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Candlekeep Murders: The Deadwinter Prophecy

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Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more of Santa's savings, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

"I love the murder mystery set up here, and I really like Miss Hollypocket. The roleplaying notes for all the NPCs are very well handled, and involving Miirym is a nice touch. I LOVE the Flying Iron Owlbear and the Avowed and library generators are superb. I LOVE THIS ADVENTURE!"

Ed Greenwood, creator of Candlekeep and the Forgotten Realms. 

A Murder Mystery Adventure!

When the players arrive at the gates of Candlekeep in the dead of winter, they don't expect to find the doors barred and no Watcher to greet them. These are no ordinary times in the Great Library however. The Keeper of Tomes was murdered last night, and his body found mutilated at dawn. As the only people not present in Candlekeep at the time of the murder, the council of Great Readers vote to put the players in charge of the investigation.

As they try to solve this complex crime they will uncover many more secrets of the Great Readers, reckon with the Beast of Candlekeep and maybe even discover the fabled Vault of Secrets itself... an archive so powerful that if its tomes fell into the wrong hands civilisation as we know it would be plunged into depravity.

Candlekeep Murders: The Deadwinter Prophecy features:

  • A complex murder mystery to solve, in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Umberto Eco
  • All Candlekeep locations and lore from Candlekeep Mysteries woven into the adventure!
  • New lore on: the ranks of the Avowed, the Watchers, heating, sports, sayings (and improved lore on theft protection, Alaundo's prophecies) 
  • A beautifully rendered cryptogram
  • Three new monster stat blocks (Beast of Candlekeep, Flying Iron Owlbear, and Animated Crossbow)
  • INSIDE THE GREAT LIBRARY supplement with 24 new Candlekeep locations
  • CANDLEKEEP LIBRARY GENERATOR for creating infinite new library buildings within the Great Library. Generator includes 20 quirky Avowed librarians

Key Details

Candlekeep Murders: The Deadwinter Prophecy is written for a party of 3-5 5th level adventurers. Given that is not a combat heavy adventure, it could be easily adjusted for any first or second tier party. 

The adventure is designed to take 8-12 sessions (of 3-4 hours) to complete. A copy of Candlekeep Mysteries will be very handy (or Mike Schley's map if not). 

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About the Adventure

Candlekeep Murders can easily be dissected into two parts. The first part being a murder investigation carefully constructed from the actions of some 7 or 8 scheming personas on Deadwinter's Eve - this requires some prep and repeat reading to run (although more detail is given in the adventure than you need to get going! You needn't remember every last detail, but good running notes will be important). A second part revolves around a treasure hunt scenario around the Great Library, with less prep required and more chance for DMs to improvise and be creative. DMs can run one or both parts, depending on tastes. Everything within the adventure is described using theatre of the mind or the maps included in Candlekeep Mysteries. No original maps are included in the adventure. 

About the Author

Duncan Rhodes is the author of the best-selling Esquiel's Guide to Magic Weapons and the pulp action funathon DRAGONBOWL, amongst other titles. He is also the founder of the www.hipstersanddragons.com blog. 

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Reviews (7)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Phil S March 07, 2024 8:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm currently running a homebrew campaign that utilizes Candlekeep frequently and this sounds like a great addition. But, how accurate is the 8-12 session estimate? How difficult would it be to trim down without losing the fun? 2-3 real world months sounds like a great story arc, but a bit much for a fun sidequest.
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Customer avatar
Duncan R March 08, 2024 12:11 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Phil

***Spoiler Alert for any players... look away now!***

In the full length adventure, the murder mystery story morphs into a puzzle-solving treasure hunt around Candlekeep as the players must find the Vault of Secrets before Manshoon's agents do.

You can easily halve the adventure by playing just the murder mystery or just the treasure hunt.

If the former, what you could do is just have the Vault of Secrets be located in the High Tower Library so that no treasure hunt is required to find it (as written, a cryptogram in the otherwise empty High Tower Library kickstarts the treasure hunt).

