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This question pertains specifically to D&D Adventurers League rules. I've got a character concept that I want to implement in a Forgotten Realms campaign, and I'm trying to formulate a plausible interpretation of RAW that will allow it. The double-bladed scimitar is typically thought to be unavailable in Forgotten Realms play because it is printed in the Rising from the Last War book (on page 22, for those interested), which is in the Eberron setting rather than the Forgotten Realms setting.

The general rule that I see a lot of people cite is that DDAL uses "the PHB+1 rule" to determine which options players can use. However, I don't think it's technically correct RAW. The actual text of the rule in the Adventurers League Player's Guide is:

"Forgotten Realms characters can choose race and class options from the Player’s Handbook and one other resource - a rule called PHB+1" (bold emphasis mine)

I would argue that, using RAW, the PHB+1 rule prohibits you from using race or class options from another book - but not from using equipment from another book. In fact, I believe that the ALPG section on equipment supports this interpretation. It states that:

"Your character can sell or buy spell components and equipment found in the Player’s Handbook or any player resources." (bold emphasis mine)

If equipment were meant to be limited to the same rulebook as your selected +1, then it would say that instead of using the word any, and equipment would be included with race and class in the list of PHB+1 restrictions. Now, I'm willing to admit that because Rising from the Last War is not included in the Forgotten Realms ALPG list of PHB+1 sources, this would preclude players from buying or selling double-bladed scimitars in the Forgotten Realms. But what about creating one with the Pact of the Blade warlock feature? The relevant text of the feature states:

You can choose the form that this melee weapon lakes each time you create it (see chapter 5 for weapon options).

I can see how you could interpret the parenthetical statement to mean that only weapons from PHB chapter 5 are valid options. However, I argue that there is a different (and equally valid) interpretation: the parenthetical simply means that the chapter 5 weapons are among the weapon options - not necessarily a comprehensive list. The fact that it's relegated to a parenthetical would imply that this is a suggestion; if a restriction were intended, it would be explicitly stated as part of the sentence (i.e. "choose a form from among the melee weapons presented in chapter 5"). Thus, my interpretation would be that you can choose the form of any melee weapon when you create a weapon with Pact of the Blade.

So, with this all in mind, my argument goes like this:

  1. Pact of the Blade can be used to create the form of any melee weapon
  2. A double-bladed scimitar is a melee weapon
  3. While you can't buy or sell equipment from Rising from the Last War in the Forgotten Realms setting, there is no rule that explicitly states that you can't acquire such equipment by other means (such as summoning)
  4. In the absence of a specific rule prohibiting you from doing so, you should be able to use Pact of the Blade to summon a double-bladed scimitar

So now to the question: does anyone know of a specific rule that would cause the above logic to break down? Is there something I've missed somewhere?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 19 '19 at 4:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty: There's also no need to leave comments saying you've left an answer. The author of a question is already notified whenever someone answers their question. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 24 at 10:44
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Your argument is correct

One cannot choose options from excluded sources when advancing or during creation. One can choose options from other sources at any other time. For example, a Wizard with a Volo's race can't learn a spell from XGE on level-up, but they could learn one from studying a spellbook during downtime.

The warlock's pact weapon's form is not an advancement option, but instead a choice you make each time you summon it. You can use any legal source's options to make that choice, and the PHB+1 restriction on race and class does not apply. For a more detailed discussion of the +1 rule, see this article on the subject.

Note that it is, in my experience, unusual to use equipment from non-PHB sources for the pact of the blade. Whenever you are going to do something unusual, it is prudent to discuss it with your AL DM or organizing staff beforehand when possible, even if you're sure it's legal, to avoid possible consternation.

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Part of your argument is correct

As Please stop being evil points out, the "PHB + 1" only deals with creating and leveling a character. So if you used a monster race from Volo, there is nothing stopping a Wizard from getting a spell from Xanathar's if it's on a scroll or someone else's spellbook. It just can't be one of the two free spells gained during leveling up.

However, you missed the very next section on player creation:

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 Companion (EEPC)
  • Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (SCAG)
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters (VGM)
  • Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGE)
  • Mordenkain's Tome of Foes

No mention of Eberron. In fact, Eberron has it's own AL Player's Creation pdf, DM pdf, and FAQ pdf. (Don't have them handy to cut and paste in). This is supported by this answer.

So while a player can buy and sell, it's only from "player resources" which are listed above; no Eberron.

Further separation can be found in the DM Rewards v9.00 pdf:

One of your characters from the campaign for which you were DMing gains a magic item awarded by the adventure. Forgotten Realms characters can only gain items from Forgotten Realms adventures, and Eberron characters can only gain items from Eberron adventures.

Items gained that are unique to Eberron, stay in Eberron.

You're essentially asking to invent a weapon that does not exist in Forgotten Realms to be a Pact weapon. This is akin to saying you want a lightsaber as a Pact weapon.

It is highly unlikely you would find an AL DM that would let you create a Forgotten Realms character and pull in content from the Eberron setting.


Update: I found a tweet from Adventure League that kind of says it all. This is in reference to the Artificer class, but I would think the message is clear:

It will be legal for the Eberron campaign, which is separate from the Forgotten Realms campaign.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel the lightsaber comment is misleading, 5e has no lightsabers, but it does have double-bladed scimitars. I see your point, but perhaps use an other existing Ebrron only item as your example? sorry if this sounds negative, I just needed to re-read it a few times, as my mind screamed at "lightsaber". PS your "player resource docs" mention really needs expansion (at least for me personally) as I see this as a "class feature" instead. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 5:05
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While the letter of the rules might approve its use, the double-bladed scimitar is a Valenar Elf device, and Valenar Elves do not exist in the Forgotten Realms. The clear intent in AL is to keep Eberron and Forgotten Realms content separate.

