Not ashamed to admit I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. How could I not?
Iggwilv, the notorious witch of Greyhawk, was originally a girl by the name of Natasha the Dark, raised alongside her sister Elena the Fair in the dancing hut of Baba Yaga. That little piece of information fueled my imagination and sent me on a mission to create tales from Natasha’s girlhood, providing Greyhawk’s most infamous witch with some backstory. As a fan of Russian folk tales, I cast the Natasha tales in the same style as the source material, mimicking and borrowing heavily from Russian fairy tales about Baba Yaga and her daughters. You can read my small and still-growing collection of Tasha stories here: Iggwilv Mother of Witches
If it’s not clear to you already, “Tasha” is just the diminutive form of the name Natasha. And speaking of nomenclature, it should be obvious to everyone that “Baby Yoda” is really just a clever cipher for the old witch of Russian folklore.
BABy YodA = BABa YagA
Well, maybe not. But it looks suspiciously similar to me.
In any case, the new book promises to deliver on some Tasha lore. Probably not much. But that’s OK with me. I loved the little side-bar items in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and the glimpses they afforded of Greyhawk’s most famous wizard. I expect to find the same type of short scribbles about my girl Iggwilv in the new book.
At Greyhawkstories.com, Tasha’s story connects the Daoud of Tusmit series, the Iggwilv: Mother of Witches series, and the Hateful Wars saga. (Sorry about the spoiler). So you’re darn right I’m going to plop down $50.00 for the new splat book.
By complete coincidence, last weekend, when the news first broke about Tasha’s Cauldron and we heard Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the D&D Discord Channel, I just happened to be at work on a new Tasha Tale for submission to Oerth Journal. (I know, creepy, right?) The new story connects some loose ends in the tale of Iggwilv, her Abyssal connections, and her acquisition of Daoud’s Wondrous Lanthorn. If it doesn’t make the cut in the next Oerth Journal, I’ll post it for you to read at Greyhawkstories.
In addition to new tidbits about naughty Natasha, I’m told that the we will find the Crook of Rao brought into 5e in the new book. I can scarcely express my enthusiasm. It just so happens that the quest for the Crook of Rao is another one of my Greyhawk obsessions. Why? Because the Flight of Fiends is the most epic event in Greyhawk history. It’s the Greyhawk equivalent of dropping the One Ring into Mount Doom. But in the source material, it gets passed over with only a few sparse mentions.
How did Natasha know I wanted to read more about the Crook of Rao? Maybe Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything really does have everything in it. In any case, here’s what we do know we can expect to find in the new tome. (I totally just copied and pasted all of the following info from a reddit thread. Is that wrong?)
Inside the Cauldron
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything comes out November 17th, 2020.
- 192 pages
- 4 Chapters: Character options, Spells and magic items, Group patrons, and Tools for Dungeon Masters. The character options chapter is the longest.
- Tasha provides comments and captions throughout
- Tasha is featured in different stages of her life in art throughout the book, including full-page art for each of the four chapters.
- Standard cover by Magali Villeneuve
- Alternate cover by Wylie Beckert with soft-touch finish will be available exclusively in game stores starting November 17, 2020. Full image. The art features Tasha, of course, and Graz’zt offering her a heart, as well as a scroll representing Tasha’s hideous laughter.
- Everything in the book is optional.
Classes and Subclasses
- At least one new subclass for each of the 13 classes.
- 22 new subclasses, 5 reprinted subclasses from other books (not including Artificer subclasses).
- Reprinted subclasses include: Order Domain Cleric and Circle of Spores Druid (Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica), College of Eloquence Bard and Oath of Glory Paladin (Mythic Odysseys of Theros), and the Bladesinging Wizard (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide).
- all of the new subclasses previously appeared in Unearthed Arcana
- Alternate class features for every class — similar to Class Feature Variants — including Spell Versatility and three new “primal beast” Beast Master Companions, as well as some new ones not seen in UA.
- Artificer is reprinted from Eberron: Rising from the Last War with some tweaks to make it fit in any world, not just Eberron
- New artificer infusions
- Artillerist, Alchemist, and Battle Smith are reprinted.
- Armorer Specialization lets you sling lightning, master spells both old and new, create and customize armor.
- Homunculus servants art
- College of Creation uses the primordial power of the song of creation. Can animate objects.
- College of Eloquence is reprinted from Mythic Odysseys of Theros
- Order Domain is reprinted from Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica
- Circle of Spores is reprinted from Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica
- Oath of Glory is reprinted from Mythic Odysseys of Theros
- three new “primal beast” Beast Master companions
- Psionic Mind is a psionic-themed sorcerer origin. (Conflicting information regarding the final title of this subclass — either Psionic Mind or Aberrant Mind, but most sources say Psionic Mind)
- Genie Patron lets you choose an element for the genie and decide what kind of vessel they dwell in. Each Genie includes extra spells to choose from, including the wish spell.
