Move out the way Xanathar, there’s a new fountain of knowledge in place
The latest book addition to the D&D world has been named and confirmed, as Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Within it, you’ll find information on how to craft your lineage, alter traits that may have previously been in place due to race alone, advice on levelling up, new subclasses, as well as puzzles and assistance as a DM, a ton of spells, and Tasha’s commentary throughout.
What sets it apart from those that went before it?
Well, “the special witchcraft of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is the freedom it gives you to personalize your D&D character in new ways,” said Jeremy Crawford, the book’s lead designer and the principal rules designer of Dungeons & Dragons. “D&D adventurers are exceptional, and this book gives you the tools to make them and their story even more extraordinary.”
Sound like a lot? That’s because it’s everything! This 192-page book will be a follow up to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and will be available November 17th 2020. Speaking of everything, we’ve pulled the information we had for you to check out below.
Who is Tasha?
Tasha is one of the most storied characters of the D&D universe, appearing first in the Greyhawk campaign. You may know her best from the name she changed to later, Iggwilv.
As a child, Natasha was adopted by Baba Yaga, a name we know from folklore to be that of an infamous witch who ate children. It is perhaps no surprise then that as Tasha grew as a spell caster, she also became known as ‘Natasha the Dark’.
She then travelled and became the apprentice of Zagig Yragerne, as part of the Company of Seven, a travelling band, that allowed her to explore her spell casting. With it, she discovered Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, a spell which sees a creature within range finding everything hilariously funny, and must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or fall prone as a result.
If that wasn’t enough, she entered into politics to become the Witch Queen over the lands, before transforming into a demi-god. At this time, she changed her name to Iggwilv, becoming a rival to D&D adventurers. She later created the Demonomicon of Iggwilv, for which she is best known, which contain the secrets of ultimate evil.
She’s a powerful wizard who has led a long and interesting life, led by her brilliant curiosity, making her an interesting voice of commentary, and a great one to lend to a book of everything.
What do her origins mean for her Cauldron of Everything?
Much like Tasha has a detailed backstory, D&D now allows for the same within our own characters. You can now customise your history to justify your skillset and motivations, in a way that wasn’t possible before, so that you’re not bound by species archetypes in the game. Whilst you can still play to the traits provided, if an elf in the traditional play doesn’t match the skill set its history provides, now it can be changed. Importantly, no negative traits can be assigned.
This lends into the ability to create lineage also, which may help to explain how your character came to be who they are, and allows you to then use these in shaping who they become.
With that variation, also comes D&D provided variations, with brand new subclasses for every class in the game. These will have been seen in Unearthed Arcana or previous campaigns, as some of the subclasses created this year have been the most popular. This will include Aberrant Mind, as well as the Artificer, though it comments the latter has been de-Ebberon-ed in order to fit with play moving forwards. The Artificer has been a hugely popular subclass, so this is exciting to see!
Will there be magic?
As commentated by one of the most powerful spell casters of D&D, it’s fair to say that yes, there will certainly be magic. There are magical items that are designed to specifically channel the spellcasters spells, now available to all spell casters. There are artefacts that tell their own story – much like the Tarokka Deck, where evil spirits can be trapped in the cards but they can also escape – and there’s an encouragement to explore this side of magic and the duplicity of its alignment (which may coincide with Tasha’s own!). There are, of course, also a range of spells from Tasha herself, including Tasha’s Caustic Brew, or Otherworldly Guides, which we look forward to finding out details of.
There are also new and detailed magical environments on show, and explanations and guidance for how these react to the stimulus, or just in general. For example, there lies a mirror realm, which is the opposite of your world, and a place where magic is unravelling, or an opportunity to drink from a magical spring – but what happens next?
You may see on Tasha’s face she has a crows feet tattoo – which opens up another option included within Tasha’s Guide to Everything, that of magical tattoos. These might offer additional damage, or protection, or save you from 0 HP, as seen in Unearthed Arcana, but made real and more detailed within Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
What if I’d like company on my adventure?
The exciting news in response to this is that of sidekicks! You may have seen these critters last year as companion NPCs, which particularly help smaller groups of players, even when it’s just a DM and a player, to offer more options and variety. Now you’ll have the tools to create your won – which may even function as smaller characters to pop in and out of for players.
Another ‘companion’ to consider – though admittedly, it’s more you’ll need to think of them than it is to bring them with you – is the new function of group patrons. The book will now add significant detail to should the group want to dedicate themselves to one. It first came up in Eberron and was successful, so now these are detailed – so you could choose to patronage a Merfolk Sovereign, amongst others.
Is there anything for DMs?
We’re told there are four sections within the book, one of which surrounds Dungeon Mastery. It’ll include a lot – from puzzles, which are often fun for players but less straightforward for DMs to include, as well as details for running all of the aforementioned new aspects. This includes details about higher-level characters, where artefacts are particularly important, alongside magical environments. What happens, for example, if you were to encounter a Mimic Colony?
Is that everything?
There really is a lot packed into this, from magical tattoos to artefacts, to magical environments, sidekicks, patrons, subclasses, lineage options, and more. It does feel like Tasha knows everything, and given her history and motivations, her commentary should add a little extra flavour to it!
Lastly, it's worth knowing that there are two covers for Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the standard by Magali Villeneuve, and alternative cover by Wylie Beckert only available through local game stores. You’ll be able to read Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything from November 17th 2020, and speak to your FLGS about pre-ordering.