This will make more sense if/when you buy the adventure, but, when the players get the call to action to rush up to the High Tower Library, they can face off against first the Beast of Candlekeep (as written), and then directly against Manshoon's agents, in a bid to stop them escaping with the Book of Vile Darkness. You just need a reason why the agents can't...See more
Customer avatar
Richard M February 22, 2024 3:21 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm prepping this for my players... any easy way to get it up and running on roll20? I saw a fantasy grounds version... any chance there is a roll20 solution?
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Customer avatar
Duncan R February 25, 2024 11:30 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Richard, thanks for purchasing. I'm sorry, but I don't have any experience in converting modules for VTTs... a third party converted it for FG. I imagine having it on Roll20 would be a smart move, but unlikely to find time to look into that soon.
Customer avatar
Abdulaziz A January 16, 2024 7:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm currently running Candlekeep Mysteries with my group and we are having a blast. I want to integrate Candlekeep Murders into our campaign since. We're going to play the 4th level Deep and Creeping Darkness in our next session. And planning to start with Candlekeep Murders after it. My question is, is it a good time to start it or should I wait for a bit for them to level up.
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Customer avatar
Duncan R January 16, 2024 3:14 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Abdulaziz

No problems at all to start it at 4th level. There is only one optional combat in the first half of adventure, and you can easily customise the difficulty of the run ins with Manshoon's agents in the second half.

I ended up running Martial Adepts with half hit points and without the stun feature, when playing recently with a second group of mine that is not optimised for combat. Meanwhile, the good thing about a final combat with Manshoon's simulacrum is you can decide how many spell slots the simulacrum has by the time he faces the party. Suggest you remove a few...
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Customer avatar
Abdulaziz A February 04, 2024 9:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
We just finished our first session and the party is having a blast, they really loved it. They finished chapter one and two cause they didn't want to stop playing. Don't you love it when the playrs are taking notes instead of getting distracted by their phones.
And I really enjoyed preparing the adventure. Had to read it again after I finished cause it was that entertaining.
I have a question for you, the party is about to interview the great readers
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Customer avatar
Abdulaziz A February 04, 2024 10:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
We just finished our first session and the party is having a blast, they really loved it. They finished chapter one and two cause they didn't want to stop playing. Don't you love it when the playrs are taking notes instead of getting distracted by their phones.
And I really enjoyed preparing the adventure. Had to read it again after I finished cause it was that entertaining.
I have a question for you, the party is about to interview the Great Readers. And they already told Bookwyrm about their findings. (They rolled really high in the keeper's chamber and almost know every clue)
I'm not sure if Bookwyrm should plant something in their possession to imprison them or keep following the adventure.
My plan is to throw them in the dungeons cause they "stole" some tomes in the second day, and use Kalan to help them escape and stop A'lai (I'll make him survive the blow). And go with them to face the simulacrum insteadof Febris.
My question is, do you have a suggestion on how...See more
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Customer avatar
Abdulaziz A February 04, 2024 10:10 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry, don't know why I have two replies, and the second one is missing the question.
The question is a suggestion on how can I play the Gatewarden after he survive, and if the Great Readers will resurrect Bookwyrm after what she did (if they know that she had a hand in this)?
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Customer avatar
Duncan R February 05, 2024 11:20 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Abdulaziz, glad your party is enjoying the adventure so far!

If Kalan survives the attack on him, he will want to recover the key to the High Tower Library (assuming that it was taken from him). Since he is an archmage you might want to give him several levels of exhaustion (and take away his high level spell slots... these house rules may help https://www.hipstersanddragons.com/exhaustion-house-rule-dnd/), otherwise he may prove too powerful an ally. It would also explain why he might need the players' help...

As for roleplaying him, he is an extremely intelligent and serious man, somewhat aloof and with a bit of a military air.

Ps. I would keep resurrection off the cards, it rather cheapens any murder mystery! Also there is no one with the raise dead spell in Candlekeep. Highest cleric has a priest stat block. You can rule that the bodies of the dead are kept in the Temple of Oghma for safekeeping, and outside help may be sent for to resurrect deserving parties, but...See more
Customer avatar
Petra S March 09, 2023 12:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm so glad I was mindlessly searching around for things I could use to improve my Candlekeep Mysteries-centered oneshot-campaign. I want the stories about the library to converge in an explosive finale that utilizies a lot of the library lore, and this seems perfect! I also appreciate The Name of the Rose touch.

