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D&D 5E Some thoughts on the Art in Tasha's Cauldron

Now that I finally have the book I'm generally impressed by the art. There's a few things I noticed, first of all some of the continuing attempts at more diversity in the art including Non-Human people of Colour such as the Elven Aristocrat or the Telepathic Bard, as well as the Human Artillerist Artificer being an East Asian who's not something overtly East Asian like a Monk or Samurai. There's of course the thing about Drow that many have brought up where they're now being depicted with light grey skin.

Beyond that it's interesting that none of the Orcish seeming people are being described as Half-Orcs, as the captions just say Orc. It's an interesting one as there's always being problems distinguishing Orcs and Half-Orcs. Most of the time they aren't that distinguishable unless they went with something like in early 3e where they tried to emphasize hunchbacks and more bestial features for Orcs, while having the ones with appearances most associate with Orcs being the Half-Orcs. I suspect many who do play Half-Orcs just want to play Orcs anyways. There's being a few examples in the past of trying to show Half-Orcs that look closer to Humans, but most of the time someone depicts a Half-Orcs they're just drawing an Orc. There's a similar problem with Elves and Half-Elves, being depicted as distinct in the art.

Another thought goes into lets speculate away about upcoming campaign settings. As it's interesting that there's a picture of Azalin in the book under patrons as a Lich, and actually pointing out that he's spying on Cast Ravenloft. That's special because he's basically the first Dark Lord outside of Barovia that one thinks of when mentioning the other Dark Lords who are not Strahd. Technically Azalin is from Oerth, but I don't think there was ever anything from the Greyhawk setting ever about him, as he was introduced in the Ravenloft setting to my knowledge. Then there's the image of Rhys from Planescape, and her recruits, first of all she's so far the only Tiefling depicted in 5e art that doesn't resemble the 4e Tieflings / Dranei from World of Warcraft as I'm glad they didn't try to retcon her appearance. Interesting enough it's Guildmaster Rhys and not Factol Rhys of the Transcendent Order aka the Ciphers (the Taoist faction) in the caption, as this implies her post-Faction War status as she was the only Factol who survived (or wasn't mazed by the Lady of Pain) during the events of Faction War, thanks to her listening to the Cadence of the Planes which had her in Elysium when the Faction War broke out.
 

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MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
One of the first things I noticed about the art was that the various depictions of Tasha depict her with styles that if she didn't have her tattoo I'd have trouble saying that they were all paintings of the same person. I know that hair style and dress can go a long way in making someone look different but it almost seems like the face shapes are subtly different to make her look inconsistent. And I actually like this choice. It's like each piece featuring her is the artist's own interpretation of who Tasha is. It reminds me of my own games where different players will draw scenes and have different interpretations for the characters. It's a fun reminder that there is no one true way that the game looks because each person around the table sees everything a bit differently in their mind's eye.

The second thing I noticed was that there's 3 pieces of a bullywug in this book which is a little odd for a race that doesn't even have PC stats. I think someone at Wizard's must like them.

There are a lot more non-standard race class combos depicted in the class section which makes a lot of sense with the rules to customize races. There's an elf barbarian, an orc monk, a tiefling fighter, etc.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Beyond that it's interesting that none of the Orcish seeming people are being described as Half-Orcs, as the captions just say Orc. It's an interesting one as there's always being problems distinguishing Orcs and Half-Orcs. Most of the time they aren't that distinguishable unless they went with something like in early 3e where they tried to emphasize hunchbacks and more bestial features for Orcs, while having the ones with appearances most associate with Orcs being the Half-Orcs. I suspect many who do play Half-Orcs just want to play Orcs anyways. There's being a few examples in the past of trying to show Half-Orcs that look closer to Humans, but most of the time someone depicts a Half-Orcs they're just drawing an Orc. There's a similar problem with Elves and Half-Elves, being depicted as distinct in the art.

Eh. There have been times, in the past, I've wanted to play a half-orc. To paraphrase Tropic Thunder, I've never wanted to go Full Orc. As for elves, never a full, nor a half, nor a quarter should you be.

TBH, if you could get rid of the legacy need, and the resultant cultural expansion*, I'm fairly certain that D&D would move away from the idea of ... there's no easy way to say .... any half-races, since it can raise very uncomfortable questions in some cases, and at a minimum requires some thought about why certain races are (and are not) compatible that just aren't very ... proper ... today. If you catch my drift.



*Not to mention the whole, "Wouldn't it be cool if the sexy elves and the sexy humans could totally get it on. I wanna ship that!"
 

Tasha's easily has the most diverse representations in its art in a D&D product to date. I completely dig it.

