One of my favorite things about fifth edition D&D is the new trend of publishing adventure collections in a single book. We’ve seen this in releases like Tales from the Yawning Portal and Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Well, once again Wizards of the Coast has given us a new collection to dig into with the release of Candlekeep Mysteries. Candlekeep is a name that most D&D fans are likely to know very well. But, on the off chance that you’re not familiar with the name, Candlekeep is a vast library on the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms. Tomes on nearly any subject imaginable are available within its walls. And more often than not, many of these books can often be the catalyst to wonderous adventures.
Candlekeep Mysteries is a collection of seventeen mystery-themed adventures. It should be pointed out that these are not full-length campaigns, but more like short one-offs. The adventures detailed in this book are designed to be dropped-in to existing campaigns as needed by the DM. Each one is unique and contains its own storyline. The only similarity the adventures have with each other are the fact that they originate with the discovery of a book from Candlekeep and they all have a mystery theme to them.
But adventure modules are not the only thing of interest in this release. The first chapter of the book is filled with details about Candlekeep itself. This includes details about the residents, areas of interest, and a brief overview. This is essential information for any DM planning to run one of these adventures. But it is also valuable info for any Sword Coast-based campaign. Of course, as is the case with nearly any D&D release, this book also contains a handful of new spells and monsters that are easily adaptable to any setting.
Still, it’s the adventures themselves that are really the focus of this release. When it comes to the collection of modules, some are better than others. I won’t list the name of all seventeen adventures here. But, there’s a handful that really seem to stand out. (Sarah of Yellowcrest Manor, Lore of Lurue, and The Price of Beauty and three of my favorites.) That being said, every adventure included in this book is well written and there’s something for players of every level. Most of the modules tend to shy away from hack-and-slash style gameplay. Instead, they seem to lean more towards roleplaying and exploration. Being mysteries, players are expected to shift into problem solving mode. This can be difficult for some groups. So it’s important that DMs know this before they decide to incorporate them into their campaigns.
Personally, I applaud the unique nature of this collection. It’s novel and refreshing. Naturally, DMs who are invested in the Forgotten Realms are more likely to get a lot out of this book than someone who plays in other settings. But still, adapting these adventure to other worlds shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re looking for something a little different to add your campaign, this book might be just what you’re looking for.
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