Taking a feat in Fifth Edition should always feel like a big deal. In order to get one, you are usually giving up an ability score improvement, and those numbers next to your character traits make all the difference in the world more often than not. It’s also the reason that I get more excited for new feats than any other part of the book, because that’s where the roleplay lives. You can check out part one, if you missed it, right here.
If you take the Tough feat, for example, it might just give you extra hit points and that’s great, but it’s also a description of your character now. Your character is tough, so if they’re getting knocked around by corrupt city guards and their ringleader asks you to give up your hideout or something, it suddenly make a lot more sense to spit blood in their face. If you take the Actor feat, now you have an excuse to do impressions or try to get into character before negotiating with a shop keep. Feats are just a lot of fun.
So, what are the new feats we can find in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything? Let’s get right into it.
The Feats Of Tasha’s Cauldron Of Everything
I know it’s never great to start off with one of these, but these kind of feel like a waste to me. Artificer Initiate allows you to learn a cantrip and 1st level spell from the Artificer spell list, but you can only cast that spell once per long rest unless you use other spell slots. It also gives you proficiency with artisans tools.
All of this is fine, especially if you take it at first level as a Variant Human, but it can feel a bit underwhelming given everything else available. If you’re playing a different sort of spell caster, getting two extra spells at the first level is a nice short term gain, but at a certain point you’ll have diminishing returns.
So, this I really like. Besides being a lot of fun thematically and just adding Chef to your backstory, it also feels worth it for the utility given that you needed to pass on an ability score improvement to take it. First off, it still allows you to take a +1 to Constitution or Wisdom, but more than that, the food you make has some decent healing. It comes in two flavors as well, the meal or the snack. The meal looks like you need to eat it immediately for the benefit, which is an extra 1d8 when you spend a Hit Dice and you can create four of these plus your proficiency bonus.
So more than enough for the party but maybe not enough to feed an orphanage. The snacks are a number equal to your proficiency bonus, they last eight hours, and they can be munched on with a bonus action to grant temporary HP equal to proficiency bonus. Especially at lower level, getting a boost in HP is never a bad thing, and there’s a lot of roleplay to be had with this one.
Crusher feels like another one that adds a solid mix of roleplay and functionality. It limits you to bludgeoning damage, so if you’re going down that path already there’s a good chance this is going to be appealing. It raises your Strength of Constitution by 1, and once a turn when you hit with bludgeoning damage you get to push a creature up to one size larger than you a total of five feet. And if you ever score a critical hit, not limited to once a turn, attack rolls against that creature are now made with advantage.
Like I said, this feat really gives extra weight to someone who is swinging a warhammer or a maul gets to feel like their attacks are making an impact. I could even see using this with a sling, and roleplaying the damage aspects of it, like how they might stumble. I feel like if I were advising a first time player who was making a character that wanted to use a hammer, I’d probably suggest this.
This is just sort of the same thing we have with Artificer Initiate and something of a trend we saw pop up with the optional class features in the subclasses section, and it’s one I’m not really a fan of. Eldritch Adept first lets you take a Warlock Invocation and then anytime you gain a level, you can swap it out with a different invocation. Again, there’s definitely utility here, but I feel like these sorts of things take away from the weight of your decisions. Having to live with your choices is part of what can give the game urgency, so yeah. This one isn’t for me.
This is functionally very similar to Artificer Initiate, in that whatever spell you choose you can only use once per long rest, but let this one is so much better. First off, if you gives you a +1 to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, so you’re already getting a good bit of variety up front. Then it lets you learn the Misty Step spell for free, which is universally good no matter what class you play. And it gives you a first level spell of your choice that must either be Divination or Enchantment.
Where it truly shines though is how the mechanics of this work wonderfully into roleplay as well. Virtually any character can take this feat and work it into their backstory. They might have been a Fighter, someone who wanted nothing to do with magic, but because they were exposed to Feywild magic, they’ve been changed and now they have to learn to accept themselves and maybe others who either use magic or are Fey. Maybe just knowing that one spell has become very useful to them, and they learn that there’s more than one way to solve a problem. There’s a ton you can do here with this, I really like it.
