The D&D Adventurers League (https://dnd.wizards.com/ddal_general) is a system offered by Wizards of the Coast (https://company.wizards.com/) to provide a way to play D&D5E without the need to commit to a long-running campaign. It allows portability of characters between different games and DMs, while providing a level playing field and common experience.
Fantasy Ground Pick Up Games do not have to follow Adventurers League rules, but many DMs on the server offer Adventurers League because it aligns well with a pick up game format.
AL rules are contained in several documents. Players can depend primarily on the AL Player’s Guide. DMs (and interested players) will also need the additional AL documents listed under Official Documentation below.
To help new players and DMs, we have provided an AL Quick Reference Guide to key AL rules and concepts, below.
Campaigns / Seasons / Settings
Seasonal Campaign: Plague of the Ancients (Season 10) is the current Seasonal Campaign for D&D Adventurers League. When the guide below references “Seasonal”, it means this campaign. The Setting for this campaign is the Forgotten Realms.
Historic Campaign: The historic campaign comprises all AL-legal adventures from prior seasons (Seasons 0 through 9). Currently, the Historic Campaign follows the Season 9 rules. There are two distinct settings for this campaign: the Forgotten Realms and Eberron. Eberron characters cannot play in Forgotten Realms, and vice-versa.
Masters Campaign: Dreams of the Red Wizards is the current Masters Campaign. At this time, the Masters Campaign follows the Season 9 rules. The setting is the Forgotten Realms.
Seasonal Campaign: https://dnd.wizards.com/ddal_general
Historic Campaign and Masters Campaign: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/208178/DD-Adventurers-League-Player--DM-Pack
Sage Advice Compendium (not mandatory, but useful): https://media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf
AL Quick Reference Guide
This guide is not authoritative. It’s intended to help answer questions and word things in easier to understand ways than the official documentation. Links to the official documentation are provided above and are the authority.
Adventurers League Overview
Adventurers League uses Rules As Written (RAW) from the sourcebooks listed in the Official Documentation above as its primary guide for resolving questions of how gameplay works. Sourcebook rules listed as optional are not allowed unless stated specifically in the official AL documentation referenced above. When there is a question about how to do something, the rules are consulted and if a clear interpretation exists, that is what is used. If multiple interpretations reasonably exist the DM may choose which interpretation to use. DMs are not permitted to create new rules or make changes to existing ones.
Characters are allowed to transfer from table to table. To facilitate this, there is a standardized set of character creation rules and system of rewards defined for each campaign. In general, you start at level 1, use point buy or standard array for stats, and use background and starting equipment to get going. Adventure rewards are standardized as well.
Adventurers League uses the honor system. However, players are expected to maintain a log for each of their characters. There is no standard format or medium the log must be in, but it should contain at a bare minimum a list of the adventures a character has participated in, and rewards acquired and expended in each adventure. It’s also useful to record the DM’s name, date, and notable happenings in case you need to refer back to the notes later on. If you are playing in the Eberron campaign, all of this is handled by Adventure Records you will receive after each adventure you undertake.
It is expected that everyone acts in good faith to play the game by the rules, but it is also understood that mistakes happen and sometimes things get outside of the rules a bit. When that happens, it is handled by the player and/or DM making the smallest possible change to bring things back into compliance with the rules. Sometimes that means adjusting logs or character sheets, and other times it might just mean chalking something up to a learning opportunity. Other times, the DM may ask that a specific change be used for the adventure and sort things out later. In any case, just do your best and you’ll be fine.
Ability scores are determined using either the Standard Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) or Point Buy (27 points) as specified in the PHB and can be assigned as desired. A useful tool to help with the Point Buy option is available at https://chicken-dinner.com/5e/5e-point-buy.html.
Adventurers League characters must be of non-evil alignment, with one exception described later.
At character creation time, your character can sell or buy equipment using the rules found in the Player’s Handbook. Items sell at 50% of normal cost. Gold earned from selling starting equipment does not count towards the GP limit if playing in a campaign that uses it.
Forgotten Realms Characters (Seasonal, Historic, Masters)
Forgotten Realms characters can choose race and class options from the Player’s Handbook and one other resource — a rule called “PHB+1.” Note that the background is not limited by the PHB+1 rule, and players are also permitted to use the Customizing Your Background rules in the Player’s Handbook.
Spells are subject to PHB+1 for spells available at character creation and level ups. Characters that can copy spells into a ritual book or spellbook can copy spells from outside of their PHB+1, but only those they find outside of advancement — such as by capturing enemy spellbooks or purchasing scrolls.
