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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Jer

Legend
Supporter
The older material didn't make such an explicit about how unreal the dark domains and the people living in them are. It had a history, and NPCs would be treated as real as in any other setting, for the most part. You could make PCs as natives from different domains, and the game would offer advice for that. If you did that in VRG, how would that work? You're real, but your parents and the rest of your family aren't?
I think you're stuck on the idea that the people in Ravenloft aren't "real". They are as real as the rest of Ravenloft is - they're real people created by the Dark Powers. Even in the current edition where they're more explicit about it (which I also disagree with - I think it's best left hinted at that that's the case) they say that you cannot tell the difference between a Ravenloft inhabitant created by the Dark Powers and travelers from different worlds or Ravenloft inhabitants who are reincarnated souls with any form of magic.

So if you're running a Ravenloft game set in Ravenloft and you're never going to leave Ravenloft everyone is as "real" as everyone else. And the text is explicit that all player characters come from the group of inhabitants of Ravenloft with souls - the soulless ones don't have the sense of "wrongness" that the ensouled ones do and so don't become adventurers. So yes - your family could be soulless ones and you could be born to a family as a reincarnated trapped soul looking to escape - that's explicit in the text of the 5e version.
 

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I understand you feel that way.

But again, what does this change add from the previous interpretation, where the denizens of the various domains where imagined to be about as real as any other NPC? How is this change better?
That, I can't speak to. I'm not much of a Ravenloft fan and my familiarity with its older incarnations is limited. I'm merely saying that I find this need to parse out which NPCs are "real" and which are "not real" for the purpose of heroic PC motivation to be puzzling.

It's not really that different from the question of "Do Warforged have souls?" People are people - people in need are people in need. Unless you intend to get deep into the metaphysics of the afterlife, does it necessarily even matter if the people you are helping are "real"? And even if you ultimately can't change their fate, how does the decision of whether or not to try change yours?
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
That, I can't speak to. I'm not much of a Ravenloft fan and my familiarity with its older incarnations is limited. I'm merely saying that I find this need to parse out which NPCs are "real" and which are "not real" for the purpose of heroic PC motivation to be puzzling.

It's not really that different from the question of "Do Warforged have souls?" People are people - people in need are people in need. Unless you intend to get deep into the metaphysics of the afterlife, does it necessarily even matter if the people you are helping are "real"? And even if you ultimately can't change their fate, how does the decision of whether or not to try change yours?
That's all fair enough, though, for your example to really be analogous it would have to dictate that in a previous incarnation of the setting the Warforged were more or less assumed to have them, same as anybody else, and now the text explicitly says they don't.
 

That's all fair enough, though, for your example to really be analogous it would have to dictate that in a previous incarnation of the setting the Warforged were more or less assumed to have them, same as anybody else, and now the text explicitly says they don't.
The point I'm trying to make is that whether the NPCs in Ravenloft are "real" or not doesn't impact whether they can "matter" or not.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I don’t think we need to turn this into a CR thread. However it’s worth noting that in the Vox Machina thread people laboured the point over and over again that CR wasn’t D&D and they were two separate brands. The cross over is a nice idea, and I’m sure it makes fans very happy, but not everyone watches streamed play, in fact based on the number of followers I would say by far the majority of TTRPGers don’t. So making Exandria the basis of one of the few books for the year is pretty polarizing I believe. Not because it’s bad, but it isn’t core D&D. Most people will be ambivalent towards it and therefore it’s not a substitute for a core D&D AP.

As I said I understand why they did it. Everyone deserves their day in the Sun. I just don’t like the scheduling of it, and would like to see a bit more content similar to the first few years. I think this goes back to the idea of the Tyranny of Novelty discussed a few months back.
I was firmly of the opinion that D&D was going to turn Faerun into D&D's Golarion: a single unified setting that encompasses ALL the major D&D references, be it module, sourcebook, or rules expansion. The fact that for those first years, the modules either were in Faerun or started there (CoS) and the first three sourcebooks all were linked to it (SCAG, Volo, Xanathar). I fully expected that further expansion would move beyond the Sword Coast to the Heartlands, Calimshan, Multhorand, and eventually to Kara Tur and Zakhara. You'd see a classic module like the Raihasa trilogy redone, and attempts to rehabilitate the areas built on caricatures. Beyond a planar adventure with ties to Sigil and a Realmspace Spelljammer jaunt, classic settings were going to be footnotes. The best option for a second supported campaign was Eberron via DMs Guild. Everything else would be Forgotten Realms, the mega setting, unified and explorable through AL.

How wrong I was.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I think you're stuck on the idea that the people in Ravenloft aren't "real". They are as real as the rest of Ravenloft is - they're real people created by the Dark Powers. Even in the current edition where they're more explicit about it (which I also disagree with - I think it's best left hinted at that that's the case) they say that you cannot tell the difference between a Ravenloft inhabitant created by the Dark Powers and travelers from different worlds or Ravenloft inhabitants who are reincarnated souls with any form of magic.

So if you're running a Ravenloft game set in Ravenloft and you're never going to leave Ravenloft everyone is as "real" as everyone else. And the text is explicit that all player characters come from the group of inhabitants of Ravenloft with souls - the soulless ones don't have the sense of "wrongness" that the ensouled ones do and so don't become adventurers. So yes - your family could be soulless ones and you could be born to a family as a reincarnated trapped soul looking to escape - that's explicit in the text of the 5e version.
Yeah, I know. And that's awful. As was said above, this adds nothing to the setting, at all. I can't imagine why they even did it. At best it does nothing, at worst it dramatically lowers the stakes of everything the PCs do.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
So? Your can either play and try to make things better, however fleetingly, or you can do nothing and let things remain horrible.

