D&D Normal – An In-Depth Evaluate of Journeys By way of the Radiant Citadel | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons


Journeys By way of the Radiant Citadel is the newest D&D journey anthology and like Candlekeep Mysteries, it is overflowing with concepts and inspiration.

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JTtRC incorporates 13 adventures for gamers 1st by way of 14th stage. Desire a single, longer marketing campaign? JTtRC might simply be run as one marketing campaign with an episodic really feel or a DM might give you their very own plot to tie the person adventures nearer collectively. Or simply decide and select adventures to fit into your present marketing campaign. JTtRC is ready up with the proper mix of construction and suppleness to accommodate virtually any DM’s marketing campaign wants.

In reality, you possibly can ignore the citadel portion itself and set the adventures in your individual homebrew marketing campaign or a longtime D&D setting. Every journey has helpful data on inserting the situation throughout the Forgotten Realms or one other identified setting like Eberron, Greyhawk, or Dragonlance, or connecting it as supposed to the Radiant Citadel

Irrespective of the way you select to run JTtRC, it is a ebook that feels large and expansive. The adventures vary from an evening market to a lush jungle, colourful festivals to a fiery volcano, haunted areas to an underwater metropolis. In case your group loves the exploration pillar of D&D and seeing new issues, JTtRC gives loads.

JTtRC can be the primary actually new setting D&D launched in a few years (Van Richten’s Information to Ravenloft had new Domains of Dread, however Ravenloft itself is previous), not counting Crucial Function collaborations. But as a result of the titular citadel is within the Ethereal Aircraft it is already a part of D&D’s Nice Wheel Cosmology as described within the DMG, simply in a beforehand not described deep pocket of it.

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Coming into the Radiant Citadel​

The Radiant Citadel itself is a floating metropolis carved from the big fossil of an historical, unidentified creature, very similar to real-world rock-cut structure. The fossil itself is wrapped across the Auroral Diamond, a font of therapeutic and life-giving magic. It powers the sunshine, water, and agriculture within the citadel as properly offering most outcomes from therapeutic spells solid throughout the citadel and eliminating the necessity for materials parts for sure spells. It is referred to as the Radiant Citadel as a result of it features as a beacon for these misplaced within the Ethereal Aircraft.

However the citadel is greater than a location. It is a transition level to 27 civilizations that based the Radiant Citadel ages in the past, carving it out of the fossil. Concordant Jewels join the citadel to these civilizations, solely the connections had been misplaced for a time. Fifteen have been rediscovered and reconnected (13 of that are explored within the anthology’s adventures). Twelve usually are not, which permits a DM to attach any setting, official or homebrew, to the citadel.

Life within the citadel is egalitarian and utopian. Sources are shared pretty. Fundamental wants for all times, like meals and housing are offered. Refugees are welcome throughout the citadel, both briefly till they transfer on, or completely. The citadel itself feels very very similar to a hopepunk or solarpunk model of New York Metropolis (in keeping with venture lead Ajit George the Statue of Liberty impressed the Auroral Diamond) and its melting pot of many cultures, meals, and humanities.

However do not assume that as a result of the citadel itself is hopepunk that there is not battle or that the adventures are about calmly consuming tea. Throughout the citadel itself there are political conflicts between the varied factions and civilizations, and the adventures cowl a spread of kinds full with hauntings, fiends, and one of many creepiest monsters I’ve seen in a D&D ebook.

Contained in the Courtroom of Whispers, data is bartered. The Home of Convalescence attracts each healers and the sick and injured determined for assist. The Commerce Discal is a spot the place meals and gadgets from the founding civilizations might be bought. Druids convey animals that may’t survive anymore on the Materials Plan to the Protect of the Ancestors, along with it being a spot the place spirit kinds collect, inhabit jewels, and change into Incarnates. The Palace of Exiles offers refuge for these pushed from their homelands. Any of those citadel areas might be the vacation spot for a gaggle of adventurers needing therapeutic, an merchandise, to search out somebody, to commerce data, or to realize a respite themselves—and that is with only a superficial overview. The NPCs and areas present much more journey fodder earlier than you even get to the anthology portion.

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Setting the Stage​

The ebook offers steerage for join the adventures in addition to how your gamers might have ended up on the Radiant Citadel. A brief chart offers additional concepts for adventures throughout the citadel.

JTtRC doesn’t comprise participant choices, however that is common. A number of different adventures have not, and new subclasses and such usually tend to present up in useful resource books like Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part or Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons than in journey books. I am nice with that as a result of I choose high quality over amount by way of participant choices. JTtRC does have 11 monster stat blocks I am going to talk about beneath.

