The Druid is among the most powerful and versatile classes in the game. With a pet Defender/Striker, a diverse spell list, and the Wild Shape ability, the Druid can fill nearly any role in the party except the Face.

The two biggest decision points for the Druid are Nature Bond (Animal Companion vs. Druid Domain) and Wild Shape. While Nature Bond is an either/or decision, Wild Shape is a Yes/No decision: Being good at polymorph effects like Wild Shape requires planning from level 1. If you plan to use Wild Shape, read my Practical Guide to Polymorph.


We support a limited subset of Pathfinder’s rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder options not covered here, please email me and I may be able to provide additional assistance.

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Druid Class Features

Hit Points: d8 hit points is hard in medium armor, and it’s even harder if you plan to use Wild Shape heavily, but the Druid has some healing ability which can supplement low hit points.

Base Attack Bonus: 2/3 BAB.

Saves: Good Fortitude and Will saves, but Druids often have issues with Reflex saves.

Proficiencies: Medium armor, shields, and a very small set up weapons, and you can’t use metal armor or shields.

Skills: 4+ skill ranks and very few useful skills.

Spells: The Druid has access to a lot of very unique spells not available to any other full caster. Their unique mix of buffs, support, and area control options is difficult for other classes to match, and many of their buffs have durations measured in 10 minutes/level, hours/level, or even days/level so you can easily stretch spell slots throughout the day.

Spontaneous Casting: Summoning spells aren’t always useful, and it’s nice to not need to prepare them, but Summon Nature’s Ally is extremely limited.

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: Limiting your spells by alignment can annoying, but rarely causes issues. I think the most annoying example is prohibiting good-aligned casters from casting Infernal Healing, which is the Pathfinder equivalent of 3.5’s Lesser Vigor, which quickly became the basis for all out of combat healing in 3.5.

Orisons: Fantastic and versatile.

Bonus Languages: Druidic for free is nice, but I have never seen it come up in a game. The Druid doesn’t get access to Comprehend Languages or Tongues, so access to additonal languages at start might be useful.

Nature Bond (Ex): The Druid’s Animal Companion is likely the first or second thing which comes to mind when you think of a Druid. Animal Companions are powerful, versatile, and can fill major holes in the party’s abilities. If you don’t need an Animal Companion, or if your party is already over-crowded, you might consider a Domain in order to boost your spellcasting abilities. For help with Animal Companions, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions. For help with Druid Domains, see my Druid Domain Breakdown.

Nature Sense (Ex): Situational.

Wild Empathy (Ex): Very situational, and it’s the only thing that Druids have which needs Charisma.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Very situational.

Trackless Step (Ex): Very situational.

Resist Nature’s Lure (Ex): Very situational.

Wild Shape (Su): Free polymorph that doesn’t eat your spells per day. Be sure to read my Practical Guide to Polymorph if you plan to make use of Wild Shape.

Venom Immunity (Ex): Useful at high levels when poison becomes more common.

A Thousand Faces (Su): Too little, too late.

Timeless Body (Ex): Very rarely has an effect in a campaign.


Your abilities are greatly influenced by whether or not you plan to use Wild Shape. Wisdom is always your primary concern, but your focus on Strength and Dexterity change depending on Wild Shape..

Str: A bit of strength is essential if you plan to use Wild Shape, and a little bit can help if you plan to use thrown weapons or a bow.

Dex: Essential for your AC and bad Reflex saves, and helpful if you plan to use Wild Shape.

Con: Hit points are always important, especially if you plan to use Wild Shape.

Int: The Druid skill list is sparse, and unless you particularly need some of the Druid’s skill you can usually afford to dump Intelligence.

Wis: The Druid is primarily a spellcaster, so Wisdom is key. However, because they’re not a save or suck caster, they don’t need go all-out on their spellcasting ability like a Wizard does.

Cha: Dump to 7.

25 Point Buy20 Point Buy15 Point BuyElite Array
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 9
  • Wis: 16
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 9
  • Wis: 16
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 13
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 7
  • Wis: 16
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8
25 Point Buy20 Point Buy15 Point BuyElite Array
  • Str: 12
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 18
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 12
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 17
  • Cha: 8
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 17
  • Cha: 8
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 13
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8


Wisdom bonuses are fantastic, but bonuses to physical ability scores are great for Wild Shape users. Because polymorph effects normalize to small or medium before applying ability modifiers, small races’ strength penalties won’t go away when you use Wild Shape. As such, small races tend to work better for high-dexterity forms like snakes.

Dwarf: Bonuses to Constitution and Wisdom make the Dwarf a fantastic choice for the Druid, and the Dwarf’s other racial traits offer some useful bonuses in other areas. The Dwarf favored class bonus offers extra uses of first-level domain powers, but don’t let this influence your decision regarding Nature Bond; first level domain powers taper off very quickly.

Elf: Useful as spellcasters, but their ability modifiers don’t work especially well for the Druid. The Elf favored class bonus provides bonus natural armor during Wild Shape, which is certainly tempting, but not enough to make the Elf a particularly good choice.

Gnome: The Gnome has nothing but a Constitution bonus to offer the Druid.

Half-Elf: Versatile, but nothing specifically great for the Druid. The Half-Elf favored class bonus is terrible, so take the Elf bonus if you want to use wildshape.

Half-Orc: Excellent for Wild Shape builds. The Sacred Tattoo alternate racial trait combined with the Fate’s Favored trait helps with the Druid’s saving throws (especially Dexterity), and the Half-Orc favored class bonus grants bonus natural armor while using Wild Shape.

Halfling: Your best bet for small, sneaky Druids. With a bonus to Dexterity and a Penalty to Strength, dexterity-heavy Wild Shape forms like snakes work best for Halflings, but being small also makes it easy to stay safe in the back and focus on casting spells or using a bow. The Halfling’s favored class bonus adds to your Animal Companion’s saving throws, which can help protect it from effects which target its relatively weak saves.

Human: Fantastic for any build, and you might consider the alternate human traits which give you +2 to two ability scores if you want to use Wild Shape and don’t need an extra feat. The Human favored class bonus is garbage.


  • Climb (Str): Too situational.
  • Fly (Dex): One rank is plenty.
  • Handle Animal (Cha): Helpful for training and handling your animal companion, but you likely won’t need to maximize it.
  • Heal (Wis): A fantastic supplement to magical healing, and with the Druid’s Wisdom you can reliably hit the DC 25 to treat serious wounds and heal bonus damage with only a few skill ranks and some cheap items.
  • Knowledge (geography) (Int): Very situational.
  • Knowledge (nature) (Int): One of the most important Knowledge skills.
  • Perception (Wis): The most rolled skill in the game, and with high Wisdom the Druid is fantastic at Perception.
  • Ride (Dex): Useful if you plan to ride your mount, but Druids aren’t built for Mounted Combat, so you don’t need more than a few ranks.
  • Spellcraft (Int): Situational, and Intelligence isn’t an important ability for Druids.
  • Survival (Wis): Situational.
  • Swim (Str): Too situational.


This section does not cover feats related to Animal Companions or Polymorph. For help with those feats, see my Practical Guide to Animal Companions and my Practical Guide to Polymorph.

  • Aspect of the Beast: The benefits are poor and can be easily replaced by low level spells or items.
  • Divine Interference: Sacrifice a 1st-level spell slot to make an enemy reroll an attack roll. The reroll is much more important than the penalty, especially if the attack is a critical hit.
  • Improved Initiative: Going first is very helpful for spellcasters so that you can cast buffs or area control spells when they’ll be the most impactful.
  • Natural Spell: A common choice for Wild Shape users, and for good reason. Dropping out of Wild Shape to heal yourself can spell your death, so this lets you remain in your nice safe animal form while still casting spells.
  • Planar Wild Shape: The Celestial/Fiendish templates add DR and energy resistance, both of which can dramatically improve your durability. You don’t get a ton of wild shape uses per day, but they last for hours per Druid level, so you can generally go a whole day on one use of Wild Shape, especially if you have Natural Spell so that you can heal without reverting.
  • Powerful Shape: Fantastic if you like forms which use abilities like Grab, Swallow Whole, and Trample.
  • Quick Wild Shape: Wild Shape out of combat if you can. It lasts for hours per level.
  • Shaping Focus: Tempting if you want to multiclass into something like Natural Weapon style Ranger to improve your combat abilities, but you can probably get a lot more from spells than from multiclass levels.
  • Spell Focus (Conjuration): Very few of the Druid’s Conjuration spells call for saving throws.

    • Augment Summoning: Druids can spontaneously cast Summon Nature’s Ally, which is a good fallback option when you’re not sure what else to do with your turn. Augment Summoning makes your summons more threatening.
  • Wild Speech: The biggest problem with Wild Shape is communicating with your party. This greatly resolves that issue. However, you can also cast Beastspeak.


  • club: Scimitar is better.
  • dagger: Carry a few for utility and throwing.
  • dart: Decent thrown weapon.
  • quarterstaff: Cheap, and you can use it as a double weapon at low levels to roll for 20s. That sounds like a bad idea, but it’s annoyingly effective.
  • scimitar: The best weapon available to the Druid.
  • scythe: Two-handed weapons aren’t usually a good idea for Druids.
  • sickle: Scimitar is better.
  • shortspear: One-handed and you can throw it when you get sick of using it.
  • sling: Just throw something.
  • spear: Two-handed weapons aren’t usually a good idea for Druids.


Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

  • Hide: Probably the only armor you’ll ever wear until you can cast Ironwood. If you plan to be on the front lines of combat, you should be doing it in Wild Shape, so your armor usually doesn’t matter.
  • Breastplate: Once you can cast Ironwood, take the time to use Shape Wood to make yourself a wooden breastplate and use Ironwood to make it usable as armor. Ironwood lasts days per level, so you can easily cast it before you go out adventuring and not worry about it.
  • Full Plate: Only useful if you plan to invest heavily in your AC. You can use Shape Wood and Ironwood to make wooden armor or you can buy dragonhide plate or stoneplate, and you can get Heavy Armor Proficiency whenever you’re ready.


This section won’t address every spell on your spell list, but it will point out some especially notable options. For a complete list of spells, see the SRD Spell Index.

0-Level Spells

  • Guidance: Use this before any skill check that can wait long enough for you to cast it.

1st-Level Spells

  • Air Bubble: Situational, but maybe worth a scroll or two if you suddenly find your party drowning.
  • Alter Winds: Only changes the wind by one step, and the AOE is tiny.
  • Ant Haul: Very situational. Buy a mule.
  • Aspect of the Falcon: Unless you’re built to fight with bows, this isn’t worth the spell slot. Leave this for rangers.
  • Bristle: I think the intent is to use this on your Animal Companion, but at low levels your companions AC will be a problem and as you gain levels you’ll hopefully invest in getting your Animal Companion an enhancement bonus to their attacks and damage using Greater Magic Fang.
  • Call Animal: The ability to summon a single animal of a specific type is easily abused, especially considering that the CR cap equals your Caster Level. Combine this with spells like Charm Animal, and you can easily turn the called animal into what amounts to a summoned creature, though Summon Nature’s Ally can’t match the CR you could get out of a called animal until animals max out in CR somewhere around CR 10. If you aren’t happy with the rounds/level duration on Dominate Animal, you could use Charm Animal, Speak With Animals, and Handle Animal checks to convince the called animal to help you out. Or, you can just use Call Animal to call some grumpy local predator and let the animal stumble into whatever problem you’re trying to avoid handling on your own.
  • Calm Animals: Situational. Only affects one creature type, and the Hit Dice cap won’t keep up with animals’ hit dice as CR increases.
  • Charm Animal: Reasonably useful, a long duration, and no Hit Dice cap like Calm Animals. Arguably the best way to handle animals, and you get it at level 1. However, if there are multiple animals in an encounter it may not be enough on its own.
  • Cloak of Shade: Very situational. Endure Elements is a better option.
  • Cure Light Wounds: Among the most effective healing in the game. Buy a wand as soon as your party can afford it so that you don’t need to devote spell slots to this every day.
  • Damp Powder: Trade one spell slot and your Standard Action for some of the target’s actions on their next turn. It’s not clear where the Will save comes into effect, but I belive the intent is that magic items get to make a save.
  • Deadeye’s Lore: Situational, but it solves a big problem with tracking: you move at half speed, but whatever you’re tracking moves at full speed. The duration is long, and the sacred bonuses are exceptionally rare so it will stack with just about anything.
  • Decompose Corpse: Very situational.
  • Detect Aberration: Very situational. Get a scroll if you think it will be a problem.
  • Detect Animals or Plants: Very situational.
  • Detect Snares and Pits: Only works on natural and primitive hazards. Won’t detect most traps in a dungeon.
  • Diagnose Disease: Very situational and not very helpful. Put ranks into Heal.
  • Endure Elements: Situational, but crucial if you’re in unpleasant climates.
  • Entangle: Excellent area control. If you can keep foes in the area, they will eventually become entangled, so this remains useful well into high levels.
  • Expeditious Excavation: Very situational.
  • Faerie Fire: The lowest-level option for dealing with invisible enemies. Unfortunately it allows spell resistance, which can be a problem against some foes, but it will get you through low levels easily.
  • Feather Step: A great buff with a good duration if you (or your GM) like to use difficult terrain in combat.
  • Flare Burst: A -1 penalty is not enough.
  • Frostbite: Surprisingly good once you’ve gained a few levels, but admittedly awful at first level. As you gain levels, the damage per touch increases and you gain additional touches, so the damage output improves exponentially rather than linearly like most spells. As you add Base Attack Bonus and gain additional attacks, you can make touches more than once per turn. The damage is nonlethal, so it doesn’t work on some creature types, but knocking an enemy unconscious is as good as killing them in many cases. If you don’t want to take them captive, coupe de grace. This is similar in many ways to Produce Flame, but Frostbite is melee-only and deals nonlethal damage, and Produce Flame caps the level bonus to damage at +5.
  • Gentle Breeze: Cast Endure Elements to handle temperature issues. Against cloud effects, get a scroll of Gust of Wind.
  • Goodberry: At days/level duration, you should be pre-casting this on any day on which you’re not actively adventuring. Extend the spell with a rod. Use your higher-level spell slots. If you’re not planning to use a slot, put it into Goodberry. Organize the berries into labeled bags or jars, and eat the oldest ones first. Creatures can get up to 8 points of healing per day, which is better than a charge off of your wand of cure light wounds, and it removes the need for pesky things like trail rations. If your DM starts complaining about where you’re getting all of these berries, plant some berries and cast plant growth. Put a bunch of berry bushes in boths and cart them around in wagons. Buy a farm. You’re a druid, do some botany.
  • Heightened Awareness: The skill bonuses are minor but helpful, and the duration is good. The ability to dismiss the spell for a +4 bonus to initiative means that a 1st-level spell provides the benefit of Improved Initiative, which is widely considered one of the best feats in the game for spellcasters.
  • Hide from Animals: Situational, but if you’re going to face multiple animals in the same day this is more efficient than Charm Animal.
  • Hydraulic Push: Bull rush is only situationally useful, but this is much easier than doing it normally and this remains an effective replacement for Bull Rush throughout your career.
  • Jump: Attrocious and it becomes onsolete the moment flight or levitation or anything of the sort becomes available.
  • Keen Senses: Good effect, but the duration is too short for it to be meaningful.
  • Liberating Command: Situational, but great if you’re worried about your allies (especially wizards and the like) being trapped in a grapple.
  • Longstrider: The speed increase will offset the speed lost to medium armor, and at hours/level duration it will last all day. The effect still works while in Wild Shape, which can be helpful for slow forms or for when you need to quickly cover a lot of ground.
  • Magic Fang: At minutes/level duration this remains an important buff for your animal companion at least until you get Greater Magic Fang. The +1 to attacks and damage is great, but bypassing DR/magic is the biggest draw. Unfortunately, the minutes/level duration isn’t great so try to reserve this for when you’re facing enemies with DR/magic.
  • Magic Stone: Bad damage, and that’s all that it does. You cold argue that it’s an effective response to undead at low levels, but at low levels it’s difficult to commit a spell to a single creature type.
  • Monkey Fish: A great way to get helpful movement types, but it doesn’t work in medium or heavy armor.
  • Nauseating Dart: Nauseated limits the target to a move action, which is almost as good as taking away their whole turn. At low levels many creatures have poor Fortitude saves and a single turn can irrevocably determine the outcome of an encounter.
  • Negate Aroma: Too situational.
  • Obscuring Mist: A helpful escape option, but it doesn’t benefit much from a high caster level or a high save DC, so it’s fine to get a cheap scroll for emergencies.
  • Pass without Trace: Too situational.
  • Produce Flame: Decent damage for a 1st-level spell, and a very efficient use of a spell slot if you have plenty of time but very few spells.
  • Ray of Sickening: Cast Summon Minor Ally and summon skunks. They’re a better option to sicken targets.
  • Remove Sickness: Very situational. Sickened and nauseated are uncommon, and diseases typically take days to take effect.
  • Restore Corpse: Very situational.
  • Shillelagh: A decent low-level option if you want to wade into melee combat. The duration is long enough to last through a fight, even at low levels.
  • Speak with Animals: Situational. Animals can percieve a lot, but they’re rarely smart enough to offer a lot of details. Rats are great option in cities.
  • Stone Fist: Use Shillelagh.
  • Summon Minor Ally: Summon skunks. Their Musk ability will likely fail due to the low DC, but the failure effect is still to make the target sickened for 1d4 rounds which is pretty great on its own.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally I: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons. Unfortunately, the low duration can be really problematic at low levels.
  • Thorn Javelin: An attempt to take Produce Flame and add the Sickened condition to it. Making this a regular attack makes it much less reliable, and now you’re reliant on Strength for the attacks.
  • Thunderstomp: Spend your standard action to maybe trip a target so that they need to spend their move action to stand. Typically that’s an awful trade.
  • Touch of the Sea: Situational. Monkeyfish is much more versatile,
  • Wave Shield: Preventing damage is better than healing it. This will admittedly prevent less damage than Cure Light Wounds will heal on average until you hit 20th level, but you can use this in combat much more easily than Cure Light Wounds. As you gain levels and your 1st-level spells become less effective, this is a great use for your spell slots.
  • Weaken Powder: I wouldn’t take this as a cantrip.

