Advanced Search

Candela Obscura Core RulebookClick to magnify
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Candela Obscura Core Rulebook



You’re needed, investigators: join the secret society Candela Obscura to confront occult horrors from beyond, keeping hidden the true nature of magickal incursions besetting our world.

The Candela Obscura Core Rulebook is a fully detailed guide on playing and gamemastering the collaborative investigative horror tabletop roleplaying game. As an investigator of the paranormal secret society Candela Obscura, you and your circle are charged with exploring, fighting, and protecting the people of Newfaire from supernatural dangers lurking in the folds of a bustling world unaware of the occult magick simmering beneath. Candela Obscura is the very first game to use the Illuminated Worlds System as well as the first full RPG from Darrington Press, as featured in the ongoing anthology series on Critical Role.

Inside of the Candela Obscura Core Rulebook you’ll discover:

  • 204 detailed pages
  • The core rules to play and create your Candela Obscura investigators and their circles.
  • Over 90 pages detailing the turn of the century-inspired setting of the Fairelands, and in detail the city of Newfaire and the ancient ruins beneath known as Oldfaire.
  • 4 full example assignments for gamemasters to dive in with their players.
  • Over 30 example assignments to explore far-flung corners of the Fairelands and the organizations and people operating within it.
  • An extensive guide to preparing for and gamemastering Candela Obscura.
  • Immersive, in-world ephemera and notes strewn throughout the chapters—illustrations, sketches, research notes, correspondences, advertisements, maps, and more to bring the Fairelands to life.

Get immersed in Candela Obscura’s turn-of-the-century inspired setting, learn about the secret society Candela Obscura and its rival factions, and take a spin through the Illuminated Worlds System. Grab some six-sided dice and you’re ready to go!

Consider this your invitation, your initiation, to the secret order Candela Obscura.

Map of the Fairelands

Interested in trying out Candela Obscura? Pick up the official free Quickstart Guide PDF on DriveThruRPG!


  • Lead Game Design: Spenser Starke and Rowan Hall
  • Written By: Rowan Hall and Spenser Starke
  • Editor: Karen Twelves
  • Managing Editor: Matthew Key
  • Production: Ivan Van Norman and Alex Uboldi
  • Proofreading: Jacky Leung
  • Additional Game Design: Christopher Grey, Tracey Harrison, and Taliesin Jaffe
  • Layout: De La Rosa Design
  • Cultural Consultants: Basheer Ghouse, Pam Punzalan, Erin Roberts, Christine Sandquist, Liam Stevens
  • Military & Political Consultant: Anthony Joyce-Rivera
  • Game Development Consultant: Mike Underwood
  • Additional Editing: Darcy Ross
  • Additional Writing: Carlos Cisco, Tracey Harrison, Anthony Joyce-Rivera, Sam Maggs, Mike Underwood
  • Graphic Design: Aaron Monroy, Bryan Weiss
  • Artists: Shaun Ellis, Jamie Harrison, Allie Irwin, Amelia Leonards, Lily McDonnell, Justin O’Neal, Sunga Park, Gustavo Rodrigues Pelissari, Doug Telford
  • Map Design: Marc Moureau
  • Cover Artist: De La Rosa Design 
  • Artist / Ancient Languages / Spell Design: Stevie Morley
  • Original Concept Created By: Taliesin Jaffe and Chris Lockey

Watch the Show

Candela Obscura is being showcased now in a deeply atmospheric monthly actual play series from Critical Role! Tune in to Critical Role’s Twitch and YouTube channels to enjoy.


 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (3)
Discussions (9)
Customer avatar
Gustavo C March 29, 2024 12:55 pm UTC
Is this the one shot setting you were promoting? Because I read the Daggerheart beta and it seems more campaign oriented. And I know from previous information that you were designing one of each type.
Customer avatar
Arley S March 13, 2024 3:49 pm UTC
Are there any plans to publish it in other languages? Say, PT-BR.
Customer avatar
Bazeal B January 15, 2024 9:35 am UTC
Is Candela Obscura set on Earth, an Alternate Earth or an Alien World?
Customer avatar
Meredith G January 16, 2024 12:22 pm UTC
Hey there, Bazeal! It is set in an alternative world with similarities to ours in around the year 1905.

