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Type Humanoid
CR 2
Environment Temperate mountains

Source: Pathfinder Bestiary, pg(s). 38

Bugbears are monstrous nocturnal hunters whose prey is anything that can experience the full height of fear and terror, though their preference is weak and easily terrified humans.



A bugbear is a medium humanoid, rising to the the same height as a human, though preferring to hunt and stalk with a stoop that make it look considerably shorter and more bestial. Short, dark fur spreads all across its powerful, hulking frame. Its large ears hang loosely from its skull, and its eyes are unnaturally large - almost alien.[1] It is not unusual for bugbears to reach nearly 7 feet in height and always weigh more than humans, some even reaching 400 pounds.[2]


Bugbears can be found anywhere their favourite prey huddles away from the dark in fear. Bugbears originally stalked the woodlands that once covered much of Avistan and that were dominated by the ancient elves. That race used to be bugbears' favoured prey, and bugbears used to be particularly populous in the ancient elven region of the Mierani Forest before the elves abandoned it. Now bugbears lurk hidden near wherever there are humans, from the darkened forest at the edge of a village to the shadowy abandoned house nestled in a busy city district[3]. Though they will follow humans anywhere, they do seem to prefer temperate regions.[2]

Bugbears are particularly common in the barely settled wilderness of Varisia, where they prey on lonely homesteads or poorly protected caravans. They've inhabited the Isle of Kortos since before the ancient forests were razed, and now haunt Absalom's streets as monstrous serial killers.[4]


Bugbears battle a band of elves

Bugbears are consummate hunters, their every waking moment devoted to it, rather than a creature bugbears hunt fear, going to excruciating lengths to ring every drop of fear from their victims, for them terror is more than food it is a intoxicant more addictive than any drug.[5] Bugbear are the largest of the goblinoids and while hobgoblins are a tyrannous evil and goblins are the most selfish and capriciously evil, bugbears seem to enjoy evil for evil's sake, relishing every agony they can inflict on their victims.[2] Bugbears are incredibly stealthy for their size, using this to their advantage they play mind games, causing bumps and noises in the night, opening doors and windows.[1] They normally escalate these games abducting the target's loved ones from out under their noses then leaving bloody hints of their fate like knocked out teeth or a bloody finger. The bugbear then watches the ensuing terror, normally leaving the mangled body somewhere where it will soon be found.[3] After a particularly vicious and successful hunt bugbears take trophies, sometimes the only trappings of civilisation they have are their weapons, their armour and their bloodied trophy collection. Another common form of bugbear memento is the severed ear of their favourite victims, made into grisly necklaces.[1]

Bugbear life is merciless and short, obsessed with the hunt bugbears rarely mate, judging their partners worthiness by the scars they mark themselves with, each telling the unique tale of their most impressive hunt.[3] When they give birth it it usually to twins or triplets, sometimes more, although the births get more dangerous with each additional child. Mothers frequently die during child birth but this proves little hindrance, their children's bloodthirsty instinct are strong from birth and most are happily hunting humans by age two, reaching their full size by five. Even if their mother survives childbirth young bugbears are abandoned soon after, only those who show no fear and complete brutality survive to adulthood. Adult life is equally short and violent, most bugbears only live twenty or so years, though the most deadly can kill hundreds in this short span.[1]


A bugbear warrior

Bugbears tend to be loners, utterly devoted to the hunt with no time for anything else even family. According to one myth this may be because of their origins, this legend states that the first bugbear was born of goblin parents. Soon after birth the bugbear proved too dangerous even for goblins, torturing fellow children and murdering many members of the tribe and so it was banished. Some claim these mysterious births still happen with adventurers finding entire goblin villages completely deserted but showing hints of atrocious violence. Bugbears seem to loathe the company of all other creatures and are not even that keen on other bugbears. While they do sometimes form groups these are strained communities that rarely last long. Still these small groups have given way to some odd social practices, scarification is almost universal amongst bugbears, after particularly impressive kills the bugbear scars itself creating a unique scar, somehow other bugbears can "read" these scars learning of the bugbear's achievements.[3] Bugbears also produce a unique alcohol called Bramble-Sick Brandy made from a bramble called Tomb Herald, it is a nauseating concoction that enhances a bugbears ability to hunt.[1] Bugbears, as the largest of goblin-kind, sometimes force their smaller relatives into servitude, especially the easily cowed goblins. Again the bugbears violent nature tends to make these groups short lived. Some smarter hobgoblin commanders try to utilise the bugbears savagery as front line fighter or failing that a terrifying diversion to release against the enemy.[3]

Bugbears worship various demon lords, particularly Lamashtu, Shax[6], and Andirifkhu.[7]


Bugbears seem to be able to adapt themselves to new hunting grounds very well and for almost every environment where there is human prey their seems to be a type of bugbear adapted to hunt them there. The kardans however are not adapted for one particular environment, instead they seem to be even more stealthy than regular bugbears even gaining supernatural abilities allowing them to hide in plain sight.[8] In more wintery climes wikkawaks stalk their prey across frozen wildernesses leaving not even a foot print in the snow to attest to their passing whilst in the swamps and tropical waterways of Garund strange murds utilise their ability to move like mud to infiltrate peoples homes regardless of the feeble barriers erected to stop them. Human cities have given rise to a new variety of bugbear known as the slate-stalker which is perfectly adapted to hunting in the populous regions mankind considers safe. Finally the rarest variety of bugbear is the koblak born dead and somehow returning to life, sometimes hour after their birth. Koblaks posses an unnatural affinity for death, seemingly immortal as death rarely claims them they can exist for centuries. They are also by far the most powerful of all the varieties of bugbears.[4]


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