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I am aware of the Adventurers League's concept of "Suspension of disbelief" (to, amongst other things, justify characters obtaining magic items from a certain storyline between sessions of a different storyline).

What I would like to know is whether an Adventurers League Dungeon Master is allowed to prevent your character from getting access to a magic item you (legally) obtained (either in another DM's session or via downtime trading) between two of the DM's sessions.

The suspension of disbelief concept obviously applies to magic items obtained between two unrelated sessions, but I'm not sure if it still applies when the two sessions are closely related. The following cases I wish to be covered are :

  1. Between two modules of the same season and "partial storyline" (don't know the exact term, but referring to things like DDAL07-06, 07 and 08 being part of a three-part series within Season 7)
  2. Between two sessions of a specific chapter of a Hardcover
  3. Between two sessions of a single module that was split in two due to time constraint (ex1: 4hr module, but only time for 2hrs per session; ex2: 5 mini-adventures separated in a session of 3 minis and another of 2 minis)

Note : If the answer is "no, the DM can't prevent you" for any of these cases, then I'd like to know what should I do if a DM still does it (it happened to me in the past and I couldn't do anything about it).

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    \$\begingroup\$ The term you're looking for in example #1 is simply "a trilogy", but it has no special meaning in DDAL play. It may "spoil" the story a bit, but there's no reason they have to be played in the published order. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 30 '18 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, because the DM in question made us play them in order, and by improving the story link between the modules of the trilogy, therefore considered it as one bigger module (and then prevented me from getting access to a magic item I had obtained through downtime trading). \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, in other words, case 1 happened to me specifically, although I want all cases covered (either by a yes or a no) to be prepared if they do happen. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 21:56
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Short Answer

As long as the item was gained within the rules of AL, there is no rule that supports a DM disallowing use of resources gained between sessions.

Long Answer

Suspension of disbelief is vitally important to organized play; it is almost a core precept. Characters are highly likely to run across other characters who have played the same content, but in a different order and with different players. Each player must disregard these discontinuities, because they are inevitable unless you never roam tables1.

The DDAL FAQ (in the DDAL Player's Pack) provides explicit guidance under Leveling Between Sessions. The short version is: That's when you're supposed to do it - between sessions. In fact, this where the "suspension of disbelief" is explicitly mentioned. It doesn't just call out the players needing to do it, it calls out the DM need to do it, too. It also talks about new equipment, new magic items, and new class features.

When you're continuing a multi-session adventure, it instructs you to keep track of expended hit points, spells slots, and other consumables that refresh on a rest. If you're down 50 hit points and have used three first level spell slots left when you leave the multi-session adventure, you're down the same 50 HP and the same spent spell slots when you come back to it. You may have a higher HP total and additional spell slots because you leveled up, of course.

Specific Examples

#1

While there are story ties between the three modules in each trilogy, they are different modules as far as DDAL is concerned. They're one-and-done. They may make more sense if they're played sequentially and continuously, but there is no expectation that they will be. They should be treated like any other single modules.

#2

By the same token, each session stands alone. DDAL expects that characters will be used between sessions of the same hardcover. See "However..." below; the GM may be making an unreasonable request. In any case, he does not have the authority to deny you the use of properly earned and properly logged XP, GP, DT, Renown, or magic items. If you're following the DDAL rules, he should be, too. Those rules don't allow him to deny it, unless he's accusing you of cheating.

#3

Only example situation #3 is a "multi-session" adventure, and the passages referenced above cover that. Note that each "part" of the introductory adventures should be logged as an entirely separate adventure - because they are. They follow the same principles as I mentioned in #1 above.

However...

A DM could ask you not to play the character between sessions2, but it's not anything the DM can demand under DDAL rules. It's just a request between two (presumably) friends. Whether or not this is a reasonable request varies by the situation - how long it's going to be between sessions, etc. What is acceptable in that group is a social contract question far beyond the scope of the original question here.