2nd-Level Spells

  • Accelerate Poison: Solves the problem of how slow poison is to work, but I don’t know if that’s enough. If your party really likes poison you might consider this, but for most parties it’s not worth the spell slot.
  • Aggressive Thundercloud: Basically Flaming Sphere, but it flies. The big problem is the pitifully low 20-foot speed, which is low enough that nearly any creature can escape it.
  • Air Step: Situational and the duration is short.
  • Animal Aspect: Briefly useful as a way to get either a climb speed or a swim speed, but dump this the second you can use Wild Shape.
  • Animal Messenger: A decent low-level way to communicate at long distances, but the recipient has no way to respond within the effects of the spell so you don’t know if the message was recieved or understood.
  • Animal Purpose Training: Almost never useful. Maybe helpful if you befriended a wild animal, but even then hardly worth the spell slot.
  • Animal Trance: Awful. Just awful. The Hit Die cap is insultingly low, and the effect is bad. Compare this to Hold Animal which is the same level, uses the same save, has no Hit Die cap, and was published in the same book.
  • Ant Haul, Communal: Too situational. But a mule.
  • Aspect of the Bear: Interesting, but the AC won’t stack with Barkskin and the Enhancement Bonus won’t stack with things like Magic Fang, so there’s a tiny window of character levels where this might be worthwhile, but for the same spell slot I’d still prefer Barkskin because the duration is so much better.
  • Barkskin: One of the best AC buffs in the game for several reasons. First, it’s an “Enhancement Bonus to Natural Armor”. “Natural Armor” bonuses and “Enhancement Bonuses to Natural Armor” are two totally separate types of AC bonus that stack with each other despite the confusing names. This is why both Barkskin and Amulets of Natural Armor stack with normal natural armor, but don’t stack with each other. Think of it like an enhancement bonus to your manufactured armor. Two chain shirts won’t stack, and making your chain shirt +1 twice won’t stack either. For most recipients, Barkskin is an uncommon bonus type, so adding Barkskin presents an easy AC boost. With 10 minutes/level duration you can usually get through an adventuring day on one or two castings per recipient, especially if you extend the spell (I recommend a lesser metamagic rod).
  • Beastspeak: Being able to speak while in Wild Shape may save you the trouble of dropping in and out of Wild Shape just to communicate with your party members, but you can also get a Ring of Eloquence to solve the same problem without eating a spell slot.
  • Burning Gaze: The duration is too short to expect to do other things while this runs, and the damage is too small for this to have a serious effect on its own. On top of that, targets get two saves to resist the effects.
  • Campfire Wall: This is an odd spell. It has a Standard Action casting time, so you can use it in combat or while you’re being ambushed, but it also has a 2 hours/level duration so you can cast it before resting and it’ll last through the night (mostly; a 3rd-level druid will go without the effect for two hours) so long as someone tends the fire at the center of the effect. The effect outlines creatures that pass through its barrior in light so that they can’t benefit from invisibility or effects like Blur or Displacement, which is especially great protection against ambushes by invisible foes. You could, in theory, use this in combat but I don’t think you’re going to light a camp fire during a fight and usually Faerie Fire and Glitterdust are better options.
  • Certain Grip: Situational. The bonus is big and the duration is great, but unless your GM really likes to use the applicable combat maneuvers I don’t think this is a great choice.
  • Chill Metal: See Heat Metal, below. Chill Metal is basically identical, but resistance to cold damage is less common.
  • Climbing Beanstalk: Very situational. I might use this to create a permanent shortcut up a cliff face or something, but you’ll have access to convenient flight in two levels, and you can typically solve climbing problems with rope or with Spider Climb.
  • Companion Life Link: The effect is borderline pointless, and the duration is nowhere near long enough to make up for that. If this was hours/level I would rate it Orange, which is an indication of how weak this spell is.
  • Delay Poison: Situational, but the duration is really good. If you expect to run into poisonous enemies, this is worth a spell slot to put on your party’s Defender. But keep in mind that the poison all takes effect immediately when the spell wears off, so watch the duration and be sure to help your target when the effect ends. Antitoxins, Guidance, Heal checks, and Neutralize Poison are all good ideas.
  • Eagle Eye: Neat, but in two levels you can turn yourself into a bird.
  • Elemental Speech: Very situational, and druids are very rarely equipped to be a Face.
  • Endure Elements, Communal: Situational, but if you need Endure Elements your whole party likely needs it.
  • Euphoric Cloud: AOE save-or-suck, but it’s only rounds/level duration and if you take any hostile actions Fascinated effects end so you’ll need to be cautious about how you follow up. Creatures stuck in the area are forced to repeat the save, so throwing this into a room and waiting a couple rounds can be a helpful way to start an encounter with an advantage.
  • Feast of Ashes: This is something that an NPC would use on a player, not the other way around.
  • Fire Trap: Hard to use in any meaningful way, and the damage is miniscule.
  • Flame Blade: Fighting in melee without Wild Shape is hard for most druids, but this spell can do a lot to help. Grab a decent shield and the best armor your can find, and go to work. Your Strength bonus doesn’t apply and the attacks are touch attacks, so you don’t need much Strength or Dexterity to hit reliably. You can probably use Power Attack, but check with your GM.
  • Flaming Sphere: A very efficient use of a spell slot, and a great way to spend your move action, but the damage is small so unless combat is going to take a long time it’s unlikely to do a lot of damage.
  • Fog Cloud: A great way to cover your retreat, and if your party has Blind Fighting or other ways to mitigate the miss chance it can put your at a significant tactical advantage.
  • Forest Friend: Situational, but you typically know ahead of time if you’ll be adventuring in a forest. The duration is short, so rather than casting this ahead of time you’ll want to cast it right before going into a fight.
  • Frigid Touch: No save, but it does allow spell resistance. The damage is minor, but you’re mostly here for the Staggered effect. Staggered prevents full attacks, which is useful against some enemies, but it’s for one round each time you cas the spell so I’m not sure if this is worth the spell slot.
  • Frost Fall: Tiny AOE and very little damage.
  • Glide: Too situational. Try to get Feather Fall if you can.
  • Gust of Wind: Very situational.
  • Heat Metal: Too slow, too little damage, and as you advance in levels you’ll encounter very few enemies using non-magical metal equipment.
  • Hold Animal: An efficient solution to hostile animals. Animals typically have terrible Will saves, so this is an easy save-or-suck, and as you gain levels it will be easier to reserve one spell slot to neutralize an entire creature type. However, Charm Animal is just one spell level lower, doesn’t allow additional saves, and lasts hours per caster level which is typically enough to negate an animal as a threat without needing to kill it.
  • Lockjaw: If you want a creature to have Grab, pick an Animal Companion with Grab or use Wild Shape to turn into something with Grab. This is a very situational spell, and the rounds/level duration is pitiful.
  • Masterwork Transformation: With rare exception, you can just buy a new item.
  • Natural Rhythm: I absolutely hate this spell. It requires a bunch of tracking, especially if you change targets before you kill something that you’ve attacked previously. Unless you’re facing a single enemy with lots of hit points and the spell’s target has numerous natural weapons (anything with Pounce is a good choice), expect this spell to disappoint you.
  • Pernicious Poison: Only useful if your party really likes to use poison, but if they do this is great. The target doesn’t get a saving throw, and extending the duration of poisons dramatically improves their effectiveness.
  • Pox Pustules: If you’re going to force a Fortitude saving throw, it needs to be for something more impactful than the Sickened condition on a single target.
  • Reduce Animal: The only reason that I can think to use this is to squeeze your animal companion into a small space.
  • Resist Energy: An extremely important defensive option, though not always necessary.
  • Restoration, Lesser: You will cast this a lot. Maybe not every day, but a lot. Temporary ability damage is common and annoying, and Lesser Restoration is the most efficient way to address it.
  • Scent Trail: Very situational.
  • Share Language: If you spent one of your Animal Companion’s ability score increases on Intelligence to bring it to 3 Intelligence, it’s just barely smart enough to understand speech (Anthropomorphic Animal grants the ability to understand speech and only 3 Intelligence), so if you cast this on your Animal Companion they will be able to understand complex verbal commands rather than relying on Tricks and Handle Animal checks. They may even be able to speak a little.
  • Sickening Entanglement: Sickening a target makes it generally less effective, and also less resistant to other spells. However, Fortitude saves generally tend to be high, so unless you have time to let the effects takes hold over several rounds you may be better skipping this.
  • Slipstream: Amusing, but usually Longstrider will suffice.
  • Soften Earth and Stone: Very situational. This won’t work on worked stone like buildings or dungeon walls.
  • Spider Climb: The next best thing to flight.
  • Stone Call: Ice Storm but less damage and a lower-level spell, and notably no saving throw or spell resistance. If you just need difficult terrain during a fight, this is a surprisingly good option, remaining an inexpensive way to produce difficult terrain in a large area well into high levels.
  • Stone Discus: The easiest comparison is to Scorching Ray. Stone Discus does similar damage and scales at the same rate, but you make some trades. Instead of dealing fire damage you can deal either bludgeoning or slashing, and Stone Discus makes a normal attack instead of a touch attack. So you avoid the problem of fire damage being commonly resisted but in exchange your attacks are less reliable. You do get to make each attack at max Base Attack Bonus, which could have some fun interactions with Deadly Aim. This is the most single-target damage that a druid can get from a 2nd-level damage spell, but remember that your Dexterity will need to be good enough to make the attacks reliable.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally II: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Summon Swarm: Swarms are great, but you need to Concentrate on the spell (which eats your Standard Action each turn) and the you have no control over the swarm once you create it. Your best bet is to conjure the swarm then run away and hope that the swam wins whatever fight you just put it into.
  • Tar Ball: Regular attack, bad damage, tiny penalty.
  • Tree Shape: Very situational.
  • Unshakeable Chill: This is something that an NPC does to a player.
  • Warp Wood: This only affects “small” wooden objects, and can only warp or unwarp them. Unless you specifically need to warp numerous objects, Wood Shape is strictly better. You can use this to warp things like wooden shields, bows, and wood-hafted weapons like spears, and there’s nothing requiring the objects to be unattended or nonmagical so you can disarm enemies using any sort of wooden equipment. Still, all of those situations are relatively infrequent unless you’re doing most of your adventuring in population centers like cities.
  • Wartrain Mount: Very situational. The only use case I can think of is to turn an unusual mount into a combat mount.
  • Web Shelter: Surprisingly, this is the Druid’s best option for creating a safe magical resting place without putting themselves into a pocket dimension (see Fairy Ring Retreat). Be sure to cover the exterior in local foliage to conceal it before you go to sleep.
  • Whip of Spiders: You’re probably not very good with whips, and a single swarm isn’t worth the spell.
  • Wilderness Soldiers: Not very effective, and it only works if your in an area with abundant plants.
  • Wood Shape: Useful for all the same reasons as Stoneshape, but wood is considerably more portable. Shape wooden doors to bypass locks. Shape wooden scraps to improvise tools. Sabotage wooden weapons. Get creative.

