The next book published for Dungeons & Dragons will be an anthology of 13 adventures penned exclusively by Black and brown authors. Titled Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, it will add a mysterious new floating city to the original role-playing game. The book will be available on June 21.
During a presentation for press, design co-lead Ajit George said that the project grew out of his experience working as a freelance designer for D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast in 2020. George was part of a diverse collection of writers involved in creating Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, a critically-acclaimed sourcebook published in 2021. In our review, Polygon called it “the best D&D book of this generation.” During that project, George became the first person of Indian descent to write Indian-inspired material for Wizards’ tabletop role-playing game. He says he left that experience wanting more.
“I couldn’t shake the idea of a whole book written by Black and brown writers inspired by their own cultures, myths, and stories,” George said. “I pitched the idea of a book [filled with] lands and cultures inspired by their own lives, background, and history.”
Like the adventure anthology Candlekeep Mysteries, which focused around a library on Faerûn’s Sword Coast, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel revolves around the titular location in the Ethereal Plane. The city is carved from a massive fossil of mysterious origins — an ancient, likely extinct creature that no one has yet been able to identify. George said it was inspired by his knowledge of Indian rock-cut architecture. At its core is a colossal gemstone shard known as the Royal Diamond. Surrounding the city is a constellation of 15 smaller gemstones called Concord Jewels. Each of those gems is connected to the Material Plane, and serves as a gateway to 15 of the Citadel’s founding civilizations. They allow for rapid transport to and from the Citadel — but 12 of those gems are missing, and their locations are currently unknown.
“This was done so that we could allow DM freedom to place a Concord Jewel wherever makes sense,” George said, “either in your homebrew campaign or in an established D&D world. [...] You could link your location to the Radiant Citadel and to the adventures in this book, or just between different worlds and by using the Radiant Citadel as a waypoint.”
Unlike other cities from the modern D&D lore — places like Baldur’s Gate and Waterdeep — the Radiant Citadel isn’t overrun by crime lords, demons, or mind flayers. Instead, it’s a place where people can live together in peace.
“The Radiant Citadel is not a place of backstabbing, and lurking monsters, and crime just around the corner,” George said. “The Radiant Citadel was meant to give players a real hope, a respite, a place to regroup and rebuild after facing the worst and most tragic challenges [...] where they could launch incredible stories and adventures [across the multiverse].”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough lore in the book to create more traditional, urban adventures that take place inside the Citadel. However, that’s not where the narrative momentum of the anthology is focused. Expect adventures that take place in locations never before seen in D&D — and guidance on how and where they could fit in with previously established locations and lore.
“This is also set up in such a way that we’re not trying to show [that] you can just stick these adventures on the other side of the world, or a place nobody’s ever heard of,” said co-lead F. Wesley Schneider, senior game designer at Wizards. “This guidance is more [about] how do you make these locations feel like vibrant parts of these existing worlds? What are some opportunities within a place like the Forgotten Realms or Eberron where you could place this location and have this place, its culture, and the elements around it be central to your world — or just as much a part of those worlds — and have it feel like a vibrant part that’s been there all along?
“If you want to then take those [adventures] and expand it into something more,” Schneider continued, “the opportunities are completely there.”
With luck, George said, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel will help give players a new sense of belonging in a game he dearly loves.
“What’s going to be most exciting is that players are just going to be able to sink their teeth into these new lands,” George said. “‘Oh, my character could be from there! Or my lover could be from there. Or my sister. Or my parents could be there. I didn’t know where I came from before, but now I know where my [character’s] heritage is!’ And that’s kind of exciting.”