On the Ecology of the Bugbear


Dave Southerland
"In the dark, in the forest, lies death that stalks man"
-Slive, entrepreneur

Nomenclature: Bugbear, Boogerbear, Bogeyman, Budy, Bugaboo, Bugge, Bogill

Description: Large, stealthy, furred, creature

Things that are known:

  • They are squat, man-sized or larger creatures covered in fur
  • They have large greenish eyes with no pupils
  • They have wedge-shaped ears on their heads
  • Their hides range in color from light yellow to yellow-brown, and their fur from brown to brick red. 
  • Their mouths are filled with needle sharp teeth
  • They have preternatural skills at stealth and observation
  • They travel alone or in packs
  • They have an exceptional sense of smell




Tony Diterlizzi
Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • Bugbears will consume food, but they don't need it to live. They actually survive off the emotions of fear or terror
  • Bugbears record their history in scars on their body
  • The skin and fur of a bugbear can change color to match their surroundings
  • That isn't true, their fur absorbs light like a polar bears and where there is little or no light their coloration becomes ptich black
  • Sometimes after stealing a family member, they leave severed fingers or teeth to be found
  • Bugbears live in nomadic communities
  • They collect mementos of their hunts
  • Bugbear is not actually a specific type of creature, it's actually an elder hobgoblin. Goblins grow into hobgoblins and hobgoblins grow into bugbears
  • This is especially disturbing considering bugbears have a ravenous appetite and will eat anything nearby. Including goblins
  • They are known to worship various dark gods: Hruggek the morningstar, of violence and death; Grankhul two open eyes in darkness, of hunting and surprise; and Skiggaret the black claw, god of fear and despair
  • Some people say that if you get close enough, bugbear eyes do have tiny pinpoint red pupils
  • Some bugbears in winter regions are said to have blue or white fur
  • Bugbears have an unnatural ability to use weapons much larger than another creature their size could wield
  • They are excellent climbers, with an astounding grip. In fact, it is unknown for anyone to ever be able to remove anything from the hands of a bugbear
  • They are actually humanoids who have been corrupted by their bestial nature. Instead of a werewolf, they struggle constantly against the beast in their monstrous form
  • This is because they were rejected by god(s) and in revenge they seek to strangle the faithful and civilized
  • When they stand still and silent, the faintest breeze can cause their fur to rub together, causing a sound like bugs skittering across a floor, hence their name. This is often what people pass the noise off as, until they are surprised by a bugbear
  • Their fur is actually bugs. Thousands of bugs
  • Bugbears actually use some sort of pheremone or psionic invisiblity that allows them to walk around and right in front of other creatures
  • It's actually much worse than that. Only clumsy or surprised bugbears are ever seen. The most skilled are so adapt at hiding that they operate freely in human and demi-human socieity. They adopt a single human to bedevil, continually reminding the human of some petty vexation or minor enemy, until by degrees the human blames that for all their life problems. They then reveal themselves and feed as the human dies from the sight from an apoplectic fit. The bugbear then eats the person and adopts their identity, appearing as a monomanical grouchy old man or woman
  • Elves are immune to this, being whimsical sociopaths. For this same reason they never mention anything about the bugbear to anyone who can't see them
  • They are at home in the wilds, needing no roof or bed for comfort
Erol Otus
  • They love to construct ambushes, but not from a distance. They want to spring out, choke and smash
  • Wet bugbears look like wet cats. They are only so imposing because their hair is so poofy
  • Bugbears are actually a peaceful forest loving race that once really pissed-off a gnomish PR firm
  • Bugbears are the offspring of goblins raped by ogres and giants. They are born clawing their way out of the goblin mother. They are all evil creatures, because it takes a pretty degenerate giant to screw a goblin
  • Bugbears are actually ogre corpses animated by the spirits of dead goblins
  • They actually come from the friction between the underworld and the overworld, spawned by the friction between them. They are tasked with scaring everyone away from the underworld
  • They will not do anything in combat to save their allies, even though they attack in a coordinated manner. They believe that the strong will survive and those that survive are strong
  • Though strong, they are lazy. Who better to work for them but slaves?
  • They are often referred to as having a 'strange gait'. It is true. This is the result of the fact that they have an extra pair of ethereal legs that they use which is the key to their stealth. Watching them move at full speed without making a sound makes them appear to have a very strange gait indeed 
  • Their feet are nothing so supernatural, just plain padded soft underfeet. When they hunt, they do so on all fours like all silent large predators
  • Bugbears are often misrepresented. They are actually half-insect half-bear and they are quiet because their feet are the silent scurrying feet of insects
  • That's wrong too. Bugbears actually have giant pumpkins for heads (not pumpkin-shaped heads)
  • And inside those pumpkin-shaped heads are seeds. . . 
  • The bugbear is actually an insect torso on a bear's lower body, like some twisted centaur
  • They are the creepy uncles of goblin-kind. All of their kin find them disquieting

Bugbear: These large, hairy, goblin-like humanoids are stealthier than their size would suggest, almost always getting the chance to surprise even alert opponents with a roll of 1-3 on a d6 (50%).

HD 3+1; AC 5[14]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or weapon (1d8+1); Move 9; Save 14; CL 3; XP 120; Special: Surprise opponents, 50% chance.

Variants:
  • Kardan: Bugbears with dark-grey fur that silent as death. They possess the ability to appear as any object, a clock, a stand, anything.
  • Wikkawak: A local name for the arctic breed of bugbear
  • Murd: A swamp variety of bugbear. Their redneck cousins are fearful of reptiles and it has the ability to turn into a viscous tar
  • Stalker: A variety of bugbear that thrives in cities and towns
  • Koblak: A stillborn bugbear that lives. Their eyes are huge even by bugbear standards and they can see through doors, stone, and earth. They are immortal and undead. They are very resistant to any sort of attack, unless the weapon is coated in fresh grave dirt. Children and men slain by such a beast soon rise again as a malicious spirit


7 comments:

  1. Very cool. I like the rumours list.

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  2. I'm really enjoying this format for ecology posts. I may have to give it a try myself sometime.

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  3. "Bugbear is not actually a specific type of creature, it's actually an elder hobgoblin. Goblins grow into hobgoblins and hobgoblins grow into bugbears"

    - which then grow into ogres, which grow into hill giants, which grow into mountain giants, thus explaining why rangers get a +1 bonus vs both goblins and giants.

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  4. Just wanted to say this is pretty damn awesome.

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  5. One of my favorite foes and flunkies - even let player have one using orcs of thay - cheers for this!

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  6. Bugbears love catnip. At least, the ones in module B2 The Keep on the Borderlands do. In the spoils room of the bugbear lair, Gygax has:

    "a heap of dried herbs (catnip, something these particular bugbears relish)"

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  7. I love these rumour lists - together with the 'things that are known' section this could produce a great OSR supplement. Similar to the WFRP2e Old World Bestiary, but potentially far more usable at the table.

    ReplyDelete

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