Skip to content

Bear owl!

August 1, 2012

Here are some Swords & Wizardry stats for a new monster to give players a bit of a laugh immediately prior to the running and screaming and being dropped from a great height onto the rocks below. (Please excuse the stupid sketch. If you could charitably imagine that I was deliberately aiming for an “old-school fanzine/Monster Manual cover” vibe, that would help enormously.)


Hit Dice: 4+2
Armour Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: 2 talons (1d6 each)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: +2 to surprise
Move: 6/18 (flying)
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240

These odd creatures have the bodies of giant tawny owls but the heads of brown bears. Unlike normal owls, they are active during the day. Ungainly on the ground, bear owls can fly swiftly and silently despite their size, gaining a +2 bonus to surprise opponents.

They have ravenous appetites and will try to kill and eat anything that is not obviously too strong for them. Children and halflings are especially at risk when bear owls are hunting. If a bear owl scores hits with both talons while attacking a small creature from the air, the victim must make a saving throw (or a Strength check or whatever the Referee decides) or be lifted up and carried off to be devoured at leisure elsewhere. Any damage suffered by the bear owl will cause it to drop its prey, with whatever consequences that entails.

While omnivorous, they have a special fondness for honey and can sniff the stuff out from miles away. Bear owls are the bane of beekeepers.

They build their nests on rocky cliff ledges, where sometimes the remains of their meals include shiny trinkets or other objects of value. Bear owl eggs sell to collectors for up to 800 gp.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr Craig Caldock permalink
    August 1, 2012 5:17 pm

    This made me chuckle and tremble.

    • August 1, 2012 5:23 pm

      Ha. There were a couple of bear owls in Dunllyn Forest not far from where you cheeky scallywags murdered those poor NPCs. I was quite disgruntled when you went in the opposite direction.

      • Mr Craig Caldock permalink
        August 1, 2012 5:26 pm

        Me too, much better death than stabbed by kobolds.

  2. August 1, 2012 11:04 pm

    I like the sketch.

  3. Richard Farr permalink
    August 6, 2012 3:34 pm

    I always had a soft spot for the owl bear… so why not the opposite?

    This is an excellent idea, but where does it stop? How about a bipedal ‘anti-centaur’ that’s basically a bloke with a horse’s head? Or Lion the Richardheart?

    Heraldry may never be the same again.

    • October 29, 2012 1:13 pm

      Isn’t a bipedal anti-centaur with a horse’s head a minotaur?

      • October 29, 2012 9:17 pm

        Well, not quite. A minohipp, maybe? By the way, I once came up with a monster called the tauroman (a reverse minotaur, with a horned human head and torso on a bull’s body) and thought I was being highly original – until I saw William Blake’s version of the minotaur in Dante’s Inferno.

  4. October 29, 2012 11:47 am

    The sketch is awesome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: