Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

3.00/5 (based on 59 ratings)
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

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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

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3.00/5 (based on 59 ratings)

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Good flavor, bad mechanics.


This book had everything to be great, the wilderness themed aspects of the game have a lot of potential and player interest, however the book seems a rushed production with a lot of mechanics that just disappoint.

The Shifter is a mess, the whole idea of the class sells a combat oriented master shapeshifter, and what you get is a underwhelming mockery of a combat druid. It's extremely weak and with uninspired mechanics.

Also on the options part, there are lots of useless feats and archetypes - some unplayable - what reminds me a lot of the 3.5 times. You can find some jewels like a fey themed rogue archetype that gets hexes, but they are rare.

Even with poor execution, the book is filled with great flavor, interesting concepts, really beautiful art and good new options, like items, familiars, animal companions and even useful plants.

It seems clear to me that the main problem with this book is the lack of playtest.

I would recommend buying it just for the flavor, but it's the worst pathfinder rulebook I've bought.

Where Uninspired and Lazy Intersect


I must say, I was quite excited for this book. Ever since the debacle that was 3.5 polymorphing, Paizo has seemed to do everything in their power to nerf everything that involves it, and avoid printing more content. Thus, the existence of the Shifter intrigued me, the many-formed wanderer is a staple of Fantasy fiction, but Druid has too much clutter in the way to allow everyone to enjoy it. I wanted a class that could shapeshift from the word go, with unique and interesting class features to support that choice.

What we got, is a combination of Monk, Druid, and Hunter, that takes the worst, least exciting, and least functional aspects from each. Several features are cut and pasted whole cloth from Druid, while Wild Shape has been nerfed to the point of being a mere shadow of its former self, a fact I will discuss later. The Aspects feature is a copy paste from the Hunter's base Animal Foci, with a minor progression added at 8th level, it even includes the limited duration and uses per day clause! Something that even the base hunter did away with under certain circumstances. But it's unfair to focus solely on what's been cribbed from other classes, lets talk about Shifter's Claws, one of the few new features added; and I think an accurate summary of my problems with Shifter in a nutshell

1. You only get claws. No matter your theme, no matter your animal aspects, you get claws. Yes, that includes the Frog and Snake Shifters. This decision baffles me. Why restrict the Shifter to only using claws? Is there an issue with allowing a bite? Or a gore? Or a slam? Or a tail slap? On a class designed around shape changing, the fact this is unusually static reeks of hurried design.

2. The claws scale in damage, but very poorly. Why not allow claws to scale at a similar speed to the Monk and Brawler's unarmed strikes? At low levels, a full attack with claws is essentially a flurry, while at upper levels, the flurry vastly outpaces the claws, because unarmed strikes benefit from iterative attacks.

3. Even the claws have a feature cribbed from the Monk, in the form of their scaling material/property changes. The only unique feature the Shifter will see in their first handful of levels, is still just a spruced up hand me down system.

As for the issue of Wildshape, first we need to talk about the Aspect changes. Unlike Hunter, which knows all their Animal Foci at 1st level, the Shifter is incredibly limited, knowing only ONE aspect at first level, and gaining another Aspect every five levels thereafter. That alone, is worrying when compared with the Hunter... but then there's the Wildshape. A Shifter can only Wildshape into a creature she has an Aspect for. Unlike a Druid, who has numerous advantages over a Shifter already, the Shifter is limited to transforming into a total of 5 animals over the course of their entire career. Forget about transforming into Elementals, or Plants, or any Aquatic creature, or any of the dozens of bizarre and useful forms a clever Druid can pick from. The Shifter gets five forms, drawn from a list of fifteen animals. I would also point out, that this Wildshape is limited in exactly the same way as the Druid's is, so the Shifter can't even be in their form for the entire day until higher levels.

This, right here, is the real crux of the issue with the Shifter. It's not even as good at Shapeshifting as a 9 Wisdom Druid or Feral Hunter.

The rest of the book suffers from the same issues as many paizo hardcovers of late, namely large numbers of misprints that greatly alter the power of abilities. Many archetypes that are seemingly designed for NPC usage, or are simply trap options for less savvy players (The Ooze Shifter may be the new gold standard for this, given that it can't wear any magic items when in natural form.); combined with a large number of reprints and nerfs to spells and abilities people enjoyed using. If you look hard enough, there are a few things worth using, such as the Wildshaping Warpriest, or the Mapmaker Investigator, but those diamonds are few and far between.

