News Archive | 6/18/2014
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Magic Items and Rewards in the D&D Adventurers League
Chris Tulach



H i there! This week, we're talking about treasure and other rewards in the D&D Adventurers League – how you earn them, what you'll do with them, and their representation in play.


Treasure!

At the end of each adventure (or session, if you're playing D&D Encounters), you'll get rewards for your character. At the conclusion of each adventure, surviving characters earn the following:

  • Experience points
  • Gold and other monetary treasure (total is divided evenly amongst surviving characters)
  • Renown points (if available, based on faction)

You'll be able to spend your hard-earned gold on downtime activities, lifestyle, and equipment in-between adventures. Opportunities might present themselves during adventures and at events to spend additional gold for other sweet character benefits and rewards.

In addition, most adventures have one or more magic items present in the adventure. Some of these magic items are consumables, such as a scroll with a spell on it, or a potion. A small number of them are permanent magic items.

Permanent magic items (like, say, a +1 longsword or boots of striding and springing) are hard to come by and special in D&D Adventurers League adventures. In fact, the default assumption in D&D comes close to matching their frequency in organized play. Since we're running a huge shared-world campaign, we have rules in place on how those items get distributed during play.

Magic Item Distribution

During an adventure, there may be a few (usually about 1-3 per four-hour session) consumable items found. Any of these left over at the conclusion of the adventure may be divided up however the group sees fit. Usually, you'll want to give them to characters that have the most use for the item, or if the item is equally useful to many, the group should lean towards giving them to characters that possess the smallest number of permanent magic items.

For permanent magic items, the rules are much more straightforward. Each four-hour session averages about one item of this nature. When the adventure is complete, the group decides who gets the item based on the following procedure, in the order listed:

  1. If everyone decides that a certain character should receive the magic item, then that character gets it. This makes the most sense when the item is really perfect for a certain character – for example, a character focused on a specific weapon gets that magic weapon, or an item that is class-specific in use goes to a member of that class. It also makes sense if the group feels that a character really went above and beyond to earn the magic item.
  2. If it's not apparent to the group who should receive the magic item, or if there are multiple characters that want the magic item, then players determine which characters would like the item. Each player looks at his or her character's current permanent magic item count. The character with the least number of permanent magic items gets the item in contention.
  3. If there's a tie for the number of permanent magic items each character possesses between all characters that want the item in contention, then determine randomly between those characters who receives the item.
  4. The character that receives a magic item notes it on his or her adventure logsheet along with the other rewards received at the conclusion of the adventure session.

Keeping the "Magic" in Magic Item

We want to keep magic items special in D&D Adventurers League play. They are meant to be rare, wondrous things that are to be treasured by characters. As a result, we wanted to have a system that spoke to their special nature, in accordance with the default assumptions presented in the core D&D game.

However, we recognize that if we want this in public play, we need to have a system in place that the DM can use to award magic items at the end of an adventure session that keeps things more or less equitable. By using a character's permanent magic item count to adjudicate items in contention, players can have an expectation of how magic items will be divvied up at the conclusion of the adventure, rather than leaving it up to the personalities at the table to decide.

We're also going to maintain integrity of the magic item distribution system by instituting a couple other rules:

  • Magic items cannot be sold
  • You cannot trade a magic item unless you have a certificate for the item, and the trade is on a one-for-one basis with another magic item of like rarity

The first rule is relatively simple. There will be some rare opportunities to buy magic items with gold, but never to sell them. Adding more magic items into the world is okay; characters that get more items simply won't get items in contention after an adventure session. We just have to preserve a character's total permanent magic item count in order keep things balanced.

Trading magic items is a good way for characters to get what they're looking for, and plugs them into the community while keeping things on the level. But what's the deal with certificates?

Certified Rewards

When you finish an adventure session and receive a permanent magic item, you note it on your adventure logsheet (and probably your character sheet as well). For all purposes, you possess the item. You can use it or lend it out during an adventure. At the end of each adventure, all magic items you possess return to your possession (unless something special happens during the adventure). You cannot trade an item that is listed only on your adventure logsheet. It's your character's item forever, unless you possess a certificate.

Certificates are given out for special rewards and permanent magic items at stores and public events where available. Possessing a certificate for your magic item, in many cases, unlocks the ability for you to trade the item – the certificate even has a trade log right on it if you'd like to trade it to another player's character. Each tradable item can be traded up to two times in total. Magic items can only be traded on a one-for-one basis and only with another item of like rarity (so, for example, a rare item for a rare item).

Most other rewards that are presented on certificates are non-tradable, as well as a small number of very special magic items. If you pick up a faction pack at your store during D&D Encounters, you'll get a few of these special, non-item certificates.

As long as you properly document the acquisition of your magic item, it may be possible to receive a certificate for items you previously obtained that did not have a certificate. This might be helpful if you're looking to trade out an item at a later time, but otherwise, it's not necessary.

So to sum up rewards:

  • Characters individually earn XP and faction Renown
  • Characters equally split mundane treasure
  • Consumable magic items are split amongst the party however they'd like
  • Permanent magic items are distributed according to a well-defined system
  • Certificates of magic items unlock the ability to trade the item on a one-for-one basis with like rarity, but aren't necessary to show ownership
  • Other special rewards might be certified as well, but mostly will be written down on the adventure logsheet

Links and Contact Information

Now with Facebook and Google+ communities!

Official Wizards D&D Adventurers League AnnouncementsDungeonsandDragons.com
D&D Adventurers League Organizers Pagedndadventurersleague.org
D&D Adventurers League Twitter@DnD_AdvLeague
D&D Adventurers League Facebook GroupClick here!
D&D Adventurers League G+ CommunityClick here!

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