Adventurers League

The D&D Adventurers League (DDAL) is a system offered by Wizards of the Coast 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.

Adventurers League Overview

Adventurers League uses Rules As Written (RAW) from the sourcebooks listed in the Official Documentation below 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 below. 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 of level 5, use point buy or standard array for stats, and use background and starting equipment to get going. Adventure rewards are standardized as well. For example, and adventure might Adventurers League now has several campaigns, and the characters you create are campaign-specific (a Forgotten Realms campaign character cannot play in a different campaign, such as Ravenloft Misthunters). There are different rules documents for each campaign. You can join an adventure when your character meets the adventure’s requirements: for example, a Tier 1 adventure set in the Forgotten Realms requires an AL-legal character for Forgotten Realms that is between level 1-4.

Adventurers League uses the honor system when it comes to leveling and treasures earned in previous adventures. 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.

Where to Find Rules and Details

To learn about the available DDAL campaigns and specific rules, please visit the official D&D Adventurers League website:

Sage Advice Compendium

Not official rules, but expert opinion on rules interpretation and intent: https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/sage-advice/sage-advice-compendium

A Handy Tool for Character Creation Point-Buy Option

A useful tool to help with the Point Buy option is available at https://chicken-dinner.com/5e/5e-point-buy.html

Before Play

Know How To Use Fantasy Grounds Unity

Please do not join a game expecting that the GM and the other players will give you training on how to use Fantasy Grounds Unity during the session. Most Adventurers League games have a set amount of content timed to run in 4 hours. If the group spends an hour teaching you basic things that you should already know, content will need to be cut, and it won’t be a fun experience for everyone.

So, please check out Fantasy Grounds Academy. The people there are fantastic, patient, and understand FGU better than anyone - and they have regular online training classes that go through not just the basics but also advanced topics - all for free!

At the very least, you should know:

  • How to load and manage your own character without asking for help from the GM.
  • How to use your abilities, roll for initiative, ability and skill checks, etc.
  • How to manage your inventory.
  • What effects are and how to manage them on your character, as well as offensively.

Many times a GM will assist new players with these things but you will have a much more pleasurable experience if you learn these things before joining a game, and don’t need a ton of help getting things set up.

Bonus Points

Your GM will love you if you pre-target things during combat and are ready with your actions and can get through your turn without spending a long time thinking about things. Combat can take a long time if everyone is waiting until their turn to decide what to do.

Useful Resources

At the very least watch the following so you get an idea of how to use Fantasy Grounds Unity:

Set Up Your Audio In Discord

The audio channel in games is very important as it is the primary mode of communication between the DM and the player on what they want to do. Background noise, slow muting/unmuting, or a hot mike can be distracting and impair play. It’s good game etiquette to set up your Discord audio to both optimal for you and the rest of the table.

You get to Voice-and-Video options by clicking the setttngs cog in Discord and scrolling down to “Voice and Video”.

Unless you’re the DM (who needs to speak continuously), you should probably go to Push-to-Talk mode rather than Voice Activity. You can map the keybind for push-to-talk to whatever key suits best. You should avoid the “CONTROL” key as it is used by Fantasy Grounds. Generally an unused button on your mouse works best.

Even if you have a good mute/unmute function on your headset, Push-to-Talk is probably superior than manually muting/unmuting. As it’s easy to forget and leave the audio on, wheras Push-to-talk you have to hold the button down.

Other options:

  • Turn on either Noise Cancellation (Krisp) or Noise Suppression. Also turn on Echo Cancellation. These will greatly improve the quality of the audio from you, particularly if you have AC running in the background. Sometimes Krisp can cause issues, if so turn it off and use Noise Suppression instead.

  • As far as possible, when it’s not your turn, use the text chat in Fantasy Grounds and whispering to other players/the DM, e.g. if there are rules questions, or table banter.

    This is preferable than interrupting the DM and the players whose turn it is, as the DM doesn’t have to cognitively switch between dealing with your issue and then back to the player. Obviously, some things are best sorted out then and there (like helping the player whose turn it is with making sure their targeting and effects are right). But if it’s not urgent, text chat and whispers are good options.

Have Fun!

Fun is mandatory!

Remember that the primary goal of playing an RPG is to have fun. By coming to the table prepared, you will ensure that you will not be unintentionally making the game less fun for everyone.

Code of Conduct

The FG PUG Discord Server wants all participants to be able to enjoy themselves and have a good time. To promote a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, all members are expected to adhere to the following Code of Conduct.

  1. Participants must conduct themselves in a manner that is conducive to the enjoyment and safety of all members.

    • Avoid excessively vulgar, sexual, or mature language and subjects, or pictures/graphics depicting them.
    • Let other members speak and avoid talking over or interrupting others.
    • Avoid excessive cross-talk that is not relevant to the game being played.
    • Allow other players to get the attention of the Gamemaster.
    • Discourage others from using social media to bully, shame, or intimidate other members.
    • Avoid outside conversations during game play. If you must take an outside call or message, please excuse yourself from the table until it is completed.
    • Aggressive behavior are grounds for immediate dismissal from the play area and the premises. Aggressive behavior includes threats of physical aggression; use of racial, gender-based, cultural, or other slurs against other members; harassment of members; or threats thereof.
    • Sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated and are grounds for immediate dismissal from the server. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to: vulgar or sexual language, comments, gestures, or jokes; the display of sexually explicit objects or messages; derogatory commentary on a person’s looks, age, dress, linguistic tradition, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or gender identity (among others); or persistent sexual or romantic advances without the other person’s willing participation.
  2. If you see something, say something.

