Just in time for the holiday season, Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons have released a new sourcebook. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a new sourcebook that is intended to serve as a supplement to the rules as-is for D&D. In the foreword of the book it says that you can use any combination of the rules, spells, items, or subclasses in your games. Or you can choose to ignore them altogether. I spent the better part of a day reading through the entire thing so I could bring you a quick and concise take on the book. And at a glance, “should I buy this or not?” The short answer if you’re serious about your Dungeons and Dragons is yes. Here are my favorite things about Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Ability Score Increases
Customization is paramount in Dungeons and Dragons. The entire game starts with the idea that you get to make your own hero in a land of fantasy. You get to personalize your own Frodo Baggins or Buttercup. So you pick your class and your race, each comes with pre-set or predetermined stats and traits of their own. For example, here’s what it says in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything in regards to Dwarves and their racial bonuses.
“Whatever D&D race you choose for your character, you get a trait called Ability Score Increase. This increase reflects an archetypal bit of excellence in the adventurers of this kind in D&D’s past. For example, if you’re a dwarf, your Constitution increases by 2, because dwarf heroes in D&D are often exceptionally tough.”-Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Wizards of the Coast
What this often leads to in Dungeons and Dragons, is depending on your class the player chooses a race whose stats compliment it. At the end of the day, even through the role-playing D&D is a numbers game and everyone wants to feel optimal. So, if I’m playing Rogue, Dexterity is my key stat. That means a Dragonborn with a bonus in Strength will never be as good of a choice as a Drow with a bonus in Dexterity.
Until now that is. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything posits that these racial bonuses are for the archetypal version of these races. Most Dwarves have a +2 to Constitution, but there may be some that grew up with a penchant for sneaking and having sticky fingers. That Dwarf, your version of that Dwarf, could have a bonus to dexterity instead. This now opens up all forms of class and race combinations that won’t leave players feeling suboptimal compared to the min-maxers in the group.
The Artificer Class
The Artificer Class isn’t exactly new to the world of Dungeons and Dragons. But, it’s not officially canonized with its addition in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Prior to this (like a lot of the subclasses in the book), it was considered playtest content. The Artificer in terms everyone can understand, is what would happen if you put Tony Stark in D&D. Artificers know magic and they know how to make things that blow up. There’s even a subclass of Artificer that is literally a magic-powered Iron Man suit.
If you don’t already have an Artificer at your table, or if you’ve never played one, that’s about to change very soon. From being able to create mundane magical item effects, to be able to create actual magical items. Artificers in the right hands can be a powerhouse. It’s technically a half-caster, similar to Paladins as their spell level only goes up to level 5. But, they can make for that by having an arcane armor set. Or a giant cannon on their shoulders. Or what about having a massive metal defender in the shape of a dog? The Artificer is bound to show up all over in your D&D community now that it’s considered balanced through playtesting and in the official source content.
What I love most about Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, is that there is something in here for everyone. Even if you have a character in a game you’ve been playing for years, there’s something for you. Every single class got new subclasses, ways to customize themselves even between those of their peers. Rogues can now choose between the Phantom Rogue or the Soulknife Rogue. Warlock’s can choose another Patron in the Fathomless One, or Druids can join a new Circle from the Spores, Stars, or Wildfire.
Even if you’re content with the subclass you already have, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also adds in new optional class features. These are features that every class gets at a determined level regardless of their subclass. Now, it’ll be up to your Dungeon Master to add them in mid-game. However, I think in most cases that shouldn’t be a problem since these features aim to fill in some gameplay flaws with most classes.
The best example of this is Steady Aim for Rogues. The entire tool kit of the Rogue revolves around their Sneak Attack mechanic. If they have an advantage on an attack, or if an ally is within 5 feet of their target, the Rogue can deal extra damage. But this relies a lot on your allies and if they’re not willing to help some turns you don’t get to do the one thing that makes you a rogue. So at the 3rd-level, you get the option to forgo your movement and use your bonus action to ensure you have an advantage. This now guarantees a rogue has some way to Sneak Attack every turn.
New Items, Spells and Feats
What would a new D&D Sourcebook be without a slew of new magic items, spells, and feats? Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has it all and there’s no way I could even begin to scratch the surface of the new inventory of magical miscellany. But, suffice it to say that this book is worth it for the extra feats, spells, and magic items you get to throw at your players. From magic tattoos to eight different summoning spells to magic items like the Astral Shard. This shard under the right circumstances (and for Sorcerer’s only) you can teleport 30 feet away. The book is ripe with amazing magical trinkets and such and those alone can spice up your D&D life.
This last one here is great for beginning Dungeon Masters. It’s not necessarily something new to Dungeons and Dragons and it’s possible your Dungeon Master is already utilizing this. However, it’s great to finally have this put into a sourcebook because if a group isn’t using this it’s an amazing strategy to put a whole new spin on your campaign.
The idea behind Group Patrons is that a single driving force or influence is behind your party. It could be an Adventurer’s Guild that’s called you all together for a mission. Or an academic institute that has hired you to help seek out and catalog new aberrant magic life forms around the city. It’s an easy and great way for Dungeon’s Master to be able to direct the overall story based on what the group wants to do. It could be an Ancient Being that has contacted each party member in their dreams to lead them toward a common purpose.
The group patrons have their own chapter in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and novice to the veteran Dungeon Master could get tons of ideas from it. It comes with eight different examples of Group Patrons including; a Criminal Syndicate, Religious Order, Aristocrat, and more.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is available to order from all major retailers that sell Wizards of the Coast products. You can also download or buy the digital version from places like DnDBeyond (that’s what I did!) for $30.
Feature Image Credit: Cover Art for Tashsa’s Cauldron of Everything from Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards of the Coast.