3rd-Level Spells

  • Air Geyser: Amusing, but weak damage. Only useful if there’s something above the target which you want to launch them into.
  • Anchored Step: Situational.
  • Animal Aspect, Greater: Druids can solve most of the problems solved by Animal Aspect by using Wild Shape.
  • Anthropomorphic Animal: Why is this a spell? With hours/level duration you can give an animal just enough intelligence to be considered “Intelligent” and the ability to speak, then take it away when the spell ends. That alone is a horrific thing to do to a creature. This isn’t even a buff. It’s just body horror and mental anguish for animals.
  • Apport Animal: I can’t think of any circumstance in which this would be useful except as a joke.
  • Aqueous Orb: I’m not sure if this spell works as intended. Entangled halves a creature’s speed, but nothing about the spell specifies that the creature is unable to simply walk (or swim) out of it. It also doesn’t specify what action it takes for a creature to make an additional saving throw to escape.
  • Ash Storm: Good area control. Even better if you have scent or something (Wild Shape) and can keep enemies within the area so you’re at an advantage. If you can’t, throw an ongoing AOE damage spell into the area like Thorny Entanglement or Tar Pool and wait to finish off anything that manages to escape.
  • Aversion: The intended effect is too situational to be useful, but the effect if the target passes their will save is unintentionally good. Against a powerful enemy, you can make something you wear or carry the subject of their aversion (a hat works great), and when they pass the Will save they’re Sickened while within 60 feet of that object for days per caster level. A 3rd-level spell to make a target Sickened is admittedly a dubious benefit, so this isn’t good enough for the spell level, but it’s an interesting rules interaction.
  • Badger’s Ferocity: Duration: Concentration. You’re giving up your ability to do useful things on your turn to make some weapons Keen. Under no circumstance is this even remotely worth using.
  • Burrow: Burrow speeds are a fantastic way to get around undetected, but unless you have a way to know what’s going on above ground you’ll need to be careful not to pop up somewhere dangerous.
  • Burst of Nettles: Attrocious damage in a small AOE.
  • Call Lightning: While the damage per bolt is unremarkable, the appeal is the ability to continue the effect with no action for minutes per level, meaning that you can cast it before going into a fight and use it as a good fallback option if you’re short on other resources. The range is good enough that you can remain at a safe distance and wear foes down before they can get close to you.
  • Cloak of Winds: Too situational, the benefits are too small, and the duration is too short.
  • Companion Mind Link: Very few GMs adhere strictly to the Handle Animal rules because they slow down the game for nearly no benefit, so in most games this is largely useless. Even if your GM does make you do all the checks and actions, the duration on this is still frustratingly short.
  • Contagion: A variety of options to deal ability score damage, but the secondary effects use the (typically pitiful) save DC of the normal version of the disease, so causing targets to be blinded by Blinding Sickness is difficult.
  • Create Treasure Map: Kill something, then prepare and cast this the next day when you’re hopefully done adventuring, and you can collect maps from a bunch of creatures to find a bunch of valuables, especially if you might have missed something like a secret room or a hidden chest. Keep in mind that the 100gp material component may be a problem at low levels, so don’t overuse this if it’s not going to yield more treasure than you spend to get the map.
  • Cup of Dust: Not useful for players. This is the kind of thing that enemies do to PCs.
  • Cure Moderate Wounds: In-combat healing is rarely a good idea, and you get this a level later than the Cleric.
  • Daylight: You have numerous ways to get Darkvision, but your allies may not. The 10 minutes/level duration lasts a long time, and you can hide the targeted object if you need it to be dark.
  • Delay Poison, Communal: Situational, but if you’re facing enemies that use poison (which is a lot of enemies), the temporary immunity can make many encounters much less dangerous. Since the duration is so long, you can easily share it between the party and still cover a lot of ground on a single spell slot. Keep in mind, however, that the poisons will all take effect at the end of the spell, so if your allies are being repeatedly poisoned they might deterioriate rapidly once the spell ends. Consider hitting them with Neutralize Poison before Delay Poison wears off.
  • Diminish Plants: Too situational, but if you really need to hurt some farms or something this is the way to do it.
  • Dominate Animal: Too situational. Animals tend to have terrible will saves, so Charm Animal will usually suffice.
  • Feather Step, Mass: If you like to use difficult terrain (and many druids do), this is a great way to do it without bothering your allies. The duration is sufficiently long that a single casting will last through several combats, especially as your caster level improves.
  • Fungal Infestation: Conceptually horrifying, but not worth the spell slot. Using Bloody Claws instead.
  • Hide Campsite: Most of the Druid’s spells for creating places to rest create that area out in the open (Grove of Respite, etc.). This attempts to hide you while resting. However, the 20-foot cube area isn’t large enough to comfortably house parties larger than 4 medium creatures unless you really squeeze in tight. If you have an animal companion, or if you have wagons, tents, a campfire, etc. you’re going need to get really creative. Consider turning yourself into a really small animal before going to sleep. Wild Shape’s duration is hours/level, so and 8th-level druid can get a full night’s sleep on one usage.
  • Hydraulic Torrent: Bull rush at range for the cost of a 3rd-level spell slot. Absolutely not worth it. Use Hydraulic Push instead.
  • Lily Pad Stride: Really neat and thematic, but very situational. Turn into something large that can swim and have your party ride on your back. The Acrobatics checks are going to be hard for many allies, especially those in armor.
  • Longstrider, Greater: Lasts all day and applies to all of your speeds, including those granted by Wild Shape. I would run this all day every day. Tragically, it has a range of “You” so you can’t cast it on your allies (though you can cast it on your Animal Companion).
  • Mad Monkeys: If your enemy relies on a weapon, a wand, a staff, or if they’re just holding items that you want them to not run away with, throw this on them and try to keep them from running away.
  • Magic Fang, Greater: All of the appeal of Magic Fang, but with the option for a larger enhancement bonus or to affect all of a creature’s natural weapons. If you like to Wild Shape into multiple forms, getting +1 to all of your natural weapons means that you’re covered all day and don’t need to worry about picking a form with the right natural weapons. If you prefer forms with single attacks, it might be best to stick to normal Magic Fang until the additional bonus is worth the higher-level spell slot.
  • Meld into Stone: Too situational.
  • Nature’s Exile: This is the sort of thing that NPCs us on players.
  • Nauseating Trail: Stinking Cloud’s effect is really good, and this allows you to precisely place it throughout an area. However, it requires you to move through potentially dangerous spaces and you may have trouble placing the effect in a way that won’t hinder your allies.
  • Neutralize Poison: Situational.
  • Plant Growth: Welcome to 5th-level. Time to upset the agricultural economy.
  • Poison: Constitution damage is very effective, but the target gets a save every round to end the effect entirely so it’s not very unreliable. Use Spit Venom instead.
  • Protection from Energy: Similar to Resist Energy, and which to use is a complicated question.
  • Pup Shape: Amusing, but not very useful.
  • Quench: Too situational.
  • Rain of Frogs: Doesn’t solve the problem of the poison’s low DC.
  • Remove Disease: Situational, and most diseases take long enough to take effect that you can afford to address them when you’re not adventuring.
  • Resinous Skin: DR 5/piercing for 10 minutes/level. A good companion to Barkskin, but piercing damage is fairly common. The bonus to grapple is a great bonus for Wild Shape, and enemies weapons sticking to you when you’re attacked means that you can easily disarm enemies and run off with their weapons.
  • Resist Energy, Communal: A crucial defensive option.
  • Share Language, Communal: Very situational, and few druids are built to know a bunch of languages.
  • Shifting Sand: The effect is good and stays effective as you gain levels, and the ability to move the area of effect is a great improvement over many similar spells. Unfortunately, it only works on earthen or sandy surfaces, so stone, wood, metal, etc. surfaces won’t work.
  • Sleet Storm: Similar in effect to Ash Storm. Most creatures don’t have ranks in Acrobatics, so many creatures will struggle to pass even a DC 10 Acrobatics check. Which spell is better is honestly hard to say.
  • Snare: Hard to use in combat due to the casting time, but there’s no initial save against the effect. The DCs to escape will be hard for most creatures, but dealing 5 points of damage is pretty easy so your best outcome is either the creature stumbles around entangled or they waste an attack on the rope instead of on attack your and your party. If you like this spell, consider a wand or some scrolls since it’s only a 2nd-level Ranger spell and the circumstances where you can use it are fairly rare.
  • Speak with Plants: I don’t trust this to be useful. The spell doesn’t describe what mundane plants are capable of observing and therefore telling you, and since plants lack eyes and ears most of what they can can percieve won’t be useful. Plant creatures are generally jerks and not very smart, so you’re unlikely to get any useful information out of them either.
  • Spider Climb, Communal: Climb speeds are the next best thing to fly speeds, and Air Walk isn’t available for another spell level. Sharing this among your party is especially helpful and the duration is really good.
  • Spike Growth: Only works in outdoor settings. Aside from that limitations, it’s really good. Spike Stones only works on stony surfaces, so between the two you can produce the same effect anywhere that you need it.
  • Spit Venom: Black Adder Venom deals 1d2 Constitution damage every round for 6 rounds, and the poison continues to use your spell save DC rather than the poison’s comparably weak DC.
  • Stench of Prey: Too situational.
  • Stone Shape: Fantastically useful as a utility option, but remember that it doesn’t work on worked stone like dungeons or castles.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally III: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Thorny Entanglement: Basically a blender that’s lethal out to a 55-foot radius. Cast this into an enclosed space, close the door, wait for the duration to wear off, and go clean up whatever survived. However, be warned that anything with decent DR may be able to shrug off the damage.
  • Thunderstomp, Greater: Thunderstomp is bad, and lines are a very difficult AOE to use on more than two targets.
  • Vermin Shape I: Bad, even if you’re built for Wild Shape.
  • Water Breathing: Situational, but crucial when you need to adventure underwater.
  • Wind Wall: Too situational.

