Bugbears resembled hairy, feral goblins standing 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall. They took their name from their noses and claws, which were similar to those of bears. Their claws were not long and sharp enough to be used as weapons, so bugbears often armored and armed themselves with a variety of purloined gear. Most often, this gear was second-rate and in poor repair. Many bugbears were chaotic evil in alignment, favoring stealth and surprising their opponents.
Bugbears, like other goblinoids, had a reputation for being dim-witted and brutish. This claim was not unfounded and like their kin bugbears had easily provoked tempers and were prone to rages. Few bugbears overcame this flaw and their culture's brutal nature. Bugbear heroes, though rare, were heard of and could acquire significant renown if successful. Often the motivation for this change of heart came from the rewards earned from virtue, which in the long term were more pleasing than the short-lasting pleasures of evil.
Bugbears were often found in the company of other goblinoids, particularly goblins, since tribes made up mostly of hobgoblins and bugbears tended to be wiped out quickly by other races as a precaution. Some bugbears also operated independently, though tribes ruled by hobgoblins were better organized and less savage. This was in part because bugbears had little patience for diplomacy or negotiation, preferring violent solutions to conflicts unless obviously overpowered.
Bugbears once had their own pantheon, led by Hruggek. Bugbears often decapitated their enemies as a way to honor Hruggek, who was said to do the same. From the Spellplague to the Second Sundering, the power of Hruggek was diminished and the god served as an exarch of Bane, the god of tyranny. However, after the Second Sundering, bugbears began to follow bugbear-specific deities such as Hruggek once more.
Other bugbear deities included Grankhul, the bugbear deity of hunting, senses, stealth, and surprise; and Skiggaret. Local pantheons often included a god of earth, a god of fertility, and a god of death.
- Bolgus and Bulkar, two bugbears who acted as guards at the entrance of a Xanathar Guild level on the Arcane Chambers level of Undermountain.
- Grol, leader of the Cragmaw tribe in the late-15th century DR.
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- Bugbear (Dungeons & Dragons) article at Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Bugbear article at the Eberron Wiki, a wiki for the Eberron campaign setting.
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- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Thunder Peaks and the Storm Horns”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
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- Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
- Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 33–39. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
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