'Dungeons & Dragons' Makes Controversial Changes to Adventurers League

Dungeons & Dragons has made some huge changes to their organized play league.

The D&D Adventurers League is an ongoing "official campaign" for the popular tabletop game. Available at most game stores and major gaming conventions, Adventurers League offers players a chance to create a character and then take it with them to any official Adventurers League game, even if you're playing with a whole new party. The Adventurers League modules are split into three tiers (based on the level of the character) and rewards and XP are offered up a bit differently than in homebrew games.

Late last week, the admins of the Adventurers League announced a sweeping overhaul of the rules, designed to change how players earn XP and treasure. Instead of players receiving XP from defeating monsters or completing objectives, players will earn "advancement checkpoints" based on time played. If a module is supposed to take two hours to complete, a player can earn up to 2 advancement checkpoints, even if it took their party 3 or more hours to complete.

Playing from a hardcover adventure (such as the upcoming Waterdeep: Dragon Heist) is a bit more subjective, with the DM rewarding advancement checkpoints based on each hour that they determine the players are making progress towards their goal. Spending an hour flirting with a barmaid won't earn players advancement checkpoints, so there's no benefit for trying to game the system and add time to the clock.

The more controversial change comes to how Adventurers League doles out treasure. Instead of players divying up treasure that they can sell in exchange for gold, players instead earn "treasure points" that can be used to purchase specific items. The concept behind this system is that players can spend treasure points to gain items they want instead of trying to exchange items they find in dungeons or treasure hoards. It's the equivalent to a player guaranteeing they find that +1 Weapon they wanted in a treasure pile instead of relying on chance.

In addition, certain modules will still contain special items that are "unlocked" upon completion. Instead of players trying to determine who should get that treasure, a player can simply purchase it using Treasure Points (provided they have enough Treasure).

The changes also removed a number of "problematic items" - overpowered items that usually were linked to an established D&D adventure. For instance, players can no longer use the Sunsword, a weapon found in the Curse of Strahd adventure. While it might seem unfair, there were plenty of instances where a table of Adventurers League players had multiple players with the Sunsword, something that should have been impossible and also "gamed" the rules.

Moving forward, certain problematic items will be tied to stories. If a player finds the Sunsword while playing through Curse of Strahd, they can keep it until the adventure is completed, but afterwards it's removed from their inventory.

1comments

One of the biggest controversies surrounding the new changes was how the game deals with gold. Players no longer earn gold for completing adventurers, and some players (especially casters) felt that this hurts how they add new spells to their arsenal and cast certain spells. However, admins pointed out that players can still convert treasure points into mundane items that can then be sold off, which would give them more gold than the current system.

So, what do you think about the new Adventurers League changes? Does it help balance the system, or does it turn you off from playing in "official" games? Let us know in the comment section or shoot me a message at @CHofferCbus on Twitter!