A brew of great new subclasses, spells, rule options and so much more makes Tasha’s the go to rule companion for D&D 5e.
Natasha the dark, famed and powerful witch, daughter of Baba Yaga herself, shares her knowledge of the world (which is extensive by the way). Much like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, you get 192 pages of glorious new stuff including 30 new subclasses, an entirely new class (the tinkering artificer), additional options for existing subclasses such as new beast master companions and battle master builds, 15 new feats, rules on group patrons, 21 new spells, 47 new magic items, options for using magical tattoos, sidekicks, effects of supernatural regions, natural and magical hazards and 13 puzzles that can easily be inserted into any adventure with options for adapting each puzzle and resources for running these puzzles.
That’s a lot of stuff! So before you jump in and purchase we’re here to take you through each section so you know if this is the right addition to your D&D 5e library! Here’s the sections below:
- Character Options
- Group Patrons
- Magical Miscellany
- Dungeon Master’s Tools
Nearly half of Tasha’s is made up of new character options making this a worthy addition to your book collection whether you’re a player or a Dungeon Master. The addition of the artificer class (which first turned up in the adventure book for Eberron: Rising from the Last War, with a few adjustments) is extremely enticing as the artificer is the first new class to arrive in 5e since the Players Handbook first arrived!
New ways to play is also welcome and with 30 new subclasses, there’s at least 2 new options for each class (and 4 for the artificer). We’ve summarised all the new subclasses for you below:
- Alchemist – The oldest form of artificer, alchemists combine ingredients to create magical effects
- Armourer – An artificer capable of building powerful and magical armour that both protects and creates powerful effects
- Artillerist – An artificer that specialises in creating magical effects that can be launched across the battlefield to potentially devastating effect
- Battle Smith – An expert defender and repairer, battle smiths can fix, heal and defend in the heat of battle. A valuable ally indeed
- Path of the Beast – Such barbarians draw their rage from a bestial spark deep within their soul, physically transforming them in a fit of rage
- Path of Wild Magic – Magically touched barbarians might be more greatly attuned to magical influences and walk the path of wild magic
- College of Creation – Such bards draw on the strength of the song of creation that gives them their power
- College of Eloquence – Oratory masters that blend logic and theatrics to bend others to their way of thinking
- Order Domain – Adherents and philosophers to the laws that hold society together
- Peace Domain – Guardians of peace that encourage others to stand up against those that would destroy peace
- Twilight Domain – Guardians against the horrors of the dark to ensure the dark is a comfort, not a terror
- Circle of Spores – Such druids find beauty in decay and see the power of mold and fungi to bring about life from the lifeless
- Circle of Stars – These druids have observed the constellations and draw power and knowledge from the starlight itself
- Circle of Wildfire – Druids of the circle of wildfire understand that destruction is sometimes a means to promote life, such as when a forest fire destroys life only to make the ground more fertile for better life in the future
- Psi Warrior – Warriors that combine physical attacks with psionic powers
- Rune Knight – Warriors that enhance their fighting abilities through the ancient techniques of runes
- Way of Mercy – Masked bringers of life and death, they seek to heal the poor and the helpless, but will quickly prevent the suffering of those that are beyond healing
- Way of the Astral Self – Monks that see their bodies as an illusory form of their true-self, their astral self
- Oath of Glory – Believe themselves to be destined for glory and will seek out heroism wherever they can find it
- Oath of the Watchers – Such paladins watch for and protect from the threat of extra-planar creatures
- Fey Wanderer – A wanderer that has been touched by the magic of the fey, a representative of both mortal and fey realms
- Swarmkeeper – Rangers with a deep connection with swarms of spirits that can be utilised in battle
- Phantom – Walking a fine line between life and death, phantoms take knowledge from the dead and deal with negative energy
- Soul Knife – Soul-knives do not rely much on physical tools but psychic tools they have developed to channel their roguish work
- Aberrant Mind – A sorceror that has received their terrifying powers through some fusion with aberrant creatures such as mind flayers
- Clockwork Soul – A sorceror whose powers have come from soe clockwork being and has become entangled in their machinations
- The Fathomless – Plunged into a pact with the deeps, some kind of ocean entity that now grants you power in return for your service
- The Genie – A warlock who’s patron is a noble genie from the elemental planes
- Bladesinging – A technique created by the elves that combines swordplay, dance and magic into a fusion of combat
- Order of Scribes – Wizards of the order of scribes are even more studious than most wizards, constantly discovering, learning and gaining knowledge
We found that all the subclasses offered new flavour to the game and none of the options presented were game-breaking in any way. Some particular favourites include the Ironman like armourer who can beef up his armour in cool ways; the bladesinger that offers a more dynamic style of wizard that can go toe-to-toe with enemies; the psi warrior, which gives a bit more flavour and options for fighters to utilise; and the path of the wild magic barbarian which gives you some fun and random benefits when raging making the standard rage-fest for barbarians a little more varied.
