Today, I'd like to take some time to talk about the role of the different campaigns that we have in the D&D Adventurers League, including why they exist, and what you might see as we travel into 2022 and beyond. But first, something even more essential.
The D&D Adventurers League Vision
Why do we do organized play for D&D? It comes down to this: we know that connecting the broad D&D community together through play is important. One very real way we can do this is by creating purpose and excitement around playing in public. Plugging a player or Dungeon Master into the wider world of the D&D community is a great way to find new gaming friends, learn from a diverse group of experiences to grow your acumen with the game, and have on-demand regular play sessions when your home group can't make it. Organized play is very "sticky" - people that enjoy their first experiences with organized play tend to stay with it for a long time.
The Balancing Act
Our veteran players are always hungry for more adventures. Some of you reading this play in multiple Adventurers League games a week! On the other side, we always have to think about onboarding new players into our programs - how do we make things as pain-free as possible when you're moving from the expectations of a home game into public play? This requires us to look at our content and decide how much and of what type to offer to be attractive to new players while keeping our existing players engaged. This is where slicing our adventure content by campaigns (and further, by level ranges or tiers of play) helps us out a lot.
Playing to Our Audience
We have roughly three "types" of campaigns we offer. Note that the terms I use below are only for the purposes of illustration and context - we don't actually use these words as jargon.
- Campaigns that expand an existing official D&D product's play.
- Campaigns that exist to engage our veteran players.
- Campaigns that allow you to simply adapt official D&D adventures for public play.
These campaigns typically offer a set series of adventures in a connected storyline - some more tightly than others. They have a beginning, middle, and end. The "seasonal" Forgotten Realms campaigns of the past fell into this category, but that's changing for the future. Also, Eberron: Oracle of the Last War and Ravenloft: Mist Hunters are a part of this category. These are designed to supplement existing products with short, (mostly) single-session adventures, giving players and DMs more play beyond the product. Typically, adventures in these campaigns are designed for players of all experience levels that want to explore beyond the product.
Our veteran players often came into organized play through events - attending conventions, virtual events, game days at their stores, etc. These types of campaigns are focused on adventures optimized for that sort of experience, which Adventurers League typically excels at delivering. Dreams of the Red Wizards is an example of this type of campaign. Each storyline doesn't specifically have to tie into an official product; rather, this campaign integrates official products as the opportunity arises. It also features a completely independent storylines from official D&D products. Dreams of the Red Wizards is a way for our veteran players to engage in a familiar "living" campaign - storylines may end, but the campaign perpetuates beyond it.
The best transition point for a home group, adapted campaigns simply give a group the tools they need to play through an official D&D product in an Adventurers League approved approach. This ensures that when the players are ready, their characters and rewards earned are fully transferrable to another D&D organized play experience. We have an adaptation guide for most products; a new version will update the guide for recent changes and be available in early 2022.
What Does the Future Hold?
We have goals associated with our different campaigns within the Adventurers League. Those of you closely following the rollout of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight materials have noticed something that hints at the future.
When Wizards releases a big "tentpole" product, we're going to look at it and make a determination on how Adventurers League should best support it:
- If the product is primarily a rules expansion or supplement (think Tasha's Cauldron of Everything), it generally will be integrated into the appropriate existing campaigns (usually all of the Forgotten Realms, but not always).
- If the product is mostly adventure, we'll usually adapt it for play - most of the past products have been adapted for Forgotten Realms play, but Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep will be adapted for play in its own campaign. (Which also will include the adventure material from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.)
- If the product is mostly setting material, we may create a storyline campaign to expand the play options around that product. We did that with both Eberron: Rising from The Last War and Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft. We knew fans of those settings wouldn't be satisfied with just the adventure content in those products, so we created a storyline campaign for each to give those products additional life in the Adventurers League.
- Some won't neatly fall into these buckets, and we'll develop a plan for each depending on what we think we can support from a resources perspective and what we think might serve the community well.
Priorities in 2022
We plan on continuing to support Dreams of the Red Wizards as the "through line" campaign for the Forgotten Realms, due to its ongoing nature. We'll expand Dreams of the Red Wizards to have more play options for levels 1-4 so you can get a sense of the storyline before jumping in with a higher-level character.
You'll see us do more adapted material - some of this will be in its own separate campaign (like the aforementioned Critical Role material), and some will be fully integrated into the Forgotten Realms.
Eberron: Oracle of War is winding down, with the last adventures hitting the DMsGuild around end of year. The Ravenloft: Mist Hunters storyline continues into early 2022, wrapping with the last releases hitting the DMsGuild around early spring. We're still evaluating possible new "alternate" storyline campaigns for worlds other than Forgotten Realms, but in general our focus will remain on supporting new official D&D products.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight represents a test of a new direction for "seasonal" big adventure releases - we've adapted the material for play in the Forgotten Realms, but instead of creating a whole parallel storyline of official Adventurers League adventures, we've opened up the creative opportunities through the community-creator Dungeoncraft program to provide a deep well of Feywild adventures. We really think that you'll enjoy playing the book adventure and then sampling the best the community has to offer. This allows us to focus our official Adventurers League adventure content pipeline on creating more opportunities to expand onboarding new players into Adventurers League and support our veteran players with Dreams of the Red Wizards. It also gives us the opportunity to pursue some special projects, but we'll talk more about that in 2022!
Thanks for reading. We'll see you again soon!
Illustration by Robin Olausson.