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

BRayne

Adventurer
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 dismissiv 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 parenst’. One of his earliest criminal trials, the shackled defendant stopped as soon as he saw him, and shouted “G******! 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.

Hell we're only two weeks removed from Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther, getting the cops called on him for trying to make a withdrawal at the bank
 

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Hell we're only two weeks removed from Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther, getting the cops called on him for trying to make a withdrawal at the bank
To be fair, when you walk into a bank with a mask and sunglasses on, and slip the teller a handwritten note that you want $12,000 and for her to count it out discreetly, that just seems like a recipe for a misunderstanding to occur.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
To be fair, when you walk into a bank with a mask and sunglasses on, and slip the teller a handwritten note that you want $12,000 and for her to count it out discreetly, that just seems like a recipe for a misunderstanding to occur.
I’m well known at my bank, and I remove my sunglasses when I enter to make sure there’s no mistake. Pre AND post COVID.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I’m well known at my bank, and I remove my sunglasses when I enter to make sure there’s no mistake. Pre AND post COVID.
There's a reason why most banks, as a matter of policy, put up signs asking customers to remove their sunglasses and other face/head-coverings when they enter the premises. Being well-known doesn't help if the people there have a hard time recognizing you.

pnc+bank.jpg
 
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Hell we're only two weeks removed from Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther, getting the cops called on him for trying to make a withdrawal at the bank

That one is also a bad example because both the bank teller and manager were also black. Something about him withdrawing over $10k in cash triggered some sort of automatic alert and he and the bank had already worked things out before it even hit the press.
 

Religion/politics
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.
That one is as much politics and it is bigotry. You know they would not be asking any of those questions if she were a Republican nominee. But who knows what crap the Dems would be asking instead. I really hate the current partisan atmosphere in US politics and how even some people who are probably not hateful get that way with someone who has the opposite views to them.

Some day in the distant future everyone will be looked at for their abilities and not their appearance, but until then the oppressed need to be lifted up and promoted.
 



People who have lived their entire lives as a member of the majority in a community have zero idea what they are talking about when they try to talk about minorities and it really, really shows.

Yep. I have lived most of my life in Virginia, with a few years in Wisconsin, and the extreme whiteness there was not because of all the snow.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But is not a guarantee of "quality".

You want guarantees? Where, on this good green Earth, did you get the idea that such a thing exists?

Why do you say this when I've written the exact opposite at least 2 times in this thread?

Because I didn't start this line of discussion in response to you. You have chosen to insert yourself in the middle, but that doesn't change what I was speaking to.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
To be fair, when you walk into a bank with a mask and sunglasses on

If you walked into public building this January in Atlanta, in the midst of the Omicron surge, you were required to wear a mask.

...and slip the teller a handwritten note that you want $12,000 and for her to count it out discreetly, that just seems like a recipe for a misunderstanding to occur.

Saying it out loud, so that everyone in earshot knows that you are about to have $12K in cash on your person, sounds like a recipe for getting mugged.

Apparently, in order to avoid "misunderstanding", he's supposed to put himself in danger of covid and robbery. And by "misunderstanding" we really mean, "calling the cops on an African American man," which isn't notoriously safe, either.
 

AnotherGuy

Adventurer
To be fair, when you walk into a bank with a mask and sunglasses on, and slip the teller a handwritten note that you want $12,000 and for her to count it out discreetly, that just seems like a recipe for a misunderstanding to occur.
I do not know anything about this story, but surely the dude would have also handed out his ID and maybe his bank card? I mean where would she be supposedly be withdrawing this money from?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The way you do something like a large cash withdrawal is call the bank manager and make an appointment. ESPECIALLY if you want to be circumspect about it. They’ll take you into an office, and everything will get handled low-key style. If need be, they can even arrange an escort to your vehicle.

OTOH, the whole mess is fishy. There are few legit high-value transactions that are conducted cash only- bank drafts are MUCH safer.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The other criticisms of "it's replacing Spelljammer/Planescape"
I'm excited about this book. Full stop.


I am also disappointed it wasn't some flavor of Planejammer as I was hoping. Still crossing fingers for later this year; but I don't think so. The tea leaves were indicating one "plane-crossing" book - and this one seems to be that book. We'll see I guess.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm excited about this book. Full stop.


I am also disappointed it wasn't some flavor of Planejammer as I was hoping. Still crossing fingers for later this year; but I don't think so. The tea leaves were indicating one "plane-crossing" book - and this one seems to be that book. We'll see I guess.
Nah, the Spelljammer Races aren't in this book, and the verified leaker says that Spelljammer and Dragonlance is coming out this year. Planesjammer is unlikely, though: expect straight Spelljammer.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
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.
I think there are 2 people in this thread from outside the US who don't actually understand why this is a huge milestone; and are looking at this through their own cultural lenses. While I find their points tiring and frankly very 2018 (and 2013, and 2008, and 2003, etc etc) - I can let them go due to their non-USican-ness.

I would suggest to non-Americans to look up the term "White Privilege". And then come back to this thread. If you are unwilling to do that work, then I'd say that probably you are not participating in this thread in good faith.

The other apparently US-ers who are dumping on this announcement, one has been kicked off; and another couple have been admin-warned and have hopefully wandered off to other threads or forums.

I think overall the response has been pretty positive, even in this thread. However some folks are not actively engaging with the trolls - however they are actively thumbs-upping the good stuff you and others are posting.

And as a PoC to a self-identified white person (@AcererakTriple6 ) supporting this work here in this thread: Thank you! (and also love the new avatar)

Mod Note: Language!
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I would suggest to @Ixal and @Stefano Rinaldelli to look up the term "White Privilege".
Mod Note:

This is making it personal. You could have used “non-Americans” or even “they” (given your phrasing) in place of their names. Do better going forward.
 


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