Monday, February 16, 2015

Monster Monday: The Boulder Bear

It's been far too long since I posted a monster, about a month! Which is better than how long I went between posting monsters before then, but whatever. In my ongoing attempt to give stats to monsters that have featured prominently in my games and put them out there for others to use, I give you a beast that the Metal Gods players have learned to both fear and love: the Boulder Bear.

Boulder Bear

Init +1; Atk claw +6 melee (1d6+6) or bite +8 melee (1d4+5); AC 18; HD 8d8; MV 30' (60' rolling, see below); Act 2d20; SP bear hug, camouflage, rolling thunder; SV Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +3; AL N.

Slightly too anthropomorphic? 
In the mountains of southern Kuth, a breed of bear has developed unique adaptations to its stony environs. These bears are thought to be related to cave bears and are of a similar size, but have much longer, sharper claws and a smaller, wedge-shaped head, but their most marked difference is the rock-like keratinous deposits that form large clumps in their fur, making the bear look less like any of his lowland cousins and much more like a giant armadillo. These deposits form a layer akin to a shell, connected to the bear by its fur and grant it a high degree of camouflage; when at rest, boulder bears are usually indistinguishable from their namesakes (successful DC 13 Luck or Intelligence roll to tell the difference). This carapace gives the bear its high Armor Class.

Like most bears, if a boulder bear hits an opponent with both of its claws, it automatically initiates a bear hug maneuver, forcing the victim to succeed at a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 2d6 points of additional damage. Further, due to its rocky "shell," the boulder bear can also make a rolling thunder attack when the opportunity permits. Should the boulder bear be at a higher elevation than its opponents, it may tuck itself inside its carapace and roll downhill at its opponents. During the roll, the boulder bear is AC 20 as it covers its vital regions with its shell and moves at 60' per round rather than its normal 30', making this mode of travel the default way for the boulder bear to close the distance between it and its foes. At the end of the travel, the bear may attempt to run over any PCs in its path; all within a 10' by 40' line must make a DC 16 Reflex save or take 1d14 points of damage (no damage on a save).

Boulder bears either live solitarily or in mated pairs; they do not form larger family groups (thankfully) except while raising young. They are the ultimate scavengers of the mountains, subsisting off of whatever roots, grubs, eggs, nesting vermen or other living matter they can find above the tree line. They are fiercely territorial and will be instantly hostile to any adventurers that cross their path. However, they have only a 1-in-4 chance of being encountered awake, making such encounters unlikely unless the adventurers should interfere with the bears, perhaps believing them to the be the boulders they resemble.

[This was a fun creature to introduce to the Metal Gods campaign. At first, I said "boulder bear" as a sort of sideways shift from "polar bear," but then the additional details started to come into focus. It was one player in particular's insistence on calling them "roller bears" that earned them the rolling thunder attack form.]