Nevertheless, every journey chapter does comprise a gazetteer to assist the DM run that setting and journey. It additionally offers data helpful for any participant who creates a personality from that space, assuming their DM approves. It features a pronunciation information, vital areas, data on life within the location, pattern names (male, feminine, gender impartial, and surnames), legends, and seeds for additional adventures. It additionally consists of questions the gamers can ask themselves in the event that they’re making a personality from that area.

Within the Welcome to the Radiant Citadel introductory chapter the authors additionally present an summary and a few helpful steerage for run and play the adventures in JttRC. One of many factors is that similar to you do not have to have the ability to breath fireplace to play a dragonborn you additionally do not should be from one the cultural inspirations to play or run JttRC. The chapter then follows up with good, concrete recommendation on how a DM can describe NPCs and set a scene, keep away from stereotypes, and what to do and to not do when enjoying a personality. It is glorious recommendation that I hope makes it into the upcoming anniversary editions of the PHB and DMG.

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Onto Journey!​

Whereas I am avoiding vital spoilers, should you’re a participant who needs to expertise JTtRC with none affect, it is best to cease right here. DMs can proceed.

The adventures in JTtRC do not simply fluctuate by their real-world inspiration. In addition they have a wide range of tones and targets.

  • Salted Legacy, by Surena Marie for 1-2nd stage characters, is a comedic thriller specializing in investigation and constructing renown so the NPCs usually tend to share data. Can your gamers strategy it from a “knock heads collectively” viewpoint? Positive, however why not embrace the situation and take a look at one thing new? Set in an evening market, two households of rival retailers had, maybe, been inching their method towards peace, till a sequence of incidents trigger renewed paranoia and hostilities. The gamers want to search out out who actually did what and restore concord within the night time market, however that requires cooperation that may solely come by way of boosting their renown by successful video games. It is an applicable journey for gamers simply beginning out and may encourage teamwork.
  • Written In Blood, by Erin Roberts, is a third stage journey that evokes Southern Gothic Horror. Through the Awakening Competition, violence breaks out that forces the characters to research a haunted farm. The journey can be designed to drive the gamers to journey with residents of Godsbreath, offering a chance to discover the land. Whereas Salted Legacy was lighter in tone, Written in Blood is probably the darkest situation in JTtRC, and whereas the previous took inspiration from unique Thai markets, this one conjures the agricultural Mississippi of a horror novel.
  • The Fiend of Hole Mine is a 4th stage journey by Mario Ortegón that’s impressed by the Mexican Day of the Lifeless celebration. A curse is killing individuals, and the gamers ought to find yourself working with an area outlaw to find the supply, which ends up in a fiend. Whereas presumably the characters will defeat the fiend, the gamers’ selections on this situation will decide whether or not the ending is tragic or offers glad reduction.
  • Wages of Vice, by TK Johnson, for fifth stage characters, is ready in Zinda throughout a Carnevale/Mardi Gras-type celebration, when a homicide occurs. This story entails a kind of zombie that are not undead, a parade as a key location, and plenty of group battle.
  • Sins of Our Elders is a sixth stage journey written by Stephanie Yoon. A wronged and offended spirit is exploiting native custom to lure locals right into a cycle of struggling on this horror story impressed by Korean folklore.
  • The seventh stage journey, Gold for Fools and Princes by Dominique Dickey, is ready in Sensa, a affluent empire beset with intrigue and drama, partially attributable to a creature lengthy regarded as extinct. Quickly, two rivals angle to take the throne after a tragedy.
  • Path of Destruction by Alastor Guzman is for eighth stage characters and is impressed by Aztec tradition and Mexican areas. Earthquakes and volcanic exercise are wreaking havoc, requiring the gamers to journey by way of harmful areas to find the supply of the turmoil.
  • Within the Mists of Manivarsha is a ninth stage journey by Mimi Mondel. An historical corruption has returned, resulting in a damaging flood threatening the town of Sagorpur and the competitors being held there. The gamers should assist rescue the inhabitants and get to the core of the calamity.
  • Between Tangled Roots by Pam Punzalan is a tenth journey with a big creature on the heart of the story, but it surely’s not the everyday monster hunter story. As a substitute it presents a problem for the gamers as to how they deal with the scenario, as soon as they work out what is going on on.
  • Shadow of the Solar by Justice Ramin Arman is an eleventh stage journey involving factions preventing for management in an angel-ruled metropolis. Nothing is what it appears and the Iranian folklore-inspired situation features a new celestial being that fills the hole between deva and planar. The journey even has a chance for aerial fight.
  • The Nightsea’s Succor by D. Fox Harrell is for twelfth stage characters investigating a mysterious haunting. It entails restoring misplaced lore and a go to to a mysterious underwater metropolis.
  • Buried Dynasty, a thirteenth journey by Felice Tzehuei Kuan, options an historical regime going through potential instability and intrigue. Secrets and techniques which have helped protect the dynasty have been misplaced, and a few wish to maintain onto energy at any price.
  • Terry Hope Romero’s 14th stage journey, Orchids of the Invisible Mountain entails a journey to the Feywild. It additionally includes a creature that’s drawn to battle in a setting that blends Venezuelan folklore with Lovecraftian creepiness.
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Extra Monsters​

Whereas JTtRC would not have a ton of recent monsters, the eleven they do have are evocative and supply selection. The cutest is the chaotic impartial wynling, a low CR Fey creature whose sense of mischief could cause plenty of issues.

