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."

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Regular cover by Even Fong

citadel_alt.jpg

Alternate Cover by Sija Hong
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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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...
I picked up Latin American Monsters specifically to flesh out San Citlan and I might also translate a bunch of the existing monster names into Citlanés, the not-Spanish language spoken there.

Taking a page from Coco, I will probably want to create alebrijes as a new type of creature (celestials? fey? undead?), although they're just folk art figures in Mexico, and not actual spirits like they are in the movie.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I picked up Latin American Monsters specifically to flesh out San Citlan and I might also translate a bunch of the existing monster names into Citlanés, the not-Spanish language spoken there.

Taking a page from Coco, I will probably want to create alebrijes as a new type of creature (celestials? fey? undead?), although they're just folk art figures in Mexico, and not actual spirits like they are in the movie.
I think Celestial would work for alebrijes. But Fey would work, too.
 

Hussar

Legend
I wonder how many people would want to play a historically accurate colonialist Mexico where you can only play evil characters and you earn experience by raping, murdering and working to death the indigenous population. Indigenous characters are NPC only to reflect the total lack of power in the face of one of the most horrific genocides in history.

Any takers? No? Then maybe it might be a good idea not to draw on whitewashed fantasy settings.

Just a thought.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I wonder how many people would want to play a historically accurate colonialist Mexico where you can only play evil characters and you earn experience by raping, murdering and working to death the indigenous population. Indigenous characters are NPC only to reflect the total lack of power in the face of one of the most horrific genocides in history.

Any takers? No? Then maybe it might be a good idea not to draw on whitewashed fantasy settings.

Just a thought.
So it's either that or we pretend those horrible events never happened? Is this another one of those binaries in design and worldbuilding I've heard so much about?
 

I wonder how many people would want to play a historically accurate colonialist Mexico where you can only play evil characters and you earn experience by raping, murdering and working to death the indigenous population. Indigenous characters are NPC only to reflect the total lack of power in the face of one of the most horrific genocides in history.

Any takers? No? Then maybe it might be a good idea not to draw on whitewashed fantasy settings.
That's not what's going on in this book. A number of the settings are explicitly dealing with the consequences of colonialism, slavery and other real world problems. It's a mature book that tackles mature themes.

And what's the alternative? Pseudo-Western European fantasy that pretends the High Middle Ages were all fine and dandy? I don't know that tethering D&D to that very narrow view of heroic fantasy is a good idea, either.

Radiant Citadel brought in writers who would approach this all with sensitivity, had a lot of cross-pollination to make sure no one stepped in it too badly, and is largely successful.
 

Hussar

Legend
That's not what's going on in this book. A number of the settings are explicitly dealing with the consequences of colonialism, slavery and other real world problems. It's a mature book that tackles mature themes.

And what's the alternative? Pseudo-Western European fantasy that pretends the High Middle Ages were all fine and dandy? I don't know that tethering D&D to that very narrow view of heroic fantasy is a good idea, either.

Radiant Citadel brought in writers who would approach this all with sensitivity, had a lot of cross-pollination to make sure no one stepped in it too badly, and is largely successful.
That's my point. People want to set this in Maztica which pretends that everything was fine and dandy. It largely completely ignored the whole horrific history behind the setting.

There are very, very good reasons to let Maztica go and present a fresh take on these kinds of settings.
 

That's my point. People want to set this in Maztica which pretends that everything was fine and dandy. It largely completely ignored the whole horrific history behind the setting.

There are very, very good reasons to let Maztica go and present a fresh take on these kinds of settings.
OK, I was misunderstanding you. I agree with you about Maztica. If it ever came back, it would need to be very different -- so different that the nostalgics would almost certainly not be happy with it anyway.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
OK, I was misunderstanding you. I agree with you about Maztica. If it ever came back, it would need to be very different -- so different that the nostalgics would almost certainly not be happy with it anyway.
They could do an Ixalan situation where the conquerers are very clearly the bad guys. However, since it wasn't like that in the original version, I doubt returning to it would be a good idea.
 

They could do an Ixalan situation where the conquerers are very clearly the bad guys. However, since it wasn't like that in the original version, I doubt returning to it would be a good idea.
Yeah, I think that's the only safe way to do it.

But if one had to do a colonialist campaign setting, I think it'd be better to start scratch and have it be an extra-dimensional invasion by a non-player species, just so we avoid a situation where people would be tempted to play the colonizers brutally slaughtering the original inhabitants.

The concept is probably best left to horror or indie games, though, to be honest.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Heh. It's funny in a not really funny ha ha way.

WotC gets criticized for not making original settings. Then they get criticized for not placing original setting material in existing settings. Then they get criticized for changing existing settings to cut away the really icky stuff that permeates a lot of early settings and making the settings bland "gloop".

