Dungeons & Dragons Preview: Candlekeep Mysteries Adds Old Monsters and New Intrigue

Candlekeep Mysteries, the newest publication by Dungeons & Dragons, releases later this month. The upcoming anthology book contains 17 new adventures written by a collection of talent assembled and led by D&D's lead story designer Chris Perkins. The upcoming volume uses the famed library of Candlekeep as a frame of sort that ties all of the adventures together. Each adventure is titled after and features a tome from Candlekeep's exclusive shelves, leading to some sort of mystery that players have to solve.

ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Alison Huang, one of the designers whose work is featured in Candlekeep Mysteries. Huang is an award-winning designer whose work includes multiple short-length adventures found on the DMs Guild. "Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions" is a Level 2 adventure with the following description: "A monstrous revelation sheds light on a book merchant’s scam. This adventure takes the characters from Candlekeep to Baldur’s Gate and includes a new monster: the gingwatzim." The gingwatzim is new to D&D Fifth Edition but is actually an established monster that dates back to the 1980s.

You can check out some exclusive art from "Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions," along with Huang's thoughts about designing the adventurer and bringing back the gingwatzim, below:

DnD_Candlekeep-Mysteries_SpoilerArt_325122_Nikki-Dawes
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast/Nikki Dawes)

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Comicbook.com: How did you get involved with Candlekeep Mysteries?

Huang: I got added to Chris Perkins' list of freelancers after he made a call for them on Twitter in October 2019, and then got an email in January 2020 asking if I wanted to work on D&D.

What are some of the challenges that come with building a shorter adventure like Mazfroth’s Mighty Digressions, compared to writing an adventure meant to be completed over multiple sessions?

For me the challenge was actually more the opposite! All the adventures I wrote prior to this were 3-4k word one-shots. When you have a word count limit like that, there are aspects you leave up to the DM because they're not worth using up the word count for. So this adventure, which is longer than what I wrote previously, required me to figure out details I usually wouldn't.

What are the major themes of Mazfroth’s Mighty Digressions?

Unfortunately, it's very hard to talk about the themes without completely spoiling the whole mystery. All I'll say is that not everything is as it seems, and sometimes the price of survival is steep.

Can you tell us a little bit about the gingwatzim, the new (to Fifth Edition) monster appearing in your adventure? Did you make any updates to the monster, since it hasn't appeared in a D&D adventure in decades?

Gingwatzims are shapeshifting aberrations created from the energy of the Ethereal Plane. They communicate through telepathy and they feed by draining life energy.

They're largely unchanged from their original 1e appearance — what can I say, they were perfect for this adventure — the most notable changes are that their drain causes exhaustion rather than lowering strength and that they're created through a spell rather than simply being summoned.

Are there any surprises that players can expect when jumping into your adventure?

It depends on what the players are expecting to begin with! Subversion is a through-line of my work, and Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions is no exception to this. So if people are unfamiliar with my work, the directions I go might be surprising! I will say that this adventure is solvable without violence.

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Candlekeep Mysteries comes out on March 16th.