Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Candlekeep Mysteries
Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 at 10:00 am
Dungeons & Dragons: Candlekeep Mysteries Hardcover
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: March 16, 2021
Just in time for the beginnings of the end of COVID-19 (I hope), Wizards Of The Coast is releasing an exciting new source book that is near and dear to my heart. As a bibliophile, the entire concept of this new guide is literally warming my heart. Dungeons & Dragons: Candlekeep Mysteries is more than a bit different from the normal releases in that it takes a wider view and focuses on less minutia, like other campaign books have in the past. In fact, it is a collection of adventures all tied together, much like a previous release, Ghosts Of Saltmarsh, that I reviewed a couple of years ago. Read on, dear reader, for more information!
I think the coolest part of this is straight up that it all revolves around books. Library books from Candlekeep in the Forgotten Realms setting, to be specific. The library itself is a fortress of knowledge and not one easily entered. In fact, scholars from around the world travel there just to study within this humongous archive. The cost of entrance is a book or scroll that is not already found within the library, a daunting task as the centuries move on. But still, many still find a way to gain ingress. This premise sets up these mysteries perfectly, for where else would you find rare books in such quantities? And the books notated in these adventures are all connected to their own stories, secrets, and puzzles.
I cannot go into each of the seventeen stories set forth in this new release, but I will mention some highlights without spoiling the surprise. I almost failed to mention that each adventure is for a different level party, though these can obviously be adjusted as needed. These progress all the way up to 16th level, the only level duplicated is 4th. In my honest opinion, the fact that each of these books is a key or catalyst to a story and adventure means that even if you have no interest in Candlekeep itself, these can be mixed into any home brew campaign as side quests or fleshed out into a more robust long term module.
As you would expect, there are dungeons and dragons within these pages, puns and truth intended. But also interspersed are interplanar travel, djinn, and even volatile animated books; as well as lycanthropes (with a distinct Buffy feeling to them), evil fey, and even some witches that are a bit taken with themselves. The adventures will expose characters and players to Baldur’s Gate, Silverymoon, and Waterdeep, just to name a few of the more well known destinations or references found in different parts or stories. So whether the party is fighting the undead, dealing with steampunk gone awry, or attempting to help the elusive Harpers on their adventures, there are surely many fun and dangerous times to be had. Now, do not think for even a moment that I covered even a tenth of this tome for there is much, much more to be experienced here. I just want to ensure you understand how wide this net is thrown to bring you fun from all the corners of Faerun!
In truth, I am more exhilarated by this than I would have expected. So much flexibility exists with these micro adventures. I had a thought while reading that the adventurers might even be sages who are pulled together to deal with these inconvenient occurrences within Candlekeep. Or maybe they seek the books one by one for a venerable mage (I am still an Elminster fan). The possibilities are near endless, but I would love to hear what you come up with, readers. Please comment below or if you podcast any of your games, post that link so I can listen or watch! But grab this book so you can add it to your tools in your upcoming campaign. Thanks for reading!