Gaudium et Utilis: On Adventurer’s League, and Organized Play in General.

This is a short post that I’m writing now instead of prepping for today because I read something unfortunately early this morning that I’ve been spending a lot of cycles on.

What happened was a question was posed on one of the Adventurer’s League Facebook groups, the question was answered, someone didn’t like the rule, and then the thread spiraled out of control. By the end a player who was not getting the point had driven one of the regional organizers to I’m-ready-to-step-down-from-this-position levels of frustration.

I have a decent amount of experience with organized play in general, and some experience with the new Adventurer’s League. The problem in this particular case was that the player was not understanding the point of organized play at all, but just in general, if you think AL’s rules are overbearing, maybe organized play isn’t for you. AL is very light on rules, and it’s very generous with what options are available to both DMs and players. The AL Player’s Guide is 21 fluffy pages. The Living Greyhawk Campaign Sourcebook was 78 rather dense pages. Pretty much all the AL rules do is try to level the playing field enough that nobody feels like their character is objectively inferior to anyone else’s, and establish the house rules so everyone gets to experience the campaign the same way. If you can’t live with that, maybe you should find a different medium for play.

Nobody out there is saying you can’t or shouldn’t buy the adventure books and run the D&D Encounters games at home with your own home rules. If that sounds like fun to you, definitely do it, but don’t feel like you have the right to bring your home brew characters into AL games at conventions just because it’s the same plot line. This is one of those “your right to swing your fist ends at the other person’s nose” situations. You can come up with your own rules, that’s the point of the game, but it’s just rude to show up at someone else’s table and insist on using your own rules when everyone else has already agreed on different ones.

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