Pathfinder 2e - The Druid Handbook
Last Updated: December 23rd, 2019
I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
The Druid is an interesting class. Thanks to the Primal Spell List, they have some of the healing capabilities of the Cleric, as well as some of the blasting capabilities of the Wizard. But the Druid goes far beyond their spell list: Druids can train a powerful Animal Companion to fight alongside them; they can transform into beasts like wolves, dinosaurs, dragons, and kaiju; or, they can double-down on their core class features, allowing them to do thins like conjuring storms or talking to plants at will.
In a party, the Druid most frequently serves as a Blaster, Healer, and Support Caster. Depending on your build, you can easily also serve as a Defender, Face, Scout, and Striker. However, this broad skillset means that the class can be complicated to build and play, and you'll need to plan out your build well in advance.
Druid Class Features
Key Ability: Wisdom. This conveniently boosts both your Perception and your Will Saves in addition to your spells and your class DC.
Hit Points: 8+ hit points is normal for a spellcaster, but if you plan to rely heavil on Wild Shape you need to invest in Constitution and you should consider the Toughness feat.
Initial Proficiencies: The Druid's proficiencies can best be described as "average at best". Across the board, the Druid's starting proficiencies and proficiency improvements are almost precisely average compared to other classes, but their attacks and defenses match the worst in the game. Fortunately you've got plenty of spellcasting to rely upon.
- Perception: Starts poor and doesn't increase much (though it does increase early), but your emphasis on Wisdom will make up the difference.
- Saving Throws: Trained in Fortitude and Reflex saves, and with your high Wisdom Expert proficiency in Will Saves will make your Will Saves excellent. You have plenty of Ability Boosts to throw around, so you can pad your saving throws, but your proficiencies are unimpressive.
- Skills: A total of 4+ Trained skills, which is normal.
- Attacks: Only Simple Weapons and unarmed attacks, but using weapons is a rarity for most druids. The Druid's proficiency with weapons is among the worst in the game, increasing at the same rate as the Wizard.
- Defenses: Medium armor is fine but since you can't wear metal armor you can't use anything better than Hide. On top of that, the Druid's proficiency in armor is the among the worst in the game, increasing at the same rate as the Wizard. Fortunately, you do get Shield Block so you can count on a shield to supplement your otherwise poor defenses.
- Class DC: You start at Trained and never improve. Fortunately, none of the Druid's class features or feats us your Class DC, so as long as you avoid external options like Critical Effects you'll be fine.
- Heightened Spells: Heightening spells are an important mechanic in Pathfinder 2e. Many spells scale with spell level, allowing them to stay relevant long after you learned them. Since druids don't use a Spell Repertoire, you can prepare a spell at any level that you can cast.
- Cantrips: Fantastic every time, on any character, in any amount. Druids can prepare 5 cantrips each day (if you have the first printing the Core Rulebook, this was corrected in errata).
Anathema: Prohibiting metal armor means that your best types of armor are light armor or Hide armor until you can afford armor made from special materials like Darkwood or Dragon Hide, but those are 12th-level items so it's going to be a while, and by then you've gotten two rounds of ability boosts so hitting 16 Dexterity shouldn't be a problem.
Druidic Language: Neat, but unless your GM puts other druids into the game it's basically useless.
Druidic Order: See "Subclasses - Druidic Orders", below.
Shield Block: With poor armor options and poor armor proficiency, the ability to Raise a Shield and use the Shield Block reaction can dramatically improve your durability, especially at low levels when you have few hit points.
Wild Empathy: If you're good at Diplomacy, you can make an entire creature type non-threatening. However, you can also do the same thing with spells like Calm Animal, so there isn't a huge motivation to invest in Face skills if you weren't going to do so already.
Druid Feats: See Druid feats, below.
Skill Feats: Standard for everyone except the Rogue.
Alertness: Your only improvement to Perception, and you get it at level 2.
General Feats: Standard.
Great Fortitude: Your only improvement to Fortitude saves, and you get it at level 3.
Skill Feats: Standard for everyone except the Rogue.
Ability Boosts: Standard.
Ancestry Feats: Standard.
Lightning Reflexes: Your only improvement to Reflex saves, and you get it at level 5.
