Announced on January 12th, 2021, Candlekeep Mysteries is the next book coming to the beloved Dungeons and Dragons franchise. The new book is an anthology of seventeen new adventures from more than a dozen designers both in-house and freelance. For many, it may come off as a surprise but a weclome one for players and dungeon masters looking to expand their campaign worlds.
Set in the Forgotten Realms setting, Candlekeep Mysteries is an anthology highlighting seventeen new adventures designed to operate as one-shots or options to be plugged into existing campaigns. The new book is unique for Dungeons and Dragons 5e in that, while there have been anthology books in the past like Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Tales from the Yawning Portal, this new book features much shorter adventures and some at higher levels that are designed to be inserted into other games or played stand alone. The previous anthologies were still lengthy adventures and were meant to be more than one-shots, but the announcement and style of Candlekeep Mysteries is great news for players and DMs both new to the game and old hands at adventuring.
Now that more details about Candlekeep Mysteries are available, Dnd 5e players and DMs specifically, are now able to begin speculating about how they might make best use of the anthology of adventures. Based in the Candlekeep, a library famous in the Forgotten Realms setting (popularized partly by the work of RA Salvatore), the new book lays out seventeen new adventures for characters from 1 to 16. The stories all share a common theme. though: they begin with a book. The adventures are framed as the players having discovered a book within Candlekeep that leads them out and into adventure, and this framework is interesting as it makes it fairly simple to adapt these adventures into preexisting campaigns.
This approach hopefully means that the focus on mystery will translate well to higher level play. Usually, it can be hard to inject an amount of mystery to these higher level adventures when a powerful Wizard in the school of Divination can simply cast True Seeing. This means Candlekeep Mysteries needs to create scenarios that aren’t so easily thwarted by the sheer force of PC power.
Furthermore, Wizards began concerted efforts last year to add more diversity and representation into Dungeons and Dragons. This next book will continue that trend by canonizing the creation of disability advocate Sara Thompson, the combat wheelchair. It was featured on popular streaming show Critical Role, and bringing this in to help more players feel included shows Wizards’ dedication to the tabletop game.
For content creators who aspire to work with Wizards, Candlekeep Mysteries has a little more as well. The anthology has more than nineteen different designers in the book, and many of these are freelance creators pulled from various homebrew sites and other streaming shows. Matt Mercer showed the possibilities of fan content with Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, and Candlekeep Mysteries is proving that fans don’t need to be famous voice actors to be able to work with Wizards. Candlekeep Mysteries has many mysteries of its own before its March release, and it seems safe to say that many eager fans are excited to unravel them.
Dungeons and Dragons’ Candlekeep Mysteries will release in physical and digital formats on March 16, 2021