Wilderness Origins

Wilderness OriginsReady to get wild?

Today we’re taking a peek between the covers of Pathfinder Player Companion: Wilderness Origins! If you’ve been reading d20diaries since its beginning you’ll know that my family and I adore Ultimate Wilderness. My kids love the races introduced — particularly the adorable vine leshys — and my entire family enjoys the shifter class. In fact, each of us have at least two shifters. Needless to say we were excited to get our hands on Wilderness Origins. My husband was hoping for more shifter options, my kids were hoping for more vine leshy options, and I was… Well, I was just hoping someone in my family would find something inside the book that they’d make use of right away.

We were not disappointed.

Pathfinder Player Companion: Wilderness Origins is a soft cover book that is 32 pages in length. As a book in the Player Companion line, it’s aimed at players, which means that you won’t find a ton of world lore or secrets inside. You’ll find archetypes, feats, traits, spells, and more! Wilderness Origins features amazing cover art by David Alvarez, which showcases the iconic shifter, Zova,  engaged in battle against an earth elemental.

Wilderness Origins - Plant Journal
The inside front over of Wilderness Origins.

The front inside cover features brief information on a few plants described in the book alongside some sketches. The entire page is presented as if they were entries in a scholar’s journal, which is a nice touch. Although no important information is contained here that can’t be found later in the book, it’s nicely showcased. Plants depicted include ambrosial lotus, cleanthistle, ghostblossom, and a ghoran seed. There’s also art of a gathlain’s wing and a leaf leshy.

After this is the table of contents, the rules index, and the introduction which contains eight new regional traits themed around different terrains. Each trait is printed alongside an example background for each terrain, that emphasize how you can embrace nature and your environment. Guerilla tactics and surefooted ascent are sure to be popular, but fruit merchant and strong stomach turned out to be my favourites. Environments covered by these traits include the desert, road, forest, jungle, mountain, swamp, tundra, and coast.

Moving on from the introduction we come to six pages of new shifter options. It features a whopping nine new shifter aspects, all of which are pretty cool. The new shifter aspects are boar, crocodile, dolphin, dragonfly, electric eel, mantis, octopus, scorpion, and spider. Electric eel is my favourite, but my son LOVES the boar aspect. He immediately made a gnomish boar shifter for Pathfinder Society Organized Play and was super excited to give it a shot. Unfortunately, we suffered a TPK that weekend and poor Sid’s career was cut short. Still, my son loved the character and made a ton of use out of the boar’s minor aspect, which gives you diehard as a bonus feat.

Wilderness Origins - Feyform Shifter
A half-orc feyform shifter from Wilderness Origins.

After the shifter aspects are three new archetypes, dragonblood shifter, feyform shifter, and swarm shifter. They’re all pretty self-explanatory, with the dragonblood shifter allowing  you to take on the aspects and forms of a variety of dragons, feyform shifter granting you some tricky defences and the ability to transform into fey beings, and swarm shifter allowing you to turn into a swarm of bugs. They’re all really cool, but dragonblood shifter turned out to be my favourite. My husband’s a big fan of the swarm shifter, though, and he’s not going to be the only one. It’s a really useful archetype which is sure to see a lot of play.

Also in the shifter chapter are thirteen new favoured class options, seven new feats (be sure to check out chimeric aspect, greater weapon shift, and raking claws), and my favourite new option for shifters: alternate natural attacks. Each shifter aspect currently released (new and old) has a list of alternate attack forms they can select in place of claw attacks. Bears have a bite attack, for example, while boars have a gore and a hoof. Any time you activate your shifter claws you can choose to take an alternate natural attack from your animal aspect options in place of one of your claw attacks. This changes the damage type and the way your natural attacks look, but otherwise functions as the shifter’s regular claw attacks. It’s a really nice option I’m happy to see available.

Up next are two pages on each of the races introduced in Ultimate Wilderness — gathlain, ghoran, and vine leshy. The new gathlain options include five alternate race traits (arboreal vitality, fey resilience, and whimsical outlook are my favourites), seven new feats (mighty boughs and strength of wood are my favourites), and one new archetype. Sworn of the Eldest is a Charisma-based inquisitor archetype that I really enjoyed. Particularly the magic of the Eldest ability, which swaps out teamwork feats for some extra spells and spells per day.

