Cantrip Candles

Published 7/4/22

It was an absolute surprise and joy to receive a box sent by my dear friend Tim filled with a variety of goodies from Cantrip Candles. I have seen them at my local friendly game store and within the socials of the ttrpg community but this was the first time I got to experience them first hand and I was not disappointed.

First let me say how much I love that the match books are designed to look like the miniature versions of spell books you could find in a book shop in Waterdeep or a stall in your own fantasy ttrpg setting. My favorites are “The Little Book of Necromancy, the adorable nature based “Tinderbox” and “A history of Divination.” Each box is filled with your tiny torches ready to light your candles when your flame spells run out.

I also got a 9 pack of tea lights in the “Cantrip Candles Sample Set.” There was a vast variety of scents for your smelling pleasure. My favorite three are “Goldenwheat Bakery,” “Mountaintop, and “Brinewater Tides.” There is a card stock card that comes with the names of each tea light and the description of each scent. I was pleased to find that the Mountaintop tea light lasted for 7 hours of straight gaming at our Pathfinder table. The scent was very subtle while burning, which I enjoyed as well.

Session Zero

The crown jewel of the surprise package was the boxed game that came in a cardboard box tied up with a blue ribbon. Inside was the game booklet, a pack of 12 tea lights- each unnamed but labeled with a numbered sticker, a nice set of glossed cards with prompts on them and lastly a bag of coffee from Found Familiar. As a side note, this fox was thrilled that all of the packaging was either reusable (such as the ribbon) or recyclable.

The game itself is a 13 page booklet with a card stock cover. It is titled “tales by Candlelight: Session Zero.” The cover states that it is for 1-3 players with a “casting time” of 45+ minutes. I absolutely love how the play time is described as “Casting time” and that all the “spell components” are all provided in the box with the manual.

Unlike most tabletop games this one is not an adventure but rather an experience to help the players do world building, character creation and story development in a relaxed “session zero” style setting. The GM in this scenario acts as a guide to build deeper meaning to the thoughts, feelings and pieces that are created in this session. The scented candles, cards and coffee are used collectively to build greatness from the player's instinctive responses. There are reading prompts provided within the guidebook that can be read aloud by the Guide as well.

It is recommended by the creators, and I too agree with this, to read through the entire experience and all of the booklet before starting and especially if you are planning on doing this for other people.

The game is broken into a few parts: Prologue (to help get everyone into the right mindset and set the mood), Part One: World Development & Environment where the players build the world and globe in which they explore, Part Two with character creation and exposition where the players build the protagonists and Part Three: Adventure & Narrative where the “game play” occurs. All three parts can take as much time as you need to go into as much detail as you like. In part 2 not only do you build your character, this section also helps flesh out the other people of the world as well touching on civilizations, beliefs and the cultures surrounding the inhabitants of your created world.

Part three is where you use your improvisation and creativity to challenge the protagonist to overcome obstacles and work through opportunities. This is where you also use the glossy cards that came in the box in addition to smells to work through story ideas and weave your tale timing all of your work together.

In each of the main sections you will need to use between 2- 5 of the provided tea lights to correlate a scent with what you are building.

Thoughts from the Fox

I am very happy with the quality of the candles to the fun little matchbook accessories to the great Session Zero game. The scents may not be for everyone, so I recommend getting the sampler set first if you are planning to order exclusively online to make sure that you will be happy with your larger candle purchases. It is also important to note that the sampler sets can vary and to watch their social medias. At the time of me writing this they were also going to add Coffee Shoppe and their Healing potion into the rotation of the samplers.

As for the game it says 45 minutes+, but I personally say don't limit yourself on time if things are going well. 45 minutes would break down into about 15 minutes per part which is a lot less time than you may think. If you and your players are vibing and creating great content, continue until you are ready to move on. I definitely would recommend not setting a timer for the game either. Taking time to think is also important to keep creating and building for as long as you and your party want.

How to get your own Goodies

If you live in California you could potentially visit their brick and mortar store. There are also Cantrip Candles available through other local friendly game stores as well. I was happy to find that my local store here in MN had some fun Cantrip Candle options and I have already added to the collection (with the Coffee Shoppe scented candle and there’s even a mystery d20 at the bottom!). Online is another great option and you can visit them at

If you wish, you can also visit if you want to book a Session Zero run as a theatrical experience.