D&D 5E The Next D&D Book is JOURNEYS THROUGH THE RADIANT CITADEL

We peered, poked, squinted, flipped, and enhanced the teaser image that WotC put out last week, and it turns out we got it right -- the next book is, indeed, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.

journey_citadel.jpg

Wraparound cover art by Evyn Fong

Through the mists of the Ethereal Plane shines the Radiant Citadel. Travelers from across the multiverse flock to this mysterious bastion to share their traditions, stories, and calls for heroes. A crossroads of wonders and adventures, the Radiant Citadel is the first step on the path to legend. Where will your journeys take you?

Journeys through the Radiant Citadel is a collection of thirteen short, stand-alone D&D adventures featuring challenges for character levels 1–14. Each adventure has ties to the Radiant Citadel, a magical city with connections to lands rich with excitement and danger, and each can be run by itself or as part of an ongoing campaign. Explore this rich and varied collection of adventures in magical lands.
  • Thirteen new stand-alone adventures spanning levels 1 to 14, each with its own set of maps
  • Introduces the Radiant Citadel, a new location on the Ethereal Plane that connects adventurers to richly detailed and distinct corners of the D&D multiverse
  • Each adventure can be set in any existing D&D campaign setting or on worlds of your own design
  • Introduces eleven new D&D monsters
  • There’s a story for every adventuring party, from whimsical and light to dark and foreboding and everything in between


Slated for June 21st (update - I just got a press release which says it's June 21st "in North American stores"; I'm not sure what that means for the rest of us!), it's a 224-page adventure anthology featuring a floating city called the Radiant Citadel. The book is written entirely by people of colour, including Ajit George, who was the first person of Indian heritage to write Indian-inspired material for D&D (in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft). Around 50 POC writers were involved in total in various ways.

The Radiant Citadel is on the ethereal plane and is carved from the giant fossil of an unknown monster. A massive gemstone called the Royal Diamond sits at the core, surrounded by a bunch of smaller Concord Jewels, which are gateways to the Citadel's founding civilizations. DMs can link any world to the citadel by placing a Concord Jewel there.

The Citadel, unlike many D&D locations, is more of a sanctuary than a place of danger. The book's alternate cover features a Dawn Incarnate, a creature which is the embodiment of stories and cultures.


The adventures are as follows:
  • Salted Legacy
  • Written In Blood
  • The Fiend of Hollow Mine
  • Wages of Vice
  • Sins of Our Elders
  • Gold for Fools and Princes
  • Trail of Destruction
  • In the Mists of Manivarsha
  • Between Tangled Roots
  • Shadow of the Sun
  • The Nightsea’s Succor
  • Buried Dynasty
  • Orchids of the Invisible Mountain
UPDATE -- the press release contains a list of some of the contributors: "Justice Ramin Arman, Dominique Dickey, Ajit A. George, Basheer Ghouse, Alastor Guzman, D. Fox Harrell, T.K. Johnson, Felice Tzehuei Kuan, Surena Marie, Mimi Mondal, Mario Ortegón, Miyuki Jane Pinckard, Pam Punzalan, Erin Roberts, Terry H. Romero, Stephanie Yoon, and many more."

citadel_cover.jpg

Regular cover by Even Fong

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Alternate Cover by Sija Hong
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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I’ve been following Justin Alexander’s Let’s Read of this book on Twitter.

The only adventure he’s really disliked so far is the gold mine one. I’m curious to see what he makes of the later ones.
It seemed to me he's been pointing out many of the issues but studiously avoiding any overall judgments (such as "they're ass."). To be more charitable, they're full of, uh, some more or less interesting story plots, whether or not they make sense as written or would play at a typical table. And there are some very well-drawn NPCs.
 




Micah Sweet

Legend
It kinda comes across that new Mesoamerican inspired adventures must use Maztica as their locale under this logic, which is on it's face reductive. We don't require that there be only one Germanic pastiche in all of DnD for example. Why should a new writer have to write within an existing setting if they honestly feel the way it has been used in the past just doesn't hold up today? Is Maztica even a popular setting that is being slighted by this? If a DM buys Citadel and earnestly wants to change the place names to reflect previously, they can do so easily enough. I am blending the new Ravenloft material with the 3.5 takes that Swords and Sorcery did back in the day just fine.
Something being popular is not reason enough to WotC to not make massive changes to it.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Well after wading through a whole bunch of rather strange posts about how Maztica is being given the old Stalin treatment I went and reread the “Forgotten Realms Style Guide” issued around the time of Wild Beyond the Witchlight for people writing in the Forgotten Realms and blow me down – there are Zakhara and Kara Tur extensively mentioned, as well as a few references to Maztica as well. If it’s being “disappeared” no one informed Wizards of the Coast I guess. But I’m sure any moment now Maztica will be locked up in the same detention centre as Mike Mearls.



I don’t see why someone interested in “diversity” would want to delete the only non-European themed cultural areas in Toril, replacing them with a strange blancmange of flavourless goop. You have some great and rich cultural descriptions in the new book that can be used to rebuild and enrich areas of Toril that weren’t utilised to their full potential in 2E. I fail to see how throwing out the baby with the bathwater helps anything – not when you’ve got 100+ years of unexplored history to play with. If the Faerunian colonies in Maztica is really a big problem, then just say the natives have invaded and destroyed these places. It’s not that difficult.