Ghoran options include four alternate race traits (check out intoxicating aroma and magical absorption), three feats (I love spell mirror), two new spells (pinecone bomb and woodland rune), and the new ninja archetype petal ninja, which lets you transform into a cloud of flower petals.

Wilderness Origins - Leshy - Nathanael James
Vine leshy verdivant. Illustration by Nathanael James. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Vine Leshy options include four alternate race traits (lashvine and writhing eye are awesome!), four new feats (we like bounteous body best), and the cavalier archetype verdivant. This turned out to be both my kids’ favourite archetype — which came as no surprise since they both love vine leshys. The verdivant archetype lets you to have a plant mount, and enables you create effloresces, which are explosive plant growths that can be used a number of times per day and have some cool effects. While one might form a wall of vines to prevent attacks of opportunity, others can make you walk on air, or even give you and your allies fast healing. Effloresce replaces the cavalier’s banner and tactician abilities.

Up next in Wilderness Origins are two pages themed around flowers. It starts by introducing four new magical plants, ambrosial lotus, cleanthistle, ghostblossom, and gravebane petals. All four are surprisingly useful, but I think I like the cleanthistle best. It’s a great plant to add into my family game of Iron Gods. There’s also five awesome new witch hexes. I honestly had a hard time picking my favourite. My daughter loves leshy summoning, my son loves verdant familiar, and heralding bloom is going to be really useful for some characters. In the end its the floating lotus and iceplant hexes I’m most likely to use. Floating lotus conjures a flower that you can stand on to walk over water or gain a bonus on jump checks while Iceplant makes the witch and her familiar’s flesh harden, granting them a natural armour bonus and and the effects of endure elements. Finally, there’s a new alchemist archetype in this section: perfumer. This alchemist creates atomized perfumes in place of potions, an can distill pheromones that augment your Charisma, diplomacy, and bluff checks in place of mutagens. Very cool!

The next two pages are entitled Wardens of the Wild and involve kami. There’s a new kami eidolon subtype for unchained summoners, ward aspects for hunters to make use of, and the new spiritualist archetype ward spiritualist. This archetype allows a spiritualist to purposesly seek out a kami to bond with, and grants them a ward implement which can either be an object or their own body. With their ward implement they can gain occultist focus powers. They can also merge their kami with their implement to empower their implement in battle. I’m a huge fan of both spiritualists and occultists, so I’m totally biased to love this archetype. Haha.

Wilderness Origins - Scorpion - Beatrice Pelagatti
Scorpion familiar. Illustration by Beatrice Pelagatti. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

The next four pages are packed full of options for our animalistic pals — animal companions, familiars, and mounts. It starts with two animal companion archetypes: apex species (which gives your companion benefits in certain terrains) and unexpected intellectual (which makes a vermin companion more intelligent). Then there’s three familiar archetypes: occult messenger, the super creepy parasite, and arcane amplifier (my personal favourite) which grants your familiar the ability to use some metamagic feats on touch spells they deliver. Following these are seven feats which can be taken by animal companions, familiars, and their owners. Three are relevant to familiars, three to animal companions, and one is relevant to both. I really like the animal companion feats curious companion and friendly face, but it was two familiar feats that turned out to be my favourite. Changeling familiar gives any familiar capable of changing shape the ability to transform into a child or teenager of their master’s race, while spark of the uncanny gives your familiar the ability to speak. Awesome! (My kids are absurdly excited for this one!) A few levels later you can swap it out for improved familiar. Next up are descriptions of five breeds of mounts along with a trait for each of them (these traits count towards their master’s total number of traits). Finally, there’s an expanded companion list for cavaliers paladins, and rangers.

The following two pages talk about the totem spirits of the Shoanti, with nine new totem rage powers geared at members of the Lyrune-Quah (moon clan), Shundar-Quah (spire clan), and any ancestor-revering character. There’s also a new shaman spirit, tribe.

