D&D 5E A change of heart about Tasha’s

My initial reaction to Tasha’s was lukewarm at best. Not only did I dislike a lot of the subclasses, I was really against the floating ASI and custom lineages. I liked the feats largely, but disliked the art direction.

I am not going to say I am eating my words, but I have really reevaluated the book and it’s offerings.

Over time, I have grown to like many more of the subclasses. There were some I flat out ignored and some I disliked at first sight. So what has changed?

First, so much lore is malleable. It’s not bending the rules, it’s encouraged. So artificer grated initially. Then I realized you don’t have to be robocop. Maybe you’re a witch that uses “leathers.” Perhaps you are using infernal tech.

The feats…they just allow more things to be realized with less fuss. An eldritch knight who takes fey touched shadow touched and other spell granting feats changes dramatically—without busting balance. I used to say of my warlocks: I am one invocation away from being what I envision! I would trade a feat to get it! (Tasha’s geanted my wish).

Some of the options for warlocks (my favorite class) are really broadening. Whether it’s a new pact boon or the new patrons, the play space has improved and grown (yes, I am lusting after both the genie and the fathomless patron options).

I could say more but think these broad areas represent what I have reevaluated about Tasha’s.

My biggest gripe was the floating ASIs and custom lineages. I am not a fan of the floating ASI. I won’t relitigate that issue. But I will say about custom lineages…

I was talking with my friend about a white dragon tiefling sorcerer…maybe levistus type. And he says: what about a white Abishai background? Fits both. And suddenly I got it in a more personal way. The custom lineages is not always just “the easy button.” It would help make this a cohesive whole.

This book more than any other (to me) requires cooperation with the group and DM. But there is a note at the start that is probably overlooked a lot: it’s optional content. You and your group decide! And you can decide (as always!) on an item by item basis.

Lastly I will not like the art direction. I play in largely humanocentric or at least basic race optional campaigns. There might be an odd gnome or tiefling but we do not play in worlds represented by the books art. Tieflings are not around every corner and none of us are wearing spectacles or sporting tank tops and tribal tattoos while sporting nose rings. But whatever. Some groups do.

In summary, I have grown to like much of Tasha’s. It’s a solid addition to D&D. And frankly, I think this makes D&D a really complete game. With Xanathar’s I cannot find many concepts or options I want that I don’t have access to and that is saying something. It’s saying a lot.

I am ready to get shouted down for this and I am at peace with it 🙂 but 5e has done enough right that I feel no pull to update and move to a 5.5 or whatever. That’s not negativity, that’s just me saying WOTC did a very, very good job. I looked at my my 5e library yesterday and thought: well done. I have gotten my money’s worth with 5e and then some.

We have started playing a lot more lately and it’s bliss. This game and friends trumps all other leisure for me. And Tasha’s has shockingly become a part of the 5e equation…
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Glad you’ve come around on a lot of it and made peace with the stuff you still don’t like being optional! Sorry you don’t care for the art direction; I can empathize, as it doesn’t really reflect how I envision the worlds I like to run either, though personally I enjoy most of the artwork when evaluated in vacuum.
 





I was talking with my friend about a white dragon tiefling sorcerer…maybe levistus type. And he says: what about a white Abishai background? Fits both. And suddenly I got it in a more personal way. The custom lineages is not always just “the easy button.” It would help make this a cohesive whole.
Honestly, the only thing that confuses me here is why anyone would view it as anything other than this. Like...that's what it's for. When none of the racial options really fit or make sense. It's basic, sure, but 5e isn't the kind of game that can handle a non-basic custom lineage structure, not as written. (An expansion willing to make changes, such as Level Up, is a different story.)

The whole point of 5e "empowering" DMs (as much as I have issues with that concept and with its execution) was to make it so they would have explicit control over stuff like this. If a player wants a custom lineage that isn't thematically appropriate, just tell them they can't do that. It genuinely baffles me why any DM would tolerate exploitative or abusive behavior from players in this sense.
 

Honestly, the only thing that confuses me here is why anyone would view it as anything other than this. Like...that's what it's for. When none of the racial options really fit or make sense. It's basic, sure, but 5e isn't the kind of game that can handle a non-basic custom lineage structure, not as written. (An expansion willing to make changes, such as Level Up, is a different story.)

The whole point of 5e "empowering" DMs (as much as I have issues with that concept and with its execution) was to make it so they would have explicit control over stuff like this. If a player wants a custom lineage that isn't thematically appropriate, just tell them they can't do that. It genuinely baffles me why any DM would tolerate exploitative or abusive behavior from players in this sense.
Have you never played with people that push for advantages that don’t contribute to shared enjoyment? If not good for you.

But cherry picking goodies without regard for the shared fiction is ubiquitous. My group also likes the idea of earning things and doing it the hard way. I have seen more than a few players do what it takes to win, while it looks legal but cheap to me.

It goes without saying everyone’s mileage may vary in these experiences but hope that elucidates my trepidation.
 

