Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

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Wild, untamed lands hold a wealth of mystery and danger, providing the perfect backdrop for heroic adventure. Whether adventurers are climbing mountains in search of a dragon's lair, carving their way through the jungle, or seeking a long-lost holy city covered by desert sands, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness gives them the tools to survive the wilds. A new 20-level base class, the shifter, puts animalistic powers into the hands—or claws—of player characters and villains alike, with new class features derived from animalistic attributes. Overviews of druidic sects and rituals, as well as new archetypes, character options, spells, and more, round out the latest contribution to the Pathfinder RPG rules!

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness is an invaluable hardcover companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness includes:

  • The shifter, a new character class that harnesses untamed forces to change shape and bring a heightened level of savagery to the battlefield!
  • Archetypes for alchemists, barbarians, bards, druids, hunters, investigators, kineticists, paladins, rangers, rogues, slayers, witches, and more!
  • Feats and magic items for characters of all sorts granting mastery over the perils of nature and enabling them to harvest natural power by cultivating magical plants.
  • Dozens of spells to channel, protect, or thwart the powers of natural environs.
  • New and expanded rules to push your animal companions, familiars, and mounts to wild new heights.
  • A section on the First World with advice, spells, and other features to integrate the fey realm into your campaign.
  • Systems for exploring new lands and challenging characters with natural hazards and strange terrain both mundane and feytouched.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-986-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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Another Great Hardback Update Collection!

5/5

Ultimate Wilderness is a much better book than some reviewers might lead you to believe. You get the new shifter class - which has had some basic errata since release - along with great archetypes for most of the other classes to help them fit into a wilderness-based campaign.

It's a great book to help players prepping to play something like Kingmaker or Ironfang Invasion. You get new spells, feats and a new exploration mode.

The book itself maintains the high quality of work that most Paizo products exhibit. The art in this book is some of my favorite in any of the hardback collections. There are a few updated spells that needed errata, such as snowball.

As a fan, I really like that several of the archetypes convert the flavor of many Game of Thrones characters into Pathfinder mechanics. What more could you ask for?


Lots of ptential, but none of it really sticks

2/5

I was extremely excited for this publication, so it's rather depressing how disappointing the books contents turned out to be.

The shifter class was an interesting idea, but when put down on paper is just druidic wild shape with hunter focus, in the form of aspects. It, unfortunately, never surpasses the druid in the wild shape department, and is, in fact, rather limited, and the temporary nature of all the aspects means that the shifter isn't terribly impressive in that regard either. The archetypes, both for the shifter and other classes, are interesting, but several suffer from massive drawbacks, for little to no gain. Like taking on druidic weapon/armor proficiencies and restrictions, including losing abilities for wearing metal, but don't gain any significant power to mkae up for it.

The new rules expansions are, for the most part, only thrown off by some conflicting skill applications (survival to harvest poison, but heal to take internal organ trophies?) but these are easy to ignore, or fix by homebrew. So these chapters are the most stable and useful of the lot.

One of the most exciting discoveries was the Cultivate Magic Plants feat, allowing you to grow plants that copy spell effects, but the price tag attached to them, especially when attached to something with the considerable disadvantages of being an immobile magical item, makes it entirely useless next to the crafting cost of regular magical items, especially if you have a GM that's willing to allow players to use the rules on creating new magical items. Just for an example, a goodberry bush can fully feed 2 people per day forever... for 4000 GP to craft. While you could make an item to infinitely cast goodberry for 2000 gp if you have to wear it, or better yet create food and water (for about 30000).

In conclusion, the book has a lot of cool stuff in it, but only for GMs. Players won't be able to make good use of many of the archetypes and feats as they revolve too much around staying in a single environment or working with nonsensical restrictions. While many of the feats are just too focused (or expensive) to be useful except to an NPC. GMs, grab it, it's got good stuff, but players will (and should) probably stick to what they've already got.


Everything I wanted from Ultimate Wilderness

4/5

Great race write ups, a fun new class (that doesn't require a ton of source books to play) and tons of information and systems to run a wilderness adventure or spice up the wilderness sections of any game. Definitely happy to add this one to my bookshelf.


