There’s been a lot of talk recently about the relationship between the D&D Adventurer’s League, D&D Encounters, D&D Expeditions, and how much playtime people can expect versus how many characters they want to play.
There are a number of ways we can discuss the topic, but let’s look at the one of the core features of the new D&D Adventurer’s League today:
more play options, more often
The D&D Encounters program is designed to give players some regularly scheduled play options. There are a couple of differences between previous seasons – notably the early, 4th Edition seasons – but it’s always good to know that players have a regular Wednesday play day, no matter where they are in the world. As a DM that used to spend nearly 8 months a year on the road for work, let me tell you: D&D Encounters certainly helps to scratch that D&D itch!
However, sometimes players may want to have longer games, or more involved storylines. D&D Encounters, with the intentionally episodic nature, does not always truly satisfy this craving. A long-term, “let’s level all the way to 20!” concept is what many people associate with Dungeons and Dragons… and that’s where today’s post comes in. The Encounters program has existed to give people not only a taste of Dungeons & Dragons, but also to sample the new works that may be available at your favorite local gaming store. The Adventurer’s League is highlighting a lot of this with the mentality of “if it’s published by Wizards of the Coast, it’s compatible with the Adventurer’s League” (with some minimal, potential exceptions in the future, I’d imagine). The upcoming season of D&D Encounters is called Tyranny of Dragons, and the Encounters material will only be covering the first few levels of experience… but what about the full version of the adventure? What if you want to play in some of the D&D Expeditions adventures over the weekend?
Well, the full, printed version of Tyranny of Dragons will cover most, if not all, of the full 20 levels of experience for a player. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on how specific events in the adventure are handled. Should you choose to play through the full version of the adventure you may find yourself outside of the level range of your friends at the local gameshop
The content for D&D Expeditions exists to supplement the material in the core storyline. The Expeditions adventures will provide deeper context and meaning for the events in Tyranny of Dragons, and will serve to shed greater light on the happenings all around not only Phlan, but Faerun at-large as Tiamat gathers her forces and sends them into the world. This can also explain why there is a wide variety of low-level content available for players, right from day one; heroes, no matter how powerful or tricky, simply cannot be everywhere.
It’s a delicate balancing act, for sure. I know that I’d love to spend more time playing my favorite characters in the new system but when I look at the wide variety of content that is speeding towards us, I have to admit that simply makes sense to have people play through Lost Mine of Phandelver, Tyranny of Dragons, and the Expeditions adventures with more than one character. Sometimes I need first team on the front lines (Tyranny) while I send another team of go-getters on secondary missions, recovery tasks, resupply runs, and so on. It’s a like a chess game, really, in that we need to have all of the right pieces in exactly the right places in order to win the battle.
The story is too large and too involved for a single character to “do it all” – though I look forward to hearing about everyone’s exploits as they try to do so!
D&D Encounters is just a taste of Tyranny of Dragons
D&D Expeditions supports the events in Tyranny of Dragons
D&D Epics serves to make pivotal events more interactive and reachable!