Have you never played with people that push for advantages that don’t contribute to shared enjoyment? If not good for you.
I have played with folks who tried. Every DM I've ever had that I would call remotely "good" at DMing addressed the issue. (I also find that almost all players push for advantages...because success is, in general, considered enjoyable.)

My group also likes the idea of earning things and doing it the hard way. I have seen more than a few players do what it takes to win, while it looks legal but cheap to me.
I'd like to unpack this a bit. What does a character's race, ancestry, lineage, whatever we wish to call it, have to do with "earning" anything? Narratively by definition no one merits being born what they were, so this would seem to be a concern unrelated to the part I clipped out (about ignoring shared fiction.) This thus seems to be a matter of the player "earning" something, but how does ancestry choice affect whether or not one "earns" things?
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
(I also find that almost all players push for advantages...because success is, in general, considered enjoyable.)

I find the same thing. It often gets mischaracterized as trying to get advantages relative to other players. But really it's about having advantages relative to a nearly identical character you could have played.
 

I have played with folks who tried. Every DM I've ever had that I would call remotely "good" at DMing addressed the issue. (I also find that almost all players push for advantages...because success is, in general, considered enjoyable.)


I'd like to unpack this a bit. What does a character's race, ancestry, lineage, whatever we wish to call it, have to do with "earning" anything? Narratively by definition no one merits being born what they were, so this would seem to be a concern unrelated to the part I clipped out (about ignoring shared fiction.) This thus seems to be a matter of the player "earning" something, but how does ancestry choice affect whether or not one "earns" things?
I appreciate your interest n my newfound liking for Tasha’s.

After participating in a few game adjacent discussions on enworld I decided to talk more about positives.

Expounding on my groups old school sensibilities vis a vis current play styles I don’t think I will be making a positive contribution.

I will respectfully leave it alone. That topic has been beat to death. I know that in our group a dwarf gets the standard bonuses and ability adjustments, period. Other people are happy with an intelligence bonus or whatever.
 

Honestly, the only thing that confuses me here is why anyone would view it as anything other than this. Like...that's what it's for. When none of the racial options really fit or make sense. It's basic, sure, but 5e isn't the kind of game that can handle a non-basic custom lineage structure, not as written. (An expansion willing to make changes, such as Level Up, is a different story.)

The whole point of 5e "empowering" DMs (as much as I have issues with that concept and with its execution) was to make it so they would have explicit control over stuff like this. If a player wants a custom lineage that isn't thematically appropriate, just tell them they can't do that. It genuinely baffles me why any DM would tolerate exploitative or abusive behavior from players in this sense.

I view it this way, but I have a few players at my table who see it as nothing beyond new rules to min/max. I kid you not, the week the book was published the only thing they would talk about was how to capitalize on +3 to one stat (+2 race, +1 half feat). Similarly when Monsters of the Multiverse released, all they would talk about was how to capitalize on the new Bugbear's sneak attack change (assassin + gloomstalker).

It's really exceptionally obnoxious.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Glad you’ve come around on a lot of it and made peace with the stuff you still don’t like being optional! Sorry you don’t care for the art direction; I can empathize, as it doesn’t really reflect how I envision the worlds I like to run either, though personally I enjoy most of the artwork when evaluated in vacuum.
This is where I’m at. I like most of the new art, even when it doesn’t reflect worlds I play in.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I view it this way, but I have a few players at my table who see it as nothing beyond new rules to min/max. I kid you not, the week the book was published the only thing they would talk about was how to capitalize on +3 to one stat (+2 race, +1 half feat). Similarly when Monsters of the Multiverse released, all they would talk about was how to capitalize on the new Bugbear's sneak attack change (assassin + gloomstalker).

It's really exceptionally obnoxious.

Really? That’s “exceptionally obnoxious”?

How high does your scale go? Where on that scale is badgering players who don’t optimize? What about telling other players what they should do on their turn? Griefing other players because “that’s what my character would do”? Sexist comments toward female players?

You must have some pretty colorful descriptors in the 4/5 of the scale that’s above “gets super excited about theorycrafted optimization”.
 

First, so much lore is malleable. It’s not bending the rules, it’s encouraged. So artificer grated initially. Then I realized you don’t have to be robocop. Maybe you’re a witch that uses “leathers.” Perhaps you are using infernal tech.
That's been my main disappointment with the Artificer, leaning so heavy into the pseudo-steampunk stuff. I'd love to see subs built around other types of object oriented magic, like a tribal artisan that coaxes out the animistic spirits dwelling within natural materials.
 

That's been my main disappointment with the Artificer, leaning so heavy into the pseudo-steampunk stuff. I'd love to see subs built around other types of object oriented magic, like a tribal artisan that coaxes out the animistic spirits dwelling within natural materials.

I think you just have to go for it. I looked up medieval folks that cleared out dead animals and used their parts. Associated I think with executioners?

Lots you could do with that for artificer. A witch brewing potions? Anything but steampunk for my D&D group…
 

I view it this way, but I have a few players at my table who see it as nothing beyond new rules to min/max. I kid you not, the week the book was published the only thing they would talk about was how to capitalize on +3 to one stat (+2 race, +1 half feat). Similarly when Monsters of the Multiverse released, all they would talk about was how to capitalize on the new Bugbear's sneak attack change (assassin + gloomstalker).

