|by Clint Cearley|
- You can buy Candlekeep Mysteries right here.
- You can get Candlekeep Mysteries on D&D Beyond right here.
This guide is a collection of notes designed to help DMs quickly understand the adventures in this book, and refer to during play for essential information. Basically I'm trying to prepare this adventure for you. I'll also try to identify possible problems that could arise when running these adventures and ways to work around them.
I'll be slowly working on this article over the next few weeks, changing it as needed.
- Free maps of Fistandia's Mansion/Amberdune Hideout
- Color Sarah of Yellowcrest Manor Map
- Elminster's Candlekeep Companion
- Handy list of tomes mentioned in 5e products
- List of In-Universe Forgotten Realms books
|by Mike Schley|
- Entrance: Double gate (made of black metal, 3x the height of a human) connected to the only road - the Way of the Lion.
- Guards: 5 Avowed priests (MM pg 348) of Deneir.
- Caretakers: The Avowed, a legion of scholars and sages.
- Entrance Fee: A work of writing not already contained within.
- Guide: Visitors can request a guide/research assistant. Roll on the chart on page 7.
Defenses and Decorum
If trouble occurs 1 archmage (MM pg 342) and 4 mages (MM pg 347) arrive immediately. If necessary, 4 more archmages can be brought in.
Wards: Many magical effects protect Candlekeep:
- You can't teleport in to Candlekeep, or use magic to get in. You must go through the front gates.
- Fire: Fires larger than a candle are magically suppressed, so spells like fireball do not function.
- Theft: Books stolen from Candlekeep immediately return there via magic.
- Mythal: The keeper of the Tomes can activate a mythal which blocks everything but air and sound from getting in or out of Candlekeep.
Rules: Those in Candlekeep must follow certain rules:
- No fighting.
- No stealing.
- No copying. You can take notes, but getting a copy requires paying scribes to make one.
- No damaging/marking/modifying works.
About 300 priests live here, most of which are commoners (MM pg 344).
The Keeper of Tomes: Highest ranking member/governor. Janussi, a human archmage (MM pg 342).
Readers: Master Sage (pg 9) and Sage (pg 9)
First Reader: "Bookwyrm" Skoda Valanaster - dragonborn master sage (pg 9). Job: Acquire unique tomes and scrolls.
Great Readers: 8 scholarly experts in a certain area of study.
- A'lai Aivenmore: Human master sage (pg 9), worships Oghma. Expertise: Divinity.
- Alkrist: Bronze dragonborn master sage (pg 9). Expertise: Politics/military battles.
- Daral Yashenti: Human master sage (pg 9), poet. Expertise: Music/poetry/literature.
- Fheminor Scrivenbark: Lightfoot halfling master sage (pg 9). Expertise: History/folklore/cultures.
- Kazryn Nyantani: Human master sage (pg 9). Expertise: Natural world/celestial navigation.
- Sylvira Savikas: Tiefling archmage (MM pg 342). Expertise: The planes.
- Teles Ahvose: Human archmage (MM pg 342). Expertise: Magic items, curses, and the Weave.
- V'ziir-Ag: Githzerai master sage (pg 9). Expertise: Aberrations/undead/Far Realm.
Master Readers: Oversee scribes and teach adjutants. Sages (pg 9) and master sages (pg 9).
Gatewarden: Kalan Strong, human archmage (MM pg 342). Maintains security at the front gates.
(pg 17) The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces
|by Kieran Yanner|
- The group needs to find a sage named Matreous.
- He went into a hidden Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion.
- The group can find the command word to open the entrance to the Mansion in The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces.
- The group goes in, meets Matreous, who exits through the portal.
- The portal then shuts. The group is trapped in the mansion.
- In room M5., the heroes learn that a different command word activates the exit portal. This command word is hidden on the spines of 7 puzzle books scattered throughout the mansion.
- Once the heroes figure out the command word, they activate the exit portal. Stepping through, they see that an imp has slain Matreous and attacks them.
- M3. Library: Letter "R", found in stacks of books, guarded by swarm of animated books.
- M5. Study: Letter "I", sitting on an armchair.
- M11. Laboratory: Letter "T", among the books on the middle table.
- M13. The Chained Library: Letter "L", on the desk by the chained library.
- M14. Trophy Room: Letter "Y", guarded by 2 flying swords.
- M15. Bedroom: Letter "E", Sitting on a chest of drawers.
- M17. Alchemical Laboratory: Letter "B", propped up against a large beaker.
- Mage who spent many years in Candlekeep
- Disappeared (the group may learn that she is still alive, somewhere).
- She bequeathed her books, including The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces, to Candlekeep in her will.
- Cover: The cover of this book is decorated with gold filigree, depicting the bust of an imposing spellcaster (Mordenkainen).
- Contents: Treatise on extradimensional spaces similar to the Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion spell (PH pg 261).
- Margin Notes: Contains notes on making a permanent magnificent mansion, with command word to open doorway.
Matreous the Sage
- Expert on curses. Discovered the entrance to this mansion - it's actually in the study room in Candlekeep.
- He found the command word in other books that Fistandia had donated to Candlekeep.
Beginning the Adventure:
- Curse: The adventurers have come to Candlekeep to aid a town that is cursed - its crops have failed/rain has dwindled.
- Seeking Matreous: The heroes seek Matreous, an expert on curses who stays in Candlekeep.
- Entering Candlekeep: Remember, in order to enter Candlekeep, the heroes will need to offer a book or writing that is not currently in the library. You could say that the people of the village knew this, and gave the group a book that would qualify.
- The Study: Matreous is said to be in a certain study. Go to study. He's not there.. but there is an open book - The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces. Arcana DC 13 = Find the command word to activate the entrance portal to the mansion: "scepter."
- Quick Note: We are told that the command word is found in 'other books', but the group finds it in The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces itself. I guess you could say that Matreous wrote it in there.
- Speak Command Word: Magic doors appear, will fade in minutes. Step through = appear in room M1.
- Matreous Found: Matreous is indeed in this mansion, and the group meets him just as they step through the portal.
(pg 18) Fistandia's Mansion
- Walls: Stone.
- Floor: Wood, mostly covered in carpets.
- Light: Lit by oil lamps.
- Outside the Mansion: Swirling indigo miasma. Enter = 1 level of exhaustion per minute.
Opening the portal from the inside of the mansion requires a different command word, hidden in seven puzzle books. These books also bear the image of Mordenkainen.
If the group removes this item from the mansion, it becomes an imp that Fistandia had once summoned. In this adventure, the intention is that Matreous takes the figurine out and is attacked by the imp as the portal shuts, trapping the heroes in the mansion.
The Big Pitfall: The biggest thing to be careful about when running this adventure is this scene where the group meets Matreous. He needs to leave this place (exiting through the entrance portal that the group just opened) but the group is meant to stay. The whole deal with this scenario is that the group is trapped in the mansion and needs to find a way out.
If they exit with Matreous, then we have a problem. The tricky part here is... wouldn't Matreous say "we need to get out of here before the portal closes"?? I guess we need to run it where Matreous is so shocked at the group's arrival that he chats them up, steps through the portal, and then is shocked as it closes. Before he can say anything, the imp figurine becomes a real imp and attacks him.
(pg 18) M1. Foyer and Hallway:
The group steps through, the portal does not close right away! Matreous is here, and once he interacts with the group, he steps through, screams (the imp figurine becomes a real imp) and then the portal shuts.
