In-store or Store Affiliated Play Options
Where once D&D Encounters was the only option for local game stores to run D&D organized play, the D&D Adventures League program has expanded public play options. D&D Adventurers League is the overarching program that includes D&D Encounters, D&D Expeditions, and D&D Epics, of those three D&D Encounters & D&D Expeditions are complimentary programs available to stores from Wizards of the Coast. In addition to D&D Encounters & D&D Expeditions stores can schedule Casual D&D events for events that don’t quite fit into D&D Encounters or D&D Expeditions.
What are D&D Expeditions and D&D Encounters?
D&D Encounters is a program for new players, those returning, or people who would like an ongoing game. They’re played weekly on Wednesdays, for about 1-2 hours. The store is free to schedule them at any time on Wednesdays and can have multiple games on a day. D&D Encounters are eligible to be played by characters of first to fourth levels, characters outside that range cannot participate. The D&D Encounters portion of the storyline season will run for about 30 hours of play or 15 weeks if run for 2 hour sessions. See the Wizards D&D Encounters Page for more info.
D&D Expeditions are more episodic adventures that generally run 4 hours. There will be 14+ adventures in any give storyline season totaling over 56 hours of play. D&D Expeditions are eligible to be played by characters based on the adventure tier of any given adventure, which are as follows, 1st-4th, 5th-10th, 11th-16th, and 17th-20th, character outside the range for an individual adventure cannot participate. Expeditions can be scheduled to run any day of the week as the store has time and space for. See the Wizards D&D Expeditions Page for more info.
When can a store schedule events?
In order to schedule D&D Expeditions & D&D Encounters, a store must be signed up as a member of the Wizards Play Network. D&D Encounters can be run by a store of Gateway level and above. D&D Expeditions adventures can only be run by stores of Core level and above. Once a store is a member they will be able to download the Wizards Events Reporter – this software is required in order to schedule games (please note that the WER is currently only available for Windows). See the WER FAQ on how to schedule events.
D&D Encounters are available for scheduling the month prior to the event days and must be scheduled monthly. D&D Encounters is only available to be scheduled on Wednesdays through the WER. If a store cannot schedule games on Wednesdays they may not elect to participate in the D&D Encounters program. However, the D&D Encounters free PDF is only a portion of a retail adventure – for example, the first season of Encounters for the new edition covers levels 1-4 of “Hoard of the Dragon Queen”. If a store cannot schedule games on Wednesday they can elect to schedule a “Casual D&D” (see below) event through the WER any day of the week and play through the retail adventure and receive credit for running D&D events. If a store does this they will not receive the D&D Encounters kit as it’s not officially a Wednesday D&D Encounters game. To see the currently available events see the Wizards Play Network events page and select Dungeons & Dragons in the Filter by Brand dropdown.
D&D Expeditions are also scheduled on a monthly basis, the month prior to the event days so Wizards can get a count of how many certs to print for the magic items in the adventures. D&D Expeditions are generally 4 hour adventures and are usually played in a single block of time. To see the currently available events see the Wizards Play Network events page and select Dungeons & Dragons in the Filter by Brand dropdown. To see a list of the storyline adventures see the Tyranny of Dragons adventures page. Once a store has access to the adventures they can schedule them on the fly as Casual D&D events.
Casual D&D events can be scheduled in the WER at anytime and can include any style of game from short sessions of 1-2 hours to longer form games of 4+ hours or anything in between. Currently the available adventures to be run as official D&D Adventurers League adventures include the for-purchase Princes of the Apocalypse, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Rise of Tiamat, the Lost Mine of Phandelver (from the D&D Starter Set).
As a retail store you are welcomed and encouraged to help out with other public D&D events. This is a great way to grow the reputation of your store as a community partner and you can ask that clubs or conventions display a store sign or banner at the event as part of your sponsorship. The only caveat is that the games be in a public place and are open to the public to add new players.
Here are a few examples of why you might do that:
- If you do not have enough room in your store on Wednesdays to run D&D Encounters you can sponsor a group that plays D&D Encounters in a public place such as a library, coffee shop, church or community center.
- If you do not have enough room in your store on Fridays to run D&D Expeditions due to Friday Night Magic you can sponsor a group that plays D&D Expeditions in a public place such as a library, coffee shop, church or community center.
- If your store is in or near a remote area you can support gaming clubs or other public groups such as university clubs that meet publicly and offer open play.
- One day and weekend long conventions that need D&D Adventurers League adventures and magic item certificates.
To do this you schedule D&D Encounters or Expeditions as normal in the WER. If you need additional materials for a larger convention you can contact your WPN rep to make sure you get what’s needed. Don’t forget to order more DCI cards as well! Give the kits, DCI cards, & AL Session record sheets to the organizer and let them take it from there. After the convention the organizer will give you back the remaining kits, DCI cards and filled out sheets and card stubs, which you’ll enter into the WER just as if the games were played in your store.
What is included in kit for the store?
Each storyline season is themed and is composed of one D&D Encounters adventure and a series of D&D Expeditions adventures. When stores schedule D&D Encounters & D&D Expeditions within the scheduling window through the Wizards Events Reporter (WER) they’ll receive a physical kit (while supplies last) in addition to a link to a private webpage and password to access the adventure PDFs. Please be sure to read the Kit Instructions. The D&D Encounters kits should be used for D&D Encounters games where the faction kits can be freely given to new players and the magic item certificates given to those who gain the magic items. For D&D Expeditions kits, magic item certificates should be given to those players who’s characters earn the magic items through play. (See the D&D Adventurers League Player’s Guide for instructions on how to award magic items and certificate uses)
The store should also order DCI cards via the WER. DCI cards are membership cards that are given to new players and DMs the first time they play a D&D Adventures League game. DCI numbers are also used for Magic: The Gathering, so you may have them if you run those events and players/ DMs may have them already as well.
After your events are scheduled in the WER you should try and promote the games to get players and DMs. You can promote games in-store, perhaps mentioning them to customers who buy D&D products and putting them on an in-store calendar. When you join the WPN and schedule games you’re automatically included in the Wizards Store Event Locator, so players & DMs can find you that way as well.
You can also create flyers to promote play. The Wizards Play Network offers digital marketing asset kits for D&D Adventurers League play. These assets include artwork and logos to advertise this release, exciting graphics to use on your website and social media pages, web-ready product images from this release and printable flyers and posters to promote your in-store events.
If you need additional players and DM’s there are many online sites to help you find players. For D&D Adventurers League specifically there are official D&D Adventures League social media sites and regional Facebook and Google+ communities dedicated to helping you. Additionally, sites like meetup.com can be very successful – it all depends on your needs and your geographic location!
Once your players and DMs show up, running events is easy. You can simply pass out new DCI cards to those players that need them and then record the DCI numbers of all participants. This is essential as it shows how many participants you have at your events. You can just write the numbers down or use our Adventurers League Session tracking form.
Once you have all the DCI numbers you can open your event in the WER and add the players/DMs to your event. See the WER FAQ on how to manage events.
For new players you can help them out by downloading and printing out pregenerated characters and other necessary play aids, such as the D&D Adventures League Logsheets on the Wizards website in the D&D Adventurers League Resource page.