On May 12, Pathfinder publisher Paizo announced Howl of the Wild, a bestiary-style book that introduces new creatures and animal-themed player options to 2e. But along with colourful monsters and new ancestries, Paizo is trying something different with the sourcebook’s framing. Howl of the Wild introduces its contents with a narrative that’s one-part adventure book and one-part bedtime story. Its central character sounds a lot like David Attenborough if someone turned him into a giant lizard.
Senior Paizo designer and Howl of the Wild lead James Case explains the narrative that ties the book together. “Howl of the Wild is a book of creatures where we’re going really deep into all things, animals, beasts, and nature”, he tells Wargamer. “ It’s a nature documentary slash adventure novel focused on an old naturalist, who maybe wasn’t the most adventurous sort as a kid. Now he’s off exploring the world alongside this odd crew.”
According to Case, the old naturalist, a Lizardfolk by the name of Baranthet, is on a quest to find the Wardens of the Wilds. These are four mythical creatures he remembers from a bedtime story told long ago. Anyone who’s been following the teaser stories shared by Paizo recently will already have spent some time with Baranthet as he learns about the Wardens for the first time.
“The framing device here is the Wardens of the Wild, these four great beasts that are rumoured to steward over various great biomes”, Case explains. “We have the Warden of Peaks and Skies, the Warden of Oceans and Rivers, the Warden of Forest and Meadows, and the Warden of Caverns and Depths.” Presumably, monsters in Howl of the Wild will be organised by biome.
“Having this narrative framing device is one thing I and lead designer Logan Bonner have been really excited about”, Case adds. “The tone we wanted to go for was that nature isn’t a scary place to be, but rather a place full of wonders to explore. So we’re seeing it all through the lens of a character who’s a bit older, who maybe wanted more adventure in his youth but life got in the way.” “He’s a little timid,” Case adds, “and he’s not in the best adventuring shape, but he’s finally going out to find something that’s been his life’s dream”.
Baranthet will be travelling on an airship known as the Zoetrope. Accompanying him are six crew members. We don’t know much about them at this stage. We do know each is from one of the new ancestries introduced in Howl of the Wild. And Case refers to them as an “eccentric” bunch, so we can expect some oddballs aboard. Each character will reportedly contribute to the narration of Howl of the Wild. “ Each of the crew members was taken on by a different author, so each brought a really cool, different voice to it”, Case tells Wargamer.
We don’t know exactly when Howl of the Wild will release, but until then, Paizo says it’ll have more to share on the book at Paizo Con Online 2023. You can also learn more about its contents in our full Howl of the Wild preview and Paizo’s announcement post. If you’re looking to play some Pathfinder now, here are some helpful guides to Pathfinder classes and Pathfinder races.