Some subclasses resonated a little less well such as the oath of watchers paladin which has some very enemy specific abilities that may not be easily utilised in certain campaigns. The order of scribes wizard also feels fairly unexciting (possibly because such a wizard probably isn’t geared towards adventuring). On the whole though, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything provides a great list of additional subclass options.
Sometimes, a group will become tied to some kind of patron, this may be a religious organisation, a king or government, a cult, guild or entities more magical or divine in nature such as deities or other powerful beings. This section handles outlines for how such situations can be handled. This chapter provides 20 pages of options and ideas for different patron types that range from the circumstances to which you may develop this patronage, the situations the different types of patrons may find themselves and the types of benefits, quests and contacts that may come with this patronage.
There’s a lot of options and ideas here however, these feel like ideas that may generally not be used by most DMs except for the odd idea here or there and yet no idea is particularly fleshed out. I likely do not represent how most DMs operate, but ideas for adventures generally aren’t the challenge for me, usually it’s the time taken to flesh that adventure out making this section feel like an unnecessary addition that might have been better used expanding other sections.
In completely unsurprising fashion (for a witch), Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything provides a section all about magic. There’s 21 new spells to dig your wands into and 47 new magical items. Having a fresh bunch of magic items will give DMs new and unique ways to reward their players and these items don’t disappoint from tattoos that extend from your body to grapple enemies to lyres that can reform the world around you. There’s great variety in the magical items in the book.
The new spells on the other hand, feel a little too much like differently flavoured versions of existing spells with many of those 21 options being taken up by summoning spells (yes, it’s good to have the balance and the stats for the creatures you’re summoning but there’s little that’s properly new here). It’s a little disappointing for a book focused on the magical, but to it’s credit, there are 100s of spells in 5e and at some point, we may need to be happy with the huge variety we already have.
Of greater value is the new options for tattoos that players can get inked on their person. Importantly, the rules maintain a sense of balance with powerful tattoos having high price points and covering large areas of the body (meaning there’s a limit to how much magical ink a character can get on them). SImilar to the magic items, these abilities feel interesting and unique and are great new options for players.
Dungeon Master’s Tools
This section provides a bunch of rules, advice and options that can help DMs in certain circumstances. These include some quick references for how sidekicks can be played and progress (particularly for games with few players), advice for session zeroes and effects of environmental hazards that might occur in unusual areas such as elemental planes or mimic colonies.
The section of this chapter though that really caught my attention was on puzzles. To my mind, every book Wizard’s publishes should have puzzle ideas. They’re an excellent way to break up adventures and test players in a different way but fiendishly difficult to come up with and create in a way that doesn’t get players stuck or so that they’re too easy.
There are 13 puzzles included in this section and each one is capable of being adapted in a variety of ways. On top of that, you’re provided with all the tools needed to run the specific examples shown in this book. I could easily see myself using a variation of every single puzzle in this book and potentially using some puzzles multiple times as I vary them and ramp up their difficulty as players become familiar with the puzzles. This is possibly one of the most useful set of DMs tools I’ve seen in any 5e book and am very excited to put some of these options in front of my players.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is an excellent companion to the Player’s Handbook. With 30 subclasses, a new class, new magic items and great puzzle ideas for DMs, these provide really strong expansions on the ways players can play D&D 5e.
While it doesn’t necessarily stumble in any particular area, options around patrons and hazards feel less useful and the new spells feel like re-flavourings of existing spells, but this shouldn’t take away from the the fact that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a great resource that very much deserves to be a part of your collection whether you’re a player or a DM.