Candlekeep Mysteries: D&D Adventure Book
Candlekeep attracts scholars like a flame attracts moths. Historians, sages, and others who crave knowledge flock to this library fortress to peruse its vast collection of books, scribbled into which are the answers to the mysteries that bedevil them. Many of these books contain their own mysteries, each one a doorway to adventure. Dare you cross that threshold?
Candlekeep Mysteries is a collection of seventeen short, stand-alone D&D adventures designed for characters of levels 1–16. Each adventure begins with the discovery of a book, and each book is the key to a door behind which danger and glory await. These adventures can be run as one-shot games, plugged into an existing Forgotten Realms campaign, or adapted for other campaign settings. This book also includes a poster map of the library fortress and detailed descriptions of Candlekeep and its inhabitants.
In the town of Easthaven, a group of adventurers is tasked on a routine mission to resupply an expedition to the Reghed Glacier. But everything is not quite as it seems, and it's not long before the chronographer's misfortunes become apparent.
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Crit Academy walks through a few samples of what this book includes. Giving their thoughts and feeling onto its content. From what we have managed to read it is certainly a great addition to the Dungeon Masters toolbox.
The really cool thing about this book is it is an anthology of many writers from around the world. Community content creators who have been working hard to get their work out there. Wizards of the Coast has given them an opportunity to shine.
Below are our favorites. Keep in mind, this was a tough choice as all the adventures are fantastic.
The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces
1st Level – Michael Polkinghorn
The adventurers are led on a quest to find a missing sage trapped in an extra-dimensional space, similar to the Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion spell. Once they find their way through the portal, they must solve a mystery to escape.
Shemshime’s Bedtime Rhyme
4th Level – Ari Levitch
After staying the night at Candlekeep’s inn, the adventures all awake with the same catchy and contagious rhyme in their head. This mystery leads the adventures to a sinister clockwork book after being forced into quarantine, which is a scenario many of us will find easy to relate to.
You’re gonna wanna pick up this book if...
If you’re a DM who likes to have ready-to-run one-shots and interesting locations to visit. If you are, then you’ll love having this book full of hooks, interesting NPCs, and short adventures on your shelf.
If you’ve always wanted to run a mystery adventure and weren’t really sure how to do it.
If your players enjoy investigating lost prophecies, curses, and enemies they are facing and would happily take a trip to the great library of your world to learn all they can before jumping into danger.
You want to encourage D&D to provide more anthologies to showcase even more authors in the future.
You like shorter adventures with self-contained stories similar to that of Tales of the Yawning Portal.
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This character is anything but excited to be a part of events. The character is a cynical person, and wields sarcasm like a master warrior does a weapon; with precision and intent. Now, this doesn’t make the cynic a bad person, but most adventuring ordeals put them at unease. Very rarely are they surprised anymore by some of the actions adventurer’s take in their own self interest. This has just continued to prove their point. The cynic is usually one to keep a secret—one that life with an adventuring party may bring to light if they are not careful. As such, they often choose their words with great care.
Origin: Bone Devil
Lost Features: Claw, Telepathy, flight, sting, swap STR and DEX scores. Multiattack loses one attack.
Condition Immunities. poisoned
Sharpshooter. Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on the dead eye’s ranged weapon attack rolls. Additionally, its ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the dead eye to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the dead eye drops to 1 hit point instead.
Longbow Staff. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 150/600 ft. one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage plus 17 (5d6) poison damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Piercing Shot (Recharge 5-6). The dead eye loads a massive unwieldy arrow into its bow. It releases it in a 60-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 55 (10d10) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Legendary Actions: The dead eye can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The dead eye regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Detect. The dead eye makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
Retreat. The dead eye shoots an arrow that releases a flash of light creating a distraction allowing it to use the Disengage action and moves up to 20 feet.
Attack (Costs 2 Actions). The dead eye makes an attack.
The characters have been tasked with tracking down a crew of thieves known as the Triple Triads after they made a hasty escape from the local city guards near the sewers. The sewers are vast, so the characters have been hired to help out.
