Supernatural Regions Bubble Forth from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Dungeon Master’s Tools found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything certainly delivers a wonderful variety of resources to help Dungeon Masters and players alike build fantastic fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. All the new subclasses and character options get creative juices flowing no doubt about it but the real juice is the juicy tools in chapter 4 of the new 5E D&D book. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything brands one of my absolute favorite components of a memorable moment inspiring circumstances with the term Supernatural Regions. So let’s get into it.
Supernatural Regions make 5E D&D worlds pop
Along with Magical Phenomena and Natural Hazards magical forces, strange interlopers or tragic events can alter an area’s destiny and create Supernatural Regions. All three of these fall under the broader heading Environmental Hazards in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The idea of locations exhibiting strange qualities captured my imagination immediately when I first read about faerzress, an unusual magical energy named by drow and pervading much of the Underdark as described in Out of the Abyss.
Similar to a Regional Effects caused by a creature like a mummy lord Supernatural Regions create strange effects in localized areas as large or small as a DM desires. Characters might hear of such weird places or events during their adventures or unwittingly find themselves in these places or present when Supernatural Regions manifest. If I’m honest I feel like including some sort of challenge rating scale for these areas could have been handy for DMs wondering how to gauge the difficulty of dealing with supernatural regions. Players often seek additional answers they might not be satisfied with from sources like the Dungeons Master’s Guide for determining things like experience points and consideration for resource management when it comes to exploration and social interaction.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything suggests a few circumstances under which Supernatural Regions occur in 5E D&D games. Triggering possibilities include a party’s entrance to a particular region, after spending a specific amount of time in an area and several tied to creatures like losing more than half its hit points, casting a spell of 1st level or higher, activating a magic item or simply attracting undue attention.
Adding Supernatural Regions to 5E D&D brings a wealth of storytelling possibilities to the game. Plenty of players — myself included — incorporate scenarios such as these on our own but for countless others discovering D&D for the first time finding these tools in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything breathes fresh and exciting new ideas into their games.
For any DMs out there thinking about using Supernatural Regions in any capacity here’s a protip: pay close attention to players’ reaction to these areas. What their characters do and say and speculations they might make about the situation reveal what excites these folks about the potential. Considering these ideas and rewarding creative and immersive thought by incorporating what you see and hear can lead to some fantastic moments of roleplaying.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything presents seven examples of Supernatural Regions to afflict your 5E D&D worlds at a DM’s discretion. Here’s a brief summary of each.
Blessed Radiance. The grace of the Upper Planes touches this region. Under certain circumstances effects can be anything from a cylinder of golden light granting the benefits of divine favor to a character bestowed the incredible ability to use Divine Intervention!
Far Realm. The Far Realm’s pernicious influence is often subtle, leaking into the Material Plane through thin places in reality or as invasive thoughts that inspire life to propagate along alien paths. A region touched by the Far Realm may manifest effects from faint whispers emanating from a structure that cause creatures to become charmed and approach the source where they become incapacitated up to a tear in reality creating a gate spell effect.
Haunted. Haunted places bear echoes of the past and, like ghosts, harass visitors even as they seek respite from age-old traumas. Spooky circumstances can trigger this Supernatural Region and cause anything from a violent thunderstorm to a mysterious mist causing exhaustion and unsetting sights for unfortunate creature who start their turn within.
Infested. Swarms of insects become the dominant species in an area, consuming plants and animals, creating elaborate hives or tunnels, and infesting structures and the earth. Recreate Kingdom of the Spiders in 5E D&D with these circumstances ranging from intense buzzing or grinding noises filling a region to countless tiny bloodsucking insects causing exhaustion for creatures caught in the area.
Mirror Zone. A mirror zone occurs where planar and magical energies converge and create a place of reflections. Winner of my favorite of the supernatural regions given in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything this one may cause creatures to display features other than their own all the way up to a duplicate of a creature appearing in the region and seeking to slay the original. Kudos for any groups who discover a Mirror Universe. TOS is the best.
Psychic Resonance. These manifestations stem from strong emotions combined with magic use or from the presence of psionic creatures. When these powerful feels occur the results might be anything from a random creature finds itself able to detect thoughts for the next day to every beast in the region gaining heightened Intelligence and the ability to speak Common and Sylvan permanently. This section also includes a lovely sidebar encouraging DMs to consider how anything in their world might potentially awaken to sentience with a bit of guidance how to manage it mechanically. Bravo!
Unraveling Magic. Perhaps the most likely Supernatural Region to emerge because magic is unpredictable and strange results occur when a creature casts a spell — not an uncommon scenario! When magic begins to unravel in a Supernatural Region you might discover all magic items lose their magical properties for an hour all the way up to a random creature in the area can cast wish!
The question now comes to you. Have you incorporated things like Supernatural Regions in your 5E D&D games, or encountered them as an adventurer? What were the circumstances and most importantly how did these unusual effects affect your incredible story? The content in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything got me thinking a lot more about these situations even more than I usually do!