D&D Adventurers League: Creating a character for the Elemental Evil season

The new season for the D&D Adventurers League is upon us! The new Encounters season, Princes of the Apocalypse, begins this Wednesday in a lot of stores (some might delay it just a bit), and there are two shiny new documents to peruse – the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, and the D&D AL Player’s Guide.

All new characters must begin at Level 1 with 0 Experience Points.

In general, you follow the rules in either the Basic Rules or Player’s Handbook to create a character, but there are certain modifications for this process in the D&D AL Player’s Guide, which you really should read before beginning. Here’s a summary of what you need to know:

Story Origin: Each character has a story origin, which dictates which rules you can use for character creation. There are only two choices, and there are very few benefits from choosing Tyranny of Dragons. Your story origin is Elemental Evil. It allows you to use the following rules sources to create your character:

  • D&D Basic Rules (all rules except rolling ability scores and hit points, rolling for starting wealth, some alignment restrictions)
  • D&D Player’s Handbook (all rules except rolling ability scores and hit points, some alignment restrictions)
  • Princes of the Apocalypse appendix A and appendix B
  • Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (all rules except aarakocra)
  • Monster Manual appendix A (beasts only)
  • Mulmaster backgrounds and bonds
  • Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (if you use this, you may not also use the Elemental Evil Players Companion or Princes of the Apocalypse appendices A & B).

At present there is no place to record the story origin (although the new character sheet has an elemental evil icon on it), but it can’t be changed, even if you rebuild your character.

Starting Equipment: The beginning equipment for your character is determined by the packages available through your character class and background. In the last version of the guide, you could take maximum gold and buy equipment. This is no longer an option. You must take the gear given to you in the packages. You can spend any gold you get from your background as you wish, however.

New Races: There are four new races in the Player’s Companion. Unfortunately, the Aarakocra is not available in D&D AL play. You can choose from the Deep Gnome, Genasi, or Goliath races if you took the Elemental Evil origin, in addition to the Player’s Handbook races. (If you play a human, you may use the variant human traits).

Ability Scores: You do not roll ability scores. Instead you can take the standard array or use customizing ability score variant in the PHB.

Alignment: You cannot choose Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil. You may only choose Lawful Evil if you belong to the Zhentarim or Lords’ Alliance faction.

Factions: You may choose one faction to join: Emerald Enclave, Harpers, Lords’ Alliance, Order of the Gauntlet, or Zhentarim. They are described in the Player’s Guide.

Deities: You may choose one Deity from the Forgotten Realms or nonhuman deity list in the PHB.

All of this is described in authoritative fashion in the Player’s Guide. Download it to be sure of the rules! (This post is not authoritative!)

What adventures can you play?

Now you have your shiny new character, what can you play with it?

  • D&D Encounters begins on Wednesday 18th March in a lot of stores, playing through the first stages of the Elemental Evil campaign. Especially designed for low-level play, this is the obvious place to start.
  • D&D Expeditions have a number of offerings becoming available for play in public places. You can play any of the Tier 1 adventures from Tyranny of Dragons immediately, or wait until April 1st, when the first of the Elemental Evil adventures become available. DDEX2-1
    City of Danger is written especially for new characters (levels 1-2) and is a collection of five, short (1-hour) adventures. DDEX2-2
    Embers of Elmwood also caters for tier 1 play. More will become available over the next few months – see the schedule here.
  • Of course, you could just play through Princes of the Apocalypse when it becomes available in early April. (Note that D&D Encounters consists of the opening section of that adventure, and so you can get a preview of the adventure through the Encounters season).
  • Despite having an Elemental Evil character, all Tyranny of Dragons adventures are still legal to play – including Hoard of the Dragon Queen.
  • And the adventure in the Starter Set, Lost Mine of Phandelver is always legal to play for low-level characters!

Remember – as long as your character matches the tier (levels) of the adventure, you can play any D&D AL adventure with your character!

Princes of the Apocalypse

It is possible that there are additional story bonds and backgrounds in this adventure. Those playing D&D Encounters can check with their DM what options are available.


  1. Pingback: Elemental Evil Character Creation | D&D Adventurers League Organizers
  2. bolo

    Hey Merric,

    I’ve been trying to find any info about suggested character backgrounds for tying new characters to the campaign.
    For instance, Apendix A (“Backgrounds”) of Hoard of The Dragon Queen had 10 bonds and two “Optional Features”, I assume Appendix A (and/or B) of Princes of the Apocalypse will have something similar… any chance you could show that?


  3. Mark P. (@renimar)

    Hi merricb,

    Had a question for you about this statement: “Despite having an Elemental Evil character, all Tyranny of Dragons adventures are still legal to play – including Hoard of the Dragon Queen.”

    Where does it state that you can backport EE characters into ToD (season 1) modules? This issue came up just the other day and a GM argued that while the EE Player’s Guide allows bringing ToD characters forward into season 2, that there’s no provision to do the reverse as you state. Is this an interpretation or state somewhere? Mostly wondering because this will almost certainly come up again.



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