What Do I Know About Reviews? Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel (D&D 5e)
There is so much going on in the RPG hobby right now. Between supply chain issues and fewer conventions happening over the last few years, I had forgotten what it was like for companies to make all their big announcements at one time. In addition, there is a lot going on just in D&D, and a lot going on just in WotC first party D&D. But there was an exceptional product that came out recently that I want to get as much focus as it can get, namely, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.
That said, many people have said insightful and meaningful things about the book itself. One of my favorite things about the DMs Guild has been those instances where designers get to provide “director’s cut” material for the products they have worked on. So today, I wanted to look at Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel, a supplementary DMs Guild product by some of the designers of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.
I did not receive a review copy of this product and purchased it on my own. While I haven’t had a chance to use either Journeys Beyond or Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, I have read through some of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, and I’m pretty familiar with D&D 5e both from the player side and the DM side.
Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel
Project Lead: Anthony Joyce-Rivera
Writers: Dominique Dickey, Ajit A. George, Basheer Ghouse, Alastor Guzman, Mario Ortegón, Pam Punzalan, Erin Roberts, Terry H. Romero
Senior Editor: Taylor Navarro
Graphic Design and Layout: Gordon McAlpin
Cover Illustrator: Kim Miranda
Interior Illustrators: Alaa Al khalifah, Than Altair-Universe, Alyce Ank, Sabaa Bismil, Irina “Kirobin” Galvez, Kimberly Leong, Gordon McAlpin, Naomi Ovalle, Caitlin Rogers, Louise Kay Uy, Matthew Willetto
Cartographer: Mario Ortegón
Beyond the Pages
So, what does this look like? This is a PDF release with 31-pages. This includes a combined credits/contents page, an introduction page, a one-page appendix for a new magic item, and a new map of San Citlan.
The Grand Tour
Journeys Beyond the Radiant Citadel is broken up into the following sections:
- Atagua Gazetteer
- Dayawlongon Gazetteer
- Godsbreath Gazetteer
- San Citlan Gazetteer
- Sensa Empire Gazetteer
- Tayyib Empire Gazetteer
- Tletepec Gazetteer
While all of these are designated as Gazetteers, not all of them expand their settings in the same way. Because all the regions where adventures take place get a gazetteer in Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, what ends up in this book feels like additional parts that could be appended to those gazetteers. While they are informative, they are obviously meant to supplement the material in the main anthology.
- The Atagua Gazetteer is primarily eight new encounters to use in the region, three of which are designed to work in the grasslands beyond El Caparazon. It also introduces a terrifying and ingenious concept, the rust tick.
- The Dayawlongon Gazetteer features a little more history, as well as some details of additional locations. It features five new suggested encounters for the region, as well as a new background, the binukot, which allows PCs to take on the role of a similar character introduced in the adventure in the hardcover.
- The Godsbreath Gazetteer adds some additional information on locations, as well as a “job board” that can be added at a specific part of the adventure in the anthology. It provides more detail on the Godsbreath Covenant of deities, as well as the Proclaimer background. It wraps up with four more suggested encounters.
- The San Citlan Gazetteer starts off with a description of the more modern magical inventions native to the location, including streetlights, tramways, trains, and plumbing. It includes three sample encounters, but also summarizes the suggested level ranges for each. While most of the other summary encounters are one or two paragraphs, these fill a half to full page of detail. If you are a fan of the El Santo monster hunting genre, there is an encounter here just for you.
- The Sensa Empire Gazetteer starts off with additional history, as well as a profile of Diara, King of Anisa (complete with trait, ideal, bond, and flaw). There are further details on Anisa, Niba, and Tarikh, and in addition to three example encounters, there is also an “Adventures in the Sensa Empire” random table with additional adventure seeds.
- The Tayyib Empire Gazetteer gives additional information to one of the civilizations details in the “Beyond the Radian Citadel” section, detailing the lands most recently reconnected to the Radiant Citadel. This section gives more details on the aftermath of the recent civil war and the undead rampant because of it, as well as some expanded locations in the city of Qaragarh. There are also two example half-page encounters for the region.
- The Tletepec Gazetteer starts by detailing legends surrounding the Ashrise, a time when the land will be changed and prepared for the slumbering creatures bound to the twin gods associated with the local volcanoes. It goes on to detail several omens associated with this legend. There are three factions introduced, including favors they could bestow for those that advance their causes. There are two new Boons included as supernatural gifts. There is also a table of random adventure seeds, and two sample encounters.
Blessings of the Dawn Incarnates
As supplementary material, a lot of these gazetteers help to make the associated regions more fleshed out for longer-term campaigns, beyond the adventure that occurs there. That also means that for the higher-level adventures in the anthology, characters can adventure in these regions with more material until they reach the recommended level for different content. Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, while an adventure anthology, is just as compelling as a potential campaign setting book, so anything that supplements that and allows for more long-term campaigns is a bonus.
My biggest complaints are unfair to some degree. I would love to have access to a deluxe edition of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel that incorporates this material as well, which isn’t particularly likely. The only other real complaint I could muster is that each of the gazetteers doesn’t follow exactly the same format, although when compared to the material that did get covered in the hardcover anthology if everything were integrated, there would be a lot more uniformity in presentation. That’s basically just my silly human brain wanting all of my patterns to be similar.
Qualified Recommendation–A product with lots of positive aspects, but buyers may want to understand the context of the product and what it contains before moving it ahead of other purchases.
Given how logically all this material flows into the various sections of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, it’s pretty easy to recommend this as a supplement to that book. This product alone has some neat ideas, but they work best when they can build on the other material from the original anthology. But this was never really meant to be a stand-alone work.
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is one of the most exciting things to hit Dungeons & Dragons in a long time, and if the book seized your imagination, I doubt you’ll be unhappy adding this to your collection.