I have been an avid D&D Adventures League player for the last three years, playing multiple sessions each week and attending conventions for the sole reason of playing. I was looking forward to seeing what season 8 would bring for AL and what changes would be coming for players. After listening to yesterday’s Twitch stream and hearing that they plan on using the rules from Xanathar’s for AL play, I am extremely disappointed to hear the path that the admins are proposing to take for Adventures League. While rules are not final, if they take the rules from the book directly, I will likely shy away from playing Adventures League in the future. The rule changes seem to take a sense of adventure and challenge and turn it into an exercise in book keeping and time management. Lets take a closer look at some of the changes being made:
- Checkpoint System- Players will no longer receive experience from playing, instead they will receive a checkpoint based on the number of hours played depending on how long an adventure should take. Players will receive one checkpoint per hour the adventure was intended to last. Leveling will work as follows: levels 1-4 will need 4 checkpoints, level 5 or higher will need 8 checkpoints. If players play at a tier higher than their character level they receive one extra point. Essentially, players need not worry about the monsters they face or the challenge in the session….all that matters is how long you play.
- Treasure Points- Instead of players finding loot now, they instead get treasure points that can be used towards buying magic items. For each two hours played at tier 1 & 2, and one hour played at tiers 3 & 4 players can receive a treasure point. This can then be taken to purchase magic items. Different items from magic item tables can be bought for anywhere from 1-12 treasure points. Players must immediately after deciding if they level determine whether they want to purchase a magic item. If they cannot afford an item they may put it on “layaway” but they cannot store points to buy something later. Players not do not have the motivation or surprise of finding rare items in adventures but instead will have a choice of items at the store after the adventure. Treasure Points are definitely immersion breaking, and not thematic in the realms of Dungeons and Dragons though. Player characters now do not get the discussion of finding rare items in game, or being excited to see what treasure lies in a dungeon…I mean with the exception of “Oh, golly gee guys, I found a treasure point”…for a role playing game treasure points do not make sense.
- Gold System- Now, currently in AL play gold has limited use, with the exception of classes such as wizards or players looking to bring characters back from the dead. Now players are given an amount of gold each time they level, depending on the level they just reached. For instance, when hitting levels 2-4, players will get 75 gold pieces each time they level. When players hit level 4, the maximum amount of money they might have would be 245 GP. Hopefully players do not need to pay for any spell casting services such as Revivify or Raise Dead, as those would be impossible before level 5. Wizards will also not be able to buy many spells if they hope to be able to afford things like potions. However, if you are a fighter looking to buy platemail, you will be equally disappointed. In order to afford it, you will need to wait until level 11 and not spend any money until then. However, don’t worry you will likely be able to afford magical plate well before that point, with treasure points…as logical as that sounds.
As someone who enjoys the adventure and mystery behind an adventure, these new rule sets seem to change what would be an incentive to doing certain tasks into a risk not worth taking. Why would someone open that chest that could be trapped if there is no reward? No gold, no treasure and no experience… It seems like an effective way to ensure that players focus more on how long they play rather than the quality of play, and encourages rushing through adventures. Our D&D party tends to take much longer on modules and hard covers than the suggested playtime. By telling players they only get rewards for the period of time deemed acceptable, it encourages players to rush through adventures and skip encounters.
Hopefully before the final version of the rules are announced some changes are made. A role playing game should be immersive and give players a sense of adventure. By making rewards an exercise in time keeping, new players will miss out on that sense of adventure.