new version.

So the format + the Snakes on a Plane factor probably lead to WotC anticipating significantly better performance for SJ than they actually got (assuming this is true).
That's my point.

By year 8-10 you are only left with "Snakes on a Plane" and Niche products. And that stuff cannot compete with big 3PP stuff.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Trouble is, the reason Spelljammer did bad, if it did, isn't because people didn't want more D&D books, but because they didn't want that super-weird format, and Spelljammer was always the "Snakes on a Plane" of D&D internet discussion.

What do I mean by that? That people loved to talk about Spelljammer, because it was meme-tastic, and I say this with love - kind of idiotic in a fun way - but like Snakes on a Plane (or Morbius for that matter lol that re-release!), as much as people like to talk and meme about Spelljammer, people weren't actually that excited to buy a new version.

So the format + the Snakes on a Plane factor probably lead to WotC anticipating significantly better performance for SJ than they actually got (assuming this is true).

While I think the new Spelljammer straddled the line between homage and parody, I can't help but feel Spelljammer was something people thought they wanted until they got it.

(That is not a statement of quality about the format or content, it's an observation that "D&D in space" sounds better in abstract than it ever has in practice, and I'm lumping Dragonstar and Starfinder into that category as well).
 


Clint_L

Hero
Core books are always the top sellers. The PHB is the money maker among books.
Among books.

Books are a drop in the bucket unless you are really selling them en masse (i.e. unless you are a massive book publisher, and even they have famously thin margins). The reason Hasbro considers D&D "under-monetized" is precisely because it makes most of its money selling books. They see the future of the brand in diversification, especially with various entertainment streams, tie-in merchandising, etc. Video games, and DnDBeyond integrated with a VTT to drive subscription dollars.

They don't want the brand to rely on books any more than Marvel depends on selling comics.

The current battle is not about selling books (from Hasbro's perspective).
 

That's my point.

By year 8-10 you are only left with "Snakes on a Plane" and Niche products. And that stuff cannot compete with big 3PP stuff.
I don't totally agree.

I think if they'd had a normal release schedule, that would be true, but stuff came out so slow for 5E they could in fact have had hit products if they'd wanted to make them.

But they didn't want to make them. I do think it's probably time for an edition refresh, but there were/are still books that could have been hits. The sheer lack of splatbooks or similar is kind of astonishing.

Plus a lot of 3PP stuff, like Griffon's Saddle, only exists because WotC intentionally ceded that design space. WotC has had 8+ years to come out with equipment/magic item books and gone "Nah" to the idea repeatedly, despite them always being hits in earlier editions.
"Snakes on a Plane of Existence," if you will.
LMAO nice lol.

Planescape isn't a Snakes on a Plane situation, because it's not this meme-y silly thing people love to discuss, it's a bit more like a remake of a very well-regarded but slightly over-intellectual film from the 1970s or something, or a long-distant sequel to something auteur-y but famous from the '80s. Nails are being bitten as to whether it will suck or not.
While I think the new Spelljammer straddled the line between homage and parody, I can't help but feel Spelljammer was something people thought they wanted until they got it.

(That is not a statement of quality about the format or content, it's an observation that "D&D in space" sounds better in abstract than it ever has in practice, and I'm lumping Dragonstar and Starfinder into that category as well).
100%.

Snakes on a Plane is that whole phenom. People love the idea. People think it sounds cool. Then you actually offer to sell it to them? And suddenly they're like "No thanks, maybe another time". There'll always be an audience, but it's not as large as the number of people discussing it would suggest.

On the flipside I think a revived and slightly edgy Dark Sun, preferably lead by a minority/PoC author who loved the original, but understood the problematic elements and wants to reclaim it, could have been a pretty big hit. Especially if it was in a more conventional format.
 

Trouble is, the reason Spelljammer did bad, if it did, isn't because people didn't want more D&D books, but because they didn't want that super-weird format, and Spelljammer was always the "Snakes on a Plane" of D&D internet discussion.

What do I mean by that? That people loved to talk about Spelljammer, because it was meme-tastic, and I say this with love - kind of idiotic in a fun way - but like Snakes on a Plane (or Morbius for that matter lol that re-release!), as much as people like to talk and meme about Spelljammer, people weren't actually that excited to buy a new version.

So the format + the Snakes on a Plane factor probably lead to WotC anticipating significantly better performance for SJ than they actually got (assuming this is true).

Spelljammer was always an odd niche setting. It is the kind of setting I was happy existed, but I didn't have huge interest in it myself beyond being a player in a Spelljammer campaign from time to time. I think the main function it served, and why it had an audience in the 90s, was it could be used to bridge the existing settings they had at the time. Plus it scratched a certain itch (though as a player who never bought the books I was always unclear on whether this was a space pirates setting or something more like Star Trek). I did know GMs who loved Spelljammer. But it seemed pretty low on the list of settings that you heard about (I heard a lot more about Al-Qadim, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Birthright, Dark Sun, etc but that may have just been what was going on locally in my neck of the woods).
 

Remathilis

Legend
That's my point.

By year 8-10 you are only left with "Snakes on a Plane" and Niche products. And that stuff cannot compete with big 3PP stuff.

I don't know how "niche" you want to define it, but 5e still has a few holes in its library. We never got a desert-based AP, anything resembling a non-western fantasy setting, proper psionics, Dark Sun and Greyhawk, any alternative magic systems, the "big book of spells and magic items", plenty of archetypes that weren't explored for classes and subclasses, and a usual "throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" books like Tome of Battle or Player's Options. Hell, there was a whole continent of Faerun east of the Sword Coast they could have explored, not to mention Calimshan and anything south of Baldur's Gate.

While I think the core books do need a refresh, I don't think it was due to the fact they tapped the well dry. Even without 1D&D, they probably have a good 5 more years of material in just what I mentioned above.
 

100%.

Snakes on a Plane is that whole phenom. People love the idea. People think it sounds cool. Then you actually offer to sell it to them? And suddenly they're like "No thanks, maybe another time". There'll always be an audience, but it's not as large as the number of people discussing it would suggest.

I think in RPG terms, with settings, it ultimately comes down to how gameable the concept is. I can't speak to Spelljammer specifically as I never GM'd it (as a player it seemed to have legs, but those legs really did appear to boil down to how much the GM 'got it'). There are tons o of settings that are wonderful ideas, even fun to read, but hard to implement. And I think the Snakes on a Plane label is a good one to use for those. For a setting to truly take off it needs a gaming angle of some kind so that people can run regular campaigns without a problem. That might just mean, something close to standard D&D, but usually what I want from a setting, and why I would get it in the first place, is it offers something different that just works in terms of me being a GM that needs to prep this thing week to week. I would say there are exceptional cases though (for example settings that are specifically meant to be short tightly focused campaigns).
 

raniE

Adventurer
Among books.

Books are a drop in the bucket unless you are really selling them en masse (i.e. unless you are a massive book publisher, and even they have famously thin margins). The reason Hasbro considers D&D "under-monetized" is precisely because it makes most of its money selling books. They see the future of the brand in diversification, especially with various entertainment streams, tie-in merchandising, etc. Video games, and DnDBeyond integrated with a VTT to drive subscription dollars.

They don't want the brand to rely on books any more than Marvel depends on selling comics.

The current battle is not about selling books (from Hasbro's perspective).
And we were talking about books. If they want to try to rely on video games instead, okay, but the time most video games remain relevant is far less than ten years. They're going to fail with their new strategy. That's by far the greatest likelihood. Hopefully it brings the whole Hasbro edifice crashing down, but that would probably require Magic to go wrong too (and oh look, they're antagonizing them too).
 

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