D&D 5E’s next adventure collection Journeys through the Radiant Citadel is the RPG’s first book written entirely by people of colour
Anthology releasing this summer offers 13 standalone scenarios from 16 Black and Brown writers.
Dungeons & Dragons 5E’s next big book will be Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, a collection of adventures releasing this June and written entirely by people of colour - a first for the tabletop RPG.
Following on from adventure anthologies such as last year’s Candlekeep Mysteries and 2017’s Tales from the Yawning Portal, which updated older D&D adventures for 5E, Journeys through the Radiant Citadel will include 13 standalone scenarios set across Dungeons & Dragons’ Material Plane. The adventures are said to offer more of a versatile mixture of genres than Candlekeep Mysteries, ranging from comic hijinks to darker horror. In general, there will be less of a focus on all-out combat.
The book will include an adventure for each of the player character levels up to 14, with Surena Marie’s opening adventure Salted Legacy covering first and second levels. The scenario centres on a family feud in a night market sparked by recent thefts and vandalism, and is described as drawing from Thai culture, the aesthetic of Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away and the mystery of animated series Gravity Falls.
Third-level scenario Written in Blood, meanwhile, is said to be a “darker, creepier adventure” set in a new region called Godsbreath. Both the setting and the scenario, which sees players investigate a haunted farm, have been created by Erin Roberts as a “love letter/homage to the Black experience in the southern United States”. Roberts compared the tone of the adventure to TV series Lovecraft Country and the work of Get Out filmmaker Jordan Peele, but added that the adventure would feature less of a tie to real-life history than those works, representing “joy without oppression”.
The third Journeys through the Radiant Citadel adventure teased by Wizards of the Coast ahead of its announcement was Shadow of the Sun. Penned by Iranian-American Justice Ramin Arman, the 11th-level scenario takes place in a holy city-state ruled by the angel Atash. Arman cited Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi’s 11th-century epic Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) as a key influence for the adventure and setting inspired by Iranian culture, which sees players progress down a number of possible narrative paths as they align with those in the city. Wizards of the Coast compared the branching narrative of the adventure and the consequences of players’ actions to the format of a video game RPG.
Each of the adventures in Journeys through the Radiant Citadel can be played as a standalone scenario, dropped into an ongoing campaign or strung together into a series spanning the book’s contents connected by the adventures’ shared link to the titular Radiant Citadel.
The new setting is located in the depths of D&D’s ethereal plane and is orbited by 15 concord jewels that allow travel to the civilisations that revived the city 250 years before the book’s timeframe. A further 12 jewels represent original founding civilisations lost to time, cited by the book’s creators as a helpful tool for players looking to tie other established D&D settings or their own custom worlds to the anthology. The hub was described as being a “city of stories and sanctuary”, offering a safe haven for the players’ characters - albeit surrounded by danger.
With a focus on the adventures in its collection, Journeys through the Radiant Citadel will not include any new subclasses or species for player characters or NPCs. However, Wizards of the Coast confirmed that the scenarios would introduce new magical items, including charms and supernatural gifts that would grant characters a boon for “doing something incredible”. As well as new monsters and creatures created specifically for some of the adventures, the book will also see the return of monsters from previous iterations of Dungeons & Dragons, including first and second edition.
Journeys through the Radiant Citadel will mark a first for Dungeons & Dragons, according to co-lead Ajit George, in being the first book in the roleplaying game’s almost 50-year history to be written entirely by people of colour. George - who previously wrote for Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft - is the first person of colour to lead a D&D book, joined by the RPG’s senior game designer F. Wesley Schneider.
The 13 adventures in the 224-page tome were authored by 16 Black and Brown writers, with 50 contributors in total across its developers, illustrators and more. “I think there is no other project in game history with that number of PoCs,” George said.
The adventures are said to take inspiration from the writers’ personal experience of real-world backgrounds, histories and mythologies, without offering direct one-to-one depictions of real cultures. Each adventure will include a pronunciation guide.
Journeys through the Radiant Citadel will be released on June 21st. As with previous D&D 5E books, two versions of the book will be available; the original will feature artwork from Evyn Fong, while an alternative cover from designer Sija Hong will be limited to local game stores.