Bugbear

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Bugbear is a Middle English name for the same kind of basic dark fey or evil spirit more commonly referred to as a boogeyman; a malicious and scary monster that relishes in spreading fear to others. They are most relevant to /tg/ for their existence as one of the three major species of goblinoid in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons (and by extension Pathfinder).

The D&D bugbear is the giant of the goblinoid races, reaching an imposing 7 feet tall - in fact, they were literally called "goblin-giants" when they debuted in the 1975 Greyhawk supplement for OD&D. If hobgoblins are the orcs of the goblinoid family tree, then bugbears are perhaps best described as its ogres. They resemble huge, bestial goblins, with exaggeratedly large ears, overgrown fangs, claw-like nails (though too small/brittle to be used as actual weapons), hair-covered skin, and "bear-like" noses - this is the source of their name.

Bugbears are often thought of as the dullest of the goblinoid core trilogy, since their basic "schtick" of being the Big Dumb Bruiser overlaps pretty thoroughly with that of the orcs. Yes, it's true they do put a unique spin on it by being as quick and sneaky as they are strong, but on the surface, they just seem a bit too much like the traditional orc.

Much like the hobgoblin, the idea of a bugbear monstergirl has never really been explored on /tg/.

Ecology[edit]

As the most primitive of all goblinoids, bugbears have an impact on their surroundings somewhere between that of tribal humanoids and a pack of large predators. Strongly instinct-driven, bugbears are territorial creatures that stake out holdings surrounding caves or underground complexes, which they use for shelter. Carnivores, bugbears will eat the flesh of anything they can kill, including other sapient creatures - common goblins hate and fear their bigger cousins precisely because the bugbears will just as soon spitroast or stew a goblin as it will a frog, hare, pigeon or wild boar. Combined with their primitive love of shiny objects, bugbears are natural marauders, seeking to prey on anything around them for food and loot.

In return, bugbears are themselves on the food chain for even bigger and nastier creatures, such as giants and giant-kin, dragons, behirs, cave bears, etc. Combined with their relative lack of fertility, bugbears are thus encouraged to fall in line with their relative races for a support network to compensate.

Society[edit]

On their own, bugbears tend to be primitive, almost feral brutes. They exist in semi-nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers, who frequently pillage, raid and plunder their surroundings, both for precious stones and metals and for food. That's... pretty much the most of what D&D has to say on the matter. Even in Races of Ansalon, the Dragonlance splatbook that gives the most information on bugbears as a potential PC race, this is pretty much what it boils down to. They are natural bullies and thugs, due to their aggression and territorial natures, being kept in line by the strongest and most aggressive of their kind. They rarely practice slavery, preferring to eat what they catch instead.

Despite this, bugbears actually aren't idiots. They readily integrate into the more structured societies forged by hobgoblins (although how well depends somewhat on edition), and often take over goblin tribes to make them do the work for them. Bugbears are known to be part of the civilized goblinoid societies in Eberron, and the Nentir Vale even has an urban-dwelling bugbear tribe that has quite successfully remade itself into a crime syndicate.

AD&D lore claims that females are strictly inferior in bugbear society, and in fact many bugbear adventurers are actually women looking for a better life outside of their repressive culture. This lore has been dropped in subsequent editions.

Religion[edit]

Bugbears worship their own loose pantheon, although details have never been forthcoming. The existence of such a pantheon of goblinoid deities first appeared in the AD&D 1e splatbook Deities & Demigods, which states that the bugbear pantheon consists of six deities, whose portfolios include earth, death, fertility, hunting and fear. However, only a single deity was statted in this book; Hruggek, chief of the pantheon, and the bugbear's god of Violence & Combat.

AD&D 2e's Monster Mythology would expand the bugbear pantheon with two other gods; Grankhul and Skiggaret. These are the only deities to have been defined for this pantheon since, and even Skiggaret fell under the wayside in 5th edition.

