Radiant Citadel's Bengali-inspired D&D adventure in 15 images

Mimi Mondal wrote “In the Mists of Manivarsha” as part of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.

Evyn Fong / Wizards of the Coast

Evyn Fong / Wizard of the Coast

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, due out July 19, is the next Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook from Wizards of the Coast.

The titular Radiant Citadel is a bastion of hope and harmony deep within the Ethereal Plane at the nexus of numerous worlds.

16 black and brown writers created 15 unique civilizations and 13 short adventures in this anthology, which explores fantastical variations on myths, legends, and cultures from the real world.

Standalone adventures span from levels 1 through 14, and they vary in tone from whimsical and light to dark and foreboding.

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We spoke with fiction writer Mimi Mondal about creating the world and people of Shankhabhumi as part of the level 9 adventure “In the Mists of Manivarsha,” and about the real-world inspirations behind it all.

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While the plot mostly remains a mystery, we know this:

A local champion goes missing after a deadly flood, leading to a search for her along the rivers of a vast swamp.

“I imagined Shankhabhumi to be a parallel of the Bengal region of South Asia, which includes Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of India, where I'm from,” Mondal tells Inverse.

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The Sundarbans in Bangladesh are vast, dense mangrove forests formed by the confluence of multiple rivers in the form of a delta. This geography is echoed in Shankhabhumi.

In Shankhabhumi, “Riverines” are sapient guardians that function as the patron spirits of each river in the region, and the people that live there pay homage to them.

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“Tinjhorna is a young river in a land where many young rivers spring up from season to season,” Mondal says, “and a genderfluid anthropomorphization in a language that doesn't have a gendered person pronoun.”


The natural habitat of the famous Bengal tigers is in the Sundarbans. Might we see some similar creatures in Shankhabhumi?

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According to ancient historians, the Gangaridai Empire in this area famously repelled Alexander the Great’s forces around 300 BC with the use of war elephants. Yet another potential friend or foe?

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“The swamp forest with the overhanging trees is almost entirely lifted from Ratargul Swamp Forest in Bangladesh,” Mondal says.

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The art straight out of the book definitely bears a striking resemblance.

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Mondal says the posture and color pallet for a character named Nisha is based on the Vajrayana Buddhist goddess Vajrayogini. This strain of Buddhism was partially developed in Bengal.

This particular depiction of Vajrayogini is indeed remarkably similar in color and pose.

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The stunning tea terraces of northern Bengal were a source of inspiration as well.

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Mondal also notes the tea gardens of Assam specifically.

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And we can’t forget the “red earths of Purulia.”

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The plains around the temples of Bagan grow lush in the rainy season.

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel will be released on July 19, 2022.

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