This one is baffling to me because on its own, it makes perfect sense, anyone who has fought with a weapon long enough might learn a fighting style. So naturally, dipping into the Fighters pool isn’t bad at all. And thankfully it goes out of its way to say that you can’t swap out this style, you’re stuck with it, something that was blown up in the new optional subclass features for Fighters. I don’t know, it’s fine, I just wish it wasn’t muddied with all the other similar options for every other class.
I am already of the opinion that Firearms don’t work well in D&D, and depending upon the setting this feat might actually be unusable. As it stands now, you get a +1 to Dexterity, you ignore loading, and you don’t get disadvantage when firing within five feet of a hostile creature. So really all this feat really does is eliminate the part where you need to use an entire action to reload mid-battle. The better choice would be to just not use firearms at all in your campaign, but I feel like if you’re going to, this becomes a must have.
It’s hard to keep getting excited about the same thing over and here, but here it is. Did you want to use Metamagic without being a Sorcerer because anything can be anything at this point and nothing matters? Well, here you go. Again, the utility is fine, but these feats feel like a copout.
Here’s a little love for those with piercing damage, though if I’m being honest it doesn’t feel as fun or as thought out as Crusher. Your piercing damage basically allows you to reroll a one on your damage and if you score a critical, you get an extra die added to the damage. Fine, but not exciting.
If there’s a bigger theme I can see so far in this book, it’s about how they can take aspects of the game that didn’t work previously and do their best to compensate them. Poison damage in 5e has been incredibly lackluster, but this feat packs a lot of help for that little corner of the game. First off, it allows you to ignore resistance to poison damage, which is huge depending on your campaign. It also allows you to apply poison to your weapons with a bonus action, rather than wasting an entire action to do this. But maybe the biggest thing of all is that now you can craft a significant portion of poison doses for a fraction of the gold it used to cost in game. Put together, this actually makes using poison a viable choice.
Lazy as it might be, this is a copy and paste of Fey Touched, with the only differences being that you gain Invisibility instead of Misty Step and you were exposed to the Shadowfell’s magic instead of the Feywild. It will see a lot of use, but I don’t see the use in repeating myself. Everything I said above applies here.
Take a +1 to an ability score, gain a proficiency in a skill, then gain expertise in that skill. Not terribly exciting, but it can maybe save your character who didn’t realize how often they’d be using a skill check during the game.
Third time’s the charm, right? Bludgeoning got one, piercing got one, so slashing has to get one. You know the drill, +1 to Strength or Dexterity, and here you can reduce speed with your attacks once a turn. For your critical bonus, the target gains disadvantage on all attack rolls for a turn due to being “Grievously wounded”. In all honesty, I would have swapped Slasher and Piercer. Slashing feels like it should gain more damage due to bleeding or something, and piercing could be the thing that slows someone down due to muscles being wounded with precision strikes or something.
Finally, one that looks fun again. You gain a +1 to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, and you learn Mage Hand for free. Where it becomes really fun however, is that now you push people down with Mage Hand. You can’t do any direct damage, but you can shove people five feet if they fail a Strength saving throw, and I can think of so many ways that this could become useful or fun from a roleplaying perspective. Very nice.
At lastly we are ending on a good note. You gain a +1 to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, same as with Telekinetic, but where I think this one really shines is like the other roleplay heavy options here, this can be applied to literally any character and it’s not an overwhelming power. You get to cast Detect Thoughts for free, but you’re not a mind reader. Your telepathy really just goes one way, and that’s from your mind into any creature that you can see within 60 feet of you and the creature has to know your language to understand you. Again, there is a massive amount of roleplay that could be done here. You could distract guard dogs, or make the person in the next cell over think they’re going insane by hearing voices all night telling them to confess their crimes. This one has huge potential.
Overall I’m pretty underwhelmed by the feats in this expansion, but there are a couple of pretty fun options here. Weirdly enough, I’d say that Chef is probably one of the big winners here.
Stop back for Part Three when I cover Spells.