Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a good book, but it can be terrible for your game depending on your group.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything presents many options. It can enhance your game with many new options and features that give a breath of fresh air to the game. Tasha’s can also make the power creep on certain classes and combinations invalidate many previous adventures or slow down combat to the point of tedium.
This is where the main problem lies, the power creep and the options that are provided. Players already have problems getting through their turns in a timely manner, and previous adventures did not account for Tasha’s. We will look at the general overview of the book, then delve into the classes, feats, magic items, and DM help on a general scale to help you see if your group should use Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Overview of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
We will get into a general overview of classes, feats, spells, and magic items along with group patrons but first, we need to cover the good and the bad.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything presents many new options for players and DMs. It addresses problems that classes had before. For example, the ranger. If you knew that you would be in a certain setting for the entire campaign (such as Rime of the Frostmaiden) then there was no problem! If you didn’t have a favored terrain, then playing a ranger could pose a problem. We talk about rangers more in our Roleplaying a Ranger article, but you get the idea. Rangers needed help since a main class attribute wasn’t applicable to some, if not most campaign settings. This book provides an option to help you.
More options! More options are generally good. DMs do not want players forced to be on a linear path. DMs don’t like to Railroad, and this book presents players with even more options than they had before. The players can truly make their characters however they want, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything presents options that are not always overpowered or clunky.
DM help is always a good thing! While we can make magic items, it is always good to see some already made magic items. Especially ones that have been on our minds for a while. Such as a wand of the war mage that gives + attack AND spell DC. This book lastly is able to help new DMs who haven’t figured out how to run group patrons, environments, puzzles, and more. While this may not be the most helpful for experienced DMs, it still helps us really consider different patrons that we normally wouldn’t. Such as having an ancient being be a patron to a group, and how that organization would run. You heard me right, an organization. Not just 1 ancient being giving quests.
This section isn’t here to make Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything look bad. There is nothing overtly bad in this book, but there are potential problems that using this book can have with your game.
As stated before, the book was made after the previous adventures were created. If you wanted to run Storm King’s Thunder or some other early adventure, this book innately makes the players more powerful while giving more options. Those adventures were not designed with this book in mind, so the adventures may need to be adjusted in order to compensate for power creep that the book and more options provide. *(Power creep is when the new characters just become more powerful than before and make past options weaker or less appealing.)*
I also alluded to the earlier problem with players taking longer turns. With more options, you have more consideration and indecision, but that isn’t the main problem. The main problem is the bonus action economy. Before, very few classes always used a bonus action. Tasha does not only make more players have bonus actions but an extra turn!
Having minions seems cool at first, but when you are controlling another being it almost doubles the length of that player’s turn. There is no shortage of these creatures, and that is concerning in and of itself. You could make combat that takes 2 hours turn into 3 hours fairly easily with Tasha’s, so think about your group. Carefully consider if this will decrease the quality of your combat, or make it more interesting.
As you can see, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a great book. It can enhance your game quite a bit, but with the wrong group, DM, or unadjusted adventure it can make the game less enjoyable. Making the decision on how you want to use Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is up to you.
Now, we are going to give our thoughts on the class optional features and subclasses, then move on from there to cover the entirety of the book. (Eventually we will cover each subclass, so don’t worry!)
Subclasses And Optional Features
The subclasses are a mixed bag.
Some subclasses are pretty powerful even when looking at the most powerful classes out there. (Looking at you peace cleric!) Others presented are possibly the most powerful options available to the class. We will talk about this in our article on Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Subclasses And Class Options, but for now just know that they can bring an insane power boost to your game.
Most other classes in Tashas are there to present options, or for flavor. The sorcerer, wizard, and warlock are great examples of this. None of the subclasses are too powerful, but instead just provide different ways to approach your character and play the game. The optional class features mostly are there just to make the player’s life easier and present them with more options. The sorcerer might have a bit much, but that isn’t too bad.
