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Candlekeep Mysteries
Lichen Lich, Candlekeep Mysteries, p. 273

Candlekeep Mysteries is a set of short adventures for Fifth Edition Dungeons and dragons. All of the adventures revolve around Candlekeep, a magical library on the Sword Coast of Faerûn. These little adventures are great, and have a lot of great content. That said, there’s a few gaps. Namely: a missing snake and a rhyme about a boogie man named Shemshine.

Candlekeep’s Serpent

In the adventure “The Book of Cylinders”, players leave Candlekeep and find two magical items in a sarcophagus guarded by Yuan-Ti. One is Serpent’s Fang, a magic longsword that deals and extra d10 of poison damage. The other is Serpent Scale Armor, which allows a player to apply all of their dexterity modifier when calculating their AC. The description for the sword states that it is the “scrimshawed fang of a giant serpent”. One could assume that the armor likewise requires components from a magical serpent.

What serpent though? What if you want to have your players quest for the components needed to make these items, rather than just having them happen upon them like they do in Candlekeep Mysteries? I did some looking and came up with a mostly-ready-made suggestion: a reskinned Young Sea Serpent from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. You’ll need to swamp its swim speed (40 ft.) and it’s normal speed (10 ft.). You’ll also want to swamp out the damage type cold for poison. With all that done you’ll have a nice “hard” difficulty encounter that you can let your players harvest components from.

Candlekeep Mysteries: Shemshime’s Rhyme

One of the adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries features the following poem:

See a mother scything wheat
Forgotten husband sleeping near
With one swing she took his feet
With another, took his ear

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE
Causes grief, avoids the blame
SHEMSHINE

See a dog that knows how to heel
Never heeds plea nor command
Mother gave it a tasty meal
Dog chose instead to eat her hand

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE
Causes grief, avoids the blame
SHEMSHINE

See a son doing his chore
Washing clothes for folk in town
Fell into the river’s roar
Sank to the bottom and drowned

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE
Causes Grief, avoids the blame
SHEMSHINE

Shemshime’s Rhyme, Candlekeep Mysteries, p. 62

The only mystery here is what happened to the rhyming and meter in this little ditty. I’m no expert here, but I’m almost certain that “town” and “drowned” don’t rhyme. It also doesn’t really implicate Shemshine in any of the bad things that happen. I know that seems like a bit of a nit-pick, but the poem needs to work if it’s going to be spooky to chant it. Here’s a little punch up you can use in your game:

Shemshine from the Rhyme
Shemshine, Candlekeep Mysteries, p. 69

See the mother swing the scythe
Forget her husband lying near
Distracted by a shade so lithe
Slicing off both foot and ear

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!
Causing grief, avoiding blame
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!

See the dog, it knows to heel
and heeds mother’s every command
Though she makes a tasty meal
The shadow makes it maul her hand

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!
Causing grief, avoiding blame
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!

See the son’s backbreaking chore
Washing clothes for the folks of town
Shadow soaps the rocks on shore
Son slips, strikes head, doomed to drown.

Does the shadow have a name?
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!
Causing grief, avoiding blame
SHEMSHINE! SHEMSHINE!

There we go! A few punch ups to Candlekeep Mysteries! Maybe next take a look at our magical item pricings by book.


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