Grandmother’s Story, Part 5: The Howl of the Wild

Friday, May 12th, 2023

"For one epoch and one day, the Wardens of the Wild reigned. Where animals and beasts disputed or doubted, the wardens quelled their infighting and fortified their hearts. Where the wild grew threatened by disaster or development, the wardens repelled intruders and restored the world with their vast power. Yet nothing of the wild lasts forever—such is not the way of nature.

"When their time drew close, the four wardens felt the call. And as they were the stewards of the natural world, so too did every animal in their care: those upon the land, those within the earth, those under the sea, and those above the sky. The wardens converged from their disparate realms upon a single location, tucked away in the furthest expanses of the wilds, along with every beast that could make the trip. The flocks and schools and herds all came together in a grand convergence known as the Migration—every animal, even those so rare they’re thought extinct.

"Can you imagine it, Charikleia?" The naturalist, now much older than a boy, put the stone tiles back in their velvet-lined box, the one his grandmother had left him. "Every animal on the planet, all in one place?" He gazed out over the deck of the Zoetrope. Below, the water was so clear you could see the eels and fish and rays darting through the coral as the ship neared the coast.

"Professor, you're getting off track again," Charikleia said with as much tact as she could muster, even as her eye caught a majestic lightning turtle through the waves. Instantly, her brush was in her hand, capturing the turtle’s likeness in her sketchbook for the expedition’s records.

"Ah, apologies, got away from myself for a moment." Baranthet smiled at his research assistant. Though he’d explained their mission as soon as funding was secured—long before he’d finished constructing the ship or assembling the crew—he wasn’t sure he’d ever properly told her the story that inspired it all, as he’d originally heard it each year in his youth: Grandmother's story, which he now told in her stead.

"When the Migration was complete and the animals were gathered, the Wardens of the Wild would select their successors. Some might rely on their judgment, while others might hold contests of strength or wit or heart, but in some manner, they would choose four new wardens to inherit the mantle.

"And so it was that the little elephant, the rattling snake, the angry fish, and the kind butterfly became the four new Wardens of the Wild, growing to great size as they were filled with the primal magic of their respective realms, over which they reigned for one epoch and one day. And when the Migration came yet again, as it must, they in turn selected their four successors before passing from the wilds.

"So it was again in the next epoch, and again, and again, the great wheel of life turning. And though many consider it a myth, some say that out there, somewhere in the last expanses of the world, the four Wardens of the Wild yet reign."

Baranthet’s wistful sigh was drowned out by the thrumming wings of the Zoetrope as the ship crossed the water’s edge and began soaring over sand dunes. "We’re going to find them, Charikleia."

"We have a similar myth back home, though it’s very obscure," Charikleia said, adding some notes to her sketch as she scratched the base of one of her horns. "Though it’s more common in Earthsong minotaur art to carve our stories in stone, rather than tell them in words. All the same, I remember seeing a petroglyph depicting four great beasts in the corners of Kortos, though the specific creatures differed."

"That makes sense, the wardens would have changed many times over the ages. Who knows what forms they—AAAAACK!!!!" Baranthet dropped his tea over the side of the railing as a small airskiff buzzed past overhead, much too close to the deck, a young centaur man at the helm.

"Professor! You should’ve seen the look on your face!"

"Telero, that’s my favorite teacup!"

Telero rolled his eyes and gave a half-hearted salute before he kicked a pedal with a hoof, sending the airskiff down toward the dunes (far more quickly than necessary) to retrieve said teacup. "Way’s clear up ahead—we should be able to get to the mountains by nightfall! It’s a little close to roc territory, though, so if you see a red dye marker, that’s too far!" His voice faded as the airskiff plummeted.

Baranthet shook his head. "That boy will be the death of me."

"He’s an excellent scout, though."

"Indeed." Baranthet turned to pick up his book. "Why don’t you get the rest of the crew together in the galley—we can make a plan for surveying the area when Telero’s back."

Charikleia closed her sketchbook and stowed her brush with her usual quietness, ducking inside carefully to avoid scratching the Zoetrope’s doorframe with her horns. Baranthet stayed on the deck a little longer, though. The naturalist took in the sights as he reached out a hand, feeling the warm wind rush through his claws. Below him, the land stretched out, far from Droon, far from Absalom, far from anywhere he knew, rolling outward until it blended into the horizon.

