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

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Alternate Cover by Sija Hong
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Ixal

Hero
@Ixal, I can't comment on the portals you're referring to, although I thought someone upthread suggested that they don't exist in the setting?

But I don't find your other comments very persuasive. 18th and 19th century Britain was a trade hub that also had high tariffs on imported essentials (the Corn Laws). In principle, the money raised from those tariffs could have been used to support public welfare rather than the navy. The passage that @Whizbang Dustyboots quoted upthread seems to make it pretty clear that the rationale for high and progressive taxes is not to curb consumption, but to generate a public fund for providing widespread social support and social services. This is not an unknown idea in political economy!
I call them portals even though they are planeshifting, teleporting hollowed out crystals. The effect is the same. Actually they are even more versatile than static portals and can deliver merchants where they want to go, so they would not need to sell anything to the Citadel but instead just pass through it.

And the Corn Laws were specifically created to protect domestic corn production by inflating the price of foreign corn, thus making local products more attractive. Not as a form of fundraising. That was at best a minor secondary effect.

Also Britain had a local industry, a pretty strong one thanks to industrialization in fact, and a large colonial empire to feed them raw resources.

The Citadel has neither of that. They do not have resources, are nearly completely dependent on imports and they make this imports so expensive through taxes that they can't export any finished products as they would be too expensive.

In fact the book makes it look like the only sources of income is the guessing game entry fee and import taxes which us hardly enough to fund a basic income for everyone who then has to oay for all the imported goods which are now extra expensive.
 

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Ixal

Hero
There are still no portals.

As has been mentioned, we don't actually know the tax rates.

I believe the goal there, by the writers, is to suggest that a lot of the diet on the citadel is vegetarian in nature.

The citadel and the book in general are explicitly not trying to emulate medieval Europe by way of 1970s Midwestern America, as is typical of D&D.
We know that they are high. The book mentions that several times.

And animal products, which are specifically called out, are not just meat. Hide, woll, fat, bone, and so on. Many pre modern processes required those things. And any industry within the Citadel would need to pay a high price for them which means the end product would also be expensive.

Again, what kind of industry could the Citadel have? How do the citizens make money? Do they all depend on the basic income? How can the Citadel afford to pay out enough money to its citizens so that they can buy the imported products which are so expensive because of the tax used to finance the basic income? That does not work. The merchants either make a profit or they stop trading. Which means in order for the Citadel to give money to its citizens to pay the trader they need another substential income stream besides taxing the same traders.
But the way the Citadel sets up their economy basically prevents any form of industry forming. So what other income is there?
 
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pemerton

Legend
the Corn Laws were specifically created to protect domestic corn production by inflating the price of foreign corn, thus making local products more attractive. Not as a form of fundraising. That was at best a minor secondary effect.
My understanding is that indirect taxation, of which the Corn Laws were one component, was crucial for funding the British navy.

Also Britain had a local industry, a pretty strong one thanks to industrialization in fact, and a large colonial empire to feed them raw resources.

The Citadel has neither of that. They do not have resources, are nearly completely dependent on imports and they make this imports so expensive through taxes that they can't export any finished products as they would be too expensive.
What difference does it make if goods are imported from a colony or not? They still have to be paid for. Yes, there's scope to manipulate prices, and use monopoly techniques to produce different outcomes from fully liberal ones, but I don't think a D&D book is going to try and approach that sort of detail. The basic point remains that colonies don't just spontaneously generate goods.

And Britain produced manufactures - but suppose London or Southampton or Plymouth had been an independent city-state, it could still have imported goods from Manchester and Liverpool, facilitated exchanges importers of other goods, and generated revenue from transaction taxes and service fees. That was more-or-less Hong Kong's economic model for some time.
 

pemerton

Legend
what kind of industry could the Citadel have? How do the citizens make money? The way the Citadel sets up their economy basically prevents any form of industry forming.
My understanding is that it is a trade hub. It doesn't make money from industry, it makes money from transaction taxes and service fees. It's an economy based on intermediation. These do exist (although obviously the whole world can't be such a thing). Singapore and Hong Kong are well-known examples. Iceland and Ireland have flirted with the idea. That's before we get to tax haven economies which are more controversial versions of the model.

