So we’ve talked about the setup for Adventurer’s League and what you should bring for your first game, but what about the first game itself? Fear not friend adventurer, we’ll try and make sure that you are ship shape for your first outing on a magical quest. The first thing we’re going to look at is the first season of the adventurer’s league, Tyranny of Dragons. This season has 14 adventures in it, and you can find all of them for sale at the DM’s Guild. (They are 2.99 per adventure, as of the writing of this article).
The Tyranny of Dragons storyline is set in the city of Phlan. Phlan is a large town located on the Moonsea, a large body of water in central Faerun. It’s historically significant events include being wrecked by a flight of dragons and being the location of the Pool of Radiance (i’d go into it, but it’s a trilogy of classic Forgotten Realms fiction, i encourage you to find them and enjoy.).
Phlan’s woes have grown, and it currently finds itself at the attention and mercy of The Cult of the Dragon.
The Cult of the Dragon is an organization of humanoids who believe that the end of the world is going to brought about by the rise of dead dragons and that their lordship will be the only thing that survives the end of all things. To ensure this future, the Cult has amassed power, influence and treasure that it uses to persuade Dragons into performing terrible rituals that turn them into undead dragons of fell and terrible might. Recently, the Cult has made decently strong inroads along the moonsea and have their sights firmly on Phlan. Their attack is tremendous and they control the city proper.
It’s up to bands of brave adventurers to try and free Phlan from the Tyranny of Dragons (Insert thematically appropriate music here)...
So the first adventure in this season is the aptly titled Defiance in Phlan, (for those of you playing along at home it is adventure code DDEX1-1). It is an adventure for characters that are between levels 1-4. It also sets up the interactions that players will have with the setting for seasons to come, (some of the npcs and all of the factions are recurring from season to season).
Bear in mind that if you are playing as part of an Adventurer’s League event you will need the following in addition to your normal dungeons and dragons gear.
Logsheet (To track progress from one session to the next)
DCI number (this is your official Identification number for all official Adventurer’s League events and Magic events)
I recommend you grab the Adventurer’s League player’s Guide (also at the DM’s Guild) It covers the rules variations specific to Adventurer’s League, covers the factions, and gives you a shiny new character sheet
Now that we’ve done a gear check and you’ve got all your stuff, you’re ready for your first steps into adventure, which begins with Defiance in Phlan, and a meeting at a Teahouse.
Without going into spoilers, ( I promise not to spoil the adventure for you, but I will give you some ideas for what sort of loot and experience points you are going to end up with), this adventure is actually five mini adventures rolled into one. This is an excellent idea that Wizards of the Coast implements for all of the first adventures in each of the successive seasons. Each one of these mini adventures should take about an hour to play through and each one touches on a part of the D & D experience. You’ll fight vicious monsters, explore hidden places, sneak past terrible guardians to get the treasure and much more as you are introduced to the city of Phlan, the terrible Cult of the Dragon that rules it, and the factions vying for control of it.
If you successfully complete each mini adventure, you should acquire around 100 experience points (that’s the maximum available from the adventure section) some downtime days, some gold, and maybe a point of renown for your faction.
Quick note 1: Downtime Days
Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition offers downtime days as a resource for players to spend on their characters that allow them to perform off camera actions. Things like making a new sword, learning a new skill, or practicing a trade are all covered by the use of downtime days. When you spend your downtime days, you do need to keep track of your living expenses (this is covered in the player’s handbook and is easy as pie to track) since you aren’t banging around the woods looking for trouble. You can bank as many downtime days as you like, and mark them off on your Logsheet when you spend them.
Quick note 2: Factions
The other thing of note about the Adventurer’s League is that your character can be a part of a faction of like minded individuals. These are all detailed in the player’s guide mentioned above, and if you are interested in them, check that document out. For gameplay purposes, acquiring renown increases your character’s worth to their faction and opens up options that are faction exclusive. Attaining a high rank of renown requires participation in secret missions that are included in the adventures. The other benefit factions have for low level players is that if you are a member of a faction and die during an adventure, your character can be brought back from the dead. This requires you to forfeit your experience points and treasure from that session, but it does let you continue to play your character.
Quick Note 3: Rebuilding
Up until you have enough experience points to achieve level 5, you can freely change your character options around. Race, class, spells, skills, and background are all changeable, so if you make something that you thought you would like but it doesn’t work out as well as you were hoping, you can switch it up. The only thing that you can’t change is your name, that’s on your Logsheet and helps to keep all of your paperwork streamlined together.
So if you’ve successfully completed all five mini adventures in the Defiance in Phlan adventure, you should be up 500 experience points, 25 downtime days, and some gold (the exact number depends on how many people are playing, so i can’t give you that number). Other little trinkets may also be available, but that depends on how you and your party break it down. The important number out of that blurb is the 500 experience points, which puts you at level 2 (which is a 300 experience point target, Level 3 is 900 experience points). So once you’ve leveled up to level 2, you are ready to start your next adventure.
All right Game Fans, that’s our breakdown of the first part of Season 1 of the Dungeons and Dragons. Stay tuned for our next article, where we will cover Secrets of Sokol Keep and Shadows over the Moonsea.