Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a new expansion of the world’s most popular roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s mostly about extra rules and ideas to insert into your game, extra options for games masters and players alike so they can expand their stories. It’s broadly ‘witch’ themed, but only very lightly. Mostly it’s crammed with new rules.
As you’d expect, the section on variant character options is large and very useful. They are plenty new ideas here and few pieces from previous sourcebooks added for completion’s sake. So the Artificer (a class previously exclusive to Eberron) is now part of the main-stream D&D rules.Some of these are welcome rules adjustments, many of which DM’s across the world have already house ruled. For example, there’s an option to give druid’s animal companions at 2nd level, which takes up a wild-shape slot but works for various character builds. The guidelines on customising a character’s origin are very welcome. Gamers have come a long way from the old fashioned notion that ‘all orcs are evil and all elves are good’. Details and nuance are the things that make a story work, after all. This book isn’t intended to completely overhaul D&D Fifth Edition, so some traits remain unique to various races. Psionics have now been introduced in the simplest way possible; they are two feats that cover telekinesis and telepathy, and various sub-classes with a psionic ‘theme’. Rules wise, it’s still just magic, just a less ‘flashy’ version. There’s no ‘psionics’ section, the game just now has Soul Knife rogues, PSI warriors and the like. This sort of thing has been part of D&D since the early days and it’s nice to see it back, even if you never use it. The section on Patrons formalises another common D&D trope, namely the ‘quest giving NPC or organisation’. It’s a nice way to short-cut through sessions where the players try and figure out what to do next, and this is a handy guide as to how to help your players get to the plot; always useful. The magic miscellany is the largest section. As this is a book named after Tasha (one of iconic D&D witches), there’s plenty of creepy and interesting spells, as well as a whole load of cool magic items. This includes magical tattoos, which should delight fans of Planescape. (The book keeps talking about the City of Sigil, which we hope is a hint of what is to come.) Again, this has all been created as a way to inspire the DM to add more fun to their game rather than just a list of new things. You can use the rules as read, but you will also find yourself inspired to do more if you are so inclined. Each spell, item or process is a potential fresh adventure. The section of Dungeon Master’s tools contains more general DM-ing advice including some nice thoughts on solo and pre-session stories. There’s some guidance on making puzzles for your party and sidekicks get their own rules. This allows groups to have more interesting in-game allies. We also get ideas for environmental hazards which include the fantastic and magical. (We especially enjoyed the idea of a colony of mimics. ) Parley rules are included for the party that insists on talking to every monster they meet. Art wise, it’s as pretty as all the new D&D books are. Every bit of art is intended to inspire and it’s very readable and accessible. The alternative art cover is also very nice; shiny and spooky at the same time. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything had us rushing to D&D Beyond to create new characters and re-think old campaigns; if you’re trying to brew something fresh for your games, try giving this cauldron a try.