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Review Jasper's After play review of Candlekeep Mysteries.

jasper

Rotten DM
Candlekeep Review A 3 hour Session

Well, that was the average run time for my group which occasionally include dinner and snackage.

This is an after-play review. 4 stars for regular DMs. And 4 stars for Adventure League (AL) DM material.

TLDR. Overwrites old lore, gives new lore, and ignores the new lore occasionally. Great ideas but a DM will have to take lots notes to make some of the story’s work. You will have to write in the book to cross reference things. But few real mysteries.

I running as an Adventure League campaign using Don Meepo as their patron and plot hook for some stories. The Lore of Candlekeep has been changed according to what my lore keepers in my group. The Lore is also only ten pages long with about 3 pages taken up by pictures and stat blocks. The Lore says Fires Suppression with nothing bigger than a candle flame but some monsters ignore this.

Maps are always a sore point for me and I can only nitpick the map on page 71, which needed some color to fill in the stacks of books.

Artwork none of it is bad. Some not my cup of tea but none which I wanted to adjust the contrast.

Bios on page 224 are up to three sentence and could have improved with page number of where their module begins. Or the title of module.

Pull out map is a strange size and only one sided and is not really needed. I temporary put it into a 2 by 3 frame just for atmosphere.

Now individual comments about the adventures and suggested changes. Spoilers possible.

The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces is lock down mystery and is straight forward adventure. No changes are needed. Demiplane travel.

Mazfroth’s Mighty Digressions is a great adventure as it can be played out by straight combat or straight diplomacy depending on the pcs and players.

The Book of Raven is an okay adventure. DMs should use the Heluthe raven connection. The connection to the mausoleum is thin. I changed it to the father’s mausoleum. The fight is deadly. I did add a wisdom save in the chalet and added creepy individual hauntings. Demiplane travel.

A Deep and Creeping Darkness is straight combat adventure with some interesting NPCs.

Shemshime’s Bedtime Rhyme is a difficult adventure to run as the DM has to make each individual NPC stand out. And players will not like no escape option. The combat can be deadly.

The Price of Beauty has some things which does not make sense. Like the Fey in the Hot Spring. I suggest the DM place the various guests of the temple beforehand. And take notes as lots of details are buried in the text of the owners and customers. I ran this as a failing spa which is using high pressure tactics to up sell to the pcs.

Book of Cylinders is another combat adventure. The book is not needed. My players pointed out the Pond Mother would have not left home without some warriors to cover her escape. And the Yuan-ti religious war maybe upsetting to some players. My players did use smart tactics to avoid some combats.

Sarah of Yellowcrest Manor is a detective story which the DM needs to play the ghost carefully so not to give out the solution. I suggest the DM get a copy of Waterdeep laws to help the encounters in Waterdeep. Does have the villain being smart in places. My bailed during the combat, which ticked off the pcs.

The Lore of Lurue is a straight railroad. I suggest a DM run it as video game adventure or children’s story. Demiplane travel.

Kandlekeep Dekonstruktion is a fun adventure as long as the players don’t recognize the what exactly is going on. Do use a timer for drama reasons. My players lit the rocket while standing under it. All but one survived. This does back the new established lore of no fires.

Zikran’s Zephyrean Tome is nice mixed of role play and combat but exhaustion conditions are a little lame. DM needs to decide if the ghosts know of the dragon. And the secret entrance is not necessary.

The Curious Tale of Wisteria Vale is a teleporting maze. I changed the trigger to activate if someone got within five feet of the painting. The book only hints in the first two pages, who has the special dagger. The Teleporting room selection is fun. But grab your pen and write notes in book to cross reference things. Demiplane travel.

The Book of Inner Alchemy is a straight up combat only adventure. The buildings are too close to each other so, any combat should trigger waves of enemies. It was suggested the scale for the distance be 10 feet. So, keep the buildings at 5 feet but the distance between them is ten feet per square.

The Canopic Being is a combat, traps, Monty Haul, and dungeon crawl with a gimmick of no stairs. It does not scale well unless the DM is good. If the pcs clear the dungeon, they can get almost a magic item per room. The boss monster has no minions. Either add some undead or a Canopic Being for each step above a weak adventure league group.

The Scrivener’s Tale is a bad railroad. PCs auto get the curse. Combat can be heavy or not depending on access to teleportation spells. The Mark is interesting but deadly if the pcs don’t have access to teleportation due to the travel time of about 40 days. Which would 12 saves? “Why are so many dangerous books floating around Candlekeep?” was one quote from my lore lawyer. Play this one for laughs.

Alkazaar’s Appendix is easy to medium difficulty adventure. The exhaustion DC is low and is a force check just to weaken a PC. Only the Boss encounter gets close to deadly, and then the targeting information is strange. If the Golem is friendly, some encounters are auto win. Some monsters are very weak for tier 3 and should get a +4 bonus to hit. The choice is interesting. The adventure league guidance on the Netherese scroll does not make sense. A story award scroll but it is legendary so the party cannot use it. I ran as the Int bump happens but the other two bonuses wait till Tier 4.

Xanthoria has flaws. No transportation to the lair. Bad triggers in the lair. If you are on a table have the rooms already drawn on a battle map as the lair is rough 350 by 400 feet. This is heavy combat module and may go two sessions.

Overall, this book is better for homebrew DMS as it has some good interesting story seeds. For AL DMS find the ones you think will be fun and run those while skipping the rest.
 

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