It's really exceptionally obnoxious.
That's extremely unfortunate. I assume you have spoken with them about how you find such extreme focus on edge-case optimization thoroughly off-putting? I used to have a more "powergamer" type player at my (virtual) table, he left for IRL reasons unrelated to the game, and having a polite but firm conversation with him about how his behavior was negatively affecting the group straightened things out fairly quickly.

Though this may also be just a matter of how I do things. I'm a big believer in "rule of cool" and handing out unique, personal equipment, stuff that either grows with the user or riffs off of new abilities as they arise, etc. IOW, one of the best ways to "optimize" at my table is simply to be really, genuinely enthusiastic about something and talk with me about it. Nine times out of ten, if the player just earnestly thinks something is cool and can sell it to me as a reasonable option, I'm happy to give it to them with bells on. (The vast majority of exceptions involve stuff like "necromancy is one of this culture's few EXTREME taboos" or "I can see what you're going for but that would be too powerful." Thankfully, my players are troopers, so the latter is very rare indeed.)
 

Really? That’s “exceptionally obnoxious”?

How high does your scale go? Where on that scale is badgering players who don’t optimize? What about telling other players what they should do on their turn? Griefing other players because “that’s what my character would do”? Sexist comments toward female players?

You must have some pretty colorful descriptors in the 4/5 of the scale that’s above “gets super excited about theorycrafted optimization”.
I suspect the issue is more that this sort of thing happens consistently, with every update or change or addition, and is a persistent cloud of "must...chase...biggest...numbers!!" rather than a casual, "Ooh, that's a neat combo" kind of response.

Speaking for my own self, I would call most of what you spoke of as beyond obnoxious and actively inappropriate or even completely unacceptable. "Obnoxious" is, at least to me, something you use for a thing you can tolerate, but with clenched teeth. Bossing other players around is not tolerable. Sexist comments--regardless of the identity of the recipient(s)--are completely unacceptable, and if one of my players legitimately did something like that, they would get one chance to apologize and correct their mistake. Should they fail to take it, they would be kindly shown the door (or, rather, ejected from the Discord server.)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
My initial reaction to Tasha’s was lukewarm at best. Not only did I dislike a lot of the subclasses, I was really against the floating ASI and custom lineages. I liked the feats largely, but disliked the art direction.

I am not going to say I am eating my words, but I have really reevaluated the book and it’s offerings.

Over time, I have grown to like many more of the subclasses. There were some I flat out ignored and some I disliked at first sight. So what has changed?

First, so much lore is malleable. It’s not bending the rules, it’s encouraged. So artificer grated initially. Then I realized you don’t have to be robocop. Maybe you’re a witch that uses “leathers.” Perhaps you are using infernal tech.

The feats…they just allow more things to be realized with less fuss. An eldritch knight who takes fey touched shadow touched and other spell granting feats changes dramatically—without busting balance. I used to say of my warlocks: I am one invocation away from being what I envision! I would trade a feat to get it! (Tasha’s geanted my wish).

Some of the options for warlocks (my favorite class) are really broadening. Whether it’s a new pact boon or the new patrons, the play space has improved and grown (yes, I am lusting after both the genie and the fathomless patron options).

I could say more but think these broad areas represent what I have reevaluated about Tasha’s.

My biggest gripe was the floating ASIs and custom lineages. I am not a fan of the floating ASI. I won’t relitigate that issue. But I will say about custom lineages…

I was talking with my friend about a white dragon tiefling sorcerer…maybe levistus type. And he says: what about a white Abishai background? Fits both. And suddenly I got it in a more personal way. The custom lineages is not always just “the easy button.” It would help make this a cohesive whole.

This book more than any other (to me) requires cooperation with the group and DM. But there is a note at the start that is probably overlooked a lot: it’s optional content. You and your group decide! And you can decide (as always!) on an item by item basis.

Lastly I will not like the art direction. I play in largely humanocentric or at least basic race optional campaigns. There might be an odd gnome or tiefling but we do not play in worlds represented by the books art. Tieflings are not around every corner and none of us are wearing spectacles or sporting tank tops and tribal tattoos while sporting nose rings. But whatever. Some groups do.

In summary, I have grown to like much of Tasha’s. It’s a solid addition to D&D. And frankly, I think this makes D&D a really complete game. With Xanathar’s I cannot find many concepts or options I want that I don’t have access to and that is saying something. It’s saying a lot.

I am ready to get shouted down for this and I am at peace with it 🙂 but 5e has done enough right that I feel no pull to update and move to a 5.5 or whatever. That’s not negativity, that’s just me saying WOTC did a very, very good job. I looked at my my 5e library yesterday and thought: well done. I have gotten my money’s worth with 5e and then some.

We have started playing a lot more lately and it’s bliss. This game and friends trumps all other leisure for me. And Tasha’s has shockingly become a part of the 5e equation…
I personally really prefer this Smorgasbord approach to the older bunch of little highly focused books approach.
 


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