Wilderness Magic is up next, with five new arcanist exploits, three disaster themed spells, and the psychic archetype Magaambyan telepath, which blends druidic magic and wilderness themed powers with the psychic. Wild stride and wooden flesh are my favourite arcanist exploits, while flash flood — a sixth level spell on the druid, shaman, and sorcerer/wizard spell list — is my favourite spell.

Wilderness Origins - Fire Steed
The iconic kineticist Yoon riding a fire steed.

Similar to magic, the following two pages are all about elemental power — specifically fire. First up is the flame steed spell, which conjures a mount made of fire. Continuing this theme is a new archetype, the cinderlands adept, a fire-based kineticist that gains a loyal mount and is based on the Burn Riders of the Sklar-Quah (sun clan). Finally, there are eight new kineticist talents — one form infusion (elemental trap) and seven utility talents. My favourites included fire corridor and the fire steed tree. I’m a huge fan of both the Shoanti and kineticists, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover these new options.

By now there’s only a few pages left. Two pages of character options themed around the sea and sky. It starts with two more archetypes — a very interesting paladin archetype called champion of the cascade and esoteric starseeker, a psychic archetype based around Golarion’s constellations. Following this are two very cool (and disconcerting) oracle curses that have to do with decay: putrid and scourge. Finally, there’s three new ki powers: floating breath, racing current, and zephyr blow.

And that’s it! The end of Pathfinder Player Companion: Wilderness Origins! My whole family loves this player companion. It contains a lot of fun options for all our favourite parts of Ultimate Wilderness — shifters, gathlain, ghoran, and vine leshys — and pays some loving attention to the many different pets you can acquire. It’s rare that we get to make in-game use of a d20 book right after reading it, but this one immediately inspired us to create something new. It was well worth the investment for my family.

Thanks for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek behind the covers of Wilderness Origins.

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Legacy of the First World

Hello, hello! Welcome! Today we’re going to take a look at one of my favourite soft cover releases of the past year: Pathfinder Player Companion: Legacy of the First World! If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that my daughter is already using some of the awesome character options found inside this little gem, with her Pathfinder Society character, Lady Naysha. Admittedly, I’m super jealous.

Legacy of the First World is a soft cover book that is 32 pages in length. As a book in the Player Companion line, it’s aimed at players, which means that you won’t find any great secrets of the First World hidden inside, or details on the plane itself. For that kind of information you’ll have to pick up Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The First World, Realm of the Fey, or the soon to be released Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures. Legacy of the First World features amazing cover art by Kiki Moch Rizky, which showcases the iconic druid, Lini, and the iconic hunter Adowyn, engaged in battle against a grodair!

The front inside cover features brief information on all nine of the Eldest: gods of the First World who are often worshipped by fey and fey-blooded or fey-touched humanoids. Each entry includes their name, title, holy symbol, alignment, domains, favoured weapons, and the pages where related information and character options can be found. Curious who the Eldest are? Fear not! We’ll get into that later!

PZO9480After this we’ve got the table of contents, the rules index, and the introduction. Here we find five new regional traits, each themed around places on the material plane where fey  are common. Curious which locations? The Darkmoon Wood, Grungir Forest, Irrisen, Uringen, and a caravan known as the Witchmarket. ‘Fey Mediator (Grungir Forest)’ is a solid trait, but I think that ‘Voices of Solid Things (Witchmarket)’ turned out to be my favourite! This allows you to select either Appraise, Craft, Disable Device, or Spellcraft. In addition to making that a class skill, you can apply your Charisma modifier on those checks instead of Intelligence/Dexterity. Neat!

Moving on from the introduction we come to a pair of pages entitled ‘Fey Origins’ that deal with characters who have a touch of the fey in their bloodlines. Each of the core races has ideas for how fey-touched members of that race might look or act, and an alternate racial trait. After this there are three story feats which can be taken by any race. Although the human, half-orc, and half-elf alternate racial traits are very cool, its the one for elves that turned out to be my favourite. ‘Fey-sighted’ grants your elf detect magic as a constant ability, and replaces ‘elven magic.’ So cool! As for story feats? Check out ‘Fascinated by the Mundane’ for a really fun character concept!

