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

citadel_alt.jpg

Alternate Cover by Sija Hong
 

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Russ Morrissey

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Mod Note:

There’s a lot of unfortunateness bubbling up. On the one hand, this post is definitely making things personal.

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.

OTOH, I should also note that @Hussar chose phrasing that echoes recent rhetoric on Mexican immigrants.

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.

Given past interactions, I strongly suspect that was merely careless word choice, not a dog whistle.

I’m suggesting BOTH of you reconsider how you’re going to phrase yor next post on this topic- if any- pefore hitting the “Post Reply“ button. Be better going forward.
 



They have issues but they are mostly fine and relatively runnable.
I recognize that a lot of this is ultimately subjective, and that different player groups will present the DM with different problems and opportunities, so your experience isn't going to be the same as mine, but...comments like this still make feel as though our standards for a good adventure have collapsed. To be fair, you never called them "good," so maybe I should say "standards for an acceptable adventure."

These are almost exclusively (probably just exclusively) event-based scenarios in which tried-and-true structures for presenting event-based scenarios have been discarded in favor of scripts, and unfortunately, the scripts a) all to often make little sense, and b) are typically relatively thin on the actual "adventuring." A DM could run them as written and just hope for the best at the table (with odds of success unique to their player group), or they could keep the events and NPCs, toss the scripts, and create the structures to run them effectively.

I think that stinks and I wish Wizards would stop doing it. A lot of the 5e-era campaigns have had this "feature," where they're full of a lot of good (even great!) adventure material, but the event-based stuff and connective tissue ranges from "weak" to "WTF." In a big campaign, the payoff to fixing that stuff isn't so bad: It takes some work, but you do it once, you get lots of meat, and you end up with a year or more of campaigning out of it.

But Radiant Citadel is an adventure anthology, so it gives us the poor event-based stuff and connective tissue thirteen times, and then there's precious little page count left for good adventure material. That basically wrecks the DM's cost-benefit formula, at least for me. I expect I'll try to pull out some of the excellent mini-settings and NPCs and use them as planet-of-the-week fodder in a Spelljammer campaign. But as an adventure anthology you can pull off the shelf and run? I'm sorry, it's just bad. IMO.
 

Remathilis

Legend
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".
The problem is the Tyranny of Fandom. There are a lot of popular franchises in media today that want to appeal to a wider audience of people, and there is a backlash to "selling out" by fans who liked it the way it was when they first discovered it. This tension plays out when people discuss the "political" aspect of a franchise and its changes, the appeal to author intent ("that's not what Lucas/Gygax/Stan Lee etc. intended) or simply the hipster notion that YOUR favorite niche obsession is now wider known and therefore polluted.

D&D is likewise being scrutinized by a lot of fans coming from all sorts of angles. And the Internet has given them all a megaphone to shout their thoughts at others. Some of it will lead to necessary growth to keep alive and grow the audience. Some of it will be gatekeeping to keep others out, and some will be calls for radical actions based on perceived notion of harm. I don't envy any steward a lP who has to listen to they din of noise and determine what is Immutable Core to the IP, what is needed change, and what is faux outrage designed to drive up internet clicks.
 

There's flying monkeys that serve a Green Hag in Tomb of Annihilation. Are they not native to Chult?
The fan map of Toril that sometimes circulates shows a number of islands and continents that have been mentioned in TSR/WotC sources but never fleshed out, including a fantasy Australia and something off the west coast of Al-Qadim labelled "the Island of the Flying Monkeys," which appears to be their native habitat.

I vote for fantasy Australia (by anyone, frankly, not just WotC) and the Island of the Flying Monkeys before we go back to the well on a setting that was not great to begin with.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I vote for fantasy Australia (by anyone, frankly, not just WotC)
Fantasy Australia would be wild. It already has so many weird animals. How much crazier would that be with magic? Drop Bears! Couatl or Naga religions! (As a D&D version of the Rainbow Serpent.) Teleporting Quokkas! Dire Dingos! Giant Blue-Ringed Octopuses, Platupi, and Echidnas! Infernal Tasmanian Devils!

