Tasha’s Cauldon of Everything is packed with new mechanics to add to the game. The expansion of racial options, which reduces but doesn’t eliminate the bioessentialism in D&D, and the new class options was the focus of most of the attention of previews. Now that the book is in the hands of the masses there a few other things that deserve your eyeballs, your character sheet, and your campaign.
Wizards provides this handy list about how to get your handses [in voco Gollum] on the book, but we strongly recommend supporting your local gaming store. The main digital play tools all have Tasha’s at this time and are in various stages of integration for what is a massive update and reworking of character creation.
Lean Into Personalization
While every player-facing book in 5th edition talks about creating your character’s identity through minor reskinning of features, none go as heavy into this as Tasha’s. There aren’t just lists. Through the ample use of sidebars and even art, the designers make it clear that your character is yours, and how that character presents itself is up to you.
The art with the chicken-shaped Magic Missiles is the most clear demonstration of this concept.
I’m leaning into this with a Swarmkeeper Ranger whose swarm is a bunch of terriers. They can nip the opponent’s heals, overwhelm them and force them to move, pull me to safety, and even fetch my spent ammunition after the fight.
Make the world yours, that’s what Tasha would do.
Battle Master Builds
The Fighter’s two non-magical subclasses from the Player’s Handbook can lack the identifying traits that connect them to fantasy literature in ways that every other subclass does. Tasha’s helps solve this by providing some sample builds for the Battle Master.
Each example includes the fighting styles, maneuvers, and feats that help create a cohesive identity rather than have a character that is merely a collection of mechanics.
With a sampling of those mechanics and about 50 words your Battle Master transforms into a representation of the legendary heroes of yore, that is uniquely yours.
Many, many, many blogs, vids, podcasts and articles over the decades have focused on Session Zero. Nowhere has the concept been laid out as clearly in a book produced by the maker of the game.
Adding this guide to what will almost certainly be the 4th best selling book in the arsenal of official products will help so many people who want to try the game. New players and new DMs will have a foundation upon which to establish their own social contract.
Scheduling play sessions during a global pandemic are a different struggle than they were in the Before Times. Getting a group together, using the same technology. In games with only 1 or 2 PCs having a sidekick can help solve the issues of game balance and limit the chances of a total party kill. They also fit the stories we try to tell.
Here, again, the creators used art to provide examples of the variety of sidekicks that can be created through the three “classes.”
The Expert shows up as a tortle scout/navigator, a winged kobold with some kind of charm, and a kenku historian/sage. The three versions of the Spellcaster are a bullywug wizard, a goblin mage (love that pink dress), and a tabaxi oracle with a pack of extra large scrolls. For the Warrior the art is of an aasimar with a sword & shield, a wolf, and a firbolg chef ready to smash someone with a cast iron pan.
Each of the 13 core classes (Artificer is in two books, it’s core now in my mind) has a icon that represents them. These small images are not new (they’re in the Player’s Handbook), they are just more obvious in their presentation within Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
They’re a clean look that I hope to see on merch at some point. Many third-party D&D inspired jewelers and apparel companies use class iconography. There is no reason why Wizards shouldn’t embrace this as well.
People have been homebrewing versions of this for years, but including it in such a common book is important. D&D is, at its core, a combat game. But it doesn’t have to be and more rules to demonstrate that are good.
Hints, Allegations, Rumors of What’s to Come
Hidden within Tasha’s in character conversations and the rules sidebars are a plethora of hints about the future of the game. All attempts to figure out what these mean will be futile fun. Search them all and you too can shout “[setting name] confirmed.”
What are you looking forward to using from Tasha’s?