- Matreous (sage pg 9): Is happy to see the heroes. He explains that there must be a way out. Has a imp figurine he wants to take back to Candlekeep for study.
(pg 19) M3. Library: Heaps of books. The swarm knocks a bookshelf on the characters (DEX save DC 15 or prone and restrained). Use an action to make a STR check DC 13 to free self.
- Swarm of animated books (pg 19)
- Treasure: Jeweled letter opener (20 gp), puzzle book with letter "R" on spine.
- Treasure: 4 daggers (1d4 piercing dmg), 4 quarterstaves (1d6 bludgeoning dmg), 20 darts (1d4 piercing dmg).
- Cat (MM pg 320)
- Investigate room for 30 minutes: Almost all books written by Fistandia. She was a powerful mage, worshiped Mystra. Mystra gave her the mansion. The group can learn from a book in here that the command word to the magical exit is hidden on the spines of seven books in the mansion.
- (Secret Door): Pull book on bookshelf, bookcase slides forward, reveals staircase down to M17-M19,
- Puzzle Book: Letter "I", sitting on armchair.
- Cats (MM pg 320) are in here, eating.
- Homunculus facts: Arcana DC 15 reveals that a a master can only have on homunculus at a time (Coriander's master is a spellcaster named Freyot). Both masters are alive, because a homunculus dies when its master dies.
(pg 21) M7. Pantry: Sacks of flour, vegetables, meats.
(pg 22) M8. Dining Room: Table, chairs, tapestries depicting process of making wine.
Chair: One chair in here is actually a weakened mimic (MM pg 220). The mimic escaped from its glass container in M19.
Weakened Mimic: AC 12 HP 30 Spd 15
- Pseudopod: +5 to hit, 7 bludgeoning dmg + target grappled (escape DC 10)
- Bite: +5 to hit, 7 piercing dmg + 4 acid dmg.
Treasure: Silverware worth 20 gp.
(pg 22) M9. Arboretum: Shrubs, small trees, flowers lit by two glowing globes that hang above the plants.
2 faerie dragons (MM pg 133). These dragons start off invisible. They will each use their euphoria breath on a different character: DC 11 WIS save. Fail = Can't use reactions for one minute, and must roll a d6 on each turn to determine its behavior.
- 1-4: Takes no action or bonus action, uses all its movement to move in a random direction.
- 5-6: Target doesn't move, can make a WIS save DC 11 to end the effect.
Spells: These dragons are orange, which means they are only 6-10 years old. They can cast the following spells once per day each:
- Dancing Lights (PH pg 230)
- Mage Hand (PH pg 256)
- Minor Illusion (PH pg 260)
- Color Spray (PH pg 222)
Treasure: The globes that light the room are driftglobes (DMG pg 166).
(pg 22) M10. Stairs: There is a mundane suit of armor here. Above it is a trap door that leads to an attic. From the attic, floorboards can be removed that allow you access to room M13.
(pg 22) M11. Laboratory: There is a star map on the wall (which gives the solution to the puzzle in M12) and on the middle table is a puzzle book.
Treasure: Puzzle book with letter "T" on the spine.
(pg 22) M12. Planetarium: This room is an illusion depicting a grassy knoll on a moonless night. 5 telescopes pointed at the night sky, and a sphere of clear crystal.
- Puzzle: If the telescopes are pointed at the 5 brightest stars (the ones shown on the map in M11) then a secret door to M13 is opened.
(pg 23) M13. The Chained Library: A bookshelf covered in chains, a bench, and a reading desk (with a puzzle book on it).
The Animated Chain Library (stats pg 24): This thing attacks anyone who comes within 5 feet of it.
Treasure: Puzzle book with a letter "L" on the spine, Defeating the chained library nets the group a nifty +1 flail (1d8 +1 bludgeoning dmg) - a chain with a book attached ("Martial Attack Techniques").
(pg 24) M14. Trophy Room: Chair, table with books, lit fireplace, pair of swords, heads mounted on the walls (if anything in the room is touched, the swords animate and attack).
- 5 Heads: Stag, wolf, peryton, hell hound, black dragon.
- 2 Flying Swords (MM pg 20)
Treasure: Puzzle book with letter "Y" on the spine.
(pg 24) M15. Bedroom: Canopied bed, washbasin, black cat napping, painting of a gold dragon.
Cat (MM pg 240): The cat wakes up and follows the heroes around the room.
Treasure: On a chest of drawers is a puzzle book with the letter "E" on the spine.
(pg 24) M16. Balcony: Overlooks the arboretum.
(pg 24) M17. Alchemical Laboratory: Tables with vials and 4 clay figures, stacks of books, paper charts, and blackboards full of complex formulas.
- Examine Formulas: INT check DC 13, learnt hat goal was to transmute various materials into gold.
- 4 Clay Figures: Arcana DC 13, learn that these figures are used for creating homunculi (MM pg 188).
Treasure: Puzzle book with the letter "B" on the spine, reagents worth 50gp, and a potion of healing (heals for 2d4+2).
(pg 24) M18. Summoning Room: Circle of runes.
A "Toad": Actually a quasit (MM pg 63), which will attack when approached.
(pg 24) M19. Preserved Menagerie: Glass containers holding creatures. One 4-foot tall vessel is empty (the mimic in M8 escaped from here).
Dead Creatures in Glass Containers: Here are the creatures and some descriptions of them for your players:
- (Cockatrice, MM pg 42): "A small hideous hybrid of lizard, bird, and bat."
- (Flumph, MM pg 135): "A small plate-shaped jellyfish with two eyestalks and a mouth on its top side, and many tendrils dangling from its underside." (If the group messes with it, you could say it still has one stench spray chambered, which can shoot a 15-foot-cone of foul-smelling liquid).
- (Giant fire beetle, MM pg 325): "A beetle roughly the size of a dog with and orange glow emanating from the underside of its carapace."
- (Small grell, MM pg 172): "A small, bulbous floating brain with a wide sharp beak. Its ten long tentacles are made of ring-shaped muscles sheathed in tough, fibrous hide. Sharp barbs line the tip of each tentacle."
- (Myconid sprout, MM pg 230): "A humanoid made of fungus, with a vaguely mushroom-shaped head."
- (Pseudodragon, MM pg 254): "A tiny dragon with red-brown scales, horns, and a maw filled with sharp teeth."
- 4 Severed Hands
- (Slaad tadpole, MM pg 276 - which is actually alive): "A tiny, white, bulbous reptilian head with a very long tail." AC 12 HP 10 Spd 30 ft. Bite: +4, 4 piercing dmg.
(pg 25) Assembling the Books: Once the group has the puzzle books, they'll need to solve the anagram. The word must be spoken within 10 feet of the double doors in M1. to open it.
(pg 25) Return to Candlekeep: The first character through the portal is attacked by the invisible imp (MM pg 76), Matreous is dead (killed by the sting of the imp).
Running the Imp: Remember that the imp takes half damage from non-magic weapons, is immune to fire and poison, and it has magic resistance! In order to avoid a swift death, you could have it hover 15 feet above the group, and on its turn fly down, try to sting one character, then fly back up (provoking an attack of opportunity). If it stays within melee reach, it could die in a single round.
Some Items Vanish: The adventure says that certain things the characters might take from the mansion vanish and reappear back in the mansion. Items that remain in their possession:
(pg 26) Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions
|by Mark Behm|
- The group needs to find information in Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions.