The name of Fantasy Australia in the Forgotten Realms is a bit on the nose (Osse), but it could be a cool concept, if executed correctly.
 
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Fantasy Australia would be wild. It already has so many weird animals. How much crazier would that be with magic? Drop Bears! Couatl religions! (As a D&D version of the Rainbow Serpent.) Teleporting Quokkas! Dire Dingos! Giant Blue-Ringed Octopuses, Platupi, and Echidnas! Infernal Tasmanian Devils!

The name of Fantasy Australia in the Forgotten Realms is a bit on the nose (Osse), but it could be a cool concept, if executed correctly.
Yeah, the bestiary alone would be amazing. I'm honestly surprised we don't have a bunch of bestiaries already.
 

For folks who are interested in the pre-colonial Philippines as a D&D setting (which seems like people interested in the Radiant Citadel might be), a second Islands of Sina Una book is now on Kickstarter. The original has very good reviews and Sina Una could easily be used to extend the map of Dayawlongon from the Radiant Citadel, although the signature Dayawlongon monster (the bakunawa) has a different interpretation in Sina Una, so it's not a perfect one to one match.
 



FallenRX

Adventurer
I recognize that a lot of this is ultimately subjective, and that different player groups will present the DM with different problems and opportunities, so your experience isn't going to be the same as mine, but...comments like this still make feel as though our standards for a good adventure have collapsed. To be fair, you never called them "good," so maybe I should say "standards for an acceptable adventure."

These are almost exclusively (probably just exclusively) event-based scenarios in which tried-and-true structures for presenting event-based scenarios have been discarded in favor of scripts, and unfortunately, the scripts a) all to often make little sense, and b) are typically relatively thin on the actual "adventuring." A DM could run them as written and just hope for the best at the table (with odds of success unique to their player group), or they could keep the events and NPCs, toss the scripts, and create the structures to run them effectively.

I think that stinks and I wish Wizards would stop doing it. A lot of the 5e-era campaigns have had this "feature," where they're full of a lot of good (even great!) adventure material, but the event-based stuff and connective tissue ranges from "weak" to "WTF." In a big campaign, the payoff to fixing that stuff isn't so bad: It takes some work, but you do it once, you get lots of meat, and you end up with a year or more of campaigning out of it.

But Radiant Citadel is an adventure anthology, so it gives us the poor event-based stuff and connective tissue thirteen times, and then there's precious little page count left for good adventure material. That basically wrecks the DM's cost-benefit formula, at least for me. I expect I'll try to pull out some of the excellent mini-settings and NPCs and use them as planet-of-the-week fodder in a Spelljammer campaign. But as an adventure anthology you can pull off the shelf and run? I'm sorry, it's just bad. IMO.
As someone who read a lot of old school adventures, this is better than a lot of them, not everyone of them is a winner, and definitely a point about event based scenarios, but for the most part, they are well put together with decent tissue, and competently doen where they are easy to run. As somehow who is pretty critcal of a lot of adventure design espeically in 5e, these i think for the most part are just fine.(With some stand outs)
 

No ones asking you to bust out the Maztica boxes set and reenact the glorious adventures of Cordell’s legion, merely recognise that there’s a part of Toril where thematically this adventure really fits.

If it wasn’t done well in the past the first step to a better depiction is tying it up this material rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.
Is it actually useful, though, to reference a part of the Forgotten Realms that has no published material for this version of the game? Sure, the old boxed sets exist, and you could go to DM's Guild and buy some stuff, but for all intents and purposes to the mainstream general audience, it's non-existent in any practical way.
 

Aside from Radiant Citadel, there haven’t really been any more opportunities to mention them, so I’m not convinced they’re on a “no mention” list … unless WotC has publicly stated somewhere that they’re not going to mention them any more?
I'd think that if they had made the deliberate decision to never mention those places again—especially if it was for reasons strongly tied to those behind many of the other cultural related changes—they would have updated that in the newest printings of those books?
 