They really, really can't win.
 

I wonder how many people would want to play a historically accurate colonialist Mexico where you can only play evil characters and you earn experience by raping, murdering and working to death the indigenous population. Indigenous characters are NPC only to reflect the total lack of power in the face of one of the most horrific genocides in history.

Any takers? No? Then maybe it might be a good idea not to draw on whitewashed fantasy settings.

Just a thought.
What a ridiculous and ahistorical summary of the time period, high in moralising but low in understanding. I’m surprised you didn’t go on a rant about feudalism like before.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
They really, really can't win.
Yeah. That's been something I've noticed for the past year or so. If they get rid of racial ASIs, people complain. If they keep them, people complain. If they never update an old setting, people complain. If they do remake an old setting but change literally anything, people complain. If they release the old setting without any changes, people complain that it's not changed and that they're just doing the same old thing. If they keep alignment, people complain. If they get rid of alignment, people complain. If they have a bad rule (Inspiration), people complain. If they change that rule to make it better, people complain. If they keep half-races, people complain that there's no Half-Gnomes and Half-Dwarves. If they make half-races of any type possible but just flavor, even more people complain. If they update Psionics in a new system, people complain. If they don't update psionics, people complain. If they update Psionics as spellcasting, people complain.

There is literally nothing WotC can do that will stop people from complaining. And I know they're not all the same people, they're mostly just different groups of people that have different opinions on what D&D is/should be, but it must be exhausting for WotC to have to deal with the endless complaints online and the inability to please a huge fraction of the "fanbase".

And I'm not defending some of their bad decisions or saying that WotC is perfect. They're not and never will be perfect. However, it's kind of impossible for them to "win".
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
What a ridiculous and ahistorical summary of the time period, high in moralising but low in understanding. I’m surprised you didn’t go on a rant about feudalism like before.
90% of the population of the Americas died because of colonization and the diseases brought by the colonizers. What the hell is incorrect about saying the colonizers were the bad guys in that time period?
 
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Something being popular is not reason enough to WotC to not make massive changes to it.
This proves my point however. If they had said, "We want to do Mesoamerica, so lets to Maztica" and had, rightly, changed elements of it that just won't fly with contemporary audiences, "fans" would have complained about the changes. If the choice is between making some sort of change to make material more welcoming to new audiences, or maintaining existing setting fidelity to please older fans, not only is changing it the correct moral choice, it the correct financial one. Fans have a half life. People leave hobbies/fandoms for all kinds of reasons, no matter what one does. If you exclusive cater to fan service appeals and don't change with the times to draw in new audiences, your fandom will die. It is simple entropy.
 

The problem with arguing "the fans won't like changes" in these cases for the Forgotten Realms sub-settings is that the entire setting has advanced ~130 years and has had two global cataclysms since the last time the regions in question were detailed. It's far more "the fans expect changes", actually. Especially Maztica, which spent the majority of those ~130 years on another world entirely. With no contact with the colonial powers, those colonies (and there were only a handful of settlements right before the Spellplague) would have withered away or assimilated. And who knows in what ways that prolonged contact with Abeir has affected and changed it?
 

Hussar

Legend
The problem with arguing "the fans won't like changes" in these cases for the Forgotten Realms sub-settings is that the entire setting has advanced ~130 years and has had two global cataclysms since the last time the regions in question were detailed. It's far more "the fans expect changes", actually. Especially Maztica, which spent the majority of those ~130 years on another world entirely. With no contact with the colonial powers, those colonies (and there were only a handful of settlements right before the Spellplague) would have withered away or assimilated. And who knows in what ways that prolonged contact with Abeir has affected and changed it?
But, again, at that point, the Maztica fandom would lose their poop since all the things they liked about the setting would be erased and replaced. So, about all we'd actually be keeping is the maps? There's just no upside here.
 

But, again, at that point, the Maztica fandom would lose their poop since all the things they liked about the setting would be erased and replaced. So, about all we'd actually be keeping is the maps? There's just no upside here.
I'm sure the dozen or so hardcore Maztica fans would learn to cope.

The general FR fans who would be interested in seeing a return to the region, who no doubt outnumber the former group by hundreds to one, would likely almost all be just fine with changes that re-cast things in a much more culturally sensitive light.

(And just keeping the maps would be an upside. How is that a downside?)

But seriously, they could re-cast the various cultures from the region in a much more culturally sensitive way. A lot of them were obvious (distorted) expies of real-world cultures, but, then again, the very book that's the subject of this thread shows how this can be done properly. And any changes would be seen as either organic growth from everything that has happened over the last century plus, or were actually how things were all along - but the truth was grotesquely distorted by the conquistadors and colonizers to their own advantage to audiences back across the sea...
 
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