Candlekeep Mysteries: New take on D&D adventures that summons the monstrous ‘modules’ of old …

It’s no mystery why the newest Dungeons & Dragons supplement is a page-turner. Packed with enough adventures to keep a Dungeon Master busy for ages, Candlekeep Mysteries is the first D&D product I can point to in a long time that offers an experience that feels like the adventure “modules” of old.

Now available in a standard edition or deluxe hobby-store variant, this anthology’s 17 scenarios aren’t linked other than launching from the Forgotten Realms’ legendary library fortress — and many of them take you away from the meticulously archived stacks to far-flung locations across Faerun (or whatever campaign world you are using) and beyond.

Gaining admission to Candlekeep will cost your adventuring party a book the Avowed librarians have never seen before, but once you’re in, there is no end to the possibility of the places you will go, from a wizard’s laboratory that holds the key to freeing a trapped djinni to a remote desert where a lost golem holds the key to a fabulous treasure.

But individually, the formatting and assortment of these adventures will feel very familiar to those who remember thinner modules that were commonplace in D&D 3rd Edition and earlier, before boxed and hardcover deluxe adventure books became the norm.

The D&D brand, as promised, is clearly flexing its powers once again and trying new things — and old things can be new — just as it did in recruiting a diverse array of authors for these mysteries. You’ll find many fresh ideas and a whole lot of new puzzles and original monsters to use as-is in context of Candlekeep investigations or adapted to your own needs in completely different adventure scenarios.

It’s doubtful a single D&D group would tackle all the book-based adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries, but it’s certainly possible. However, it’s more likely these scenarios, linked by a common theme and a compelling adventuring hub, would form the basis of incidental encounters or fill-in adventures when a DM’s meticulous plans get thrown into unexpected directions by the sweet chaos of player characters’ unpredictable whims.

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