“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
The Druid, defender of nature and a speaker for the Green. They draw their power from the land, giving back what they take and manifesting the delicate balance they are sworn to protect.
Druids are an iconic part of fantasy gaming, having been introduced to Dungeons and Dragons in 1976. Since then, they have always had a place at the fantasy gaming table. Some are tanky shapeshifters who turn into giant creatures while others are powerful healers who bring growth and life to the land around them.
Among the myriad of discussions on these superpowered Loraxes on steroids, there is almost always a discussion on how to best build a Druid character for the party role they want to take on.
A good way to add flavor or further mini-max a character build is to use the Traits system. Using traits, a player can add a connection to the campaign world, show further honor to their deity of choice, or just give their character more of a build focus.
Of course, the choice of traits is very important, considering you only get one. So which traits are best for Druids? Glad you asked! We are going to break that down for you, dear reader.
What Are Traits?
The Trait system is a method of making your character just a bit more flavorful (as if there weren’t enough choices for that). Every PC gets one trait to reflect their connection to the campaign world, their religion, or their upbringing. Only PCs can take traits, so NPCs are left out in the cold on this one.
You also only get one trait for your character, chosen at character creation. It is possible to get more than one through the use of the Additional Traits Feat, but in all honesty, traits really only match the power levels of level-one feats. Therefore, if you take the Additional Traits feat, you are almost certainly wasting a feat slot.
Pathfinder 2nd Edition and Traits
Traits are very different in Pathfinder 2e compared to Pathfinder 1e.
Traits in Pathfinder 2nd edition are keywords added to everything from spells, character abilities, feats, or items to further define what they can do in a shorthand method for players and GMs.
As such, we aren’t going to go into traits as they apply to Druids in Pathfinder 2e because if we did that, we could write a whole novel.
Top 5 Traits for Druids
Below is a list of the top 5 traits available for player characters in Pathfinder 1st Edition. They are not listed in any particular order, but we have listed the link to the trait on the Pathfinder SRD, the exact wording of the trait, as well as our own breakdown as to how it helps out with your specific Druid build.
A master druid revealed to you greater secrets of concentration when changing your form into that of an animal.
Benefit: Whenever you use your wild-shape class ability to turn yourself into a Small or Medium-sized animal, the effect lasts for 2 hours per Druid level instead of 1 hour per Druid level.
This trait is tailor-made for Druids, especially ones who like to liberally use their Wild Shape abilities.
While you won’t see much of a benefit at later levels, this trait can make a major difference at early levels, giving you more time in your most comfortable wild forms.
This does theoretically mean you need to be a part of the Pathfinder Society, but if a GM wants to waive that for personal play, then this may be the best option for your Wild-Shaping Druid.
Growing up in a rough neighborhood or a dangerous environment has honed your senses.
This option is just a plain old good option when it comes to the Druid, who starts with the worst possible base reflex save.
Using a trait to shore up a character weakness may seem like a waste, but getting a good Reflex Save at an early level is a great way to make sure your character survives to the later levels.
You were bullied often as a child but never quite developed an offensive response. Instead, you became adept at anticipating sudden attacks and reacting to danger quickly.
Benefit: You gain a +2 trait bonus on initiative checks.
Initiative is never anything to sneeze at, and a trait bonus to initiative can be very powerful. Trait bonuses are different from most other bonuses. They don’t stack with each other, but they are very hard to remove. So you are still getting that +2 bonus even when caught flat-footed.
Your childhood was dominated either by lessons of some sort (whether musical, academic, or other) or by a horrible home life that encouraged your ability to block out distractions and focus on the immediate task at hand.
Benefit: You gain a +2 trait bonus on concentration checks.
As a full caster, you are going to be spending a great deal of time slinging spells with the rest of your party. However, unlike some other casters, you are going to get into the thick of things routinely. This is especially true if you are using your Wild Shape ability often.
This means you will be making concentration checks often. This trait bonus can make sure that you roll with a small bit of an edge every time.
Your interest in magic was inspired by witnessing a spell being cast in a particularly dramatic method, perhaps even one that affected you physically or spiritually. This early exposure to magic has made it easier for you to work similar magic on your own.
Benefit: Pick one spell when you choose this trait — from this point on, whenever you cast that spell, its effects manifest at +1 caster level.
Building on what we said above, this is probably the best trait for your character if you want to really focus on your spellcasting.
This is going to be really good for a Druid build choosing to focus on healing or buffing the party. Making your buff or healing spell your signature means you can keep your party alive almost as well as any Cleric.
Keep it natural, Pathfinder.