Dear Readers, as you may know, or at least could have guessed, I am an organizer for Adventurers League, Wizards of the Coast organized Play for Dungeons and Dragons.
Organized Play is very different than “normal” D&D play in a variety of ways. It’s actually, in addition to being called organized play, called “standardized” play.
Here’s how it’s different:
1) Stats Are Standardized
All stats are standardized. This means that there are exactly two ways to generate ability scores (point buy or array) and hit points are max plus Constitution modifier at first level, but average plus Con modifier thereafter. You only have the option of equipment packages at first level, and the only gold you get is any you have from your background. Anything you roll is for the flavor items, such as flaws, bonds, and such.
2) All Play is Rules as Written
There are no homebrew rules here! Unless the season’s adventure calls for special rules for something or another, it is always Rules as Written (RaW). A good example of an exception is for Tomb of Annihilation, where all death is permadeath, and even that has an exception.
3) There Are Limits to Parts of Play
To balance the game, gold and magic items have limits. Adventurers League doles out a max gold per hour of play up to a set amount one can acquire per level based on your tier of play.
Additionally, they put limits on how many permanent magic items you can have at any one time, again based on tier.
Lastly, for those that usually prefer experience points as the method of advancement, Adventurers League now prefers to allow leveling based on the milestone method. This has its advantages, as we’ll discuss below.
1) There is Always a New “Schtick” For Each New Season
There is always some neat new mechanic that they introduce when a new season goes out. For the current season (Season 10; Rime of the Frostmaiden), it’s the entire concept of levels of cold that can kill a player that doesn’t have resistance to cold. Even then, there are things more dangerous. In previous adventures, it can be the novelty and constraints that an urban environment can provide, or, as in the previously discussed Tomb of Annihilation, the concept of permadeath.
2) It’s a Great Learning Environment
Adventurers League is a wonderful place to learn the rules and mechanics of D&D without getting confused by homebrew/house rules. It’s the concept of RaW (see above) that makes it such. It’s a wonderful place, especially, to learn action economy and to have more group diversity.
Of note, one of my League DMs and I ran a Wednesday evening game for a bunch of young people (see my previous post on that) comprised of young ladies ages 12-15 who wanted to learn how to play. We decided that, since they were such a large group, that teaching them on Sundays would be cumbersome and they would have a hard time keeping up with the story line while learning the rules as well, so we started the Wednesday Night D&D Primer event. We are now transitioning them to Sundays, and they will make a wonderful addition, continuing to learn and grow as players. Even better, is that one of them wishes to learn how to be a Dungeon Master! I plan on taking that table next season, while allowing the new DM trainee to begin cutting her teeth on running the table, under supervision.
3) It Puts Limits on Some Aspects of Play
The idea that limits are put on aspects of play, such as leveling, gold, and magic items makes things way more level when a new player comes to the table. Additionally, it keeps things fair and equitable around the table, resource-wise. It makes the next concept much easier as well.
4) It Truly Is “Drag and Drop” Play for Players and DMs Alike
Because of the standardization of play, as well as the accompanying record sheets that verify information, a player can go from table to table, as long as the table matches the tier of their character (level 1-4 for tier 1, 5-10 for tier 2, 11-16 for tier 3, and 17-20 for tier 4). This means that if they can’t show for a few sessions, even if they miss some sessions, they can join any table of their tier as long as they don’t repeat a section of the adventure.
This also makes it really easy for new players that want to join, having previously been part of another Adventurers League game or to bring your characters to a convention
There are several and many pros and cons to playing in Adventurers League. Personally, for me, the pros outweigh the cons, and I have a rather large group (upwards of 8-9 tables, mostly with 6-7 players!) that enjoys playing. My only real problems are table space and DM burnout, both of which are greatly manageable.
As many can attest, D&D Adventurers League is a fun experience where you can play with a diverse group of players in a good environment.
What do you think, Dear Readers? Have any of you played in Adventurers League? If so, what have your experiences been? Let me know in the comment section below!
Until next time, Dear Readers…
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