September 5, 2016


Comments from the Finger: One more Greenskin down.


Skartu sat opposite the table from me, viciously tearing into his undercooked leg of mutton and drowning it with big gulps of ale. I questioned him about experience, both in battle and in using equipment, about his ability to follow orders, and about tactics that a mercenary of his stature should be familiar with. He responded to each with a nod, gulp, or burp, and at last asked his only question: "How much 'ya payin'?"
- Meeting Skarku, Bugbear Mercenary

Like many goblinoids, bugbears are characteristically savage, and have a deep-rooted love for carnage and power that often stirs to the surface. They are capable hunters and raiders, and can even be potent mercenaries, if paid well enough.

Goblinoid Savagery
No sane creature would mistake a bugbear for a civilized creature. Their long, pointed teeth, shaggy fur, and predator's physique paint the perfect picture of a monstrous brute. Bugbears are physically imposing, moreso than most humanoids, and love to throw that weight around behind an axe or maul.
     Bugbear nature is as base as their appearance. Bugbears love violence, especially when their enemy is completely defenseless, and they love to be in charge, as long as it means they can inflict their rule upon others with little responsibility.

Limited Loyalties
Because of their strength and savagery, bugbears are much sought-after mercenaries and thugs. As valuable as they are, they are also characteristically unreliable, never allowing loyalty to overpower self-interest. If payment falters, of if the odds turn too far against them, bugbear mercenaries will abandon their posts without a moment's notice.

Raiders and Ambushers
Bugbears prefer to fight dishonorably, taking any advantage they can over their foes. In close quarters, bugbears are known to claw, spit, and throw dirt in an enemy' face in preparation for a lethal strike. Disarming a foe, or simply sundering a foe's weapon, are also popular bugbear tactics.
     Bugbear tribes are well known for ambushes, laying traps for superior forces, and fleeing when they have spilled enough blood. They are fiendishly hard to combat on even ground, even with superior numbers, due to their underhanded tactics and brute savagery. Often, bugbear raiding parties strike under cover of night, or use the level of terrain to their advantage, attacking unseen, and quickly departing.

Bugbear Names
Bugbear names are similar to orc and goblinoid names; they are harsh and simple, much like the bugbears themselves.
Male Names: Bao'or'et, Cretin, Gregek, Kugruet, Malka'vec, Thimdul.
Female Names: An'hek, Gretru, Lungra, Sept, Um'ra, Zel.

Bugbear Traits
As a goblinoid, you have the following characteristics.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
     Age. Bugbears mature quickly, reaching adulthood before 10 years of age. Most often, bugbears die violently, but the oldest and strongest live for around 80 years.
     Alignment. Bugbears are most often evil. They have little respect for agreements of any sort, least of all law, and hold their own interests over those of others, even members of their own tribe.
     Size. Bugbears are larger than humans in size and stature, often up to a foot taller. Your size is Medium.
     Speed. Your base 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 can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
     Menacing. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.
     Brash. Once on your first turn of combat, when you deal damage with a melee weapon attack, you can roll an additional die of damage.
     Boast. You can use your bonus action to gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier, which last for one minute. After using this trait, you must complete a short or long rest before using it again.
     Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin. Goblin is a crude, primitive language which is rarely dedicated to writing and does not have its own script. Therefore it makes use of the Dwarvish script.

Changelog: 9/5/16: Brash: Now only grants an additional die of damage on the first turn


  1. Not sure how I feel about Brash - it's a little powerful, and besides it seems more appropriate as a class feature than a racial one. I mean, Elves and Dwarves and Halflings and whatnot don't really get features like that, that do things like give extra attacks or deal more damage or whatever. The closest thing is the Half-Orcs' Savage Attacks, which is less powerful, less reliable, and more situational. All in all it just seems inappropriate as a racial feature.

    Maybe give them an extra die of damage if their target is surprised? This makes the feature more situational, less powerful, less reliable, more in-line with existing features (like Savage Attacks), but still indicative of the flavor you're trying to bring out.

    P.S., Small typo under Alignment: "Thy" should be "They".

    1. That actually works! This was another feature that I was aware had issues, but it was modular enough I knew I could swap it out. Thanks for the idea!

    2. You should specify the extra die. It makes it much more powerful on certain weapons with the current wording. Giving a greataxe an additional 1d12 is almost as good as an extra attack. It may even be better depending on how hard it is to hit the target. An additional 1d6 or 1d8 would make it useful on all weapons while not hurting the usefulness on bigger weapons.

    3. You could make the same argument about the Half-Orc's Savage Attacks, which has the same wording - one extra die of damage. 2d12 with a greataxe, 3d6 with a greatsword. This is not a problem; it just makes it so that the race prefers certain weapons over others, just like with Half-Orcs, and makes the race better for Barbarians than Fighters. Greataxes are worse than greatswords in pretty much every way as it is, and this feature is unlikely to make them better; and, if it does, is unlikely to make them better than greatswords to the extent that greatswords are better than greataxes by default.

      I agree that it's probably still too powerful and reliable. That's why I suggested it only working when a target is surprised, not just the first turn of every encounter. It actually incentivizes Bugbears to ambush their targets.

  2. It states an extra die of damage: does this mean that a 2d6 weapon will do 3d6?

    1. That's the current rule, yes, but I'm considering changing it to Drldrl's suggestion of a static die, probably 1d6. On one hand, it's more consistent, but on the other hand, the current way encourages big 1d12 fighters that get into the fight quickly, which is basically how bugbears are.

    2. Just a crazy idea... What if you double their strength modifier to damage on the first attack? It removes the distinction between 2d6/1d12 weapons and at level 1 adds slightly less than 1d6 of damage on average.