Dungeons and Dragons Adventurers League New Rules Suggestions

I’ll admit it. I’ve spent way more time thinking about these than I probably should have. I play AL in fits and bursts, where I’ll go for several weeks at a time, and play at a few conventions, and then I won’t be able to make it for a few months. That said, I’ve got a lot of friends that play regularly, and I have, in the past, played on a weekly basis for months at a time. It’s also a thought exercise that is impossible to escape because it gets down to how much you can change the core rules of D&D before the game doesn’t feel like D&D anymore, balanced against making the game as open to new players as possible.

I’ve always felt that organized play does need to be, foremost, about getting new players into the game. It’s a means of expanding the hobby, not just an extra night for experienced players to pick up another game. It can be that as well, but experienced players often have established groups that can play with any rules they want. Even so, if the game has any use as a common ground between new players and old players, there has to be some degree of commonality.

Based on the rules we have already seen, these are some of the tweaks I would make. In a lot of places, these tweaks have to do with implementing the rules in the pre-season 8 adventures, as it sounds as if the season 8+ adventures will have guidance for specifically using the new advancement and treasure rules.

DM Discretion


As written, the DM can decide not to award hourly checkpoints of the PCs have not done anything related to the plot of the adventure. I think I would move one step further and add a set of questions at the end for awarding checkpoints (definitely inspired by games that award XP based on answering questions, like Powered by the Apocalypse games).

Two Hour Checkpoint Questions

  • Did the engage in activity that moved the plot forward? If yes, award 1 hourly checkpoint.
  • Did the PCs engage with the primary conflict of the adventure, even if they weren’t successful? If yes, award 1 hourly checkpoint.

Four Hour Checkpoint Questions

  • Did the engage in activity that moved the plot forward? If yes, award 1 hourly checkpoint, to a maximum of 3 checkpoints.
  • Did the PCs engage with the primary conflict of the adventure, even if they weren’t successful? If yes, award 1 hourly checkpoint.
  • Did the PCs accomplish significantly more than they needed to in order to resolve the adventure goals, while also successfully resolving the main conflict? If yes, award 1 hourly checkpoint that can exceed the maximum allowed for the adventure (4).

DM Discretion and Treasure

Two Hour Checkpoint Questions (Tier 1 or 2)

  • Did the PCs complete a job in which they were promised payment, or did they find a stash of treasure in the course of resolving the adventure? If so, award 1 treasure point.
  • Did the PCs receive a treasure point? If so, award them 40 gold pieces for each tresure point.

Side Note: Gold Piece Value Per Treasure Point

The current assumption is 75 gold pieces per level for tier 1, or 150 gold pieces per level for tier 2. If you divide 75 by four, you get 18.75, and the assumed rate of treasure points is 1 treasure point per two hours of play, bringing this to 37.5, which we round up to an even 40 gold. Tier 2 goes up to 150 gold per level, but it also goes up to 8 checkpoints per level, so adjusting this to per treasure point instead of per level, it works out to the same base as teir 1, because there are twice as many checkpoints, so we have the same number of gold pieces per treasure points for teir 1 and teir 2. 

Four Hour Checkpoint Questions (Teir 1 or 2)

  • Did the PCs complete a job in which they were promised payment, or did they find a stash of treasure in the course of resolving the adventure? If so, award 2 treasure points.
  • Did the PCs do an exceptional job negotiating for more payment after doing an exceptional job, or did they explore every possible treasure location, finding more than the expected amount of treasure? If so, award them an additional treasure point.
  • Did the PCs receive a treasure point? If so, award them 40 gold pieces for each treasure point.

Two Hour Checkpoint Questions (Tier 3 or 4)

  • Did the PCs complete a job in which they were promised payment, or did they find a stash of treasure in the course of resolving the adventure? If so, award 2 treasure points.
  • Did the PCs receive a treasure point? If so, award them 140 gold pieces for each treasure point at tier 3 and 1375 gold pieces per treasure point at tier 4.

Four Hour Checkpoint Questions (Teir 3 or 4)

  • Did the PCs complete a job in which they were promised payment, or did they find a stash of treasure in the course of resolving the adventure? If so, award 4 treasure points.
  • Did the PCs do an exceptional job negotiating for more payment after doing an exceptional job, or did they explore every possible treasure location, finding more than the expected amount of treasure? If so, award them 2 additional treasure points.
  • Did the PCs receive a treasure point? If so, award them 140 gold pieces for each treasure point at tier 3 and 1375 gold pieces for each treasure point at tier 4.

Cashing In Treasure Points

In addition to spending treasure points to acquire items on the treasure point tables, a character may permanently expend a treasure point to gain twice they amount of gold they would normally received when they received a treasure point. For example, a tier 1 character cashing in a treasure point would permanently lose 1 treasure point, and receive 80 gold pieces for that expenditure.

Why Do This?

All of the above is more complicated that the baseline version of the rules initially presented, but it’s still easier than the DM hunting through individual encounters to see what the value of each item is. I feel like the above is an example of how you can tie the gold piece advancement back into treasure acquisition, instead of divorcing it from adventuring and tying it to the more abstract concept of leveling a character up. I feel like this is even easier to do with the milestone advancement system.

I also think there needs to be some leeway for previous season adventures where there may be some treasure in out of the way places, or in dangerous areas, that only include monetary treasure and not consumables or magic items, allowing the DM to reward players that went after those dangerous valuables that aren’t accounted for in the current abstraction.

Finally, because giving up the chance at getting a magic item is painful, but because some classes potentially need gold to make them more viable (such as casters transcribing spells or paying for expensive material components), I added in the conversion of treasure points to gold, which feels more intuitive if you tie the acquisition of treasure points to the acquisition of gold. 

This is all just me randomly coming up with some refinements. By no means to do I think I can do a better job than WOTC or the AL Admins at juggling the entire picture of the D&D ruleset or organized play as a whole. I just think once in a while rules could use some fine tuning.



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