The problem with the optional class features are best represented in the fighter. There, you get many different options. This innately isn’t bad, but now you have far more to consider as it almost entirely changes the class. While monk presents options that are…. debatably good the fighter funnels players towards battlemaster even more. If not battlemaster, towards maneuvers. A new player could see this and try to follow a ‘battle master build’ which is exactly what most DM’s don’t want. We want Creative players. Sure, they can be hard to deal with but they make the game so much better!
The amount of maneuvers are also pushing players to play a subclass that already has a lot of options, and thus makes the player be pushed towards a certain subclass or playstyle rather than picking for themselves. Having a guide can be a bit nice, but in 5e you don’t need a guide. Before, in 3.5 if you didn’t have your character planned from 1-20 around level 9 they become unplayable. In 5e, we don’t have that problem. Even if you min-max you aren’t exponentially better than a new player.
The optional class features are the biggest concern here. They may seem like a good thing, and at times they are. Rangers needed an option to play anywhere. The subclasses are fairly straightforward and easy to see if they are good or bad for your game, but the optional features are what you should really pay attention to. Without looking at them thoroughly, the options presented might push players to do things they normally wouldn’t, or can give a lot of extra power. Like with the monk.
While some feats in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything are powerful, they aren’t overly broken in comparison to other feats we have seen. I mean, look at sentinel and mobile in the PHB. The applications of those two alone are able to justify the existence of other broken feats. This being said, there are some good feats to be had.
The feats in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything are surprisingly there more for flavor than power creep. Poisoner is a pretty strong feat, but that might be the extent of it. Skill expert is better than skilled, but it still provides an option to the player. Be better in what you already know, or get better at more things.
For the most part, the feats should not pose a problem. I see some of these feats as good, others as flavor, with a few not doing extremely well. This is pretty standard in a new book with feats, and is exactly what the game needs. I can’t find any faults in the feats section as a whole, so go look and find what feats you think would be cool in your game!
This is a section to help out new DMs and help them plan a campaign. We have an article dedicated on how to make a D&D campaign that might help you as well, but this section is specifically for using a group to sponsor the players.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything does a pretty good job giving new DMs and old DMs an idea of how these organizations are run, what they might want the players to do, and opens the door to more ideas. They never limit you, and even when reading I was already thinking of 10 more quest ideas for each set of group patrons. This no doubt will happen to other DMs, and that alone is worth reading if you are planning to have a group sponsor the group.
Sponsoring the group is also a great way to get away from the murder hobo problem that plagues D&D. Players now have an organization, so they can’t go around murdering and pillaging as they go place to place. They need to have stakes in the world, and that is one of the main ways on how to deal with murder hobos in D&D.
I like the direction that they are subtly taking DMs and players in. Moving away from the dungeon delving of old, and making the world a more lively place. A good section to read and get the creative juices flowing.
These spells are new, more complex, and mostly not overpowered. The spells in Tasha’s have mostly existed in other books and adventures before Tasha’s was published. Not too many are new, but they are improved and given to more classes. This makes a few new builds possible.
Cantrips. Cantrips are by far the spells you will need to look at the most in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The reason for this is the usability with every class. An Eldritch Knight can now take green flame blade, and that alone changes things since they can use weapon attack spells in melee. For other melee classes, think of booming blade. If a rogue takes magic initiate and gets booming blade think of the insanity it can cause.
The spells alone are not a problem. It is when they are combined with other parts of the game. This makes a massive power creep happen. Enough to make powergamers be significantly more powerful than their new players. There are problme powergamers and good powergamers, but that statement earlier in the article about them not being significantly more powerful than new players becomes invalid here.
With the spells, cantrips, and other combinations it can make a veteran player completely outshine a new player mechanically. This gives us the exact same problem we had in D&D 3.5, and is a bit concerning since character building has increased in potential.
Other than the cantrips and concerns that they bring, the other spells provide options and are not must takes. They just provide options which is exactly what we want in additional material.
I have nothing negative to say about this section.
