My druid picked up the wildshape ability a few levels back, but hasn't had a chance to use it yet. The wide-open nature of the ability (and the labyrinthine rules) has left me reluctant to bog down the game by trying to figure it out during play.

  • Is there a good way to quickly look up animals with given characteristics (particularly the special abilities that wildshape can grant)? (I'll have access to the Internet while at the table, if that makes a difference.)

  • Pre-statting a few forms seems like a good idea to me. Are there any animals that are important to have in my "stable" of pre-generated forms? Are there any particular characteristics I should try to have available? What makes for a good form?

  • \$\begingroup\$ A imagine a nice spreadsheet would work very well for keeping track of your commonly used forms \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Sep 23, 2011 at 19:59

4 Answers 4


The D20 Pathfinder SRD Monsters DB has a spreadsheet of Pathfinder creatures, which you can use to search by type, size, whether the creature can fly/climb/burrow/swim, and so on. The spreadsheet includes columns for useful things like special attacks, climb/fly/swim/movement speeds, and which senses the creature has.

It's worth keeping perhaps three to five different forms, each of which is suited to different challenges you expect to face. You'll want a tough form for combat, a form with flight, a form with scent, and so forth. As you gain new types of wild shape, you'll want to expand the list to take advantage of things like elemental forms.

To get around the filtering limitations, I exported the data from the Monsters DB into LibreOffice Base. This allowed for more advanced filtering/searching.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice! The main issue is, it doesn't look like I can search up animals with Darkvision, because the "senses" field is mashed together. But perhaps I can import it into a more powerful desktop app of some kind... \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Sep 23, 2011 at 21:11

One big "gotcha" to keep in mind with Pathfinder and Druid Wild Shapes is that you have a lot of stats to modify & keep track of/pay attention to:

  • your level as a druid will determine the sizes and TYPES of creatures and how long you can remain in the form (and how many times each day). Most notably I think this means you can't Wild Shape into a magical beast - since the Druid ability states "animal, elemental or plant" and "magical beast" is another type. Which means that magical beast forms like Giant Eagle may be out of bounds for Druids however thematic (in a home game I would almost certainly allow many magical beasts such as the Giant Eagle for druids especially if they had a character reason such as Eagle Domain/Eagle Shaman) to take that form.

  • each level tier (4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th) changes the effective spell(s) your Wild Shape acts as - and those spells, in turn, determine which special abilities of the forms you can get (including setting a maximum on movement speeds/maneuverability). You also keep ALL of your own ability scores & feats (but as a Druid you have proficiency with any natural attacks of a form you wild shape into) and get a small set of bonuses (to natural armor and ability scores) per the spell.

  • This means you can't just use the stat blocks from the Bestiary, you have to adjust for:

1) your ability scores vs the creature's defaults (this might change the DC's of special attacks IF you get them)

2) your feats vs the as statted creature's feats this might dramatically change attack to hits etc

3) the features of the given form you do NOT get. For example a Druid needs to be able to change into HUGE elemental before you get any DR from Wild Shape. It is unclear what traits of say elemental forms you get (I'd assume various breathing features - or specifically lack of needing to breath but the rules as written aren't entirely clear

4) Any special abilities/traits of your NATURAL form (i.e. if you have darkvision/low light vision in your normal form when you Wild Shape you LOSE that since it is part of your natural form. Special abilities that are class features - i.e. if you were a multiclassed sorcerer and had a bloodline that could grow claws will still apply. For some races this might mean (I think) you lose "keen senses" so your perception in a wild shape form might change. So pay attention to your abilities in Wild Shape as well as your vision.

5) Pay attention as well to which magic items you have/are wearing that will continue to function and which will not. If you are wearing armor and it does not have the Wild special power you won't gain that armor when you wild shape. Many items will however continue function (cloaks of resistance, rings of protection etc)

6) remember to also track what you can/can't do in the form based on your feats. i.e. if you don't have Wild Speech you can't talk while in most forms. If you don't have Natural Spell you can't cast spells (and without Wild Speech you can't activate many magic items that require a command word).

7) don't neglect to invest in applicable skills - i.e. Fly (which you can't take ranks in until after you gain Wild Shape unless you had some other means of regularly flying prior to that). Even with the bonus you may get for flight at higher levels (where your maneuverability can be higher than average) you likely will still need ranks in Fly to perform maneuvers in combat (like hover)

8) remember that most of your belongings will transform with you when you Wild Shape so you can't pull out wands, potions, wondrous items at will while wild shaped)

I agree with the advice to pick a small set of forms that you will tend to you - but even with just one or two wild shape's a day it can be smart to plan ahead for formw with specific movement types you might need (fly, swim, climb) since you can gain these even from fairly early levels. And if you plan on combat take the time to understand how any form you select would function (for example understand the Whirlwind power of Air Elementals before you use one in combat - lots of nuances to being effective with it)

  • \$\begingroup\$ can I transform into an animal that isn't normally the size I wish. IE: If there is no entry for an Huge Rabbit, could I transform into a huge rabbit, if I so wished to? (assuming I had access to huge creatures in the first place) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ender
    Mar 10, 2015 at 2:22

Pre-statting a couple of forms is a good idea. Generally you want a combat form, a scouting form, a swimmer, and maybe a climber.

However, at low-level, because the number of times per day you can use wildshape is so limited, it's nice to have a single form that can "do it all": something that can scout, has another movement type, and still fight competently. For this, it's hard to beat a leopard or dire ape for climbing, a giant frog or crocodile (or water elemental) for swimming, or an eagle or pteranodon (or air elemental) for flying.


Yes - you can pick any animal shape you can reach. You can usually pick dire forms as well, as these are just "particularly big and tough versions of the normal animal" - confirm with the DM, just remember that the dire form is one size larger. So if your Druid can only do "large" he can be a Dire wolf or a regular lion but not a Dire Lion. I have also found that for non fliers, the Prehistoric forms are very effective - but your druid needs a history that allows them to know of them.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The question has nothing to do with which forms the Druid is eligible to use. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Jun 12, 2016 at 2:57

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