It's not a good set up if you care about tallying up your "points" at the end of your adventuring career, but if there's a kid being hunted by a lycanthrope in the forest with a crying mother begging for someone bring them home safely, does it really matter all that much if they're "real" people?
There's a storyline in the Marvel tv show "Agents of SHIELD" where our heroes are trapped in a magically enhanced computer simulation and given new lives and new memories. As they struggle through the story, they come to realize that their families, friends and loved ones in this simulation aren't real . . . and it becomes tragic, horrifying, and a bit philosophical about what makes a person "real". When they finally break free of the computer sim, it is destroyed, along with all of its inhabitants. It's the darkest storyline of the tv show, and one of the darkest storylines in the MCU. One of the characters has a daughter in the computer simulation, who is lost along with everyone else in the sim, and it really messes with him long after this storyline is wrapped.

The heroes in the show wrestle with these questions. What's real and what isn't? What makes a person real? Do we struggle to save someone who is generated by an advanced computer algorithm? How should we feel about losing someone who isn't "real"?
 

Remathilis

Legend
While the idea of fake people in Ravenloft actually does predate Curse of Strahd, in every other particular and sentiment I agree wholeheartedly with this, to the point where I honestly don't understand why this isn't more of a problem for people. Does no one care that their heroism is meaningless now?
There seems to be a misconception as to what "soulless" means in Ravenloft. Soulless doesn't mean artificial, it means they lack the spark of life needed to do great things. To have a soul in Ravenloft means you have something special. Drive, ambition, a sense of curiosity. They look at the Mists and see more than fog, they see mysteries. They are the kind of people who go on to gain character classes, learn magic, become brilliant in a field of study, or devote themselves to the service of evil. Great heroes and great villains have souls. Strahd, Azalin, Viktra, and Harkon all do, but so do Gennifer, Laurie, Alanik, and Rudolph. Important people have souls, and there are plenty of important people.

To be soulless doesn't mean you are a robot, a ghost, or an illusion. You still have thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, fears and doubts. You still get hungry, laugh at jokes, or love your spouse and kids. But it's a life of resigned acceptance. You know Strahd is the lord of the land and he rules with an iron grip, but there is nothing you can do about it. You couldn't rally enough people to storm the castle with torches and pitchforks, so why even try? The best thing for you to do keep your head down, work hard, pray to whatever gods there may or may not be (you don't know nor question) and hope you survive another night. They simply don't have the spark, the soul, to change the world nor to give in to utter despair. They simply move through the stages of life doing their part to survive and never question the bigger picture.

What's important to know is that these people, even if they lack a soul, are still people. I can't prove you or I have a soul, but that doesn't give me the excuse to murder you or believe you don't exist or aren't worth attempting to keep alive. They are made of flesh and bone. They have personalities, dull as they may be. They would much prefer to live in a better place, but they are dulled down to the point such things are fantasy and unobtainable. That's not to say they won't certainly help the doomed adventurers who promise to slay the vampire and rescue them from tyranny, but that they know such plots often end in tragedy and they aren't going to follow them on some fool's crusade. Nothing ventured, nothing lost.

And sometimes soulless parents give birth to a child that has a soul; usually an echo of a soul that died and was trapped in the Mists long ago and now have reincarnated into this new person. Tatiyana/Ireena being the quintessential example. But that doesn't have to be the case. If you view having a soul in Ravenloft like children who remember past lives of Indigo children, you have a clearer idea of how souled children end up in soulless families. Certainly, Ravenloft plays into this with reborn's "memories of a past life" or the dark gift "echoing soul" which implies how some souls are reborn countlessly in this purgatory of a world, hoping to break the cycle eventually.

Lastly, if there are no souls, where do all the ghosts come from?

I think it's easy to read CoS/VRGR and come away with soulless as being props of no value, no life to lose, no more real than a dream. But I think the intention was to explain why so many people in the DoD are simply content to live normal lives in a place where surrealness and darkness abound. Why people don't try to explore past the Misty boundaries, question where their food is coming from, or attempt to overthrow the darklord. How many people are content to go to work, get married or raise children in a bleak nightmare of a world full of monsters and terrors. The soulless do so because they don't see a reason why not to. The souled see past the curtain and opt to do something about it, be it good or ill.

When put like that, the light of Ravenloft's heroes burn brighter because they ARE the ones who seek change in a world otherwise filled with compacity and apathy. Any resemblance between that and our real world is purely coincidental.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I was firmly of the opinion that D&D was going to turn Faerun into D&D's Golarion: a single unified setting that encompasses ALL the major D&D references, be it module, sourcebook, or rules expansion. The fact that for those first years, the modules either were in Faerun or started there (CoS) and the first three sourcebooks all were linked to it (SCAG, Volo, Xanathar). I fully expected that further expansion would move beyond the Sword Coast to the Heartlands, Calimshan, Multhorand, and eventually to Kara Tur and Zakhara. You'd see a classic module like the Raihasa trilogy redone, and attempts to rehabilitate the areas built on caricatures. Beyond a planar adventure with ties to Sigil and a Realmspace Spelljammer jaunt, classic settings were going to be footnotes. The best option for a second supported campaign was Eberron via DMs Guild. Everything else would be Forgotten Realms, the mega setting, unified and explorable through AL.

How wrong I was.
To be fair, WotC always made their overarching goals clear...people just didn't believe them because it was honestly a five year plan and took a while to cone together.
 

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