I Dislike The D&D Adventurer’s League

Time to Rant

I dislike the D&D Adventurer’s League so much, I’ve never had good feelings about it. The first few times I attended was good, the players were relaxed and the Dungeon Master was loose with the rules.

Adventurer’s League is setup in a very linear way. Players always start at level 1 and keep track of their character(s). There are different campaigns usually ran by different people dependent on people’s character’s level.


1st tier: 1 -4
2nd tier: 5-10
3rd tier: 11-16
1st tier: 17-20

Last season I wanted to join but the only option available to me for the schedule I had available was a Tier 2 game. I was told I would be turned away because “it wouldn’t be fair to other players that I didn’t grind through level 1 – 5,” umm, what? I’m a seasoned player and would like to play something at any level.. I’m not against lower level characters but it didn’t fit my schedule. I asked the official twitter how I could remedy this and I was told to run games for others. So in the span of a few days I was told I can’t play but I should spend my own time and money to let others play. I already spend my time and money running a home group but I wanted to play something with new people.

Now, I don’t know how many other people are stuck with a rigid “can’t play unless you start at the beginning” situation and then don’t play but probably too many. I really feel like the many rules and regulations are one the AL prevents people from playing.


There needs to be a better setup for new players. I do think level 1 is great for learning the game but if there is a player who has been playing for a few years first level feels very slow. I think an online tracker or an app to track play and getting rid of tiered play completely. Let players join any group with 5 players or less. Finally, don’t tell people the only fix to their situation is starting their own group! Let me know what you think of the D&D Adventurer’s League down below.

Writing For Myself

So I’ve been in the process for the last year of writing a full-fledged campaign for D&D. Complete with descriptions of towns and people and lore. Very recently I polished up one of the settlements called Cliffeld

Location: Cliffeld

A small town with not much to it when you approach from the main road but it has its quirks.

There is a fairly large inn with a bar on the bottom floor. The bar serves food and beer, it’s run by Trina, a human woman who doesn’t trust many but trusts the malnourished Dwarf, Skinny McDirbbles. Skinny actually lives under the bar. At one end of the bar, there is a secret door that can be pushed open. Walk down seven steps and there is Skinny’s home. There is a hammock, a few crates, and a dull gray tapestry hanging on one wall. Making friends with Skinny will let him feel comfortable enough to show you that he has a tunnel behind the tapestry into the warehouse next door.

Opposite the bar of the inn is a courtyard and a small library. The library is unusual books are collected from passing travelers some of them in exchange for food, shelter, or drink. The books are in several languages covering magic, travel, history, and more. Twelve rooms on the second floor of the inn for the weary traveler.

There is a warehouse that backs up to the cliffside and has wide doors leading to the center of town. It’s said that this was where loggers could drop their logs into the ocean to be picked up by transport ships. After Skinny shows someone the tunnel they learn that this warehouse is now a smuggler’s port.

Other buildings in the town is a general merchant selling goods for traveling and a few houses. Things the Merchant, Kernan, doesn’t run out of are rope, iron-tipped arrows, and beans. He lives inside his shop and it’s very hard to steal from.

There is a few homes where people stay. Common tools for woodworking can be found by asking people. There is a lumberjack which, for a fee, will guide someone through the forest or help them track some thing.

Background Music For Your RPGs.

Do you ever think “I wish I could make this scene more immersive?” Well, one easy trick is to add sound. Whether it be background music, ambient sounds, or a mix of the two it can help out immensely. I’ve got a few options for you to look into.

First is Tabletop Audio, this is a free web-based player with a bunch of 10-minute audio scenes. I’ll be using this player during my next session; Lost Mine, Cavern of Lost Souls, and Skirmish for an epic dungeon playlist. You can also support the project on Patreon

Second is Battle Bards this is the best of the best. This is the Vorpal sword of RPG audio. It’s also web-based and can do playlists but it can also play multiple tracks at a time and has cropping abilities. If you want to spend money and have all the options then this is the audio solution to choose.

Lastly there is My Noise, I’ve used this to create scenes for when the team were walking through forests and there were bugs about. Or when they are in a tavern with people talking and cups clinking. This is a really versatile option. You use sliders to add sound effects or ambience to a scene and it plays indefinitely.

