Critical Role's Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide Released Ahead of Premiere

Published: May 9, 2023 12:00 PM /


An image of the cast of Candela Obscura in costume

Update: Today on May 25th the QuickStart Guide was released for Candela Obscura including a video giving viewers a brief rundown of what the character sheet looks like and how to make sense of it. The video has Game Designer Spenser Starke talking over the commonalities and differences that each player might have, some of their abilities, and important features such as regaining your 'Drive.'

The Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide itself is a 26-page document, 16 for players and a further 10 for DMs to peruse including an example assignment. For the creation of characters, there are five different Roles, these are the equivalent of Classes, that then further refine into specialties. The Role and Speciality are what will determine the starting values of the different abilities a player has, including the number of dice they can roll for different actions. Being a game built around elements of Horror each character will also have Scars, physical or emotional, that will influence how you might roleplay them.


The example assignment, Dressed To Kill, covers the premise of a new dress meant to be made of a color the world has never seen before being unveiled at the Newfaire World Exhibition. After the woman modeling the dress collapses into a pile of glowing bones it's Candela Obscura, the player party, that comes to investigate what's going on. There are content warnings for Body Horror at the top so make sure you've got your safety tools in place. Without spoiling any of the adventure the contents of the DM portion of the Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide cover the inciting incident, arrival of Candela Obscura, as well as multiple escalation events. 

Original Story: This morning, Critical Role and Darrington Press announced Candela Obscura, a horror TTRPG show premiering on May 25th. Candela Obscura, roughly translated to "Dark Candle", is not only the show's name but also the game created using Darrington Press' recently announced Illuminated Worlds system

The premise of Candela Obscura is that a group of investigators has gathered to use their knowledge of the occult to stop a "mysterious source of corruption and bleed." The first story arc of Candela Obscura will consist of three episodes, but each will have its own standalone stories allowing a viewer to pick up at any episode. Each episode in Candela Obscura will consist of an inciting incident, an investigation by the players, and an attempt to solve the mystery.


Matthew Mercer will act as GM for the first chapter of Candela Obscura leading a group of familiar faces to the Critical Role table. Joining Matt through these occult experiences will be Laura Bailey (The Legends of Vox Machina, The Last of Us: Part II), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us: Part I & II, Blindspot), Robbie Daymond (Exandria Unlimited, Spider-Man), and Anjali Bhimani (Overwatch, Dimension 20: The Ravening War).

Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide

As previously mentioned Candela Obscura is built using the Illuminated Worlds system that was announced last month as part of the Darrington Press State of Press 2023. At the time it was described as a system that was designed for "shorter, arc-driven campaigns." For those interested in learning the mechanics a Candela Obscura Quickstart Guide will be released publically on the morning of May 25th before the premiere. This will allow fans to read up and understand how the game will work prior to watching the premier. A full Candela Obscure Core Rulebook has also been announced by Darrington Press. The Core Rulebook will release at the end of 2023.

Candela Obscura was created by Taliesin Jaffe and Chris Lockey with the assistance of Spenser Starke and Rowan Hall as lead designer and writer, with producers Steve Failows and Maxwell James. This is not Jaffe or Critical Role's first step into the realm of otherworldly horrors previously playing a Call of Cthulu one-shot in 2019, which was run by Jaffe himself.


Candela Obscura's first chapter will premiere on May 25th at 7:00 pm via the Critical Role Twitch and YouTube channels. There will be a new episode on the final Thursday of each month. The podcast and VOD of each episode will be released two weeks after the initial debut, so the premiere will be available on your podcast app or YouTube on June 8th.

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