DDAL DDAL: Is It Organized Enough?

DM Howard

Explorer
Do you think D&D Adventurers League is organized enough? One could argue that the free-form nature of DDAL has been what has led to it's success, but it seems hard to ignore the lack of structure compared to something like Pathfinder Society in terms of centralized reporting and general oversight. Maybe I'm seeing an issue where there isn't one, thoughts?
 

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I think DDAL at cons seems to be organized enough. At the stores and homes, who can say?

For a time, Baldman Games was the only organized play group that would routinely give you feedback survey. And I think it showed in the quality of the DMs.

One thing I do kinda miss is the region-locking and oversight of Living Greyhawk. The idea of mapping real-world areas to locations in-game might have been neat when transferred to AL and the Realms.
 


nswanson27

First Post
My biggest gripe is how lack of scheduling puts you at risk of not being able to play if you don't have a character of the correct tier that's being played, or if you've already played a module. Close second is magic item trading rules. Complicated, anti-immersive, subject to change without notice, ex post facto, and spread across multiple places.
 

Oofta

Legend
I think DDAL at cons seems to be organized enough. At the stores and homes, who can say?

For a time, Baldman Games was the only organized play group that would routinely give you feedback survey. And I think it showed in the quality of the DMs.

One thing I do kinda miss is the region-locking and oversight of Living Greyhawk. The idea of mapping real-world areas to locations in-game might have been neat when transferred to AL and the Realms.

While I enjoyed regions in LG, in part that was because I happened to be in a good region (Nyrond). Other people were not so lucky. We went to a con in a neighboring region and let's just say that if it had been our home region we would not have stuck with LG. When female PCs can be kidnapped, raped and impregnated by a god-like dragon it's just offensive. That and they had a "killer" attitude reflected in their mods by setting up scenarios you could not hope to survive unless you had a special "get out of jail free" certificate. Didn't play the correct mod, or have someone at the table who did? Too bad, your character is dead and there's nothing you can do about it.

Anyway, sorry about the rant.

The strength of the regional system was that it was fantastic if you had good coordinators and support staff. However, it was a lot of work for those coordinators and there was a lot of burnout. In addition the reporting systems were a hassle (no idea what current requirements are). While the character tracking had the semblance of being "official" documents they were easy to work around if you wanted to cheat.

As far as voting and rating DMs/players this always seemed to turn into a popularity contest and simply too easy to spoof.

Every alternative method has compromises, and I agree that the trading rules are a bit wonky (you can go to FaceBook to trade items? Really?). So a distributed system like we have now seems to be working about as well as other systems, if not the best in the world.
 

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
AL is deliberately kept as low-maintenance as possible, under the design philosophy that the kinds of players AL is trying to attract would be turned off by heavy bookkeeping and onerous character creation restrictions. The few fairly strict rules that do exist are there in the name of play balance, but are ridiculously easy to bypass in-play; I can recall one fellow who showed up at our AL table with a 4th level character wielding a weapon only available from the final combat of a hardcover adventure, but short of my choosing to void his magic item by fiat, there really wasn't much I could do about the problem.

Over time, I've come to agree with the idea that setting up a lot of campaign-specific rules and rulings is counter-productive, as it would eat up a lot of admin time simply reinforcing and communicating those rulings. Yet these days, it's hard to know what activity would have to be sacrificed in order to support such campaign-specific rulings. With content-creation basically being handed over to the DMs Guild Adepts and CCC programs, and with 'editing' still being something of a word you can't use for AL adventures without planting your tongue firmly in your cheek, it seems like the main activity of AL admins these days is simply posting in the AL Facebook group(s). (Excepting Lysa Chen, who has somehow managed to wrangle enough content for the AL website to have updated the site on a weekly basis with new articles for a good couple of months; that's no mean feat.)

Still, it'll be interesting to see if the relatively casual nature of AL, which enables drop-in play with relative ease, won't end up facilitating drop-out-to-play-something-else play when the next cool thing comes along.

--
Pauper
 

You’re not talking about The Bandit Kingdoms are you? There’s actually a book that chronicles the events of that LG region, and that description sounds a heck of a lot like what's described therein.

I’ll certainly agree that the LG system definitely relied more on individual excellence (or the lack there of), whereas AL provides a more uniformly quality experience.

While I enjoyed regions in LG, in part that was because I happened to be in a good region (Nyrond). Other people were not so lucky. We went to a con in a neighboring region and let's just say that if it had been our home region we would not have stuck with LG. When female PCs can be kidnapped, raped and impregnated by a god-like dragon it's just offensive. That and they had a "killer" attitude reflected in their mods by setting up scenarios you could not hope to survive unless you had a special "get out of jail free" certificate. Didn't play the correct mod, or have someone at the table who did? Too bad, your character is dead and there's nothing you can do about it.

Anyway, sorry about the rant.

The strength of the regional system was that it was fantastic if you had good coordinators and support staff. However, it was a lot of work for those coordinators and there was a lot of burnout. In addition the reporting systems were a hassle (no idea what current requirements are). While the character tracking had the semblance of being "official" documents they were easy to work around if you wanted to cheat.
 

Oofta

Legend
You’re not talking about The Bandit Kingdoms are you? There’s actually a book that chronicles the events of that LG region, and that description sounds a heck of a lot like what's described therein.

I’ll certainly agree that the LG system definitely relied more on individual excellence (or the lack there of), whereas AL provides a more uniformly quality experience.

I believe it was the bandit kingdoms. Another aspect of the region was that we were told our characters (who happened to be good aligned) would never be successful in the region because of what you needed to do to beat certain scenarios.

The point of my story is that while I have no problem with certain story lines or alignment restrictions in a home campaign, open/living campaigns should welcome the majority of people without such restrictions. I miss the days of Nyrond and the feeling that my PC was contributing to the success of the kingdom. I put up with the slightly generic feel of AL because while it's a compromise, I think that compromise may be necessary.
 

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