    • Members who feel unsafe due to the words or actions of others should notify their Gamemaster or an administrator immediately.
    • To notify an adminstrator, send a direct message in discord to one of the administrators listed at the top right of FG PUG’s discord chat.
    • Members who notice disruptive or unsafe behavior may attempt to make the person exhibiting the behavior aware of their actions (if they feel safe doing so). Members who feel uncomfortable bringing the behavior to the attention of the person exhibiting the behavior should notify an administrator immediately.
    • Gamemasters have the right to ask disruptive players to leave a game.
    • Server administrators have the right to ban disruptive, aggressive, or disrespectful members from membership in the FG-PUG Discord Server.
  3. No pay-to-play.

    • DMs and players are here only for the love of gaming. No pay-to-play advertisements or pay-to-play games are permitted on this server, unless explicitly permitted by an administrator. If you wish to advertise a pay-to-play, get administrator permission first.
    • Failure to adhere with our pay-to-play policy may result in banishment from the FG PUG discord server.
  4. Confidentiality.

    • When reporting a Code of Conduct violation, server members have no obligation or requirement to provide their actual names. All communications may be made via Discord direct messaging, using discord handles.
    • The confidentiality of those that that are reported and those that report is maintained by using direct messaging with administrators.
    • When reporting a Code of Conduct violation, server members have no obligation or requirement to provide their actual names. All communications may be made via Discord direct messaging, using discord handles.
    • The confidentiality of those that that are reported and those that report is maintained by using direct messaging with administrators.
    • Administrators will disclose information only on a need-to-know basis to decision-making personnel of FGPUG, such as assigned server administrators and involved event staff. The amount of that information will be limited to the amount necessary to support decision-making. This policy covers all reports, anonymous or not.
  5. Streaming

    • If a GM wants to stream a game, this must be advertised on the listing along with the platform / service it will be streamed to.
    • If any game participant wishes to record and/or stream a game, all participants must explicitly consent to being recorded and/or streamed.
    • If a player signs up to a game that is advertised as being streamed, the player is taken to consent to being streamed.

FG PUG is an inclusive environment. If you take one thing away from this Code of Conduct, let it be “be kind to each other”.

Find Games

Pick Up Game (PUG): a game that is spontaneous, players are generally invited to show up beforehand, but there is no sense of ongoing obligation and teams may vary based on who shows up.

Campaign: a continuing storyline or set of adventures involving the same (or mainly the same) characters. Spans more than one session of play and involves a longterm commitment by the gamemaster and players.

Fantasy Grounds Pick Up Games provides an easy, virtual meeting place for GMs and players to play pick up games using the Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop software.

  • We provide game scheduling tools along with voice and text channels to support scheduled games.
  • DMs and players can engage with a variety of people, learn from each other, and may go on to form groups of like-minded individuals that commit to longterm campaigns.
  • Although our main focus is PUGs, campaigns may be run on the server as long as any unoccupied seats are made available for guest players from the community.
  • We welcome and support new players and gamemasters!

Getting Started

  1. Review our Code of Conduct https://fgpug.com/#code-of-conduct
  2. If you don’t already have one, create an account with Discord https://discord.com and install the Discord chat client.
  3. Click this invitation link https://discord.gg/HZDmyYu and allow the FG PUG Discord server to be added to your list of Discord servers.
  4. Select your role (player, DM or both) by following the welcome instructions when you arrive at the FG PUG Discord server. IMPORTANT - missing the above step will prevent you from accessing the ability to sign up for games!
  5. Access our Warhorn game calendar and sign-up for games:
    • Get an acccount on https://warhorn.net/
    • In your Warhorn account settings, set your Name to match your discord name.
    • In your Warhorn account settings, set Time zone to match your local timezone.
    • In your Warhorn account settings, go to Social Apps Time and link your discord.
    • Register with FGPUG at https://warhorn.net/events/fantasy-grounds-pickup-games
    • Click the schedule button to view upcoming games in Calendar or Agenda (list) format, and sign up!
  6. Please remember to cancel your sign-up if you can’t make it to a game! This allows waitlisted players to get your spot.

Note About Timezones

We have players from all over joining games, and DMs in different timezones as well. Make sure you set Warhorn user settings to display events in your local timezone!

I am New to Fantasy Grounds!

We highly recommend you check out Fantasy Grounds College at https://fantasygroundscollege.net/. The people there are super knowledgable and patient and can help you learn the software. Lessons are free, and are interactive and you will learn everything you need to know in order to use Fantasy Grounds.

I Want to Be a DM!

That’s awesome! We love to see new DMs joining the server. In fact, we have a quarterly DM mentoring program. Check out the #dm-mentoring channel on our discord server for details. If you don’t need mentoring, that’s fine too! Anyone can offer games.

As a community we strive to be very welcoming to new players and DMs! Just let people know you are new, ask for help, and you should be able to expect friendly support here.

If you’re new to Fantasy Grounds, we recommend you spend some time as a player, learning the software, before you start DMing - mainly because you don’t want to be figuring it out during play.

I Have Questions!

Feel free to ask in #general-chat discord channel in the Fantasy Ground Pick Up Games discord server - someone will answer.