TASHA, TASHA, TASHA
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
She's here. She's finally here! Tasha's Cauldron of Everything releases today in book stores, friendly local game shops, and on digital through D&D Beyond and Roll 20.
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything represents the largest Fifth Edition rules expansion since 2017, when Xanathar's Guide dropped.
It is 192 pages of bliss, for new and old 5e fans alike. Usually the purchase recommendation comes at the end, and comes with some caveats.
Not this time. Buy this book.
And here's why:
30 new subclasses, including 22 not previously published.
New magic items.
Rules for group patrons.
New locations for campaign settings.
It's real. And it's spectacular.
What's in it
A lot of the new content keys off of proficiency bonus, which is a new design feature, so abilities more effectively scale with level. For example, you can use X ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, regain uses after X rest.
They also introduce a number of extremely powerful limited use abilities which don't return for a d4 or d6 number of long rests.
The book also introduces some optional rules for classes, which change how the PHB classes work. Of course they are pending DM discretion, but the intention is to slightly alter how base classes work.
The biggest change is to how characters are made. Players no longer have to choose between optimization and roleplaying, as race has changed.
In 2 pages, the origin feature fundamentally changes 40 years of character creation.
Let's say you're a Dwarf. You get +2 Constitution. Dwarves are hardy. But what if you skipped cardio in favour of hitting the books? Well now you're allowed to apply that +2 to Intelligence instead. Or Dexterity. Or Charisma. Race is no longer determinative on how you build your character. You also get to pick your starting language.
You can also make some other changes:
Swap a skill proficiency for a skill proficiency
Armor proficiency for a simple/martial weapon or tool proficiency
Simple weapon proficiency for a simple weapon or tool proficiency
Martial weapon proficiency for a simple martial weapon or tool proficiency
Tool proficiency for a tool or simple weapon proficiency
But what if you don't care about race at all.
Tasha's got you covered with the Lineage system.
You become a humanoid. You pick your size, your skills, your stat bump (+2); you get a feat, and some languages, and you get a special trait like darkvision or an extra skill.
You fully control how to build your character, unconstrained by racial constructs, or how game designers THINK your character should be.
It's a really nice system and I think people will be playing all sorts of wacky combinations now that you can more or less make any race and class options optimal.
Artificer gets reprinted in Tasha's with a new subclass, The Armorer, and focuses on enhancing armor for attack and defense.
Barbarian option rules include primal knowledge, which grants new Barbarian skills at 3rd and 10th levels, and instinctive pounce, which allows you to move up to half your speed as a part of your bonus action to rage.
Path of the Beast is all all about embracing the beast within, and manifest claws or teeth which they can use to attack, while Path of Wild Magic is all about taming the magic within.
Bards gain a broader spell list, and inspiration dice can now be applied to healing and damaging spells as well.
The College of Eloquence is reprinted, but the College of Creation is new, and is all about building something from nothing, animating it, and using it to help you.
Clerics get some new features which see new spells and they can now can uses of their channel divinity to recover spent spell slots, though it's limited to half proficiency bonus, rounded up, so it’s not recovering the big guns.
Blessed strikes adds a bit of damage but this feature replaces divine strike or potent spellcasting.
The three new domains are order, peace, and twilight.
Order is devoted to law and discipline, Peace is about cajoling and charm, and the Twilight domain is about embracing the darkness.
Druids gain new spells and the ability to summon a fey companion using wildshape, and introduce Circles of Spores, Stars, and Wildfire.
Circle of Spores allows the manifest of helpful spores, which you can eventually use to animate a corpse, Stars allows a new form which allows you to enhance your abilities and become resistant to some damage, and WIldfire well. Burninating is really your forte.
Fighters get new fighting styles like like blind fighting, interception, superior technique, thrown weapon fighting, and unarmed fighting.
They also get some new maneuvers which are quite varied, allowing the spending of superiority die on Stealth and Investigation checks.
The new subclasses include the Psi Warrior and the Rune Knight. The Psi Warrior is the first class fueled by Psionic power in Tasha's and Rune Knights used carved inscriptions to upgrade themselves, eventually being able to increase their size to huge.
Monks gain some new attack options and ways to use their Ki, and they can also spend Ki to reroll missed attacks.
The Way of Mercy is like a field medic or plague doctor and the Way of the Astral Self is all about elevating one's self about the mortal coil, because the physical form is an illusion.
Paladins get new spells and some new fighting styles, including Blind Fighting, Interception, and Blessed Warrior, which allows for the addition of Cleric cantrips.
Oath of Glory is reprinted from Theros, but the Oath of the Watchers is new and dedicated to fighting extraplanar incursions to the mortal coil. Their aura adds to initiative (sick) and at their most powerful their strikes can banish extraplanar creatures.
Rangers get a lot of love. The natural explorer trait is replaced, which increases as rangers level:
Level 1, Canny, gives expertise and gains two additional languages.
Level 6, Roving, increases walking speed and gains swimming and climbing speeds.
Level 10, Tireless, gives you the ability to grant yourself temp hit points and remove a level of exhaustion on rests.
Favored foe changes favoured enemy slightly, it basically works Hunter's Mark that improves with level.
The new subclasses include Fey Wanderer and Swarmkeeper, and the Beastmaster gets upgraded with Primal Beast companions.
Rogues gain steady aim, which gives advantage as a bonus action, but only if you haven't moved and your speed becomes zero.
Their new subclasses Phantom (which is building a connection to death itself) and Soulknife (which powers roguey goodness with Psionics are both very cool.
Sorcerers gain new spells and access to new metamagics including seeking spell and transmuted spell, the latter allows you to sub out a damage type for flexibility.
The Aberrant Mind subclass is a Psionic Monstrosity and eventually you can cast your psionic spells with sorcery points, and the Clockwork Soul is fueled by order and can remove advantage or disadvantage.
Warlocks gain the Pact of the Talisman, which allows for some neat abilities including adding to failed checks, but also include new invocations as well.
The Fathomless subclass is water-based and the Genie varies but provides the powerful limited wish: a free casting of a level six spell that takes effect immediately, but it can’t be used again for 1d4 long rests.
Wizards see the Order of the Scribes subclass, a very traditional bookish interpretation of Wizards whose spellbook becomes awakened and an ally of sorts.
Bladesinger is also reprinted, and well: it's open to non-elves now.
Many of the feats in Tasha's are similar in concept to the martial adept feat from the PHB, which gives you a bit of the powers of the fighter class in limited quantity.
Eldritch adept, for example gives you a warlock invocation, and artificer initiate allows you a some Artificer spells and abilities.
You can even gain some metamagic abilities if you’re not a Sorcerer, but you only gain two sorcery points that can’t be refreshed unless you actually have levels in the class.
The Prodigy feat from Xanathar's, which allowed humans to gain a bunch of things, is now reborn as Skill Expert, useable by any race, grating a stat boost, a proficiency and an expertise.
There are also the Crusher, Slasher, or Piercer feats which improve the effects of the weapons you wield.
The group patrons section is interesting, it provides rules on governing organizations that can lead your heroes to adventure. Each different patron provides unique resources and training. It’s likely if you’re running a homebrew campaign, you’ve already done something similar, but it’s a nice guide for players who are newer to the game
Just buy it
If you have even a passing interest in D&D Tasha's is for you. It adds so much to the game that it's almost impossible to imagine not owning it.
Cost is always a factor, particularly now. There's lots of previews that have been released so far, which provide a ton of new content to explore, even if you can't afford the book.
A review copy of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything was provided in advance.