While he and the crew had already seen amazing beasts and breathtaking views on their journey, the Wardens of the Wild were yet to be found. But Baranthet had a good feeling. For though he wasn’t quite as adept at hearing the stars as his grandmother, he had a bit of her ear, and for the shortest of seconds, he thought that he heard it resound across the land, somehow clear over the Zoetrope’s wings—

The howl of the wild.


To read Grandmother’s story from the start, click here.



Howl of the Wild, Coming Spring 2024!

 A humanoid with lizard-like featured dressed in natural colored layered clothing, holding a book open

Baranthet, accomplished naturalist and expedition leader. Art by Gunship Revolution.


Paizo is proud to announce our newest project, Pathfinder Howl of the Wild! This latest creature-focused rulebook dives into the beasts and animals of the wilderness. Catalogue them all alongside an old naturalist and his eclectic crew as they sail their fantastic airship to Golarion’s furthest reaches, studying its lushest biomes in search of the elusive Wardens of the Wild.

Exterior sketch of an airship Interior view of airship concept art

Concept art of the Zoetrope airship by Kent Hamilton.


This book provides deep dives and regional variants of classic beasts of legend, as well as a whole menagerie of never-before-seen wildlife to study, tame, cooperate with, or confront. In addition, you’ll find unique gear for dealing with beasts (as well as magical items drawing upon their power), archetypes, feats, and more that allow you to evoke the power of nature. Howl of the Wild also brings six new playable ancestries for you to create a character who’s a bit more on the wild side, including the two revealed in the story above: the swift centaur and the powerful minotaur! Each ancestry is represented in the ship’s crew. Meet the ship’s scout, Telero, and the expedition’s scribe, Charikleia:

A centaur scout, dressed in and red, looking through a magnifying glass A minotaur scribe, dressed in blues and purples with gold jewelry holding a notebook with a brush

Telero, the ship’s centaur scout, and Charikleia, the expedition’s minotaur scribe. Art by Gunship Revolution.


Lastly, though we don’t have an airship of our own (...yet), we do have an excellent crew, without whom this book wouldn’t be possible! The ferocity and wonder of the wild is brought to you by Kate Baker, Rigby Bendele, Chris Bissette, Jeremy Blum, Logan Bonner, Dan Cascone, James Case, Jessica Catalan, Brite Cheney, Rue Dickey, Caryn DiMarco, Matthew Fu, Leo Glass, Steven Hammond, Patrick Hurley, Michelle Y. Kim, Dustin Knight, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Christiana Lewis, Jessie "Aki" Lo, Luis Loza, Letterio Mammoliti, Jonathan "Ryomasa" Mendoza, Quinn Murphy, Dave Nelson, Mikhail Rekun, Kai Revius, Ember Rose, Simone D. Sallé, Shay Snow, Levi Steadman, Kyle Tam, Ruvaid Virk, and Andrew White.

If you’re eager to learn a bit more about these ancestries and a few of the monsters in the book, check out this exclusive sneak peek from Wargamer for more information! Otherwise, be sure to tune in to PaizoCon Online 2023, where we’ll talk about Howl of the Wild in our Primal Previews panel!

But that, explorers, is a story for another day,

James Case
Senior Designer

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Tags: Howl of the Wild Pathfinder Pathfinder Second Edition Web Fiction
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Paizo Employee Senior Designer

18 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's get wild!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Oooh

Edit: Little bummed that there’s no new class in this, but the new ‘Taur ancestries outweigh that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was wondering where this was going and I'm pleasantly surprised!

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh yeah! Huzzah!
I was hoping for that!

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, that was completely unexpected to me, but very cool! Exciting to see what the other ancestries are - minotaurs and centaurs are both really cool, long-desired by the community, and break the existing rules of PF2 ancestries a little bit. It'll be interesting to see if the other ancestries also push some of the other mechanical boundaries! Plus more previously-considered--monstrous ancestry choices are awesome. I wonder if this is going to be the next Book Of The Dead style pseudo-bestiary? :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So this is the next big theme book like Book of the Dead? Animals, Beasts, and wilderness adventures. Is Baranthet taking Geb's role as commentator for this book?

Paizo Employee

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm so excited! This book is going to be awesome!

Also shout out to Kent Hamilton; Every piece I see of his absolutely blows me away and he's such an incredibly skilled and imaginative illustrator!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Fun! I can't wait to see the other new Ancestries!

Liberty's Edge

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Centaur, Minotaur and more as PCs !!!

Keftiu is going to be ecstatic.


Wait a minute... the Wardens of the Wild... and the ranger has warden spells. Was that planned this far in advance or is this just a coincidence?

