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Zeroing in on Gold

Last week, we presented a draft of some of the changes we plan on implementing in the Season 9 Adventurers League Player’s Guide and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Among the changes we’re proposing for Season 9 is a change in how gold is awarded and accrued—changing it from a level-based “allowance” to something a bit more immersive. In reviewing the change and the feedback that you provided in response to it, we felt that some additional fine-tuning was in order if we wanted something that was both immersive and practical.

The ultimate goal is to create a system that is easy to use, support various play styles in various environments—whether it’s at home, a library, a game store, or a large convention—all while still maintaining the immersive experience that D&D should provide and minimizing the amount of work necessary to bring previous adventures and hardcovers into the fold. Immersion? Yes, please! Simplicity? Uh-uh. A little of each? You betcha. In response, we offer a slightly different method of gold accrual. This time, the idea to give DMs a bit more freedom in how and where these particular rewards are earned. This is where you, both players and DMs alike, come in. In anticipation for the survey we’ll be opening up in the near future, here are the most recent drafts of the two core campaign documents (ALPG and ALDMG v9.x.1).

This method allows DMs the ability to award each character in the group a certain amount of gold based on their tier (for example’s sake, tier 1 characters earn 25 gp per hour) during a given session—deciding precisely how and when it’s done. Defeat a noteworthy enemy? Boom, gold. Safely unlock and open a trapped chest? Boom, gold. Save a caravan owner from bandits? Boom, gold. All given out and available on the spot—no waiting until the end of the session. The DM could divide that hourly parcel into smaller portions to dispense at their discretion (if, for example, the characters are in a barracks and find a number of footlockers, the DM could add treasure into each one). Or the characters defeat the fire giant, rescue the lord’s son, and find the secret compartment that contains the deed to the lord’s iron mine that the giant received as ransom—all in the span of an hour—each event can provide them with a bit of treasure. On the flip side, your DM can choose to postpone awarding gold rewards until the end of the session and award the cumulative total all at once–an option that some DMs may prefer to do in a busy, loud convention hall or in situations where the treasure is a large, lump reward given to the characters as a reward for a greater mission. Particularly immersive DMs might consider awarding different characters at different times; perhaps one character’s brother shows up in the middle of the adventure to bequeath the character their share of their dead father’s estate, while another finds a cache of diamonds in a chest and wants to pocket them without the others knowing. Kapow, do it. So long as the characters earn or find the gold, however they do so is up to the player and the DM; it can be as simple or as complex as suits their play style. Best of all, when used correctly, the players won’t notice how it’s working.

Earning gold absolutely shouldn’t be a guarantee, though. What if this same rule afforded DMs the discretion to withhold gold rewards if the characters aren’t trying to earn or find it? Though the campaign stance would be that DMs award the maximum amount of gold in a given session as a matter of practice, what about extending the discretion to withhold rewards for characters that don’t explore their environment, take risks or perform unheroic acts—such as getting arrested or fleeing from a battle that would otherwise award them with treasure? Should heroism pay off? So if a group is just blasting through a dungeon without taking the time to search for valuables, why should they find them?

This also allows us to address DM Rewards—an area that many of you expressed concerns with. Fret not, we had these in mind, and this method allows us an easy method of ensuring that characters created using DM Rewards also have enough gold to get by. For each advancement checkpoint you award your DM Rewards-created character, add the hourly allotment of gold. Done. Next!

Now, this could potentially require a bit more preparatory work on the part of the DM. But whether or not that’s the case is entirely dependent on the DM and how they utilize this guidance. In addition to these changes, the most recent draft of the campaign documents include some expansions on the “no progression” option (something we’ve got the go ahead to open up to include all hardcover adventures) and the addition of common magic items to the Magic Item Table—all for you to peruse in anticipation for the survey we’ll be opening up in the near future.