1/5 - Absolutely Do Not Purchase.

Lots of great stuff.


Dedicated shifter class. Even if you don't like the class, it still means there's now a class that will receive exclusively shifting-focused archetypes.

Feats. Dust the bad ones aside, and enjoy rage totem powers on non-Barbarians, wildblooded bloodlines on non-Sorcerers, some nice options for Shifter, and more.

Archetypes. So many great ones! Highlights include a venomous Brawler, a Monk with Kineticist powers, a Kineticist that uses all the elements based on their surroundings, and a Shifter that's an ooze. Animal companions and familiars get in on the action too!

Rules. Lots of cool foraging rules, and much more detailed weather rules. Plus, rules for salvaging magic items and the like when you're leagues from a handy marketplace.

Price. If you grab the PDF, it's just ten bucks. Seriously, go for it.

Overwhelmingly Underwhelmed


This is the first time I can remember that I've felt so disappointed at a Paizo product.

New content quality ranges from amazing to outright dysfunctionally broken . For every Green Knight Cavalier or Forester Hunter there's an utterly unplayable mess like Wilderness Warden or Nature-Bonded Magus. The "patch and reprint" policy is still going strong here, with a pretty good sized chunk of content being reprints. But most people don't care as much about that, so without further ado...

The Shifter Class sucks. It looks, both in design and formatting, like a playtest version of a proper class. The class seems to have started as some sort of Druid/Monk hybrid (cribbing a bit from the Hunter), and was just not developed from there. As it stands, the Shifter is inferior in the niche it seems to fill (shapeshifting themed beatstick) to Druids, Mooncursed Barbarians, Feral Shifters, and even Metamorph Alchemist. The archetypes, while flavorful, are sharply limited, when the entire draw of shapeshifting is flexibility and versatility.

That aside, there was some good content here. The expanded list of familiar and animal companion options is welcome (even with some reprints), the mundane/alchemical equipment is equal parts amusing and useful. Some of the archetypes are amazing.

Final Verdict: The book needs to go back in the figurative oven for a while, some of the content is still uncooked.

Mixed bag


I like some things about this book. From a fluff standpoint, the art and the flavor text are all rock solid, as most hardcover Paizo books are.

From a mechanics standpoint, you get a lot of new archetypes, a lot of new feats, some new rules on being out in the 'wilderness', some new spells, and the new class, the Shifter.

The Shifter is full BAB, 2/3 Fort 2/3 Ref 1/3 Will, no spells, wild shape sorta like the druid but a bit different, has a few things that only druids had before, and can get WIS to AC if no armor (or 1/2 WIS to AC if in druid armor). There are several problems with the class, outlined in many of the reviews posted after mine. I think, like many, the class is poorly designed. -1 star.

I give this book huge props for the section 'Spells of the Wild' that starts on page 156. Its good to acknowledge how magic, in a lot of cases, nullifies the challenge of wilderness settings. The section where they talk about how create food and water combined with the 0th level spell purify food and water make survival checks to forage food basically useless. Good on Paizo for going over this stuff.

Another issue, reprints. This book contains reprints. Not a ton like the Adventurer's Guide, but enough that it is noticeable.

Lastly, the problem of too many feats, archetypes, and spells are awful. Borderline useless. This happens a lot in Pathfinder over the last few years, Horror Adventures had very similar problems. I would rather have fewer choices that are meaningful. As it is right now, I feel like it adds to the bloat issue.

3 out of 5 stars.

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Sovereign Court

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

About the Pose as Scenery plant companion trick: can anyone provide advice on how to improve that Disguise check? I don't think it's a class skill for animal companions, and many plant companions have a low Cha which works against that +8 Disguise check.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! thank you!

PS: under the Bestiary's description of the Plant type, we have this "The following are class skills for plants: Perception and Stealth." which leads me to think this Pose as Scenery trick may have been intended for Stealth instead of Disguise.

Did anyone come up with interesting houserules to fix this?

Media Specialist, SmiteWorks USA (Fantasy Grounds)

Hello! This is now available for purchase from Fantasy Grounds or on Steam. Sync your account first to get it a discount equivalent to the PDF Price ($9.99)

Pathfinder RPG - Ultimate Wilderness
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Accessory
Get it on Steam

Jen Page wrote:

Hello! This is now available for purchase from Fantasy Grounds or on Steam. Sync your account first to get it a discount equivalent to the PDF Price ($9.99)

Pathfinder RPG - Ultimate Wilderness
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Accessory
Get it on Steam

Hi Jen,

I'm not familiar with Fantasy Ground but what is the advantage of getting it there as opposed to a PDF?