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am absolutely delighted to be wrong on my prediction of who Baranthet has become, and super jazzed to hear about more of the book at Paizocon!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Close to tears at how excited I am about this, I've wanted playable centaurs for so long and this whole book just sounds delightful! Kent Hamilton continues to smash it and it's awesome to see some new names alongside some old in the author list!

Now.....whats the chances of penguins?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds quite interesting and very unexpected as well. Are our Rangers going to get some wild updates as well??

Can't wait for the live panel!!

Tom


21 people marked this as a favorite.

Keftiu, start breathing. Keftiu. KEFTIU.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am so darn excited about Centaurs ^^


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oooh this sounds awesome. Also slightly disappointed no new class but I'll take some other juicy character options!

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I could see Cecaelia as one of the other animal-like Ancestries.

Director of Marketing

25 people marked this as a favorite.

Friends. New classes require playtests. And you can bet on them being Gen Con releases. :)


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

As a big fan of anything greek mythology related(such as these two ancestries, and animals/nature(watched a ton of nature documentaries growing up) this is super exciting.


Massively hyped for this! Seems to follow the lines of the Book of the Dead styled rulebooks that people were suggesting were being teased from this, and I'm greatly excited! We're getting a bunch of new beasts and monsters, and the ancestries I'm most looking forward to. Both the Minotaur and Centaur look gorgeous! Turns out there isn't any class coming from this, neither Shifter nor Shaman, but that's alright with me; I've been looking forward to something like this for a while.


22 people marked this as a favorite.
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Keftiu, start breathing. Keftiu. KEFTIU.

As the girl with the ‘sacred cow’ fursona, whose username is the Ancient Egyptian name for Minoan Crete… yeah, I’m grinning ear to ear right now. This RULES.

What a novel framing for a nature book!! I tend to skew more urban and political with my games, but this sounds like it’s too good to miss, between it being a fun read and having such sorely-wanted Ancestries.

I’m giddy. It’s unreal how much cool stuff y’all make. We’ll remember this as a golden age :)

EDIT: Y’know, that’s two Greek myth-adjacent “animal” Ancestries in this so far, and Stheno are looking pretty lonely lately…


Oh nooo, the dragon fandom won't let us sleep with their "yeah but is one of the other four a half-dragon?????" thing.

Liberty's Edge

Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Oh nooo, the dragon fandom won't let us sleep with their "yeah but is one of the other four a half-dragon?????" thing.

I thought people were betting on the latter for the yet uncovered new Versatile Heritage in Remastered ?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am very impressed by the creatures in the Wargamer article. Extremely creative while not being crazy occult weirdness. I love it.

I really hope the archetypes are awesome, something like a wild shaping archetype would be amazing.


Sounds like a great new book! I'm looking forward to exploring those wilds!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ohhhhhhhhh I am all of the hype for this.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, wow! Six!

Selfish Freelancer Zone:
pleasenotthriaepleasenotthriaepleasenotthriae aaaaAAAH


2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
What a novel framing for a nature book!! I tend to skew more urban and political with my games, but this sounds like it’s too good to miss, between it being a fun read and having such sorely-wanted Ancestries.

Even for an urban campaign, I'm definitely raiding this for the exotic pets of wealthy people.

... Does having a hydra head mounted on your wall just make you look stupid?


7 people marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
keftiu wrote:
What a novel framing for a nature book!! I tend to skew more urban and political with my games, but this sounds like it’s too good to miss, between it being a fun read and having such sorely-wanted Ancestries.

Even for an urban campaign, I'm definitely raiding this for the exotic pets of wealthy people.

... Does having a hydra head mounted on your wall just make you look stupid?

One hydra head on your wall looks stupid, but I imagine six of them looks a little tacky. How many is enough to tastefully say “I killed this thing for real, but I don’t wanna go overboard in bragging about it?”

Paizo Employee Community and Social Media Specialist

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a couple off topic posts

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wait minotaur ancestry finally? :O

But yeah I do like how this new "bestiary" format works, rather than "this is undead bestiary", book of the dead was necromancy themed book with lot of undead related lore and massive undead themed bestiary.

(I guess we might finally get "full" version of chronicles of the righteous with big celestial bestiary one day ;D )

That and if these themed bestiaries were JUST bestiaries, some creature types would never get explored :'D like I'd doubt we'd ever get "300 page book that has only giants/plants/animals/beasts/astral monsters". Even 300 page book of just aberrations sounds unlikely even if it sounds fun


6 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
keftiu wrote:
What a novel framing for a nature book!! I tend to skew more urban and political with my games, but this sounds like it’s too good to miss, between it being a fun read and having such sorely-wanted Ancestries.