Expert Spellcaster: Better spell attacks and spell DCs. Standard for full spellcasters.
Druid Weapon Expertise: You are still garbage with weapons.
Resolve: You are very good at Will saves.
Medium Armor Expertise: This is as good as you will ever get with armor. You never get armor specialization effects, so medium armor will be worse than light armor in most ways.
Weapon Specialization: You are still garbage with weapons.
Master Spellcaster: Better spell attacks and spell DCs. Standard for full spellcasters.
Legendary Spellcaster: Better spell attacks and spell DCs. Standard for full spellcasters.
Primal Hierophant: 10th-level spells are crazy. You can spend a class feat to get another, but it's unlikley that you'll ever cast more than 2 10th-level spells in a day.
Subclasses - Druidic Orders
Your subclas grants you a Trained skill, an Order Spell (which is a Focus Spell), and a Druid Class Feat. There are also a handful of Druid Class Feats which are exclusive to a specific Druidic Order. You start with one order, but you can take the Order Explorer class feat to get the benefits of multiple orders.
An Animal Companion is a great expansion to your existing capabilities, and since you can direct it with a single Action it's a great way to get more out of your turn without giving up the ability to cast a spell. While you can do without Heal Animal (which means Order Explorer is an option), it's a grea tway to keep your Animal Companion combat-ready without consuming other limited resources so if you plan to include Animal Order it should probably be your first choice.
- Skill: Athletics: Athletics is generally useful, but I have no idea what it has to do with animals or Animal Companions. I guess you already get Nature, and since Nature is used to handle animals Paizo probably didn't know what else to do.
- Feat: Animal Companion: Animal Companions are powerful, but also complicated. For help with your Animal Companion, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Spell: Heal Animal: See "Focus Spells", below.
The Leaf Domain feats are mostly bad, and can usually be replaced by spells. Leshy Familiar is great, but you can get it from Order Explorer if that's all that you want from the Order.
If you plan to play your party's Face, Leaf Order is likely your best bet. Diplomacy is obviously crucial, and if you do plan to use the Leaf Order feats you'll want enough Charisma to make them effective.
- Skill: Diplomacy: Essential in any party, but Charisma is typically a dump stat for the Druid. Several of the Leaf Order's unique feats involve talking to plants, but they're not very good so you can ignore them in favor of using spells with roughly identical effects.
- Feat: Leshy Familiar: Familiars are really good. For help with your familiar, see my Practical Guide to Familiars.
- Spell: Goodberry: See "Focus Spells", below.
A great concept, but the feats and Focus Spells are really disappointing. Storm Order is notably the easiest way to expand your Focus Pool without multiclassing, but it's a big investment for little payoff when multiclassing is so easy to do.
- Skill: Acrobatics: Used to maneuver in flight, and you'll need that if you take Stormwind Flight. You need to be at least Trained, but you may not need to rush to increase your proficiency so long as your Dexterity is decent.
- Feat: Storm Born: The Primal Spell List includes numerous options for using weather to impede other creaturs. Even low-level options like Obscuring Mist can give you a significant advantage in combat thanks to Storm Born.
- Spell: Tempest Surge: See "Focus Spells", below.
Wild Shape is the only thing you need from this order, so if you can spare a feat at 2nd level to take Order Explorer, that's a great way to get Wild Shape. Wild Shape is powerful and fun, but it's also really complicated, so see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape for more help. One word of warning: Wild Order doesn't get any feats that expand your Focus Pool beyond 1 point, so consider combining Wild with another order or multiclass into something that makes it easy to expand your Focus Pool. Otherwise, expect to use Wild Shape once per fight, then immediately Refocus as soon as you can unless you want to rely on Form Control and use much weaker forms.
- Skill: Intimidation: Charisma is a dump stat for the Druid, so Intimidation can be hard. You can use Skill Feats to make Intimidation an interesting option in combat, but
- Feat: Wild Shape: See "Focus Spells", below.
- Spell: Wild Surge: See "Focus Spells", below.
Most druid only need Wisdom to fuel their spells and class features, then enough Dexterity and Constitution to keep them alive.