Reprinted material, lack of clarity

1/5

First off, I'm a huge fan of Pathfinder. But I'm not a fan of "Ultimate Wilderness." There are a number of issues with the content in the book, mostly the clarity of language. A lot of the rules seem unclear and not straightforward. The shifter is the biggest example of this.
To be honest I was looking forward to the shifter, being far more robust than it actually is. And I understand that this is my issue with what I expected from them, but what built up my anticipation of the shifter was the quality of past classes released by Paizo: summoner, alchemist, witch, bloodrager, investigator, brawler, spiritualist, medium (even if it isn't harrowed), magus, ninja, hunter and so on and so forth.
Past that, I'm not a big fan of the reprinted material because I buy the smaller books. If I'm buying the smaller books why would I want to buy them again with a hardcover?
That being said, I'm still a big Pathfinder fan, but I'd like for future releases to take a different developmental cycle than what "Ultimate Wilderness" received. This book seems like it lacked editing and playtesting.


4/5


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Liberty's Edge

You don't gain iterative attacks with natural weapons, so at lvl 6, it's just +6/+6. If you want to add on, you have to either start using a manufactured weapon, or find a way to add more natural attacks (of which there are quite a few).


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PookeyW wrote:

I have been thinking a lot about the Shifter class...

...remember the in Beast Shape II, it states what abilities you get in the new form. The Major Form of the Aspects just modifies what is gained from BS 2. The owl aspect gets flying from BS 2 and then gains Flyby Attack at lvl 8.

While that is probably the case, the class sometimes tells you everything you would normally get from Beast Shape II, and other times seems to omit stuff. The Bear form, for example, only says it gives you low-light vision and scent, even though the actual Dire Bear has a 40ft movement speed and the grab ability on its bite. Both of those abilities are omitted. Now, it's reasonable to assume that you should get those, since that's in line with Beast Shape II's mechanics.

It's made more complicated when you look at the Tiger form though. It gives you the enhanced movement and grab ability of the Dire Tiger, as well as everything else you would get form Beast Shape II. Spelled out right there so you don't have to look it up (aside from natural attacks and size). Is there a reason it mentions all the abilities you get in Tiger form, but leaves things out of the Bear form? Is Bear Form not supposed to have grab?

Most likely this is just an error, but it definitely needs clarification.

Sovereign Court

Wildstag wrote:
What I think the FAQ team forgot is that Claws only get two attacks, even with full BAB.

If that's the case, a one-sentence Errata to the Shifter would fix the class... and would stop us all (or most of us) from trying to 'pile on natural attacks' via items. With a two-sentence errata we could also increase the threat range for the claws as the shifter goes up level... 18-20/x2 claws with the wounding property or vorpal property at higher levels would be cool...


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Agree with Brew Bird. Some of the animals merely restate what BS2 gives, in which case it seems pretty clear how they function. But some of them will omit features and it's hard to tell if that omission is intentional or not, especially given that some other forms delay access to certain BS2 abilities.

It's not too hard to figure out intent for the most part, but it does require you to interpret the rules one way for one form and another way for another form, which is messy.

Shifting gears, can anyone else take a look at the Star Watcher Investigator and tell me if I'm missing something? Because this archetype seems like it gives up a lot of power and flexibility in its first feature and doesn't earn back all that much.

Not being able to identify potions is minor. Not getting a bonus to craft checks is also minor, but slightly less so. Losing out on alchemist talents sucks quite a bit though and having to pick the targets of your spells when you prepare them and needing the target to be present to do so feels pretty brutal.

And in exchange... you essentially get the infusion talent for free (with that restriction) and instead of trapfinding you're really good at sense motive and geography.

The talents are nice, especially ranged spell combat and precognition, but even so those are still talents.

It just really feels like the archetype gives up a lot and then if you want to get anything out of it you have to give up even more.

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Wildstag wrote:

I think the issue they have is that they don't want you doing +10 damage on an attack at level 10. What I think the FAQ team forgot is that Claws only get two attacks, even with full BAB.

As it is, it's powerful enough to make up for the lack of iterative attacks. The worst part is that if you're really using a Dex build, you'd probably try to have a +10 Dex mod by level 14. So Dex-To-Damage would actually just be a better ability than "Dex-to-hit and half-level-to-damage".

