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What’s this about only using 4-hour adventures?!

As some of you may have heard recently, the D&D Adventurers League admin team recently decided to do away with 8 hour adventures.



Why? Well, because we’ve listened to the feedback as generated by our gaming public. The players and Dungeon Masters out there in the world have spoken, and our ears were open. Ever since season 1 (Tyranny of Dragons), convention organizers and DMs have often spoken about how difficult it is to schedule those games – and if they split a game into multiple days or sessions, how hard it is to make sure that people actually get to play both sides. We even pulled use-case scenarios from our various AO adventures (Author Only; hopefully you’ve played one or two!) to better determine if people even have an interest in 4-hour tier 3 and tier 4 games.

We found some pretty interesting things.

SO! While creating the list of adventures for this season, we found that we could pretty easily make some adjustments that will bring our vision more in-line with the expectations that our gamers have expressed. I’ll use the adventure that I’m designing for this season as an example:

DD05-08 Durlag’s Tower (part 1) – 4 hours – tier 3

DD05-09 Durlag’s Tower (part 2) – 4 hours – tier 3

We thought about getting creative with the names, but for simplicity’s sake decided to keep them at “part 1” and “part 2”.  However, in our quest to ensure that the play experience stays fair and balanced, we will need to introduce a few play guidelines for these adventures:


Characters are NOT required to play both halves of the adventure, and they CAN have a rewarding play experience by participating in only “part 1” or “part 2”. We encourage characters to experience “part 1” followed by “part 2”, as reversing those adventures may lead to a less-than-desirable play experience (but is still ‘legal’ and a valid option).


Characters may level up normally if they have enough experience to do so between “part 1” and “part 2” unless the adventure dictates otherwise. They may also participate in downtime activities as they desire. 


Characters may temporarily “bank” their rewards from the “part 1” adventure. If a character chooses to do this, they must record their downtime, xp, gp, and renown awardson their logsheet but they may elect to delay the actual receipt of those awards until they complete “part 2”. If the character participates in any other adventure prior to playing in “part 2”, they immediately gain the previously-delayed rewards as indicated on their logsheet. This may cause the character to no longer be eligible to participate in “part 2”.

We are effectively adding a bunch of additional adventures to the Storm King’s Thunder lineup so that more people can experience the higher-level content in a more appropriate manner. The above play guidelines will be entered into the Season 5 Player’s Guide, and they do NOT apply to previous two-round adventures from earlier seasons.

Something else of note is that these are indeed full adventures that are intended to be a stand-alone experience if needed. Our desire is to have people play them in order, but mandating a play order is not always ideal (besides, everyone just played an entire season that used a near-mandatory play order and it’s too soon to revisit that concept). If you play in “part 1” or “part 2”, you can expect to find a permanent magic item in those adventures just like every other adventure we’ve published… which means that not only does this season have more adventures and content than any season before it, but also that there are more magic items than ever before! Plus, you may have noticed that magic items are not included in rule #3 above – this is intentional. Use your shiny new toys to finish the fight, and gather the full rewards when you’re done!

Dungeons & Dragons is a game about choices and actions, reactions and community. What do you think about this? Let us know at [email protected], on Facebook, or even over on Twitter. You can also preview the Appendix that we will be adding to the 2-part adventures (subject to final changes).

Until next time… get to rollin’ those dice; the monsters aren’t gonna crit themselves! You can find more information about Storm King’s Thunder – Season 5 of the D&D Adventurers League – elsewhere on our site.

Alan Patrick
Latest posts by Alan Patrick (see all)

Author: Alan Patrick

Hailing from the wilds of central Michigan, Alan has provided a warm home to a wife and two cats over the years. Of course, they all have to fight with the ever-expanding collection of beholder-related paraphernalia - and the recent arrival of his son.

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  1. So, what is the benefit of “banking” the rewards? (ignoring the about being ineligible to continue)

    • If a character were to receive their benefits at the end of the “part 1” adventure, and that xp value would place them out of tier (for example, if they played “part 1” as a level 16 character that only needed 900 xp to hit level 17!) they can choose to bank those rewards. They can then play through “part 2” and finish the story, without leveling out of tier, and then receive the full value of the banked benefits at the end of “part 2”.

  2. Will magic items be “banked” as well by the DM or distributed at the end of each section of the 2 part adventures?

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