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DDAL Starting Running D&D Adventure League - some questions

EmbraCraig

Explorer
Hi all,

I've been out of RPGing for a few years after my kids being born, but after attending Tabletop Scotland at the weekend and playing in the AL Epic on the Saturday night, my appetite is whetted again.

I'm considering starting running Adventure League in my area. I'd like to do so with a particular focus on trying to keep a table open regularly for new players, as our area has an ongoing problem with new players finding games to get into (too many potential new players, not enough DMs to give them a taste of things). As far as I'm aware, there's no one else locally running AL as an open table, allowing a different group for each session (I think one local store might do it as a closed group/home game type situation). We've got a good local website that we can use to organise sessions and sign ups in advance (www.orcedinburgh.co.uk)

I'm aware that AL things are currently a bit up in the air and in a state of transition because there's rules changes going through - I'm not looking for a debate on the pros/cons of the changes, just want people to be know I'm aware of them - I'll probably be looking to run the new season 8 content to keep things simple as a start when it becomes available.

I've got plenty of DMing experience, and a good bit with 5e, albeit a few years ago now, so I'm not worried about the actual DMing or the game itself. I did organise a PFS session a few years back, so I've a little organised play experience as well.

So with that all said, some questions for anyone who might know answers:
  • When is Season 8 content likely to be available on DMs Guild?
  • Can I genuinely run AL games with just a PHB or DMs guide? I do also have the MM, but am I likely to need Volo's guide to Monsters etc for other monster stat blocks, or a book for referenced Magical Items? Or should the adventures contain full details of anything that's needed?
  • Assuming that there is one for Season 8, are the '5 short encounter/5 1-hour adventure' style adventures available on the DMs Guild a good place to start with new players, or would I be better just going for one of the traditional single adventures? (assuming I'll be running on a weekend afternoon, so sessions can go to 4 hours or so if necessary)
  • Any other tips/advice for someone trying to get AL up an running?

Thanks in advance for anyone who can chip in answers.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
The players guide, Dm guide, and Faq are up on DM's Guild now. DDAL08-00 is being reedit.
You can use other seasons. Here is the conversion
Story Points 1 per hour of adventure
Renown 1 per 4 story points
Downtime 5 per 2 story points
Treasure Point 1 per hour of adventure
Drop the treasure given. Drop the magic item. But it unlocks for everyone.
Most of the time you will not need the MM. The adventure will have the stat block.
Season 8 modules will drop on OCT 2.
Tips. Try to get others to dm. Go with the flow.
 
The AL Player and DM Pack on DmsGuild includes a content catalog that lists the modules for the various seasons, including season 8.

You will need to decide if you want to do Eberron or Waterdeep: characters cannot move back and forth between those two "sides" of the season. One of the AL legal Eberron modules is already available on DMsGuild. (I don't know if it's "legal" to play season 8 modules prior to an official start date, though.)

It does not look to me like this season they are doing the 5 1hr mini adventures as a starting module.

If you are eager to start before the season 8 modules drop, there are a few "season agnostic" modules (also called season 0); at least one of them is for levels 1-4 AND set in Waterdeep if that's the Season 8 "side" you are doing.
 

abs

Villager
I started with three players at my local store and have grown it to over 100 players in two and half years. My biggest advice is to give volunteer DMs as much freedom to run their tables as the rules allow and, if you do grow, find people who are willing to help you organize.

As a general rule, I don't, unlike other local events, interfere with table rulings. The only times I would interfere is when it is contrary to the AL rules, and only if it would interfere with a player's ability to play that character at another event. Otherwise, it is hands off for me, and I promise to back my volunteers DM, whether they are new or experienced.

Even with smaller events, it is always helpful to have an assistant to bounce ideas or just plain take over seating players or another aspect if you end up dealing with something else. For me having friends who help me organize was / is instrumental in getting things done without losing all my hair.

The other thing you will need is patience. When looking for a new DM for a unDMed table, I don't give up and get discouraged the first round. Just pick yourself up and keep asking. There are more people who have / are thinking about DMing than most people realize; they just need a nudge to get started. You just have to ignore some of those selfish players that will complain about hearing the same question over and over every week after you spent time finding them a DM. Just let the players that appreciate your work motivate you.
 

EmbraCraig

Explorer
Thanks for the answers folks - all very helpful. I'll probably look to organise something for October once the new material is available, but it's good to see that the conversion for old materials doesn't seem too bad.

I do like Ebberron as a setting, but I'll probably stay with FR to keep access to the old materials in case we ever do want to dip back into the catalogue.

Anyone able to tell me what the purpose of the level 3 'surrogates' character sheets in the player/DM pack are? At first glance I assumed they'd be pregens for players, but since all player characters start at level 1, that's presumably not the case.

Tips. Try to get others to dm. Go with the flow.
When looking for a new DM for a unDMed table, I don't give up and get discouraged the first round. Just pick yourself up and keep asking. There are more people who have / are thinking about DMing than most people realize; they just need a nudge to get started. You just have to ignore some of those selfish players that will complain about hearing the same question over and over every week after you spent time finding them a DM. Just let the players that appreciate your work motivate you.
I will say that struggling to recruit other DMs was one of the reasons that my attempt to start PFS games locally never got off the ground - I figured if I was the only person running, I'd be as well just running a standard game and saving myself the book keeping. There are plenty of D&D games on the go locally though, as well as a backlog of players, so I'm hoping there'll be a pool of people out there who are willing to give it a go.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
The pregen 3 and 8 level surrogates are for Season 7. In Season 7 if you die you bring a surrogate, and if that one survives you transfer treasure and xp ( TP and SP now) back to the original.
 

abs

Villager
Just remember that it takes time. I have a couple of DMs that didn't start DMing until 2-3 months after I asked them the first time... Be persistent and they will come.
 

escapistthx

Tabletop Scotland Convention Overlord
Hi all,

I've been out of RPGing for a few years after my kids being born, but after attending Tabletop Scotland at the weekend and playing in the AL Epic on the Saturday night, my appetite is whetted again.
I've only just discovered this thread Craig. Very happy that we whetted your appetite for RPGs. I believe you're coming along again this year? If you need any help with AL in Edinburgh or anything else just let me know.

Cheers,

Dave
 

Nevvur

Explorer
I'd caution against running AL games unless you've evaluated the entire framework and truly buy into the whole package. It lays down some heavy constraints which I feel contravene its usefulness as an entry point for new players (and DMs).

You don't need to run an AL legal table to run AL modules or form a public DnD community at your FLGS. The PCs just won't be transferable to AL games. My feeling is that the hobby would be better served if more DMs did this than kept breathing life into AL.
 

EmbraCraig

Explorer
I've only just discovered this thread Craig. Very happy that we whetted your appetite for RPGs. I believe you're coming along again this year? If you need any help with AL in Edinburgh or anything else just let me know.

Cheers,

Dave
Hi Dave - cheers for replying and sorry, didn’t come back to you on this (I guess you might have been a bit busy this week anyway, what with a con to run and everything).

I was there, I ran two games of DDAL (one of the premieres and the Epic), and has a blast - great job from all the organisers again this year :)

For anyone that might find this thread via google looking for D&D AL in Edinburgh - I’ve recently discovered that Mox in the Hole is running Adventure League on a Wednesday nights, so get in touch with them if you’re looking for some games.
 

escapistthx

Tabletop Scotland Convention Overlord
Presume you've seen Bill Heron's plans to kick off a RP Haven style RPG meetup in Edinburgh? AL would be a great addition to that.
 

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