Thank you!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

GM PDK wrote:
I'm not familiar with Fantasy Ground but what is the advantage of getting it there as opposed to a PDF?

Fantasy Grounds is a virtual tabletop. Purchasing this product on Fantasy Grounds allows you to access the mechanical content from the book inside the VTT. That content isn't accessible outside of Fantasy Grounds, so it's not a replacement for the PDF... but if you have the PDF in your account, the Fantasy Grounds purchase is discounted by the price of the PDF.

Thanks Vic, most appreciated!

Question regarding the Hunter Archetype Forester: ter-archetypes/forester-hunter-archetype wrote:

Animal Focus (Su)

As a forester has no animal companion, the aspects granted by this ability always apply to the forester herself, just as if a normal hunter’s companion were dead.

This alters animal focus.

Would this imply that the Hunter would have TWO Animal Foci, one 'permanent' and one that lasts for minutes per level? wrote:
If the hunter’s animal companion is dead, the hunter can apply her companion’s animal focus to herself instead of her animal companion. This is in addition to the normal one she can choose, and (as with a companion’s focus) remains in effect until the hunter changes it instead of counting against her minutes per day.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You'll have a better chance getting rules questions answered in the Rules Questions forum.

Vic Wertz wrote:
You'll have a better chance getting rules questions answered in the Rules Questions forum.

Thank you!

I did a search on this discussion thread and I did not see any matches for the question I want to raise here so apologies if I missed it answered earlier in the thread.

The woodland sniper archetype of the slayer class has the Branchwalking ability at 11th level with an additional benefit at 13th level - it raises the DC of an Acrobatics or Climb check by 5 to allow the woodland sniper move between one tree to the next via connecting branches within the canopy. My question is...what is the DC normally?

I take it that it means you can't normally move between tree to tree via connecting branches. A Climb check allows you to move vertically on a tree but not horizontally. Acrobatics is used for balancing on a narrow surface that can support your weight. So what is the "base" DC are we looking at here for moving horizontally across trees?

Thanks for any help in clarifying this ability for me.


Sovereign Court

Ultimate Wilderness wrote:

Tree Climber (Ex): A woodland sniper adds half his level to Acrobatics and Climb checks to move between, through, or up trees. With a successful DC 15 Acrobatics check, he can make ranged attacks with bows while balancing on branches.

This replaces track.

Core Rulebook wrote:

Trees The most important terrain element in a forest is the trees, obviously. A creature standing in the same square as a tree gains partial cover, which grants a +2 bonus to Armor Class and a +1 bonus on Reflex saves. The presence of a tree doesn’t otherwise affect a creature’s fighting space, because it’s assumed that the creature is using the tree to its advantage when it can. The trunk of a typical tree has AC 4, hardness 5, and 150 hp. A DC 15 Climb check is sufficient to climb a tree. Medium and dense forests have massive trees as well. These trees take up an entire square and provide cover to anyone behind them. They have AC 3, hardness 5, and 600 hp. Like their smaller counterparts, it takes a DC 15 Climb check to climb them.

Forest Canopy It’s common for elves and other forest dwellers to live on raised platforms far above the surface floor. These wooden platforms often have rope bridges between them. To get to the treehouses, characters ascend the trees’ branches (Climb DC 15), use rope ladders (Climb DC 0), or take pulley elevators (which can be made to rise a number of feet equal to a Strength check, made each round as a full-round action). Creatures on platforms or branches in a forest canopy are considered to have cover when fighting creatures on the ground, and in medium or dense forests they have concealment as well.

Other Forest Terrain Elements Fallen logs generally stand about 3 feet high and provide cover just as low walls do. They cost 5 feet of movement to cross. Forest streams average 5 to 10 feet wide and no more than 5 feet deep. Pathways wind through most forests, allowing normal movement and providing neither cover nor concealment. These paths are less common in dense forests, but even unexplored forests have occasional game trails.

To answer your question, check out the Acrobatics skill for the base DC to jump between two branches. I am not sure if you can have a running leap on a branch or not. If you can't the DC is double the distance you're trying to jump. Some classes have abilities that allow you to jump as if you had a running leap (ninja or monk I think).

Personally I would use Brachiation from the Treestrider archetype instead; Branchwalking appears to be unsupported (no pun intended) by the existing rules. Kinda like 'Pose as Scenery'.

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