Discover Candlekeep Mysteries for Your 5E D&D Game
Speculation laid to rest today as Wizards of the Coast announces the next official release — Candlekeep Mysteries for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — on March 16, 2021. The upcoming book comprises an anthology of short adventures from a variety of writers. Much like our own credo of creating and presenting 5E D&D content in an easy to use format ready to drop right into your games the adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries are touted to be shorter and more versatile to use for things like one shots.
Anthology of adventures and 5E D&D content
Similar to Tales from the Yawning Portal and Ghosts of Saltmarsh the 17 adventures inside Candlekeep Adventures share unifying themes. The former used the eponymous tavern as a structural framework for the classic adventures reimagined in its pages while the latter broadened the scope with an entire town and larger region seeded with those quests. This new book leans on the iconic library fortress as a backdrop with each adventure tied to a book discovered in the famed location.
As an aside when 5E D&D was still called D&D Next during the playtest I attended my first Gen Con. During the convention I participated in a huge game session with dozens of other groups simultaneously defending Candlekeep from an attack by a blue dragon and its forces. It was incredibly cool and fun plus I walked away with Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. That’s my Candlekeep story.
When Candlekeep Mysteries becomes available everywhere on March 16 there are two covers like other official 5E D&D books. The standard cover features art by Clint Cearley while the game store exclusive alternate cover was created by Simen Meyer. The adventures themselves feature a variety of authors. Hopeful designers take note! Dungeon Masters Guild collaborations and streaming carry a lot of water with the D&D team so if you’re already creating in these spaces keep at it and it could be your ticket to working on an official product. Here are the writers involved with Candlekeep Mysteries:
- Graeme Barber
- Kelly Lynne D’Angelo
- Alison Huang
- Mark Hulmes
- Jennifer Kretchmer
- Daniel Kwan
- Adam Lee
- Ari Levitch
- Sarah Madsen
- Christopher Perkins
- Michael Polkinghorn
- Taymoor Rehman
- Derek Ruiz
- Kienna Shaw
- Brandes Stoddard
- Amy Vorpahl
- Toni Winslow-Brill
“I got my start in the gaming industry by writing short D&D adventures. I’m grateful to be able to work on a product that gives other authors the same opportunity. The adventures in this anthology reflect the incredible creativity of the D&D community.” — Chris Perkins, principal story designer for Dungeons & Dragons
The 17 adventures in the book span 1st-16th levels so there’s content for just about everyone included in Candlekeep Mysteries. Players who enjoy high level tier four play might not see anything for their groups in the book though. On the other hand since the book focuses on shorter adventures full of twists, drama and character development with mysteries woven throughout them I suspect these could be useful for lots of different groups and playstyles.
If Candlekeep Mysteries’ predecessors in the anthology book space are any indication the details about the thematic location ought to be quite robust. TftYP provides a handful of pages on background and flavor for the tavern while GoS includes much more detail about the city. A full poster map of Candlekeep plus detailed descriptions of the various locations, characters, and creatures residing within it lead me to believe this trend continues in the upcoming book. However one big shift with this new anthology is the adventures inside are all new as I understand it so reimagining classic modules from D&D history does not appear to be a feature of this product.
Of course like any bit of content from 5E D&D sources both official or third party the end users can take or leave as much as they want or need for their games. This is a philosophy we strongly advocate! In fact we recently revised our own adventure content creation approach to represent our perspective more clearly and a lot of the marketing around Candlekeep Mysteries echoes our own sentiments about the new direction. We even embraced the classic term module for our low prep, drop in content and I’ve seen this reflected when it comes to the upcoming book as well. Great minds, right?
On a more fantastic level I love what I read in the press release and product description about the adventures in the book emerging from tomes on the library’s infinite shelves. Described as doorways to adventure I am already imagining characters getting sucked into various books and experiencing the adventures inside without leaving Candlekeep. You can bet if this isn’t a potential premise included in the book it certainly will be explored in my own games!