Candlekeep Mysteries for 5E D&D Players and Dungeon Masters Alike
The newest fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons book, which releases on March 16, is Candlekeep Mysteries. In this anthology of 17 adventures all of the adventure hooks for your 5E D&D characters come from books found in the Candlekeep library in the Forgotten Realms. We previewed what Candlekeep Mysteries contains here. Today I want to explore some ways for 5E D&D players to use these Candlekeep Mysteries adventures beyond the obvious ones the Dungeon Master has at their disposal. One of my favorite things Candlekeep Mysteries offers is the section on Candlekeep itself.
Candlekeep Mysteries a library for 5E D&D characters to hang their hats
There are several reasons for 5E D&D characters to want some place to call home between adventures. One of my favorite playstyles as DM and otherwise are episodic adventures. Let’s face it — getting together with friends as an adult to play a game for hours at a time isn’t always the easiest thing to accomplish. This entails mashing up the schedules of several adults who probably have full time jobs, families and other responsibilities. Running episodic adventures makes things so mush easier on everyone in the gaming group.
A base of operations where adventurers can start and end every adventure takes off some of the pressure. When Bob or Jen can’t make it to the game one week it’s no problem. Their characters are off chilling somewhere else in Candlekeep or left to visit an ailing friend or something. Those players can describe what their characters were off doing to the rest of the group when they get back. Thist lets them feel like they’re still involved with the storytelling when they aren’t there. It might just give a DM a little more fodder to plan their next adventure too.
Candlekeep itself functions like small town or city unto itself. Everything an adventurer would need within can be found within the walls. Candlekeep and by extension Candlekeep Mysteries presents tons of NPCs to interact with and receive quests from, shops, a tavern, churches and more. The fact Candlekeep is a hub folk from all over the Forgotten Realms travel to on a regular basis means there will always be new people for 5E D&D characters to interact with at this location. This also gives a DM a lot to work with as well. It’s easy for a DM to introduce a new NPC to the characters from anywhere in the multiverse. Candlekeep would be a hot spot destination even for beings from other worlds and planes of existence.
Adventurers have over 24 named NPCs from Candlekeep Mysteries to interact with around the library grounds before a DM ever has to make up a name or any details even without cherry picking named NPCs from the 17 adventures included in Candlekeep Mysteries. There’s also 15 locations to explore inside the walls of this fortress library without even getting into some of the possible surprise pop up locations due to the nature of the place and the guests who show up.
Using Candlekeep as a 5E D&D headquarters
First off getting into Candlekeep isn’t always super easy. You need a unique book they don’t have already in the library. A DM could waive this though if say maybe the adventurers were employed by the library as specialists of sorts. This makes Candlekeep both a base of operations and convenient quest hub. A group could run security, special missions or be fixers for the powers in charge of the library. This kind of campaign could easily be a mix of odd things happening around the library like some of those adventures in the core of the book. This might also entail quests the heads of Candlekeep send adventurers to complete. These could be as simple as escort these researchers here and back to retrieving a book from Darkhold without being discovered. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Tracking down overdue books would be an excellent quest for a Library Agent too!]
*Featured image — Candlekeep attracts scholars like a flame attracts moths. Candlekeep Mysteries is a collection of seventeen short, stand-alone D&D adventures designed for characters of levels 1–16. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]