Review: Paizo – Wilderness Origins (Pathfinder Player Companion)

Wilderness Origins
Wilderness Origins is an epic fantasy Player Companion supplement for Pathfinder, written by Kim Frandsen, Sasha Lindley Hall, Violet Hargrave, Andrew Mullen, Jessica Redekop, Mikhail Rekun, Sean K Reynolds, and Rodney Sloan and published by Paizo.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Wilderness Origins here
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Wilderness Origins is a player’s companion for Pathfinder that effectively builds upon the content presented in Pathfinder: Ultimate Wilderness and fits within the block of books that focus on adventures in a wilderness setting. As with many other Player Companion supplements, you get a variety of new options all based on a central theme – building characters that call the wilderness home.

Wilderness Origins starts with a collection of new wilderness-themed aspects for Shifter characters with a heavier focus on swarm aspects. Some of the aspects offer great bonuses and some purposefully situational to match the fluff of the aspect. They all have their uses in certain situations and really just widen the options available for Shifters.

Wilderness Origins then jumps into new traits and feats for Gathlains, Ghorans, and Vine Leshys (sentient vines-become-humanoids with some fun abilities). I liked the options for the Gathlains, really liked the options for Vine Leshys, but found the options for Ghorans to be dull and quite boring – to the point where I found myself saying “When would anyone ever use that?” more than once.

Wilderness Origins continues on with a break from the character-build options to what I feel are ways to enhance your character in-game. This includes wildflowers that would be useful for alchemy, nature spirits for summoners, animal and familiar companions, and totem spirits for shamans.

Wilderness Origins then wraps up by providing new wilderness- and elemental-themed magic and a couple sea-based archetypes. The wilderness-themed magic fits well and I like the addition of the sea-based archetypes as “wilderness” doesn’t have to mean “forest”. However, I find the elemental-themed magic to be a bit out of place. When I think of wilderness, I don’t think of elemental; while the two may be similar, they are often approached differently in many RPGs. Paizo does marry the two together in the bit of fluff provided and it’s not elemental as in “elemental plane”; instead it is a wilderness area with a knack for a specific element – fire. It’s not hard to wrap your mind around the two and see how they fit together, but I found it slightly out-of-place. That is a personal opinion though and others may find it a nice addition to their wilderness games.

One of the things I’ve always like about Paizo is that they push Pathfinder into areas often unexplored by other major publishers. The wilderness theme is not one you see often, if you see it at all, and I applaud Paizo’s efforts to offer something different/new/fresh to their fanbase. If you already own and enjoy Ultimate Wilderness, Player Companion: Wilderness Origins is definitely worth the small investment!

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