D&D 5E Ajit George Talks About Radiant Citadel's Creators

Project Lead Ajit George shared a post on social media about the development of and creators of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel. https://www.enworld.org/threads/the-next-d-d-book-is-journeys-through-the-radiant-citadel.686847/ Hi all, I'm so unbelievably excited and proud to tell you that I have conceived and co-led the first book written entirely by people of color in Dungeons &...

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Project Lead Ajit George shared a post on social media about the development of and creators of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.


Hi all,
I'm so unbelievably excited and proud to tell you that I have conceived and co-led the first book written entirely by people of color in Dungeons & Dragons’ 49-year history: Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel!

In June of 2020, I pitched the idea to Jeremy Crawford and Wes Schneider at the D&D Studio for a book written by Black and brown writers. The idea was to create new places and lands based on our cultures, histories, myths, and lived experiences. To my surprise and joy, they agreed and asked me to co-lead it with Wes Schneider!
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is an anthology of 13 compelling adventures that introduces 16 new locations, along with characters and monsters. The first location, the titular Radiant Citadel, was created and written by myself. You have never seen anything like it in D&D before.

There is so much we've accomplished with this unbelievable book:
  • I am the first-ever PoC Project Lead for a D&D book.
  • This is the first D&D book conceived, created, and written entirely by PoCs: Sixteen writers in total.
  • This is the first D&D book where the cover art and alt-cover art were both created by women of color: Evyn Fong and Sija Hong.
  • The co-Art Director is a woman of color: Emi Tanji.
  • The Marketing Lead is a woman of color: Sara Chan.
  • Two of the rules developers are PoCs: Makenzie De Armas and Taymoor Rehman.
  • One of the editors is a PoC: Jessica Ross.
  • Three cultural consultants are women of color: Nivair H. Gabriel, Jaymee Goh, and Carmen Maria Marin.
  • Almost two-thirds of the artists were PoCs and they created more than two-thirds of the art for the book.
  • One of our narrative design consultants (and also my wife), is a woman of color: Whitney Strix Beltrán. She was with me from the very first day to the very last. I am eternally grateful for all she's done.
  • Additionally, half of the writers are women and several writers come from the LGBTQIA+ community.
More than 50 Black and brown people came together to work on this book and support its creation. I am overwhelmed by the scope of our accomplishments.

The sixteen writers for the book are: Justice Ramin Arman, Dominique Dickey, Basheer Ghouse, Alastor Guzman, D. Fox Harrell, T.K. Johnson, Felice Tzehuei, Surena Marie, Monidipa Mondal, Mario Ortegón, Miyuki Jane Pinckard, Pam Punzalan, Erin Roberts, Terry Romero, Stephanie Yoon and myself.

I am also grateful to everyone in the D&D Studio who made this book possible including Ray Winninger, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Steve Scott, Amanda Hamon, James Wyatt, and of course my partner through it all, Wes Schneider.

And to friends who helped with so many different ways, especially John Stavropoulos (who was the system and narrative design consultant) and Jess Ross (who was one of the editors). Both were there from the start in leadership meetings and helped with so many parts in the first several months.

Finally, I want to thank my talented and capable wife Whitney Beltrán. I juggled my full-time job and leading this project and she supported me every day. She was also my narrative design consultant and weighed in or saw everything I did. This book is brilliant in part because of her.

I genuinely believe Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is one of the finest books ever to bear the D&D logo. It is a layered book that hits upon complex and powerful themes. You can play it at the surface and have a lot of fun, or you can delve deeper with the questions it asks of you. Either way, it will offer hundreds of hours of incredible gameplay and new stories.

I can’t wait for it to be released on June 21st and to share it with the world!

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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Some of this reminds of some of the current "controversy" with the movie "Turning Red", many just can't wrap their heads around a movie being about a Chinese-Canadian girl. Sure I have some connection being Chinese-Canadian (though I'm 3rd generation and the writer might be 2nd generation) and I was a teenager once, but it's a different experience from me as I've never been a girl, don't turn into a Red Panda and have never lived in Toronto.

That critique of Turning Red was insane. "I can't like this movie because it's about a young chinese-canadian girl." Like bro wut? You can't like movies when they aren't about specifically about your ethnic group?

Still boggles my mind someone thought that was cogent critical analysis.

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Why do you think that because someone is not white that they have experience with a culture besides American?
As I said, the ones I looked up and could find information about all lived in the US since at least their college years and quite possibly were born there. We also can't assume that their parents came from a different culture either instead of also being born and raised in America. And even if they grew up in a different culture we don't know how much of that was transferred to their children.

I have seen the assumption that PoC = different/additional culture than American before in various cultural appropriation discussions but I do not think you can make that assumption.
Please define "American culture".