Like Mark mentioned, currently as written the feat explodes the vigilante's Lethal Grace out of the water (and vigilante talents are supposed to be stronger than feats balance-wise). Basically, this cements Shifter's Grace as a feat tax for Str-based shifters—if left unchanged, it would be the only way to play the class. The feat was designed to help Dex shifters better keep pace with Str-based ones, not as a buff to Str-based shifters.

Additionally, Shifter's Edge is better for shifters then, say, an agile amulet of mighty fists in situations where you want to be Dex-based and using an Aspect that is Medium or Large. Basically, Medium and Large shapes tend to offer Strength bonuses when you're wild shaped, and many of their universal monster abilities are Strength-dependent (like the monkey aspect's rend ability at 15th-level).

This isn't to say that Shifter's Edge is designed to be mandatory, nor is it inherently better (or worse) then wearing an agile amulet of might fists. The feat was designed to support a very specific kind of play style with very specific animal forms. Your mileage may vary.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Could we get a Feat Tax for Shifters that want to have 'fully functional' Wild Shape, perhaps something like 'Can Haz Drood Wyld Shape'? or something?


I know this has probably been asked, but it is a big thread and I don't have the book yet. How much has the wood element for Kineticist been improved?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

well, they get their proper basic phytokinesis power. thats certainly a plus. and now the wood element does seem to have its own identity, rather than feeling like a not as good earth. most of the leg work was done by psychic anthology, but its still good. also there is a Laser-esqe infusion for wood that lets positive energy deal some damage to normal targets, normal damage to undead, and extra damage to creatures vulnerable to sunlight.

there are some other bits, but it is a solid choice for certain builds and styles.


It is all reprints and I did notice some nerfing with the brachiation utility wild talent other then that it is fine. I am happy to finally see the basic phytokinesis in print plus they added a detect plants ability to the list of what it can do.


What type of content does Ultimate Wilderness have for fey campaigns, or campaigns visiting the First World?

I've been reading of the discussions back and forth regarding the shapechanger class, and I'm actually not that concerned, as I'll likely use the Skinchanger from Legendary Games, which is pretty much on the nose EXACTLY what I want out of a shapechanger class.

But I'm interested in learning if there's enough interesting fey content to justify purchasing the book as a PDF.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a section of the "Mastering the Wild" chapter on the First World which includes some stuff like hazards, haunts, and other things, but it's a total of 6 pages. Apart from that there's only a smattering of Fey-related material. You'd be better off looking at the Campaign Setting book that came out a while back.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Banshee16 wrote:

What type of content does Ultimate Wilderness have for fey campaigns, or campaigns visiting the First World?

I've been reading of the discussions back and forth regarding the shapechanger class, and I'm actually not that concerned, as I'll likely use the Skinchanger from Legendary Games, which is pretty much on the nose EXACTLY what I want out of a shapechanger class.

But I'm interested in learning if there's enough interesting fey content to justify purchasing the book as a PDF.

First World and Fey Related Material:
Races: Gathlain

Racial Archetypes (can be taken by other races with GM permission, so I would allow these for any fey race, including gnomes): Fey Courtier (Bard)

Season Sage {(Druid)

Fey Prankster (Rogue)

Class Archetypes: Green Knight (Cavalier)

Water Dancer (Monk)

Sylvan Trickster (Rogue)

Feats: Fey Insight (Bonuses to social skills with fey)

Fey Performance (local wildlife enhance your bardic performances)

Fey Guarded (resistance to fey magic)

Section on the First World: Flavor Text covering details on the history, features, and the inhabitants. A list of the Eldest and their divine portfolios are briefly listed and a brief overview covering the ways to get there. All this takes up about 2 pages once you account for art. They then describe three different hazards unique to the First World (Phantom Rings, Pixie Pollen, and Weeping Waste). They also describe three "Echos of the First World" which act like haunts: Dimensional Tear, Floating Demise, and Following Footsteps. Hazards and Echos cover about three pages with art in addition.