I will have to shift things around a bit as I previously started introducing the players to the Great Readers and I very distinctly did not intend any of them to be overtly evil. On the other hand I do like the idea of making them complicated characters, who might all had motives to murder the Keeper for different reasons. So I will have to tweak the main villain a little bit, also I want the big battle in the end to revolve around breaking free Miirym from the library and using them against the character, so I might switch this up with the Beast part of the story. Anyway, I find this all very inspiring and will use the location generator until the characters get to Tier 3.
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Customer avatar
Duncan R March 24, 2023 8:37 pm UTC
CREATOR
Awesome thanks Petra, one of my goals was to really take full advantage of the magical location of Candlekeep, which doesn't really come into play much in the Candlekeep Mysteries adventures.
Customer avatar
Richard M February 28, 2023 2:03 am UTC
PURCHASER
Has anyone seen a play through of this? It really helps to see how the adventure unfolds by watching it before I DM it...

any chance of a roll20 port?
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Customer avatar
Duncan R March 24, 2023 8:35 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Richard, I haven't got any experience in video or streamed content. I do plan to release some 'Running Notes' at some point, so will try to keep you posted. Most likely they will be published for free on my blog www.hipstersanddragons.com
Customer avatar
Sam P January 03, 2023 9:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I want to run this with a high level party, but there is only one thing I have a hard time with: the fact that they can cast Zone of Truth MANY times, with decently high DCs. How can I keep this a challenge in this instance?
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Customer avatar
Duncan R January 03, 2023 10:28 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Sam

A few things.

1) Zone of Truth doesn't oblige one to speak / answer questions. If necessary, a suspect could just remain quiet for 10 minutes... ZoT is really only useful in the case of interrogation or a public trial.

2) Many of the chief suspects in this case are high level casters, who might have cast mindblank or could counterspell ZoT, or reasonably have magic items that might protect them from ZoT.

3) Many of the chief suspects have a high deception skill

4) Casting Zone of Truth, socially speaking, is the same as accusing someone of being a liar. This will not go down well amongst the academics of Candlekeep! They would refuse to cooperate, counterspell, or demand that the PCs be removed from the case (they are put in charge by the Keeper of Tomes).

5) In general, when someone starts casting a spell in D&D in a crowded room, it's the arcane equivalent of drawing a sword... it's an aggressive act (who knows what they...See more
Customer avatar
Eric D May 15, 2022 6:28 pm UTC
Any way to get a Fantasy Ground version of this going? Definitely looks interesting! And nice one getting a coveted Ed Greenwood quote! ;) That's enough to make it a must-buy for me!
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Customer avatar
Duncan R May 15, 2022 8:26 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Eric, actually yes, there's a decent chance, as I'm discussing that now with Grim Press who just converted my adventure DRAGONBOWL for FG:

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/395846/DRAGONBOWL--5e-Adventure-Fantasy-Grounds

It was absolutely wonderful of Ed to take the time to read Candlekeep Murders and then to share his feedback... luckily he seemed genuinely impressed with the adventure!
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Customer avatar
Duncan R January 03, 2023 10:31 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi again Eric, forgot to say that yes it's now available on Fantasy Grounds:

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/398944/Candlekeep-Murders-The-Deadwinter-Prophecy-Fantasy-Grounds
Customer avatar
Jacquelyn G December 31, 2021 4:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This looks fantastic, and I just picked it up. I love all of the influences you listed. I'm looking for a mystery one-shot for New Year's Eve tonight, and I was wondering how long you think this would take to run (at least the first half)?
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Customer avatar
Duncan R December 31, 2021 4:53 pm UTC
CREATOR
hey Jacquelyn, thanks for purchasing the adventure!

It would be really tough to run as a one shot I think (I needed around 12 hours to run the first part of the adventure, but I tend to slow play things). You could maybe remove Teles and Kazryn to slim down the number of people to interview, which would help, but still tricky to fit in that timescale...

Apologies for not putting the playing time on the product description. I will do that now! Do hope you enjoy playing it as and when you have more time to play with...

Best

Duncan

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Customer avatar
Jacquelyn G December 31, 2021 4:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is helpful, thank you -- I'll definitely run it for one of my regular groups. I can't wait!
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Customer avatar
Duncan R December 31, 2021 5:03 pm UTC
CREATOR
Great! Do let me know how you get on!

Also, if you have any issues or something isn't clear you will find my email in the foreword, so feel free to write to me with any adventure-related questions. Or find me on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/HipstersDragons
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on December 26, 2021.