DMs Guild Review – Candlekeep Library Bestiary

Over 30 monsters and NPCs found in a magical library.

A review copy of “Candlekeep Library Bestiary: Monsters, NPCs, Magic Items, and more for Candlekeep Mysteries.” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Stormcrow Dreamscapes

Candlekeep Mysteries added some great book-based modules, but it was mostly lacking in monsters. Candlekeep Library Bestiary adds over 30 new creatures and NPCs to populate the famous library, or any library worth exploring.

If you were to ask me what kind of creatures would populate a magical library, I’d vote constructs — and that’s exactly what we get! Half of the monster statblocks are clever new construct ideas: awakened spellbooks, clockwork automatons, book golems, giant globes that spawn animated maps, desk mimics, and swarms of encyclopedias.

Many of these creatures include fun and highly thematic abilities. The Librarian (and Ghost Librarian) can Shush as a reaction to a spellcaster, inflicting the silence spell. The nasty Ink of Juiblex can hide in books and melt spell scrolls.

In addition to its smother attack, the Animated Map Tapestry can conjure elemental attacks based on what’s printed on its map, and the parchment-like Palimpsest can absorb its victims, transposing them into illustrations on its page. They can only be freed when struck by lightning, adding an intriguing puzzle element to a combat encounter.

And for a fun yet clever gag: the Philosophical Discord, a swarm of arguing humanoids that fling spells, books, and insults to everyone around them. Ha!

monstrous monster manual

A third of the statblocks are humanoid NPCs. Mostly boring, but nice to have. They’re all suitable for libraries, from guardian monks to arcane scribes and lorekeepers.

The supplement also includes the Translator character background, which includes tables for traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws, as well as a handful of magic items that one could find (and make use of) in a library, such as Goggles of Translation and a Map of Teleportation.

By fully exploiting the limited yet interesting theme of magical libraries, Candlekeep Library Bestiary features some impressive depths and fun ideas, and makes an excellent expansion to Candlekeep Mysteries, or any forgotten (or occupied!) library excursion.

Pros:

  • Over 30 library-themed statblocks, including 10 NPCs.
  • Half of the monster statblocks are clever constructs.
  • Over half a dozen magic items and a new character background themed around libraries and study.

Cons:

  • Mostly stock art.

The Verdict: With a strict adherence to theming and a particular focus on fun new constructs, Candlekeep Library Bestiary shores up a monstrous gap in CAndlekeep Mysteries, or any library dungeon.

A review copy of “Candlekeep Library Bestiary: Monsters, NPCs, Magic Items, and more for Candlekeep Mysteries.” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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