Tasha’s Cauldron has just about everything… but one thing you won’t find is good or evil. Is this the alignmentless wave of the future?
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, despite the big bold disclaimer that “everything in this book is optional” lays out the groundwork for the future of D&D. With flexible options that allow you to customize your character by messing with fundamental parts of the game, change your subclass mid-adventure, create your own lineage, and even personalize your own spells. Every class gets an option to change the core ways their class functions, with rules for more versatility than ever before. Looking in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, you can see where D&D is headed–but the one thing you won’t find is alignment.
Flipping through the 192 pages of Tasha’s Cauldron, you’ll find a few new monsters hidden inside the book–first, there are the monsters reprinted in the Artificer, with both the Battle Smith’s Steel Defender and the Alchemist’s Homunculus Servant.
Now as delightful as the new artwork is–and seriously look at that little winged cauldron. Have you ever seen something as purely joyous as that? In Eberron, both these and the Steel Defender are listed as Neutral.
In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, both of these don’t even have an entry that reads “unaligned.” And similarly, when you look back through the new monsters introduced by way of the new summoning spells–creatures which correspond to the various planes of existence, like aberrant spirits from the far realm, or celestial spirits from the heavens, or fiendish spirits from the lower planes. But none of these are good or evil or unaligned.
But, the case could be made that these are creatures that correspond to what are effectively class features. And so maybe they ought to share an alignment with the players or something like that. The Steel Defender and Homunculus servants are magical creations of their respective Artificer. And in the case of the creatures created by spells, they are arguably energy given shape, and so maybe they’re not as real, right? Maybe stripping out alignment makes it simpler.
But then we get to the Mimic Colony. And waiting there is a new monster, the Juvenile Mimic. Again, for reference, Mimics as they currently exist in the wild, are once again Neutral. But there’s no mention of alignment anywhere in the monster entry. Nor in the rest of the book. Now we’ve talked before about how alignment in D&D doesn’t really do anything. It just sort of flaps around and influences whether or not magical swords think you’re cool.
Even the spells like Protection from Good/Evil or Detect Good/Evil don’t really react to a creature’s alignment, it just cares about whether you’re an angel or a devil or maybe a fae. So is this the first step away from alignment? Is alignment quietly getting phased out? It feels like it. But this is one book–there’s a lot more yet to come. We’ll see what’s in the next book.
What do you think? Should alignment stay or go?