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Chosen One of the Day: Dungeons & Dragons’ owlbears
I am a recent convert to Dungeons & Dragons, kicking off my very first game back in May as a way to connect with friends as we were (and are) still collectively stuck in our homes. I’m honestly surprised it took so long, there’s adventuring, pushing through a narrative, and being as chaotic as I can possibly be. It’s a delight.
A few months into our journey, we’d fought off orcs and goblins, Red Brands and bugbears, and even a banshee, if I’m remembering correctly (again, brains, memories, all a mish mash of potatoes in 2020). But in this session, our party — a halfling rogue (me), a high-elf wizard, and a dwarven cleric, all Level 3 at the time — were on our way to a village of the dead when our Dungeon Master stopped our progress for a random encounter aka when a monster(s) comes out of the woodwork to beat your ass. Most of the time we made quick work of them. But this time?
Our DM’s eyes widened. “Well, it’s you versus two owlbears, and maybe this is a good time to stop.”
We all screeched. What the f*** was an owlbear? Could we beat it? I looked it up.
It looks exactly how it sounds. A giant ass bear, covered in feathers, with the head of a terrifying owl.
Look at this absolute, as they say, unit.
I bet it is so goddamn cute as a baby, but as an adult? The arm muscles to tear you limb from limb (which it can do, considering it gets two attacks per turn). The claws to slice through your belly. The owl beak to tear out your intestines.
(The week between our sessions was not a restful one, in case you were wondering.)
The fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragon’s Monster Manual starts the owlbear page as follows:
âAn owlbearâs screech echoes through dark valleys and benighted forests, piercing the quiet night to announce the death of its prey. Feathers cover the thick, shaggy coat of its bearlike body, and the limpid pupils of its great round eyes stare furiously from its owlish head.â -Â Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, 5th Edition”
Our boy is Big Mad all the time.
I am the first to admit that I am a novice, but sorry-not-sorry at being horrified. Even prior to this fancy art-ing, look at our dude’s first appearance in the Monster Manual back in 1977:
This thing is supposed to be eight to 10 feet tall and I? I am supposed to fight it? Ha! I say. Ha ha ha!
And apologies, I am rarely one to quote wikipedia, however, “They use a 'hug' and their beak to attack." I only want nice hugs, friends. No evil owlbear hugs. No hugs leading to an inevitable disembowelment, thank you. I know with a lot of luck and probably some meat, you can make it like you, but who is taking these odds?!
Anyway, the next time we saw an owlbear, two months later, we lit it on fire. It was great.