Bugbear Ethnicity in Runetalras | World Anvil
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Bugbears are a member of the goblinoid races, which includes goblins and hobgoblins, all of which are considered so called monstrous races. Most other races view bugbears as cruel, vicious, and innately evil creatures, and there is some truth to this claim; most bugbears that the other races encounter are a part of warbands, who seek to enslave, plunder, and murder, but the reasons bugbears take these actions are more complex than simply be evil.   Bugbears feature in the nightmare tales of many races as great, hairy beasts that creep through the shadows as quiet as cats. If you walk alone in the woods, a bugbear will reach out of the bushes and strangle you. If you stray too far from the house at night, bugbears will scoop you up to devour you in their den. If a bugbear cuts off your head, your soul stays trapped inside, and the bugbears use your head to magically command all whom you once knew. Lurid tales such as th   Lurid tales such as these have flowered from the seeds of truth. Bugbears do rely on stealth and strength to attack, preferring to operate at night. They do take the heads of enemy leaders, but they are no more likely to eat people indiscriminately than humans are. Bugbears aren't likely to attack lone travellers or wandering children unless they clearly have something to gain by doing so. From the viewpoint of the rest of the world, their aggression and savagery are thankfully offset by their rarity and lethargy.  

Barren Lands

Resource scarcity is common among goblinoids, and has been for millennia. Since the dawn of the Age of the Elder Races goblinoids were forced out of fertile and productive land, being forced to live in the mountains, forests, and barrens of Runetalras. In these conditions it has been, and is, practically impossible for goblinoids to create permanent settlements, and they suffer greatly from attacks and natural disasters. This forces goblinoids into conflict with other races out of desperation.  

Gang Lifestyle

Since bugbears aren't a particularly fecund race, their overall population is small and spread over a wide area. Bugbears live in family groups that operate much like gangs. The individuals in a group typically number fewer than a dozen, consisting of siblings and their mates as well as a handful of offspring and an elder or two. A gang lives in and around a small enclosure, often a natural cave or an old bear den, and it might have supplementary dens elsewhere in its territory that it uses temporarily when it goes on long forays for food.   In good times, a bugbear gang is tight-knit, and its members cooperate well when hunting or bullying other creatures. But when the fortunes of a gang turn sour, the individuals become selfish, and might sabotage one another to remove opposition or exile weaker or unpopular members to keep the rest of the gang strong. Fortunately for the race as a whole, even young and elderly bugbears have the ability to survive alone in the wild, and the cast-off members of a gang might eventually catch on with a different group.   Left to their own devices, bugbears have little more impact on the world than wolf packs. They subsist by crafting simple tools and hunting and gathering food, and gangs sometimes come together peacefully to exchange members and goods between them.  


Bugbears resemble hairy, feral goblins standing 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall. They take their name from their noses and claws, which are similar to those of bears. Their claws are not long and sharp enough to be used as weapons, so bugbears often armour and arm themselves with a variety of purloined gear, which is normally second-rate and in a state of ill-repair.  


The bugbears have not formed any great kingdoms since the dawn of the Age of the Elder Races, and have instead been driven to the mountains, forests, and barrens of the world where they are forced into a semi-nomadic lifestyle to sustain the limited resources they can scavenge.   Since the Wars of Undeath many bugbears have found sanctuary in the Orrak Aahgith as equals.

Bugbear Traits

Ability Score Increase. When determining your character’s ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. You can't raise any of your scores above 20.   Creature Type. You are a Humanoid. You are also considered a goblinoid for any prerequisite or effect that requires you to be a goblinoid.   Size. Your size is Medium.   Speed. Your 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 discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.   Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws you make to avoid or end the charmed condition on yourself.   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. In addition, without squeezing, you can move through and stop in a space large enough for a Small creature.   Surprise Attack. If you hit a creature with an attack roll, the creature takes an extra 2d6 damage if it hasn’t taken a turn yet in the current combat.   Languages. Your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Player’s Handbook offers a list of Languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.

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