DDAL DDAL - Thoughts and questions

Cheers folks,

as we wrapped up our glorious To slay a Dragon campaign (mucho gracias to EN for that) I was casting for new things to play with that specific group. For logistical reasons, I was taking a closer look at the DDAL stuff and while I've been reading and digging on and off for weeks, there's a few basic questions left unanswered. So, here goes, in my usual jumble-brained unordered fashion.

  • Is there a list of all published DDAL material? Just something like a list with names, levels and a link to the product on DMsGuild would do
  • As for names, what's with all those abbreviations for those modules? DDAL is easy enough to figure out, but DDEX? There seems to be CCC as well, and EB, and light knows what else that I've missed. Is there a concise list of these buggers somewhere?
Ok, now somewhat more free-flow.
We ended the last session right after the party downed Cirothe (EPIC fight). So, instead of having them monty haul carts full of treasure I'm contemplating dragging through the fog into Ravenloft (ok, I might allow them to return Ariadne home and be celebrated as heroes and THEN pull them over). Looking at
DMsGuild (yes, I'm capable of searching there :D) the modules fitting them level-wise would be DDAL04-7 through 14. But, are they a somewhat connected story? If so, is #7 enough of a start, or would the party feel like they entered someone elses campaign halfway through?

Since we agreed to pause those characters for a while and start with a fresh bunch but come back to the old heroes later and switch back and forth: Would it be feasible to have two groups in the same DDAL storyline (Stradh, likely), some playing tier 1 others tier 2, with the same players? I was hoping for cool synergies where one party comes across something that the players will recognize and go "Oh, that was us with the other party. SHWEET!".

In closing, any other input you would give someone trying their hands on AL, purely for home table, basically as a series of losely connected single session modules?
 

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Andy Dempz

Villager
The AL players pack (free on DMsGuild) includes the Content Catalog which answers most of your questions (it has a list of AL mods and documentation for running the hardcover adventures under AL rules).

DDEX and DDAL are the same thing. The DDEX designation was a holdover from the previous organized play system.

CCC mods are written for conventions or other approved events. They take place in the Moonsea region with the exception of the Moonshaes campaign (Baldman Games) and Border Kingdoms (Gamehole Con).

EB is the Eberron campaign. It has slightly different rules. Characters cannot cross between the FR campaign and Eberron. There are actually two Eberron campaigns and they are similarly compartmentalized. The ongoing in is Oracle of War.

Season 4 was the first AL season to use a sequential storyline.you could jump around in the previous ones without much trouble. However, it’s still written for drop in play. Perhaps other folks can answer your question about starting with 4-7, I seem to remember Merric reviewing them all on his blog.
 




Thanks for those. I've picked up everything from the Wotc free stuff page, but that seems to be largely SKT related modules.

And writing stuff, regardless of which story line, isn't really what I'm going for. I'm in fact going to keep using modules so I don't have to write :)

Before I cough up the coin for the Ravenloft DDAL bundle: how well does that connect to the CoS hardcover? Would running a group of new chars through the HC and the established chars through the AL mods (tier 2) be viable?
 

OK, so, how viable does this sound:
I'll start the actual CoS hardcover for the new characters and run the estbkiahed group through DDAL 7 through 14.
I know hardly anything about either storylines, so I don't know how well that would mesh, if at all are the HC and DDAL stuff even set in the same instance if Barovia? Are there any parallels at all? Or would that be largely a waste if time?
 

jasper

Rotten DM
I have ran season 4 and scanned the hard cover. It basically same small country but different ends. If you going to homebrew it no problems if you can get the pieces to fit. If you going to AL using the Season 9 rules (one level per module and 4 or 8hours per level in the hardcover) it maybe difficult to keep the pcs at level equal to the encounter level.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I'm contemplating dragging through the fog into Ravenloft (ok, I might allow them to return Ariadne home and be celebrated as heroes and THEN pull them over). Looking at DMsGuild (yes, I'm capable of searching there :D) the modules fitting them level-wise would be DDAL04-7 through 14. But, are they a somewhat connected story? If so, is #7 enough of a start, or would the party feel like they entered someone elses campaign halfway through?
I ran the whole Ravenloft season (4) of DDAL for my group last year, so I feel like I can answer your questions with some authority.