Adventurers League Players Guide v9.X.1
Adventurers League Dungeon Master’s Guide v9.X.1

Travis Woodall

Spawned in the fires of California in the time of disco and bell-bottoms, Travis Woodall now calls the soggy Pacific Northwest his home.Having played more systems than he can count from about twelve years of age, D&D has always been the game he has inevitably been drawn back to.Though he is usually found slumped lifelessly in front of his computer amongst a sea of empty beer bottles, Travis is also known to enjoy reading, writing, and on rare occasion, spending time with his wife of 15 years and his son.
Travis Woodall

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Author: Travis Woodall

Spawned in the fires of California in the time of disco and bell-bottoms, Travis Woodall now calls the soggy Pacific Northwest his home. Having played more systems than he can count from about twelve years of age, D&D has always been the game he has inevitably been drawn back to. Though he is usually found slumped lifelessly in front of his computer amongst a sea of empty beer bottles, Travis is also known to enjoy reading, writing, and on rare occasion, spending time with his wife of 15 years and his son.

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  1. Honestly, this doesn’t seem any simpler. Just worse than the previous attempt.

    1) You cut the Tier 4 gold rewards by 54%. Previously it was 750gp * 16TP per level = 12,000 gp per level. Now it’s 700gp per hour * 8 hours = 5,600 gp per level. Absolutely no change in simplicity here. Just changing one multiplier for another lower one.

    2) It also raises an additional question… How does this work with the “no advancement” option with the gold being tied to the hours played vs the rewards earned.

    • 3) You could have tied DM rewards to number of TP earned from the previous S9 ALPG. Again… zero change in simplicity. Just worse for all involved.

      • I think a better solution would be to have players earn a certain amount of gold based on the magic items they unlock.

        This brings back the immersion for hoards that contain magic items. And most adventures that don’t give magic items also don’t give much gold either.

        Unlock Rarity / Gold Earned Per Character
        Common / 50 gp
        Uncommon / 100 gp
        Rare / 500 gp
        Very Rare / 1000 gp
        Legendary / 5000 gp

        In most cases this will line up with the gold amounts from this latest ALPG, but it will also provide a better reward for characters who find a hoard as it should be.

        • The problem with this is that adventures are not consistent. There are plenty of ways to get gold without finding basic items (ToA) is a prime example.

          Now, as a DM, I can let the bard talk up the reward, let the rogue steal a sword, let the fighter fight for loot, etc.
          This is better imo than season 7.

    • Your math doesn’t add up.

      The amount of gold per level is unchanged at tier 4.
      The amount of gold has increased in tiers 1 thru 3.

      Tier 1 previously 75g now 100g
      Tier 2 previously 150g now 200g
      Tier 3 previously 550g now 1440g
      Tier 4 previously 5500g now 5500g

    • Ok, I am not sure where you are getting the 16TP per level for tier 4 but then again, maybe I am missing something somewhere. I only have it at 8 TP per level.

      I sat down and figured out the differences between season 8 and 9 and this is what I came up with (gold per level):

      Tier 1 – 25gp per level
      Tier 2 – 50gp per level
      Tier 3 – 50gp per level (this may have changed now to 890gp per level difference)
      Tier 4 – 500gp per level

      So now it appears that we get a big jump in gold in tier 3 (for some strange reason) and minor jumps in gold at the other tiers. Also, this also depends on what the party finds in the module. If you do not find enough items of worth to match this level you do not get it. (ex: tier 1 you get 25gp per TP. If you have 6 players in a module, that means for a 4 hour tier one module, you have to fine AT LEAST 600GP worth of stuff to actually get the gold. IF not, you get less) So at they have put it, there is no guarantee that you will get the gold now.

      Another note: Looking in the ALDMG at the spell services. It says for Raise dead, resurrection, true resurrection that you can get these spells by buying the spells scrolls as well. Ok…raise dead is level 5 so that is 5K for the scroll (does not count the 500gp for the diamond). Resurrection is a level 7 spell (1000GP for spell components) so do not know how much that is as that high is not listed and you can forget about True Resurrection as it is level 9 with 25K in spell component costs. Someone might want to think through that part again.

      In the end it seems that you raised the gold a little bit (except for tier 3 which I expect someone to claim was a typo and change) but no guarantee that you can get it. Does not seem that you really fixed the situation….just sort of maybe made it better….or worse depending on what the party does now. At least you got the party back to searching for stuff again and not just bypassing it since they really did not get anything from the mods.

      • In tier 3 and 4, it’s 8 ACP per level and 2 TCP per ACP.