Even for an urban campaign, I'm definitely raiding this for the exotic pets of wealthy people.

... Does having a hydra head mounted on your wall just make you look stupid?

One hydra head on your wall looks stupid, but I imagine six of them looks a little tacky. How many is enough to tastefully say “I killed this thing for real, but I don’t wanna go overboard in bragging about it?”

Now I want a fantasy big game hunter with a running gag of more mounted hydra heads. I suppose it is the only thing that allows both "mounted head trophy" and "catch and release".


20 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Look. Everything aside, can we all take a moment to appreciate the absolute BANGER of an art piece the Zoetrope is?? I want one SO. BAD.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*screams of joy*

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also are both centaurs and minotaurs large from level 1? :O I really hope they are

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So this is where the hopes for a wieder Shoony ancestry release rest, huh?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*Crosses fingers for merfolk, naiads, or other exotic aquatic ancestries*


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The ancestry stuff is getting me all anxious, but honestly, everything else about this book excites me so much. Aside from the glorious chorus frog, I'm insanely hyped for this:

Quote:
There are definitely other creatures that aren’t combatants. For example, there’s one creature whose primary role is public transit.

This, to me, suggests either a catbus-type creature or a living train--or, if we're lucky, a monster family with both.

A monster akin to Paranatural's ghost train sounds marvelous. I wouldn't say no to a tiny little train familiar/ancestry, either. Maybe the giant train dragon has a cute little wyrmling caboose.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:
Look. Everything aside, can we all take a moment to appreciate the absolute BANGER of an art piece the Zoetrope is?? I want one SO. BAD.

I totally meant to say something, but Minotaur excitement blinded me! Garund apparently being lousy with airships the further south you go is really fun.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The flowers on the minotaur's hooves, though! So pretty! I want to play one just so I can have hoof-flowers. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh, also--

*points at Telero* egg

Liberty's Edge

From the Wargamer article linked above :

"his name is Baranthet, and he’s from Garun, which is a Lizardfolk nation of dinosaurs and swamps."

So, Garund is originally an Iruxi word ?

I like this an awesome lot.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do love that spyglass with tiny bird decoration


3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

From the Wargamer article linked above :

"his name is Baranthet, and he’s from Garun, which is a Lizardfolk nation of dinosaurs and swamps."

So, Garund is originally an Iruxi word ?

I like this an awesome lot.

I think that’s more likely a typo of Garund and a misunderstanding of Droon.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Luna Ravenheart wrote:
The flowers on the minotaur's hooves, though! So pretty! I want to play one just so I can have hoof-flowers. :D

"Decorative shoe nails" was just one of MANY Kent Hamilton design flourishes that went into each crew member—we had drafts of the crew members and their personalities from each author, which Kent used to further develop them through their character designs. Creating a cast of characters who could appear persistently throughout the book (alongside the iconics) was a really collaborative process that could NOT have happened without him!


16 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I wrote a few things for Howl of the Wild (including one of the very not-combat monsters) and especially want to highlight how rare it is to get a creature-focused book in this hobby that is centered on the magic of the natural world instead of simply presenting you with a laundry list of monsters to roll d20s against. Think Jules Verne/JRPG steampunk air travel vibes meets Prehistoric Planet. There’s a place for this in every campaign, even urban-focused ones!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My fiancé wants her excitement known that there is not one, but MULTIPLE new varieties of frog coming in this book.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

18 people marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
keftiu wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
keftiu wrote:
What a novel framing for a nature book!! I tend to skew more urban and political with my games, but this sounds like it’s too good to miss, between it being a fun read and having such sorely-wanted Ancestries.

Even for an urban campaign, I'm definitely raiding this for the exotic pets of wealthy people.

... Does having a hydra head mounted on your wall just make you look stupid?

One hydra head on your wall looks stupid, but I imagine six of them looks a little tacky. How many is enough to tastefully say “I killed this thing for real, but I don’t wanna go overboard in bragging about it?”
Now I want a fantasy big game hunter with a running gag of more mounted hydra heads. I suppose it is the only thing that allows both "mounted head trophy" and "catch and release".

I'm suddenly picturing a scene in a big-game hunter's den with one hydra head mounted on the wall, but every time we cut away and cut back there's one more hydra head until the whole wall is nothing but hydra heads and no one mentions it.

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