Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Review – Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (Part IV: Character Options R–W)

This is part 4 of a serial review of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (find part 1, part 2 and part 3 here), where I go over the contents of WotC’s newest official sourcebook, offer my thoughts, and try to help you decide whether or not what Tasha’s has to offer fits your table.

In this article, I’ll take another bite of the biggest piece of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything: Character Options! This time I’m covering the Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard.

For each class, I’ll go over the various new class features and subclasses Tasha’s provide, evaluating each in terms of theme, design, and power.

Rogue

The rogue gains 1 new optional class feature and 2 Roguish Archetypes.

Optional Class Feature

  • Steady Aim. After 3rd level, the rogue can use a bonus action to gain advantage on its next attack on a turn it doesn’t move.

I really like this feature. It’s strong, situational, and plays to the rogues’ strengths – taking precise shots – while also coming with some drawbacks. I don’t consider rogues the most powerful class to begin with, so I’d definitely let them use this feature in my games.

Phantom

The Phantom rogue gains shifting skill or tool proficiency, can deal some of its sneak attack damage as necrotic damage to a nearby creature, gains soul trinkets, and can take on a ghostly form.

I like that the Phantom provides a good mix between powerful combat abilities and actually useful out-of-combat abilities, something many rogue subclasses have struggled with (looking at the assassin’s near-useless ribbon features!).

Overall, I like the Phantom. It has some neat and useful abilities, a nice mix between flavor, utility, and power, and can certainly compete with other roguish archetypes for overall power. It’s a very good option, both mechanically and thematically.

Soulknife

The Soulknife has psionic energy dice it can use to bolster its rolls, teleport, use telepathy, become invisible, and stun targets.

The Soulknife suffers from the same drawbacks as its fighter counterpart, the psi warrior, which I discussed in the previous installment of this review. There’s just a lot of things to keep track of – different dice, some things not requiring dice on the first use, and so on. Of course, the rogue isn’t weighed down by a lot of limited-use features already, so it’s not as bad as with the fighter.

I do find, however, that the dice don’t really work well here. Several times Psionic Energy dice are used to determine durations or ranges, which just seems like the designers wanted to use the dice for something. In play, rolling a 1 on your Psychic Teleportation so you can teleport 10 ft. just won’t feel very awesome, just like rolling high on your Psychic Whispers probably won’t make a difference very often.

In the end, I don’t think the Soulknife is very well-designed. I feel like it could be greatly simplified without losing much. In addition, while it does have some useful features, I don’t see it doing that much that an Arcane Trickster, bard, Eldritch Knight, or Bladesinger couldn’t do just as well – or better.

Summary

The rogue gets a very neat optional class feature and two decent roguish archetypes – with the Phantom being better than just decent. I could have wished for a bit more, as the rogue doesn’t have the biggest toolkit available, but am pretty happy with what we get.

Sorcerer

The sorcerer gains 4 new optional class features and 2 Sorcerous Origins.

Optional Class Features

  • Additional sorcerer spells. The sorcerer gains a sizeable improvement of its spell list, receiving both some new spells and some older ones it just should have had.

A very good addition and, as before, something I’d definitely recommend allowing.

  • Metamagic Options. Seeking spell allows the sorcerer to reroll failed spell attacks and Transmuted spell allows the sorcerer to change a spell’s damage type.

Great options that are also well-designed. I’d definitely allow this.

  • Sorcerous Versatility. Replace cantrips and metamagic options with ASIs.

Still, I’d allow the sorcerer to do it every level, but hey, this will do as well.

  • Magical Guidance. Can reroll ability checks using sorcery points.

Since this only concerns ability checks, it isn’t that powerful, but may come in handy.

Aberrant Mind

The Aberrant Mind gains a lot of extra spells known, including some powerful/useful options, as well as telepathy, defense against psychic damage, charm, and fear, an aberrant form, and a warping teleport.

The Aberrant Mind has some cool features, but the real power here comes from the additional spells, something the sorcerer sorely needs. Beyond that, it doesn’t really get that much, and I’m not a huge fan of it having several features that require sorcery points to use, as the sorcerer already has a limited supply of those.

Clockwork Soul

The Clockwork Soul gains bonus spells (some powerful ones too!), can manipulate advantage/disadvantage, can create a shield of magic, enter a powerful trance, and can summon restorative spirits.

I like the flavor of this subclass, and with the addition of bonus spells, it also has some meaningful stuff to offer. Restore Balance is also a very cool and creative feature. Bastion of Law, however, is underwhelming, as it could have almost just read “give another creature 1d8 temporary hit points for each sorcery point you expend”, which just isn’t a whole lot. Its 14th and 18th-level features aren’t very enticing either.

Summary

I’m happy that the sorcerer gets some cool new optional class features, including extra spells and metamagic options. The two Sorcerous Origins certainly aren’t the worst offered to the sorcerer, but I do feel like they fall a bit short still, especially at higher levels.

Tasha's

Warlock

The warlock gains 4 new optional class features and 2 new Otherworldly Patrons.

Optional Class Features

  • Additional Warlock Spells. The warlock gains a lot of extra spells, most of them actually new spells, which is interesting.

A very good addition and, as before, something I’d definitely recommend allowing.

  • Pact Boon Option. This is sort of a vanilla pact feature, which gives a talisman that can boost ability checks.

