Those That Came Before was originally DDAO-11, Alan Patrick's second Author Only AL adventure and the sequel to the very first DDAO module, DDAO-01, Window To The Past, now also available on DMsGuild.com as DDAL00-01. I had the opportunity to play this module with Alan GMing when it was DDAO-11, and have run it at tier 4 as DDAL00-03. I will attempt to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, so it is safe for DMs as well as potential players! The adventure has information for running it at tier 3 or tier 4, so there is great reply opportunity for those looking to pick up adventures to keep "in the arsenal" for those weekends at the gaming store. The adventure is in three parts: part one is all roleplaying, part two is exploration (with some combat), and part three is the big finale with potential for roleplaying, combat, and a little bit of exploration. The adventure is thick with Forgotten Realms lore but player knowledge is not required for an enjoyable game. For those that enjoy the history, though, there's a bunch of it!
The adventure is intended to take 3 to 4.5 hours and I was easily able to run a party through it in four, but I would recommend taking more time if possible. The roleplaying sections and NPCs are a ton of fun to interact with. If you are limited on time, part 1 can be shortened considerably, with role-playing replaced by GM narration, as explained in the module.
This is a very fun module, both to play and to run. I'm looking forward to part three (DDAO-21, which Alan will be running at cons during 2018). The exploration section of part two keeps the adventure from feeling too railroady, and really has the feel of an old-school dungeon crawl. There are a few cool Story Awards characters can earn as well (why there are AL modules that DON'T include Story Awards, I'll never understand - they are great for potential roleplaying and as character development tools).
I strongly recommend reading the entire adventure through before running it. I know that sounds obvious, but the GM definaitely needs a full understanding of the several "core components" of the adventure to make it run smooth.
Nice extras: Three really nice pieces of art: one cover image, one monster, and one NPC, all of which made me, as well as my players, go "oooohhhh", so that's a plus. It's nice to be able to give these to the players for cool visuals. Great, memorable, NPCs that you actually want to spend time interacting with. Nice use of FR lore for those that enjoy that. Some great creepy moments that are well described, but not rated-R or traumatizing.
Minor issues: the main map (in color) is a little unclear: doors are not welll delineated, making each room appear as its own closed-off space. The description of room 9 does not specify how many creatures are in it. Room 14: "blue bool", while fun to say, has an incorrect letter. It would be nice to have a "Part X" at the start of each of the three sections, so you can quickly find your way when flipping through a copy of the adventure.
Overall impression: a lot of fun, both to play and GM. I debated between 4 and 5 stars on this, as I consider 5 starts to be really exceptional, but the personalities of the NPCs, the vivid item descriptions, and the overall fun had by all in spite of the rather minor issues I had with it were enough to make it a 5 for me. The fact that I do not want Alan's monsters to attack me from behind in the next adventure he runs me through did not have any influence on my rating for this adventure.