Confrontation at Candlekeep (5e) – Sean’s Pick, 100715

Own – and run – a piece of D&D Next history.

Candlekeep is under siege, and it needs adventurers to help protect it! Heed the call to defend the legendary monastery and stand against the tide of evil.

Product History

Confrontation at Candlekeep” (2013), by Teos Abadia, Greg Bilsland, and Shawn Merwin, is an RPGA Dungeon Delve that was used as a playtest for D&D 5e (2014). It was released to RPGA Dungeon Masters in August 2013, but only made available to the general public in October 2015.

Introducing D&D Next. D&D 5e had a long, public history as D&D Next before its official publication. Playtest packets were released beginning in May 2012, then D&D Encounters started offering 5e options with “Against the Cult of Chaos” (2013) in February 2013. However, the 5e playtest really hit the mainstream during the summer of 2013: on June 15 the 5e adventure “Vault of the Dracolich” was run at D&D Game Day (2013). An even bigger preview of 5e followed at Gen Con Indy 2013 with the release of the adventure “Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle” (2013) exactly a month later, on August 15.

Because “Dragonspear Castle” was a big public release that included playtest rules, it got the most attention. However, two other 5e playtest adventures also appeared at that Gen Con. The second was the fifteenth Encounters adventure, “Murder in Baldur’s Gate” (2013), which went on sale on August 20th following its August 17th launch weekend. The third is now the least-known. That’s because it was only released to Dungeon Masters at the time and has been mostly unavailable since.

That isn’t to say that “Confrontation at Candlekeep” wasn’t a big deal. It was the other half of Wizards of the Coast’s Gen Con 2013 plan, intended to draw players into D&D 5e without the benefit of a traditional booth. On the one hand Gale Force Nine was selling “Dragonspear Castle” to long lines of fan. On the other hand, Wizards reserved much of Hall D at the Indiana Convention Center so that the RPGA could run “Confrontation at Candlekeep”.

And, run they did! The two-hour adventure was scheduled for 28 separate sessions, the first running from 8am to 10am on Thursday, August 15th and the last running from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, August 18th. Each session could seat up to 176 players, which meant that Wizards had the capability to run almost 5,000 players through the D&D 5e adventure — enough to generate a great seed of interest when those players brought word of the new edition home to their own gaming groups.

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