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Basic Information

The Bugbear is a creature of Anglo-Celtic legend, etymologically a goblin or spirit bear1, often fulfilling the same narrative role as the bogeyman - an abductor and minatory device for children. Modern, fRPG adaptations have tended to transform the bugbear into a large, hairy humanoid thing - less supernatural and more aggressive, but often retaining a talent for stealth and abduction.

So far, the most egregious adaptation has been an art error in the first editions of the World of Greyhawk campaign setting that presented the bugbear as a bear with a pumpkin lantern for a head. This was purged in later editions, but other fRPGs (such as Runequest) picked the idea up and ran with it as a separate creature.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The idea of a predatory fae could be revived - literally a goblin-bear which prowls the wilderness, stealthily preying on passers by and probably a lot more deadly than a regular bear.
  • Like most bogeymen, beware of mythagos.
  • In that RPG, this is the ideal goblinoid race to take levels in assassin or shadowdancer… it should also be something a lot less of a standup combat encounter and more a series of poisonings and ambushes…
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