- They find it in Candlekeep, but after reading just a bit of it, the book transforms into a gingwatzim and attacks the group. When slain, it is destroyed.
- The Avowed inform the heroes that this is the third
book to turn into a monster in the last few months. They ask the group
to figure out what is going on. The reward: A helm of comprehending
languages (DMG pg 173).
- Still needing the info in the book,
the heroes can find the person who donated the book (Yalerian
Highscroll) in the House of the Binder in Candlekeep. There's also
another donor of a "monstrous book" in Candlekeep - a tiefling named
- Yalerian tells the group that the journal was purchased in Baldur's Gate, from a market stall with the word "dune" in the name.
- The heroes can travel to Baldur's Gate and easily find the stall (Amberdune Books).
- From there, the groups can track the sellers (jackalweres trying to save up money to raise a lamia from the dead) to their lair.
- At the lair, the group can either attack or negotiate, possibly obtaining 6 books total. They can learn the names of a total of 6 books that are actually gingwatzims.
- If successful, the heroes can return to Candlekeep and be rewarded with a helm of comprehending languages.
- 26-year-old Scholar (acolyte MM pg 342) from Waterdeep.
- Bought the book in the markets of Baldur's Gate.
- Donated the book to Candlekeep.
Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions
- Worn brown leather cover. Book looks like it could come undone at any moment.
- Author: Mazfroth Gethur.
- It's a journal. The writing inside is messy and hasty. Writings discuss the Weave, Malar/lycanthropy and demon lords of the Abyss.
- 151 pages long.
- Note: Once you finish reading a passage in the journal, the book attacks you.
- This book is a copy of the original, that has merged with a magical creature known as a gingwatzim, created by a jackalwere named Korvala.
- Stat block on page 27.
- A sphere of ectoplasm 3 feet in diameter.
- Can also assume the form of Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions, and the form of a bat.
Journey to Baldur's Gate
Takes 5 days. On the 4th night, a wererat and 3 giant rats attack the group. He keeps back and fires his crossbow, fleeing if the rats are defeated.
- Return: If he survives, he returns to attack the group again in Baldur's Gate.
The Wide: Streets illuminated by magic lights, expensive restaurants, etc. You can use my Guide to Food and Drinks for menus.
- Nightly Curfew: You can't legally be on the streets at night unless you have a special token.
- The Watch: 10 veterans patrol the Wide.
Finding the Stall: The group can easily find the stall (called "Amberdune Books"). If they have no clues, they can make a Persuasion check DC 10 to ask around and find it. Fail: They find it after an hour of searching.
Other Stalls: Let's flesh these out a little bit, just for fun.
Autumn's Breads: Fresh pastries, breads and cakes for 1 sp.
- Shortcrust Pastries: Apple Pie, Strawberry tarts, Chicken pot pie.
- Filo Pastries: Apple Strudel, chocolate cigars, baklava, samosas, and crispy tarts.
- Choux Pastries: Cream puffs, eclairs, churros!!
- Flaky Pastries: Cherry danish, apple strudel, almond braids, pecan roll-ups.
- Puff Pastries: Puff pastry pizzas(!), Napoleons (has layers of pastry cream in it - we probably need a different name for this - in French it is known as a mille-feuille), and apple turnovers.
- Other stuff: Cinnamon rolls, biscuits, scones
Coppers to Crowns: Trinkets! Cost for each: 2d10 cp. Let's pull trinkets from Trinkets of Baldur's Gate, which is just one dollar on the DM's Guild.
- A bronze amulet bearing the holy symbol of Lathander.
- A steel belt buckle in the shape of a skull and bones.
- An unfinished manuscript detailing the taxonomy of the clams and mussels that grow along the local docks (could be used to re-enter Candlekeep, right?).
- A brown leather book entitled "The Tales of Sir Gorthoram the Valiant."
- A one inch wide, heart-shaped locket containing hair (from the former owner's lover).
- A black cloth cloak with red trim.
- A smoking pipe for narcotics.
- A monocle on a fine brass chain.
Gems for All: A shop with a variety of gemstones worth up to 50 gp. Let's pull them out of the DMG.
10 gp gems:
- Blue Quartz (transparent pale blue)
- Hematite (opaque gray-black)
- Malachite (opaque striated light and dark green)
- Moss Agate (translucent pink or yellow-white with mossy gray or green markings)
- Rhodochrosite (opaque light pink)
- Turqoise (opaque light blue-green)
50 gp gemstones:
- Bloodstone (opaque dark gray with red flecks)
- Jasper (opaque blue, black, or brown)
- Moonstone (translucent white with pale blue glow)
- Sardonyx (opaque bands of red and white)
- Star rose quartz (translucent rosy stone with white star-shaped center)
Heath's Hot Drinks: Stall offering cups of mulled wine, hot cider, and strong teas for 2 sp.
Wizards of the Wide: Dozens of arcane foci and spell scrolls for 25 gp each:
- Comprehend languages (PH pg 224)
- Detect magic (PH pg 231)
- Feather fall (PH pg 239)
- Find familiar (PH pg 240)
- Mage armor (PH pg 256)
- Magic missile (PH pg 257)
- Shield (PH pg 275)
- Unseen servant (PH pg 284)
Has commonplace books (25gp each) and Rare books (250 gp each - but they are illusory!). No spellbooks.
- Staff: 2 jackalweres (MM pg 193).
- Korvala: Checks in every two hours.
Staff/Pack: Humanoid forms have dusky brown skin and brown or blue eyes.
- Avani: Middle-aged, keeps pack from attracting attention.
- Inbar: Quit, wears spectacles.
- Marliza: Petite, clever.
- Ramah: Inbar's brother, outspoken, reads from books aloud.
- Theryn: Young, repairs books, pick pockets.
- Zan: Oldest, hums quietly.
Korvala: Tall and imposing.
- A (jackalwere MM pg 193) woman with brown skin, sun-streaked brown hair, and piercing hazel eyes.
- Knows the ritual to create gingwatzims.
- Wants to bring Nidalia, a lamia, back from the dead. Needs money to do so.
25 gp Books (all of these tomes appeared in other 5e adventures/sourcebooks):
- Book of Drow Poetry (Out of the Abyss Page 173, Treasure)
- Tome of Universal Harmony, Most holy book of the Deneir faith (Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide Page 28, Deneir)
- Volo's Guide to Monsters (Tomb of Annihilation Page 24, Volothamp "Volo" Geddarm)
- (in Draconic) Treasures of the Fire Lords (Tales from the Yawning Portal) Page 29, Belak's Study)
- One Hundred Years of War, a famous manual of dwarven battle tactics (Volo's Guide to Monsters Page 35, On Defeating Gnolls)
- Book of Dwarvish Phrases (Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Page 157, Teleportation Circle) [A character who doesn't speak Dwarvish can use the book to communicate on a rudimentary level with friendly dwarves]
- The Occult Properties of Gemstones by Archmage Tenser (Ghosts of Saltmarsh Page 80, Minister's Sleeping Quarters.)
250 gp Books (illusions)
- The Ascension of Vlaakith (written in Gith, details the rise of the lich-queen)
- The Nycoptic Manuscripts (scrolls useful to necromancers)
- Cheating Death by Spell and Incantation (written by a lich named Adzerak)
- Tome of the Dragon (details efforts to turn dragons into dracoliches)
- The Great Realms in the Stars (notes on skyships and spelljammers)
Speaking with the Manager: Insight check DC 15 reveals that Korvala isn't being truthful. She invites the group to the pack's hideout as long as they are willing to talk peacefully.
