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.


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."


Regular cover by Even Fong


Alternate Cover by Sija Hong

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I may have left when I was 16 but California is still the land that spawned and raised me. It’s really weird to watch outsider opinions on California, especially folks who don’t seem to understand that Northern and Southern California are very much separate beasts culturally and politically. Having lived in both it’s strange to see everyone treat the whole state as if it’s either vapid LA or techbro Bay Area. Nobody outside the state seems to know the state exists at all north of Sacramento.
Growing up in San Diego for my first 10 years the adage was " San Francisco might as well be in another state, and we wished L.A. was"

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In regards this not being Planescape,
I understand the disappointment as someone who would like new Planescape materials. it does make me feel as if we are not getting any, as this "covers those bases" possibly.

really what do I need new Planescape material to cover? In terms of fluff, we are in the digital age. I can get ALL the old books. So setting description material only matters if I am looking for changes. Just verbatim recreating the setting with no real updates or changes to the fluff would be really pointless. See 5e Ravenloft. I like the changes. Some agree. Some disagree.

So that leaves mechanics. Mechanically, what is special about Planescape? Planar travel? Already sufficently covered or if more were needed, would they be more than a handful of pages? The real mechanics needed? Factions brought up to date using the Patron system. Give me that. Thats all I really need from new material to run Planescape in 5e.
A decent, meaningful alignment system for the Outlands and Planes?


Second, VRGtR doubled down hard on the 'nothing and nobody is real here, NPCs are simply phantoms generated by the Mists to be backdrops and stage dressing to the darklord's torment' angle that CoS introduced, in contrast to prior editions where Domains were physically transported from the origin worlds and populated by the descendents people unlucky enough to get dragged along.
That's not actually true. There were many Darklords (Honaire, Renier, and Aderre come to mind, but there were plenty of others) who merely found their domain, fully populated waiting for them. Some Darklords found their lands surrounded by Mists and when the Mists cleared, they were in Ravenloft, but it was never clear that their actual land was taken with them. Since some of these Darklords came from standard campaign setting worlds, and there none of those setting's books ever mentioned (to the best of my knowledge) that all of a sudden, entire towns or even countries just disappeared, then I think it's clear that the areas that came with the new Darklords were copies. There's only been a few times that I can recall where the books actually flat-out stated that an entire area was taken into the Mists. I think Kalidnay was one of those areas.

So, the new version is bleak, but it was actually always that bleak.

Personally, I don't think that a lack of soul indicates a creature isn't real--not in a game setting that already has constructs and undead, some of which are playable. Go on and tell the next warforged PC you meet that they aren't a real person. There's also nothing that indicates that the soulless NPCs are actually puppets of the DPs.

This means that not only can you not get satisfaction from defeating a darklord, but you can't even get tiny satisfaction from saving an NPC from a darklord's lowliest minion creature. The NPC is a soulless puppet of the Dark Powers and so is the minion. The Dark Powers will probably regenerate both of them when your back is turned, so they can continue to play their parts, unless they only existed to interact with you in the first place and somehow torment the Darklord thereby. And if you're a PC who's native to one of these domains - all your loved ones are fake, your parents are phantom shadows, your family are soulless puppets of the Dark Powers. The only reason the book says that YOU aren't in the same boat is because it cops out in a shamelessly cowardly manner on following through on its own logic. There's nothing worth saving, nothing worth fighting, nothing worth protecting. It all means nothing.
I've always been under the impression that actually fighting the Darklord is the actually the least interesting thing you can do with them. Even the Darklords that have very little political power have plenty of other uses--and that's if you even choose to use them at all! There's so many other evils to fight in Ravenloft. And, there was never much detail as to what happened to the domain if you did kill the Darklord. It was always just up to the DM if the domain stayed and a new DL was chosen, if it became part of another domain, or if it just dissolved into the Mists.

Plus, nearly all of the Darklords would come back from the dead already anyway. And some of them did so by turning another creature or person into their new selves. Now they just come back from the dead, which is easier to track, since they didn't need to write a whole thing in each of the DL's stories, but less cool.

Of course, if you view the average person as being nothing, then there's no reason to fight for them. But then why play in Ravenloft in the first place?

I don't think the book "cops out in a cowardly manner." CoS says that about 10% of the population have souls. If you choose to use this idea, then this is both a good reason why the DP's abduct people--anyone who dies in the demiplane has their soul trapped there, ready to be reincarnated into a soulled individual--and explains why the place isn't actually 100% filled with undead. Not everyone has a soul that can be undeadified!

For the three unknown Settings:

  • Dominique Dickey is African American
  • Stephanie Yoon is Korean
  • Jane Miyuki is Japanese

So we have:

  • 4 African-American Settings
  • 5 East Asian & Pacific Settings
  • 3 Latino/Mesoamerica Settings
  • 3 Central/South Asian Settings

Pretty cool mix!
Just a note, I don’t know if someone ninja’d me in the seven pages I’ve yet to get caught up on but her name isn’t Jane Miyuki. It’s Miyuki Jane Pinckard - she frequently goes by Jane but Miyuki isn’t her last name.


He Mage
There has for a very long time been a prevailing idea that fantastic things do not belong in fantasy; the only the direct result of discrete magical acts can and should appear.

And to that, I say thee nay.
When someone sees odd stuff in 5e, a "ritual" did it.

One time at an LGS, an obvious Whovian asked me how much I liked the new Dr Who season at the time. I said "The impossible Astronaut season was amazing, and I feel like every season since, I've wanted it to be that good again, and it just hasn't been and probably never will be." He looked at me quietly for a beat, then said "Wow. You're a jerk."
Yeah, obviously Doctor Who hasn't been good since 1979.

I'll admit that although Exandria isn't that polarizing, CR can be. The Twitterverse drifts between too extremes of "CR is amazing!" and "CR saps all attention from everything TTRPG!"
But both are true. It's just a matter of if you see them as positives or negatives.

I can certainly see why some players feel very threatened by Critical Role: It showcases a particular style of play at the expense of others. I happen to like that style, but for people who have been happily tactically skirmish wargaming for 40 years, it comes as a shock to discover they suddenly need to take acting lessons and do funny voices!

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