4th-Level Spells

  • Absorb Toxicity: Poison is typically really difficult, but this solve two of the biggest problems: save DC and delivery mechanism. Look for poisons that deal Constitution damage on a duration measured in rounds, especially those which must be ingested or inhaled because they’ll often be cheaper than comparable contact/injury poisons.
  • Aggressive Thundercloud, Greater: The Stunned effect is tempting, but he 20-foot move speed is crippling. Ball Lightning will be more effective of only because you can scatter the balls around the area and increase the likelihood that an enemy will be close enough that you can hit them with at least one.
  • Air Walk: Druids can’t cast Fly, so this is the next best thing. You conveniently don’t need to make Fly checks like you do when you’re actually flying, and walking around in the air while using Wild Shape to turn into flightless creatures is both hillarious and very effective.
  • Antiplant Shell: Too situational unless you know for certain that you’re going to fight plant creatures.
  • Arboreal Hammer: Useless unless you’re fighting beneath a suitable tree.
  • Aspect of the Stag: Hit-and-run melee tactics aren’t common, especially for druids. You could fish for attacks of opportunity to try to get extra attacks, but druids generally aren’t durable enough to make that a good idea.
  • Atavism: Need your Animal Companion to be a combat monster for minutes/level? Here you go. The bonuses are all untyped so you don’t need to worry about stacking. This won’t take a weak companion and make them effective on its own, unfortunately, but if you’re investing in your companion to keep it effective these bonuses will be very impactful.
  • Ball Lightning: Two or more balls means that you can split this up between multiple enemies or focus on single enemies to quickly wear them down. Separating the damage also means that enemies are more likely to fail at least some of the saving throws to avoid the damage. However, the balls’ slow speed means that enemies not relying on full attacks can easily avoid this by walking away.
  • Blight: Too little damage, and plants frequently have high Fortitude saves. If the best you can do is d6/level single-target damage, consider Flame Strike instead. It’s the same amount of damage, it’s an AOE, and many plant creatures are vulnerable to fire damage.
  • Bloody Claws: Bleed effects normally aren’t great, but dealing half your caster level in bleed damage means that you’re doing a huge amount of damage compared to most bleed effects. Ongoing damage will force Concentration checks, and enemies without the ability to heal magically can’t do much except struggle to perform Heal check to stop the damage. However, bleed damage is
  • Cape of Wasps: This is not nearly good enough to justify casting with a rounds/level duration. It’s an amusing concept, but it’s just not good enough at this spell level. Consider Thorny Body instead.
  • Command Plants: A fine way to handle plant creatures, but plant creatures are very rare and unlike undead you can’t create permanent plant creatures using easily-accessible spells. You also need to make Charisma checks to convince plants to do anything which they wouldn’t normally do, so unlike zombies or whatever it’s hard to turn your horde of plant creatures into an army. Oh, and the creatures aren’t compelled to not attack your friends, so you still need to convince them not to do so.
  • Control Water: Too situational.
  • Creeping Ice: I think you’re intended to use this to cross bodies of water, but unless you have a group of NPCs in tow you can just turn into a bird and fly across.
  • Cure Serious Wounds: Avoid in-combat healing as much as possible, and use a wand of Cure Light Wounds outside of combat.
  • Dispel Magic: Essential in every party, but upgrade to Greater Dispel Magic as soon as possible.
  • Echolocation: Blindsight for 10 minutes/level. A spectacular counter to invisiboe enemies.
  • Flame Strike: Decent AOE damage.
  • Flaming Sphere, Greater: A solid way to spend your move action every turn, and the ongoing damage will help even if you miss. However, it’s totally useless against flying enemies and the 1d6 ongoing damage won’t be significant.
  • Freedom of Movement: Technically situational, but a very powerful defense against common save-or-suck spells like Hold Person and against enemies that rely on grappling.
  • Geyser: Hillarious, but the damage is poor compared to something like Flame Strike, and it required Concentration.
  • Giant Vermin: The CR of the creatures is too low to be a significant threat in combat, but with a minutes/level duration it’s easier to cast this ahead of time than Summon Nature’s Ally.
  • Grove of Respite: A decent place to rest, but it provides no cover of any kind so you’re still vulnerable to weather and to attack.
  • Ice Storm: Bad damage and the secondary effects are only mildly annoying. Compare this to Obsidian Flow which has similar effects and does much more damage.
  • Life Bubble: Situational, but with a 2 hours/level duration that you can split among targets it’s long enough that you can cast this well ahead of time if you suspect that it might be helpful.
  • Moonstruck: Save-or-suck on enemy spellcasters, but they tend to have high Will saves so this may be unreliable.
  • Obsidian Flow: Less damage than Flame Strike, but you might entangle targets and you create a 20-foot burst of permanent difficult terrain so you’re giving up some damage for some are control.
  • Plague Carrier: Too slow. Use Contagion.
  • Protection from Energy, Communal: A staple defensive buff.
  • Reincarnate: Budget Raise Dead. Be careful about using this; bringing a creature back as a different race can ruin their build entirely.
  • Repel Vermin: Too situational, and creatures can still penetrate the barrier.
  • Ride the Waves: Great if your party needs to so some adventuring underwater, but save this for your allies. You can turn into a shark.
  • River of Wind: Very situational and really weak.
  • Rusting Grasp: Situational, and if you’re using it against enemy weapons or armor you’re destroying your own loot.
  • Scrying: An excellent divination option, and at this level it’s less likely that enemies will be running Detect Scrying than at higher levels when you get Greater Scrying.
  • Slowing Mud: Amusing, but the enemies most significantly impacted by this will have high Fortituded saves. It’s easier to use this on enemies like spellcasters who will have comparably poor Fortitude saves, but Slow is less impactful on them because most spells take only a Standard Action to cast. The blindness effect is still impactful, though, which may be enough.
  • Spike Stones: Hours/level duration and it applies damage per square with no save. This is an absolutely fantastic way to impede foes which can’t fly, and RAW only rogues can detect it (though I think that text was duplicated from 3.5 so anyone with Trapfinding should be able to detect it). Between the insane duration and the incredibly large AOE, this is an incomparably good area control spell. Literally the only problem is that it doesn’t affect flying enemies in any way. However, it only works on rocky ground and stone floors, so oyu can only use it in caves, dungeons, and stone structures. Everywhere else, use Spike Growth.
  • Strong Jaw: I would only consider this if the target is built to use Vital Strike. Otherwise, consider Atavism or Bloody Claws.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally IV: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Thorn Body: An interesting defensive option, but to benefit from the effects you need to be hit with attacks or grappled successfully.
  • Touch of Slime: 1d3 Consitution damage per round until the target dies. However, the target gets an initial Fortitude saving throw to negate the effect, the spell has the Diseases subtype so it won’t work on creatures immune to diseases, and exposure to sunlight appears to immediately kill the slime. Creatures can scrape off the slime, but that can only be done the round after you apply the spell. Be sure to read the effects of Green Slime so you fully grasp how this works. If you can use this inside on a target with poor Fortitude saves, this is a rapid death sentence.
  • True Form: Too situational, but if a party member is hit with Baleful Polymorph this is a great solution.
  • Vermin Shape II: Bad, even if you’re built for Wild Shape.
  • Volcanic Storm: Ice Storm, but with fire damage. The damage type was not a problem. Ice Storm is just bad.

