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.