Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything was released in November 2020, a full six years after the 2014 release of Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition. This book contains a ton of new material for both players and dungeon masters to work with and follows in the same style as 2016’s Volo’s Guide to Monsters, 2017’s Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and 2018’s Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. For players, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduces the official debut of the Artificer class, provides new character-building options, group patrons, new spells, and new magic items. It also contains a bevy of optional rules for dungeon masters to incorporate into their games to enhance their campaign. The book is full of humorous narrations and notes from Tasha herself, as she guides you through her arcane knowledge and wisdom.

The Basics

Tasha’s Cauldron to Everything is not a standalone book. You need to have already purchased the Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Master’s Guide to build and run a successful campaign. This supplemental-rules codex provides optional material that players and dungeon masters alike can insert into their campaign to really spice it up. One of this edition’s greatest strengths is the care the creators have taken to listen to community feedback and incorporate popular opinion and fan desires into official publications. As a non-competitive game, it’s easy enough to have non-standard rulesets at your own table, but it’s much easier if there’s an official supplement to draw on rather than try to balance these things yourself.

Both original and alternate art covers available!

Contents of the Cauldron

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is 192-pages of pure fun. It is made up of four chapters, three for players and one strictly for the dungeon master. Let’s run through them one by one.

Chapter 1: Character Options

This book is like Christmas morning for players. It contains a new class and at least two new subclasses for each existing class. Additionally, most of the existing base classes get some optional class abilities that are mostly quality of life improvements to existing abilities that have either tested poorly with the game’s audience, or were confusing or contradictory to the way players wanted them to work.

Custom Lineage

The most important and ground-breaking addition to the rules introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is that the racial ability score adjustments presented in the Player’s Handbook are just suggestions. Using the alternate character-building rules, you can choose your ability, skill, and tool proficiencies at will, so long as you maintain the symmetry of the existing races and classes.

Artificer Class

Originally tested as Unearthed Arcana and included in the Eberron: Rising from the Last War campaign setting, the Artificer makes its debut into the D&D Mainstream with the inclusion in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This class can be squeezed into any setting given its flexibility on lore and mechanics. Artificer is a flexible class that can be tanky, provide support, and really dish out damage with their cannon, steel defender, or a wide selection of dangerous and unpredictable alchemical concoctions. Tasha’s goes one step further than the original printing of the artificer class, adding the Armorer subclass, allowing you to essentially role-play a fantasy, magic-powered Iron Man suit.

D&D Iron Man anyone?

To learn everything you need to know about building and playing an Artificer, check out our Ultimate Guide to the D&D 5e Artificer Class (coming soon)

New Subclass Options

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything contains 26 new subclass options. Each base class gets at least two new subclasses, and most also gain one or two alternate class abilities that replace some of the more mundane or typical abilities these base classes have to offer in their original Player’s Handbook entries. Veteran players who have made their way through all the basic class combinations, or anyone with a very specific character build in mind will be thrilled to see the variety available to them.

Some standouts from the new selection of subclasses:

Barbarian Path of Wild Magic
Because Barbarians weren’t chaotic enough to begin with, now they have magic. This subclass is like giving a loaded gun to a toddler, allowing your party’s equivalent of the incredible hulk run wild with unpredictable magic effects. If you thrive on chaos, this is the primal path for you!

Cleric Peace Domain
One of the most challenging characters to play in this game is one who does not deal damage. Most metagame analysis is based on damage output, so building a character who has the potential to deal zero damage over the course of a campaign is an interesting challenge for a veteran player. This subclass focuses on defense, protection, and de-escalation.

Fighter Rune Knight
As you level up in D&D your enemies get bigger and scarier. Eventually, even the most fearsome melee character can feel out of place walking among literal giants. The Rune Knight draws on this, powering you up and making you physically bigger, so when you say to a hill giant “Hey, why don’t you pick on someone your own size” you can do it with a straight face.

Rogue Soulknife
Psionics makes its mainstream debut allowing rogues to become one of the iconic classes from 3.5 Edition’s Psionics Handbook. The ability to infiltrate with no weapons on your person and manifest a blade to carry out an assassination all while boosting your skills and sending messages to waiting allies using your mental prowess is an awesome take on the Rogue class.

Sorcerer Aberrant Mind
Another psionic class, this sorcerer variant allows you to cast spells using mental powers, doing so undetected and requiring no spell components. The Psion was a fan favorite in 3.5 Edition, and this less-powerful version of that absolute powerhouse class is still quite compelling here.

Warlock Pact of the Genie
This interesting class offers you the patronage of a Djinn, Efreet, Dao, or Marid. While granting a host of powerful abilities, it gives you the ability to enter a genie’s vessel, so you can fulfil your I Dream of Genie fantasies and pop out of an oil lamp and start eldritch blasting.

For a full guide to the new subclass options, check out our Ultimate D&D Class Guides.

Feats

Fifteen new feats! If ever you wanted to encourage your players to forgo the ability score increase at 4th level and take a feat, here is that opportunity. The selection of feats are focused on specific builds, granting telepathy, telekinesis, and my personal favorite, the Chef feat. It’s flavorful (pun intended) and extremely useful, allowing you to cook for your allies during rests and heal extra hit points, and prepare snacks for alter that can grant temporary hit points during a fight. If you’re a Zelda: Breath of the Wild fan, this is the feat for you. Nothing says “this isn’t real life” like hitting the pause button in the middle of combat to wolf down a bowl of rice to regain some hit points.

