In bedtime rhymes, in lost mansions of missing mages, in books left by ravens, and in towns swallowed by blackened smoke, darkness creeps between the high shelves of Candlekeep. Welcome to the greatest library of the Sword Coast: a place of mystery, magic, and occasionally monsters. Ready your wand.
This is a campaign running the Candlekeep Mysteries hardcover adventure book. This adventure book is different from others in that it is a collection of one-shots: adventures that can be run in a single session. One-shots are flashy and fun, condensing the usually long-form fantasy genre into only a few hours of play. However, as with everything, there is a trade-off: one-shots mean a more action-RPG style of play, with less open-world adventure. This is sometimes derogatively called “railroading,” but I see it more as a style of storytelling or a genre than a mistake or fault. In this game, though we’ll lean strongly towards action-RPG, there will still be opportunities to be investigative, downtime to craft and study, and quiet moments where the onus of story progression rests on you, the players. At the same time, don’t expect every “one-shot” (chapters of Candlekeep Mysteries) to actually only take one session, and there may be instances where you’re investigating multiple chapters at once. Lastly, we’ll link all of these one-shots so that you can play each one with the same character, or switch out characters between chapters if you’d like.
This campaign will also lean more towards high fantasy than urban fantasy. High fantasy is idealistic, formal, and heroic, and the fantasy races are allegories for different aspects of human nature — just because something talks doesn’t mean it’s a person. Urban fantasy is more casual, sometimes even gritty, and the fantasy races are just people with slightly different physiology. High fantasy is the older genre while urban fantasy became popular in the postmodern era. Further, high fantasy often expects accents from characters, so I’ll do some funny voices. Feel free to join me or not. In short, high fantasy expects more buy-in and suspension of disbelief for a further distance from reality while urban fantasy lowers the barrier to entry but offers (whether it wants to or not) more commentary on reality and less escapism.
Each session is $15. Sessions are around 3 hours long. This is similar to most online games, like the D&D virtual play weekends, for example. You pay for previous sessions before the next session — that’s your ticket in.
Anything else — texting me about character ideas you may have, chatting about mechanical interactions, questions about the game world — is all free. I’m available through multiple payment services such as Venmo, PayPal, Zell, and Patreon; we can also work out another method if those don’t work for you.
Since payment for previous sessions is due at the start of the next session, if you don’t like the first session and want to leave the campaign, you can do so without being charged anything. This hopefully ensures that you can leave without paying for something you didn't enjoy, and it means we don’t have to immediately discuss payment after, or at the start of, a session. This also gives you a free session to be written out of the campaign if you decide you need to leave in the midst of the game for personal reasons or because you’re not having fun anymore. Of course, Session 0 is also free.
If you’re new, you should schedule an individual Session 0 with me to discuss character creation and so that I can introduce myself sometime before the first session. Session 0 can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours long depending on your experience with the game and how tedious (or fun) you find character creation and learning new rules. Indeed, if you’d rather me make a character for you so that you can just jump in and play, let me know!
Sessions will be around three hours long, as above. I’m recruiting for three campaigns based on this module, all of which are weekly. My Wednesday games are scheduled from 1-4 PM ET; Fridays are 3-6 PM ET; Sundays are 3-6 PM ET.
I’ll walk you through how to use these resources in Session 0, but we’ll be mainly using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop, a Discord server for voice and organization, and D&D Beyond for character building and tracking. If you want to use both, Beyond20 is an excellent resource to link the two. All of these are optional except Discord; you can use pencil and paper and your own imagination if you wish. These resources are always linked in the #notes channel of the Discord server, as is this document. If you want to use them, you should go ahead and make a free account for Roll20 and D&D Beyond at roll20.net and dndbeyond.com before your session 0.
Most DMs have house rules, and I am no different. My house rules document is linked below. I am of course open to critique.
That’s about all for now. Ready your wand! I’ll see you in Candlekeep.