Now that I finally have the book I'm generally impressed by the art. There's a few things I noticed, first of all some of the continuing attempts at more diversity in the art including Non-Human people of Colour such as the Elven Aristocrat or the Telepathic Bard, as well as the Human Artillerist Artificer being an East Asian who's not something overtly East Asian like a Monk or Samurai. There's of course the thing about Drow that many have brought up where they're now being depicted with light grey skin.

Me clocking Azalin in the art:

1607364937485.png


The Greyhawk thing is definitely a retcon. His first appearance in House on Gryphon Hill makes no mention of it, nor did the 2e Ravenloft core book. I hope his depiction is foreshadowing. I don't think we need yet another adventure facing off against a lich, but I would love to go to Necropolis, where fighting the entire population of undead just isn't going to happen.

Another thought goes into lets speculate away about upcoming campaign settings. As it's interesting that there's a picture of Azalin in the book under patrons as a Lich, and actually pointing out that he's spying on Cast Ravenloft. That's special because he's basically the first Dark Lord outside of Barovia that one thinks of when mentioning the other Dark Lords who are not Strahd. Technically Azalin is from Oerth, but I don't think there was ever anything from the Greyhawk setting ever about him, as he was introduced in the Ravenloft setting to my knowledge.
 

The Greyhawk thing is definitely a retcon. His first appearance in House on Gryphon Hill makes no mention of it, nor did the 2e Ravenloft core book. I hope his depiction is foreshadowing. I don't think we need yet another adventure facing off against a lich, but I would love to go to Necropolis, where fighting the entire population of undead just isn't going to happen.
I think they mentioned him being from Oerth at some point in 2e, I just can't remember when. Maybe the revised setting book, of course they tried to link certain Dark Lords to certain campaign settings as well.
 


As far as I can tell, it was the From the Shadows adventure that was where it started. But I could certainly be wrong on that.

I think they mentioned him being from Oerth at some point in 2e, I just can't remember when. Maybe the revised setting book, of course they tried to link certain Dark Lords to certain campaign settings as well.
 

Another one that caught my attention is the Battlesmith Artificer Gnome with purple hair, I think that's the first in D&D, though Gnomes in Pathfinder and other games have had purple as a possible hair colour for a while now.
 

Another one that caught my attention is the Battlesmith Artificer Gnome with purple hair, I think that's the first in D&D, though Gnomes in Pathfinder and other games have had purple as a possible hair colour for a while now.
there was one with white dreads in rising (pg23) too, think they might be trying to get away fromsome of the tolkein (or whatever) feel & allow gnomes to be something other than one very specific very tired stereotype
1607377200380.png
 

Beyond that it's interesting that none of the Orcish seeming people are being described as Half-Orcs, as the captions just say Orc. It's an interesting one as there's always being problems distinguishing Orcs and Half-Orcs. Most of the time they aren't that distinguishable unless they went with something like in early 3e where they tried to emphasize hunchbacks and more bestial features for Orcs, while having the ones with appearances most associate with Orcs being the Half-Orcs. I suspect many who do play Half-Orcs just want to play Orcs anyways. There's being a few examples in the past of trying to show Half-Orcs that look closer to Humans, but most of the time someone depicts a Half-Orcs they're just drawing an Orc. There's a similar problem with Elves and Half-Elves, being depicted as distinct in the art.
I actually had a plot point my campaign recently that half-orcs have a wide variation in their appearance, from almost fully human to almost fully orcish, much like half-elves are typically described, so a "human" NPC turned out to be a half-orc, meaning an ordinary (if large, lineman-sized) human had darkvision and ties to orcish bandits threatening the trading caravan he was leading.

Likewise, I'm really against the standardization of tiefling appearances. (Maybe that took place in 4E, which I skipped.) I find them a lot more interesting if they range from shady-looking humans to cloven hoofed figures with tails and horns, but where there's no standardization. Even as they've gone more mainstream as a PC racial choice, I feel like they should still have an element of danger about them, and to me, one of the easiest ways to do that is to make them less predictable and cookie cutter.
 

Likewise, I'm really against the standardization of tiefling appearances. (Maybe that took place in 4E, which I skipped.) I find them a lot more interesting if they range from shady-looking humans to cloven hoofed figures with tails and horns, but where there's no standardization. Even as they've gone more mainstream as a PC racial choice, I feel like they should still have an element of danger about them, and to me, one of the easiest ways to do that is to make them less predictable and cookie cutter.
Standardization of Tiefling appearances is something that definitely took place in 4e, where they had a very specific origin from the not-really-a-campaign setting Nentir Vale. 5e has taken some baby-steps away from that. I definitely do miss the non-standardized 2e Tieflings, so I was quite happy that Rhys still looks like how she was depicted by Tony Deterlizzi.
 

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