While reading another question I was introduced to the notion of a D&D tournament.

According to the wikipedia article on the D&D Championship Series, the basic idea of these tournaments is that there are multiple tables of players and GMs. The players can choose a pregenerated character and each table runs the same game each round.

Players are somehow scored on their performance. Wikipedia doesn't describe this, instead saying:

The exact scoring system was kept secret as the scoring may reveal secrets to be discovered in the adventure, as well as to encourage players to play to the spirit of the game, not to the exact scoring checklist

How were players scored in these D&D tournaments? Although I mentioned the D&D Championship Series, my interest is broadly in D&D tournaments - that's merely the only example I currently know of.


2 Answers 2


Like this:

Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan Score Sheet

Score sheet from C1 Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.

To summarize, parties were scored as a whole, not individual characters. Small numbers of points were given and deducted for a variety of specific actions as well as general outcomes, sorted by room/encounter. There were also larger numbers of points given or deducted for big, overarching goals like finishing within time and avoiding/accruing character deaths. Participation points were added so nobody got a negative total score, and GMs could, with approval from tournament organizers, add a small number of discretionary points that, at the maximum total bonus allowed, would be about 1% of the maximum points available.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's just from one year's adventure, though, I think? Do you have any information about how it might have changed over time? \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Dec 12, 2019 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Two questions from someone who has never seen one of these before: A.) Is the "tournament judge" mentioned in the instructions the GM, or someone different? B.) Do different adventures have the same range of points, or are they totally different? (I'm wondering if I can compare scores from different adventures to determine who performed better). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2019 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild The former is maybe part of this question, but B) should be asked separately, I think, that way you get rep for asking and answerers get rep for answering. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2019 at 6:27

In the 1980s, (Phantastacon Convention D&D tournaments had teams completing in parallel the same modules in playing sessions. The winning team was determined by a points system scored using a hidden criteria based on tasks completed, actions performed, completion, etc. Individuals were not scored or rated, only the team's performance was scored.

Members of the winning team then competed against each other running the same character through the same module. People who died early in the module just received a winning team member plaque while the people getting furthest into the maze were recognised for their achievement.

There was no points system as such, where you died was effectively your score. The Traveller tournaments at Phantastacon had the same focus on team performance. Different prizes/plaques were awarded for team placing. For D&D I have a winning team member plaque and for Traveller it was for being a team member of the second placed team. The Arcarnacon Convention of that period did not score individuals. The idea of scoring individuals came later.


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