The DM always has the right to tell any player to leave the table. If the aforementioned request was polite and reasonable, and the player disregarded the request anyway, that makes the player the jerk. The DM is totally within his rights as a DDAL DM and a DM in general to give the disrespectful player the boot.

1If you're never going to play the character at another table, not only is the original question moot, but why bother playing under DDAL rules anyway?

2I always ask this of my weekly Hardcover players. Only one has ever disregarded the request, but he was at a convention and didn't have another T2 character to play in the content and schedule that was available to him, so I let it slide.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So, if I understand correctly, the DM can (and should) prevent you from using "foreignly obtained items" only if it's the same session split in parts, yes ? So, in my 3 cases, what counts as a clear "between two sessions" moment, and what counts as a "multi-session" moment ? \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 21:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, @GaelL - the exact opposite. The DM cannot prevent it under DDAL, rules, only request it. Whether any of the players heed the request is a social contract question well beyond the scope of this question. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 30 '18 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see. Well, of course, considering a DM can kick you off his table, a request is pretty much an obligation in certain cases. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL That'd be the "social contract" bit that's beyond the scope of the question. Even if you were to ask it as a separate question, it has too many variables to even begin to fully answer it. Based on some of these questions, it seems your DM is either a control freak or a plain old jerk. Either way, he's acting outside the community standards for DDAL play. He may want to consider sticking to non-organized-play DMing... but I'm not going to suggest that to him. :) \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 30 '18 at 21:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL Feel free to let it sit for a bit, usually a day is good. Somebody else might come by and supply an answer you like even better. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 30 '18 at 22:39
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I will paste here a modified version of my answer to your previous question, which you may not have seen when posting this followup question.

From the Adventurer's League Dungeon Master's Guide (a newer version can be found on DMsGuild.com):

Ensure that each player has an adventure logsheet for their character [...] In addition, the player also fills in the starting values for XP, gold, downtime, renown, and number of permanent magic items.

Emphasis mine.

Here it is clear that it is the DM's responsibility to ensure that each player has a logsheet. It goes on:

If you have time, you can do a quick scan of a player’s character sheet to ensure that nothing looks out of order. If you see magic items of very high rarities or strange arrays of ability scores, you can ask players to provide documentation for the irregularities. If they cannot, feel free to restrict item use or ask them to use a standard ability score array.

Emphasis mine.

DM therefore has the authority to restrict magic items, but only if he deems them obtained dishonestly or if you cannot provide the proof through the logsheet.

So, can a DM prevent you from using a magic item...

Between two modules of the same season and "partial storyline"

Only if he thinks you may not have gotten the item legally. Hard to defend if he was the DM that gave it to you.

Between two sessions of a specific chapter of a Hardcover

Only if he thinks you may not have gotten the item legally. Hard to defend if he was the DM that gave it to you, which is usually the case in a hardcover.

Between two sessions of a single module that was split in two due to time constraint

Magic items should not be distributed until the end of the module.

I'd like to know what should I do if a DM still does it

Present him the facts, politely. Items in AL legal modules are usually well balanced and should not break the adventure. If he fears that you will abuse some feature to gain an obscene advantage compared to the other players, reassure him that you do not plan to do so. If everyone is civil but the discussion goes nowhere, don't hesitate to ask for a site coordinator, namely the gameshop owner, to arbitrate.

Explaining yourself is your only option. If the DM stays put and it prevents you from enjoying the game, then it is time to look for another table.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. I would have thought that a certain chapter of a Hardcover played over multiple sessions (case 2) would be considered as a "multiple-session" just like when a module is split in two (case 3). \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 22:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Alex: Cool--glad it helped. Though the two site coordinators I work most closely with--the one at my FLGS and the one in the mirror--neither are store owners =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 30 '18 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 now that he deleted his comment, it seems like you were talking to me, heh. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jan 30 '18 at 22:32

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