The Ursine – A Bipedal Bear Race for D&D 5th Edition

EDIT MAY 2018: I plan on moving forward on some of my projects, including with this race right here.  Part of the reasons is still being disheartened over stolen work.  Needless to say, this article will either redirect to some project work or merged into newer work at some point.  This content isn’t vanishing entirely.  I’ll keep a little teaser bit in, as well as put the fluff I wrote for it back too!

EDIT Aug 2017: I removed some of the content here, in part because it came to my attention that people were plagiarizing my work.  While I’m happy that people are inspired by this blog, the copying and theft has become disheartening for me.  Since this is likely to be revised in a product, I might remove the stats from this page as well, supplying a link in its place.  In the meantime, here is my revised draft for this race!


Bear Cavalry, with more bears!

Physically, the ursine look like somewhat bipedal bears.  While actual bears rarely move on their hind legs, these creatures are somewhat bound to it by default.  However, they can move on all fours like their wild cousins.  Tribes are typically what separate the ursine from one another.  Usually, each tribe is based off the species they originated from.  Beyond that, each tribe has a caste system of sorts; hunters/gatherers, farmers, traders, guards, and the elder councils.  While there is no official hierarchy, some social branches gain more respect than others. Despite their bestial appearance, they tend not to be hostile with ‘regular’ humanoids.  Their actions with outsiders rarely venture beyond trade and negotiations, but it isn’t too uncommon to see an ursine travel as a guide or bodyguard.  Within their lands, many tend to live off a diet associated with their wild equivalents, while some have successfully imported and maintained food stock from the outside world.  While this has lead to slight infighting and social conflict, these resources have been a blessing in tougher times.


Ursine Traits

Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by +1

Age: Ursine age a little quicker than humans and mature around age 15.  On average, they live about 65 years, with 80 as the highest recorded.

Alignment: Ursine are typically good-natured souls, so good alignments are common.  However, their ancestry has made them adverse towards evil characters.  Overall, Ursine aren’t interested in conflicts of law vs. chaos, tending towards a neutrality.

Speed: Despite your immense size, you can charge and barrel through at great speed.  Your speed is 30 ft.

Size: Ursine stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, weighing on average around 300 – 500 lbs.  Your size is Medium, despite looking like a large creature.

Bulky, But Built Powerful: You count as a large creature for the sake of carrying, pushing/pulling/lifting and grappling (or “bear hug”).  However, your large and somewhat unwieldy shape means its harder for armor and clothing to fit you, requiring custom work that costs more on the average.  The price of armor and clothing is usually doubled for you.  Some might be willing to cut you a deal in most cases though.

Bear Claws:  You have proficiency with unarmed attacks using your front claws as melee attacks.  The claws do 1d4 slashing damage, utilizing strength.  When you hit with your claw attack, you may use a bonus action to attempt to grapple your opponent.  When you are not using these claws for something else, they can be used as natural weapons/an unarmed strike for abilities and effects pertaining to unarmed strikes.

Strong Nose: You gain advantage on any Perception check that benefits your powerful sense of smell.  This perception bonus is not granted to any sense other than smell.  Anything that would nullify this sense would disable this ability until long rest.

Darkvision: Your ancestors have long since become used to being active in the night or living by caves, becoming accustomed to little source of light.  You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions.  You can see up to 60 feet in dim light as if it were bright light and darkness as if it were dim light.  You cannot detect any colour in darkness, only a grayscale.

Language:  You can speak Common.  In addition, you can communicate with bears, as well as bear-based creatures.

Sub-Race: Grizzly Bear

Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by +1 and your Constitution increases by +1 as well.

Bravery:  You gain advantage on fear related effects.

Athleticism:  You are proficient in Athletics checks.

Sub-Race: Polar Bear

Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by +2.

Arctic Resistance: You have a resistance to cold damage.

Frigid Survivalism:  You are proficient in Survival checks.

Sub-Race: Black Bear

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by +2.

Careful:  You are proficient in Stealth checks.

Mask of the Wild: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

New Feat: Bearfolk Paragon.

Prerequisite: Ursine Race

You gain the following abilities:

  • Natural Weapon Mastery: Your natural weapons can use Dexterity instead of Strength.  Your damage for “claw” attacks also increases as you level up.  When you reach level 6, increase damage dealt by the claws to d6.  Upon reaching level 12, increase the damage to d8.  Upon reaching level 18, the damage increases to d10.  Should this feat conflict with effects/abilities that bolster unarmed damage, the die tier increases by one (but cannot exceed higher than a d12)
  • Rugged Hide: While not wearing armor, your armor class is 13 + your Constitution modifier.  You may use a shield and still be granted this bonus.


IMAGE CREDIT:  Original art by sandara-d4wn6ou. 

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.  All rights reserved.


3 thoughts on “The Ursine – A Bipedal Bear Race for D&D 5th Edition

  1. I love this race and can imagine it in other places. I am thinking of creating a version of SpellJammer that is more science fantasy based with the aesthetics of raygun gothic/dieselpunk. This and any other human-animal hybrid race you have done. If these were to be collected for purchase in print and/or pdf I would be most interested in purchasing such material.


  2. Pingback: Character Creation, Part 2 | dungeonhacking

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