Ajit George Profile picture
Mar 30, 2022 17 tweets 4 min read Read on X
I'd like to share some thoughts I had on storytelling in Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel and how it might differ a little from other books. This thread should also give some insights into the process of how we made the book.

#RadiantCitadel #DesiDnD
On one side, we have great adventure paths that take you through an entire storyline to a final culmination and Big Bad. There are a lot of great ones and a favorite of mine for 5E is Curse of Strahd. These usually have a tight throughline—they’re like a movie or novel.
On the flip side are adventure anthologies that may share some thematic elements, but aren’t really linked or connected. They may even have been developed at totally different times, like the adventures in Tales of the Yawning Portal. They're a tv series like the Twilight Zone.
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel occupies an interesting middle-ground that I think of as something closer to a life path (I know this term is used in gaming in different ways). While adventure paths are great, they don’t resemble how we usually go through life.
There is never that much consistency, at least not for me, that would fit in an adventure path. Where I lived, the people in my life, what I want, what I cherish, etc have all changed so much from age 5 to 15 to 25, and so on. Our paths are messy, and sometimes incoherent.
We may have some key touchstones—a home or place, family or some lifelong friends, and some other key elements of our background—but much of the rest changes as we move through our lives and grow into ourselves. I think that’s part of the story of the Radiant Citadel.
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel had a long pipeline for the writers. We onboarded them in September ’20 and the last drafts came in July ’21. I wanted this time for several reasons, but in part, it was to ensure we were building something larger than our individual pieces.
There were two rounds of pitches; @FWesSchneider @the_strix & I reviewed each of them with many things in mind, including levels, themes, etc, but even things like geography/terrain. We wanted each adventure to build off of each other, hitting different notes and key points.
Additionally, at every stage, the writers got to see each other’s work on a shared platform: they saw each other’s pitches, locations, adventures, monsters, Pinterest boards for art that inspired them, etc. There were coworking video sessions and plenty of conversations.
We also had a dedicated peer-review period, where the writers were not only reading each other’s work but commenting and advising each other. All of this provided an opportunity to pull elements from one another, and riff off of each other.
Some of this is subtle, very subtle, in the final product. But some of this is very obvious and overt, including in the Radiant Citadel itself. And I believe what you end up with is a book that gives players a real life path that takes them from Level 1 and ends at Level 15.
There is no one story-ending Big Bad to fight (though the last one in the book IS epic). There is no one story being told. You will change over time, radically, in different ways. And embark on new paths. And I think all of that mimics our own lives, and how we go through them.
Yet, you will have your touchstones: The Radiant Citadel is very deeply and organically tied to each place and adventure and vice versa. You’ll have your family (your party) and your home (the Citadel), and more! And the themes of the book will resonate throughout.
As an aside, the “more” refers to the Dawn Incarnates who could be wise elders or mentors to your “family”, as well as other factions, NPCs, etc that can play different roles in the life of your character.

I'll talk about them more down the road.
I hope this helps give people an understanding of how one can approach Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel. Yes, absolutely, it’s modular and each piece can be taken individually and separately for your homebrew world or established D&D world campaigns.
But you can also play it straight from beginning to end & you’ll get a very fulfilling arc for your characters as their lives take twists & turns, discover new places & learn new things about themselves.

Whichever way you play the book, I hope you’ll find it deeply fulfilling.
@friede, you might be interested in this thread.

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More from @ajitgeorgeSB

Jul 26, 2022
How To Find the Radiant Citadel:

I've seen this question pop up, and the obvious answer to linking it is to use one of the missing Concord Jewels--for the PCs to discover it buried, or hidden in a giant statue or tower, etc.

But another way has to do with...Ravenloft.🦇
There is a bit of text in the Radiant Citadel about how the Auroral Diamond acts as a beacon for those lost and hopeless and being able to find the Citadel by following it's light. The text assumes you're on the Ethereal Plane, but that doesn't have to be the case.
I envision the Light of the Auroral Diamond as the counterpoint of the Mists of the Domains of Dread. The latter engulfs you--often whether you like it or not--and transports you into that doomed realm.
Read 7 tweets
Jun 29, 2022
With the first chapter of @Wizards_DnD's Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel out on @DnDBeyond, I'd love to talk about why I made some design choices and the idea of a "fragile utopia" in this thread!

#RadiantCitadel #dnd #solarpunk Image
The Radiant Citadel is solarpunk inspired city, a response to the grimdark we've seen in a lot of media, including other D&D cities. On the surface, it seems like a positive and relatively safe place to live.

Let's get into why I made those choices.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle

I've heard this quote a lot, but not in reverse. But I think that it's equally applicable--to appreciate the darkness, you need the light.
Read 19 tweets
Jun 24, 2022
Seeing some WEIRD takes about how this is the Democrats' fault.

Know who loves it when liberals eat their own? When progressives don't vote? REPUBLICANS.

That's the way they win.

Here is a quick lesson on how we got here.
In 2010 and 2014, Dems didn't show up in enough numbers to ensure the House and Senate remained in their hands, and we lost both. This radically changed our trajectory, including blocking Merrick Garland from an empty Supreme Court seat for ONE YEAR.
Then in 2016, Dems didn't show up in enough numbers to ensure Hillary Clinton won the presidency, so Trump got to select THREE VERY CONSERVATIVE Supreme Court Justices that changed the entire fate of our nation.
Read 6 tweets
Jun 24, 2022
We've now entered a period where a black-robed theocratic council of 5 men and 1 woman of near unlimited power to change the laws of the land and no accountability rules us. Rules our lives. Rules our bodies. Rules our natural surroundings.

Things are grim, but we can change it.
First: We need to ditch purity politics. IMMEDIATELY. We are imperfect, and we need to work with other imperfect people for imperfect compromises. The Republicans learned this decades ago--look who they elected to Congress!

We need to be strategic or we will continue to lose.
Second: We need to expand our hold over the House and get to 51 or 53 or whatever number of Democratic senators will vote to revert the filibuster to a talking one.

Then we need national laws protecting abortion, gun control, environmental protections, etc
Read 8 tweets
Apr 13, 2022
The Shieldbearers of the #RadiantCitadel are the ‘best of the best. Think ‘D&D special forces’. But they’ve got an intentional twist that asks some tough questions and poses added complexities that DMs can utilize and players can build stories from.

#dnd #ttrpg #desidnd
The Shieldbearers are deployed to hot zones, dropped into the worst situations. Their mission is to find & rescue people in danger. Their casualty rates are high; they’re true heroes of the Citadel.

The twist: The rules of engagement state they can only defend if attacked first.
They aren't allowed to impact the area or otherwise go on the offensive.

The leadership of the Citadel is wary of how intervention can cause unforeseen larger problems. Changing natural conditions, even for "good", can have a ripple effect that is unpredictable in its impact.
Read 18 tweets
Apr 6, 2022
Fun throwback to concept pieces for the #RadiantCitadel!

The first is the very first sketch ever drawn of the Radiant Citadel, done by @the_strix while I rambled at her after inspiration hit me while I was in bed reading. We jammed for hours on it.

#dnd #ttrpg #desidnd
I have lots of notes from that first conversation--here is a small taste: "This is the central location of [redacted], and it is a place of trade, diplomacy, learning, and mystery. The current occupants don't know where it came from but have occupied it and learned to use it."
"There are 15 mini-floating island-buildings. Each has a single building that is [redacted] corresponds to 1 of the 15 locations. Below the base-level of the central island-city will be a protruding gemstone geode that corresponds to one of the 15 locations."
Read 11 tweets

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