I think for my next session I’ll be using Tabletop Audio with a little addition from My Noise to give it that added immersion. Try it out for yourself and let me know!

Stranger Things Made Me Want to Play D&D

Have you watched Stranger Things on Netflix and thought “Man, those kids are playing Dungeons and Dragons. It looks like a blast!” Well it is. I’m going to give you some pointers on how to get started playing D&D.

While the kids of Stranger Things probably played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or D&D 2nd edition, we’re going to get you set up with D&D 5th Edition. This is the current incarnation and it’s my favorite.

So first you’ll need the rules. There is a few ways to go about this. Also we are going to assume you’ll be the dungeon master for this group.


1. Player’s Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)

So the Player’s Handbook or PHB for short, is the book most needed to play D&D. With it you can create characters, add items to your game, look up stats for spells, and all of the rules for all the nuances you can think of that an adventurer could run in to. This is what I recommend because it really does have everything.

2. Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set

This starter set is what I started with. It has the basic rules that I’ll talk about next and it also has a basic campaign. If you don’t want to create a world from scratch this is a great resource. The cheapest campaign you’ll find. I ran one session with this set and then I bought the PHB so I could add things like different weapons and help create more immersive characters. This also comes with a set of polyhedral dice, saves you a few more dollars.

3. Download the basic rules.

If you’re on an extreme budget you can download this PDF and print it out. That’s the bare minimum you need to start playing. You’ll have to come up with a campaign or world for your players to play in but this free option can get you in the door.


After the rules get dice. It’s best if each player has their own set but sharing is an option too.

Let’s adventure!

Ok, you have the rules now let’s get you an adventure. Typically a campaign is played over several sessions. The characters will play through the sessions doing three main things; exploring, fighting, and role playing. Currently I’m running an investigation heavy game. It’s a challenge with all the role playing but it’s a blast and the clues will lead them to some big fights!

What I recommend for your first campaign is to pick up an official D&D campaign. There are several campaigns ready made for 5th edition. That means the math for encounters, the way it fights with the player’s characters and all the other bits and pieces fit very well together with the things in the PHB. Here are the ones I recommend.

  1. Princes of the Apocolypse
  2. Out of the Abyss
  3. Curse of Strahd

Honorable mention is Storm King’s Thunder, it’s getting favorable reviews but I haven’t looked into it.

Once you have a campaign picked out read through it and prepare for session 0. I and many other Dungeon Master’s like to do a character creation session, often called “session zero”. I recently used Brooklyn Indie Game’s Backstory cards. Talk about adding some depth to your characters! This was so easy and added some tension in the characters before first session. If you don’t do that ask each person a problem their character had to get over and give them some family members that live somewhere in the world.

Once characters are built and backstoried set the scene. How the adventurers met, where they are headed and let it flow in to a story that the PCs and the DM tell together. Encourage them to be creative, let them roll dice for weird things, the more abstract you let them be the more immersive the story will be.

Good luck in your campaign and don’t forget to kill the Demogorgon!


Well, you’ve got characters, you’ve got a story, and hopefully you have players too. You set them down and let them wander in your world but here are some tips.

If someone wants to do something and the outcome doesn’t actually matter. Like they are fishing for information but the NPC doesn’t have any or they want to intimidate the barkeep so the beers are cheaper. Just let them do it. Not everything needs to be rolled. Especially when a failure or success means very little changes in the story.

When your player’s characters have a chance of death, telegraph that it could happen. Like if they think going up against a particular baddy is nothing tell one of them “you remember a story of one of these creatures ripping a knight from limb to limb.” Surprise deaths are a way to get a player to leave your table and never come back.

Make handouts if you’re unsure if the story that day will be exciting or if you have fidgety players. I gave out scrolls with personalized secret messages for each character this last session. It was wildly interesting to see them all have a motive to move the story in different directions.

Here are some resources you can check out.

  • DMs Guild, official store of digital content for D&D 5th edition.
  • Drivethru RPG, digital store for many RPGs. Can find system agnostic items.
  • The Tome Show, a podcast focused on discussing everything D&D.
  • JUX Games Twitter, I’ll happily answer any questions you have about D&D.

P.S. If you haven’t watched Stranger Things, get on it! Get all your friends watching it and then send them this post.

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this article generate a few pennies for me, the author, if used to purchase something. If you use them, I thank you.