22 November 2020
She may have everything, but do you know everything?
There's always more to Dungeons & Dragons than you first imagine, and with the new sourcebook out digitally now (and available from tomorrow in physical form in the UK), there comes a shake-up of existing rules, plus of course a few new ones to keep your games interesting. Since its announcement, we've been awaiting more news of how we might grow our characters or DM differently, all of which is included within Tasha's Cauldron Of Everything.
Much like Xanathar's Guide to Everything, offering wisdom and rules from Waterdeep's most infamous crime lord, the alignment ambiguous Tasha, also known as Igwil in D&D lore, will guide us through some big changes. From interactive magical environments (the phrase 'mimic colony' was used in early descriptions, to much excitement... and suspicion), to new spells and sidekick options, to patrons and importantly lineage, the cauldron is certainly deep.
To get a glimpse of what we can expect to see within it, we spoke to the Lead Rules Designer at Wizards of Coast, Jeremy Crawford, who you may recognise not only from his work on significant prior D&D publications but also within the Unearthed Arcana and Sage Advice, as well as being active over on Twitter.
We've also compiled in for you some great D&D gift ideas, so that while Tasha can show you everything from her Cauldron, you can make sure your Christmas stocking this year contains everything left!
To begin, can you tell us why Tasha was chosen to be the lead for the book?
Tasha’s backstory is one of the most storied in the D&D multiverse. Adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, archmage, Witch Queen, creator of the Demonomicon—these are just a few of Tasha’s claims to fame. Plus, she is one of the distinguished characters whose name graces a spell in the Player’s Handbook: Tasha’s hideous laughter.
We’ve wanted to feature Tasha for a while, and we thought she could provide some entertainingly wry observations in the latest rules expansion for D&D. We also have more plans for her. Expect to see her marshalling her power and wit again in the future!
The Demonomicon of Iggwilv
Can you tell us more about the lineage options and the steps D&D are taking towards inclusivity?
When making a D&D character, you choose whether your character is a member of the human race or a member of one of the game’s fantastical races—various peoples, such as elves and dwarves, who have magical origins. Your choice of D&D race gives your character various traits, including modifications to your core abilities, like Strength or Wisdom.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduces the option for you to customize several of those racial traits, specifically proficiencies, languages, and ability score bonuses. We included this option because we wanted to give players more flexibility when choosing the race/class combination for their characters and to make it easy to disentangle the game’s fantastical peoples from their folkloric assumptions, which are sometimes uncomfortably reminiscent of racial stereotypes in the real world.
We don’t want any D&D group to feel hedged in by stereotypes. Our philosophy is to empower groups to play with and alter long-standing elements of fantasy in ways that are meaningful and joyful for each group.
This book contains more detail on group patrons, can you tell us about your favourite patron and how you expect DMs to use the patron system?
As a DM, my favourite patron is the Ancient Being. There are so many delicious storytelling opportunities if you’re getting your quests from a being who defies mortal limits and whose agenda could affect the entire world. I expect each DM and player will have their own favourite group patron. Whichever patron a group chooses, a patron has the ability to set the tone of the campaign the DM creates. For instance, two groups could be given the same quest, but if one group works for a religious order and the other works for an aristocrat, the two groups are likely to have very different experiences as they embark on that quest.
Image of the Ruler Patron, another patron new from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
How do you think players will react to the new rules for magic environments?
Each supernatural region in the book offers a range of possible experiences, from the sublime to the horrific. D&D groups are in for tons of surprises as they venture into these regions and discover the possibilities. I think many adventures are going to be enhanced by the twists and turns presented in these extraordinary places.
What do you think the players will be most excited about, and what do you think the DM’s will be most excited about?
I predict players will be most excited about the optional class features in the book. In Unearthed Arcana—the playtest series on the D&D website—we presented early versions of those class features, and we got more positive feedback for them than we’ve received on anything else in Unearthed Arcana. Now that the features are in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, players everywhere will be able to add new capabilities to their favourite classes.
As for DMs, I think they will be most excited by the inspiration that the book provides. We made sure to pack the entire book, including the player options, with storytelling nuggets that DMs can use when creating their own D&D stories. On almost any page you turn to in the book, there’s a seed that a DM can nurture into adventure.
Our review of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything will be available in the next issue of Tabletop Gaming Magazine. If you don't want to miss out, don't hesitate to pick up a subscription to get the best of tabletop reviews and interviews through your letterbox every month!
There's always going to be more – Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is 192 pages, so if you want to find out the above PLUS the options for playing as an Artificer, gaining magical tattoos, a ton of new subclasses and more, your best bet is to order your copy. You can pick up yours on Amazon at this link, or you have the opportunity to grab the alternative cover shown as our main image from your friendly local game stores.
While you're there of course, it's nearly Christmas, and that means it's a great time to pick up some cool new D&D things for your friends (and/or yourself....), and we've made your job easier by listing some of five of our picks below:
1. An Adventure Book
Of course, really you'll start with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, but what better way to try out the new rules than with an adventure of your own? An obvious choice, but a good one nonetheless. The latest adventure, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden sees you in the perilous winter environment that uses the psychological and unknown to add a foreboding air of mystery. We spoke to Chris Perkins about this one as part of our Tabletop Gaming Live 2020 event, so you can check that out at the bottom of this page or by clicking here. Otherwise, there's plenty to choose from!
- Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden at £28.99 (RRP £37.60)
- Baldurs Gate: Descent into Avernus at £30 (RRP £38.99) plus you can read our review here
- Acquisitions Incorporated at £30 (RRP £39.99) plus you can read our review here
2. Heroes Feast
You could serve a Christmas dinner. Or you could serve a banquet of food greatness from various D&D adventures, with 80 recipes for your table, from Bytopian Shepherd's Bread, Hogs in Bedrolls, Drow Mushroom Steaks, Moonshae Seafood Risotto. Plus, if your favourite is desserts and cocktails, there's everything from Heartlands Roseapple & Blackberry Pie, a Yawning Portal Biscuit, to a Chultan Zombie. A perfect gift for your table, or for your chief friend!
This group of four books is perfect for any younger Dungeons & Dragons fans, or those who might later become one. The books explain the basics of their headings, so for example the Monsters and Creatures book, is best explained as an easy to read, simple and straightforward mini-monster manual. The jargon we're used to is removed, so there's no stats to confuse a first time player, but more than enough to pique some interest
How better than to wear your love for D&D than to... wear your love for D&D! Zavvi have a whole range of D&D apparel for men and women, from t-shirts to hoodies and more, with a few cool accessories to boot.
Plus, for a limited time you can use the code TABLETOPMAG20 for 20% off of clothing, and then TABLETOPMAG10 for 10% off site wide!
A good set of dice is a thing of beauty, and this is a really beautiful set. Not only will you get your dice as shown, perfectly themed for your Icewind Dale adventure, but also maps, character cards, and the decorated box doubles as a lined dice tray.
If after that, you've still not had your fill of D&D, you can catch Chillin' with Chris, where our editor Chris spoke to Chris Perkins about the horror planned and within Icewind Dale, plus some secrets are revealed...
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