Wait! That can’t be all that gnomes get in this book? Is it? Just a trait? Nope! It’s not. The next few pages focus on two races intrinsically tied to the First World: gnomes and gathlain. Up first? Gnomes! First up, rules for playing a bleaching, followed by two feats that can be taken by bleachlings. Finally! Past that we come to a quirky alchemist archetype called the ‘First World Innovator’ which lets you mix a bit of primal reagents into your alchemical creations (bombs, extracts, potions or mutagens) which will alter them in a random way. I highly recommend giving this one a read, because I loved it. Following the archetype itself are a trio of discoveries that let you create a fey-themed mutagen, which are pretty nifty. After that we come to two new alchemical creations: the chroma grenade, which dazzles enemies and makes them susceptible to illusions, and the vine tube, which spouts fast growing vines. These vinescan either grow along the ground to make difficult terrain, or can be molding by a skilled craftsman into basic tools and furniture which last for ten minutes. An interesting alternative to carrying around a bunch of heavy tools! The final little treat on the section on gnomes? It contains my favourite artwork in the book! A blue and orange haired little alchemist surrounded by very natural-looking components, crafting up some kind of glowing brew. I’m feeling it.

Leaving the gnomes behind we get into a pair of pages about gathlain. This section doesn’t contain any race-specific archetypes (for those you’ll need to check out Pathfinder RPG: Ultimate Wilderness), instead it features five alternate race traits, eight new favoured class options, and four new feats. For race traits be sure to check out ‘bower born’ and ‘sticky tendrils,’ and for feats take a peek at the very quirky ‘strange yield,’ which lets you pull a single fruit off of your wings a day that acts as a random potion.

After the various racial options in this book, we move on to the ways in which the First World has affected the material plane. The first two pages include the fey-touched template, a new oracle curse and mystery, and a bard archetype called the First World Minstrel. Although the First World Minstrel’s ability to pass on the ill luck of a pugwampi to your enemies is absolutely delightful, if I recommend only one thing from this book it would be the new oracle mystery: whimsy. It’s just… awesome. Flavourful, fun, and useful. I’d use it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for me, (and very fortunate for my daughter), right before I could make a character with it, my daughter did. She beat me to it! And she did it so… perfectly. I just can’t compete. And so, for the forseeable future, I’ll refrain from making one of my own… At least until I can think of a concept completely different than my six-year old daughter’s…. For those of you who don’t have that issue, be sure to check out our favourite revelation: ‘whimsical prank!’ Other gems include ‘assumed form,’ ‘flicker,’ ‘whimsical step,’ and ‘woodland caprice.’

So good.

Seriously. Check it out.

But with a flip of the page we leave the whimsy behind to delve into two pages of character options which revolve around the harm fey can cause. First up are four alternate racial traits which focus around locations tainted by evil fey: Darkblight, Tanglebriar, and the Upper Korir River. I’d recommend giving the human trait, ‘imposter-wary‘ a read. Although it forces you to put your bonus skill point into sense motive at every level, it also grants you a bonus on saves against illusions. A great trade if you want to make a suspicious character. After this we get to a new hunter archetype that focuses on killing fey, the cleverly named ‘Feykiller.’ This archetype swaps out a few of the animal focus options for different ones, allows your animal companions attacks to bypass DR/cold iron, grants you a bonus against illusions and enchantments or, if they were cast by fey, makes you immune to such effects. Very cool! Lastly, this section gives us three new spells, my favourite of which is ‘iron spine.’ And yes, it does exactly what it sounds like it does. Ouch…

Every page after this point in Legacy of the First World is dedicated to one of the Eldest. First, it gives us a paragraph or two on the Eldest themselves, followed by new archetypes, class options, spells and gear which are related to that god or their teachings. Interesting, right?

First up: Count Ranalc, the Traitor. Eldest of betrayal, exile and shadows. This shifty fellow provides us with my husband’s very favourite part of the book: an archetype for slayers called ‘Ankou’s Shadow.‘ This awesome archetype gives you the ability to make shadow duplicates of yourself which function as mirror image and last until destroyed. As you level up you can command your duplicates to perform other actions, and you gain access to more duplicates. Oh, and you can see invisibility as a swift action for a minute per level per day. Sweet! He’d better get around to making one soon, or I will.  Haha! After this is another interesting archetype, the ‘Shadow Scion‘ for rogues.