On the topic of the book itself, I found the adventures to be a mix of good, bad, and meh (just like with Candlekeep Mysteries). A lot of the art is really great. Some pieces depict people in clothing that just feels a bit too modern for my D&D preferences, though (e.g. denim overalls and pumps).

I also feel like a good chunk of the adventures follow the same formula: go to this place, there's a festival going on, find out there's a problem, do some investigating, face off against the monster causing the problem. In many cases, it's going to end up being a group of PCs vs one monster, which means it's going to be a somewhat anticlimactic fight.

I also feel like the connective tissue of the Radiant Citadel itself is very weak. The adventures were very clearly written to be used as standalone adventures and if you want to tie them into the Citadel, once again, you have to do the work. (Yes, I know, it's par for the course for the DIY Edition but still ...)

I haven't looked at the add-on stuff on DMs Guild yet, but I've heard it helps.
I picked up the game store exclusive cover to both support my FLGS and support Wizards' investment in this sort of material, despite being pretty certain ahead of time (and having already confirmed after reading through since) that I would likely never use any of this material as-is in any of my games. Overall, the adventures just don't really fall into what any of my groups are really interested in—at least right now—and the general "theme" and "personality" of the book doesn't really fit within any of my existing campaigns. With Candlekeep, I can definitely see at least one or two adventures heavily being drawn upon at some point in one of my campaigns, but I don't realistically see Radiant Citadel finding its way into any of my games until possibly when we're starting a brand new campaign from scratch.
 

Azenis

Explorer
I can probably adapt most of the adventures in some way to my campaign, but honestly I couldn't stop laughing reading the section of the Radiant Citadel itself and thinking about how it would play when the rubber meets the road when you throw a bunch of PCs into the mix (if presented 'as is'). I've run for a number of different folks over the years, variety of age groups & backgrounds, but I can't imagine not one of them not eventually making the Radiant Citadel itself the main focus antagonist of the entire campaign.

And it's not the unrealistic ultimately mind control enforced (dys)utopia thing going on (though that factor in Citadel society would certainly become another thing that will garner PC ire). It's the taxes (and the expectation they'd pay them or face public recrimination....:ROFLMAO:). I have never taxed a group of PCs ever in my time DMing without my Players trying their utmost to try to avoid them (and resenting the npc trying to impose them). And there's always at least a few PCs that are going to have run-ins with the 'law'....what they set up in the Citadel ultimately will get their attention pretty quickly.

What they present has me wondering how much experience the person who wrote that section actually has when it comes to running the game. That bit of the setting is boring and doesn't have easy hooks for a DM to use for PCs to easily get involved & interested in (and care about) the place they're supposed to based out of. It's just some place they keep their stuff while any real conflict (i.e. adventure) happens elsewhere. I'm not saying the place has to be a filthy cesspool of crime & villainy, but jeez....PCs could find more excitement in a nice safe theme park and frankly it comes across a bit creepy overall with the other elements hardwired in. Might be fun to torture my players with the setting running it straight as is.:)
 
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I can probably adapt most of the adventures in some way to my campaign, but honestly I couldn't stop laughing reading the section of the Radiant Citadel itself and thinking about how it would play when the rubber meets the road when you throw a bunch of PCs into the mix (if presented 'as is'). I've run for a number of different folks over the years, variety of age groups & backgrounds, but I can't imagine not one of them not eventually making the Radiant Citadel itself the main focus antagonist of the entire campaign.
In contrast, when I was running a setting-less one shot for my group this weekend, they mentioned that they could not wait to start our Radiant Citadel campaign next month. I suspect what each group brings to the game from outside it is going to affect how they react to the citadel itself. (And some of your objections echo the long-ago objections some folks had to Blue Rose, which is part of why I think this.)

That said, if someone hated the citadel itself, it's shockingly (to me) secondary to the adventures. It's there as a potential framing device, but the adventures run fine without it. One could spelljam between these worlds, have some other form of planar travel, but since they're all apparently set on the Prime Material Plane, one could just run them for a wandering party of adventurers, which is probably still the dominant model for most games.
 

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