That what I could verify when I looked them up which often is grown up in the USA with a university degree.
It seems you didn't look too hard since I found all these international mentions just in author's announcement on Twitter or Twitter bios

Mario Ortegón describes self as Mexican with location of Monterrey, and announcement refers to "upbringing in Northern Mexico and a love letter to my country's contemporary culture"

T. K. Johnson refers to "family in Louisiana and the stories they brought up from the Caribbean!"

Mimi Mondal lists location as Kolkata/New York

Alastor Guzman describes themself as Mexican

Pam Punzalan lists location as Philippines

Ajit George's bio refers to his work as director of operations for Shanti Bhavan, with a link to that Twitter account where it's described as "a home and school in rural Tamil Nadu, India, for the region’s most disadvantaged children"

Terry Hope Romero describes her adventure as "inspired by the culture + terrain + animals + plants of Venezuela (where my fam is from)"

Correction it says Black and brown, and I'm pretty sure that is misleading at best. Black gets a capital B, because it refers to a culture or ethic group rather than a color. So I guess brown refers to a colour of skin? Which considering a good portion of the authors seem to not be either Black or brown in skin tone is misleading at best. Not sure why they didn't just stick with PoC which is all encompassing.

Unless the word comes at the beginning of a sentence, I do not capitalize colors. They are not races or ethnicities.


The EN World kitten
I also dislike the Strixhaven book. Not because of its theme, or it being a M:tG setting, or the "harry potter ripoff" nonsense, but because it's just genuinely a poorly made book. The book is a mess and barely functions as either a setting book or an adventure book.
It wasn't the only one.



But that doesn't explain it. This book has gotten such a negative huge knee-jerk response that multiple designers of the book and members of the WotC D&D team have had to step in and clarify stuff that should have been apparent in the first place ("no, this isn't replacing Sigil," and "yes, I understand new things are scary, get over it" for example).

Candlekeep didn't get this kind of response, even though it also touted how it had a diverse swathe of writers. Netherdeep didn't, even though people love to crap on Critical Role books and Matt Mercer. The Magic: the Gathering settings didn't get anything this bad, even when their mere existence is a controversial topic in this community.

So, "people hate corporate marketing" isn't an explanation of this, because WotC has engaged in this same sort of corporate marketing for literally all of their recent products, and none of them have gotten this amount of backlash.

Literally the only main difference here is that the whole book is being written by POC. The art doesn't matter, because lots of people have hated the art for other 5e books, and none of them gained this amount of a reaction.

The only reason why so many people would be complaining about this book is as some kind of a knee-jerk response to seeing that it was written entirely by non-white people. That's it. That milestone is the only thing that explains this kind of a response. Go read people's comments on this article on Reddit, or on the articles announcing this book, or various moderated comments in that other thread. The only thing that would provoke this much of a response is the fact that they announced that the book was the first official D&D book written entirely by People of Color.

It's really not hard to hear the dogwhistle. This always happens with an announcement as momentous as this one. It's always the same people, and it's always the same BS.
On what basis are you judging "this kind of response" to be greater than the other releases you give as examples?

I mean, the topic can certainly be inflammatory, and cause strident debate, but this thread is mostly people going back and forth trying to convince people to see a certain viewpoint.

It doesn't seem to be the biggest "negative huge knee-jerk response" of all time.

I mean did you READ the MtG threads?..... /joking :LOL:


Staff member
But still the perspective of a rich PoC will have more in common with a rich white person than with a poor PoC, especially when growing up in a very liberal state.
Really not so much in the USA.

I’m an attorney, the son of an MD. I’m in the upper 6% of the income strata in this country. I live in one of the more affluent suburbs of D/FW, one of the more liberal metropolitan areas in Texas.

I’ve been followed by store security, been accused of stealing my own possessions, been refused test drives and completely ignored in several car dealerships. And in one, a fellow patron handed me his car keys, assuming I was staff. The staff in question had uniforms and badges, and my Hawaiian shirt matched nothing they wore.

I once had the cops called on me in my backyard. One of my cousins lived near me: he was stopped by the police walking from his house to mine. He’d been living in the neighborhood for nearly a decade at the time.

My mother, a retired music teacher and opera buff was at a high-end donor gala when she walked up to a group of people to be friendly. One man was dismissive of her interjecting, thinking she couldn’t possibly know opera. The opera in question was one of her faves, and she let the group know aaaaaaallllll about it.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard professor and TV personality (Finding Your Roots on PBS) was arrested going into his own home.

I was invited to the home of former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk as part of a gathering of the area’s black attorneys and judges. As I was leaving, one of Texas’s first ever high-level black judges was telling tales in the front hallway- he was somewhere between my age and my parents’. One of his earliest criminal trials, the shackled defendant stopped as soon as he saw him, and shouted “G*****n! When did they start letting n*****s be judges?”

Just this week, the first black female Supreme Court nominee- who graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and had years of experience as a trial attorney and judge- was asked about LSAT scores. That’s like asking your doctor what his MCAT or undergraduate GPA was.

Wealth doesn’t insulate us from the consequences of racism, it just shifts the how, why, where and when. Even today, there’s often an assumption that PoCs don’t belong.
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