Let's say you're an Arcane Trickster Rogue, and you play in Adventurers League games. One night, you play at a DM's table, and during combat, when you would normally benefit from Sneak Attack, said DM tells you that you don't benefit from it, as "it would be too powerful with the magic given by the Arcane Trickster archetype".

Or let's say that you are a Small creature wielding a Lance, but the DM says that “you only deal 1d8 damage instead of 1d12 with it because of your size”.

These scenarios are only examples, but they share the idea of an AL DM blatantly altering existing rules. While it is generally seen as bad behavior to interrupt the game flow in order to point out something to the DM, are such situations (where the DM clearly alters the rules in a non-homebrew session) worthy of stepping up as a player at that moment ?

In other words, how should you react, as a player, when existing rules are modified by the DM in Adventurers League organized play (provided that you double-check beforehand that the rules were indeed altered)...

  1. Point out the alteration immediately to the DM and politely ask him to stick to the rules -- but then if he refuses...

    A) Accept it and do nothing

    B) Go speak to the organizer (either now or at end of session)

    C) other

  2. Write it down to mention it to the DM during break time or at end of session (even if the rules alteration severely impacts the game at the moment)

  3. other

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are those two scenarios (the nerfed rogue and the nerfed small creature) hypotheticals or anecdotes? I ask because SE prefers actual problems rather than hypotheticals, so it may be helpful to know. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2018 at 22:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be beneficial to edit this question to prevent it from being closed as opinion based. "What should I do" is rarely a good style of question in this particular format (though I appreciate what you are facing). Please remove the hypothetical tone, and please consider a more focused title question. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2018 at 23:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ very closely related: Is a DM allowed to change rules in AL? Not a duplicate in my eyes, though, as that's "can they?" and this is "what do I do when they?" \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Apr 28, 2018 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I could update to say “what’s the best practice” instead of “what should you do”. The first example is an anecdote from another table, the second is a pure invention, but I ask this question because the AL Code of Conduct lists actions to do when the DM is disruptive/agressive, but not really when he alters rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Apr 28, 2018 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


tl;dr: The DM is not permitted to use house rules in Adventurer's League, hence it is legit to "complain" if (s)he still makes such changes.

The D&D Adventurer's League Player's Guide has a section "D&D Adventurer's League Code of Conduct". It states (among other things):

Follow the DMs lead, avoid arguing with the DM or other players over rules.
The organizer has the right to remove a disruptive or aggressive player or Dungeon Master from the play area or premises.

Generally, that indicates that you should not argue with your DM about the rules. If there is a serious problem with your DM, the organizer should take care of it.

However, the FAQ state:

House rules, that is to say rules that you create that aren’t in the official materials such as critical fails, new races, new classes, etc., aren’t permitted for use in play; the Adventurers League uses the rules as presented in the PHB.

Therefore, I would suggest that - after the session - you show your DM the (official!) FAQ document linked above and point out to him that, while he can change the rules in these ways during regular play, it is not permitted during Adventurer's League events.
If the rule changes are more severe, you can also talk to your DM during a break. I would advise against starting the discussion during the game, unless it's a life-or-death situation.

Should your DM refuse to acknowledge the clarification in the FAQ, you can talk to the organizer to handle the situation, as mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

I would recommend that all your players (including the DM) read the AL Player's Guide, the FAQ, and the DM also the AL Dungeon Master's Guide. All of these documents can be found here, as well as some additional documents.

Note: all emphasis mine

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is difference between a house rule as defined in the FAQ, "...such as critical fails, new races, new classes, etc", and making a mistake or misinterpreting a rule. That a lance does damage is not a house rule, although the DM may have made a mistake about how much damage it does. \$\endgroup\$
    – Solanacea
    Apr 28, 2018 at 0:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Solanacea the way I read the question, OP's DM made changes to the rules because, in his perception, they are not realistic enough - and that is house-ruling, not misinterpreting a rule. If the DM in question did accidentally misread the rules, then the question should be changed to reflect that - but the answer would still be the same: talk to the DM, because in AL, he's forced to use the official rules. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 28, 2018 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are 100% right, but for some reason "forced to use the official rules" read wrong to me. I would say "must use the official rules." (No one is forcing them to play in AL). \$\endgroup\$ Apr 28, 2018 at 2:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Are you sure about that? There might be one or two AL DM's with children being used as blackmail material for all we know.. :P \$\endgroup\$
    – JackChance
    Apr 29, 2018 at 8:57

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