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I'm referring to the Adventurers League Player's Guide, Version 9.1. I can't find a direct link, but can be downloaded for free as part of the D&D Adventurers League Player & DM Pack.

I would like to play a Zariel variant tiefling paladin following the Oath of Conquest. I'm not sure if that particular combination is possible under Adventurers League character creation rules.

The first part of my question comes from the player's guide, page 2, under Step 1: Choose a Race and Class.

Forgotten Realms characters can choose race and class options from the Player's Handbook and one other resource -- a rule called "PHB+1." Additional resources include the following products:

  • Elemental Evil Player's Compainon (EEPC)
  • Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (SCAG)
  • Volo's Guide to Monsters (VGM)
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGE) (1)
  • Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (ToF) (2)

The Oath of Conquest is part of XGE, so that would lock me in to XGE as my PHB+1 option.

Then we get to the second part.

Additionally, when selecting an additional source, the following variant or optional rules are available when you create your character.

  • Variant Human Traits (PHB)
  • Half-Elf and Tiefling Variants (SCAG/ToF)
  • Option: Human Languages (SCAG) (3)
  • Blessing of Corellon (ToF) (3)

The Zariel variant tiefling subrace is part of the ToF.

So what matters here is: What does that first paragraph in that second part mean?

I can see two possible readings. Tacit implied meanings supplied in square brackets below.

  1. Additionally, when selecting an additional source, the following variant or optional rules are available [in addition to your PHB+1 source] when you create your character, or;
  2. Additionally, when selecting an additional source, the following variant or optional rules are [only] available when you create your character [if they are part of your PHB+1 option]

To me, reading #2 seems unnatural. The first section already said that I could use the options in one of the additional books. Why would the second part need to restate that I can use the options within the additional book that I chose?

That kind of needless repetition seems odd. So to me reading #1 is the natural interpretation, and it's what I would have naturally assumed. Except for the footers, which confuse the matter.

(1) XGE also includes the "Tortle Package"
(2) Chapters 1-5, only
(3) Taking this option can be done, even if its source product isn't your selection for PHB+1

Footer (3) appears for human languages and the Blessing of Corellon, but not for half-elf and tiefling variants.

This suggests that that reading #2 above is the correct one, but human languages and the Blessing of Corellon are exceptions that can be accessed regardless of the PHB+1 option chosen.

Which is why I'm confused. The footers and the (in my opinion) natural reading of the second part seem to be in conflict.

Which reading of that second part is correct, if either?


Please note that this difficulty with ambiguous statements is a mental quirk of mine. I frequently find myself confused about ambiguity in statements that seem so obvious to other people that they think I'm forcing an alternate reading for some other motive. That's not the case: I'm genuinely and frequently confused by this kind of thing, my brain just isn't wired well for understanding what does or doesn't seem obvious to other people. Thanks for understanding.

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The simple answer is you only get to use one other source material book, beyond the PHB, for everything related to your character creation (and advancement). So no, you can't have a Zariel tiefling as a Conquest Paladin.

Per the ALPG v9.1:

Forgotten Realms characters can choose race and class options from the Player’s Handbook and one other resource—a rule called “PHB+1.”

Since you want your class to be the Paladin's Oath of Conquest, which comes from Xanathar, all other creation choices (except where spelled out) such as your race MUST come from either the PHB or XGtE.

For the the second part, the bulleted list refers to variants that are allowed.

  • Variant Human Traits (PHB)
    • Since everyone gets the PHB, anyone can use the variant human traits
  • Half-Elf and Tiefling Variants (SCAG/ToF)
    • If SCAG or ToF is your +1, then you can use the variant versions mentioned in that source
  • Option: Human Languages (SCAG) (3)
    • Optional Human Languages are mentioned in SCAG, but (3) says you can take this even if SCAG is not your +1
  • Blessing of Corellon (ToF) (3)
    • Even if ToF is not your +1, you can still apply the optional Blessing to your elf

It's a really horribly worded doc, and it gets worse every revision as they try to shoehorn in new rules to existing text. Such as, in previous versions of the doc, they specifically called out variants and optional play were not allowed. But then they realized that feats and multi-classing are listed as optional and therefor technically are against the rules. So they took that out, but didn't fix surrounding text.

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By default, the four listed "variant or optional rules" in quote #2 require DM approval in order to use them in your game. The AL Player's Guide is saying that AL approves these variants for use in AL games, so you don't need to seek permission from your DM; however, this isn't enough to use them, as they must also be in the PHB+1 resources you use. Variant humans are in the PHB, and thus available for all resource combinations, and Human Languages and Blessing of Corellon have footnotes allowing them even if they're not in your +1. That leaves the Half-Elf and Tiefling Variants, which you can use if SCAG or ToF, respectively, is your +1 sourcebook, but can't use if your +1 is a different resource.

So, unfortunately, an Oath of Conquest Zariel tiefling is not AL-legal.

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