Tailing the Jackalweres: Group Stealth check DC 13, follow them back to their lair.
- Blackgate: The jackalweres live in Blackgate. The wererat Mulishka (MM pg 209) might try to attack them again, accompanied by a swarm of rats (MM pg 339) and 2 human thugs (MM pg 350).
Hovel with wooden walls.
- Night: All jackalweres present. All sleep for 8 hours.
A1. Common Room: Charis, tables, mugs and plates.
- Rug: Rug on the floor is a rug of smothering (MM pg 20) friendly to the jackalweres.
- Commotion: Sounds of combat draw Marliza (jackalwere MM pg 193) from A2.
A2. Kitchen: Fireplace, cutting board, pots, plates.
- Marliza and Theryn: 2 jackalweres (MM pg 193) happily chatting.
A3. Corridor Dormitory: Wide corridor with 6 cots.
- Avani: (jackalwere MM pg 193) is here napping. Sneak = Stealth check DC 10.
- Commotion: Sounds of combat draw Zan (jackalwere MM pg 193) from A5.
A4. Korvala's Office: Desk, journal, decorative swords, bed.
- "Decorative Swords": Are actually 2 gingwatzims (pg 27)
- Journal: Korvala's ledger documenting all book sales.
- (Trapdoor): Under the bed is a trapdoor leading down to A6.
- Keys: Korvala has the keys to the two trunks in A6.
Talking: If your group aren't murder hobos, then Korvala will tell them she's doing all this to resurrect Nidalia. She lies and says she's under a geas spell (PH pg 244). If she thinks she's going to get killed, she will hand over the original copies of Mazfroth's Mighty Digresions, The Dark Hunger, and Fallen Tethyamar to the group. Without the threat of death, she wants 250 gp per book. All of these books (and 3 more) are stashed in A6.
A5. Storage Room: Bookshelves.
- Zan: (jackalwere MM pg 193) Is here picking out books.
- "Storage Trunk": It's a mimic! (MM pg 220)
- Bottom Trunk: Has 50 gp.
A6. Hidden Vault: Circular chamber with two padlocked trunks.
- Pick Lock: DEX check DC 15. Smash with STR check DC 17.
Trunk 1: Nidalia's dessicated heart, and 450 gp.
Trunk 2: Six books:
- Mazfroth’s Mighty Digressions
- Fallen Tethyamar
- The Dark Hunger
- Castanamir’s Guide to Gingwatzims (describing what gingwatzims are but not how to create them)
- Wanderings of a Humble Aasimar (a treatise on the Outer Planes)
- Daughters of Graz’zt (about the origin of lamias).
Conclusion: If the heroes return to Candlekeep with the books, the Avowed reward them with a helm of comprehending languages.
If the group actually helps the jackalweres revive Nidalia, they will have a lamia as an ally.
(pg 35) The Book of the Raven
|by Irina Nordsol|
- The group finds a map in the Book of the Raven, which leads to Chalet Brantifax.
- At Chalet Brantifax, a band of (lawful good) wereravens are watching over a shadow crossing (portal to the Shadowfell).
- The group can explore the chalet. They might run into a poltergeist, and they'll meet the wereravens, who are trying to figure out what to do with an evil item linked to Orcus.
- The heroes can actually go to the Shadowfell via the shadow crossing, fighting hordes of undead and exploring a small crypt.
Book of the Raven
- Covers are cracked.
- 33 pages.
- Written by hand (author is anonymous).
- Pages flutter and rustle if the book is left open.
- Contents: Author spent 3 months with the vistani. Describes Dasha and Darzin, vistani who healed the author's wounded leg. Provides details on the Vistani way of life. End of the book describes a dark castle.
- Vistani Lore: Reader can learn about planar travel, Vistani customs, the Vistani's gift to use the mists to travel, and their belief that ravens carry lost souls.
- A raven brought this book to Candlekeep.
- 60 years later, a visitor named Anil Zasperdes hid a treasure map in it.
Alternate Hook: The book could also be delivered to the group by a raven.
- The raven actually contains the soul of Heluthe, a dead daughter of Baron Brantifax.
- She wants to frighten away the squatters (the wereravens) in Chalet Brantifax (her former home).
- A wereraven.
- Founder of Scarlet Sash - wereravens who steal magic items from evil people.
The Map: The group can easily find Wytchway, a village that has been abandoned for years, and from there make their way to Chalet Brantifax.
The Situation at Chalet Brantifax
- The Scarlet Sash (wereravens) have been staying here.
- They monitor a nearby shadow crossing (a portal to the Shadowfell).
- Day: The ravens lurk in the graveyard.
- Night: The wereravens creep about Chalet Brantifax, often spending time in area C14.
- When the group arrives, four members are present at the Chalet: Madrina, Taspar, Rennick, and Vinique.
Members of the Scarlet Sash (they are all lawful good)
- Madrina Natterask (wereraven pg 47): She is calm and appreciates good manners.
- Taspar Hatchhill (wereraven pg 47): Tall, old, timid. Polite but nervous.
- Rennick Groka (wereraven pg 47): Morose, cautious, wise.
- Vinique (wereraven pg 47): Wry wit, cackles. She brought the Orcus figurine to the chalet.
Orcus Figurine (pg 44)
- Vinique stole this from an evil merchant and the good-aligned wereravens are trying to figure out what to do with it.
- It is tiny
- AC 17 HP 3 immune to all types of dmg except radiant.
- Undead within 30 feet can't be turned.
- Dead creatures within 30 feet can't be brought back to life.
- If you hold it and pray to Orcus for 1 hour, there is a 10% chance of summoning an avatar of Orcus (has wraith stats MM pg 302).
- Brick Walls
- Sturdy wooden doors
- Oak floors
- Roof and attic have holes (wereravens use them to come and go).
- Windows shuttered.
(pg 40) C1. Storage Cellar: Chairs, small desk, 2 hutches, an ottoman.
Characters with a Passive Perception of 14+ hear someone whisper "I can't get out."
(pg 40) C2. Servants' Quarters: Door is stuck (STR check DC 13 to open). Empty room.
(pg 40) C3. Haunted Well: There is a well in the middle of the floor. A whispering voice comes from it, asking “Brorn! Where are you, boy?”
The former owner of this place fell in the well and died while looking for his dog, Brorn. Searching the well:
- Climb Walls: Athletics check DC 11.
- Shaft is 70 feet deep (10 feet of water).
- Search for 15 minutes: Find a holy symbol of Sune worth 25 gp. If this is given to the spirit in C9., the baron's spirit is laid to rest and the character gains a charm of heroism (as an action, gain 10 temp HP and gain +1d4 on an attack roll or saving throw within the next hour).
(pg 41) C4. Cloakroom: Door is sealed (STR check DC 23). Cloak hanging on a hook (in pocket is key to the padlock in area C16.)
(pg 41) C5. Den: Furnishings covered in dusty sheets. Hunting trophies are on the wall (antlers, wolf heads).
(pg 42) C6. Dining Room: Dining table, chairs.
(pg 42) C7. Kitchen: Rations, spices, dirty dishes.
(pg 42) C8. Parlor: Six-foot-tall harp, gold-inlaid low table.
(pg 42) C9. Graveyard: 4 graves, each with an engraved headstone.
