“Salamander Ambush” by Tom Babbey.Image: Wizards of the Coast
The Radiant Citadel is not a dungeon. It’s a way stop, a place for Dungeons & Dragons characters to rest on the road … specifically, roads to and from the various dimensional worlds of D&D. It’s a place where any player can find themselves, perhaps embarking on the 13 adventures found in the upcoming Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel anthology — and io9 has an exclusive look at one of them.
The Radiant Citadel is known for its diversity, being home to so many widely varied cultures from across the multiverse. The creators of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel were just as diverse, bringing their histories and lives and cultures together to make a Dungeons & Dragons location unlike any other. That includes Tletepec, created by Alastor Guzman, along with its accompanying adventure “Trail of Destruction.” It boasts new gods, characters, and monsters, inspired by Guzman’s youth in Mexico City. Here, Guzman explains what and who players can expect in Tletepec, and how GMs can make the most of it — all along with some gorgeous artwork.
Linda Codega, io9: Can you tell me a little about Tletepec, the area of the Citadel where “Trail of Destruction” takes place? Typically, when I think of ancient Mexico / Aztec settings, I imagine lush jungles and farmland, and this seems very different.
Alastor Guzman: Mesoamerican cultures are often tied to lush jungles as common in the south of Mexico. The Mexico City valley, where the Mexica dwelled, is a highland between several mountain ranges, generating a forest biome. While Mexico City has an active volcano, earthquakes are frequent. I wanted to explore how civilization would develop where these conditions are more prevalent and you have magic to counter it.
io9: I would love to know more about the characters of Ollin and Xocopol. They have such eye-catching, bright designs.
Guzman: The idea for Ollin came from one of the cores of Tletepec, which is the idea of embracing life and enjoying it. This draws from my own experience because Mexican culture is about enjoying everything. One of the main ideas came from our Day of the Dead, where the ambient, mournful, is full of joy. I wanted to convey that with Ollin, even during disasters, you can always smile and seek art.
For Xocopol, I wanted to create a different concept for fire giants, something that is in the region and can interact with the offerings of the gods all the same. The core idea for Xocopol as an encounter is that he is interfering with the offerings and has his own agenda but is not directly antagonistic to the characters unless attacked. I wanted to give options in the adventure to show that you can also save the day talking with people and understanding their points of view.