I ran Tales of the Demon Lord a few years ago, when trying Shadow of the Demon Lord for the first time. I did a review of the game but I hadn't reviewed this collection of adventures, so here we go.
This is the blurb:
The End Starts Here
The signs are everywhere. The mad prophets shriek dire warnings on the streets of Crossings, while strange monsters roam the lands beyond the city’s walls. Strange cults flourish in the lawless wilds, while the undead muster in the desert wastes to the north. The end is near, but is it too late to stop it?
Tales of the Demon Lord presents eleven adventures set in the lands of the Northern Reach, the far-flung province of a dying empire. Game Masters can run the adventures as a complete campaign, taking starting characters to the heights of their master paths, or use them individually to tell a different story. In addition to the adventures, this sourcebook contains detailed information about the city of Crossings and a selection of new creatures to terrorize the Northern Reach and beyond.
Tales is indeed a collection of eleven adventures (I ran nine or ten, IIRC) that can be weaved together in a coherent campaign, although they do not follow neatly from each nor provide an easy "sandbox" for the PCs to explore.
Instead, it leaves to the GM to fill the details and omissions, which requires some work.
If you play the system as written, these adventures are enough to get the characters all the way from level one to level 10 and face the end of the world - as intended in the rules book.
Because of this, I find this collection to be a great introduction to the system - although my players felt their characters were advancing in breakneck speed. If I were to run another SotDL campaign, I'd probably let PCs advance only once per two-three adventures instead of one.
The setting (the city of Crossings) it's interesting as a base of operations and provides a few potential patrons and factions, but again it is up to the GM to connect the dots.
Unfortunately, the adventures themselves are mostly set in nearby villages (with no strong connections to city intrigues), so you don't get most of the advantages of having a coherent setting. There are a couple of exceptions (a dungeon you explore twice, a couple of recurring characters, and an attempt to tie everyone together in the last chapter), but they are few.
In my campaign, the PCs were working for the city watch, and they got assigned to more dangerous missions (and more leeway) as they progressed in fame and fortune.
The appearance of this book is similar to the core book, which means decent, not great. Everything is grey and red, the maps are simple but serviceable (the resolution is a bit low, often too low), and the art is scarce.
The adventures themselves are good - maybe above average. They feel like D&D classics with a dark twist (and heavy metal or hard rock titles), unfortunately relying on some tired tropes (e.g., evil orcs, abandoned dwarven mines, etc.).
They are thematically coherent, but they lack some sense of connection.
In chapter 9, for example, the author says - "Before the adventure begins, a number of things happen in Crossings. You can introduce these events in prior adventure sessions, or simply reveal that they occurred prior to the beginning of this adventure.".
Wouldn't it be nice if the author himself had introduced them in the previous 8 chapters?
A regional map would be nice too (you have to go to the core book for that), maybe with some random encounters for the road (instead of leaving it to each adventure).
Each adventure has 2-6 pages, which is almost perfect for me. Once again, the GM has to fill some gaps, but I find this is easier than grasping 50 pages before running a single session.
This is very close to my favorite format, and I wish we had more OSR modules like this.
Finally, I must add a note on balance. I found the first adventure to be particularly hard and unfair, which is okay is a gritty campaign, but probably not on the very beginning, when the players have few tools and little knowledge to face these challenges.
All the adventures are dangerous but this is specially so (which might be good if you want to show your players that this systems is especially deadly).
There are other small balance issues (IIRC, in one adventure a group of 10 powerful NPCs are killed by half a dozen weak mook NPCs for no apparent reason, and one adventure seems to be a inescapable trap to automaton PCs as it requires sleep), but nothing as extreme.
In short, this is a good introductory module that can be made awesome with some DM effort. Add better maps, some art, a few extra pages on connections between NPCs and adventures, and you'd have a great sandbox.
While I ran it using SotDL rules, I think you could adapt it for OSR systems without much difficulty.
I've recommend checking Shadow of the Demon Lord before, as it is full of good ideas. If you want to try them in practice, I certainly recommend Tales of the Demon Lord.
If you dislike dark fantasy (and still read this for some reason!), you might wait for the "vanilla" version of SotDL, "Shadow of the Weird Wizard", coming soon from the same author.