Str: Dump. Druids don't get good enough armor or weapon proficiencies to be effective in melee, so fighting in melee is very dangerous.
Dex: You need at least 14 if you want to wear hide armor or 16 if you want to wear studded leather. At low levels, you might choose to use a crossbow or other ranged weapon in combat, though I don't recommend doing so.
Con: Hit points are always important.
Int: Only useful for skills, but your ability score needs are otherwise limited, so more skills are a good way to benefit from Ability Boosts which you won't otherwise use.
Wis: Your Key Ability Score.
Cha: Most druids can dump Charisma, but if you plan to play your party's Face or to pursue the Lead domain you'll benefit from a little bit of Charisma.
This set of ability scores assumes that you'll be investing heavily in Wild Shape and its associated feats. If you don't plan to take Form Control, you can dump Strength.
Str: You need 14 for Form Control at level 4, and you need 18 for Perfect Form Control at 15th level, and you'll get three sets of ability boosts in between those two points. If you invest heavily in Strength, you may be able to beat the Attack Bonus provided by Wild Shape spells, but that's only likely to happen if you invest heavily in Handwraps of Mighty Blows and if you're using Form Control to extend Wild Shape's duration at the expense of casting Wild Shape 2 spell levels lower than nromal.
Dex: If you're in Wild Shape, your Dexterity doesn't matter except for Acrobatics checks. You should still get at least 14 to fill out hide armor in case you get attacked before you can Wild Shape.
Con: Wild Shape will give you some temporary hit points, but they won't last. You need as many hit points as you can get. Expect to start with 16 and boost it at every possible opportunity, then add Toughness.
Int: More skills never hurt, but otherwise Intelligence doesn't offer the Druid much.
Wis: When Wild Shape runs out or when turning into an animal can't solve a problem, you still need to be a druid.
Cha: You get Intimidation for free, but you're not better at being a face than any other character. There are some options which seem to imply that Wild Shape builds should work well with Intimidation, but the inability to speak or activate magic items while polymorphed makes it exceptionally hard to do so.
Wisdom increases are obviously crucial, but otherwise you have plenty of room to consider other Ancestry traits. Wild Order druids who plan to rely on Wild Shape should also look for a Consitution increase and high racial hit points.
Dwarf: Constitution and Wisdom boosts, and a Charisma flaw. Charisma is the druid's dump stat, so this lines up perfectly. Free Ability Boosts are always nice, but honestly you don't need it so use it however you like. The Dwarf gets the most racial hit points, and Dwarven Stoutness at level 9 adds more hit points on top of everything else (including Toughness). The Forge Dwarf and Strong-Blooded Dwarf add damage resistance which can add even more to the Dwarf's excellent durability. This is a great option for any druid, but it's absolutely fantastic for Wild Shape builds.
Elf: The ability scores can work for most druids, but there's very little in the Elf's Ancestry Feats which helps the Druid.
Gnome: While the Gnome's ability scores aren't great on their own, the Gnome otherwise has a lot to offer, especially to druids focused on spellcasting. Use the Voluntary Flaw rules and you'll have two Free Ability Boosts to put into Wisdom and one other Ability Score. Several of the Gnome Heritages have interesting benefits, and perhaps the most interesting is the ability to get an additional cantrip from any of the four published spell lists. Keep in mind that these are "Innate Spells", so they're Charisma-based. I recommend sticking to options that don't depend on your spellcasting ability score because your Charisma will lag behind your Wisdom. This means no attack options, but options like Guidance and Prestidigitation are great. You can then get another cantrip from Fey World Magic and a familiar from Animal Accomplice. You can also take Gnome Weapon Familiarity to make the Gnome Hooked Hammer a Simple weapon for you, but I don't recommend it because druids are just awful at using weapons.
Goblin: Using the Voluntary Flaw rules, you can put both additional Ability Flaws into Charisma (or split them between Strength and Intelligence) and both free Ability Boosts into Wisdom, giving you a final result of +2 Dex, +2 Wis, -2 Cha. Once you've dealt with that mess, the Goblin's Ancestry Feats are very good. Burn It! is an absolute must since the Primal Spell List includes numerous options for fire damage, and Goblin Scuttle can help you get out of melee combat if you're not built for melee.
Halfling: The Halfling's Ability Boosts work great, and if you use the Voluntary Flaw rules you can even manage a Strength increase to help support a Wild Shape build without too much trouble. Staple Halfling Ancestry Feat options like Halfling Luck are always welcome, and you can use Cultural Adaptability to borrow great options like Fey World Magic from the Gnome or Burn It! from the Goblin.
Human: Two Flexible Ability Boosts, and Ambitious Nature is the only way to get one of the Druid's 1st-level metamagic feats at level 1, and at high levels options like Multitalented add a lot of useful things. You have several great Heritage options, too. For example: Half-Orcs can make use of orc Ferocity to give them an emergency survival option for Wild Shape builds.
A Wisdom increase, and a Constitution increase is strongly recommended. Beyond that, looks for skills which suit your ability scores well. Athletics and Acrobatics can be helpful for Wild Shape builds, and any skill which capitalizes on your high Wisdom is a great choice.
If you're having trouble deciding, here are some suggestions:
- Animal Whisperer
- Field Medic
Skills and Skill Feats
You get Skill Increases at 3rd and 5th level to raise skills to Expert, increases at 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th level to raise skills to Master, and increases at 15th, 17th, and 19th level to raise skills to Legendary. That means that you can maximize at most three skills, and the rest of your skills might not advance beyond Trained.
You get Skill Feats at even-numbered levels, giving you a total of 10 Skill Feats (and maybe another from your Background) by 20th level. Generally you want to invest these feats in the same skills which you are choosing to maximize, though in some cases you may want to grab feats from skills which don't require that you be more than Trained.
- Acrobatics (Dex): Situational, but flight is important so you should at least be Trained by the time magical flight becomes a realiable option.
- Assurance: If you spend a lot of time flying and your DM likes to make that difficult, Assurance can provide peace of mind knowing that you can consistently achieve many maneuvers.
- Arcana (Int): Useful, but leave it for someone with better Intelligence if you can.
- Arcane Sense: Detect Magic is a great cantrip that ever party should have ready. While this won't scale with level like most cantrips (it requires that you improve your Proficiency with Arcana), even the basic version of Detect Magic is a useful option.
- Athletics (Str): Import for Wild Shape builds, but you don't need to go beyond Trained because Wild Shape will provide a fixed skill bonus.
- Assurance: Helpful if you plan to grapple or Shove while using Wild Shape, but not strictly necessary.
- Crafting (Int): Useful, but leave it for someone with better Intelligence if you can.
- Deception (Cha): Most druids will dump Charisma.
- Diplomacy (Cha): Most druids will dump Charisma, but Lead Order druids have some feat options which depend on Charisma.
- Intimidation (Cha): As a spellcaster, you're going to spend many turns using 2 Actions to cast a spell, and in many cases your third Action will go unused. If you expect to be attacked, Raise a Shield. If you don't expect to be attacked, you can use Demoralize to turn that Action into a debuff.
- Lore (Int): Broad and vaguely defined.
- Medicine (Wis): An excellent supplement to magical healing options, and you have plenty of Wisdom to make it work.
- Battle Medicine: An excellent supplement to your magical healing capabailities.
- : .
- Nature (Wis): Central to the Druid's theme, and you get it for free at first level. Its only unique action is Command an Animal, but the knowledge actions are very important for handling the natural world, and the skill feats are helpful for dealing with Primal spells.
- Bonded Animal: Basically "Diet Animal Companion". While the animal is helpful to you, it's not any more powerful than a normal animal. You could get a horse to serve as a mount, or a bird to fetch items and deliver messages, but don't look for anything to fight with.
- Natural Medicine: This is a bad feat. It only applies to Treat Wounds, and if you're good at Nature you have everything that you need to be good at Medicine, too. Instead of wasting a Skill Feat on this, spend that same Skill Feat to improve your options with Medicine.
- Recognize Spell: The ability to recognize spells can dramatically improve your ability to respond to them. Sure, in some cases the spell will be obvious once you're familiar with the game, but more subtle spells like buffs and illusions can be much less effectiv against you if you know what spell is being cast.
- Quick Recognition: The Druid has no built-in options for using their Reaction, so spending it to use Recognize Spell is not a singificant cost.
- Train Animal: A nice way to add some extra tricks to your Animal Companion so that it can do more than fight things.
- Occultism (Int): Useful, but leave it for someone with better Intelligence if you can.
- Performance (Cha): Too situational, and many druids will dump Charisma.
- Religion (Wis): An essential Knowledge skill, and you have the Wisdom to back it up.
- Divine Guidance: Stuck? Ask your GM for a hint.
- Society (Int): Useful, but leave it for someone with better Intelligence if you can.
- Stealth (Dex): Always helpful, and with moderate Dexterity and light armor you can be very good at this.
- Survival (Wis): Very situational, but you're really good at it due to your high Wisdom, and having someone in the party who is Trained is typically sufficient.
- Forager: Rations are cheap.
- Survey Wildlife: Situational.
- Terrain Expertise: The bonus is terrible and situational by design.
- Thievery (Dex): Always helpful, and with moderate Dexterity and light armor you can be very good at this.
- Animal Companion: Only accessible by taking the Animal Order. Animal Companions are powerful, but also complicated. For help with your Animal Companion, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Leshy Familiar: Only accessible by taking the Leaf Order. Familiars are powerful, but also complicated. For help with your familiar, see my Practical Guide to Familiars.
- Reach Spell: Great for spells with Touch range like Heal and some buff spells.
- Storm Born: Only accessible by taking the Storm Order. Situational, but if you like to rely on spells which manipulate weather you can put yourself at a significant advantage. Your allies might get annoyed by constantly struggling to see in fog or driving rain, but you'll be just fine.
- Widen Spell: Essential for blasters. Even a minor boost could mean one or two additional targets with a single spell, which can dramatically improve how much you get out of your spell slots.
- Wild Shape: Only accessible by taking the Wild Order. Wild Shape itself is great, but not until you get access to Animal Shape when you get 2nd-level spells. For help with Wild Shape, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Call of the Wild: Very situational. 10 minutes is way to long. If you need easier access to Summon Animal, buy an Animal Staff.
- Enhanced Familiar: Familiars are really good, and expanding their limited number of abilities can make them even better. For advice on what to do with the extra abilities, see my Practical Guide to Familiars.
- Order Explorer: You only get the chosen Order's 1st-level feat. To get the Order's Order Spell you will need to take Order Magic. This is a good option if you want an Order's feat, but you don't care about its Order Spell. For example: The Wild Domain's 1st-level feat is Wild Shape, but its Order Spell is Wild Morph. Wild Shape is great, but Wild Morph is terrible, so Order Explorer is a great way to get access to Wild Shape.
- Poison Resistance: Damage resistance is alwayus welcome, and if you're going for a Wild Shape build you definitely want this to improve your durability.
- Form Control: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Mature Animal Companion: For help with Animal Companions and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Order Magic: Order Spells are rarely worth spending a feat to get more than one. You might find a specific build where this is a great idea, but it's definitely not a go-to option for most druids.
- Thousand Faces: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Woodland Stride: Situational, but you can use it to move freely through your own spells like Entangle, potentially giving you an advantage in combat.
- Green Empathy: Plants live in a lot of places, and talking to them can be very useful. Obviously places with lots of plants will make this more useful, but even in more sparse environments you may be able to get something useful out of this. The biggest problem is that this still requires Diplomacy, and Charisma is generally a dump stat for the Druid.
- Insect Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Steady Spellcasting: The Flat Check is too difficult. If you're in a situation where you might lose a spell, cast a cantrip so that losing it won't cost you anything.
- Storm Retribution: You shouldn't be in melee and you shouldn't want to suffer a critical hit. Given the choice between this and using Shield Block, I would use Shield Block every time.
- Ferocious Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Fey Caller: The Primal spell list doesn't have many Illusion spells, and the ones which Fey Caller adds cover the most common uses for illusions: disguising creatures, creating fake objects, and disguising or altering environments.
- Incredible Companion: For help with Animal Companions and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Soaring Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Wind Caller: See "Focus Spells", below. This is notably the first opportunity for the Druid to expand their Focus Pool.
