From Greyhawk Wiki
(Redirected from Bugbears)
Jump to: navigation, search
Greyhawk creature
A bugbear, as depicted in the Monster Manual (2003).
Alignment Chaotic evil
Type Humanoid
Subtype Goblinoid
First appearance Greyhawk (1975)

Bugbears, or buchveer, are massive humanoids distantly related to goblins and hobgoblins. Named for the bugbear of legend, the bugbears of Dungeons & Dragons are goblinoid creatures, larger and stronger than hobgoblins.


Bugbears live a life based around survival, often becoming rogues. Bugbears also make excellent barbarians. They tend to be sound military tacticians, and individuals can be highly intelligent. Bugbears are less fertile than other goblinoids, however, and have a smaller population. They have to compete with races their smaller cousins don't, such as giants and giant-kin.

Individual bugbears will sometimes work as mercenaries with other sorts of goblin-kin, acting as front-line muscle or even assuming leadership positions in hobgoblin tribes. They assume mastery over goblins whenever it suits them. Goblins are always quick on their toes when bugbears are around, for the unwary are liable to end up in a bugbear stew-pot.

Bugbears are carnivores who survive primarily by hunting. They will eat anything they can kill, including sentient beings. Intruders are considered a valuable source of food, so bugbears rarely bother to negotiate with them. They have a fondness for glittery, shiny objects and weapons, however, so they will sometimes parley if they think they can get something exceptional. Bugbears also enjoy strong wine and ale, sometimes to excess. Rarely, they will take slaves.

Unlike their smaller cousins, bugbears operate equally well in daylight and great darkness. A bugbear is considered mature by the age of 11. They live for approximately 75 years.


Bugbears are found throughout the Flanaess, from the Land of Black Ice to Hepmonaland. They are relatively common in the Bone March, the Pomarj, the Thillonrian Peninsula, and the Dreadwood. Bugbears prefer caves and other underground locations.

Typical physical characteristics

Bugbears resemble hairy, feral goblins standing seven feet tall. They take their name from their noses and claws, which are similar to those of bears. Their claws are not long and sharp enough to be used as weapons, so bugbears often armor and arm themselves with a variety of purloined gear. Most often, this gear is second-rate and in poor repair.

Bugbear eyes are greenish white with red pupils, and their wedge-shaped ears rise from the tops of their heads. Most bugbears have hides ranging from light yellow to yellow brown and their thick, coarse hair ranges from brown to brick red. The bugbears of the Land of Black Ice are known to have blue fur.

Bugbears have exceptional sight and hearing, able to see in pitch darkness. They move with amazing stealth.


Bugbears are usually chaotic evil.


Bugbears live in loose bands. Bands of 24 or more will be led by a chief and a sub-chief. Females are not given the same opportunities as males. Bugbears are less preoccupied with mass battles than most goblinoids, partially because they can't as easily afford the losses, and partially because their chaotic nature makes organizing them in armies difficult.


Bugbears have their own pantheon, led by Hruggek. Other members of the bugbear pantheon include Grankhul and Skiggaret. Other entities worshiped by bugbears include Erythnul and Iuz, and Meriadar often receives the worship of those bugbears who have forsaken evil. Erythnul, who often takes on bugbear features during battle, is sometimes worshipped by bugbears in conjunction with Karaan. The bugbear gods are martial, but more diverse than those of the goblins and orcs. Local bugbear pantheons also have minor deities of fertility, earth, and death; sometimes, the bugbears treat the demigod Stalker as their darkness/death god. Many bugbears of a more orderly bent serve Baalzebul or Geryon.

Bugbear priests and shamans tend to be more inventive in both their magic use and their myths than most goblinoids, as befits their chaotic nature (in the flexible/creative sense) and higher intelligence. Even so, their creator god Hruggek sits in a cave in Pandemonium surrounded by severed heads, so there's little question of the fundamental bugbear attitude. Bugbears tend to be more subtle than other goblinoids, however. They are always watchful for omens from the gods, particularly in the form of lightning or violent weather changes. They seek to stay on the good side of Skiggaret, their god of fear, who sends omens in the form of sudden chills, the rising of hackles, and magical pools of darkness.


Bugbears speak the Goblin tongue. As spoken by bugbears, it is a foul-sounding mix of grunts, snarls, and gestures that causes many outsiders to underestimate their intelligence.


Averse as they are to mass combat, bugbears have seldom taken any great role in the evil humanoid armies that have occasionally ravaged Oerik. There have been times when bugbears have made the difference in military engagements, however, such as the recent occasion when a phalanx of 40 bugbears decisively overwhelmed the grugach of Varnifane.

Creative origins

A bugbear, also called a "boogerbear," is a legendary creature comparable to the bogeyman, bogey, bugaboo, hobgoblin and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children. In medieval England, for instance, the Bugbear was a creepy and gigantic bear that lurked in the woods; children were warned not to stray too far from home or misbehave, for "the Bugbear will get you." In a modern context, the term bugbear serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating.

According to Webster's Dictionary, a bugbear is "an imaginary goblin or spectre used to excite fear," "an object or source of dread," or "a continuing source of irritation."

Publication history

The bugbear was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the Dungeons & Dragons game. The creature was introduced to the game in its first supplement, Greyhawk (1975). They are described as great hairy goblin-giants.

  • Original Dungeons & Dragons: This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the bugbear, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983). Bugbears were also later featured in subsequent products, such as the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions: The bugbear appeared in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as a larger cousin of the goblin. The second edition bugbear appeared first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), and was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). The bugbear was detailed as a playable character race in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993).
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 and 3.5 editions: The bugbear appeared in the Monster Manual for third edition (2000) and would later appear in the 3.5 Monster Manual (2003).
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition: The bugbear appeared in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), under the "goblin" entry.

Bugbears in other media

Bugbears have appeared in several video games, including Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, The Temple of Elemental Evil, Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale 2, and Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone.

A bugbear miniature (#46) appears in the D&D Miniatures: Dragoneye set (2004).


  • Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1991
  • Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1989.
  • Cordell, Bruce R., Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick. Underdark. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.
  • Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.
  • Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1977.
  • -----. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.
  • -----. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules . Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008.
  • Slavicsek, Bill. The Complete Book of Humanoids. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1993.
  • Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994.
  • Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
  • -----. Monster Manual: Core Rulebook III v.3.5. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.

External link