On the Shoulders of Heroes
Bugbears are gentle giants that once lived in the lands where Hobgoblins rule now. The foul Hobgoblins tricked and imprisoned the Bugbears and forced them into slavery. Now they are the lowest class, the untouchable, and are used in war as shock troops.
A Bugbear is undeniably an impressive site to behold. Males grow over seven feet tall, with females staying slightly shorter. They have large, clawed hands, furry faces with flat noses and a body covered in matted fur. A Bugbear is commonly as broad as a Halfling is tall, with well developed shoulders and arms. They tend to wear practical clothing that doesn’t restrict their movement which they adorn with crude ornaments.
Artwork: Eoghan Kerrigan
Bugbears lived an isolated life for many generations in the warm forest of the East. They believed they had become one with nature and worshipped the guardian spirits of the woods. Tribes were semi-nomadic and often counted but a dozen heads.
Eventually, the Hobgoblins came to the East. They saw easy prey in the simple, good natured creatures and killed them or made them into slaves. Bugbears were conscripted into Hobgoblin armies and forced to do heavy menial labour. They were threatened, tortured or killed if they refused to appease their self styled overlords.
Up to this day the Bugbears are slaves. Hobgoblins treat them like less than filth and threaten or beat them for fun. They force Bugbears to fight to the death for their entertainment and make them toil for days on end.
Yet there are some free Bugbears. Especially in the Spirit Woods there are groups that oppose their masters. These friendly, skittish giants are forced into a conflict with a tactically superior enemy that has lasted for generations, but for the sake of their future they cannot give up.
Some Bugbears manage to escape their captors, by overpowering their masters or by fleeing. These Bugbears find work in harbours, in construction or as mercenaries. Sometimes they try to earn their keep as adventurers. Their slavish nature tends to make them valued workers that work for a small fee.
Traditionally Bugbears have a close family structure, where an elder leads the tribe. They respect each other, and the sanctity of life, and kill only when necessary for food. This way of life has mostly vanished under the Hobgoblin rules. Many Bugbears have been mentally broken and have taken on the values and ways of their masters.
Free Bugbears still respect life and nature, but have to be willing to fight for their freedom. Their leaders are the strongest members of the tribes. In the last couple of hundred years they have been forced to develop a harsher side in order to survive. Bugbears tend to bottle their anger and sadness, only to unleash it in a thunderous explosion in battle.
Bugbears slaves are forced to worship the San. Those who refuse are maimed terribly or even killed.
Free Bugbears often worship nature. They believe everything has a soul and a heart. Some even relate to the teachings of the Mother, or Mielikki.
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence. Bugbears are strong and tough, but simple of mind.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, bugbears have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. However, they count as large creatures for some purposes due to their Powerful build as described later.
- Bugbear base land speed is 30 feet.
- Powerful Build: The physical stature of a bugbear lets him function in many ways as if he were one size category larger. Whenever a Bugbear is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the Bugbear is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. A Bugbear is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect him. A Bugbear can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
- +1 natural armor, Bugbears have thick, furry skin.
- Natural weapons: The powerful claws of the Bugbear give it two claw attacks (1d4).
- Low-Light vision.
- Scent: Bugbears have an excellent sense of smell. A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.
- +2 racial bonus on Handle animal, Knowledge: nature and Survival checks: Bugbears have a deeply rooted respect for animals and nature.
- Automatic Languages: Buggan and a simple language that enables them to communicate on a very basic level with forest animals (this functions like a speak with animals spell). Most of them speak the language of their master as well.
- Level adjustment: +1.
- Favored Class: Druid.