Herbalism: Fairy Cap (found near fey bowers and ley lines)

Animal Companion Archetypes: Feytouched companion

Spells: Fey Form (I,II, III, & IV) (alchemist, bloodrager, druid, magus, shaman, sorcerer/wizard, witch)

Fey Gate (bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer/wizard, summoner, witch)


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Can you imagine what would happen in the US if suddenly all the speed limit signs on the Interstate were changed to read "100 kph"?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
Can you imagine what would happen in the US if suddenly all the speed limit signs on the Interstate were changed to read "100 kph"?

The police would have a field day with speeding tickets.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Alchemaic wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Can you imagine what would happen in the US if suddenly all the speed limit signs on the Interstate were changed to read "100 kph"?
The police would have a field day with speeding tickets.

Yep.

Shadow Lodge

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Coroners too.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As much as I am (highly) disappointed in the shifter, and a few other issues, I still find this book more useful then Ultimate Intrigue and Horror Adventures.


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I am highly disappointed in the Shifter. It seems like a class that was bathed in praise internally from day one, and was never given the necessary, thorough bathing of constructive criticism that makes things great.


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What I don't understand is why the Shifter got full BAB but no kind of way to utilize it for attacks. Nat attacks don't benefit from high BAB, at least as far as iteratives are concerned. Why didn't Shifter get a kind of Wild Flurry like the Menhir Guardian got?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I probably have most of the Players Companion books that were added into this compilation, but at first read through this book is filled with tons of toys for GMs and players. I really dig it.

Don't understand all of the complaints one bit.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brother Fen wrote:

I probably have most of the Players Companion books that were added into this compilation, but at first read through this book is filled with tons of toys for GMs and players. I really dig it.

Don't understand all of the complaints one bit.

Severely overselling the Shifter, the main reason most people bought this book.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alchemaic wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:

I probably have most of the Players Companion books that were added into this compilation, but at first read through this book is filled with tons of toys for GMs and players. I really dig it.

Don't understand all of the complaints one bit.

Severely overselling the Shifter, the main reason most people bought this book.

Citation needed.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Chemlak wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:

I probably have most of the Players Companion books that were added into this compilation, but at first read through this book is filled with tons of toys for GMs and players. I really dig it.

Don't understand all of the complaints one bit.

Severely overselling the Shifter, the main reason most people bought this book.
Citation needed.

Citation:

A lot of this thread, the “is the Shifter any good” thread, the “is the oozemorph any good” thread, and most other communities discussing UW.
There are far more voices saying the Shifter is terrible than there are talking about any of the book’s good points, which is significantly different from previous releases (with a few people voicing their opinion about what they didn’t like, but largely drowned out by many more people excited about the new good stuff)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Lots of people talking about the new class doesn’t mean it was the main draw for everyone. I don’t care for shapechanging so I was indifferent to the Shifter. The Archetypes however made me interested.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Coroners too.

Every mortician in the USA would be standing beside the local highway rubbing their hands together so hard in glee over the expected business that the friction would be raising sparks.


I really like the two new spells that allow sorcerers and wizards to shapeshift other people and that permit the person it's cast on to change their own form while the spell lasts. The new spell for 'turn into a magical beast' spell is fun too.

Pity they're both limited to only sorcerers and wizards but no sense getting greedy.

Shadow Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:

I really like the two new spells that allow sorcerers and wizards to shapeshift other people and that permit the person it's cast on to change their own form while the spell lasts. The new spell for 'turn into a magical beast' spell is fun too.

Pity they're both limited to only sorcerers and wizards but no sense getting greedy.

Two spells better than a class for shapeshifting. Go, wizards, go!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Chemlak wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:

I probably have most of the Players Companion books that were added into this compilation, but at first read through this book is filled with tons of toys for GMs and players. I really dig it.

Don't understand all of the complaints one bit.

Severely overselling the Shifter, the main reason most people bought this book.
Citation needed.

Well....there is the large number of people expressing disappointment....as well as a smaller number of people making obvious excuses....(ranging from "make your own class"...through...."it's a beginners class, and as such is OK as is")....IMO that counts as citation....but YMMV of course..... ???

Keep in mind I have zero problems with people liking the book.....I only have problem with people who like the book trying to dismiss those that are disappointed in the book ;)


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Rysky wrote:
Lots of people talking about the new class doesn’t mean it was the main draw for everyone. I don’t care for shapechanging so I was indifferent to the Shifter. The Archetypes however made me interested.