If you want to join a faction, you must have the Safe Haven background feature. If you have a background feature that was granted by a different background, you must replace it with Safe Haven. You can read some general info about factions at https://dnd.wizards.com/dungeons-and-dragons/story/factions.
There is one evil alignment allowed for the Forgotten Realms campaign but it comes with caveats. First, it can only be Lawful Evil, and second the character must be a member of the Zhentarim or Lord’s Alliance factions. This means that evil characters will be required to use the Safe Haven background feature.
Seasonal characters are limited to the Player’s Handbook, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything for class options, but their choice of race is not restricted by the PHB+1 rule. Instead they can choose from any Player’s Handbook race, or one of the following: Aasimar, Firbolg, Goliath, Kenku, Kobold, Orc, Tabaxi, Deep Gnome, Duergar, Eladrin, Gith, Shadar-kai, and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes variants of Tiefling.
Seasonal characters start with a set of cold weather clothes in addition to other starting equipment.
Historic characters are limited to the following books: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, and Locathah Rising. Notable here is that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything options are not available for Historic characters, however the option to shuffle racial stat bonuses and proficiencies has been specifically allowed. Races with flight at 1st level and options from any resource other than the ones listed are only allowed with special documentation such as certificates, through DM reward programs, or season-specific rules.
Currently the Masters campaign uses the same character creation rules as the Historic campaign.
Characters for the Eberron campaign can be made using the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Notably, the characters are not limited by the PHB+1 rule that Forgotten Realms campaigns use.
Inter-Campaign Character Usage
Any character can play in any campaign as long as they meet the requirements for the adventure and the character creation requirements for the campaign that they’re playing in. However, Seasonal characters only earn rewards in Seasonal content and Historic characters only earn rewards from Historic content.
When a Seasonal character reaches Tier 2, they can migrate to the Historic/Masters campaign which contains the Dreams of Red Wizards content. If they do so, they are no longer eligible for Seasonal content rewards, but become eligible for Historic/Masters campaign rewards. When they migrate, they must be rebuilt to be legal characters for the campaign they are entering. Currently there is no difference in campaign rules between Historic and Masters, but that may change when the rules are finalized for those campaigns.
To play an adventure, your character must fall within the adventure’s level range. D&D levels are organized into four Tiers, as shown below.
|Tier||Rank||Level||Magic Item Limit||GP/hr** (Min)||GP/Level**||Downtime/Level**|
|1||Novice||1 - 4||1||20 (10)||80||10|
|2||Adept||5 - 10||3||30 (15)||240||20|
|3||Veteran||11 - 16||6||200 (100)||1,600||20|
|4||Heroic||17 - 20||10*||750 (375)||6,000||20|
* 8 for Eberron
** Forgotten Realms only
Tiers directly determine how many permanent magic items you can have, the minimum and maximum gold you earn per hour, the maximum gold you can earn in a level, and the number of downtime days you earn when you level up. Please note that the two types of gold limits are inclusive. For example, if you are Tier 1 and play for 5 hours, even though your (20 GP max gold per hour) * 5 hours = 100 GP, the most you can earn is 80 GP because that is the maximum you can earn per level at Tier 1. Note also that if you play a module style adventure that lasts two hours, and you take the level up as allowed, you can only collect 40 GP (20 GP/hr), so you missed out on the potential earn the 80 GP possible for that level. Your DM can help you figure all this out at the end of a session.
The number of permanent magic items a character can have at a given time is restricted by their Magic Item Limit, which is based on tier. During a session a character can use a found magic item like normal. At the end of a session if a player is going to claim a magic item that would put them over that limit, they must choose an item that it will replace. The replaced item is gone forever though, so choose wisely. Only permanent magic items count, so consumables like potions, scrolls, and ammunition don’t count towards it and neither do common rarity items.
Forgotten Realms Magic Items
Magic items uncovered during an adventure can be claimed by any or all players who participated in the adventure.
Story Items can only be held by one player but exist in an adventure if anyone playing has the Story Award for that adventure. Story items do not exist outside of their respective adventures.
Characters that manage to acquire Legendary rarity weapons prior to tier 4 do not get to claim them for use until they reach tier 4. Until then, the item does not count against the character’s Magic Item Limit. If the item is not claimed when the character reaches tier 4, it is lost.
Eberron Magic Items
Magic items are offered as a choice on the adventure record for each adventure. The choices made about which items to keep are up to each character.