The creepiest monster within the ebook is the soul shaker, a set of severed limbs that mix and steal vitality. They’ll additionally allure individuals and use them to lure extra victims. Worse, when a soul shaker is lowered to zero HP it explodes into seven crawling claws. If not less than two of these survive after two days the soul shaker can reform.

The aurumvorax is a creature from older editions of D&D that has been up to date for 5E. It will get two stat blocks—one for the traditional, gold-eating creature, and one for its den chief, which will get a pack tactic means.

The massive, impartial alignment, fireplace elemental tlexolotl has a multiattack with a chunk, tail, and lava assault. It gave me a Godzilla-type vibe, which kaiju followers will love.

The riverine is completely different from different water spirits in 5E in that it is extra like an woke up river. The artwork by Claudio Pozas provides new which means to the time period “thirst lure.” This impartial, CR 12, fey creature will get legendary actions and legendary skills, along with different skills.

Bakunawa is a brand new dragon sort impressed by each lore from the Philippines and koi fish. Do not underestimate it, although. With a CR 12 this large, usually impartial dragon is a problem with skills like Storm Slam and Nimble Glide.

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Artwork That Units the Scene​

I have been a fan of the 5E paintings managed by principal artwork director Kate Irwin and artwork director Emi Tanji for a very long time. Whereas just a few earlier books had been a contact inconsistent, the final a number of books have had close to excellent designs that ideally match the tone, and have been extremely constant regardless of every ebook having roughly 20 or extra artists.

The artwork for JTtRC is completely beautiful, and the artists do a tremendous job of mixing D&D fantasy with the real-world cultures that impressed the ebook’s 15 settings to create one thing new and recent that expands the scope of what a D&D marketing campaign can appear to be. Whether or not it is a character determine like Jabari Climate’s Proclaimer Tungsten in Written in Blood, a monster just like the Haint by Claudio Pozas for The Nightsea’s Succor, or a scene just like the diva artwork by Ejiwa Edge-Ebenebe for The Wages of Sin, to only title three examples, the artwork offers particular, indelible photographs that superbly complement these new settings.

The ebook covers are equally pretty and distinctive. Evyn Fong featured the night time market in Salt Legacy for the gorgeous commonplace cowl. It is filled with intelligent particulars and makes it abundantly clear that that is completely different than the usual D&D journey. Sija Hong’s different cowl is completely beautiful. The metallic inks shimmer and glow, thematically reinforcing each the “radiant” within the journey and placement’s title, and its hopepunk tone.

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Assessing the Journey​

JTtRC is the D&D journey ebook I have been wanting for a very long time. It would not hit only one merchandise on my guidelines however many.

First, as a lot as I really like the previous settings and am wanting ahead to the introduced Spelljammer and Dragonlance revivals (and, I am positive Planescape is coming, too), I additionally wish to see one thing new. JTtRC hits a candy spot as a result of the citadel itself and the 15 related areas are all new however as a result of the citadel is within the Ethereal Aircraft it slides proper into the established cosmology.

Second, it isn’t grim darkish or targeted on shortage. I do know individuals love grim darkish settings—it looks like each different D&D Kickstarter I come throughout is grim darkish—however I really feel like they have been completed to dying. Plus I sport to flee and grim darkish is a bit heavy contemplating the state of the world. And I used to be bored with settings constructed round shortage earlier than Darkish Solar got here out. My emotions have not modified in all these years.

A hopeful setting and even a utopian one can nonetheless have battle that drives journey. Star Trek has been proving that for greater than 50 years. JTtRC well splits the distinction by making the citadel itself hopepunk/utopian whereas the related worlds might be extra typical in the kind of threats.

The shift in tone is very appreciated after the run of darkish, horror adventures WotC did for some time. Icewind dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden was survivalist horror, Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus had machines fueled by individuals’s souls, amongst different disturbing issues, Van Richten’s Information to Ravenloft was virtually the last word information to operating D&D horror, and even The Wild Past the Witchlight had its share of creepy photographs issues blended with the whimsy.

Third, D&D has largely been rooted in a sure model of European, largely British, medieval fantasy. When it did department out with settings like Oriental Adventures or Al-Qadim the artistic group weren’t related to the real-world inspiration. Against this, JTtRC only used writers that might faucet into their cultural backgrounds, including an authenticity and vibrancy to the brand new settings. As a substitute of cliches or superficial trappings we get settings depth, nuance, and complexity. On the identical time, the adventures evoke common emotions of concern, grief, greed, and so forth., making the NPC’s motivations relatable.