- New spellbook options
- allegedly a psionic wizard
- There will be a “new version” of the Bladesinging wizard school, originally printed in Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.
- Customized character origin stories, similar to “This is Your Life” in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, including magical origins and backstories.
- Multiple psionic-themed subclasses, featuring an “evolved” version of the previously playtested psionics mechanics.
- new creatures (this may be a reference to summoned creatures and primal companions)
- New Lineage System allows new customization of characters, including ability score modifiers, disentangling personal traits from cultural traits
- Players can create completely new custom lineages disconnected from anything in the Players’ Handbook with a “fill in the blanks” template
- Removal of negative racial modifiers from Kobold and Orc from Volo’s Guide to Monsters in updated, presumably reprinted, versions.
- Lineage System removes racial prerequisites for feats
- Races from the Players Handbook are considered the archetypal version of those races, but the new origins let you create exceptional members of that race. You can apply your ability score bonuses however you like.
The book includes “spells for both player characters and monsters.”
- 9 new conjuration spells to summon spirits. Upcasting these spells increases the spirit’s HP, attack bonus, and more. Each spell has at least two spirit options. The spells range from 2nd to 6th level, each take 1 action to cast, have a range of 90 feet and VSM components (with the Material component being a costly item). Each is concentration 1 hr.
- Since the Bladesinger wizard is being reprinted, we can assume the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide cantrips are being reprinted: booming blade, green-flame blade, lightning lure, and sword burst. Unconfirmed, just my speculation
- Lightning strike is included on the artificer spell list
- Mind sliver
- Summon aberrant spirit (summon a beholderkin)
- Summon bestial spirit
- Summon celestial spirit
- Summon construct spirit (including a golem or modron)
- Summon elemental spirit
- Summon fey spirit
- Summon fiendish spirit
- Summon shadow spirit (summons a monstrosity)
- Summon undead spirit is a 3rd-level necromancy spell
- Tasha’s caustic brew
- Tasha’s otherworldly guise
There will be new feats.
- “Multiple feats open up multiclassing in new ways” says Forbes. Not sure what they mean by that, except that the recent 2020 Feats UA was like Diet Multiclassing.
There will be new magic items, including new artifacts and magical tattoos.
- these aren’t just +1 or +2 weapons, they are “super flavorful” and “mechanically, really good.”
- Rarity ranges from uncommon to Legendary.
- New class-specific magic items
- Bell Branch: a tree limb spellcasting focus for druids and warlocks
- a spellbook for wizards that seems like a romance novel, but contains a bunch of illusion spells
- extraplanar shards for sorcerers
- many of these magic items use renewable charges
- THE Tarokka Deck is an artifact which can trap spirits, and has already been used to trap evil beings who could get out.
- Demonomicon of Iggwilv
- a Baba Yaga-themed artifact
- Mighty Servant of Leuk-O
- Crook of Rao
- One magical tattoo improves unarmored AC.
The book contains rules for:
- Supernatural environments and natural hazards
- Parleying with monsters
- Session Zero
- New puzzles (designed by Elisa Teague) and traps to drop into your game
- the puzzles require teamwork
Magical environments are perfect for high-level encounters.
Magical Environments include:
- Eldritch Storms filled with undead beings
- magical and/or primal fruits
- magical roads that fold on space itself, like a wormhole
- a Mirror Realm
- Mimic Colony where everything is a mimic
- Magical Spring
- magic trees
- region haunted by ghosts
- region where magic is unraveling
- Group Patrons, first introduced in Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Each group patron option comes with its own perks and types of assignments. Group patrons are powerful NPCs.
- PCs in parties who follow a group patron can give each other advantage on checks a number of times per day.
- Esteemed Adventuring Academy
- Ancient Being/Undead Lich
- Eberron’s Dark Lanterns spy agency
- Merfolk sovereign
- a dragon
- Sidekicks, first introduced in Unearthed Arcana, and later printed in the Essentials Kit. Sidekicks are NPCs controlled by the DM or the players. They can be customized.
- There is a Sidekick class intended for new players or players who want a “chill” experience. You can play as a Warrior, Expert, or Spellcaster. (See UA Sidekicks for examples)
- Sidekicks still include applying a template to an NPC statblock, but can also be used to create NPCs.
That’s the rundown according to the dndleaks thread on reddit. I’ve already ordered my copy, and I special requested the alternative cover art featuring Iggwilv and Graz’zt. But I’d kind of like both versions of the book. Is that wrong?