A lot of people, myself included, started playing Dungeons and Dragons Adventurers League for a somewhat low-pressure, drop-in drop-out roleplaying experience.
Wizard’s of the Coast provides resources for it here.
For new and old players alike, here are some recommendations for players to keep the game fluid and moving. I’d call them “my” recommendations, but as is the nature of the hobby, this is a mixture of things from my experience and things I learned from others, whether at the table or through online media and interactions. It’s okay if you don’t get through all of this in the first few games, but I highly recommend going through this. It will make your gameplay smoother… and reduce the grumblings of the grumpier older players at the table (sadly, myself included in this). I’m breaking this into a three part series, starting at the table, where your actions have the most immediate impact.
Part 1: At the table:
Pay attention to the other players’ actions
I know this can be difficult, particularly in large groups, as it takes a while to get through initiative back to your turn. If someone has to keep recapping what has been going on, it just gets longer. Also, players will sometimes announce try to position themselves tactically, creating openings for you to exploit. Someone might try to set you up for a flanking attack for advantage for both of you, but if you don’t hear them announce that or don’t notice it, you might miss it. While you are watching, be thinking of what actions you are likely to take on your next turn, so you are ready to go when your initiative comes up.
Roll attack and damage dice together
If you plan to attack on your turn, make sure you know what your attack roll and damage roll stats are. Go ahead and get the dice out for both before your turn. Grab your second D20 for advantage if you would have advantage on the attack. Have this ready before your turn if possible.
I know this seems weird, and I’ve been told it seems presumptuous, but it really makes the game go faster to roll the damage with the attack. It forces the player to have their whole action ready. I’ve seen a lot of little increments of time get wasted in the “stumble,” where players roll their attack, have to be reminded of their damage roll, have to search for the correct dice, and then find their modifier again. I see this most often with newer players, but it also trips up veterans. By getting out your damage die at the same time as your attack die it forces you to mentally “preload” your action by looking at your stats in advance, so you know exactly what to roll. Heck, keep your finger on your attack stats if it helps you. That way you are ready to go on your turn, and can get right to the action!
Have your spells ready
If you plan to use a spell, look it up before your turn. Have your reference material or rulebook out to the spell you intend to cast before your turn. Glance over it. Know what you are planning to do before your turn. Look up the relevant spell save DC or attack modifier, and get your damage dice out. A lot of gameplay time is lost from spellcasters having to look up their spells and it taking forever. I used to be (and still occasionally am) that guy myself, driving my table nuts trying to find the spell description. If we think ahead, we can light the room up with our fireballs quickly, adding an explosive demonstration of ULTIMATE MAGICAL POWER (MWAHAHAHAHAHA), rather than “um… how does this spell work again? Give me a minute to… oh, wrong book, hold on!”
ULTIMATE ARCANE POWAH!
“I’ve almost got it. Guys?”
Keep Your Logsheets Up To Date
This is adventure league. In the name of fair play in this format, you are required to maintain logsheets as you adventure. Blank logsheets are posted free online, and people usually carry some spares if you are new and/or you forget to keep enough on hand.
Go ahead and fill out your log throughout the gameplay session. Note any instances of money or items gained or lost in the notes. In particular, update the rewards at the end of the session. As you get more experienced you may pick up on things you realize you’ll need to remember later, so write those down too. Odds are you’ll forget what you were supposed to have if you leave the game table before filling out the sheet and have to figure it out the next week.
There is a lot of information that is asked for, but a lot of it is simplified in Season 8. The rewards are listed in the Player’s Guide for Adventurer’s League, unless the DM specifies otherwise. As usual for most things D&D, ask your DM for help if you have any questions. An experienced player may also be able to help you.
Justice is served. And logged.
Next time is Part 2: Between Sessions