Plus, I would like one thing recent in my leisure. I do know Grimm’s fairy tales, Tolkien, and all the related fantasy tales and parts. I have been asking my pals for ages, the place are the tales and video games from the cultures I do not know? In JTtRC venture leads Ajit George and F. Wesley Schneider discovered the correct group of creators to reply that query and empowered them to create new D&D worlds impressed by a wide range of real-world cultures.

I actually just like the Aztec-inspired tiefling and dwarf, simply to call two examples. I would like extra of that in D&D. I am undecided who determined that each one dwarves costume the identical, whatever the setting, and have a Scottish accent, but it surely’s been completed, loads. I really like the recent views JTtRC offers.

And very similar to Candlekeep Mysteries, a DM can return to JTtRC again and again for inspiration or sources. Use the title lists, repurpose maps and NPCs, place one of many settings in your world—there are plenty of choices.

Talking of which, JTtRC is promoted as having 13 adventures, but it surely really incorporates much more than that. Every journey ends with an inventory of 4 to 6 concepts to proceed the journey along with different journey seeds scattered by way of JTtRC. So should you want a brand new thought to your subsequent session, seize a chapter or journey immediate.

On prime of that, JTtRC has numerous room for enlargement. Leaving 12 of the Concordant Jewels unassigned so DMs can fill in what they need was sensible. So is all the materials to assist with becoming the citadel or one of many different areas into one other marketing campaign setting. This setting flexibility serves trendy D&D significantly better than the “fish bait” technique utilized by TSR, as described in Slaying the Dragon: The Secret Historical past of Dungeons & Dragons.

The adventures are stable. Which of them you like might rely upon your style, however there’s sufficient selection to have one thing that may attraction.

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So What’s Incorrect with JTtRC?

Little or no, for my part. I’ve my commonplace complaints, just like the artwork credit score captions ought to be simpler to learn within the bodily books like they’re within the D&D Past variations. I want the physique copy font was one measurement bigger. I want the books had an index. None of these are particular to JTtRC.

Do I want the gazetteers had been longer? Sure, however I am a sucker for world-building, settings, and so forth. It is laborious to provide me simply sufficient.

Every part else I might single out are extra alongside the traces of ideas than precise issues. For instance, the consumer expertise can be higher if WotC launched a PDF just like the Volo’s Waterdeep Enchiridion that they did for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, solely this PDF would accumulate the knowledge in every location’s gazetteer that is helpful for gamers creating characters from these worlds. Why? JTtRC is a ebook DMs are going to purchase excess of gamers. Within the ebook’s structure it’s kind of too straightforward for gamers to by chance see the journey’s conclusion whereas studying what they could want from the gazetteer. Hopefully the D&D Past model offers a simple method to break up these segments out for participant buy, however a PDF like VWE would additionally work. WotC might even have the proceeds from the PDF go to charity just like the Domains of Delight PDF benefited Further Life. Contemplating the themes of JTtRC, a refugee assist charity or World Central Kitchen can be good matches.

I really like that every part has a pronunciation information. I want they repeated the pronunciation on the monster entries as a substitute of constructing you flip backwards and forwards. Pronunciations in parentheses would have additionally been good within the title suggestion lists. Like I mentioned, these are probably the most nit-picky of ideas and never really reflecting any downsides or drawbacks to JTtRC.

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Conclusions​

Usually on this a part of a overview I give an inventory of things that may assist a reader work out if they will like the journey or not. Right here, that is a bit trickier due to how well JTtRC was crafted. Do not like anthologies? As I mentioned firstly, it might be run as one full marketing campaign, with out a lot work. Do not wish to run the whole lot? It is an anthology. Use what you want and ignore the remainder. Do not like horror? Skip the adventures with these parts.

Do not like new settings? I suppose that might be a factor, but it surely appears unlikely. You solely DM/play settings derived from fantasy Europe/Tolkien inspiration/and so forth.? I suppose that is attainable, but it surely feels to me like selecting to eat the identical sandwich day-after-day to your whole life.

So how does JTtRC evaluate to prior D&D releases? Extraordinarily properly. Though Journeys By way of the Radiant Citadel may be very completely different from Van Richten’s Information to Ravenloft the creativity, versatility, and high quality are equal. There is a sure symmetry to that since George pitched the idea of JTtRC after working with Schneider on VRGtR. It is also clear that each tasks had been labors of affection for the contributors.

So like VRGtR, Journeys By way of the Radiant Citadel earned an A+ from me. It is the breath of recent air I wished, and versatile sufficient to suit into not simply my present marketing campaign however any I’d run sooner or later. That is spectacular, and so is that this ebook. Extra, please, WotC.



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