- Baron Brantifax (Father, buried with signet ring worth 25 gp)
- Brorn (Dog)
- Heluthe (Died at age 9, corpse stolen by hag, replaced with scarecrow MM pg 268 and 2 crawling claws MM pg 44)
- Syplphene (Died at age 6, other daughter, her grave is the shadow crossing). The shadow crossing is detailed further below. Basically, the group can dig up the grave. At night, fog fills the hole and is a portal to the Shadowfell.
(pg 43) C10. Guest Room: Door is open.
(pg 43) C11. Guest Room: Door is closed.
(pg 43) C12. Study:
- Baron was a hunter who loved his dog.
- Baroness didn't like the chalet.
- Sylphene was born with deformities. Baroness may have killed her as a "mercy killing."
- Haeluthe was a tomboy, killed by a wolf on her 9th birthday.
- Baroness hears "evil whispers" in the graveyard, plans to leave the Chalet forever.
(pg 43) C13. Master Bedroom: Has a secret door that links to C14, where the wereravens are likely discussing what to do with the Orcus figurine.
(pg 44) C14. Baron's Loft: The wereravens are here trying to figure out what to do with the Orcus figurine. They're going to bury it in this room.
Unlocked Wooden Chest: Contains a potion of mind reading (DMG pg 188) that also causes your skin to sparkle for the duration.
The chest also contains 6 trinkets. let's pull them from Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft:
- A wineskin that refills when interred with a dead person for a night.
- A necklace formed of the interlinked holy symbols of a dozen deities.
- A small mirror that shows a much older version of the viewer.
- A tiny spool of black thread that never runs out.
- A vial of perfume, the scent of which only certain creatures can detect.
- A black wooden die with 1’s on all the faces.
(pg 45) C15. Attic Nursery: If the dolls are disturbed, Sylphene manifests as a poltergeist (remember, she's invisible - MM pg 279).
Here's the stat block:
AC 12 HP 22 Spd 0 ft., fly 50 ft. (hover)
STR 1 (-5) DEX 14 (+2) CON 11 (+0) INT 10 (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 11 (+0)
Dmg Res: Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Thunder; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
Dmg Imm: Necrotic, Poison
Condition Imm: Charmed, Exhaustion, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained, Unconscious
- The poltergeist is invisible.
- Can move through creatures and objects, takes 5 dmg if ends turn in object.
- Sunlight gives it disadvantage on to-hit rolls.
- Forceful Slam: +4 to hit, 10 force dmg.
- Telekinetic Thrust: One creature within 30 ft. must make a CHA check opposed by the poltergeist's -5. If the character fails, they are thrown 30 ft. and take 1d6 dmg per 10 feet.
- OR it can hurl an object 30 feet: +4 to hit, 5 bludgeoning dmg.
(pg 45) C16. Servants' Attic: Door is stuck (STR check DC 13 to open).
Padlocked Trunk: (key is in C4, pick lock: DEX check DC 12).
- Suit of studded leather (AC 12 + Dex mod)
- Leather helm
- Heavy crossbow (1d10 piercing dmg, range 100/400)
- Wooden case with the monogram B.B. In it are 15 crossbow bolts.
- 2 hunting traps.
Wardrobes: 5 dusty black robes, 5 pairs of leather sandals, 5 scarlet sashes.
(pg 45) C17. Storage Attic: 2 holes in the roof. Objects covered in canvas sheets (mirrors and paintings).
- 1 unbroken mirror worth 50 gp.
- Painting of 3 deer. Worth 50 gp.
- Painting of a gray mastiff. Worth 50 gp.
- Painting of a human knight on a hippogriff. Worth 50 gp.
- Portrait of Baron Brantifax, his wife, and his dog. Worth 50 gp.
(pg 46) Shadow Crossing
Sylphene's grave is a shadow crossing. To use it, dig up the grave at night and remove the coffin. Fog fills it. Enter the fog and you'll appear in the Shadowfell where creatures attack you in waves:
- 2 gargoyles (MM pg 140)
- 12 ghouls (MM pg 148)
- Drovath Harrn, a wight (MM pg 300). He has a ring of jumping (DMG pg 191).
(pg 46) Harnn Mausoleum
Once the monsters are dealt with, the heroes will find themselves in a necropolis. Here is the Harrn Mausoleum.
- 1st and 2nd sarcophagi: Contain inanimate human bones.
- 3rd sarcophagus: empty. (Perception Check DC 13 = find secret compartment containing Drovath's saddle of the cavalier (DMG pg 199). if taken, three warhorse skeletons (MM pg 273) animate and try to slay the thief.
Back to the Material Plane: When morning comes in the Shadowfell, the group can use the grave to return. But the wereravens have filled it in. Crawl out: Athletics check DC 13.
(pg 48) A Deep and Creeping Darkness
|by Mark Behm|
- A Deep and Creeping Darkness is a journal which tells the tale of a mining town that suffered a disaster and a series of abductions. The town has been abandoned for decades.
- The heroes are approached by a mining company that wants to get that mine going again. They ask the group to check out Vermeillon and make sure that it is safe.
- On the way to Vermeillon, the heroes can stop at a town where a few people who lived in Vermeillon now reside. They can pick up a side quest involving a man's deceased wife.
- Once they arrive at Vermeillon and explore, the heroes begin to hallucinate. At night, they suffer freakish nightmares. This is the doing of the meenlocks.
- The group might go in the mayor's house, where they can learn what the monsters are and what really happened in the mine.
- The group goes in the mine. The meenlocks try to pick them off one by one.
- The climactic battle against the meenlocks occurs in a room rigged with dynamite to explode. The meenlocks will try to set off an explosion if they think they're going to be defeated.
Finding the Book
A mining/exploration group hires the heroes to find out what happened to Vermeillon.
The mining group knows that the book in Candlekeep has clues.
A Deep and Creeping Darkness
- Cover: Black leather, with the title embossed on the spine.
- Neat but not flawless, some spelling errors.
- Not the work of a professional scribe.
- Contains eyewitness accounts of what happened.
- Vermeillon was a village near a platinum mine: Raw ore and refined metal.
- Nearest settlement is a mountain town called Maerin, which is 3 days away by horse.
- Mayor of Vermeillon was Mayor Lei Duvezin (who is now a meenlock).
- 70 years ago, there was an explosion in the mine that killed about 46 miners out of 60.
- After that, people in Vermeillon began to disappear.
- People began to believe Vermeillon was cursed and left.
- The last page of the book has a rough map of the village's location, with directions to Maerin, the closest town.
- The book was brought to Candlekeep by adventurers, who acquired it from the bard's grandson.
Meenlock Lore: Let's look at the Meenlock (pg 60) so we can understand how all this works.
- They are deformed fey that seek to destroy all that is good/innocent/beautiful.
- Spawned by Fear: In locations where the Feywild is strong, Meenlocks magically form. A lair also magically forms.
- Their lairs are coated in black moss, which muffles sound.
- They can teleport from shadow to shadow.
- They communicate telepathically.
- Meenlocks can project hallucinations into other creatures - Terrible whispers or fleeting movements.
- Meenlocks come out at night, paralyze creatures with their claws, then drag them back to their hidden den and psychologically torture them.
- Telepathic Torment: Up to 4 meenlocks can fill the victim's mind with dreadful imagery and disturbing sounds. The creature must make a WIS save each hour or take 10 psychic damage. Those who die from this instantly become a meenlock. Creatures immune to being frightened cannot be tormented in this manner.