5th-Level Spells

  • Air Walk, Communal: Close enough to flight to do the job, and the duration is long enough that you can split it and still get through multiple fights.
  • Animal Growth: Throw this on your Animal Companion, especially if they’re built to grapple.
  • Aspect of the Wolf: Too situational, and you can get a belt to provide similar enhancement bonuses.
  • Awaken: Too situational to use in any practical way. You could theoretically use this on a massive tree or some animal that you encounter and it will “serve you in specific tasks”, but it’s still an independent creature so it’s not clear if the creature is compelled to fight alongside you in combat. Awakened animals do get +2 HD which will improve their combat abilities a bit, but even so animals won’t remain a significant threat much longer. Also, the 2,000gp material component is very expensive.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Save-or-suck that works on just about anything that fails the initial saving throw. Turn targets into a sloth or something else equally slow and harmless.
  • Blessing of the Salamander: Surprisingly good healing, but I don’t know if I’d use this as a combat buff unless you also needed te fire resistance.
  • Call Lightning Storm: The additional damage and 5 extra lightning bolts really doesn’t seem like enough to justify making this 5th-level.
  • Commune with Nature: Oh wow, three facts. You could probably get more useful information by turning into a bird and looking around for a few minutes.
  • Contagion, Greater: Only an improvement if you plan to face the same target in combat more than once.
  • Control Winds: A great solution to flying enemies. Turn the wind up as high as your can with a downdraft, and force them to the ground where your allies can reach them more easily.
  • Cure Critical Wounds: A big pile of healing if you need it in a pinch, but do your best to avoid healing in combat.
  • Death Ward: A crucial defensive option against many types of undead.
  • Fickle Winds: Very situational. This only matters if you’re facing high-level foes which rely on arrows or similar projectiles, and that’s really rare.
  • Fire Snake: Fireball, but you scribble the AOE rather than just hitting a sphere. Great for precisely targeting enemies who are close to your allies.
  • Insect Plague: “The swarms are stationary after being summoned, and won’t pursue creatures that flee.” There are plenty of better stationary ongoing damage effects which enemies can’t kill with damage.
  • Raise Animal Companion: Generally you can just replace your Animal Companion, but if you can’t or if you’re emotionally attached to yours, 1,000gp is much cheaper than the 5,000gp to cast Raise Dead.
  • Snake Staff: Only works if you have a bunch of dead wood lying around. You could use quarterstaffs or a bundle of tree branches to get a bunch of small snakes, but they’ll be too weak to have any significant effect in combat.
  • Stoneskin: DR 10/adamantine is really good, and the duration is long enough to get you through several encounters, but the 250gp material component will add up quickly if you rely on this a lot.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally V: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Threefold Aspect: Neat, but won’t stack with your magic items.
  • Transmute Mud to Rock: Rarely useful on its own, but a great follow-up to Transmute Rock to Mud.
  • Transmute Rock to Mud: In caves or on rocky terrain this can be great crowd control, but in structures like castles or dungeons it’s totally useless. If you manage to cast this and catch some enemies, you can follow up with Transmute Mud to Rock and seal them in stone.
  • Tree Stride: Too situational. It’s a neat ability, but since you can’t bring your allies with you this can’t replace long-distance travel options. Even if you manage to string a perfect chain of oak trees in a line to get where you want to go, this will only save you a few miles of travel per spell slot. Using Wild Shape to turn into a bird or something will get you much further.
  • Wall of Fire: A good crowd control option, but the duration require Concentration, which means that you’re standing around concentrating on your wall of fire rather than casting other spells. That may be alright if you just need something to cover your escape, but in combat that’s hard to justify. The damage is pretty minor at this level, so enemies may run right through the wall, in which case you’ve spent a 5th-level spell slot to deal 2d6+caster level damage (possibly twice is you placed the wall to deal initial damage), and if that’s the best you can do I would recommend Fire Snake instead.

    The best case scenario is to either place this in a place where enemies can’t get away from it (narrow hallways are great), or find a way to push enemies back through the wall, such as having an ally Bull Rush them. You can also form the wall into a ring facing either inward or outward, and if you can combine this with an area control effect like Ash Storm, Entangle, or Tar Pool, you can set up an extremely lethal combination at essentially any character level so long as enemies can’t withstand the fire damage.

  • Wall of Thorns: This spell is easy to overlook (I’ve done it), and it’s even easier to use it wrong (I’ve done that, too). The damage minus AC calculation is weird, and big tough enemies will walk right through the wall unhindered, so the best you get out of it is cover. Instead, use this on smaller enemies with comparably poor Strength. Creatures need to roll 25 or greater on a Strength check to move even one square through the wall, and many creatures are simply incapable of doing so. So unless they have a way to teleport which doesn’t require line of sight, you can entrap an enemy in the wall and either leave them there for a while or drop an ongoing damage effect on them and wait. Just be careful to avoid using magic fire, as it will destroy the wall.
  • Whip of Centipedes: You’re probably not very good with whips, and a single swarm isn’t worth the spell.

6th-Level Spells

  • Antilife Shell: As long as the affected creatures can’t attack at range and don’t have enough reach, you can force creatures of the affected types to remain at a safe distance. Unfortunately, at this level reach is common.
  • Cure Light Wounds, Mass: The most efficient of the “Mass Cure” spells; this is enough to get most unconscious allies back on their feet and to stop bleed damage, but healing during combat is rarely a good tactical choice.
  • Dispel Magic, Greater: Every party needs at least one of these available as soon as it becomes available.
  • Dust Form: A fantastic defensive buff, and between Greater Magic Fang and spellcasting you’ll have no problem making your attacks magic so that you don’t deal half damage. The rounds/level duration hurts, though.
  • Eagle Aerie: This is intended as a long-distance transport option rather than a combat option. Giant eagles are only CR 3, so at this level they’re basically cannon fodder. You could summon the eagles ahead of time and throw them into combat as a distraction if you need to buy yourself time to cast other spells, but don’t expect them to do much at this level except interpose themselves and absorb damage.
  • Epidemic: Since the targets encountering your target save against the disease’s normal DC, basically the only reliable victims are commoners. So unless you plan to spread this in a city, you’re not going to get any use out of it.
  • Find the Path: Your DM has carefully hidden the BBEG’s lair. The BBEG and their minions have warded the location against scrying, and they’ve destroyed any evidence of their lair’s existence. Then you cast this spell and muck it all up. It was heavily changed from the 3.5 version (which navigated you around traps), but it’s still very powerful.
  • Fire Seeds: The Acorn Grenades option is terrible unless you have effects which add damage to the attacks, such as Precise Shot, Sneak Attack, or some other damage boost, so it’s often wise to pass the acorns to a better-suited ally. Generally you’re here for the Holly Berry Bombs option.

    If you use the Holly Berry Bombs option, you deal 1d8+Caster Level damage once per caster level at the same time. That damage scales exponentially, making it one of the highest damage spells in the game. You could argue that the first bomb would destroy the other bombs, but if they’re on your body RAW your items aren’t affected by AOE damage, so if you have enough fire damage resistance you can set off a bunch of small explosions on yourself and you won’t take damage, but everything around you will still take damage. That’s almost certainly an unintended abuse case, but Paizo has had over a decade to address it and hasn’t done so, so either I’m missing a rules interaction (very possible) or a FAQ entry (also possible) or they like the spell as-is.

  • Ironwood: How good this is depends on whether or not your GM will allow you to further enchant the armor which you convert with this spell. If so, you can craft a wooden breastplate and turn it into ironwood. You may need to re-cast the spell every week or two, but that’s not a problem for most adventurers.
  • Liveoak: Situational. You can only cast this on one tree at a time, which means that you can’t turn a whole forest into an army (which I would absolutely recommend otherwise). It’s unclear if you can re-cast the spell on the animated tree before it replants, but I would rule that you can’t. Even so, a days/level duration is enough for your treant to carry you and your party long distances, to lay siege to a structure, to help you in combat, and whatever else you might need. Since the duration is so long, you should have this running almost
  • Move Earth: Too situational. You basically only need this if you’re planning to do construction or planning to face an army or something, in which case you’ll have time to prepare it.
  • Plague Storm: A room full of Blinding Curse is excellent crowd control.
  • Primal Regression: Against an enemy spellcaster this can be a save-or-suck. However, spellcasters tend to have good Will saves. You could use this against big burly enemies with bad Will saves, but in that case it’s a buff. You could use it on your allies, but they likely won’t enjoy the Intelligence drain. It’s hard to use this.
  • Repel Wood: Too situational.
  • Sirocco: Good crowd control against enemies which rely on weapons. The Fatigued effect applies even if the target passes their save (though they do need to take damage, so fire resistance/immunity is a problem), so in two rounds you can make every enemy in the effect exhausted, significantly handicapping many enemies. The only problems are that the AOE is small, fire resistance is common, and this can still knock your allies prone even if they have fire resistance.
  • Spellstaff: Put a spell of your highest-level slot into this. It’s basically a free spell slot if you can prepare this on a day where you’re not adventuring.
  • Stone Tell: Stone is used in a lot of places, and can tell you quite a bit for an unintelligent object. Unfortunately, it’s filtered through your GM who may not always give you exactly the answers that you want. Don’t expect this to reveal every secret in the game, and try not to annoy your GM with it.
  • Stoneskin, Communal: Stoneskin’s biggest problem is the expensive material component, and sharing the effect multiplies that problem.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally VI: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Swarm Skin: This is a great escape mechanism which I have personally use to cheat death at least twice. Turn yourself into a wasp swarm and whatever else you can afford. Run away as the wasp swarm and leave the other swarms as a distraction. You can live as a wasp swarm indefinitely, and while that’s a profoundly terrible way to live it may buy your party enough time to recover your remains.
  • Tar Pool: Imagine if Entangle also set enemies on fire. The ongoing damage is only 2d6 so it’s not going to win any fights on its own, and even paltry fire resistance will negate it, but against foes with no fire resistance it’s free guaranteed damage unless the creature wastes a full round action to remove it.
  • Transport via Plants: Inconvenient teleportation is still faster than traveling normally, even if you have the ability to fly at great speed. Finding suitable plants can be a pain, especially in certain biomes, but forests of various sorts are still common throughout most worlds.
  • Wall of Stone: Wall of Stone is a bit of a misnomer; this spell is considerably more versatile. It’s not as precise as Stone Shape, but the massively larger amount of material means that you can do more with it. Walling off enemies is obvious, but you can also create bridges, simple structures, stone furniture, and all manner of other simple shapes.
  • Whip of Ants: You’re probably not very good with whips, and a single swarm isn’t worth the spell.

