IN THE WORKS

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

by Matt Chapman

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Hold onto those tiny tarts and wave a feather* in the air, the world’s greatest roleplaying game is about to reintroduce a bona fide superstar. In much the same way that Xanathar’s Guide to Everything made the beholder crime lord a household name, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything will push the eponymous wizard into the modern D&D A-list.

“Most people know Tasha because of her spell Tasha’s hideous laughter, which is in the Player’s Handbook. But many people don’t know that Tasha is one of the most storied characters in the D&D multiverse,” project lead Jeremy Crawford tells Dragon+. “You know right away Tasha is an exceptional figure because she was raised by the Baba Yaga, who is an amazingly powerful hag. Tasha ends up rubbing shoulders with many of the luminaries in the world of Greyhawk, including being a frenemy of Mordenkainen.

“In time, Tasha becomes a queen and is dubbed the ‘Witch Queen’, before eventually becoming a demigod-like figure. In that transformation she adopts the name Iggwilv, which is associated with the Demonomicon that bears her name. There are all sorts of stories from D&D history that centre on her.”

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything focuses on the wizard before her Iggwilv transformation, with some input from her time as the Witch Queen. In the same way that the Xanathar gave opinions throughout Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, readers will find out what this wizard thinks about the character options, artifacts, sidekicks, group patrons, and puzzles, as she passes judgement on the book’s content.

And similar to Xanathar’s Guide, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a culmination of over a year’s worth of Unearthed Arcana, while also bringing together the best game mechanics from a number of other D&D books. The book’s four chapters cover various character options (“The longest chapter of the book,” Crawford reveals); group patrons; magic items and spells; and a chapter exclusively for Dungeon Masters.

“People who are familiar with Xanathar’s Guide will feel like they’re looking at the sibling of that book, but at the same time Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is very much its own thing. It has some of the same types of content found in Xanathar’s Guide, such as new subclasses, but includes plenty of new content.

“Players and DMs will find new artifacts and non-common magic items, including the magic tattoos from Unearthed Arcana. The book also includes the official implementation of the rules for sidekicks, following the version that appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit. And there are a number of readymade puzzles for DMs to drop into their campaigns,” Crawford says, before promising that the star of the show will be visible throughout.

“For Xanathar’s Guide, art of the beholder appeared on the cover and then in the introduction, and that was pretty much it. In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything we get to see Tasha in the full-page paintings that open every chapter, showing the different stages of her life. It’s a beautiful book.”

CUSTOMIZING YOUR ORIGIN

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes a new way to customize your character’s origin. This rule allows you to take the ability score bonuses of your race and apply them however you like, based on the origin that you imagined for your character. The same rule also provides guidelines on changing certain other elements of your race. It’s all about digging into the fact that adventurers are exceptional. The race options as written in the Player’s Handbook are Western high-fantasy archetypes. If you want your character’s backstory to diverge from that archetype in significant ways, there are now some very simple rules to make those changes. Many players embrace these high fantasy archetypes. Yet for other players, having their character differ from the archetype is what draws them to that character. And we want to make sure that our rules make it just as possible to take that path as to follow the archetype.”

ARTIFICER CLASS

“The artificer class appeared in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and was written very much to be a part of that world. In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything we make it easily accessible for any D&D setting. In the process, we’ve added a fourth subclass, the armorer, as well as some new artificer infusions. I think players and DMs are really going to enjoy the new art we commissioned for the class, especially the amazingly adorable homunculi.”

CLASS FEATURE VARIANTS

“No other Unearthed Arcana published for fifth edition has been as popular as the one we created for Class Feature Variants. It was so positive, in fact, that most of those options have made it into the book. Some of that material has been refined in a variety of ways, but it’s all going to be recognizable. On top of that, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes some additional options that were designed since that Unearthed Arcana was published. I think there are going to be some really delightful surprises. This book also contains a new version of the blade singer from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.”

“Players and DMs love extra options and packing those into Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Volo’s Guide to Monsters made them both instant hits with the community. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything looks set to do the same.”

GROUP PATRONS

“In Eberron: Rising from the Last War we introduced the concept of a group having a patron. We’ve taken that notion and fleshed it out so that it works for any D&D setting by providing broad categories that are not Eberron specific. For example, Eberron used a newspaper as one of the group patron options, but not all D&D worlds have newspapers. There’s still a little bit of overlap in the patron lineup—Eberron had an academic institution as an option and in this book we have the academy—but we needed to explore a set of patrons that would work no matter where your adventures take place. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also provides a special feature for parties which decide to serve a group patron. Because of their common bond, the party members are able to give each other advantage on checks a certain number of times per day, for a little extra oomph.”

SIDEKICKS

“The playtest feedback on sidekicks was very clear: a) people love them; and b) they would like them to be even simpler. For those reasons we have really leaned into making sidekicks as simple as possible. The sidekick rules allow players to build an NPC who joins the party. This is done by taking a stat block with a low challenge rating and applying a sidekick class to it. A DM might also use these rules to create an NPC they control who doesn’t necessarily follow around the adventuring group. There’s a tremendous amount of flexibility.”

ARTIFACTS

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has a fun selection of artifacts. Some are classic artifacts returning to the game, alongside a few brand-new items. It would have been remiss of us not to include the Demonomicon of Iggwilv. We also bring back the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O and the Crook of Rao. One new item is an artifact version of the Tarokka deck. This deck has been used to capture beings of evil. The risk associated with using its powers is that the spirits trapped inside might escape and then you may have to go and recapture them. That’s a great example of how the best artifacts can also be powerful plot devices, generating adventure in addition to being a reward.”

SUPERNATURAL ENVIRONMENTS

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also includes a section of amazing magical environments. We thought it would be a lot of fun to design a number of areas that have been transformed by magic in various ways. For instance, these environments might be enchanted springs or magic trees, and we’ve created a whole region that’s haunted by ghosts, as well as another region where magic itself has started to unravel. We delve into them in detail, giving DMs guidelines on how these sorts of phenomena can function in a campaign. My favorite art in the book is in that section.”

PUZZLES

“Puzzles have always been an element in D&D. Some DMs are great at coming up with them and some have a challenging time creating engaging puzzles. With that in mind, we’ve created ready to go puzzles that can be dropped into almost any adventure. These are designed to give your players a change of pace by presenting a new type of problem that needs to be solved with a different type of teamwork. To pull this off, we partnered with Elisa Teague, who is an amazing puzzle designer. She wrote all of the puzzles that appear in this section, which is in the chapter for Dungeon Masters.”

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything releases November 17, 2020 with an MSRP of $49.99 and is available to preorder now

 

* These are the material components of the spell Tasha’s hideous laughter.