I started playing D&D a while ago, back in 1980-81, and played regularly until 3rd edition came out. Though I appreciated what WotC was doing, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t start playing again until 2015, when I started seeing some buzz about 5e. Curious, I downloaded the free rules and began reading them. Very much intrigued by these “new” rules, I decided to check out at my FLGS, and before long I was playing in Adventurer’s League at the store. Loved it! I now have so many good friends because of it! 5e feels refined and smart, and seems to capture the best elements of what D&D was back in the 80’s and 90’s.
That said, if Adventurer’s League Season 8 rules had been in effect at the time, I would have scoffed at them once I understood them and not even tried to sit down at an AL table. Specifically, the rules regarding gold and treasure from adventures. Wow. It seems that now our AL characters aren’t adventurers anymore; they are salaried employees of AL (a subsidiary of WotC, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc.), receiving advancement-based pay. It’s “Papers and Paychecks” 2nd edition. (You old-timers will get that joke from the 1e DMG.)
I’ve spent a lot of money on D&D since 2015. Books (including the upcoming Hydro74 editions of the core books) minis, accessories... I paid hundreds to get my 5e rulebooks professionally bound in leather. I pre-ordered the Beadle and Grimm’s Platinum Edition of W:DH. I’ve got the collectors version of Art and Arcana. I love this game. And while I still play “homebrew,” I can’t bring myself to DM AL at my FLGS under these silly rules. I will not buy the mods on DM's Guild and therefore (despite my deep pockets) will not be supporting the work of some great folx who give so much to AL.
I know that certain rules must be maintained and some changes had to be made to ensure a level playing field for all participants around the world. The AL gold economy and magic item acquisition was clearly in need of change - and while the intent is great, the mechanisms put in place are far beyond clunky. They actually damage the gameplay, which damages the AL brand, and by extension, the D&D brand.
I heard a story recently on NPR wherein they reference “finding treasure,” which got me thinking about how that is such a classic human experience (whether wished for or actually achieved); one that exists outside D&D - it’s literally existed in human cultures for millennia. And Season 8 AL rules really eliminate that fun, excitement and wonder.
I hate to think of someone here in Dallas, Texas, watching the many streaming games, then trying to sit down and try D&D at an AL table and learning how silly some of these rules are, how they fall short of common sense expectations and ruin immersion. I then think of them NOT returning to play because the gameplay is not what they expected. They would miss out on many potential friendships and hours of fun, all because with AL, they would be seeing a stunted and nonsensically restrictive version of this otherwise wonderful game. (And when I tried to explain these new rules to a table of 8-year-old players, they were utterly bewildered - not because they didn’t understand the rules - but because they didn’t get such rules. I’d never seen such exasperated expressions on such young faces. But I digress.)
I truly hope that the powers-that-be consider making changes when AL hits Season 9.
[1 of 5 Stars!]