The next big rules expansion for fifth edition is here! Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is the next update of rules, including a variety of character options and dm tools. It’s essentially Xanathar’s Guide 2: electric boogaloo. So how does this book stack up to its predecessor? Let’s take a preliminary look to see what awaits us in Tasha’s cauldron.
The first section details additional options for character origins. For some context, this was added as a response to the more problematic parts of races in d&d. With only two pages dedicated to it, I’m not so sure the book handles it eloquently. We will be taking an in depth look at this section next, to discuss where it succeeds and where it falls short.
The next section is the star of the book, the reason most of you will get it. The books touts a hefty thirty subclasses, though eight of those are reprints. I would’ve liked to see an equal amount of additions to class options as Xanathar brought. However, placing subclasses from more niche books like the Magic ones does help the game be more cost effective. This book does pick up a bit of slack in the fixes to the base classes. They’ve added changes that bring the classes a bit more in line with each other. The ranger shouldn’t need an unearthed arcana to play with the other classes anymore, and the monk may be the next power player favorite. Tasha has also brought us some very cool feats, some of which can build new builds on their own. A warlock with metamagic? A controlling fighter? Yes please. The amount of character options has almost doubled, and that’s an exciting prospect.
Next up is the group patron section. This is an expansion of the same mechanic that was introduced in the Eberron book. I’m glad to see it make a return with expanded options. It’s such a cool way to center a campaign organically. Having a group patron gives your party an excuse to know each other and lets them hit the ground running. It also acts as a good springboard for DMs to launch a campaign from. I’m glad to see this mechanic get expanded on.
The next section contains spells and magic items. Most of the spells are dedicated to summoning, which is a good theme that hasn’t been explored much. Other than those spells, there’s not a lot of splashy spells. Tasha has also brought us an arsenal of magical items. Almost all of these are geared towards spell casters, which is a bit disappointing for my martial favoring mind, but they are cool nonetheless. The artifacts in this book are fantastic. Each of them can inspire an entire campaign on their own.
The last section in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a toolbox for dungeon masters. Inside you’ll find advice for session zero, running a game for one player with sidekicks, environmental hazards, and puzzles to drop into your games. The sidekicks system has been expanded since its introduction in the Essentials Kit, and now feels like a full mechanic. The other options serve as inspiration to help your games feel that much more immersive. Overall this book adds a lot more value to players than DMs, but there are a few gems in there still.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has quite a lot to offer. It’s a nice collection of options that enriches the game. We’ll take a closer look at each of those options, but an initial look at the book shows some promise. Is the book better than the Xanathar’s? Or is this yet another case of sequelitis? My bet is on the latter, but less than great is still pretty good.