They do not have resources, are nearly completely dependent on imports and they make this imports so expensive through taxes that they can't export any finished products as they would be too expensive.

In fact the book makes it look like the only sources of income is the guessing game entry fee and import taxes which us hardly enough to fund a basic income for everyone who then has to oay for all the imported goods which are now extra expensive.
I don't get the impression that the Radiant Citadel is supposed to be an export-based economy. It is a trade hub, isn't it?

The function of the taxes is clearly to generate a common fund, which is used to purchase goods for distribution to the citizenry. Provided the volume of trade is sufficiently high, relative to the population of the Citadel, I don't really see what the issue is. I mean, maybe someone can construct an argument from JS Mill or Milton Friedman or even Marx that this can't work, that in the long run it will collapse, etc, but no one worries about that level of detail or analysis for other D&D economies. The basic logic seems clear enough.
 

Ixal

Hero
My understanding is that it is a trade hub. It doesn't make money from industry, it makes money from transaction taxes and service fees. It's an economy based on intermediation. These do exist (although obviously the whole world can't be such a thing). Singapore and Hong Kong are well-known examples. Iceland and Ireland have flirted with the idea. That's before we get to tax haven economies which are more controversial versions of the model.

I don't get the impression that the Radiant Citadel is supposed to be an export-based economy. It is a trade hub, isn't it?

The function of the taxes is clearly to generate a common fund, which is used to purchase goods for distribution to the citizenry. Provided the volume of trade is sufficiently high, relative to the population of the Citadel, I don't really see what the issue is. I mean, maybe someone can construct an argument from JS Mill or Milton Friedman or even Marx that this can't work, that in the long run it will collapse, etc, but no one worries about that level of detail or analysis for other D&D economies. The basic logic seems clear enough.
The problem is that the Citadel is actively hostile to traders despite them being the lifeblood of the city.
1. The have the guessing game entry fee which is in relations to a persons wealth, so traders who tend to have more money get hit extra hard by it.

2. They have high import taxes so anything sold in the Citadel either generates less profit or is so expensive that there is less demand for it

2.5 The Citadel taxes its own consumption hurting itself, meaning the things they need to live are taxed highly to generate money which they give to the people in order to buy the things they just taxed which makes 0 sense

3. Because of how the notportals work its trivially easy for merchants to bypass the Citadel and instead go to a trade hub in a different realm and sell there where they not only have better conditions, but also can buy local products reliably and thus, with a bit of planning, make a profit on their way back. When selling to the Citadel its always a gamble what is available and thanks to high prices thanks to import takes every good purchased there has a lower profit margin.

4. Taxes are collected by the state, the normal citizens do not directly benefit from import taxes. What do they work? What kind of industry is there to employ people? Are all of them on welfare and the taxes you get from the traders are primarily there to pay the same traders extra high prices for goods (some of them rather luxorious like saffron).

And as I posted already, Singapore does have a not unsubstential own industry and also charges low taxes to encourage trade and not high taxes. The Citadel is the complete opposite.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I call them portals even though they are planeshifting, teleporting hollowed out crystals. The effect is the same.
They're under the control of the incarnates, spirits living in the citadel. There can't be any bypassing without them being involved.
In fact the book makes it look like the only sources of income is the guessing game entry fee and import taxes which us hardly enough to fund a basic income for everyone who then has to oay for all the imported goods which are now extra expensive.
And the dragon who founded the place and is committed to its utopian ideals.
 

Ixal

Hero
They're under the control of the incarnates, spirits living in the citadel. There can't be any bypassing without them being involved.

And the dragon who founded the place and is committed to its utopian ideals.
So the incarnates hold them hostage and prevent them from leaving? Way to drive the traders away and without them the city flat out can't survive as they need to import everything.
A merchant comes in from Atagua and immediately asks to be sent to Umizu. Does the utopian incarnate refuse or comply?
And a dragons funds are not unlimited, especially after how costly it was to even find the city.
 


Ixal

Hero
What are you talking about?

The ships do not work without the incarnates. The idea that they're going to be used to bypass the citadel makes no sense.
See my edit. Does the incarnate refuse the trader when he asks to leave? Is everyone only allowed to go to their own realm? Are merchants forces to do business with the Citadel exclusively? If not, and the utopian nature of the Citadel highly suggests this, there is no reason for the trader to do business in the Citadel and not in another realm.