It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

If you don't care for shapeshifting, then it's understandable that you are not very disappointed....and that's grand. As long as you don't attempt to minimize or dismiss those that are ;)

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

The issue is sample size. The majority of people who've posted in this thread? Possible. The majority of people who purchased the book? Unverified.

It's in our nature to assume that because we feel a certain way, that's the majority opinion. Actually proving it, though, is a bit more complicated.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.


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Kalindlara wrote:

The issue is sample size. The majority of people who've posted in this thread? Possible. The majority of people who purchased the book? Unverified.

It's in our nature to assume that because we feel a certain way, that's the majority opinion. Actually proving it, though, is a bit more complicated.

Also....when all is said and done....those that choose not to comment....are irrelevant. If the majority of the people who choose to comment....are disappointed....then that's the viewpoint that is actionable.

I fully understand that people are more likely to comment when they are displeased (I owned a store for many years....it's far easier to get complaints than compliments).....that said.....the only actionable items are those that get feedback ;)


Kalindlara wrote:
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.

Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

Shadow Lodge

8 people marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
Also....when all is said and done....those that choose not to comment....are irrelevant.

The hell you say.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
nighttree wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.

Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

I read it as implying that most of the people who buy this book don't actually frequent the forums here. If that was the sum total of the people buying books from Paizo, they would be out of business in a week.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Also....when all is said and done....those that choose not to comment....are irrelevant.
The hell you say.

ROFLMAO.....well if your not willing to speak up....then yes, the hell I say ;)


5 people marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.

Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

As a self-published author? Yes. The vast, vast majority of people don't comment one way or another.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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nighttree wrote:


Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

That's almost definitely true. The vast majority of Pathfinder players I know don't frequent the forums or do so only very irregularly, and all of the FLGS' within driving distance of my house sold out of Ultimate Wilderness very quickly, with tables full of people oohing and ahhing over the shifter. It was very similar during convention season where people from all over the country were talking about how strong and awesome the kineticist was at PFS events. The realities of the casual market can differ quite a bit from those of the forum communities. Even a quick head count comparing posters in the Paizo forums to various sales numbers shows that only a fraction of a fraction of the people who play actually post.

I think the biggest issue is that the premise and inspirations of the class weren't communicated very well. Correct me if I'm wrong but the only information we got seemed to be "full BAB with shapeshifting powers" and "nature paladin", which the class does give, but not in a way that met everyone's expectations.

Given that the shifter exists in a pretty crowded field of 1pp and 3pp shapechanging options, everyone assumed they'd get the ultimate shapeshifter, a full BAB master of many forms. What was actually produced was a high floor, low ceiling entry based on inspirations like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr and ulfhednar, which the class does a pretty solid job of embodying and which is reasonably competitive with classes like barbarian and slayer. If there had been more communication up front about the goals and inspirations for the class, there probably would have been significantly fewer people disappointed with the end result.


Feros wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.

Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?
I read it as implying that most of the people who buy this book don't actually frequent the forums here. If that was the sum total of the people buying books from Paizo, they would be out of business in a week.

I read it as implying that most people who buy the books don't bother to express their opinions of the books.

If that's the case, that's fine.....but if you have an opinion.....express it :P

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
nighttree wrote:


Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

That's almost definitely true. The vast majority of Pathfinder players I know don't frequent the forums or do so only very irregularly, and all of the FLGS' within driving distance of my house sold out of Ultimate Wilderness very quickly, with tables full of people oohing and ahhing over the shifter. It was very similar during convention season where people from all over the country were talking about how strong and awesome the kineticist was at PFS events. The realities of the casual market can differ quite a bit from those of the forum communities. Even a quick head count comparing posters in the Paizo forums to various sales numbers shows that only a fraction of a fraction of the people who play actually post.

I think the biggest issue is that the premise and inspirations of the class weren't communicated very well. Correct me if I'm wrong but the only information we got seemed to be "full BAB with shapeshifting powers" and "nature paladin", which the class does give, but not in a way that met everyone's expectations.