The magic items here are creative, give the DM more options to give players, and give us what we have wanted for a while. Special items for each spellcasting class to enhance the DC requirement, tattoos, wonky new items with fey shards that make players question the world that they play in, it is all good.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything did a great job here. If you are wondering when to give out these items, we have an article on when to give magic items in D&D for you right here.
Dungeon Master’s Tools
You thought that the players got a lot in this book? Well, yes they did but so did the DMs! In this section, they start to address the issue of session 0 and how you should have one, but you should do more. We have an article on the perfect session 0 D&D guide for a more comprehensive view of what you should do.
They tried in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything to make a small start to address what session 0s are and that is a good thing. They also tried to give a guide on DMNPCs, or sidekicks as they call them. These ideas are a little different than ours on DMNPCS, but they aren’t bad. While we went with the angle of making a DMNPC not have any substantial input on the story, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything just tried to make the DMNPC unable to do anything significant to affect the story.
Yes, sidekicks have some power but not enough to really give the players what they want or need. This is the potential problem with sidekicks. It is hard to find a balance to make good DMNPCs, and they tried to help newer DMs with this problem. Once again, not the best answer but not terrible either.
To parley with monsters. A novel idea that my players have already started taking a liking to before this book came out. As players become less enamored with the idea of being murder hobos, they naturally want to talk to monsters more and not fight. Sometimes you have to fight, but finding a way out of combat is a good outcome. It gives the DMs out there ideas on how to deal with player antics and create a world where hack and slash D&D is not all there is.
For the other parts of this section, it is just to help newer DMs understand these regions, hazards, and phenomena while giving DMs new ideas on how to handle these topics. It is a lot like the group patron section, and a great addition to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything for those newer DMs out there.
This section surprised me the most. For as long as D&D has existed, there have been puzzles. They were around with the deepest dungeons, and players along with DMs have always had puzzles. But what have we really learned about puzzles thus far?
This topic has baffled many DMs and led to so many problems in the past. We even made an article on how to make D&D puzzles for people in order to help. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything does a lot with puzzles and gets some things right while it misses other important helpful hints.
First, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything covers why to use puzzles. This is something that we have taken for granted and is a great section for new DMs or just those who ask “why do we use puzzles?” Then, Tasha’s goes over the elements of a puzzle and how to run them. After that, it delves into different puzzle examples.
The bulk of this section is given over to puzzle examples and leaves a lot to be desired if you are making a puzzle yourself. That is why I highly suggest checking out our article on how to make D&D puzzles. Tasha’s just covers the basics, but we delve into the advanced tips on making puzzles, their purpose in the world, and how to make puzzles not frustrate your party. Which Tashas does not cover at all.
This section once again is a good attempt at dealing with a topic like how they dealt with session 0, but not great. There are many flaws and they skip over many essential pieces of knowledge in order to create well-done puzzles.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything certainly has a bit of everything. Options to make your players heads spin, and the potential to make powergamers an issue like never before. You can give more options and enhance the game or make it become a 4e combat rut where turns take forever and there are too many things to go over with your players to make the game enjoyable.
Tashas gives new items, spells, and feats that are all great to have in your game, but if used in conjunction with other past options the spells can quite literally break the game. Other past adventures were not designed for this, and everything can become too easy if you use this book without consideration.
Lastly, DMs get a smattering of help with just about everything. From session 0 to puzzles and even more, but most of that is introductory. It is good that this introduction is added, but there is so much more to each section that this is almost a disservice. If you read the puzzle section and think you know about how to make puzzles, then you are sorely mistaken. The same goes for the other sections, and really does give you a bit of everything without all the important bits that you need.
Tashas is a good edition for most groups, but be careful and consider if this book is right for your group. Also, always try to learn more about the topics that they present. Such as session 0, puzzles, and group patrons.
I hope that you enjoyed this honest review of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and that it gave you a bit of insight into the good and potential problems that this book presents.
Until next time, this has been Wizo and keep rolling!