- Small: One other note. Meenlocks are size small! That means they are 2-4ft. tall and weigh a maximum of 60 pounds.
A Stake in the Mine: Check out page 49. What a cool idea - the heroes can own a stake in a mine. And not some boring mine... a PLATINUM MINE! I'll whip up a "Downtime Activity" based on the running the mine at the end of this chapter in case your group wants to go in on this.
Truth Behind the Tale
- Meenlocks spontaneously manifested in the mountain.
- Their lair formed in the mountain.
- They tortured trapped miners, turning them into more meenlocks.
(pg 49) Maerin
- Nestled at the foot of a mountain range.
- Large, but not a city.
- Has an open-air market.
- 2 Former Residents of Vermeillon: Lukas Grosvenor (owner of the Bored Weasel tavern and Inn), and Astra Vorn (flower vendor int he market).
(pg 50) The Bored Weasel: You can rent a tub here by the hour!
Salty Fish Surprise: Cup 1cp, Stew 3 cp.
- Human, 95 years old.
- He worked as a miner. His wife died in the disaster.
- Asks the group to put flowers on his wife's grave and to find her old necklace in a hollow of the tree in the center of the village and bring it to him. (the necklace is in area V4. on page 53, and the grave is at area V5. on page 53).
- He will draw a map of the village for them.
(pg 50) The Central Market: Jewelers, clothiers, bakers, farmers, enchanters & alchemists.
Enchanter: The book mentions that an enchanter might be in the market. Seems like a fun thing to flesh out! It would also be fun to link this NPC to a future adventure in this book, so I'll leave it vague until I get through more of this guide.
The enchanter stats are on page 213. (The PH has prices for casting spells on page 159 "Spellcasting Services")
Spells they offer:
- Mending (PH pg 259)
- Message (PH pg 259)
- Mage Armor (PH pg 256)
- Invisibility (PH pg 254)
- Tongues (PH pg 283)
- Stoneskin (PH pg 278)
Alchemist: Let's base this person on the Alchemist/Artificer
They use the experimental elixir, and figured out a way to make them last longer than a day).
Expiration date: Each elixir comes in a glass container that clearly has a labeled expiration date, which is 2 weeks from now.
- Elixir of Healing: The drinker regains a number of hit points equal to 2d4 + your Intelligence modifier.
- Elixir of Swiftness: The drinker's walking speed increases by 10 feet for 1 hour.
- Elixir of Resilience: The drinker gains a +1 bonus to AC for 10 minutes.
- Elixir of Boldness: The drinker can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to every attack roll and saving throw they make for the next minute.
- Elixir of Flight: The drinker gains a flying speed of 10 feet for 10 minutes.
- Elixir of Transformation: The drinker's body is transformed as if by the alter self (PH pg 211) spell. The drinker determines the transformation caused by the spell, the effects of which last for 10 minutes.
- Half-elf, age 78.
- Was a child when their family left Vermeillon.
The Road to Vermeillon
Vermeillon is 3 days' ride by horse from Maerin.
(pg 51) Vermeillon
Quiet. Houses covered in vines and vegetation. Trees protrude from fallen roofs.
Important Notes on Using the Meenlocks
OK. This is not easy. Your job here is to use the meenlocks to menace the heroes, using the hallucinations listed on page 51. If they can get one character alone, they will try to attack them, paralyze them with their claws, then drag them to area M9 (pg 59) in the mine.
One thing I'm worried about is, if you succeed, then one player will just be sitting at the table bored for a long time.
Another thing is... players don't split the party that much. It's a running joke in D&D: Never split the party. This seems difficult to do.
I would say that you should have one meenlock stay in the Mayor's House. Two other meenlocks menace the heroes in town. The final three lurk in the mine. Make sure to save at least two for the final fight in M9., which is rigged to explode.
Pairing Up: Meenlocks are small, right? So, if they're going to drag a heavy character to the mine, it would probably take two of them to do it (Meenlocks have a STR of 6).
Describe Shadows: Make sure to describe the village as very shadowy, even during the day. There are shadows everywhere. That way, it will be more plausible to have the meenlocks move around without being spotted. They can teleport to a shadow (dim light or darkness) within 30 feet. That will make moving around easier.
Spotting a Meenlock: Characters might try to find the source of these hallucinations. Remember that darkness = heavily obscured:
A heavily obscured area blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the Blinded condition (auto-fail any ability check that requires sight) when trying to see something in that area.
Bright Light: If a character lights an area that a meenlock is lurking, don't forget that the meenlock has light sensitivity (disadvantage on attack rolls/Perception checks).
Creeping Around: It's very possible that a hero will walk in a shadowy area within 10 feet of a meenlock. This will put the character in the meenlock's fear aura (WIS save DC 11. Fail = frightened for 1 minute). The character might gain the frightened condition and have no idea why. The meenlock can use a bonus action to teleport to another shadow within 30 feet.
Meenlock Plan: Here's my initial idea on running the meenlocks.
Once the group arrives, have two meenlocks lurk in the shadows, teleporting around, creating hallucinations. Ultimately, it seems like the best time to try an abduction is when the group goes to sleep. They'll have to try to paralyze a character and then drop them to 0 HP. The meenlocks don't want to kill them - they want to torture them and then transform them into meenlocks.
The third meenlock stays in the Mayor's House and harasses them in there. This meenlock was the mayor, and still wears the mayor's ring. The group might put this together if they see the ring on the mayor's portrait or the symbol on the ring on the sealed envelope in the mayor's room.
The other three meenlocks stay in the mine. One harasses the group, probably ultimately trying to trick one character into stepping into the alcove in area M6. on page 58.
The last two, along with any surviving meenlocks, face off with the group in M9. on page 59, and likely try to blow the whole room up and shadow teleporting to safety.
(pg 51) Lurking Danger
6 meenlocks (pg 60) lurk in the mines. Remember, the meenlocks are out in the day only because it is overcast (When in bright light, they have disadvantage on attack rolls and Perception checks).
One or more characters hallucinate as they explore the town (see the hallucination list on page 51)
Running the Meenlocks: You are meant to run the meenlocks as stealthy foes. They don't run up and hack the group. They creep in the shadows, cause hallucinations, and sneak away. I would suggest saying that only one meenlock is nearby menacing the group - that way, if the heroes find and kill it, there's still 5 more out there, somewhere.
Nightmares: Sleeping in the village: After finishing a long rest, each character must make a WIS save DC 13. Fail = gain 1 level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).
Places of Interest
(pg 52) V1. The Wand and Hammer: Blacksmith's anvil, workbenches.
Search: Investigation check (the higher the group rolls, the more they find) DC 13: False panel in the floor his a shield worth 50gp, 2 short swords worth 25 gp each, and 10 iron bars worth 1 gp each.
If the roll is 18 or higher: Find a dust-covered ring of swimming (DMG pg 193) under the workbench.
(pg 53) V2. Stonemason's Workshop: Headstones, sign that says the Stonemason is in the back. In the back of the house is a half-finished headstone.
(pg 53) V3. Mayor's House: (This place is big, and described more fully in its own section below) Two-story brick house, still in good shape. Huge tree in front of the house (see area V4.).
- We learn on page 54 that this area is the domain of a meenlock (pg 60) that was once the mayor. She still wears her platinum ring emblazoned with a snowdrop blossom (worth 75 gp).
