Anyone who has played Dungeons & Dragons has become well acquainted with a few cliches. We’ve all played that game where we had to exterminate the goblins in the cave, kill the necromancer that is threatening the town, started in a tavern where everyone knows each other, etc. Video games have taken these lovely cliches, immortalized them, and created some of their own. Today, I wish to talk about one specific cliché: Bears. Why Bears? Because Bears do not care if you’re the Dragonborn, a Grey Warden, or some prophesied being, you are alive and that’s a personal insult to them. Unfortunately for bears, they are without classes, there are also no prophesied bears (at least that we know of,) which makes it a little difficult to properly incorporate them into a high-level campaign. The simple solution to this complicated problem would be to turn bears into a template, something D&D has already kind of been doing.
If you scan the monster manual of most editions, you’ll find that there are already an alarming number of Bear-Other hybrids, offering a few challenges to adventurers who dare to be alive be alive. None of these options seem to go above a challenge rating of 5 though, which is an insult to the bearkind. We can fix this by taking the Bear Template and applying it to any other creature and unlocking the true potential of said creature. 5th edition got rid of a lot of templates, so we can do this the old-fashioned way and just stack the stats and abilities. As far as challenge rating goes, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, it’s not like anyone will be able to kill a bear crossed with a Tarrasque. Good luck with your experiments, and always remember that a good party is a dead party!