And don't forget that when the Citadel appmie too much pressure on the merchants, the merchants will push back and considering how reliant the Citadel is on imports they have a lot of leverage.
A few weeks without any delivery of food or firewood and things will get ugly in the Citadel.
 
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pemerton

Legend
I'm only replying to a couple of bits, to illustrate our points of disagreement.
1. The have the guessing game entry fee which is in relations to a persons wealth, so traders who tend to have more money get hit extra hard by it.
Yes, it's a progressive transaction tax. There are plenty of real-world economist who advocate these, though often on a consumption rather than border-crossing basis. Wealthy traders presumably also gain more benefit from the trade they participate in (hence their wealth) and so can afford these fees as a price of getting access to the intermediation opportunities that the Citadel provides.

Taxes are collected by the state, the normal citizens do not directly benefit from import taxes.
Someone upthread described the city as being run on "collectivist" principles, with a universal basic income. Which implies that import taxes are being used to establish a common fund that is then distributed directly to the citizenry.

2. They have high import taxes so anything sold in the Citadel either generates less profit or is so expensive that there is less demand for it

2.5 The Citadel taxes its own consumption hurting itself, meaning the things they need to live are taxed highly to generate money which they give to the people in order to buy the things they just taxed which makes 0 sense
There are many countries in the real world that have high consumption taxes and use these to (partly) fund social services. One could even call this the "EU model".

Is consumption in the Citadel depressed by higher prices, or increased by widespread spending capacity (due to distribution of tax revenue to citizens)? Real-world economist disagree on the answer to this sort of question despite the reams of data and working examples they have ready-to-hand. No one can claim to know the "true" answer for an imaginary city in the Deep Ethereal.

3. Because of how the notportals work its trivially easy for merchants to bypass the Citadel and instead go to a trade hub in a different realm and sell there where they not only have better conditions, but also can buy local products reliably and thus, with a bit of planning, make a profit on their way back. When selling to the Citadel its always a gamble what is available and thanks to high prices thanks to import takes every good purchased there has a lower profit margin.

What do they work? What kind of industry is there to employ people? Are all of them on welfare
Presumably they staff border posts, run hospitality venues, and provide financial services; and then provide the other services that any urban population needs. This is how some real-world urban economies work.
 

Irlo

Hero
@Ixal Think of it this way. The tarrifs are the price the merchants pay for access to a universe of goods that are simply unavailable or vanishingly rare on their own worlds. And it's the price they pay for security.

Have you read the passage from the book?

EDIT:
A few weeks without any delivery of food or firewood and things will get ugly in the Citadel.

This comment would indicate that you haven't read it. The Citadel grows its food in the greenspaces. Presumably that includes the habenero and saffron that spice their yams.

The high tariffs are meant to be a barrier to individual sellers and producers. Trade is facilitated for cities, nations, and major trading companies.
 
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Ixal

Hero
I'm only replying to a couple of bits, to illustrate our points of disagreement.
Yes, it's a progressive transaction tax. There are plenty of real-world economist who advocate these, though often on a consumption rather than border-crossing basis. Wealthy traders presumably also gain more benefit from the trade they participate in (hence their wealth) and so can afford these fees as a price of getting access to the intermediation opportunities that the Citadel provides.

Someone upthread described the city as being run on "collectivist" principles, with a universal basic income. Which implies that import taxes are being used to establish a common fund that is then distributed directly to the citizenry.

There are many countries in the real world that have high consumption taxes and use these to (partly) fund social services. One could even call this the "EU model".

Is consumption in the Citadel depressed by higher prices, or increased by widespread spending capacity (due to distribution of tax revenue to citizens)? Real-world economist disagree on the answer to this sort of question despite the reams of data and working examples they have ready-to-hand. No one can claim to know the "true" answer for an imaginary city in the Deep Ethereal.

3. Because of how the notportals work its trivially easy for merchants to bypass the Citadel and instead go to a trade hub in a different realm and sell there where they not only have better conditions, but also can buy local products reliably and thus, with a bit of planning, make a profit on their way back. When selling to the Citadel its always a gamble what is available and thanks to high prices thanks to import takes every good purchased there has a lower profit margin.

