Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is a book of stories come to life, each of which is set in a place that draws its fantastical setting and culture from a different real-world cultural influence or inspiration, and all of which are rife with adventure. These cultures are all linked by the Radiant Citadel itself, a place they built together, lost for unknown reasons, and have only recently rediscovered. Characters can make the Radiant Citadel their home base, but also use it to travel to these different places and become part of a range of adventures that vary in tone, approach, and feel. There’s really something here for everyone.
In my adventure, “Written in Blood,” characters visit Godsbreath, home to a tightknit community that draws its inspiration from Black communities in the Southern US. Godsbreath’s gods brought them to this region of dangerous waters and once-abundant farmland many generations ago, and they have built a thriving community that celebrates its history by retelling it in an annual festival. But that all changes when t̶h̶e̶ ̶F̶i̶r̶e̶ ̶N̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ familiar faces attack. Soon characters are off on a journey to find out what’s happened and find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a Southern gothic horror adventure. What can I say? I love to make things creepy.
Part of the reason for my love of the macabre that is that I love the slow builds and sinking realizations of a good horror story. In a movie, it’s the moment when the music shifts to a minor key or the whistling wind starts sounding more like a moan. In a D&D adventure, it’s the descriptions and encounters in each part of the adventure that get creepier and creepier as you get closer to the horror at its core. I had some of the most fun as a writer creating some of the smaller details that just aren’t quite right in this adventure, and in all honesty, they could be creepier still! I’d love DMs to add even more and lean even further into the horror of the adventure.
This adventure isn’t just about putting a bit of that Ravenloft feel into a new setting, though. I hope players see Godsbreath as a place they can come back to even after this adventure ends. After all, there are still Nightwater Cove islands to explore, corners in the port city of Promise worth looking into, and the looming question of just why the farming land of the Ribbon is going barren and what drastic actions may need to be taken to save it. But more than anything else, I hope that players finish the adventure saying, as one of my favorite composers, Stephen Sondheim, might put it, “It made me feel excited…well, excited and scared.”
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