I like having this option. I’ve played a warlock before, where I had trouble picking the feature I felt fit my character. This one can fit all sorts of warlocks, making it a good option to have.

  • Eldritch Versatility. The warlock can change a cantrip, pact boon, or a spell from its Mystic Arcanum Feature.

This all makes sense and gives some cool versatility. Like it!

  • Eldritch Invocation Options. There’s a lot to unravel here, including a lot of invocations for the Pact of the Talisman. Eldritch Mind stands out as something I could see a lot of warlocks taking.

More options, none of them too powerful? Sure, bring it on.

Fathomless

The Fathomless warlocks gains some decent bonus spells known, a pseudo-spiritual weapon, swimming speed, cold resistance, affinity for Evard’s black tentacles, and the ability to teleport through water.

Ah.. It starts out so great with Tentacle of the Deeps, which is honestly worth a dip just to have, but ends up so… meh. The tentacle is great, giving the warlock something meaningful to do with a bonus action, but swim speed, cold resistance, and the ability to teleport through water (limited to 1 mile, even!) are all situational abilities that will often go unused.

The 10th level feature to cast Evard’s black tentacles for free and gain some temporary hit points is cool in theory, but Evard’s black tentacles isn’t exactly a powerhouse of a spell at 10th level. Considering that it requires concentration it honestly seems more like a trap than anything else.

All told, I like the flavor and theme of the fathomless, but I don’t think it’s a mechanically strong subclass. Although I could see many characters dipping for a level or two of Fathomless just for the cool tentacle, which gives them something to do with their bonus action.

The Genie

The Genie gains their choice of different bonus spells, a vessel they can hide in and that gives them a bit of bonus damage, damage resistance, temporary flying speed, the ability to give the party a quick short rest, and a limited wish feature.

The Genie’s problem is the opposite of the Fathomless’. Limited Wish – which can be used to cast a spell from any class list of 6th level or lower – is decidedly awesome, but many features at the lower levels are much less so. The vessel is cool, but doesn’t seem to have many practical use cases at early levels, and +2–6 damage on a single attack each turn is not great. The 10th-level feature that allows the Genie to give their party a quick short rest is decent – but in our games, we already allow characters to take short rests in 10-20 minutes, so it would be dead-on-arrival there.

Summary

I’m suitably underwhelmed by the new warlock patrons. Considering the excellent subclasses already available, I don’t see many people choosing these options over what’s already there. To say something nice about them, they are both thematically strong, and are certain to shine in the right campaign.

Wizard

The wizard gains 2 optional class features and 2 Arcane Traditions (one of them a remake of the bladesinger).

Optional Class Features

  • Additional Wizard Spells. There’s strong options on display here, but most of them are new spells, as the wizard already had nearly all the spells in the game available to them (or so it feels, at least!).

This is a good feature that I’d certainly allow. 

  • Cantrip Formulas. Allows the wizard to replace cantrips on a long rest.

This feature is awesome, which seems a bit unfair, as the wizard is already so strong and versatile compared to most other spellcasters.

Bladesinging

The Bladesinger has gotten a makeover and to me, it’s a welcome one. In conjunction with the revamped cantrips (booming blade etc.), the Bladesinger seems to have finally become what it was meant to be – a weapon-fighting wizard. The most notable changes include:

  • Uses of Bladesong is now limited to proficiency bonus/long rest.
  • Extra attack now allows the Bladesinger to replace an attack with a cantrip.

I felt like Bladesong could be used much too frequently before, so limiting it to 2–6 times per day is a good step. The best change is to extra attack, because now the feature may actually get used, and work in much the same way as the Eldritch Knight’s War Magic feature. Where before you’d often end up ditching melee combat for spellcasting at higher levels, the Bladesinger now motivates the player to continue using spells and melee combat in conjunction, as it should.

Order of Scribes

The Scribe gains the ability to change spells’ damage types, cast rituals quickly, conjure an awakened mind it can cast spells through, an ability to create temporary and more powerful spell scrolls, and a feature that lets the wizard ignore damage by losing spells in their spellbook.

This one is a bit… weird. There’s definitely something to be said for altering damage types, quick casting rituals, casting spells from a distance, and getting an extra powerful casting of a spell of 1st or 2nd level, but…

Like some of the other subclasses in the book, this one feels overly wordy and complicated, with many features having multiple use cases and limitations. There’s so much to keep track of, you need to almost be a scribe to manage it! Features like One with the Word is a cool concept, but with 3d6 spells being lost until 1d6 rests have passed, etc., its just so many needless steps and calculations, for a feature that could have been much simpler and more impactful.

In addition, many of the features seem great on the surface, but may end up feeling flat. Take Master Scrivener – sure casting an extra spell is great, but at 10th level, another 1st or 2nd spell slot (even if upcast by 1 level) isn’t often something you’ll notice. Why not scale the spell’s maximum level with proficiency bonus?

Summary

All told, I love the overhaul of the Bladesinger, but I am not a huge fan of the Order of Scribes, which is convoluted and (to me) a bit thematically weird. Luckily for the wizard, it already has so many great options, so it doesn’t matter too much.

Coming Up Next...

Stay tuned for part 5 of this serial review, in which we take a closer look at the Feats provided by Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Until then, let me know if you think I’m wrong about something, if there’s anything you would add, or if there’s something I’ve missed. And, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter or Facebook to receive updates, early access, and participate in giveaways!

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