(pg 53) V4. Tree: In the hollow of this tree is a the necklace that Lukas from Maerin asked the heroes to find.
(pg 53) V5. Graveyard: Headstones and cairns. Most of the graves are of people who died on the same day - the day the mine collapsed.
- Lorna's Grave: Lukas asked the group to put flowers on his wife's grave here. If they do so, they hear a contented sigh on the wind.
(pg 53) V6. Merchant's Cart: The cart has stuff in it:
- Salted dried meats (edible)
- 3 bolts of fabric (10 gp each)
- 2 small casks of wine (25 gp each)
Survival Check: The higher you roll, the more you learn:
- DC 15 This cart has been here only one year.
- DC 18: Scratches and tooth marks likely caused by animals.
Investigation Check: DC 15 - Find a compartment. In it is a pouch containing 15 gp and a ledger listing sales made in the area.
(pg 54) Mayor Duvesin's House:
(pg 54) H1. Entryway: Dim Light (creatures have disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight)
(pg 55) H2. Assembly Room: Bookshelf has old books, painting of a mountain range (worth 2 gp), and a chunk of raw platinum (25 gp).
(pg 55) H3. Meeting Room: Painting of the mayor. She's wearing the ring (which is now on the finger of the meenlock/her).
(pg 55) H4. Dining Room: Just an old dining room.
(pg 55) H5. Parlor: Chairs have mouse holes and rodent droppings.
(pg 55) H6. Upstairs Landing: Doors to the bedroom are shut.
(pg 56) H7. Daughter's Bedroom: Just an old bedroom.
(pg 56) H8. Master Bedroom: Crumpled papers, envelope, journal.
- Crumpled Papers: The mayor wrote these letters, asking for aid from other settlements.
- Sealed Envelope: Letter from the mayor to Maerin, asking for aid.
- Journal: This is the journal of Mayor Lei Duvezin. She wrote of the mine disaster, sending her family away to Maerin, and how she insisted on staying in the town. The last few entries detail her fear and nightmares.
(pg 56) H9. Library: Books on history, business, folktales, planes of existence.
Open books on table:
- Books about trauma and nightmares
- Feywild Book: A book about the Feywild (with a note on a page about meenlocks: "Could this be the answer?"). The note is on the meenlock section, which details meenlock lore.
(pg 56) H10. Guest Bedroom: Just a bed and a fireplace.
(pg 56) H11. Son's Bedroom: Under the bed is a toy bugbear that has been partially eaten by rodents.
(pg 57) Platinum Mine
A few carts sit outside the cavern.
(pg 57) M1. Main Tunnel: Once the group enters, each character must make a WIS save DC 14. Fail = disadvantage on INT and WIS checks as they begin hallucinating and hearing whispers.
(pg 57) M2. Southern Wing: There are 3 swarms of bats (MM pg 337) that attack if the group is louder than a whisper.
(pg 58) M3. Northern Wing: This is where the miners stopped digging.
(pg 58) M4. Cave-In: Attempt to move the rocks: DEX save DC 15 or take 7 bludgeoning dmg from falling rubble.
(pg 58) M5. Entrance to the Meenlock Lair: Black moss cover walls/floor/ceiling (muffles sound - no echoes).
Arcana Check DC 14: These tunnels were made by magic.
- Succeed by 4+: The meenlocks made these tunnels.
(pg 58) M6. Chamber of Weeping: Deep alcove in the wall.
- Step Into Alcove: Tentacles of black moss try to grapple the character. DEX save DC 14. If a character is alone and grappled, meenlocks enter this toom and begin to psychically torment them.
(pg 58) M7. Mossy Maze: The meenlocks try to pick off characters who wander off alone.
(pg 58) M8. Pools: 2-foot deep pools of water that look black and in light show strong reflections.
The text says you could put a black pudding (MM pg 241) in one of the pools.
(pg 59) M9. Transformation Chamber: Many stone slabs, 4 pillars (with dynamite affixed to them), and all remaining meenlocks (pg 60)
Any characters taken by the meenlocks are here on a slab.
Pillars: Passive Perception Check DC 18 (or a regular Perception check DC 14) spots sticks of dynamite on each pillars all attached to a trigger.
- Cut Fuse: Costs an action.
- Dynamite Stick: If it takes damage, it explodes. DEX save DC 12, take 10 bludgeoning dmg, half on save.
If Meenlocks Sense Defeat: Meenlock runs to trigger, uses action to set off explosion, then bonus action shadow teleport to escape.
Explosion: If you are within 5 feet of a stick of dynamite, DEX save DC 12, take 10 bludgeoning dmg, half on save.
If All 4 Pillars Are Destroyed: Cavern's ceiling partially collapses. DEX save DC 15. Fail = 22 bludgeoning dmg, fall prone, and restrained by rubble. Success = half dmg, not prone or trapped in rubble.
- Free Self From Rubble: Athletics Check DC 20.
Treasure: In piles of refuse are 50 gp, ivory drinking horn (120 gp), and goggles of night (DMG pg 172).
(pg 59) Fate of Vermeillon
If the group wipes out the meenlocks, settlers will come to Vermeillon and get the mine running again. The characters are local heroes.
(pg 60) Shemshime's Bedtime Rhyme
|by Zoltan Boros|
- The group ends up staying in the firefly cellar for the night.
- The next morning, the heroes and the Avowed awake with a curse - they can't stop humming/singing a song.
- A member of the Avowed, Varnyr, seals them in the cellar, realizing they've been cursed. She doesn't want it to spread all throughout Candlekeep.
- A series of increasingly dangerous magical events occur, caused by the curse.
- Eventually the group finds the book (hidden in area F11) and repairs the music box attached to it. Doing so summons Shemshime, who attacks the heroes (note that Shemshime can't be dropped to 0 HP unless crushed by an object weighing 1,000+ pounds!).
- The heroes can defeat Shemshime by dropping the huge book sculpture from area F1. onto Shemshime.
DM Notes: This adventure is different than the others in the book so far. It is situational! The group is sealed in a cellar, and they'll have to deal with a series of events. When the events happen is up to you!
The trick here is pacing. You can't let this drag, but you want to give the group the space to roleplay. I'd suggest throwing a situation at the group, let them react and respond, and once it feels like everyone's had a chance to say their piece, move on to the next event.
A lot of this one involves roleplaying. If your group is into combat, you might want to throw the 3 shadows on Shemshime's Influence table more than once.
The final encounter might frustrate some players who might not be expecting a "think outside the box" scenario. As the group first enters the areas with heavy objects that can be used to crush Shemshime later on, that you go out of your way to point out how massive and heavy the sculpture in F1 is.
(pg 62) Background
- Has been in Candlekeep for 600 years.
- Children's book.
- Yowen Pilt: Insane person who brought this to Candlekeep. Spread a 'singing madness' among the Avowed.
The Firefly Cellar: Windowless basement underneath the House of Rest. Has lamps lit by fireflies.
(pg 62) The Book
- Mechanical, made of wood and copper. Front depicts a round millstone.
- Silver music box set into the book's spine.
- Book opens to reveal a pop-up cutaway illustration of a watermill - animates 4 serparate scenes while music plays.
- Scenes depict members of a family dying.
- Final scene doesn't play out until the built-in music box is repaired (shows the daughter crushing the shadow under a millstone).
