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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monstrous Encounter: Bugbear

Most humanoid monsters have some level of intelligence and civilization, even if it is crude compared to humans or elves. Goblins and kobolds, orcs and lizardfolk, even the minotaurs and trolls have language and tribes. Bugbears are the exception to that rule.

For today's post, I'm going to talk a bit about a spin on the bugbear. In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, they don't have much to distinguish them from any other humanoid monster. So, I thought it would be worthwhile to explore them and put out some useful content.


Bugbears are generally larger than humans, though not by much. They stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, and their hairy figures are often stooped over lower than that. Skin tones, fur color, and eye color varies wildly from one bugbear to the next. They lair individually, except during a 6-month mating period every few years. They will fight to the death to defend even a single bugbear cub. They prefer dry, dark areas, and often collect more food than they will eat. Bugbears are incredibly dangerous. They are strong and fast, with large teeth and long talons.

Physical description

1. A humanoid figure, about 6 feet tall but noticeably hunched over, staggers into the light. It is covered in dark red hair, thick and coarse, and its sunken eyes are pale yellow. Its movements are quicker than you'd expect for something of its size.
2. The creature looks up, the white fur around its mouth matted and stained with blood. Its eyes are completely black, and its yellow claws are stained with the life of the unlucky creature its hunches over.
3. The goblins scatter, opening a steel cage door as they do. A roar echoes from within, and a human-sized creature bounds out. Its fur is dark blue and its eyes are silvery-white, but not with blindness. It snarls and pounds its chest with clawed hands, preparing to charge.
4. But the last soldier is not an orc at all. It is humanoid figure, but stands almost 7 feet tall and is covered in patched brown fur. The orcs have strapped studded armor around it, and grafted iron blades onto its arms, making the beast even deadlier.


1. Just beyond the line of shrubs is a small garden area. An enclosed gazebo sits in the middle, well shaded from light and protected from rain. Lying in the gazebo is a yellow-furred bugbear sleeping atop a pile of fern branches.
2. The house has been abandoned for months, according to the villagers, but there are clear sounds of snuffling and movement from within. A peek through one of the shuttered windows reveals a black bugbear pawing at a cellar door, until it turns to the window.
3. The tunnels suddenly widen into a cavern, and light is coming from somewhere ahead. The floor in this area is sandy and littered with bones. Silhouetted in the exit against the midmorning light is a bugbear.
4. The trail leads directly to the campsite, as expected, but apparently the small, shady clearing has been claimed since last autumn. The fire pit has been dug out and a small clutch of colorful, mewling bugbear cubs wriggles in the dirt. A couple of large, angry, green-haired bugbear parents move to stand in front of the cubs and let out a pair of bone-rattling roars.


1. Bugbears have dragged off an entire herd of sheep over the last few days.
2. A bugbear has taken up residence in the prince's secret summer home.
3. A furrier is willing to pay handsomely for the pelt of a golden bugbear.
4. A bugbear cub wanders into the middle of a small village.
5. The local hedgewizard accidentally transfigures himself into a bugbear.
6. The King's Guard train against captive bugbears, but now several of the creatures have escaped into the city.
7. The Woodcarver's Guild will pay a bounty for each confirmed bugbear kill in the local woods.
8. A tribe of wild halfling warriors have tamed a family of bugbears and ride on their shoulders into battle.

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