- Elemental Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Healing Transformation: A great option for Wild Shape builds, especially if you can use Wild Shape multiple times in the same combat.
- Overwhelming Energy: Primal spells that deal damage rely heavily on elemental damage, and unfortunately those resistances are common. This will allow you to continue relying on favorite spells like Fireball with less concern for Damage Resistance.
- Plant Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Side by Side: For help with Animal Companions and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Dragon Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Green Tongue: You have spent your Druid Order (or the Order Explorer feat), plus a feat to get Green Empathy, plus a feat to get Green Tongue, all so that you could avoid castin Speak With Plants. Speak With Plants is a 4th-level spell which you've been able to cast for 5 levels. If you just want Speak With Animals on hand at all times, get a Verdant Staff.
- Primal Focus: Tragically, the only way to expand your Focus Pool that we've seen by this point is Wind Caller, so unless you're Storm Order this won't be useful until at least 16th level.
- Primal Summons: See "Focus Spells", below.
- Specialized Companion: For help with Animal Companions and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions.
- Timeless Nature: Situational.
- Verdant Metamorphosis: Situational, and by this level you have plenty of option to handle healing while resting, including using Goodberry repeatedly to heal yourself and your allies, and you can cast plenty of other spells which will remove the listed status conditions. If you just want to turn into plants, use spells.
- Effortless Concentration: An extra action every turn while you're maintaining a powerful ongoing spell offers a lot of options.
- Impaling Briars: See "Focus Spells", below.
- Monstrosity Shape: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Invoke Disaster: See "Focus Spells", below.
- Perfect Form Control: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Primal Wellspring: Great if you're heavily dependent on Focus Spells, but unless you're Storm Order or you took archetype feats the Druid can't get their Focus Pool large enough to make use of this.
- Heirophant's Power: Another 10th-level spell slot.
- Leyline Conduit: There are a huge number of very good spells of 5th level or lower with no duration. Heal, Restoration, Restore Senses, and Fireball are all good examples. You can cast heightened versions of the spells, so keep a version of spells you plan to use with Leyline Conduit prepared at the highest level which provides improved effects (up to 5th level, of course). Even if you're just using low-level versions of spells like Heal you can still do a lot to stretch your spell slots if you use this every minute outside of combat.
- True Shapeshifter: For help with Wild Shape and related feats, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Canny Accumen: Two of your saves and your Perception never increase beyond Expert, so this becomes a great option when you reach level 17.
- Incredible Initiative: Spellcasters benefit more than anyone except the Rogue from going first in combat. Casting a spell before your enemies and allies are entangled in melee can completely define the outcome of a fight.
- Toughness: Always a fine choice, but absolutely crucial for Wild Shape builds.
- Crossbow (Hand, Heavy, or Regular): The range is excellent, and you won't suffer if your Strength is below 10, but the damage is at most 1d10 (avg. 4.5), compared to 1d4+4 (avg. 6.5) from a Cantrip at 1st level, and your Cantrip damage will scale every other level while the crossbow languishes.
- Dagger: Carry some for utility purposes, but don't expect to use them in combat.
- Longspear: Your only weapon option with reach, but you can't use a shield and the Druid doesn't get any feats that let you take Reactions when enemies move. Even if you multiclass to get Attack of Opportunity, your proficiency with weapons is so poor that you're unlikely to get much use out of a longspear.
- Leather: Probably your starting armor.
- Studded Leather: You'll need 16 Dexterity to fill out the Dexterity Cap, but it's still your best armor option due to the low Check Penalty and Bulk compared to Hide armor.
- Hide: If you don't plan to go beyond 14 Dexterity this is your best armor option.
- Shield: You need one hand to cast spells, but your other hand can hold a shield, and since many spells are 2-Action Activities, you can often use your third Action to Raise a Shield if you don't need to move that turn.
Druid Focus Spells
- Goodberry: Paizo was very cautious to avoid abuse cases which 1st edition allowed. You can no longer stockpile Goodberries for an easy cache of healing between combats. However, with a 1-day duration you can still use this well ahead of time to guarantee that you have berries on hand when you need healing. At 1st level, 1d8+5 healing can save your life. But since Goodberry's healing never scales, it quickly becomes a minor option for you to call upon between fights. As long as you have enough time to Refocus you have infinite healing, but it's not fast by any means so you may need to spend hours Refocusing to refill your Focus Pool. You can also get similar results from using the Medicine skill's Treat Wound Activity, but to match the effects of Goodberry you'll need to invest several skill feats and you will still need to eat regular food.
