Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel’s Wage of Vice explores greed and sorrow

Your heroes arrive in Zinda, the capital of N’wari, and the atmosphere is festive. It’s time for the March of Vice, a carnival-like celebration where revelers throw their sins and vices into the sea. It’s loud and colourful. There’s street food and rides and a huge Mardi Gras-style parade. And then they trip over a dead body.

This is the basic hook for Wages of Vice, a level five D&D adventure written by TK Johnson in the coming Travel through the radiant citadel. Throughout the adventure, players will encounter betrayal, political assassination, the dangers of a plutocratic ruling class, a rapacious new guild master, labor organizers, and a vampiric boo hag.

The eponymous Radiant Citadel, a massive floating city at the heart of the Ethereal Plane, provides the launching pad for new voices in the world(s) of D&D. The Radiant Citadel was founded long ago by races from 27 different civilizations, mysteriously abandoned, and then rediscovered by 15 of those civilizations. The city is a vibrant backdrop in its own right, but it also creates connections to the Material Plane through Conchord Jewels, which connect the Radiant Citadel to new races and locations that haven’t yet explored the official D&D locales.

Art from Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel's

Image: KNIIO/Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast welcomed writers who could contribute their own stories Radiant citadel and celebrate their “lived heritage and our communities, not just racially but culturally,” Johnson said. Everything from the festival to the Boo Hag to the setting of Zinda and N’wari is inspired by Johnson’s own family history in places like Louisiana and the Caribbean, along with the folklore of Gullah Geechee.

“I was delighted to be involved in a project where we could celebrate our identity rather than make it some kind of exotic other,” Johnson told Polygon. “I’m really excited that we have all these new hires.”

Johnson’s Adventure is a tale of unsolved murders set against a backdrop of greed, power and control. Wages of Vice examines, as Johnson put it, “how far people go to indulge their vices.” While the capital city of Zinda thrived on the export of a unique plant, a new guildmaster named Madam Samira has risen to the ranks of the Kings of Coin, the city’s ruling class. Her connection to this plant, its creation and the greed of Zinda’s plutocracy, along with Samira’s personal grief, forms the backdrop to the adventure. The rulers that Madam Samira has joined “will only risk their family heritage for a little bit of money and power”. It’s up to the adventurers to discover all of this while also grappling with murders and a Haitian-inspired vampire known as the Soucriant.

Artwork from Journeys through the Radiant Citadel's Wages of Vice showing a festival descending into chaos.

Image: Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe/Wizards of the Coast

But Wages of Vice doesn’t have to be solved through retaliation and violence. through Radiant citadel‘s Adventure the authors wanted to refrain from punching problems until they are fixed. Johnson explained, “One of our great things that we’ve talked about as a whole group of writers is that there are many ways that our adventures can be resolved without violence. Most adventures have non-violent options to solve them.”

Johnson wants Wages of Vice to fit in Radiant citadelThe larger solarpunk and hopepunk themes of optimism and community. Sure, D&D can be a “knife box you’re given to fix any problem,” but Johnson says they wanted to avoid that where they could. “Even though Samira and the Kings of Coin try to use this to their advantage, you don’t have to.”

Travel through the radiant citadel will be available in stores and online on July 19, and hardcover copies are $44.99. It will also be available in digital formats for $29.99 including on Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and via the D&D Beyond toolset. Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel’s Wage of Vice explores greed and sorrow

Charles Jones

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