Chapter 2: Group Patrons

This chapter is beneficial for both players working to build an in-depth backstory who hanker for inclusion in the plot, and for dungeon masters scrounging for plot hooks. A group patron represents an individual or organization who can provide the players with quests, assist them in their own goals, and provide an overall direction for the campaign. One of the hardest parts of writing your own game in lieu of running a published adventure like Curse of Strahd is populating the world with NPCs, individuals, organizations, and other groups of interested parties. This section provides you with a ton of options and examples to do just that.

Having an organization that your PC’s are a part of can help ground them in the setting and encourage them to interact more deeply with the world.

If you found yourself here and haven’t got a clue as to how to start a campaign, check out the Starter Set or the Essentials Kit.

Chapter 3: Magical Miscellany

This chapter contains a group of old and new spells presented together with errata. The cantrips from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide are included, along with a bunch of new entries.

Spells

Cantrips
The cantrips booming blade and green-flame blade make a comeback along with some new arrivals. Artificers get access to most of these spells, including lightning lure which is a great and flavorful option for the tech-savvy class.

Tasha’s Signature Spellbook
Named spells have long been a part of D&D. Tasha’s hideous laughter is one of the most iconic and ludicrous spells available, and now we have the rest of her spellbook. It’s great to see these classic characters coming alive and sharing their secrets with the players again.

Simple summon spells
The Cauldron is full of summoning spells available to all the primary casting classes, which are functionally different from the summon spells in the Player’s Handbook. These are unique in that rather than navigating a huge list of potential summoning targets, these create a monster with a standardized stat block, making it easier for players to cast by saving them time looking up monsters, and easier for the DM to prepare for it to hit the table.

Magic Items

Legendary and Artifact items
Tasha provides us with info on several legendary and artifact magic items, which are great sources of inspiration for dungeon masters building their own campaigns. Along with the Crook of Rao, and the storied, classis item Teeth of Dahlver-Nar, this supplement gives us Baba Yaga’s Mortar and Pestle. Tasha’s Mother, Baba Yaga, is the mother of all hags, and her legendary tools make for a compelling plot hook.

Magic Tattoos
Finally, we have official rules for creation and attunement to magic tattoos. One of the coolest features both thematically and functionally, granting the ability for a spellcaster to create a magical tattoo with a spell-emulating effect on one of their mundane allies, is really awesome and game-changing.

Chapter 4: Dungeon Master’s Tools

The final chapter of the book is dedicated to resources for dungeon masters to help them create, augment, and improve their campaigns.

Session Zero

One of the most important moments of a campaign happens before it even begins. Running a “Session Zero” is a great way to make sure your players are all on the same page with the theme and tone of the game, have their characters, backstories, and supplies prepared and available, and the DM is ready for whatever shenanigans the players plan on throwing at him right off the bat.

For more info on how to run a successful session zero, and turn a good campaign into a great one, check out our guide Session Zero: The Secret to a Great Campaign

The Social Contract

If you’ve ever gone on an internet forum for dungeon masters, the most common topic is dealing with the various ethical and moral issues that face players and dungeon masters in their creation of and playing the game. Tasha’s does a great job of explaining this in a succinct and accessible way. There is a social contract between the DM and players to obey the rules of the game, and rule #1 is that everyone has fun.

Sidekicks

If you find yourself in the position of running a game with too few players for your ambitions plotline, but don’t want to overwhelm your players with running multiple characters, Tasha has you covered! Sidekicks can help fill out a party lacking a specific skillset either temporarily or permanently, provide a great way to transition characters into and out of your story, and make an amazing quest reward at higher levels!

Having a sidekick can help balance out your party roles but also provide another opportunity for social gameplay and world immersion

Final Verdict

The best part about this book is that everything contained in it is optional. One of the main criticisms of D&D 3rd edition was that it was overly complicated, providing an unprecedented depth of material compared to any other edition. However, to long-time veteran players who learned all the intricacies of this edition, this was its greatest strength. The main criticism of 4th edition was that it was too simplified and felt like a videogame with a limited skill tree for all characters. However, this created a very low barrier to entry for new players just coming onto the tabletop gaming scene.

The current 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons is the best of both worlds. The base game is simple enough to allow anyone to get started, but over time enough optional rules supplements have been released that die-hard 3.5-edition players can make the switch and not feel like they are limited at all.

Overall, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything does a great job reminding us that not only are there a hundred-hundred ways to play the game, there’s not wrong way to play. This book is a really solid addition to the library of 5th edition books and is a must-have for both players and dungeon masters alike.

For New Players…

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything makes for a great starting point for a player looking to make a steampunk-inspired character. The Artificer class will give a Cyberpunk 2077 player all the tools they need to bring the high-tech-fantasy flavor to the table full of elves and wizards. The simplified summoning spells are great for casters who are new to the game, giving them less to manage while still providing the exciting flavor of being a druid.

For Seasoned Players

Veterans of the game will relish the myriad options provided to them for character creation. Expanding the list of subclasses for each base class to a whopping 6 at least means there could be a whole party of Bards and none of them have any of the same builds. This makes for a bunch of wacky campaign settings that you will love to see at your table.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything can be purchased from Amazon: