Monday, August 10, 2015

Featured Creature: Bears

NOTE: These stats have been edited to conform to the rules revisions posted on 9/8/15.

Bears are among the most physically powerful land animals in the world, with a great capacity for menace.  Yet, they are often highly-regarded as symbols of healing and nobility, thanks to their generally humble personalities.  A bear is often the top hunter in its domain, though black bears often compete with cougars or wolves (grizzlies fear no one, of course).  On the other hand, all bears are omnivorous, giving them many more options for food than strict carnivores like the big cats.  This may help explain their gentle disposition: they rarely see any point in fighting other predators for food, when they could just go eat some berries, honey, or longpaw leftovers.

In some settings, bears are also associated with magic and mysticism, thanks to their long hibernation periods.  These are seen as times when the bear journeys the spirit world and interacts with gods, ancestors, and other spirit creatures.  The bears themselves, however, remain humble about these claims, as they are about most other things.

AC: 6  
AT (Dam): 1 bite (1d5 [1d6]), 2 claws (1d3)
Beginning HP: 7 [8]
Habitat: Temperate forest and mountains
MV: 8
SZ: Small  

Species Traits:
  • Bear Hug: With a successful bite attack against a foe of the same SZ or smaller, bears can attempt a free Wrestle maneuver with their claws.  This grants them additional damage dice to roll on their attacks, as noted in the individual species descriptions.
  • Dream Time: Bears hibernate for weeks on end, during which time they are subject to lucid dreams and visions.  This grants them a +2 bonus on all Seer checks for the rest of the year, even if they do not have Seer as their niche.  They are also subject to recalling these dream time visions during their waking days, if the BM deems such visions relevant to the character's current situation.  However, these visions are involuntary, and the bear has no innate control over them. She can, however, make a Seer lore check to try and affect either the intensity or the duration of the vision. In campaign settings where magic and the spirit world are real, this ability also means that bears spend time traveling in the ethereal plane during hibernation, though they are usually invisible to others there and unable to affect what they witness.
  • Growth Spurts: All bears begin play at Small size.  Black bears reach Medium size at 2nd Total Levels, while grizzlies reach Medium at 4th and Large at 8th.  Polar bears become Medium at 3rd level, and Large at 6th.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Scent
  • +2 bonus on all lore checks that involve climbing.  This bonus becomes +4 if they are climbing rocks or trees.
  • Suitable Niches:  Guardian, Healer, Herbalist, Runner, Scout, Seer, Warrior.
Black Bears
Black bears have all the standard bear traits, except as noted below.

Species Traits:
  • Bear Hug:  On a successful Wrestle attack, black bears do an additional 2d3 [2d4] hp of damage.
Grizzly Bears
Grizzlies have all the standard bear traits, except as noted below.

AC: 8
AT (Dam): 1 bite (1d10), 2 claws (1d7 [1d8])
Beginning HP: 9 [10]
Species Traits:
  • Bear Hug:  On a successful Wrestle attack, grizzly bears inflict an additional 2d7 [2d8] hp of damage.
Polar Bears
Polar bears have all the standard bear traits, except as noted below.

AT (Dam): 1 bite (1d10), 2 claws (1d5 [1d6])
Beginning HP: 9 [10]
Habitat: Temperate, arctic, sub-arctic forests, mountains, seashore.
MV: 8; 6 swimming 

Species Traits:
  • Bear Hug: On a successful Wrestle attack, polar bears inflict an additional 2d5 [2d6] hp of damage.
  • Camouflage: In heavy snow or ice environments, polar bears get a +2 bonus on Trickster checks to hide.
  • Snow Walkers:  Polar bears' wide feet allow them to walk on snow packs without sinking.

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