The Pinnacle of AL Season 1
Tyranny In Phlan is as good as it gets for Adventurer's League Season 1. It's the module that encouraged me to run the entire season as a traditional campaign. After nine modules of build-up, it smartly ditches the traditional investigation phase, preferring to get straight to the action, offering significant changes to the state of the campaign world and meaningful opportunities for players to lead those changes.
The module is pure payoff for earlier modules, reusing characters and locations previously established to potentially great emotional impact. The individual encounters are well-written, and easily reshaped by GMs for different player groups. There's an epic scale here that the first season of Adventurer's League simply hasn't previously reached, even in the ostensibly epic "Corruption in Kryptgarden".
That said, it's not flawless. It suffers from the Adventurer's League format, being both internally constrained by its requirements to run in a short timeframe for essentially random groups of players, and externally constrained in that none of the previous AL adventures were written with this module in mind, and so few of its key concepts are foreshadowed, and none of its NPCs are as well developed as they could have been. The impact of certain NPC fates obviously has much less impact if players missed meeting those NPCs, haven't been given reason to care about them, or (in a worst case scenario) got them killed in a previous outing. The lack of any real support for the Phlan setting - no modern maps, no location guides, no detailed history - also makes this less than it could be.
On top of all that, it's a little inconclusive. The villain of the story isn't defeated here - and in fact isn't even defeated at the end of the season. The plot doesn't wrap up for another three years, and when it does, it takes place in an Epic module that's difficult to scale to standard tabletop groups. A great experience for players attending Adventurer's League in the day, perhaps, but frustrating for groups wanting to experience it at home.
Still, this is what D&D should be - memorable moments, epic stakes, real consequences. Enjoy.
[5 of 5 Stars!]