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Candlekeep was a towered library-fortress that stood on a crag overlooking the Sea of Swords. The library was filled with books and scrolls of knowledge, considered the greatest collection of the writings in all of Faerûn. It was the home of the great seer Alaundo who foresaw the coming of the Bhaalspawn, over a millennium before the crisis of the 14th century DR.
Aside from the edicts dictated by the stronghold's Keepers throughout the years, Candlekeep had but one absolute rule: "Those who destroy knowledge, with ink, fire, or sword, are themselves destroyed".
The keep's sigil was a castle emblazoned over a flame.
Description[edit | edit source]
Candlekeep rested atop a volcanic crag on a narrow peninsula that jutted out from the side of the Sword Coast. It was nestled onto the crag just few hundred paces from the cliffside overlooking the Sea of Swords. The path leading to its entrance was called the Way of the Lion, which extended from the Coast Way that ran along the Sword Coast.
The outer wall of the keep rose high above the coast, dotted with several towers that ascended into the skies about the cliffside. The main entrance through this wall was by a set of grand double-gates, that were three times as tall as a man and forged from a strange black metal that was impervious to lightning and magical divination. Within this protective perimeter was the strong, central keep that housed the Great Library, encircled by the Court of Air and several smaller stone buildings.
Weather[edit | edit source]
The western facade of Candlekeep was bombarded with mist and waters from the Sea of Swords, and became iced over during the freezing winter months. Several of the towers on this side had to be abandoned for part of the year due to this hazardous accumulation of frost.
Entry[edit | edit source]
To gain entry to the halls of wisdom a visitor had to present the seal of a renowned wizard, as well as an "entrance-gift" to the library, a tome of immense value, great rarity or significant historical importance to add to their collection. While the shrewd gatekeepers typically accepted books worth no less than 1,000 gp,[note 1] books containing particularly insightful annotations or journals of important persons have been accepted before. As of 1494 DR, requirements for entry seem to have relaxed, and visitors to the library were only required to donate a book, scroll, or similar piece of writing not contained within the library. Visitors into the keep were known as "seekers" and referred to as "goodsir" or "goodlady" by the library's monks, if their name was unknown.[note 2]
The "friends of Candlekeep" were allowed entrance in to Candlekeep without offering an entrance-gift. Among these select individuals were certain archmages, priests of the deities Oghma, Deneir, Gond and Milil, along with both local and High Heralds alike.
Notable Locations[edit | edit source]
- Carved into the volcanic rock upon which sat the Great Library and surrounding keep was a series of tombs and sepulchers that served as the resting place for a number of sages of Candlekeep. They were guarded by the ghost of the silver dragon Miirym, who was bound to defend Candlekeep and the Avowed by the great sorcerer Torth.
- Court of Air
- While it was once decorated by a small grove and a terraced rock garden, the cobblestone courtyard of Candlekeep was kept rather simple and kept unadorned as of the 15th century DR. The gardens and trees were no more as the court merely housed several buildings that served the needs of the Avowed and their guests:
- The Hearth: This grand eating hall, allowed seekers to mingle with one another in the 15th century. It contained shrines to Deneir, Gond and Milil. Previously, the services of The Hearth were provided by the Candlekeep Inn.
- House of Rest: A bunk room that provided lodging for the keep's seekers.
- House of the Binder: A temple dedicated to the Lord of Knowledge, Oghma.
- In addition to these buildings the keep housed a warehouse, several granaries, stables and an infirmary.
- Great Library
- The great library of Candlekeep was considered to be the largest and most robust collection of scholarly writings, lore and knowledge in all of Faerûn. Conversely, its bookshelves also contained a seemingly endless amount of paltry and insignificant documents such as: recipes, inscribed song lyrics, journals of fairly unremarkable individuals and other such trivialities.  It housed a dozen towers, known as "necessariums", that offered seekers ample place to study and read in peace.
- The vaults deep beneath the keep were said to contain such hidden knowledge that anyone who was able to discover and wield them, would gain power that was incomparable to anything known on Toril.
Services[edit | edit source]
Seekers who gained entry into Candlekeep were allowed to stay for one tenday. During this time they could read specific books within the necessariums, but were not permitted to copy their contents. This service was specifically provided by the Avowed. Inscribing and binding a book cost anywhere from 100 to over 10,000 gp and took upwards of several weeks to complete.
The advice of the keep's sages were offered to Seekers who asked for their wisdom for 2000 gp, double the standard rate.
History[edit | edit source]
Although some sources stated that Candlekeep was originally the citadel of Alaundo, having grown around his small and humble tower, the keep actually predated the seer by some hundred years, having been founded c. the Year of Stonerising, -200 DR.
In the Year of Clinging Death, 75 DR, Alaundo arrived in Candlekeep to study the writings kept there and got a reputation for his visions into the future. Following his death the keep became a sanctuary of knowledge, revering his prophecies and dedicating itself to the preservation of all available knowledge.
During the Iron crisis in the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, Sarevok Anchev infiltrated the Great Library during his quest for power and immortality. He filled Candlekeep's catacombs with doppelgangers that masqueraded as citizens of the fortress, along with those who were significant to his sibling and fellow Bhaalspawn, including the dead sage Gorion.
Inhabitants[edit | edit source]
The monks of Candlekeep referred to themselves as the Avowed, servants sworn to protect the keep and the contents of its halls. As of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, the Avowed were led by the Keeper of the Tomes, Ulraunt, and his assistant, First Reader Tethtoril. They were served by the Great Readers and the order's other monks who held a variety of responsibilities within the keep.
The Gatewarden oversaw the defense of Candlekeep, assisted by four Watchers and the Keeper. While all of the martial officers were served by a dozen armed monks, only the latter stood outside the keep's walls. This Keeper of the Emerald Door, previously known as the Keeper of the Portal, served as both sentry and concierge. They assisted Seekers for their stay within the sanctuary's hallowed walls and barred entry for those not deserving.
The Chanter and the three Voices could often be found in procession throughout the Court of Air, reciting the lines of the Endless Chant. The prophecies of Alaundo continually echoed through the grounds of Candlekeep.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), pp. 32–33. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Ed Greenwood (December 2014). The Herald. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786965460.
Notes[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Video Games
[edit | edit source]
- Candlekeep article at the Baldur's Gate Wiki, a wiki for the Baldur's Gate games.
- Candlekeep is a website for dedicated collecting, discussing, and sharing of Forgotten Realms lore.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), pp. 32–33. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 74–77. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0786965622.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- BioWare (June 2001). Designed by Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Black Isle Studios.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 74. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Map included in Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 89. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 0786966769.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- BioWare (December 1998). Designed by James Ohlen. Baldur's Gate. Black Isle Studios.
- Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- Ed Greenwood (2004). An Introduction to Candlekeep (in English). Candlekeep. Retrieved on 2011-05-05.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- >Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.