PZO9298
For more information on the First World, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The First World, Realm of the Fey

The Green Mother, also called the Feasting Flower, is the Eldest of carnivorous plants, intrigue, and seduction. Yikes! The pages focusing on her give us the ‘Grasping Vine‘ archetype for shamans, which shuffles up some spell options, allows you to speak with plants, gives you the ability to use plant shape, and even turns your familiar into a creature made of leaves and thorny vines. I think you could make a really cool shaman with this archetype. It’s very thematic, but also very… accessible. By that I mean: lots of different character concepts ranging throughout Golarion can make use of this archetype. Not just followers of the Green Mother, or characters from the First World. It’s easy to use. The second archetype up for offer here is much more of a niche, and focuses on The Green Mother’s seduction aspect. It’s the ‘Seducer’ archetype for witch! Their last ability, ‘Garden of Delight,’ just… Wow. I’m… a little surprised that saw print. I’m not sure why it surprised me so much. It shouldn’t. But, I’m certainly not letting my kids play this archetype! No way! That complaint aside, the archetype’s still not really my cup tea. Still, if you want to be a charming enchanter/enchantress style character, this is a really good option. Past the archetypes there are two new witch hexes up for offer and one new shaman hex. My favourite is the shaman hex ‘silkstring snare.’ Lastly, there’s three new spells. My favourite is ‘thirsting entanglement,‘ which is like a soul draining entangle spell, but the others are solid debuffs which should see use in play.

Up next is Imbrex, the Twins, Eldest of endings, statues and — you guessed it — twins. His two pages are almost entirely dedicated to summoners. It features an archetype, a new eidolon subtype, and three evolutions. After that there’s four teamwork feats. Usually, this would be a bit of bummer for me. I don’t often play summoners, even though I enjoy them, and dedicating so much space to only one class is a little unfortunate. But… it’s such an awesome archetype! SO COOL! The ‘Twinned Summoner’ has an eidolon that looks just like him (excluding any nifty evolutions). They also learn teamwork feats, which their eidolon can also automatically use. Think of the possibilities! It’s just… awesome! The moment my husband read it he looked at me and said. “Oh, this is interesting. You would be good with this archetype.” “But not you?” I asked. “No. Too much work. I’d get confused.” We laughed. Later I read through it, and you know what? I agreed. I could rock this archetype! Hahaha. The evolutions are brief, but useful — particularly ‘shared evolution‘ and ‘extra feat.‘ For teamwork feat be sure to check out ‘improved precise strike‘ and ‘spell synergy.’

Taking centre stage next is the Lantern King, also known as the Laughing Lie. He’s the Eldest of laughter, mischief, and transformation. Chances are when you think ‘fey’ you think of the attributes this guy has. He’s a prankster, and a shapeshifter. An agent of chaos with infinite forms. The character options include one archetype, the ‘Fey Prankster’ for bards, and two bloodlines that are both entitled ‘shapechanger.’ One is for bloodragers and the other for sorcerers. Both were really cool, but my favourite turned out to the the bloodrager bloodline. I’m not sure why I liked it so much, as the sorcerer bloodline was really solid, but hey! That’s how it goes sometimes.

Up next is an Eldest who is about as far from a jolly prankster as you can get: The Lost Prince. Also known as the Melancholy Lord, he’s the Eldest of forgotten things, sadness and solitude. This dour, brooding fellow has provided us with the ‘hermit‘ archetype for oracles, which is closely tied to the ‘reclusive‘ oracle curse. There’s also a ‘sorrow‘ themed psychic discipline, and a new type of feats which give you an advantage when no allies are nearby. I highly suggest giving the ‘hermit’ a thorough read, because their abilities are very, very cool. Particularly their base revelation, ‘Recluse’s Stride.’ For feats, be sure to check out ‘Centered Spell,’ which is a new metamagic feat which allows you to exclude yourself and your familiar from your instantaneous spells without increasing the spell level. Who doesn’t want to put themselves in the middle of a fireball once in a while? Right?