7th-Level Spells

  • Animate Plants: Very situational. The option to animate large plants to attack is difficult unless you have suitably gigantic plants around to animate. The option to cause plants to entangle stuff for hours per level is hard to use, and the fairly small range means that the hours/level duration will likely be difficult to bring into play more than once or twice.
  • Changestaff: Summon a CR 8 creature for hours/level. The combat stats aren’t spectacular, but it’s still a Huge creature with 29 Strength that does double damage to objects and structures. If you need something to block a hall, hold a door closed, break someting, or if you just stand in front of you to provide cover, this can be really helpful. Summon Nature’s Ally will be much more versatile, but having a pet treant for hours/level is probably worth the trade. At this level you might even use Extend Spell to extend the duration and cast this the night before an adventure, allowing you have a pet treant (or several) for most of the next day without spending a crucial spell slot. The Focus is a staff which doesn’t have a listed cost, but requires 28 days of work to create, which may prove to be annoying if your GM makes you do that yourself. The staff is destroyed if the treant is destroyed, which can turn into a huge time sink unless you can pay some local commoners to craft staves for you (it doesn’t require any particular skill or quality, just time).
  • Control Weather: Situational, but given time and an immobile or slow-moving enemy this can prove very effective. You can adjust the weather to your liking, and no one is quite as well-equipped to handle inclement weather as the Druid. Turn the weather stormy, then use Call Lightning Storm to rain lightning bolts on your enemies from afar, or bring up winds, snow, or fog to inconvenience your enemies while you move about unhindered.
  • Creeping Doom: Against enemies which can’t fly, this can be very effective. The save DC for the poison will be high, and 1d4 Dexterity damage can be a problem for many enemies since most enemies don’t have Dexterity significantly higher than 10. The biggest problem is that the swarms can’t fly, and flight is common at this level.
  • Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass: Very little healing for such a high-level spell.
  • Fairy Ring Retreat: Equivalent to Mage’s Magnificent Mansion, the similarities are clear. Even the formatting of the spell is mostly copy+pasted, but the authors forgot to specify what the Divine Focus is. In a pinch you could use this to escape combat, but the most likely usage is to give yourself and your allies a safe place to rest. The area is sufficiently large to accomodate large parties, but you’ll need to bring your own bedrolls since Fairy Ring Retreat doesn’t provide such comforts.
  • Fire Storm: Good AOE damage, and you can apparently place the 10-foot cubes wherever you want within range, allowing you to target enemies with surgical precision, though you can only exclude plant creatures if they do fall within one of the cubes, so if you cast this in a forest you’ll spare the trees but kill every animal in the effect. On top of the damage, targets that fails the save take an impressive 4d6 ongoing damage with no maximum duration, and creatures need to spend a Full Round Action to attempt to extinguish the flames, though the DC 20 to do so is likely low compared to your spell DC. Still, that’s a lot of damage and creatures need to waste a turn trying to extinguish themselves instead of doing something harmful to you and your party. This is especially effective against spellcasters because ongoing damage forces Concentration checks.
  • Heal: The best in-combat healing that you can get.
  • Rampart: Too situational. Basically the only time that you’ll need this over something like Wall of Fire is if you’re planning to fortify a city. In those cases you’ll typically have plenty of time to prepare this or even cast it well ahead of time.
  • Scouring Winds: This is hillariously annoying. The ongoing damage will force concentration checks, the sand block all vision, and the Windstorm speed requires a DC 20 Fly check with a -4 penalty to move through the effect. Even if they move, you can spend a move action to move the cloud on top of them again, allowing you to easily hinder or incapacitate enemy spellcasters at a distance, even if they’re flying. Enemies who have invested in the Fly skill may be able to pass the DC 20 Fly check without too much trouble, unfortunately, but look for other ways to inhibit them like entangling them with a net. If you can’t afford a spell level this high, Control Winds will suffice.
  • Scrying, Greater: Spying on enemies is a good idea, but watch out for enemy sorcerers and wizards, who will almost certainly have Detect Scrying running specifically to prevent shenanigans like this. If you must spy on a sorcerer/wizard, dress yourself up in a disguise and spy on them from a different plane so that even if they see an image of you and know your location and distance all of that information is borderline useless.
  • Siege of Trees:
  • Summon Nature’s Ally VII: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Sunbeam: The damage isn’t spectacular, but the Blinded effect appears to be permanent, and one-shotting vampires and other sunlight-vulnerable undead can be very helpful if you can predict when you might encounter those enemies. Unfortunately, you need to cast the spell as a Standard Action, then fire a beam as a separate Standard Action so this is a hard option to use in combat unless you can cast it before fighting breaks out.
  • Transmute Metal to Wood: A great way to handicap enemies reliant on manufactured weapons and armor, but also a great way to turn a bunch of your loot into wooden garbage.
  • True Seeing: Very powerful, but the material component can become expensive very quickly.
  • Vortex: Only works in water, and even then if you need that you can summon a water elemental with Summon Nature’s Ally.
  • Wind Walk: Aside from teleportation and interplanar travel, this is probably the fastest way to get around. As a cloud of vapor you can pass through tiny gaps like keyholes or cracks in walls, allowing you to infiltrate structures and move through many obstacles without relying on things like Etherealism. With an hours/level duration you can switch in and out of your gaseous form several times throughout the day as needed, though the 5 rounds that it takes to do so can be a problem if you’re somewhere dangerous.

8th-Level Spells

  • Animal Shapes: Too situational. If you have allies built to make this work, they’ll have their own abilities to change forms or they’ll prefer to rely on weapons. You could use this on your Animal Companion to turn them into a bigger, better version of themselves, but if you spent money to get them armor they’ll lose that crucial AC bonus.
  • Atavism, Mass: Too situational. You would need to be something really weird to make this viable.
  • Blood Mist: Cast this into a room full of enemies and seal the door. You only need a portion of the targets to fail their saves, and and encounter can essentiall eat itself.
  • Control Plants: Too situational. Plant creatures are extremely rare.
  • Cure Serious Wounds, Mass: It hurts that this is such a high-level spell for the Druid.
  • Earthquake: Too situational. You have time to prepare this if you need to topple a building, but in almost any other case the fixed DC 15 Reflex saves won’t be helpful against foes that you care about at this level.
  • Euphoric Tranquility: Against a single creature, this is a way to incapacitate them with no saving throw. You can then spend some time chatting with them (though beware of the rounds/level duration), and if you decide to attack the creature they still need to save every round to act normally. If you want to take a creature out of a fight, hit them with this then go eliminate their friends before returning your focus to your euphoric victim. This is Mind-Affecting, so some creatures will be immune, but that still leaves the vast majority of creatures as targets.
  • Finger of Death: Not quite a save-or-suck, but 10 damage/level is a ton of damage. Against many spellcasters and other creatures with poor Fortitude saves that’s enough to kill them instantly.
  • Frightful Aspect: The spell isn’t bad, it’s just hard to think of a druid build that can use this effectively.
  • Repel Metal or Stone: Too situational.
  • Reverse Gravity: Against enemies that can’t fly, this is a death sentence. Leave them suspended in mid-air and shoot them to death.
  • Seamantle: Situational, and maybe not great for such a high-level spell, but that +8 cover bonus to AC is tempting for Wild Shape enthusiasts.
  • Stormbolts: Straight damage and potentially stun targets. Not super exciting, but plenty effective.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally VIII: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Sunburst: Very hard to interpret.
  • Wall of Lava: Absolutely spectacular area control. Similar in many ways to Wall of Fire, but the wall radiates heat (and deals damage) on either side rather than just one side. The damage for passing through the wall is significant, and unless the creature has a burrow speed the need to pass a DC 25 Strength check, which is hard for even exceptionally strong creatures. You can also use the wall to attack at range as a move action, allowing you to shoot lava at creatures while still using your standard action to do things like casting other spells. On top of all of that, any damage dealt deals have as much damage for another 1d3 rounds after the initial damage, causing a ton of extra damage and forcing Concentration checks to cast spells. The only disappointing part is that the wall appears to be limited to a straight line.
  • Whirlwind: Wild Shape into an air elemental or summon one.
  • Word of Recall: A great way to escape combat if things are going very poorly for you, but hopefully an allied spellcaster has something comparable that’s lower level.

