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SYFY WIRE Dungeons & Dragons

D&D's next expansion, Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, adds new subclasses and racial customization

By James Grebey
Tasha's Guide Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons is getting its biggest rules expansion in three years, courtesy of one powerful witch. In November, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything will hit shelves, offering D&D players several new subclasses, some exciting new spells, and a new way to create characters that’s fully customizable and in line with the game’s push for diversity and representation. Meanwhile, dungeon masters will be able to give their players’ groups powerful patrons, throw diabolical puzzles at them, or even lead them to strange environments that are inherently magical — and dangerous. 

Wizards of the Coast announced Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything on Monday, but at an earlier preview of the book for press, D&D’s lead rules developer Jeremy Crawford teased what players and DMs alike can expect when the book comes out on Nov. 17. 

Tasha's Guide Dungeons and Dragons

D&D fans who have been following Wizards’ periodic releases of Unearthed Arcana — new features or options made available for playtesting — will see some familiar options in the final book, especially when it comes to subclasses.

“Almost every single one made it into the game,” Crawford said, further clarifying that every new subclass first appeared in playtesting form. Although exactly which subclasses made the cut hasn’t been confirmed yet, nor has whatever tweaks were made after the playtesting phase, Crawford confirmed that the Psionic Mind and Armorer subclasses for sorcerers and artificers, respectively, are in the book. (The artificer class, which debuted in the book Eberron: Rising From the Last War will be reprinted in Tasha’s guide in full, having been “de-Eberroned” so it can fit into any campaign setting. Five other previously published subclasses will be reprinted in the book too: the cleric’s Order Domain, druid’s Circle of Spores, bard’s College of Eloquence, Paladin’s Oath of Glory, and wizard’s Bladesinging.) 

Along with the new subclasses, the book will also add new ways to customize base classes, like granting rangers new primal beast options to summon. These features, like the subclasses, first appeared in a very popular Unearthed Arcana

Perhaps the biggest addition to D&D is a new way to create characters. Traditionally, D&D’s fantasy races have stock traits and features assigned to them — an elf character has a bonus to dexterity and knows how to use longsword and longbows due to their elven training, for instance. 

However, this can be a problem for players who maybe want to play an elf character who goes against the archetype, or for players who are uncomfortable with the implications of a character’s traits being so dependant on race or culture. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything adds an optional way of creating a character where players can choose from a selection of traits to create a custom linage. If you want to make the archetypical elf, a hypothetical character Crawford jokingly named “Elfy McElferson,” you can. However, “if your elf skipped longsword practice and lacks longsword proficiency and speaks a language other than Elvish and has a bonus to Charisma,” that’s now a valid option. 

Additionally, upcoming reprints of earlier books like Volo’s Guide to Monsters will remove negative racial penalties, like orcs having minus two intelligence. “We have learned our lesson,” Crawford said, explaining that orcs and other “monstrous” races were supposed to be special cases, but the implications and player backlash prompted Wizards to make the change. 

Tasha's Guide Dungeons and Dragons

Other sections of the book will give groups the option to have a patron — an employer of sort who supports them and helps guides the campaign. Crawford previewed one such patron, a moody merfolk sovereign.

“By having that patron, the whole feel of your campaign can change and can have a really nice flavor,” he said.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also features rules for sidekicks, DM-controlled characters with very simple classes are “an especially great option when you have a small group of players.” Another section of the book has several pre-made puzzles that DMs can drop into dungeons, saving DMs the trouble of thinking up their own mind-teasers while still offering groups a new form of play. 

Tasha's Guide Dungeons and Dragons

Magical environments are another new addition, as DMs will be able to make their players explore landscapes that are themselves a threat. A few of these environments include an eldritch storm filled with undead beings, a mimic colony, a mirror realm, enchanted springs, and roads that fold space on itself. Crawford said several of these environments are ideal for high-level play. 

Tasha’s Cauldon of Everything includes magical tattoos and new magical items and artifacts. New spells include the Mind Sliver cantrip, Tasha’s Caustic Brew, and Tasha’s Otherworldly Guise. 

And, about that titular Tasha — longtime D&D players will know that Tasha is one of the most famous characters to come out of the game’s iconic Greyhawk campaign setting. Tasha, a powerful witch raised by the arch-hag Babba Yagga, goes on to become a demi-god and exists as both a hero and villain to would-be D&D players. In the new book, she serves as the narrator of sorts, offering color cometary the same way the Xanathar's did in the last supplemental rules book, his Guide to Everything.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is 192 pages long and will be released on Nov. 17.