Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is the summer ’22 release from WOTC for D&D 5e.
With promises of exciting adventures taking inspiration from real-world cultures and perspectives, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel aims to bring new and interesting influences into your D&D game.
Anticipation for this book has been high, to say the least. So, let’s dive in and see what awaits you in the Radiant Citadel and the worlds beyond it!
This is the Tabletop Joab review of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel for D&D 5e!
What is Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel seeks to address the elephant in the room.
Specifically, much of D&D (and the Fantasy genre in general) is heavily rooted in Western European culture and mythology.
This means that depictions of other cultures are done through a certain lens of “the other.”
Even if a setting is meant to be “inspired by” a certain real-world culture, it runs the risk of becoming a caricature that can be insensitive and even outright offensive.
Each adventure within Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is inspired by real-world cultures and perspectives.
Written by people of color who are marrying their perspective with the storytelling power of D&D, this is a way to experience new flavors of fantasy inspired outside of that traditional Western European root.
Adventures and Structure
There are 13 adventures in Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.
Additionally, there is the “hub” of the titular Radiant Citadel and two more lands where DMs are given tools to create their own adventures.
|Adventure||Character Levels||Inspired By||Writer|
|Salted Legacy||1 – 2||Thai||Surena Marie|
|Written in Blood||3||Southern US||Erin Roberts|
|The Fiend of Hollow Mine||4||Mexican||Mario Ortegón|
|Wages of Vice||5||Gullah||T.K. Johnson|
|Sins of Our Elders||6||Korean||Stephanie Yoon|
|Gold for Fools and Princes||7||Mali||Dominique Dickey|
|Trail of Destruction||8||Aztec||Alastor Guzman|
|In the Mists of Manivarsha||9||Bengali||Mimi Mondal|
|Between Tangled Roots||10||Philippines||Pam Punzalan|
|Shadow of the Sun||11||Iranian||Justice Ramin Arman|
|The Nightsea’s Succor||12||West African||D. Fox Harrell|
|Buried Dynasty||13||Chinese||Felice Tzehuei Kuan|
|Orchids of the Invisible Mountain||14||Venezuelan||Terry H. Romero|
|Beyond the Radiant Citadel – Tayyib Empire||–||Middle East and South Asia||Basheer Ghouse|
|Beyond the Radiant Citadel – Umizu||–||Japanese||Miyuki Jane Pinckard|
The structure of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is very similar to last year’s anthology: Candlekeep Mysteries (review here!).
Each chapter can easily be worked into your existing campaign as a part of the overall adventure.
Alternatively, the party can find the Radiant Citadel and use that as a hub for traveling to each of the adventures and locations within this book.
While most of the adventures within this book can be run in a single 4-hour session, DMs have plenty to work with if the group wants to stay in a location longer.
Most of this information is included at the end of each chapter as a gazetteer with lots of additional lore, legends, and hooks for making your own additional adventures for each location.
Who is Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel For?
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is entirely intended for Dungeon Masters. Unless you are considering picking up the DM mantle, there is nothing here for players.
If you’re looking to run all or most of the adventures in this book, using the “hub” of the Radiant Citadel makes that easy and straightforward.
That said, it works best if viewed like a season of Star Trek. Because each of these adventures can be run in one or two sessions, there’s a strong episodic feeling if you’re taking Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel as a whole.
If you’re running all the adventures in this book, it’s an excellent option for more casual “Monster of the Week” type sessions. Personally, I view this as a very strong selling point.
Otherwise, these adventures can be worked into nearly any existing campaign with relative ease. If there is one that fits what you’re doing in your current campaign, you should have no trouble working it in.
But I understand that not everyone wants a quick and casual adventure.
For those who are looking for a large, sweeping adventure of epic proportions, you should probably look elsewhere.
(I’d recommend checking out my review of Call of the Netherdeep which also came out this year!)
There are a ton of adventures in Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel that I found to be exciting, rich, and imaginative.
But a few especially stand out to me.
Hands down, my favorite adventure in this book is “The Fiend of Hollow Mine.” If I can manage to show some restraint until October, I will absolutely be using this for my annual Halloween one-shot.
Taking place on the Night of the Remembered (inspired by Día de los Muertos) it’s an exciting and chilling adventure that also pulls heavily on the heartstrings.
Other standouts include “In the Mists of Manivarsha”, “Written in Blood”, “Between Tangled Roots”, and “Shadow of the Sun.”
But even beyond this selection of my personal top five adventures from this book, each adventure brought something exciting and new to the table.
A couple (specifically “Wages of Vice” and “Sins of Our Elders”) will require some extra work from the DM.
They have excellent hooks and characterization but feel a little thin for such strong adventure premises. I get the sense that some bits were edited out that might have otherwise put these over the top (in a good way!)
Pros and Cons
Before we move on to the final verdict of this release, let’s just look over the specific pros and cons real quick.
- Brilliantly diverse and imaginative worlds and adventures
- Excellent for groups that like a lot of variety and “quick, casual” gameplay
- Adventures easily plug into most existing campaigns
- Lots of room for DM creativity in each adventure
- No player options
- While memorable, there are only 11 new monsters
- DM creativity and prep work is required
- Adventures are short with some feeling railroaded as written
Is Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel Worth Buying?
All in all, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is worth adding to your shelf at the right price. I don’t know that it’s worth the full MSRP of $50, but it’s a good buy around the $25 to $30 mark.
There’s a freshness to Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel that I found incredibly exciting.
For a more casual group that just wants to get together and roll some dice without stressing about huge plots, this is very accessible.
For groups that prefer a larger, sweeping epic adventure, the adventures in this book can make for excellent side quests.
While there aren’t many new monsters here, most are very memorable. The ferret-like Aurumvorax from “Gold for Fools and Princes” and the tlacatecolo from “The Fiend of Hollow Mine” particularly introduce some very fun and terrifying mechanics.
Lastly, the adventures within Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel also serve as a type of guide.
They help DMs ditch the “plastic”, shallow, and stereotype-driven way of pulling inspiration from real-world cultures when worldbuilding.
By better understanding the heart of those cultures and viewpoints, it will help DMs learn to pick up on the finer nuances of those cultures (both real and fantasy) and develop a deeper appreciation for them.
I hope you’ve found this review of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel helpful!
There were a lot of promises being made when this book was announced. To be honest, I was a little worried about whether it would meet the expectations being set out.
But I’m personally very happy with the direction that they took this release. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the Radiant Citadel in the future!
As the D&D multiverse continues to expand, I can only imagine what other secrets might be out there!
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