Sneak Peak of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Character Rules in AL Season 10 Rules

This weekend is the next online event from Wizards of the Coast to promote the release of Rime of the Frost Maiden, as well as to give previews of the upcoming Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. For more information on D&D Celebration, you can check out Wizard’s website here:

Dungeons & Dragons Celebration Page

To have everything up and running for Season 10 of Adventurers League, the organized play program for Dungeons & Dragons, which will be hosting online events at the Celebration, today also saw the release of the Season 10 rules. As part of the Season 10 rules, the new character customization changes for race are included.

Adventurers League Season 10 Rules

In broad strokes, the new rules are as follows:

  • You can change your standard bonus to apply to any ability score; if you have more than one ability score bonus, you may also apply that to a different score than indicated, but not to the previously modified ability score
  • If you receive languages, you may swap them out for a list of defined “always available” languages
  • If you receive proficiencies, you may swap these out for other proficiencies; some proficiencies can cross “types” of proficiencies, like swapping out a weapon for a tool proficiency

Early (Very Early) Reception

I have heard from some players that saw these rules that they were a bit uninspired by them, especially when the book is making a push to change how character ancestry is seen in the game. I think the context of how these rules are presented is important.

In the section of the rules where this is detailed, it is mentioned that the standard ability score bonuses, languages, and proficiencies are in place to show what an “archetypical” adventurer from that culture looks like. It then specifically mentions that there is no assumption that non-adventurer members of those ancestries gain those same bonuses, languages, or proficiencies, just that many adventurers from those cultures follow similar paths.

How Many Downtime Days Does it Cost to Speak Corporate?

I think Wizards had to walk a specific line to redefine some rule interactions that should have been better thought out at the launch of 5e, that wouldn’t also cause them to say, “the Player’s Handbook is a problem, here is a fix.” It WAS a problem, but I get that the company would rather reframe the solution.

What the contextual discussion about these rules says is that, effectively, the racial ability score improvements, languages, and proficiencies are similar to Quick Build section included in all of the class entries. The explanation makes it feel a bit less like a radical change, but also, much less like biological determinism. If you want an archetypal character, use the “suggested” default.

Wish List

Would I rather the book clearly state that any nod towards biological determinism is a mistake, and instead of reframing the racial entries in the Player’s Handbook as “basic” rules versus more “advanced” rules in Tasha’s, just state that these rules are better and should supersede them? Yes, but I know there is always going to be a level of CYA with any course correction from a company. And who knows, the full book may more directly address the real-world issues and controversies surrounding this issue.

Ideally, I would rather see ability score improvements shift all the way over to class and background-based options, to reinforce a story (not “set” ASI, but X or Y for each class or background). That is a more drastic shift to the importance of Backgrounds and runs counter to the “custom built” nature of them as they currently stand in the game. While balance is a losing proposition to chance, shifting ASI to class also means that different ancestries also feel affected to varying degrees under the current paradigm.

Additionally, this solution makes it easy to implement with third party material. Saying that the ASIs, as stated, are default, and can be shifted, is a pretty simple thing to apply to other material.

I am extremely interested to see the rest of the context for Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and if there is a broader conversation about race, terminology, and connotations in the text. This does feel like at least a nod in the right direction, pulling up just short of putting out a “5.5e” Player’s Handbook.

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