DnD Radiant Citadel setting was “inspired by Ravenloft 5e”

The Radiant Citadel is a vibrant D&D locale found floating in the mists of the Ethereal Plane. From what we’ve seen of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel so far, this is a DnD setting filled with life, colour, and political joy. It may come as a surprise, then, that the next D&D book was born on the darkest of DnD planes – the Domains of Dread.

In an interview with Wargamer on June 8, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel co-lead Ajit George confirmed he came up with the idea for the adventure anthology while writing for Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. According to George, D&D book lead F. Wesley Schneider had invited him to create a domain for the Gothic horror setting. Schneider would later go on to become the co-lead for Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel alongside George.

“[Schneider] said, ‘Hey, would you like to write for Ravenloft? You can do one of the established domains that are part of lore, or you can create something original’”, Ajit George told Wargamer. “Creating something original was important for me, particularly because I wanted to represent a piece of India”.

This original content turned out to be the Kalakeri domain. A lush rainforest corrupted by the feuds and curses of its Darklord Ramya Vasavadan, this was where the first seeds of the Radiant Citadel were sown. “As I was writing this, I just sort of fell in love”, George said. “I did tons of research, and I just had too much material for the book. I wanted to do more, and I wanted to create more.”

“I realised that in the process of writing for it, it would be wonderful to have a book written by people of colour talking to their cultures, their lived experiences, their myths, and their stories”, George added. The pandemic kept George from travelling for his non-profit job, so he pitched the idea for a D&D book created by black and brown writers to Schneider and game designer Jeremy Crawford.

DnD Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel book and alternative cover

“It was going to be a little bit like the Domains of Dread,” George explained, “with these different regions and locations, but inspired by the cultures of the different people of colour that were writing on it”. Scheider and Crawford apparently loved the idea, and the rest is history.

With the new, delayed release date for Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel approaching, we’ll soon be able to see if any other parallels to Ravenloft appear in the book. You’ll also be able to hear more about the book from Ajit George in a future feature, so keep a close eye on Wargamer for more Radiant Citadel titbits.

Want to learn more about the world of D&D? Try out our DnD cities guide. Or, if you’re looking to play, check out some of the best DnD campaigns for 5e.