Crinkle: Kenku member of the Avowed, took the book to her room and has become cursed by it. Crinkle doesn't tell anybody what is happening! If things play out, the kid will end up beating Crinkle over the head with the book in event 6.
The Song: Always skips back to the beginning of the song before playing the last stanza.
Shemshime's Curse: Anyone who hears the song is cursed to hum or sing it (no save). Resisting the rhyme:
- Concentration (PH pg 203): If you concentrate as if you cast a concentration spell, you can stop yourself from singing.
- Silence (PH pg 275)
- Remove Curse (PH pg 271)
Cellar Inhabitants: All are members of the Avowed:
- Varnyr (noble MM pg 348): Sun elf scribe. She loves books.
- Ebder Smallstone (commoner MM pg 344): Human scribe. Anxious, pessimist. His daughter, Gailby, tries to help him keep it together.
- Gailby Smallston (commoner? MM pg 344): She is a kid, daughter of Ebder. Wears a yellow cape. Imaginative, curious.
- K'Tulah (druid MM pg 346): Tabaxi. Gregarious, researches folk magic.
- Crinkle (kenku MM pg 194): Grumpy, lives in the cellar. Has no patience for others. Ring of the ram (DMG pg 193).
(pg 64) Starting the Adventure
You'll need to come up with a reason for why the heroes need to stay in the cellar.
Book Delivery: Once they enter, they see Varnyr on a ladder, who asks the heroes to bring a stack of books to Ebder. Ebder is in F2., who explains that the books are actually for K'Tulah in F13. The group is offered areas F8 and F12 as rooms to stay in.
(pg 65) Event 1: Quarantined
The heroes wake up and are now humming the rhyme. It spreads to K'Tulah and Ebder. Varnyr seals the hatch in F1. and explains that they've been cursed - she's heard the story about the book from 600 years ago.
Exit Hatch: Arcane lock (PH pg 215) Pick Lock: DEX check DC 25. AC 21 HP 60 Imm: Poi/psychic
Shemshime's Influence: We will be prompted to roll on this chart in certain event sections.
3 Shadows (MM pg 269)
(pg 66) Event 2: Ebder's Outburst
Ebder becomes and is cold to the touch. He sings for 5 minutes, then.. roll on the influence table.
(pg 67) Event 3: Singing Skull
The skull of Yowen is hidden in area F4., begins singing. AC 15 HP 4 Imm: poison dmg. It stops singing if destroyed.
(pg 67) Event 4: Escape Attempt
K'Tulah tries to break out. She knows Varnyr has a key to the hatch, and attacks her. The group can make a Persuasion Check DC 15 to calm her down.
(pg 67) Event 5: Puppets
Half of the characters and NPCs must make a CHA save DC 15. Fail = charmed by Shemshime for 1 minute - they are under Shemshime's control and will try to cause harm to others. A charmed creature can repeat the save at the end of each of their turns.
(pg 68) Event 6: Shemshime
Gailby grabs the book and knocks Crinkle out with it (one of them was possessed). Inspecting the book, the heroes can see that its music box was damaged long ago.
(pg 68) Repairing the Music Box
INT check DC 15: The music box is damaged, and it doesn't play the song all the way through. It skips near the end and starts over.
Fix the Box: Requires 3 successful DEX checks DC 15 (each requiring an action). With each attempt, the character must also make an INT save DC 13, taking 14 psychic dmg on a failure, half dmg on a success.
Once Fixed: The tune plays to the end. In the book's scene, Shemshime is crushed beneath a millstone.
New Scene: A new scene appears in the book, depicting the characters in the cellar. It also depicts a replica of the sculpture in area F1. Shemshime appears and attacks the whoever has the book.
Destroying the Book: Does not have any effect on Shemshime.
Defeating Shemshime: The group needs to drop something heavy on it. Either the sculpture in F1, the bookcases in F1 and F2, or the stone table in F2 (although the table is specifically described as weighing only 300 pounds, and Shem's stat block says the object must be over 1,000 pounds).
Topple Object: Use an action. Shemshime must make a DEX save DC 15 (Shemshime has +3 to the roll).
Reward: The Avowed give the heroes a bag of holding (DMG pg 153)
(pg 70) The Firefly Cellar
3 Floors: No windows! Lit by bottles of fireflies.
- Top Floor: Area F1. Balcony overlooking F2. Book collection.
- Middle Floor: Areas F2. - F5. Book collection.
- Bottom Floor: Areas F6. - F12. Kitchen and living quarters.
What Do Fireflies Eat? How do the Avowed keep these fireflies alive? I looked it up. Some adult fireflies don't eat at all. Some eat nectar, pollen, or... other fireflies. In this adventure, the fireflies are fed vials of nutrients, stored in area F4.
(pg 70) F1. The Stacks, Balcony: Books, statues of scholars, chairs, Sculpture hanging from ceiling.
Bookcases: 10 feet tall, each has a rolling ladder.
Book Lift: Lidded wicker basket, holds up to 50 pounds. Can be lowered to the Middle Floor.
Sculpture: Looks like an open book. Suspended by 3 chains (AC 19 HP 5 Imm: Poison/psychic). This will probably be used to kill Shemshime.
(pg 72) F2. The Stacks: Bookcases, heavy granite table.
(pg 72) F3. Scriptorium: 3 writing desks, moldering tapestry, door. Ebder makes copies of books here.
- Locked Door: Pick Lock DEX check DC 15. Door leads to F4.
- Behind the Tapestry: Writing on the wall - the final stanza of Shemshime's song (see pg 63).
(pg 72) F4. Firefly Room: Thousandas of fireflies in terrariums.
- Boxes: Contain vials of liquid nutrients for the fireflies.
- Writing on the Floor: Perception Check DC 12: "FINISH THE RHYME"
- Secret Compartment: Investigation Check DC 20 reveals a compartment in the floor containing bones of two humanoids - Yowen and the Avowed who killed him.
(pg 73) F5. Bindery: Where books are repaired.
- Workbench holds 3 books: Festivals and Festivities of Ancient Cormyr, Living a Dream: Three Years Among Stone Giants, and Halfling Superstitions
- Ledger: (reveals titles of 4 books in need of repair - the 3 books on the bench and Shemshime's Bedtime Rhyme).
(pg 73) F6. The Worm Tunnel: Hallway connected to stairs from F2.
(pg 73) F7. Kitchen: Oven enchanted with heat metal (PH pg 250).
(pg 73) F8. Avowed Quarters: 2 beds, unused room.
(pg 73) F9. Gailby's Room: Gailby, the kid, sleeps here. She's been making creepy drawings (scenes from the book).
(pg 74) F10. Ebder's Room: Under the bed is a box containing keepsakes of Ebder's late wife.
(pg 74) F11. Crinkle's Room: Locked (Pick Lock: DEX check DC 20).
Passive Perception 15+: Spot a secret storage space containing Shemshime's Bedtime Rhyme, along with an amber ring (25 gp), dagger (25 gp) 4 bottles (5 gp each), potion of gaseous form (DMG pg 187), potion of heroism (DMG pg 188).
(pg 74) F12. Avowed Quarters: Painting of Candlekeep.
(pg 74) F13. K'Tulah's Room: Clockwork oyster plays soothing music.
(pg 74) F14. Varnyr's Room: Many books, candlesticks lit by continual flame (PH pg 227).
(pg 75) The Price of Beauty
|by Caroline Gariba|
I'll be working on this guide for the next few weeks! Thanks for reading.