  2. Personally, I absolutely hate the way AL does treasure and magic items. Completely ruins the game flow and role play. It makes AL into more of a dungeon crawl than a role playing game.

    • While I agreed with this at first, I’ve seen some more incredible roleplay come from season 8 than previously. The adventures don’t require brute force in most cases (which really they didn’t before but people seem more inclined to let the roleplay happen).

  3. I like the overall concept of the CAP. I still think that we need more gold espically for wizards. I would also like to see more things to spend gold on. Examples: Home, holdings, businesses, ships, etc. Remember that not everyone can go to a con. As fir me, I intend to play up when the party is paid, finds treasure, etc. Then explane that the CAP represents the fact of what they did with the excess gold and treasure as they had a big party, gambled, etc. We can roleplay that. As I said, I still think you are being too tight fisted with the gold rewards. It’s not like it’s coming out of your bank accounts. Also, add more things to spend Downtime and gold on.

  4. I agree with the previous comment.
    I dont want to buy magic items in the shop, i want to find its and gold in the dungeons. ACP is ok, TCP is weird. The same amount gold for level 1 tier 1 character and level 10 tier 2 character is obviously weird.
    Seasonality for me mean I will not play 9th season.
    Just give back old roleplaying spirit. Dont want to learn Pathfinder rules.

  5. I think the concept overall is a large improvement. It gives Dungeon Masters more flexibility in how they award treasure. It gets back to rewarding treasure instead of abstract points, which adds to the roleplay element. It continues to limit the amount of coinage awards, which is necessary with the publishing of the consumable item price list in Xanathar’s.

    The amounts could be adjusted, but if people want their wizards to get more scribing done, that has to be balanced against everyone else loading up on consumable items and full plate armor. The table used to award gold per hour doesn’t need to be strictly tied to tier – it’s a bit simpler that way, but logically there’s nothing wrong with having a few more rows on that table. Breaking up Tier 2 and Tier 3 into more brackets could smooth out the curve and eliminate the big jumps.

  6. This is an improvement on Season 8 and the Gold is potentially better.
    Season 9 All Seasons Season 8
    GP per hour Max GP Level Tier Hours TP AP Max GP
    25 100 1 1 4 4 4 75
    25 100 2 1 4 4 4 75
    25 100 3 1 4 4 4 75
    25 100 4 1 4 4 4 75
    25 200 5 2 8 8 8 150
    25 200 6 2 8 8 8 150
    25 200 7 2 8 8 8 150
    25 200 8 2 8 8 8 150
    25 200 9 2 8 8 8 150
    25 200 10 2 8 8 8 150
    180 1440 11 3 8 16 8 550
    180 1440 12 3 8 16 8 550
    180 1440 13 3 8 16 8 550
    180 1440 14 3 8 16 8 550
    180 1440 15 3 8 16 8 550
    700 5600 16 4 8 16 8 5500
    700 5600 17 4 8 16 8 5500
    700 5600 18 4 8 16 8 5500
    700 5600 19 4 8 16 8 5500
    31200 25950

  7. I’m not sure I like the way that a maximum for gold is being proposed. Maybe for lower level characters but if you’re LV8 and above it’s not that big of a deal. The TCP for items has it’s good and bad points. For instance, I like the way players are able to choose items they want for their character. Sadly, this is still limited to what is Evergreen and what is unlocked for a certain season. For running the hardcover adventures in the AL I’m assuming that not all items can be unlocked? Maybe someone can clarify. Regardless, if something potentially unbalancing is unlocked and multiple players have saved their TCP and purchase it between adventures it becomes even more of a problem.

    Honestly, I think the old days of certs & awarding an item to a player, and then allowing them to trade was a little better. At least there wasn’t a flood of characters having Bags of Holding & virtually unlimited scrolls & potions…

  8. To help smooth this even more (I can imagine sequences where you find half the cap one session and 5 times it the next, resulting in a net strain). Can we set it up to allow players to collect up to the hourly cap PLUS the amount of gold they’ve spent in this session?

    The idea that you can’t add found gold to offset what you happened to spend before finding it (all within one session) just makes no sense, and I’ve had some DMs just ignore gold or give out extra at the start to compensate.

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