So I guess your group is somewhere between levels 5 and 10, if you're looking at the second half of the adventures?

There are a couple of things about season 4 that would make running just the second half kind of hard. First, it is a somewhat unified storyline, which means that starting with adventure #7 would indeed likely have the feel of jumping into the middle of someone else's campaign. There are two main plot threads: one is about the witch Esmae Amarantha, who is in love with Strahd and is trying to collect several items that once belonged to Tatyana so that she can transform herself into Tatyana's likeness. The second storyline is about how a chunk of Faerûn is sucked into Barovia as part of Esmae's quest for power, and how its inhabitants are attempting to get home. This latter storyline takes up a very large part of the second half of season 4, with two whole adventures being a detour to deal with the internal politics of some Faerûn orcs and rescue a Cult of the Dragon member(!) who somehow knows all about Esmae's plan. It's all kind of a mess and would be even weirder if you just drop your players into it from a completely different world.

Since we agreed to pause those characters for a while and start with a fresh bunch but come back to the old heroes later and switch back and forth: Would it be feasible to have two groups in the same DDAL storyline (Stradh, likely), some playing tier 1 others tier 2, with the same players? I was hoping for cool synergies where one party comes across something that the players will recognize and go "Oh, that was us with the other party. SHWEET!".
A different season of AL might work better for the kind of synergy you're looking for. Season 4 doesn't revisit the same locations very often, and all the adventures use the same small town as the base of operations. If you had two separate adventuring groups hanging out there, they'd be guaranteed to bump into each other regularly.

Also, if you had two separate groups playing the adventures, they'd each get only half the story--the lower-level group would uncover information, but it wouldn't lead anywhere, while the higher-level group would encounter story elements that would be much cooler if they had experienced the earlier adventures and could say "Oh yeah, that's like that thing we saw in that other place."

OK, so, how viable does this sound:
I'll start the actual CoS hardcover for the new characters and run the estbkiahed group through DDAL 7 through 14.

Having one group play through Curse of Strahd the hardback while the other does (all of) the DDAL season 4 adventures could work, as they do visit some of the same places and might give you some of that synergy. But either they'd both have to start at low level, or you'd have to beef up the early DDAL adventures--which is actually easier than it might sound, as they have suggestions for adjusting encounters for parties up to level 4.

All of this may sound very negative, but I actually really like season 4. I feel like it is kind of a flawed gem--there's some really, really good stuff in there, but you have to do a lot of polishing to get it to shine. And I think that chopping it up, running half the season or half each with two groups of characters, is not going to present it at its best.

Finally, I have a thread on my experiences running the Ravenloft DDAL adventures as a home campaign, which I've finally gotten back to updating lately. You may find it helpful. (Especially post #27, where I do an overview of my approach to adventures 7-14.)

 
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Thanks @jayoungr those are good points. If fact, I'm coming to the conclusion that running the existing party through the top-half of any DDAL season is just not viable. Even Tyranny of Dragons seems to have ties back to the tier 1 stuff that would just suck missing out on (besides, they just slew a dragon, I kinda want to go away from that theme).

I suppose I ditch the whole "two groups in one scenario / storyline, as it just creates more issues than it creates opportunities. I'll most likely rearrange my groups post-corona anyway, I might be able to do something like run one group through ToD and the other through SkT so that players that play in both might see the connect.

For the existing party I'll likely just break out a stand-alone module of the right level from DMS Guild when we play them and forget about a continuing story line for once.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
For the existing party I'll likely just break out a stand-alone module of the right level from DMS Guild when we play them and forget about a continuing story line for once.
If you want to send them on a short trip to Barovia, both DDAL04-09 ("The Tempter") and DDAL04-10 ("The Artifact") are good standalones.

You might also find some useful ideas on this thread:

 



I am admittedly oscillating all over the spectrum a bit, but: How viable would it be to start CoS at level 7 or 8 and actually play it through?

It's just that one of the players of this group has the most horrible work schedule, and I am kinda questioning the wisdom of running two groups for that bunch. And, instead of having them start with fresh players, I'd prefer to allow them to keep their loved ones.

Now, from reading all over reddit and some blog, Stradh himself should actually be a tough opponent if played hard, so that might pan out. Is the rest of the adventure one neverending cake-walk then, for an evoker, a bard, a fighter and a barbarian of level 7 or 8?
 

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