Candela Obscura's primary setting is Newfaire, in the region known as the Fairelands. The Fairelands are part of a larger coalition known as Hale, and Hale was until very recently, embroiled in a war with the nation of Otherwhere across the sea. This war ended with the use of an electrical device, causing widespread devastation and having a cultural impact like the atomic bomb in real-world history.
Customer avatar
Bazeal B January 16, 2024 7:20 pm UTC
Thanks for the info but my curiosity got the better of me and I bought the thing. Putting the pieces together now.
Customer avatar
Ryan S January 12, 2024 5:42 pm UTC
I am here to say Candela Obscura is great because it is the only thing we are allowed to say about it. Please don't punish me.
Customer avatar
Aiuto C January 13, 2024 1:35 pm UTC
LOL... BTW i like the game, even if it's not perfect, so i'm saying that i like it too because i realy do (more or less)
Customer avatar
Richard H January 27, 2024 8:04 pm UTC
Weird that this page is full of negative comments that aren't being removed, but I'm sure you're right.
Customer avatar
Osiris T January 12, 2024 4:35 am UTC
Man they hard erased any negative reviews for this.
Customer avatar
Chris S January 12, 2024 12:06 pm UTC
Thanks, heard about this on Reddit. Came to see it
Customer avatar
Scott T January 12, 2024 3:49 pm UTC
No reviews at all are appearing, not just negative ones. It's possible it's a system problem.
Customer avatar
heidi B January 13, 2024 12:03 am UTC
not necessarily. they just did a site overhaul and some reviews got erased in the process. the same is happening all over drivethrurpg.
Customer avatar
Meredith G January 16, 2024 12:33 pm UTC
To be clear, we erased no reviews; a mix of them are shown in the Review Tab. There is a massive difference between Reviews (left tab at the top -- only can be used by those who purchased) and Discussion Threads (where anyone can make comments and the community can flag if it's spam / off-site links). We did have a slight delay between our old site and new site for reviews to show up which has been remedied.
The community found spam (links to off-site pages that have nothing to do with the book or the publisher) and publishers pushing their 'better' product (with no explanation of their thoughts on the actual listing) as unnecessary to the conversation.
Customer avatar
Richard H January 27, 2024 8:06 pm UTC
The only two reviews I can see are entirely negative.
Customer avatar
Osiris T January 28, 2024 12:58 am UTC
I see some new ones yes. I am glad that they are now allowing freedom of expression in the reviews. This is a good thing and I am happier with the state of affairs though I think that the discussions should be restored more fully but I am willing to take the win anyway.
Customer avatar
Joel G January 05, 2024 1:42 pm UTC
I got this through the Critical Role store, so can't leave an official review with score, but I would give it a solid 7-8/10.
If you have played Blades in the Dark (or any other Forged in the Dark game), it will be very familiar, but with streamlined wounds (called Marks here), gear, and only one crew type (the Circle).
Moving Stress into Drives feels a little more pulpy and allows players more control of their own bonuses, but they balance it pretty well by making it hard to recoup during an assignment.
The only thing it feels like it lacks is a good equivalent to Heat: there is little incentive beyond purely narrative constraints to play like the investigators that the game assumes you to be.
Customer avatar
January 21, 2024 2:40 am UTC
Hey Joel!
What's Heat do for story or mechanics? I'd like to hear more about what Heat does to incentify players to be investigators or drive the story. Isn't that kind of covered in their backstories?
Does Blades in the Dark handle PvP at all?
I do like a Pulpy feel! Can you go deeper into your description?
Customer avatar
Joel G January 24, 2024 3:24 pm UTC
In Blades in the Dark, which is focused on playing a group of criminals eking out a living in a grimdark city, Heat is accrued by taking actions that draw attention from the authorities. This incentivizes non-lethal, alternative confrontations and elaborate heist shenanigans: going murderhobo or running straight at the goal gets you caught.

Other Forged in the Dark games have some sort of equivalent: when you try to ignore the core assumptions of a setting (or do things made risky by those assumptions) you increase a meter that portends some kind of blowback.

Candela Obscura lacks that: there is no structural reason for players to investigate carefully, recklessly, or at all. There is no ticking clock of risk, no political backlash to work around, no rising collateral damage.

Sure, you can rely entirely on backgrounds and roleplaying, but the Heat mechanic opens up the possibility of abilities and advancements to challenge or subvert the core assumptions of the setting...See more
Customer avatar
Tevel D January 31, 2024 1:08 am UTC
Thanks for this! The reviews that are negative seem to criticise aspects that seem to be common to PbtA or FitD style games. Which is fine. PbtA and FitD are a particular style of game, and the GM not rolling anything is a sticking point for some.

Still, as much as I love Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk and even Shadowrun and even Rolemaster, I also appreciate PbtA/FitD for what they are. My impression was that this seemed like a FitD style game, so the negative reviews aren't really helpful, they only let me know that this does indeed seem like a FitD style game, maybe. It doesn't let me know anything more.

Getting a more clear picture of how this game departs from Blades in the Dark is more useful than what amounts to "I don't like player-focused games".
Customer avatar
Jarrod S December 15, 2023 5:32 pm UTC
Often, there is a "Print + PDF" bundle, which obviously isn't here on DriveThru. But I don't even see that option listed in the Darrington Press website store. So I guess my question is, if I buy a physical copy, do I get a complimentary PDF, or is that an entirely separate purchase I would have to make?
Customer avatar
Greg M December 15, 2023 6:22 pm UTC
Yup. You get a pdf with the physical copy from Darrington Press (it’s written in the description on there if I remember correctly but I missed it the first time I looked). I ordered the physical and got the PDF so I can confirm. :)
Customer avatar
Bobby J December 16, 2023 3:21 am UTC
Jarrod, you'll have to purchase the physical book from the Darrington Press website to get both. If you purchase the physical copy you will also get access to a pdf version.
Customer avatar
Cristian M December 15, 2023 1:58 pm UTC
"204 detailed pages, with a satin ribbon to keep your place."

How is the ribbon relevant to a PDF? Or to a listing that doesn't even include a print version?
Customer avatar
Meredith G December 15, 2023 8:54 pm UTC
Ribbon reference removed! Good catch :D
See 16 more
Narrow Results
$ to $
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Gold seller
File Size:
69.97 MB
Original electronic Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
December 12, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on December 14, 2023.