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

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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.

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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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

This is fantastic.
WOTC likes to use a framing device for their adventure anthologies--the yawning portal, candlekeep library, and now this radiant citadel. I'm not sure how necessary that is and I wonder if it constrains the adventure writing at all (alternatively, it could be a useful starting point for developing an idea).

Hopefully Kim Mohan had no involvement in this project
 

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dave2008

Legend
I am interested to see what new ideas this group of writers has brought to the table. Still not sure if I will get the book, adventures are not really my thing, but I will check it out.
 

fba827

Adventurer
I say all this as a person of color. While I appreciate a space for recognition, I really wish the main marketing for this was not so much about the color of those writing and creating, and talked a bit more about the content
The one main piece of the content that i see in there is that it brings some locations inspired by different regions, that is definitely cool and would love to hear more about

edit: ok I see there are more threads about this talking about adventures etc. and in those blurs my concern is addressed at least somewhat.
 
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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I say all this as a person of color. While I appreciate a space for recognition, I really wish the main marketing for this was not so much about the color of those writing and creating, and talked a bit more about the content
The one main piece of the content that i see in there is that it brings some locations inspired by different regions, that is definitely cool and would love to hear more about

edit: ok I see there are more threads about this talking about adventures etc. and in those blurs my concern is addressed at least somewhat.
Yeah I thought the same thing then saw the other thread wirh actual content. so you werent alone in that.

also was this the “India inspired” setting discussed earliet?
 

This looks fantastic.

(To the creators: please ignore the embarrassing social snafus at the start of this thread. A crust of thoughtless, snarky negative rudeness is unfortunately to be expected in RPG forums. I feel sorrow about that.)

A Yawning Portal-style adventure anthology which is centered on a home base: that is one of my favorite formats. And so is transdimensional world-hopping. And so are Real World cultures in D&D. So I'm aiming to pick this book up.

I'm looking forward to further previews. Could you post a list of the Real World cultures which are evoked by the adventures? Also, are there any "suggested placements" for the adventures within the known D&D worlds (e.g. Toril, Eberron, Oerth, Mystara, etc.)

***
I authored the recent thread about questionable portrayals of Indigneous American and Asian cultures in the D&D sourcebook GAZ10 Orcs of Thar (also discussed on RPG Net). A question that arose in that thread is whether I think it's wrong for Real World cultures to be portrayed in D&D at all. I consistently affirmed that it's not inherently wrong...it just needs to be done well, with deftness and respect.

This book promises to be a shining example of how it can be done, and done well. Thank you to the writers, artists, and editors for your creative labor!
***
P.S. I hope that some or all of these creators could be tapped to write or edit sections of upcoming D&D campaign settings which feature close adaptations of Real World cultures (such as Oerth and Mystara).
 
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Hoping that this opinion doesn't fall in the misunderstanding loop my 2 cents is that I'm not interested in the color of authors, I do not consider this kind of operation something useful to the cause of inclusivness. More, I find the illustration style not of my taste.
But I want to be hopeful and consider this something more than a marketing choice: if every adventure will reflect the culture of the author it will be of great interest and a clever way to enhance knowledge between different people and enlarge the concept of D&D.
Let's read the book and judge without prejudice, by both sides.
 

I say all this as a person of color.
Maybe you are safe :)
While I appreciate a space for recognition, I really wish the main marketing for this was not so much about the color of those writing and creating, and talked a bit more about the content
Exactly.
The one main piece of the content that i see in there is that it brings some locations inspired by different regions, that is definitely cool and would love to hear more about
Absolutely the same for me.
 


Depends on where you come from. In Korea, for example, your age when you are born is 1, not zero. :D

Apropos of a thread that's talking about culture I suppose.
With all respect to culture, math says that 1 year is when you pass 12 months. :eek:o_O
But also we are doing something strange: in Italy we consider the floor directly at street level as the "land floor" and the first floor is the first floor that is elevated in respect of the street. So for us the land floor is the 0 floor, as the land floor it is not a real floor but the baseline without which there is no edifice at all. :)
 

Hussar

Legend
With all respect to culture, math says that 1 year is when you pass 12 months. :eek:o_O
But also we are doing something strange: in Italy we consider the floor directly at street level as the "land floor" and the first floor is the first floor that is elevated in respect of the street. So for us the land floor is the 0 floor, as the land floor it is not a real floor but the baseline without which there is no edifice at all. :)
Sure, lots of countries do that. Ground floor, first floor is a European thing AFAIK. North America goes 1st floor, 2nd floor.