What’s really happening here is WoTC’s refusal to countenance anything happening in Toril outside the Sword Coast – and if that means plopping down a Latin American town right near Renfaire Cormyr they’re going to do it. It won’t generate Twitter-rage I guess.



(As a final note of ironic hilarity, plenty of the cultures depicted in the Radiant Citadel are themselves the product of the post-colonial mix of European and non-European cultures, and would be almost by definition impossible to arise without that cultural mix. But far better to just pretend certain events in history never happened, right?)
It's quite difficult for flavorless goop to offend anyone, and that is a big (maybe the biggest) priority for WotC.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Yeah, I have to wonder whether Maztica, if rebuilt from the ground up with an eye toward sensitivity, would still be somehow bad just because it kept the name. But, it could just be that they don't have time to clean up or rehab the Maztica setting, and they don't want new players to read a reference to Maztica in this book, and get the wrong idea that all of Maztica's baggage is hanging in the background of the setting they've just learned about in what was supposed to be a culturally sensitive book written by a diverse set of authors.
And yet, they seem to be doing exactly that with Dragonlance...
 


FallenRX

Adventurer
It seemed to me he's been pointing out many of the issues but studiously avoiding any overall judgments (such as "they're ass."). To be more charitable, they're full of, uh, some more or less interesting story plots, whether or not they make sense as written or would play at a typical table. And there are some very well-drawn NPCs.
I mean he bluntly called out when one was ass, the gold mine one.

They have issues but they are mostly fine and relatively runnable.
 

MockingBird

Adventurer
I haven't read all of Radiant Citadel so there might be some cool stuff in there, saying that, everything I have read about the book doesn't grab me. I like the idea of anthology books but the last two have done nothing to take my money.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I haven't read all of Radiant Citadel so there might be some cool stuff in there, saying that, everything I have read about the book doesn't grab me. I like the idea of anthology books but the last two have done nothing to take my money.
I just got the book today so I have no idea so far, good or bad.
 


I haven't read all of Radiant Citadel so there might be some cool stuff in there, saying that, everything I have read about the book doesn't grab me. I like the idea of anthology books but the last two have done nothing to take my money.
If "Day of the Dead adventure in fantasy Mexico" doesn't grab you, the book isn't for you. The art preview showing the festival in San Citlan was what got me to preorder the book.
 


Micah Sweet

Legend
If "Day of the Dead adventure in fantasy Mexico" doesn't grab you, the book isn't for you. The art preview showing the festival in San Citlan was what got me to preorder the book.
I thought it was supposed to be a presentation of fantasy cultures derived from all over the world. It can't just be Day of the Dead in fantasy Mexico right?
 

I thought it was supposed to be a presentation of fantasy cultures derived from all over the world. It can't just be Day of the Dead in fantasy Mexico right?
Each adventure is set in a different setting, each of which is largely inspired by a different real life culture, like the Philippines, Korea, pre-colonial Meso-America, etc.

The Fiend of Hollow Mine is a fourth-level adventure set in and around the city of San Citlan, a fantasy version of post-colonial Mexico. (It gets a lot more complexity and becomes a lot more than just fantasy Mexico in the Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel PDF on the DMs Guild.)

No, it's not "just" fantasy Mexico, and in fact, it very interestingly doesn't have a major religion dominating much of the cultural life of San Citlan, which is a distinct break with the real-life Mexico. But much of the setting, the iconography, the events of the story, the new monster, etc., are all drawn from Mexican folklore and history.

Honestly, San Citlan is so far the best setting in the book, one I could easily running a fairly conventional open-ended campaign in. There's obviously a strong chance we'll never see the Radiant Citadel settings again, other than a mention of the Radiant Citadel in future planar books, but I really, really hope that doesn't happen with San Citlan.
 

Michael Linke

Adventurer
And yet, they seem to be doing exactly that with Dragonlance...
Dragonlance has a more valuable name than Maztica, so it's worth the effort to rehab. They can devote a whole book to providing a comprehensive view of Dragonlance so that you don't feel the need to refer back to old material. Maztica, if it were included in Radiant Citadel, would have just got a few paragraphs at the end of a chapter.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Each adventure is set in a different setting, each of which is largely inspired by a different real life culture, like the Philippines, Korea, pre-colonial Meso-America, etc.

The Fiend of Hollow Mine is a fourth-level adventure set in and around the city of San Citlan, a fantasy version of post-colonial Mexico. (It gets a lot more complexity and becomes a lot more than just fantasy Mexico in the Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel PDF on the DMs Guild.)

No, it's not "just" fantasy Mexico, and in fact, it very interestingly doesn't have a major religion dominating much of the cultural life of San Citlan, which is a distinct break with the real-life Mexico. But much of the setting, the iconography, the events of the story, the new monster, etc., are all drawn from Mexican folklore and history.

Honestly, San Citlan is so far the best setting in the book, one I could easily running a fairly conventional open-ended campaign in. There's obviously a strong chance we'll never see the Radiant Citadel settings again, other than a mention of the Radiant Citadel in future planar books, but I really, really hope that doesn't happen with San Citlan.
I've been mulling taking the Goodman Games collection of B1/2, and using that a s a feeder into San Citlan, making a Presidio en la Frontera campaign helping with local banditos...
 

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