The latest D&D Fifth Edition book Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduces new psychic based spells and they’re everything the game has needed. While there have been many psionic spells included in past books, the majority of them have used Wisdom saves instead of Intelligence. Thankfully, Tasha’s remedies this problem.
Intelligence saving throws are rare in Dungeons and Dragons. After going through all the official spells available, nine require enemies to make an Intelligence save and they’re all psychic based. However, Wisdom and even Strength saving throws are way above 15. Putting points into Strength or Wisdom makes them more capable in a fight and experienced at finding details. While being smart is used to discover information. It isn’t a real hand on feature and may be why Intelligence saves aren’t all that prevalent.
Being overly smart may not be something players think about when creating their character. An average Intelligence score is 10 so many may only put in a few points to it. But when looking at the top used skills in the roleplaying game, it’s a tie between Intelligence and Wisdom. So, why aren’t there more spells backed by Intelligence?
From the spells listed in all the previous core books, none of them are cantrips. But Tasha’s introduction of Mind Sliver is the first such cantrip requiring an Intelligence save. So, enchantment wizards who rely on psychic spells finally get a cantrip for them. However, the true problem lies when looking at spells that require a Wisdom save. Many of which could easily be swapped out for Intelligence.
For instance, Detect Thoughts requires a Wisdom save from target creatures but makes much more sense if it were switched to Intelligence. The same can be said for Dissonant Whispers, and the list goes on and on; Fear, Modify Memory, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph etc.
Polymorph makes a lot of sense when you think about what it does to a D&D creature. They are turned into an animal and believe they are that creature for an hour. Their mind is convinced they are an animal. Therefore, any mental-based spell can use Intelligence as the save.
Tasha’s also brings up changing race skills and personalizing spells. However, the spell personalization isn’t all that great – it’s doesn’t really add any new details and is just a wall of text – swapping out skills, on the other hand, is an interesting concept and could also be used for cantrips. Since characters are stuck with them, DMs and players could use the changing a skill option and instead change out a cantrip.
The book already adds this feature for wizards, druids, warlocks, and clerics. So, other classes like ranger, could do the same without taking a fighting style.
Tasha’s has brought a lot of changes to D&D and it’s improving the mechanics. By using some of the newly introduced guidelines, players may not feel as trapped with their original decisions. The game is constantly adapting and shouldn’t feel like a video game where once you have a spell you’re stuck it with. Or because it says Wisdom saving throw, players and DMs shouldn’t worry about changing it to Intelligence.
Rule of cool always stands in our homebrew world.