Casual Episodic fun with Adventurer's League

Although Dungeons & Dragons puts a whole lot of effort into marketing the next big book, multiple times a year, there's a lesser known series of official content floating out there: Adventurer's League! These are self contained adventures designed for Organized Play. That is, you can sit down at any table for any one of these adventures, play it out in a single sitting, and take your character along to the next one. I'm not running a table in a game shop or convention, but I do like the idea of players being able to come and go as they please and swap out characters any time. So! I've been adapting Adventurer's League content into a loose campaign for my group.

As of now, we've just finished Season One, thematically linked to Tyranny of Dragons which was also the first official book we ran. Each module is a stand alone adventure, but they link together to tell an overarching episodic story. In this first season, the players thwarted a handful of plots put forth by the Cult of the Dragon, and became refugees from the town of Phlan when Vorgansharax arrived and declared himself ruler. The season ends with a daring rescue of high profile citizens, but ultimately the party must leave the town behind and over the next couple seasons will be gathering allies before returning.

If Phlan sounds like a familiar town, that may be due to it being the setting for Pool of Radiance, a classic D&D computer game the events of which are canon and referred to frequently in the lore of these modules. Several locations in this Moonsea region also have history across previous editions of D&D.

Major events in the storyline are designed as Epics, adventures meant to be played across multiple tables simultaneously with their events affecting each other. I adapted and ran the first one "Corruption in Kryptgarden" towards the end of the season. This involved my players each running three characters as we bounced around in the narrative. It was an incredible experience, and I'm already looking forward to the next big story beats as we continue along.


To encourage the lighthearted, casual feel of the game, I wanted the visuals to be bright and tactile. Many modules include black and white maps, which I could import into Dungeondraft and trace over easily enough. The textures have a toylike feel to them, and pairing them with 2MinuteTabletop's sticker styled tokens works perfectly.

Screenshot of Foundry VTT - encountering a pair of animated armors in the Jade Temple

And since plenty of the gameplay happens outside of combat maps, I leverage JamesRPG's animated backdrops and the Theatre Inserts module to facilitate an immersive theatre-of-the-mind setup, similar to my more serious Curse of Strahd campaign.

Screenshot of Foundry VTT - setting the scene for adventure!


Since each module has a set level range, it'd be impossible to play a single character throughout the entire season. So, players choose from their pool of characters at the start of each session resulting in an interesting variety of party makeups. To keep track of who's played which adventure and how familiar the characters are with eachother, I set up a tracking system within foundry with the 5e Downtime module.

A character sheet tab tracking relationships with other player characters, easy tracking for how often they've adventured together 

A character sheet tab that tracks which adventures a character has taken part in 

And with factions being a central gameplay element, I made use of a supplement that doles out actual rewards for gaining renown and ranking up across the five factions: Guide to the Five Factions.

In the second season, we're switching from milestone to XP levelling to slow progression down a bit, and dedicating more effort into making the 'downtime days' doled out by the modules more useful. I collated Dakota Cash's "Downtime Expanded" into Foundry for my players, and as an extra bonus every seven days used triggers a Bastion turn from the new Unearthed Arcana. This represents happenings at the guild chapterhouses in Mulmaster, a much bigger city than the first season's Phlan. This could end up in a dearth of magical items being added to the in game economy, but I'm not terribly worried as we have limits in place regarding how many can be brought into play at a time.

 Screenshot of Foundry VTT, showing off merchant sheets, one set up with downtime activities and another with Bastion facilities

As we hit the ground running with the new season and new characters, I'm excited to see what stories we put together. Adventurer's League is quickly becoming one of my favourite campaigns to run!