Gold and other nonmagical treasure
Mundane items are generally assumed to disappear at the end of a given adventure. If an adventure lists a gold reward other than the hourly gold or on the adventure record it is ignored. Players looking to keep mundane items may do so, but must either purchase them at PHB cost, or keep them as a trinket that has no mechanical value.
Forgotten Realms Gold
Characters adventuring in the Forgotten Realms campaigns earn gold on a per-hour played basis. The DM can decide the exact nature of the reward distributing it throughout the adventure or award a lump sum at the end. DMs are encouraged to reward the maximum gold per level unless there are unusual circumstances, however players are allowed to claim the minimum if the DM-rewarded gold is lower than the minimum.
Adventure Records contain the gold rewards for the tasks in the adventure.
Leveling up allows a character to gain new abilities and expand their powers. Adventurer’s League uses Fixed Hit Point gains on level up (use half the die size + 1 instead of rolling). Characters subject to a PHB+1 rule must choose options only from the PHB and the additional book they chose. When a character can level up, they can choose to decline the level and progress more slowly. If a level is declined, however, it cannot be claimed retroactively and the character must earn another level to advance.
Characters have the option to “Catch Up” at levels 4, 10, and 16 by gaining a level without other rewards. See the setting specific sections below for details.
Of special note, characters are allowed to be rebuilt between sessions (retaining any earned rewards from adventures) changing anything about them except for their name until they play their first game at level 5.
Forgotten Realms Leveling Up
If playing a module, characters may level up at the end of the adventure. Some modules are made up of multiple adventures and others have specific instructions on how leveling up can be done. Typically, you can expect one potential level up per session at the most.
If playing in a hardcover, the DM can award a level during the session. If the DM goes longer than 4 hours of hardcover play in tier 1, or 8 hours in tier 2+, without awarding a level, the character may level up anyways.
If a character wants to catch up, they must spend downtime to do so. At level 4, it costs 20 downtime days, at level 10, it costs 80, and at level 16, it costs 200.
Eberron Leveling Up
Each Adventure Record offers a level up. When catching up at an appropriate level, simply record that you are catching up on the Adventure Record and you gain a level without any other benefits.
Players in the Forgotten Realms campaigns accrue downtime as they level up that can be spent almost as a currency. Your character can participate in downtime activities before, during, or after a session. You can use the downtime activities found in the Player’s Handbook or the following activities (see AL Players Guide for details). Others can be used if allowed by other campaign documents (lifestyle costs aren’t incurred when spending downtime days):
- Spellcasting Services
- Catching Up
- Copying Spells
- Trading Magic Items
- Brewing Potions of Healing (XGE)
- Scribing Scrolls (XGE)
Keep in mind that you cannot spend partial downtime days, only whole days.
Here are some commonly used downtime activities:
Trade Magic Items
Your character can trade a magic item with another character on a one-for-one and same-rarity basis. It costs 15 downtime days for each character if the characters are not adventuring together at the same table.
Potions of healing can be made by those with Herbalism kit proficiency for 25gp and 1 Downtime day each.
Wizards may copy spells if they’re at the same table at a cost of 50gp and 2 hours per spell level. The copying may overlap so both wizards pay the downtime for the higher amount of copying at a rate of 8 hours = 1 Downtime day. See the PHB sidebar for more details on how copying spellbooks and scrolls work.
Between sessions, your character can purchase equipment and spell components found in the Player’s Handbook or any other AL-legal player resource. Some adventures may allow such purchasing during the session, and/or make certain items available, or impose limitations on what can be purchased during a session.
Seasonal Campaign Shopping
Gold earned from selling items counts against your GP Limit.
Items can also be sold for half their listed value, although players can gain no more than 20 gp per adventure in sales.
Players can play other adventures between sessions in a hardcover. This will take some suspension of disbelief. The following is guidance for doing so:
Record all expended resources (hit points, spell slots, item charges used, etc), and when returning mark off those resources. Consumable resources used between sessions are gone.
If you level, you gain access to your new abilities upon your return as long as they aren’t dependent upon expended resources.
A character is considered to be playing the most recent hardcover they had a session in and may return to that hardcover regardless of the level restrictions of the hardcover.
Other than that, characters can switch hardcovers they’re playing in, but must meet the level restrictions of the hardcover they are going to.
Each character may only play each adventure once, however a player may use a different character if they wish to replay the adventure. DMing an adventure does not prevent the DM from playing the adventure later on.
It is considered a common courtesy if you have played the adventure previously to allow others to take the lead in discovering the adventure for themselves.