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D&D Easing Adventurers League Character Restrictions Moving Forward

February 25, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Dungeons & Dragons D&D Adventurers League Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons & Dragons are making some big changes to their Adventurers League official play format to make it easier for players to make the characters they want. Wizards of the Coast announced on Thursday that they are putting a stop to the requirement that character creation and development follow the “Player’s Handbook + 1″ rule that has governed the format since Fifth Edition.

The “PH + 1” rule required that characters be created using only the Player’s Handbook and one addtional official 5E sourcebook. So for example, you could use Xanathar’s Guide to Everything to take the Divine Soul sorcerer archetype or other subclass options, but then you would not be able to use the character options in Volo’s Guide to Monsters or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. This was done to allow DMs to ensure their games were balanced and avoid abuse of multiple rulesets.

The announcement notes that the change begins with the Masters and Historic campaign information releasing over the next week, with the changes being done “balance player agency over their character’s rules options with rules that are intuitive and easy for DMs and players to communicate.”

The new rules options separate expansions into different categories: big rules expansions, specific world rules options, and some assorted digital-only supplements. The big rules expansions like the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide will be available across Adventurer’s League campaigns, while setting-specific AL campaigns will additionally have access to books created for those campaigns like Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide or Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Each Seasonal campaign will be allow the use of character options from the campaigns’ associated hardcover book.

You can see the breakdown of player options below, as listed by WotC:

Player Option Overview
A reminder: Player options are rules (usually races, classes, subclasses, feats, spells, and backgrounds) that are specifically positioned as a player-facing option in a given product. Material that is clearly a part of the Dungeon Master’s purview is not allowed.

Our community will be able to choose from player options in the following resources in any campaign:
* Player’s Handbook
* Volo’s Guide to Monsters
* Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
* Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
* Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

For campaigns set in the Forgotten Realms (Seasonal starting next season, Masters, Historic), the following will also be legal:
* Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

For each Seasonal Campaign, the following will also be legal:
* Player options published in the associated hardcover adventure

For the Masters and Historic Campaigns, the following will also be legal:
* Genasi and aarakocra from Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
* Tortles from the Tortle Package
* Locathah from Locathah Rising

For the current Alternate Campaign (Oracle of War), the following will also be legal:
* Player options published in the associated setting product (Eberron: Rising from the Last War)