Bruín, the worldshaker bears
Grondin smelled the Bruín before he saw it. A wet smell of a a predator. Then he heard the breaking of trees and saw something moving his way, a being so strong it simply pushed through the thick of fir, casually uprooting trees and splintering trunks. He spotted brown fur and large hungry eyes between the branches and knew in his heart, that this was his end.Bruín, which derives from the orcish word for brown, is the name of the giant bears in the northern wastes of the world. They are the namesake for the Bear wastes, the icy tundra, but also can be found in the taiga south of it. According to the orcs, Bruín were created after the image of their gods own pet bear, also named Bruin. They are the ultimate land predators, hunting any creature worth the effort including mammoths, whales and in the past, before the species drove each other away, dragons.
— Excerpt from the fairy tale "Grondin and the Bruín"
Bruín are, for the most part, just gargantuan brown bears. They range from seven to fifteen meters shoulder height, their rear feet usually measuring 2 m in length, their front paws shorter at around 90 cm. They have four strong legs, the front two ending in longer claws of around 40 cm in length. Bruín fur is thick and rough, with an equally tough layer of hide and fat beneath, shielding the Bruín from harm. Bruín are excellent climbers and swimmers.
Bruín are sexually dimorphic. The males are on average around fourty percent heavier and larger than the females, although extreme cases of males can be twice as large. With the increased size comes a power difference. A male Bruín is far stronger but also less dexterous and quick than a female one. Males tend to have darker fur, while females usually show light brown to beige colours. Proportionally however, male and female Bruín are similar in physique and characteristics, making differentiating a young male from a female challenging. Bruín cubs tend to have even lighter colours which help them blend in with the snow. As the Bruín matures, its fur darkens.
Genetics and Reproduction
Bruín sows have a small window of fertility throughout the year, around two weeks some time during the spring. If the fertilization is successful, the gestation period is two years after which the cubs are born. Bruín tend to have litters of two or three cubs, but can in theory have up to six at a time. The average time between litters is six years. Out of a litter around half the cubs are expected to survive until their own maturity, and a sow tend to have around seven litters throughout their life.
Growth Rate & Stages
A Bruín cub is born weighing only about 40 kg, unable to eat solid food for around two months, but with fully functioning senses and limbs. Cubs start eating food weighing around 250 kg. A Cub stays with its mother for three years, growing rapidly during the first two and contributing to hunting during as early as nine months after its birth. Male cubs tend to outgrow their mothers by year two, but do not reach their final size while they still live with their mother. After three years, the then juvenile cub is self sufficient enough to live on its own. It sets out from its mother seeking its own home range. The bears growth then slows down to what is possible based on its success at hunting and foraging. Usually Bruín are fully grown adults at age ten, becoming sexually mature with seven.
Ecology and Habitats
Bruín are capable of living in warmer climates too, but prefer the cold snowy regions, because it helps them regulate their body temperature. A suitable environment for a Bruín is mainly determined by the ability to sustain the Bruíns caloric needs, which is why Bruín can not permanently live on islands smaller than 1000 km2. It is also the reason why Bruín despite their social nature do not form permanent cohabitation with others of their kind. Bruín can however share food dense areas with others, in which case they tend to avoid each other still.
Dietary Needs and Habits
To sustain themself, Bruín need to eat immense amounts of food. As they do not usually hibernate, they hunt and forage year round, struggling sometimes in the dark winter season. A Bruín needs to feed around 250 kg of meat or 500 kcal per day to sustain itself, but can go for weeks without food by tapping its ample storage in the fat it accumulates. Realistically, Bruín do not eat every day, if they can hunt their preferred prey, the Norian Mammoth. Norian Mammoths can keep an adult Bruín fed for over two weeks, if it can defend or hide its kill. For this purpose, Bruín are known to bury their kill in mounds they dig with their claws to return to it later. Another prey unique to the Bruín are whales on the coast, for which some Bruín swim out into the water for miles. A whale kill could in theory feed a Bruín even longer but is not as easily defended or hidden, which is why Bruín tend to eat as much as they can before relinquising the rest to scavengers. Bruín also eat berries, and roots in areas these are available and any other source of calory dense food they can find.
Bruín can be active throughout day and night, but are most commonly hunting and undertaking physically exhausting task during the morning hours. Usually, Bruín do not hibernate and instead hunt year round, but if a particularily rough winter with low temperatures and food availability rears, Bruín are also able to dig themselves dens into the mostly frozen ground, where they can hibernate for a month or two, but rarely longer than that. Areas where the sun does not shine in the winter months are an exception to this. Here the Bruín feed much more in the weeks leading up to the winter and hibernate until the sun returns in the spring. Bruín do not actively shed their fur, but do grow thicker fur during the winter days.
Bruín tend to be solitary creatures, but lack the inherently territorial or aggressive behaviour that other bear species can show. Only during mating seasons male bears can become agressive as they compete with each other. Outside of mating season Bruín can become quite friendly with other creatures and both male and female Bruín have been observed caring for cubs that were not their own, when the biological mother struggles to do so. There are no animals the Bruíns interact with that even come close to being dangerous to them. Only cubs are small enough that they might be at risk for predation from pack hunters, but only very desperate, starving predators would risk the wrath of the adult Bruín that is certainly close by. As a result, Bruín are often very curious creatures lacking fear of other living things. Bruín are omnivores in the true sense. They hunt if they get the opportunity and anything with enough meat to justify the effort is fair game for a Bruín. Species with too little caloric value are tolerated if they do not compete for the Bruíns food.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Mainly found in the Bear Wastes, but has been known to wander south, claiming remote forests of the taiga. Bruín have lived in the wastes since time immemorial, an unchanging aspect of life in the far north.
Bruín are mainly motivated by their basic needs, finding enough food being the main challenge during their day. A Bruín needs to be able to feed itself and as a result, Bruín are cunning hunters, tracking prey over long distances if needed.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Bruín have excellent eyes and noses by which they track prey, but poor hearing. They are also said to be able to sense magic, being drawn to it from distances further than their sense of smell.
Image source: Bruín in the snow by Ninodonlord (via Midjourney)
20 to 60 years in the wild, up to 230 in captivity
7 m shoulder height for females, 15 m for males, around twice that size standing up
1.5 to 3 tonnes for females, 3 to 9 tonnes for males
around 12 m for females, 25 m for males