There is a specific warning of the use of such a blade in Eberron:

A Valenar blade in the hands of a non-elf is generally assumed to have been stolen or looted from a fallen foe, and a Valenar elf might feel entitled to demand its return or challenge the bearer to prove they’re worthy to wield it.

This is a restriction that would find no purchase in the Forgotten Realms: there are no Valenar Elves to confront the player character.

This is clearly a powerful weapon. It gives damage average greater than the longsword (5 vs 4.5) and a bonus action attack that is the equivalent of the feat-given d4 Polearm Master bonus action attack. And with no counter-balancing mechanic against its use, I feel that the use of such a weapon in Forgotten Realms setting is at best Cheese (exploiting a particular rule or combination of rules to gain a tactical advantage that isn't in the spirit of the game or setting).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Smell like...Cheese? yes! Expressly forbidden RAW? no. But it can only be pulled off by a pact of the blade warlock, so its not exactly an ideal melee build (without multi-classing) & its no advantage to booming and/or green-flame blade (as they are cantrips, not attack actions) \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 8:41
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I feel the fact its not an actual "item" or "weapon" answers this. Its an extension of your patron, via your class feature, manifested at will. Weapon existing in a printed official source makes it possible for use, imho. But this is 100% a DM by DM call

In the case of a PACT WEAPON specifically with a "pact of the blade warlock"

All 4 of your bullet points are correct, and TL;DR below, I'd agree with OP BUT this would be the only way I could see the double-bladed scimitar getting into FR, in anyway, inside AL EVER!

I see no reason why the "Patron" wouldn't be aware of the "Double-Bladed Scimitar's" existence. I doubt "The Raven Queen" or "Asmodeus" are unaware this weapon exists (and there-fore allowing the warlock knowledge of it).

So while outside of Eberron campaign setting it shouldn't be able to be bought in a shop or found. BUT nothing RAW prevents its use IN THIS WAY as a materialized, ("granted"), pack weapon.

The "AL player resource" mention doesn't apply in this case. WHY? Because the pact weapon is not from a "resource" (not an item, spell, etc.) from character creation and/or character advancement (or even a shop or found), needing a resource (it is picked at will, when materialized). It (the pact weapon) only has the properties of the weapon it mimics, in addition to pact weapon properties. It is a class feature (from PHB). This isnt a resource from outside PHB+1, and nowhere does it state magical "creations" require a PHB+1, otherwise "wild shape" & "polymorph" (and other shape changes to "printed stat blocks") uses from out side PHB + 1 source would ALSO be effected

I'm in no way saying THIS IS 100% correct, but by my understanding of the rules it is,*as its not a "real item" (or resource needing a +1, just as wild shapes dont) its "a class ability, with the properties of ANY weapon, inside the pact of the blade limits, of your choosing... a power granted by the patron".

Its NOT a "mundane item" or even "magical item", its class ability named "pact weapon", but it is 100% NOT an "item", and doesnt require a "resource". The source being the text of pact of the blade in PHB, the text allows chapter 5 listed weapons as options but doesnt state, "limited to" chapter 5 listed options. (There is no limiting wording, only "see chapter 5 for weapon options")

If I am wrong, RAW, please comment my error, I see down votes but no comments

But if the ruling is "not allowed", I'm so reminding everyone: shape change & summons, lacking a PHB +1 resource, as they are also class or spell given "abilities" would be effected

if this cuts "pact weapon" this deep...it should cut everyone equally (sorry wizard, that creature you want to polymorph into is from MM, pick something from your PHB+1 plz)

Cheese or not, it is not expressly forbidden by any RAW texts. If it were a "real item" it would be (but its not), its the part about willing it into existence that should, imho, allow this

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not a downvoter but there is way to much unnecessary bold text formatting here. Bold text formatting should be used to give extra emphasis to/highlight important parts. You don't need to use it for every little thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Feb 24 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Yes I tend to go insane when I 1st type, then attempt to edit sanity in, PS do you feel I am correct? or you just wanted to help me with my nutty formatting lol (ps thanks) \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 2:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ For one, your Druid Wildshape argument doesn't work as the rule states, "... you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before." It has nothing to do with what book the creature is found in. It just needs to be something the PC has encountered before. Whereas Pact of the Blade is more restrictive, stating the the player needs to look in Chapter 5 for their options. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Feb 24 at 8:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, I believe you are confusing the term "resource". The the ALPG says, "Your character can sell or buy spell components and equipment found in the Player’s Handbook or any player resources." It means the PHB and the books listed under Step 1; "...from the Player’s Handbook and one other resource--a rule called “PHB+1.” Additional resources include the following products:...". The books are the resources; not the items. So when you say "The pact weapon is not a resource", that isn't the argument. The pact weapon is an item that must be found IN A resource. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Feb 24 at 8:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ If I go to a restaurant, and the waiter says, "The options for your protein are steak, chicken, or pork," I cannot say "Fish" and expect to get what I want. Per the English language, the speaker does not need to use the word "limited to" to imply the chooser has a limited selection. In this case, the options are "Chapter 5". You might have a better argument asking for the Yklwa weapon from ToA because at least it is from the same universe/system. But Ebberon and FR are two separate and distinct systems. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Feb 24 at 19:35

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