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DDAL Season 9 milestone changes.

jasper

Rotten DM
Season 9 of Adventure League starts around Sep 17th
Cut and paste from website
Let’s not beat around the bush; the implementation of checkpoints in Season 8 received mixed reviews. The intent of the checkpoint system as described in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, for example, was to simplify the end-of-session reward distribution. In some ways it did, in some ways it didn’t. And even when it did, it still left lingering confusions (catching up, DM rewards, etc.).
Plus, there’s the whole question about what Adventurers League is supposed to be. It’s D&D, but is it how most of us play D&D? In short, no; it’s not. We’ve received a lot of feedback regarding the implementation of advancement checkpoints in our survey (it closes August 9th!) and Wizards of the Coast has spent a lot of time collecting feedback from its vast player-base (Adventurers League and otherwise), and has come to the conclusion that checkpoints and XP just aren’t used all that often. What is? Milestones.
Some 90% of non-Adventurers League DMs use milestones in their games. What’s a milestone? Easy. When the DM feels that you level, you level. Done. Whether its based on the number of sessions you’ve played, how much time you’ve spent at tables during a convention, or how many significant in-game achievements you’ve accomplished, the DM lets you know you’ve reached a milestone. And once you’ve reached a milestone, you gain a level. And with the changes we’re proposing to Downtime, Renown, gold, and magic items, everything will soon revolve around reaching milestones. Streamlined.
This puts DMs in control of how quickly (or slowly) their group advances. But that isn’t to say that the players don’t have a say either. We (finally) added the option for slow/no advancement in Season 8, but these options had the weird effect of characters being issued fractional rewards. This sort of ran contrary to the entire reason behind checkpoints to begin with. With milestones, the process of slowing your progression is much easier: when your DM hands out milestones, you simply decline it. You don’t reach a milestone, you don’t gain a level, and you don’t accrue any other level-based rewards. Easy.
Finally, this also lets us continue steering the program into rewards that can be issued and used during the session instead of waiting until the end. Remember that bit about leveling at the end of a session or a long rest? This is where that comes into play. The focus here is rewards that you can use when you get them. Gold? Check. Milestones? Check.

What Does This Mean for DMs?

It’s really up to you, the DM. Between this and the hourly based GP awards that we’re proposing, the amount of additional prep or forethought that DMs will need will increase depending largely on how they want to incorporate the changes. These are both instances where we want to further empower our DMs with more control over their games. With milestones, we suggest that they be awarded either as the adventure directs or after the first in-game achievement the players accomplish after four hours (or eight at tiers 2 – 4) of game time (to a maximum of one milestone per player per session). You may award them earlier or later than this—depending on how much your players accomplish during a given session, or award them after every module-style adventure—it all depends on you.
DM Rewards become a little simpler, too. If you award a milestone during a session, you earn one yourself that you can later apply to one of your own characters.

What Does This Mean for Players?

It’s also up to you, the player. If you don’t want to gain a level, then don’t. However, Renown, Downtime accrual, magic items, gold… all of these are impacted by your level, so when you decline a milestone, you’re also declining those additional rewards (at least until you’re awarded your next milestone). On the upside, you can stop your progression whenever you wish in order to make sure you’ll be able to play those last few adventures you want, without concern of leveling outside of their range—you don’t have to make the decision between sessions. This isn’t without drawbacks, though. If you find yourself with a DM who awards milestones faster than is suggested, accepting them means you’ll fall behind on gold, since that’s accrued on an hourly basis. So if gold is important to you (and who isn’t it important to?), then temper your desire for new abilities with prudence.

The Bottom Line

We know, we know; three different systems of progression in the last three seasons. The last couple seasons have brought significant changes to the campaign. Change like this can be hard to contend with, but we’re constantly looking for opportunities to improve the campaign, and this is proof positive.
To come, Zeroing in on Magic Items…
 
I don’t really like milestone levelling, and it sounds like this is going to make it very dependent on individual DMs. As a player, I can deal with it, though I can’t say I like it. I suppose I’ll withhold judgment until I see concrete details. Right now it seems pretty vague.

As a DM, I’m probably giving up on running my open table game as an AL game. To be fair, it’s been coming for a while. The players liked ACP, but had mixed feelings on everything else. And their characters only play in one hardcover campaign and nowhere else, so having that portability isn’t really benefiting them.
 

darjr

I crit!
I love milestones! I could have my players hang out in dragon heist at tier one and two and explore the whole city before they are ready to move on. This is awesome!
 

Greenstone.Walker

Registered User
Some 90% of non-Adventurers League DMs use milestones in their games.
Really?
I'm not using it in any of the games I GM and play, and I haven't seen any games advertised at the local club use milestone. Are we just an unusualy exception to this number?

My personal dislike of milestone advancement is that it disincentivises fast play. I have a group that struggles to get through one combat in an evening. A few months ago they complained about levelling speed being too slow. I was pretty blunt - "Well, if you want to level faster, do more than one encounter per evening."
 

jasper

Rotten DM
on magic items.
You find you keep it for the session. If you can use you keep it after the session. Each tier will have a max number of permanent magic items allowed. If you die you can drop one permanent magic slot for a raise. I did not follow the facebook posts for various reasons so if anyone else want to a chime feel free.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I still don't know what problem they are trying to solve with all these changes. Why not just have adventures give out XP like normal???
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
I still don't know what problem they are trying to solve with all these changes. Why not just have adventures give out XP like normal???
That's just it, WotC has found that most people don't use XP, they use milestones.
 

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