Publication History[edit]

Bugbears first appeared for OD&D in the Greyhawk supplement. They then made it into the Monster Manual for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and the Basic set for BECMI. They were updated to 2e in the Monstrous Compendium Appendix, which was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual. From Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, 4th Edition and 5th Edition, they have appeared in the Monster Manual.

Bugbear PCs[edit]

Like the other goblinoid races, bugbears have been a PC option for a long time.

BECMI Racial Traits[edit]

In BECMI, like the other goblinoids and iconic "humanoids" (orcs, gnolls, ogres, trolls), bugbears appear as a racial class in "The Orcs of Thar".

Bugbear Ability Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Wisdom
Note: Like all Humanoids from "The Orcs of Thar", a Bugbear has racial ability score caps of 18 in all scores bar Intelligence and Wisdom, which are capped at 16.
Note: Like all Humanoids from "The Orcs of Thar", a Bugbear determines its Charisma score for interacting with humans and demihumans by dividing its Charisma score by 3 (rounding down) and subtacting the result from 9.
Bugbear Natural Armor Class: 8


Bugbear's's level XP Required Bugbear's hit dice
Youngster -2,400 d8+1
Teenager -1,200 2d8+1
0 0 3d8+1
1 2,400 4d8+2
2 7,200 5d8+2
3 16,600 -
4 35,600 6d8+2
5 73,600 7d8+3
6 147,600 8d8+3
7 297,600 -
8 597,600 9d8+3
9 897,600 +2 Hit Points
Subsequent 300,000 +2 Hit Points

AD&D Racial Traits[edit]

Bugbears are amongst the many races given a PC writeup for AD&D 2e in "The Complete Book of Humanoids".

Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 8/17, Constitution 8/18, Intelligence 3/16, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/14
Ability Score Adjustments: +1 Strength, -1 Intelligence, -1 Charisma
Racial Class & Level Limits: Fighter 12, Cleric 8, Shaman 5, Witch Doctor 5, Thief 9
+3 Hit Points at 1st level.
Infravision 60 feet
Opponents suffer a -3 penalty to their surprise rolls against a bugbear.
Bugbears take damage as if they were Large Creatures.
Weapon Proficiencies: Throwing/Footman's Mace, Goblin Stick, Hand Axe, Morning Star, Great Club, Spear, Warhammer
Nonweapon Proficiencies: Close-Quarter Fighting, Drinking, Eating, Hunting, Intimidation, Looting, Natural Fighting, Wild Fighting

3e Racial Traits[edit]

In 3e, bugbears - like orcs and goblinoids - had PC stats right there in the original Monster Manual. These stats were then reprinted in Races of Faerun for the Forgotten Realms and Races of Ansalon for Dragonlance, with the latter also presenting the Bugbear Racial Class, to try and circumvent the scourge of Level Adjustment.

+4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma.
Humanoid (goblinoid): Bugbears are humanoids with the goblinoid subtype.
A bugbear’s base land speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Racial Hit Dice: A bugbear begins with three levels of humanoid, which provide 3d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +2, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +1, Ref +3, and Will +1.
Racial Skills: A bugbear’s humanoid levels give it skill points equal to 6 x (2 + Int modifier). Its class skills are Climb, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot.
Racial Feats: A bugbear’s humanoid levels give it two feats.
+4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.
+3 natural armor bonus.
Scent (Ex): A bugbear has a keen sense of smell. He can detect opponents within 30 feet given range (60 feet if the scent is upwind, 15 feet range if it is downwind) and may take a move-equivalent action to determine the direction of a scent. If an odor source is within 5 feet, the bugbear can pinpoint that source. Bugbears can use the scent ability to track an enemy by smell.
Automatic Languages: Common, Goblin.
Favored Class: Rogue.
Level Adjustment: +1.

If using the bugbear racial class, bugbears have the following traits:

+2 Strength, –2 Charisma.
Bugbear base land speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Automatic Languages: Common, Goblin.
Favored Class: Bugbear. A bugbear may not take levels in any other class except bugbear until he has gained all four bugbear racial class levels. Bugbears usually take levels in rogue or fighter after this point.

