The Scroll Thief, the sixth adventure of the first season of the D&D Adventurers League, is a curiosity: an investigative adventure that fails to have an investigation!
It’s probably fairer to say that The Scroll Thief is a dungeon crawl that happens to have an investigation attached, but, in either case, the investigation feels odd. The adventurers are sent to interview three people from whom books (not scrolls!) have been stolen, but at the end of that investigation, they are likely little the wiser as to what is occurring. The most likely result is that the adventurers return to their patron with no clue as to who stole the books. The link to the next part of the adventure, which relies on the appearance of a book rather than the subject when trying to find similar books in a library is something I find weak.
Thankfully, the dungeon section of the adventure is far more entertaining. It’s presented as a set of linear encounters, but they are varied enough to be interesting, and they do evoke the depths of Mantor’s Library and the sewers beyond nicely. It’s at this point that skilled characters can start working out the thief’s movements and objectives, and feel some accomplishment thereby.
It would be wrong to characterise this as an adventure where the players can’t have an effect. Although the adventure progresses in a linear fashion, the decisions made by the players can make their progress easier, and the final encounter gives a good opportunity to change the odds by gaining an unexpected ally. I’m not opposed to linear adventures in Organised Play; they’re often much easier for the DM and players to understand. This adventure is just undermined with an underwhelming start.
Within the campaign arc, The Scroll Thief introduces a few NPCs who will be seen again, and it continues the theme of the Cult of the Dragon searching Phlan for information on powerful artefacts and allies. The Welcomers, the thieves’ guild of Phlan, can make a minor appearance here, but it is an aspect of the town of Phlan that was never developed all that much in this series.
Groups that enjoy role-playing can find some nicely described NPCs here to interact with, and the combats are enjoyable and challenging.
Is it a great adventure? No, but it’s got some good encounters and a plot that reveals itself during play. This isn’t one of the strongest D&D Adventurers League adventures, but it’s one that can be enjoyed.