Water from a river above flows from the east into a steep spillway which empties into a deep pool in the middle of an octagonal chamber. A walkway rings the massive chamber. The pool flows into the channel that the adventurers have been following up to this point.
Two savage minotaurs (CA) are here, feeding on the remains of their previous victims. When the prisoners encountered the minotaurs they were able to fend them off and distract them long enough to allow the other two of them to escape. They managed to slay one of the monstrosities, but only wounded the others. While they managed to escape, they were both injured and dropped a satchel in the process.
Near the dead minotaur on the floor lay a mangled dark grey satchel; its contents spilled out onto the floor. Beside the satchel is a length of parchment and a set of nobleman’s clothes. A piece of paper with what appears to be a list of book titles. Most of them have been stricken through, but three have checkmarks next to them;(Insert names of candlekeep mysteries books).
An unsigned note that reads:
A character that can read Thieves’ can’t can read the following. For anyone else, it just contains a recipe for homemade cinnamon sugar bread.
"Victor, Roland and Xanelli,
Once you have secured what you can to aid us in our search, meet with Keldon in the cave to the south of the city, along the Merchant’s Path. If you should be discovered, slay any witnesses. If you fail us again, prison time and a beating will be the least of you and your family's worries."
Fresh smatterings of blood are found near the satchel leading away. Bloody footprints lead through the tunnels to an exit. A successful DC 14 Wisdom (Medicine) check determines that this blood belonged to some sort of a humanoid. If they identify the blood as humanoid, a character that then makes a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Insight) check concludes that the blood must be from the thieves. Suggesting one or both of them are seriously wounded.
The spillway emerges into the open air at the base of the city's exterior walls on the banks of the river.
This cobalt blue halberd pulses with crackling blue and white energy. Holding it is like trying to hold a tumultuous lightning storm in your hands.
Bararaq the Skybreaker
Halberd, Very Rare (requires attunement)
This halberd grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. While holding it, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class and saving throws.
This halberd has 10 charges for the following properties. The halberd regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the halberd retains its +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls but loses all other properties. On a 20, the halberd regains 1d4 + 2 charges.
Crackling Strike. When you hit with a melee attack using this halberd, you can expend 1 charge to deal an extra 2d4 lightning damage to the target.
Spells. While holding this halberd, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it (save DC 15, +7 spell attack bonus): thunderwave (2nd-level version, 1 charge), lightning bolt (3 charges), chain lightning (10 charges).
Dungeon Master Tip:
Use Items as Quest Hooks to Share Lore
Candlekeep Mysteries takes the idea that each book within the library can contain untold pieces of information and lore on the world. Each one leading to a potential quest revealing a mystery should the characters decide to take the hook. You can easily expand this to other items within the world. A great example would be the characters stumbling across the remains of a previous adventuring party that failed in their quest and died within a dungeon. Adding a simple item such as a worn silver locket with a family picture can go a long way. In this example, the locket could contain a family photo. But you can expand upon its contents to something unexpected, such as a secret password to a thieves’ guild. Or it could be a compass that points in a strange direction that isn’t north. Whatever the item is, tossing a one or two-line hook as part of its description can go a long way to lore building.
Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick
Review Your Spells!
As a spellcaster, you should always ensure your spell lists are up to date before heading off on a new adventure. It’s very easy to fall into a repetitive pattern when it comes to spells, relying on a few old favorites. It is worth your time to review all of your spell options and see if there is anything new you can try. This is also a good opportunity to refamiliarize yourself with your favorites, so that you can put them to full effect when required. Additionally, this can add a bit of surprise to the table not only for the player, but the DM. If the DM knows you ALWAYS take fireball, they are more than likely to have something ready for that. But what if you swapped it out for Lightning Bolt? You don’t ever use that one. Could be a nice change of pace.
This adventure takes the party to the wetlands island of Cynykor, where Lynafel, a community of sea elves is under attack by sahuagin, a warmongering race of shark people. The sahuagin have brought a terrible sea creature to the battlefield, and it is up to the players to save Lynafel from the army of sahuagin! As the clock ticks down to the invasion, the players must ready the community's defenses and find the sahuagin spy hidden among the villagers.
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