- Heal Animal: If you have an animal companion, you need a way to keep it healed without making it an extra mouth to consume your party's limited resources, and there are few better rechargeable resources than Focus Spells. The single-action version of the spell can be used the same turn as casting a 2-Action spell (which is most spells), but generally you want to use the 2-Action version because it's so much more effective.
- Tempest Surge: Better than a cantrip, and the Clumsy effect is a decent debuff. As you gain levels, you can take the Storm Retribution to use this as a Reaction, but that requires that you suffer critical hit in melee. You shouldn't be in melee, and you shouldn't want to suffer a critical hit.
- Wild Morph: At 1st level, this turns your hands into the equivalent of short swords. As you gain levels, you can expand the effects by taking Wild Shape feats. However, this spell has some problems due to the design of other parts of the class. First, the Druid does not belong in melee combat; your AC is too poor and you don't have enough hit points. Second, the feats which improve Wild Morph are the worst Wild Shape form feats. Third, if you're going to use a Focus Spell to be good in melee, Wild Shape is more effective. I think the intent of this spell is that it allows the Druid to focus on spellcasting, but to have some melee options without giving up spellcasting like you do with Wild Shape. While it technically meets that goal, it doesn't do it well enough that Wild Morph is appealing.
- Wild Shape: Powerful, but extremely complex. For help with Wild Shape, see my Practical Guide to Wild Shape.
- Stormwind Flight: The fact that this is a Focus Spell means that you can cast it repeatedly, and you only need to Refocus to regain the ability to cast it. However, the 1-minute duration means that you are likely to only use it in combat or to quickly bypass specific obstacles, and the 2-Action casting time an the fact that you must spend an Action every turn to Sustain the spell means that you will only want to use this in combat if it's absolutely necessary.
- Primal Summons: This adds a lot of versatility to your summoning options. The ability to add a fly speed or a swim speed makes land-bound options (which are often the strongest) much more powerful and allows them to be used nearly anywhere. However, the Water option notably omits the ability to breath water, so your summons may still need to hold their breath if you're fighting underwater.
- Impaling Briars: Complicated by effective. The area of effect is vast, allowing you to easily affect large battlefields. Against multiple foes you will want to use the Impede and Wall options, but against single targets you can rely on the Entangle option to (hopefully) prevent the target from moving. After you sustain the spell (which takes an Action), you can spend a second Action to attempt to both harm a target and impede its movement. 10d6 damage for an Action is better than you'll get from a Cantrip, so this is a great way to get consistent damage over the course of several rounds. However, spending a total of 2 Actions to continue this spell every turn means that you don't have the 2 Actions required to cast most spells. You can take Effortless Concentration to get back one of the Actions, likely allowing you to impale something and cast another spell on the same turn.
- Storm Lord: Very similar to Impaling Briars in some ways, but obviously a very different theme. Impaling Briars has more useful effects when you sustain the spell, but Impaling Briars doesn't work in the air, and it can only attack enemies up to 20 ft. off the ground. The biggest problems with Storm Lord are that the Calm and Rain options are mostly useless, and the Fog option replicates a 2nd-level spell that you've been abusing for 14 levels. The big draw is the lightning bolts every round, and everything else is secondary. Hopefully you took Effortless Concentration to save yourself the Action to Sustain the spell.
Other Magic Items
- Druid's Vestments: 1,000gp is a lot for what you get. +2 to Nature checks isn't enough on its own, and one emergency Focus point per day (which is restricted to Order spells) still isn't enough.
- Gorget of the Primal Roar: This item is clearly designed for spellcasters using Polymorph spells, such as a druid using Wild Shape. However, the rules of the Polymorph trait stat that "Your gear is absorbed into you; the constant abilities of your gear still function, but you can’t activate any items." So even if you had an ally strap this to you after you use Wild Shape, it's totally useless.