Then again, lots of Japanese buildings don't have a 4th floor. Go figure.

And, again, about birthdays, because Korea is still on the lunar calendar, your birthday changes every year. Additionally, everyone in the country changes their age on January 1st. So, if you were born December 31st, you would be 2 years old the next day.

Math ain't got nuthin' on culture.
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
Hoping that this opinion doesn't fall in the misunderstanding loop my 2 cents is that I'm not interested in the color of authors, I do not consider this kind of operation something useful to the cause of inclusivness. More, I find the illustration style not of my taste.
But I want to be hopeful and consider this something more than a marketing choice: if every adventure will reflect the culture of the author it will be of great interest and a clever way to enhance knowledge between different people and enlarge the concept of D&D.
Let's read the book and judge without prejudice, by both sides.
Wow, it took until page 2 for the "both sides" argument to pop up. People are getting lazy.

It´s naughty word awesome that a book like this could be made. Even if it´s the worst-written dribble on the planed, it is exceptional that people were allowed to make it.
 

Wow, it took until page 2 for the "both sides" argument to pop up. People are getting lazy.

It´s naughty word awesome that a book like this could be made. Even if it´s the worst-written dribble on the planed, it is exceptional that people were allowed to make it.
Edit: REMOVED the metaphore, could be misinterpreted as POLITICS.
Confronting myself in another forums it came out that this change in editorial line reflects a sort of hopepunk tendence, opposite to the grimdark tendence that spread in 90ies.
There is something heroic around the Hopepunk philosophy. A struggle against the cruel mechanism of nature that push us all toward egotism. It can be definitely a good baseline for an epic. But my concern is that the depiction of a more human world with a fantasy city of colour and brightness subtract the epic from the setting. If the hopepunk struggle is already resolved, where is the struggle? It became a sterile "what if" setting in which we can lie to ourselves pretending that the world it is a nice place. Personally I prefer a grimdark world where struggle hard to realize the Hopepunk idea.
The more i think about this book, the more I can't wait to read it.
 
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It´s naughty word awesome that a book like this could be made. Even if it´s the worst-written dribble on the planed, it is exceptional that people were allowed to make it.
Are you saying the book is the worst-written dribble on the planet?
I do not think it is exceptional that a non Euro-centric setting has been published. Known World/Mystara much? Nevermind Kara-Tur etc.

Sadly, the art is not to my taste, but I'm curious of the book's contents, mostly because you've got quite a few new enthusiastic people that can surprise you.
Our table experimented with a multi-cultural buzz early on in our campaign when the party became embroiled in the political and economic tensions within Selenica given that its a hot spot for quite a few of the setting's cultures and 3 of the Great Merchant Houses. I loved fleshing out that city and its characters.

So, the question is will there be enough for me to use from Radiant Citadel for our table's game at that price?
 
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Mournblade94

Adventurer
Not in it's entirety, no, but the PR emphasis is clearly on the racial identity of the authors more than anything else. Since CRT is one of several recent schools of thought that focus on the subjective identity of the author it is at least adjacent.
Its not even adjacent. CRT is a curriculum taught in legal school. What has happened is people with no experience across the country that are holding political power use it as a strawman.
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
One of the co-lead-designers of the book described it as hopepunk. It's kind of the opposite of (or at least a reaction to) the genre of grimdark.
A pet peeve of mine is the free use of PUNK as a suffix. Are they fighting the establishment with Hope? Cyberpunk as a genre meant something. Punk has now just come to be a suffix used to say "Type of genre".

I wish punk wasnt used so liberally but wishing does not make things so.
 

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