One of the things that Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition has done well are the anthology adventures. Books such as Ghosts of the Saltmarsh and Candle Keep Mysteries are invaluable aids for DMs with limited time and eager players. Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel is the latest offering and easily the best yet.
Much like Candlekeep Adventures, this is partially a campaign setting, but mostly so Dungeon Master’s have a framework to hang new stories on. The titular citadel is a place that exists freely within the ethereal plane; unconnected to the many worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, defended by heroic folk known as Shieldbearers. Made from massive gem stones and home to gem-like animal shaped incarnate spirits, The Citadel is a home for all sorts of people across the multiverse. It has become a safe-haven for many. The various cultures who call this place home are constantly learning and borrowing ideas from each other, which means it has food, art and music unique to this one place. It is intended as a pleasant, safe haven for the party, but also one that’s flexible enough to accommodate all sorts of bizarre and wonderful character ideas.
The book features 13 short adventures for levels 1 to 14, with the writing talent drawn from a wide and diverse pool of games creators. The citadel features a magical (plot) device called the Concord Jewel, which connect the Citadel to distant lands on the material plane. Different adventures take the party to different places and a short guide at the end of each adventure (called a gazetteer) provides setting material and further plot hooks. These lands are less ‘new whole settings’ and more interesting places from across the multi-verse.
The book itself is produced at the usual standard we’ve come to expect from Fifth Edition D&D books; clear layouts, straight forward yet accessible design and absolutely loads of pretty art. Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel is crammed with inspirational and appropriate art. A lot of it stretches the boundaries of standard D&D fare whilst still keeping it in theme.
The first adventure, Salted Legacy is about feuding merchants in the city, and is a fun introduction with some silly potential resolutions. Written in Blood begins as a simple players versus the undead story, but has enough depth to allow players to go deeper. The Fiend of Hollow Mine takes place during a day when the dead return to visit their loved ones, whereas Wages of Vice is more a political thriller/murder mystery. All of the adventures have been done with a deft hand, drawing inspiration from real-world cultures but in a sensible, lived-in and well thought out way.
At it’s heart Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel is an adventure collection that has something for everyone, no matter who you are. Wizards of the Coast have listened to it’s broad and diverse player-base and produced something that’s a little bit special. Most of the adventures can be tackled without violent conflict (if that’s how you like to play), or you can just smash through the citadel and it's attached states, wreaking havoc as you go. It’s D&D, if you’re all having fun then it’s valid.
This book is a solid toolkit, and one of the best D&D books produced this year. Recommended.