Presumably they staff border posts, run hospitality venues, and provide financial services; and then provide the other services that any urban population needs. This is how some real-world urban economies work.
The guessing fee is no transaction tax, that is in addition to the transaction tax which makes any goods extra expensive.

And no nation is having a universal basic income because of the high expenses. So high in fact that no amount of transactional tax can fund them. Especially as with transactional taxes the amount of money you need to pay out rises by the same rate of how much money to earn.

Someone wants to sell your child a candy bar for 1 dollar. You step in and say in order to sell your child something he has to give you 5 dollar first. You then give your child those 5 dollar as welfare. But now the candy bar costs 6 dollar. Where does your child get the dollar in the first place?

For this to work another income stream is needed. But the Citadel is unattractive as a trade hub because of high taxes and the entry fee and is not competitive to produce things on their own thanks to a lack of raw resources and high taxes.
 

One thing I would note is that the Radiant Citadel is pretty much right next to a massive ether cyclone that the Citadel's powers-that-be are implied to be only barely able to hold at bay, and that if they were to falter the Citadel could easily be destroyed, along with access to the various civilizations it links to via its concord jewels.

It's entirely possible that at least some of the city's import taxes are quite literally necessary to keep it from being wiped off the face of the multiverse. If the options are a trade nexus with somewhat high trade duties or every trade route connected to that nexus being irrevocably severed all at once, that might incline traders to be a bit more willing to grin and bear the extra costs.
 

Ixal

Hero
@Ixal Think of it this way. The tarrifs are the price the merchants pay for access to a universe of goods that are simply unavailable or vanishingly rare on their own worlds. And it's the price they pay for security.

Have you read the passage from the book?

EDIT:


This comment would indicate that you haven't read it. The Citadel grows its food in the greenspaces. Presumably that includes the habenero and saffron that spice their yams.

The high tariffs are meant to be a barrier to individual sellers and producers. Trade is facilitated for cities, nations, and major trading companies.
Again, unless the incarnates refuse to transport merchants to other realms there is no need for them to do business in the Citadel.
And if the incarnates do then the trade will be limited to luxury goods reducing the amount of trade the Citadel further. Not to mention the Citadel being less utopian than originally represented (not necessarily a bad thing)

The Citadel grows some food on their very limited greenspaces. The book is pretty clear about them being a big bottleneck, so much so that there is not even room for animal husbandry. And now you want to waste space on spices, especially saffron which needs huge farms to produce meaningful yields?

High tarrifs are to protect domestic production from cheap imports and make no sense for a city with no domestic industry which relies on imports.
 




Incenjucar

Legend
We're seriously talking economics in the game where a spell knows the current market value of the diamonds you're carrying.
Also Goodberry exists.
While I think it might be interesting to figure out what some folks might find a more believable way to reach the same basic concept, D&D is probably part of why video game economies are so nonsensical, and using real world economic models for it is pretty spurious.
Also yes plenty of trade hubs will force you to trade if you pass through them even if you just want to get to the better spot elsewhere. "You can trade here or you can leave your goods here and we'll maybe let you keep enough food to get home, your choice" is not unknown.
 

Hussar

Legend
That was more-or-less Hong Kong's economic model for some time.
You'd almost think that places like Venice, Florence, Hue or various other major trading hubs never existed. :erm:

The book says the entrance fee is paid according to the person's conscience. So, basically, how virtually every charitable organization works. And funnily enough, there are charitable organizations out there that are bringing in rather large sums of money.

It's hardly an unusual way to do things. Churches have been operating this way for centuries. It's not like you must pay to sit in church. Yet, funnily enough, as I pass through the cities of Europe and now Japan, I can see big, beautiful churches and temples, all built and paid for through willing donations.

I fail to see how this is all that unusual. And, frankly, it's a rather refreshing change from the typical anachronistic capitalistic societies that D&D typically pumps out where we use cash for everything.

We're actually arguing about the economic system of a rock that is powered by a giant magical crystal hanging in an extra-planar void? Seriously?

It's like arguing about time travel based on Doctor Who. :erm:
 
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