Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne looks at the sales potential of the Dungeons & Dragons releases scheduled for the rest of this year.

In case you missed it, Wizards of the Coast finally announced the release dates for Dungeons & Dragons products for the rest of 2023, including the long awaited Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, which we have had numerous customers asking about since WotC announced the 2023 D&D product slate (although without firm release dates) last year (see "WotC Teases 2023 ‘D&D’ Slate").  With five releases scheduled, I am already hearing customer comments about budget overload, especially considering the announced 20% price increase on the new books.  Still, I expect to see most of these sell, though not at the levels of Monsters of the Multiverse or Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (see "Looks At ‘D&D’").

Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants will be offered with two covers.  Topics include giant-related magic items, giant-themed character classes (which will certainly help sell the book to the larger market segment of Dungeons & Dragons customers, the players), giant lore and religion, and a giant-themed bestiary.  When I first heard of the release, I thought it would be a compendium of various categories of giants, of which D&D has a large number, much as Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons looked at dozens of dragons from the D&D mythos, but this does not appear the case.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons combines content from 2008’s A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Dragon Riding, and A Practical Guide to Dragon Magic (see "Wizards of the Coast Reveals The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons").  I have always thought WOTC should re-use or update and re-release a lot of the material it has stored away.  From the product description, WotC has updated the material to 5E Dungeons, but has passed on an opportunity for cross-promotion of the product by foregoing placing the D&D logo on the cover.  After all, the company did put D&D content inside, at least according to the product description, and our store, at least, sees a lot of younger players embracing D&D.  We must restock the Young Adventurers Guides from Ten Speed Press regularly, so this seems a missed opportunity.

Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk (see "Wizards Presents Phandelver, Planescape Plans") will sell about half the number or less of the Bigby book.  We have seen a noticeable decline in the sales of adventure modules for Dungeons and Dragons. Phandelver does not seem to have seized D&D players’ imaginations in the way that other campaign settings have, and does not have the novelty that settings such as Strixhaven, Radiant Citadel and Ravenloft have.

Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse is another three book boxed set like last year’s Spelljammer, Planescape items have been highly sought after for some two decades, with some of the boxed sets selling for over $300.  We have not heard the demand for a relaunch of the setting over the past few years, like we saw with Spelljammer, so we plan to order conservatively on this one.

The Deck of Many Things, another firm date for the calendar, will likely do quite well, as we get one or two requests a month for some form of the Deck of Many Things (see "Wizards Deals the Deck of Many Things").  I think WotC only published it once, as a promotional item in an issue of Dragon Magazine some 30 years, ago but the price point will strongly affect how many we order.  If about $49.99, I could easily see selling five dozen of these in our store in the first month.  If, as I fear, the price is closer to $100, I project sales to drop to half that.

Your thoughts on these releases?  Email

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of