Class Skills: Climb, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Spot.

Bugbear Class Level Hit Dice Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skill Points CR Special
1st 1d8 +0 +0 +2 +0 (2 + Int mod) x 4 1 Feat, +1 natural armor, +2 Move Silently
2nd 2d8 +1 +0 +3 +0 2+ Int mod 1 +2 Con, scent 10 ft., +4 Move Silently
3rd 2d8 +1 +0 +3 +0 2 +2 Dex, +2 natural armor, scent 20 ft.
4th 3d8 +2 +1 +3 +1 2 + Int mod 2 Feat, +2 Str, +3 natural armor, scent 20 ft.

4e Racial Traits[edit]

4e featured bugbear PC stats in the back of the first Monster Manual, although unlike the Hobgoblin (which got a "semi-official" upgrade in Dragon Magazine #419) and the Goblin (which got an "official" upgrade in the Dungeon Survival Guide), they never made it beyond this stage.

Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares (30 feet)
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Goblin
Skill Bonuses: +2 Intimidate, +2 Stealth
Oversized: You may use weapons of your size or one size larger than you as if they were your size.
Racial Power - Predatory Eye: 1/encounter, as a minor action, you can grant yourself +1d6 bonus damage per tier on a single attack against a target that you have combat advantage against.

5e Racial Traits[edit]

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Dexterity score increases by 1.

Age. Bugbears reach adulthood at age 16 and live up to 80 years.

Alignment. Bugbears endure a harsh existence that demands each of them to remain self-sufficient, even at the expense of their fellows. They tend to be chaotic evil.

Size. Bugbears are between 6 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 250 and 350 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Long Limbed. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.

Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Sneaky. You are proficient in the Stealth skill.

Surprise Attack. If you surprise a creature and hit it with an attack on your first turn in combat, the attack deals an extra 2d6 damage to it. You can use this trait only once per combat.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin.

Gallery[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races
Basic Set: Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human
Creature Catalog 1: Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
Creature Catalog 2: Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
Creature Catalog 3: Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie - Triton
Dragon Magazine: Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
Hollow World: Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan
Krugel Orc - Kubbit - Malpheggi Lizard Man
Known World: Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races
Core: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Dark Sun: Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen
Dragonlance: Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur
Mystara: Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak)
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
Oriental Adventures: Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk
Planescape: Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling
Spelljammer: Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil
Ravenloft: Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope
Complete
Book of X:
Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
Dragon Magazine: Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Races
Player's Handbook: Dragonborn - Drow - Dwarf - Elf - Gnome
Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Dungeon Master's Guide: Aasimar - Eladrin
Elemental Evil Player's Guide: Aarakocra - Genasi - Goliath - Svirfneblin
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide: Duergar - Ghostwise Halfling - Svirfneblin - Tiefling Variants
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes: Baatific Tieflings - Duergar - Eladrin - Githyanki
Githzerai - Sea Elf - Shadar-kai - Svirfneblin
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Aasimar - Bugbear - Firbolg - Goblin - Goliath - Hobgoblin - Kenku
Kobold - Lizardfolk - Orc - Tabaxi - Triton - Yuan-Ti Pureblood
Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica: Human - Elf - Centaur - Goblin - Loxodon - Minotaur - Simic Hybrid
Vedalken
Unearthed Arcana: Changeling - Minotaur - Revenant - Shadar-kai
Shifter - Tiefling Variants - Warforged
Plane Shift: Amonkhet: Aven - Khenra - Minotaur - Naga
Plane Shift: Innistrad: Human
Plane Shift: Ixalan: Human - Goblin - Merfolk - Orc - Siren - Vampire
Plane Shift: Kaladesh: Aetherborn - Dwarf - Elf - Human - Vedalken
Plane Shift: Zendikar: Elf - Goblin - Human - Kor - Merfolk - Vampire
One Grung Above: Grung