Given that the shifter exists in a pretty crowded field of 1pp and 3pp shapechanging options, everyone assumed they'd get the ultimate shapeshifter, a full BAB master of many forms. What was actually produced was a high floor, low ceiling entry based on inspirations like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr and ulfhednar, which the class does a pretty solid job of embodying and which is reasonably competitive with classes like barbarian and slayer. If there had been more communication up front about the goals and inspirations for the class, there probably would have been significantly fewer people disappointed with the end result.

Hit the nail.


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Ssalarn wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
nighttree wrote:
It's actually a "no brainer" from the responses over the last few weeks that the Shifter was the main attraction.

How many individual posters are there in this thread that have offered an opinion? I'm guessing 25-100, just as a very loose estimate.

Do you think that includes all of the people buying the book? Do you think it includes a majority of the buyers? Even without Paizo's production numbers in front of me, I can guarantee you that it isn't.

As such, it's hardly a "no-brainer", as you put it. This is a sample of the subset of customers dedicated enough to use the forums. It can't be said to be statistically reliable - at best, it's a data point.

Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

That's almost definitely true. The vast majority of Pathfinder players I know don't frequent the forums or do so only very irregularly, and all of the FLGS' within driving distance of my house sold out of Ultimate Wilderness very quickly, with tables full of people oohing and ahhing over the shifter.

I think the biggest issue is that the premise and inspirations of the class weren't communicated very well. Correct me if I'm wrong but the only information we got seemed to be "full BAB with shapeshifting powers" and "nature paladin", which the class does give, but not in a way that met everyone's expectations.

Given that the shifter exists in a pretty crowded field of 1pp and 3pp shapechanging options, everyone assumed they'd get the ultimate shapeshifter, a full BAB master of many forms. What was actually produced was a high floor, low ceiling entry based on inspirations like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr and ulfhednar, which the class does a pretty solid job of embodying. If there had been more communication up front about the goals and inspirations for the class, there probably would have been significantly fewer people disappointed with the end result.

I'm trying to move away from my "expectations" over the last year (that boat has sailed so to speak)....and just looking at what role the class is obviously designed to fill....it still fall's very short of that....IMO.

When all is said and done, I'm OK with the direction they took the class in....I would just like to see it fill that role in a way I'm willing to use. Currently, the only use I can see for the class is Lycanthrope concepts with the Weretouched Archetype. That's the only character concept I can imagine using the class for.

And I can't say that about a single class they have developed.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

All in all, the only thing that can be read from all this with some accuracy is that:

A) Most people assumed that the Shifter would be a shape-changing machine from first level on, better at it than any other class; they assumed that because that was the impression they got from the developers and designers as they discussed this class over the months between announcement and delivery.

B)Those who were expecting that would be mostly disappointed given the actual structure and abilities of the class.

C)Any for whom the main reason for buying a fairly expensive book was not wilderness campaign rules but to get a Paizo published shape-shifting class would be quite upset given A) and B).

D)Upset people tend to be more vocal than those who are content.

That's it. Whether a book titled Ultimate Wilderness will upset a person just picking it up and finding the new class is called a Shifter and isn't all about shape-shifting is questionable IMHO. How many people are like that out there and what percentage they might represent? Who knows?

The people making these claims might be right in assuming that most people ARE in fact upset with the book. But they might not be. We don't have enough data to draw an accurate conclusion.


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Rysky wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
nighttree wrote:


Are you implying that most buyers don't comment ?

That's almost definitely true. The vast majority of Pathfinder players I know don't frequent the forums or do so only very irregularly, and all of the FLGS' within driving distance of my house sold out of Ultimate Wilderness very quickly, with tables full of people oohing and ahhing over the shifter. It was very similar during convention season where people from all over the country were talking about how strong and awesome the kineticist was at PFS events. The realities of the casual market can differ quite a bit from those of the forum communities. Even a quick head count comparing posters in the Paizo forums to various sales numbers shows that only a fraction of a fraction of the people who play actually post.

I think the biggest issue is that the premise and inspirations of the class weren't communicated very well. Correct me if I'm wrong but the only information we got seemed to be "full BAB with shapeshifting powers" and "nature paladin", which the class does give, but not in a way that met everyone's expectations.