The next featured Eldest is Magdh, The Three, Eldest of complexity, fate, and triplets. Let me admit, up front, that I am a huge fan of this goddess. She’s my favourite in the book, by far! Unfortunately, none of the character options in her section wowed me. Now, maybe it’s just me. The three spells are interesting and useful. The monk archetype, ‘Nornkith‘, allows your monk to run off of Charisma instead of Wisdom, which is awesome, but… I wasn’t thrilled by anything. There are also three new items up for offer, my favourite of which was ‘charm of the thriceborn.’ I’d be very interested to hear what others thought about the options in Magdh’s section, so if you’ve given the book a read be sure to let me know in the comments below.

Next up is Ng, the Hooded, Eldest of the seasons, secrets, and wanderers. Under his section you’ll find a new cavalier archetype, the ‘Hooded Knight,’ who has a fey-touched mount, gains benefits when traveling on roads, and at higher levels can use dimension door or teleport. There’s also a new cavalier order, the ‘Order of the Blossom,’ which sounds… interesting. Although it’s got some cool abilities, including gaining sneak attack and some minor enchantments, one of the edicts forces you to always accept a fey’s request for aid — which could be very troublesome for obvious reasons. Thankfully, blighted or corrupted fey are excluded from this, and he must instead destroy them. Still… It could be rough! Best ensure you have an understanding GM before selecting it! The final options in Ng’s section are three new items which involve secrecy. Be sure to check out the ‘whispering gloves,’ and the ‘clandestine horseshoes’! The ‘hood of privacy‘ is awesome, but very expensive. Definitely an investment.

Following Ng’s secrecy is an interesting Eldest who cares nothing for subtlety: Ragadahn, The Water Lord, Eldest of linnorms, oceans, and spirals. He’s a brutish creature who counts all the oceans of the First World as his territory. He expects fealty, and respect, but little else. There’s two new archetypes in his section, The ‘Deepwater Rager‘ for barbarians, and the ‘Serpent Herald’ for skalds. Despite the name, the ‘Deepwater Rager’ isn’t actually an underwater combatant. I highly recommend giving it a read, because their abilities ‘Spiraling Charge’ and ‘Disorienting Grapple‘ and both very cool! There’s also three new rage powers in this section of the book (check out ‘Master of the Deep,’ which lets you command aquatic creatures), and two bardic masterpieces, both of which are cool. ‘Ragadahn’s raqs beledi’ is a dance that allows you and your companions to squeeze into tight spaces without trouble, while ‘Ragadahn’s spiral ascent’ allows you to make a whirlwind which can whisk your companions to higher ground. Intriguing!

Finally, we come to the last Eldest in the book — which is also the last page of the book —Shyka, The Many, Eldest of entropy, reincarnation, and time. Now, time related concepts are both very cool, and very difficult to work with in a d20 system. So, although I went into these pages with high hopes — hopes made higher by the awesome wizard artwork in this section — I was wary I might be let down. This section contains a single archetype, and four new spells. The archetype is called the ‘Chronomancer,’ and is for wizards. They gives up the arcane bond class feature, as well as most of their bonus feats, to gain a reservoir of energy they can use to alter time. At low levels they can use it to improve an ally’s initiative, or saving throws, and to immediately re-prepare failed spells (either due to a failed concentration check, a passed save on behalf of your enemies, spell resistance or other immunities, and so on) as if they had not been cast. Cool, right? At higher levels they can use it to cast haste on their allies or trigger contingencies. At level twenty they can even summon a version of himself from an parallel timeline at the moment of his death. The alternate you only lasts for a minute, but it’s one heck of a final gambit! He even comes with your gear! I was SO pleasantly surprised with this archetype! If you’re even remotely interested you should give it a gander. As for the spells? Very cool! Particularly ‘temporal divergence!’ Definitely read it!

And that’s it! We’ve reached the back cover, and Legacy of the First World has come to an end. I hope seeing a bit of what’s inside has helped you decide whether this is a book you want to invest in. And if you’ve read through it already, be sure to let us know what your favourite options were in the comments! Still want more fey-inspired goodness? Be sure to pick up the newest Wayfinder fanzine, Wayfinder 18: Fey and the First World, which is a free download on Paizo’s website.

Enjoy!

Jessica