9th-Level Spells

  • Clashing Rocks: Up to 20d6 and knock the target prone, plus possibly 10d6 to other creatures and knock them prone. You can do much better with a 9th-level spell slot. I’d prefer Wall of Lava over this almost every time.
  • Cure Critical Wounds, Mass: This is an insultingly small amount of damage for a 9th-level spell.
  • Elemental Swarm: You get a lot of creatures out of this spell, and guaranteed maximum hit points helps to compensate for their relatively poor hit points. The problem is that this takes 10 minutes to cast and another 20 minutes for every elemental to appear, and even then their numbers likely don’t make up for their low CR. For the same spell slot you can cast Summon Monster IX and get 1d4+1 Greater Elementals or 1d3 Elder Elementals, either of which will be much faster, though the duration is much shorter. If you have time to prepare, this may be a better options because you can mass your elementals before attacking or you can use them for time-consuming tasks like tearing down structures or fighting armies.
  • Foresight: Insight bonuses are rare, so this will stack with almost anything. But a 9th-level spell for +2 AC, +2 to Reflex saves, and inability to be surprised feels underwhelming on a 9th-level spell, especially with a 10 minutes/level duration.
  • Polar Midnight: 1d6 Dexterity damage per round for rounds/level is enough to incapacitate basically anything in the game. On top of that, if creatures in the area don’t move on their turn they become encased in a wall of ice and become helpless. 5-foot steps are enough, but if you can force a creature to remain in place (grapple them and/or knock them prone) you can easily eliminate nearly any foe without a saving throw, including creatures which are immune to the cold damage and/or the Dexterity damage. Just be careful not to hit your own allies. Even immunity to cold damage doesn’t negate the Dexterity damage.
  • Shambler: Considering the duration, it’s weird that this only takes a Standard Action to cast. In combat, 1d4+2 Shambling Mounds is just a worse version of Summon Monster IX. The real appeal is the 7-day duration. Cast this a few days before going on an adventure, and you have a small entourage of pets to follow you around at basically no cost. They’re only CR 6 so don’t expect them to win any CR-appopriate fights, but at large size with 21 Strength then can carry stuff, break things, set off traps, and act as bodyguards for you and your party. However, the wording of the spell doesn’t allow you to change orders once they’re created, so you’ll need to know what you want to do with your shamblers before you summon them. When in doubt “guard me and my party” is a perfectly fine choice.
  • Shapechange: Shapechange is very powerful, but like any polymorph effect you need to be built to use it effectively. If you’re built to use Wild Shape, you’re ready for Shapechange. Be sure to read my Practical Guide to Polymorph if you plan to make use of Wild Shape. However, keep in mind that your Wild armor only applies to Wild Shape so while turning into a dragon will feel really great your AC may be considerably worse. Don’t forge to pick up a 1,500gp circlet as a focus.
  • Siege of Trees, Greater: Too situational. Basically the only time that is is useful is when you need to ruin a structure relatively close to a forest.
  • Storm of Vengeance: Most of this spell is a mess. I think the area is intended to be a cylindar, but as-written the spell’s area is a sphere so rain and hailstones fall from the upper half of the sphere and disappear when they hit the bottom edge of the sphere. The damage is pitiful and slow. The biggest benefit is that this absolutely ruins Concentration. Your spell DC plus the level of the spell being cast is a massively high DC that will make high-level spells all but impossible to cast. Sure, that affects you and your allies, but can enemy spellcasters also turn into a dinosaur? Because that doesn’t require Concentration, so you’re free to use Wild Shape and go eat enemy spellcasters while they struggle to do anything meaningful.
  • Summon Elder Worm: At CR 13 and Collossal size, a Giant Purple Worm (don’t forget that you apply the Giant template) is a big problem for your enemies. However, it only gets two attacks and with a maximum speed of just 20 feet it’s not going far in a hurry. The easiest comparison is to Summon Froghemoth, which offers a creature of the same CR. Personally I prefer the Froghemoth. Despite smaller size, lower attack bonus, and lower CMB, its 6 attacks, better speed, and better reach make it much easier to grapple your enemies.
  • Summon Froghemoth: With 6 attacks and decent attack bonus and CMB the Froghemoth can do a great job grappling smaller foes. However, it can’t fly and can’t attack beyond the reach of its tongue, so it’s only useful in situations where it can keep enemies in reach.
  • Summon Nature’s Ally IX: Versatile and powerful, you can nearly always find something useful with Summon Nature’s Ally, and druids can cast it spontaneously. Be sure to see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally for help selecting summons.
  • Tsunami: A passable crowd control option, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the spell slot. This can push enemies away from you and take them out of a fight for several rounds, but at this level it’s hard to justify the effects. This might carry off a portion of the enemies in an encounter for a few rounds, but you can isolate enemies for a few rounds with Wall of Ice or something else considerably lower level.
  • Winds of Vengeance: If you don’t get hit with melee attacks, this grants you a 60-foot (perfect) fly speed for 1 minute per caster level. Sure, you can fly underwater in an a vacuum, but if you want to be fast in the water you can Wild Shape into a fish or something.
  • World Wave: Either a weaker version of Tsunami or a long-distance travel option that deliberately lays waste to every bit of civilization in its path, including roads, dams, bridges, homes, farms, and all sorts of things that people need to live in a world full of monsters. If a player used this in one of my games, I would likely consider shifting their alignment to evil because of their clear, callous disregard for the wellbeing of the creatures affected by the spell.

Magic Items


  • Beaststrike Club (7,300 gp): Just cast Shillelagh.


  • Wild (+3): Extremely expensive, but keeping your armor bonus to AC while you’re in Wild Shape will give you a significant defensive boost. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how this interacts with magically shaped wooden armor, so you may need to buy armor made of stone or dragonhide. Your GM might allow you to use Shape Wood and Ironwood before permanently enchanting a suit of armor, but I can’t find any official rules for doing so.


  • Counterspells: Druids have a lot of really good buffs with long durations, and having them dispelled really hurts.
  • Eloquence: Allows you to speek while using Wild Shape, and adds a small Competence bonus to Charisma-based skills to offset your dumped Charisma. Beastspeak can handle the speed problem, but its duration is only 10 minutes/levels, so it’ll run out long before your hours/level Wild Shape duration does.
  • Natural Attunement (Kami): Adds a number of useful summon options, including high-level healing options to address gaps in the Druid’s spell list. For more information, see my Practical Guide to Summon Nature’s Ally
  • Protection: A helpful AC boost for any character, but especially useful for druids because the bonus persists in Wild Shape.
  • Sacred Mistletoe: Move through spells like Entangle, Thorny Entanglement, and Wall of Thorns unimpeded and unharmed.


  • Extend: A lesser rod works really well for a lot of your low-level spells like Goodberry, Barkskin, and Magic Fang.


It’s difficult to recommend specific staffs without knowing your individual character, so instead I want to make a general endorsement of the concept of magic staffs in Pathfinder. If you are a 3.5 native, go read Pathfinder’s rules for staffs because they have improved dramatically.

Staffs are a reliable, rechargeable source of extra spellcasting that can give spellcasters easy and reliable access to spells from their spell list which they might not want to learn, or which they might like to use so frequently that they can’t prepare the spell enough times in a given day. On days when you’re not adventuring (traveling, resting, etc.) you can easily recharge any staff even if you can only cast one of the spells which the staff contains.


  • Cure Light Wounds: A crucial source of healing for your party.
  • Mage Armor: You can’t use it on your own, but if you have a friendly arcane caster they can give you a hefty armor bonus for an hour at a time. This is a crucial defensive option while you’re using wild shape until you can afford Wild armor.

Wondrous Items

  • Amulet, Frost Fist: At first glance this looks like it could work for Wild Shape, but it only works on attacks made with hands, which limits you to primate forms like apes and monkeys.
  • Amulet of Mighty Fists: Works with natural weapons, which is perfect for Wild Shape. A +1 enhancement bonus will save you the trouble of casting Greater Magic Fang constantly, but if you don’t mind spending that spell slot it’ll save you gold to spend on more interesting weapon properties.
  • Amulet of Natural Armor: Cast Barkskin. The two don’t stack because they’re both enhancement bonuses to natural armor, but they’ll both stack with the natural armor bonus from Wild Shape.
  • Beast-bond Brand: Too situational. There just aren’t many spells with range: personal that will be helpful for your companion.
  • Belt of (Some Ability Score): Wild Shape users will want to emphasize this heavily, but druids who don’t fight in Wild Shape can probably forgo this.
  • Bracers, Spellguard: Better than Combat Casting. If you spend time in melee with any frequency, these are essential.
  • Circlet of Wisdom: Your casting ability is still important, even if you’re emphasizing Wild Shape.
  • Cloak of Resistance: Too crucial to forego.
  • Polymorphic Pouch: Useful for accessing wands, scrolls, potions, and material components while you’re wildshaped.
  • Ring of Eloquence: Allows you to speak while using Wild Shape. You can also cast Beastspeak, but this won’t consume a spell slot. Either option works fine, it’s just a matter of whether you need the spell slot or the gold more.
  • Ring of Protection: Essential, especially if you plan to use Wild Shape.
  • Vestment, Druid’s: A single extra use of Wild Shape generally isn’t a big deal, especially by the time you can easily afford this, but if Wild Shape is your go-to option in combat it’s a great choice.

Permanent Spells

  • Magic Fang, Greater: Excellent if you plan to use Wild Shape. +1 to all natural weapons is a great choice and costs just 7,500gp. That’s expensive compared to an Amulet of Mighty Fists at 4,000gp, but if you want to use your Amulet of Mighty Fists for more interesting abilities (flaming, Impact, etc.), this will save you money.

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

If you plan to multiclass, consider the Shaping Focus feat to continue advancing your Wild Shape for up to 4 levels. Druids are a difficult choice for spellcaster multiclassing, but if you’re built around Wild Shape a few levels in classes like fighter can offer a lot of benefits.