Given that the shifter exists in a pretty crowded field of 1pp and 3pp shapechanging options, everyone assumed they'd get the ultimate shapeshifter, a full BAB master of many forms. What was actually produced was a high floor, low ceiling entry based on inspirations like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr and ulfhednar, which the class does a pretty solid job of embodying and which is reasonably competitive with classes like barbarian and slayer. If there had been more communication up front about the goals and inspirations for the class, there probably would have been significantly fewer people disappointed with the end result.

Hit the nail.

Very possibly true. I honestly don't feel the class comes even close to what was hyped....but perhaps my perception of what was hyped was not what they were trying to hype.

That said...I see very little use for the class as it is.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Further clarification on my opinion of all this: it all comes down to a small marketing blunder. Like Rysky and others have stated on the boards before me, had a reasonable idea of where they were going with the class been presented it wouldn't have caused such a crack-up.

Would people still be disappointed with the class? Yes: quite a few people have noted that they believe the class is not up to snuff even representing the shifting angle Paizo took with it. But that would have been design criticism and most people would then have moved on to the rest of the book.

Of course this is just my opinion based on what I am seeing here. If you are unhappy with the book, be unhappy with it! You have every right to be unhappy, just as those of us who really like the book have every right to be happy.


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Rysky wrote:
Lots of people talking about the new class doesn’t mean it was the main draw for everyone. I don’t care for shapechanging so I was indifferent to the Shifter. The Archetypes however made me interested.

People who are unhappy about something are far more likely to say something about it than people who are happy will. And people who are unhappy will also complain TO more people.

That doesn't mean that more people are unhappy. Just that unhappy people are more vocal about it, statistically.


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Banshee16 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Lots of people talking about the new class doesn’t mean it was the main draw for everyone. I don’t care for shapechanging so I was indifferent to the Shifter. The Archetypes however made me interested.

People who are unhappy about something are far more likely to say something about it than people who are happy will. And people who are unhappy will also complain TO more people.

That doesn't mean that more people are unhappy. Just that unhappy people are more vocal about it, statistically.

Additionally, with all the rather heated language going on in this thread and others regarding the shifter and the rest of the book, many of those that might have wanted to comment may have decided not to wade into the drek storm.

that tends to make the threads a little polarized with very vocal unhappy people, a smaller number of happy or satisfied people asking what the problem is, and a lot of lurkers wishing that the signal to noise ratio was a bit better.


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knightnday wrote:


Additionally, with all the rather heated language going on in this thread and others regarding the shifter and the rest of the book, many of those that might have wanted to comment may have decided not to wade into the drek storm.

This was me, for the entire time that I was waiting for the launch day. I chose to poke my head out anyway because I remember James Jacobs saying a while back that the constant negativity on the site was getting to him, and I promised at the time to try to make the site more welcoming.

You can express your displeasure with something without being rude or a jerk. I want to be clear... I'm not happy with how the Shifter turned out, but I don't think it's horrible. The communication about it was skewed by differing expectations, and mis-interpretation. But I respect the sheer amount of time and effort that went into the book, and want to compliment the authors on all the stuff I did enjoy.


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I'm largely on the same page as Benjamin. Only the opportunity to talk about my own contributions even lured me out of my shell.


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I usually don't comment, but with this book I had to give some feedback. My whole group found it very poorly made. It has some quality material but the part we use the most was far from our expectations.

Not only the shifter is basically unsalvageable, but most archetypes and feats are useless or subpar. There is hardly anything we want to use from what we got from the book. People are complaining in hope to get better products in the future and to let the designers behind the book know how they feel about it.


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Ssalarn wrote:
I think the biggest issue is that the premise and inspirations of the class weren't communicated very well.

That's putting it mildly. Some of the pre-release information, along with the class' own fluff writeup in the book, are entirely at odds with the finished product.

That said, I think trying to deflect the whole thing into a communications problem feels disingenuous. Yes, there was hype around the class and yes it failed to live up to the hype. Hype aside however it's still a bland, exceptionally mediocre class with an extremely narrow focus, trap options and limited build variety that struggles to stay competitive at higher levels and sports multiple archetypes with editing errors and noticeable design problems.

Going on about mismanaged expectations and silent majorities just comes across as a rhetorical trick designed to deflect away from actual issues. You can do better.

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