I have been DMing our party for the final parts of Tomb of Annihilation.

Some parts of the adventure have vast numbers of puzzles. For example, tonight, the party spent almost four hours simply solving puzzle after puzzle with virtually no combat.

They are a high level party and it seems odd giving them zero experience points despite hours of gaming.

Questions and answers seem to be all of the map on different sites regarding awarding XP outside of what is listed in the module.

Some answers clarify that PCs shouldn't be awarded XP for traps - but call out non-combat experience and more complex solutions as acceptable - which these puzzles seem to be a closer fit given the cleverness of the party and their deliberateness.

Other answers mention you can add creatures and non-combat experience up to maximum XP allowable for an adventure.

The first question is whether I am interpreting it correct that, yes, non-combat experience can be rewarded in AL and that it must not exceed maximum XP for an adventure limits.

If so, none of the questions seem to address how you calculate non-combat experience for puzzles.

If allowed, how do you calculate non-combat experience for puzzles like one sees in Tomb of Annihilation?


2 Answers 2


The below answer was correct at time of writing (and asking), however, as of Season 8 rules, XP is no longer awarded, in any form, in DDAL play.

The D&D Adventurer's League Primer for Tomb of Annihilation contains this guidance on giving out Non-combat XP:

Character Advancement

[...]DMs may use the guidance provided by Tomb of Annihilation to award Non-Combat XP awards, these awards may only be awarded once for every two hours of play, and can’t exceed the amount determined by the characters’s tier, as follows; these awards may currently only be issued to characters playing the Tomb of Annihilation hardcover adventure. These awards are issued individually—that is to say that each character that deserves the award receives the entire amount.
These XP rewards aren’t “ZOMGFREEXP;” it shouldn’t be given arbitrarily without merit. Characters earn this XP by:

  • Bypassing traps using skill and clever thinking; or
  • Exceptional roleplaying with key NPCs—that is NPCs that play an integral role in the adventure or who pose an obstacle to achieving mission goals.

Non-Combat Reward by Tier:

\$\begin{array}{|l|c|l|} \hline \textbf{Tier} & \textbf{XP Award}\\ \hline \text{1} & \text{50}\\ \text{2} & \text{250}\\ \text{3} & \text{1,000}\\ \text{4} & \text{2,500}\\ \hline \end{array} \$

So, you CAN hand out Non-Combat XP in DDAL play of ToA, either as a reward for dealing with traps, or for exceptional roleplay.

This XP should be distributed in line with any guidance found inside the module, and can't exceed the approriate cap, for every two hours of play. The cap is determined by your PC's current tier of play:

\$\begin{array}{|l|c|l|} \hline \textbf{Tier} & \textbf{PC level range}\\ \hline \text{1} & \text{1 - 4}\\ \text{2} & \text{5 - 10}\\ \text{3} & \text{11 - 16}\\ \text{4} & \text{17 - 20}\\ \hline \end{array} \$

This document can be downloaded for free and in full from here. It is part of the D&D Adventurers League DM Pack and is the file named DDAL_Death_Curse_Primer_v1.3.pdf, the quote above is from page 4.


As of the Season 8 DDAL rules, this question is no longer valid because XP is not awarded in DDAL play. The organized play program has moved to a checkpoint-based system for advancement (and treasure). Hardcovers and pre-S8 modules award advancement purely based on play time, while S8 modules use module-specific objectives.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth expanding the answer to clarify what exactly the checkpoint system entails (e.g. by citing the relevant document). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 19, 2019 at 19:43

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