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 Best Realms Product Ever: The City of Ravens Bluff
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10743 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  20:52:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Eric,

Just curious on that one statement regarding boxed sets. Was TSR losing a lot of money with making everything in boxes? I had never really thought about that and always assumed I guess that going with a soft cover on the interior stuff made up for the cost of a box. Was I wrong or am I misunderstanding (because lord knows I do that a lot)? I did notice the shift from boxed sets with TSR to hardbacks with WotC, but I just thought it was the change of company and never put a lot of thought to it.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35427 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  21:33:33  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most boxed sets were multiple books (usually 2 or 3), multiple poster-sized maps (2 to 4, usually, though City System was 10!), cardstock sheets (like 12-20ish of those), and loose-leaf pages for the Monstrous Compendium.

That's multiple covers, multiple books to assemble, a lot of colored ink, the box itself, and assembly of the whole shebang.

I don't know the exact numbers, obviously, but it wouldn't surprise me to see that boxed sets and hardcovers were, at the very least, comparable in terms of production costs.

On top of all that, the boxed sets usually had a lower price tag than the later hardcover books. I'd not be surprised to learn the prices were kept lower than they should have been and that this greatly affected the profit.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 16 Sep 2021 21:34:40
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2299 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  21:50:43  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Anyone that likes Ravens Bluff should go get the Polyhedron Magazines.

All those books were pulled almost verbatim from the articles, plus you get all the hundreds of write-ins which add so much. The Living City was a long term vibrant project.

Now, as far as the best realms product ever... that is much harder, but I would have to go with the OG Undermountain. They've been trying to duplicate that amazing box for 30 years and failing over and over.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10743 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  22:00:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, yeah, the multiple poster maps in color was a big thing, and I guess even though occasionally we'd see a poster map in a hardcover with some kind of weird glue... that was rare. I forget, did the 3e campaign set even have some maps in it? I want to say yes, but part of me thinks there was something sent with dragon magazine.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35427 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  00:19:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Hmmm, yeah, the multiple poster maps in color was a big thing, and I guess even though occasionally we'd see a poster map in a hardcover with some kind of weird glue... that was rare. I forget, did the 3e campaign set even have some maps in it? I want to say yes, but part of me thinks there was something sent with dragon magazine.



There was a big, four-poster map spread across four issues of Dragon. I can't recall if there was one in the 3E book or not, but I would think there would have been.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Gelcur
Senior Scribe

420 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  14:05:12  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There was a poster map in the 3E FRCS. It was a 2 page by 4 page fold out so no assembly required. It was interestingly glued in such that it did not need to be removed to be unfolded and used. There are two more nice maps in that FRCS, a 2 page spread of Trade Routes and Resources that I often feel people overlook and a one page Regions map that sometimes is referenced as a Political map.

If I remember right there were some complaints on the scale of 3E maps? But recently remember comparing a couple of distance between maps of different editions and things weren't horribly off. The art style was very lovely and very easily read.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35427 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  14:53:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gelcur

There was a poster map in the 3E FRCS. It was a 2 page by 4 page fold out so no assembly required. It was interestingly glued in such that it did not need to be removed to be unfolded and used. There are two more nice maps in that FRCS, a 2 page spread of Trade Routes and Resources that I often feel people overlook and a one page Regions map that sometimes is referenced as a Political map.

If I remember right there were some complaints on the scale of 3E maps? But recently remember comparing a couple of distance between maps of different editions and things weren't horribly off. The art style was very lovely and very easily read.



Pretty sure the complaints were on the 4E maps, because someone at WotC decided there was too much open space on the maps and that it needed to be trimmed out.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1657 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  16:12:55  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Eric,

Just curious on that one statement regarding boxed sets. Was TSR losing a lot of money with making everything in boxes? I had never really thought about that and always assumed I guess that going with a soft cover on the interior stuff made up for the cost of a box. Was I wrong or am I misunderstanding (because lord knows I do that a lot)? I did notice the shift from boxed sets with TSR to hardbacks with WotC, but I just thought it was the change of company and never put a lot of thought to it.



I'll answer for Eric on this one.

Boxed sets seemed to be the best bang for one's buck back in the day. As for how much I managed to squeeze into the City of Splendors box, I and my group leader Jeff Grubb sat down with the finance VP and horse traded preplanned components by cost and got as much in there as possible while still meeting what the money guys said was the maximum production cost at that time.

BTW we did this with Ruins of Undermountain as well, which is why it has those odd-sized cardsheets et al. We had the costs via the Spelljammer components at that time and just moved bits around until we got as much as we could while keeping the suits happy.

None of this could be done now due to changes in production and shipping, but in the early 90s I did what I could to get as much out to FR fans as possible.

Steven

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3633 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  18:25:12  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-The trade map was a very cool inclusion. I feel like if I ran a Forgotten Realms game nowadays, it would definitely have a mercantile bend to it and would make use of that.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2299 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  22:44:35  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Eric,

Just curious on that one statement regarding boxed sets. Was TSR losing a lot of money with making everything in boxes? I had never really thought about that and always assumed I guess that going with a soft cover on the interior stuff made up for the cost of a box. Was I wrong or am I misunderstanding (because lord knows I do that a lot)? I did notice the shift from boxed sets with TSR to hardbacks with WotC, but I just thought it was the change of company and never put a lot of thought to it.



I'll answer for Eric on this one.

Boxed sets seemed to be the best bang for one's buck back in the day. As for how much I managed to squeeze into the City of Splendors box, I and my group leader Jeff Grubb sat down with the finance VP and horse traded preplanned components by cost and got as much in there as possible while still meeting what the money guys said was the maximum production cost at that time.

BTW we did this with Ruins of Undermountain as well, which is why it has those odd-sized cardsheets et al. We had the costs via the Spelljammer components at that time and just moved bits around until we got as much as we could while keeping the suits happy.

None of this could be done now due to changes in production and shipping, but in the early 90s I did what I could to get as much out to FR fans as possible.

Steven



I always wished they would bring those little cards back... The traps and doors and things added little tidbits of interest otherwise absent. Good work :)
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10743 Posts

Posted - 18 Sep 2021 :  15:26:18  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Eric,

Just curious on that one statement regarding boxed sets. Was TSR losing a lot of money with making everything in boxes? I had never really thought about that and always assumed I guess that going with a soft cover on the interior stuff made up for the cost of a box. Was I wrong or am I misunderstanding (because lord knows I do that a lot)? I did notice the shift from boxed sets with TSR to hardbacks with WotC, but I just thought it was the change of company and never put a lot of thought to it.



I'll answer for Eric on this one.

Boxed sets seemed to be the best bang for one's buck back in the day. As for how much I managed to squeeze into the City of Splendors box, I and my group leader Jeff Grubb sat down with the finance VP and horse traded preplanned components by cost and got as much in there as possible while still meeting what the money guys said was the maximum production cost at that time.

BTW we did this with Ruins of Undermountain as well, which is why it has those odd-sized cardsheets et al. We had the costs via the Spelljammer components at that time and just moved bits around until we got as much as we could while keeping the suits happy.

None of this could be done now due to changes in production and shipping, but in the early 90s I did what I could to get as much out to FR fans as possible.

Steven



Intereswting to know. Thank you. I always thought it was really cool all the little extra in like the horde boxed set, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Kelcimer
Learned Scribe

USA
109 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2021 :  08:35:20  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello George Krashos!

I do not want to distact from the good conversation in this thread by answering your question about my opinion of CoS:W here. CoS:W is a bit far from talking about the "City of Ravens Bluff" and really needs it's own thread.

You can find that here: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=24145
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