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Old 04-17-2019, 12:39 PM   #1
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Continuing in the vein I began with Acid Spiders a few weeks ago, I offer up some adventure seeds for bears. I almost skipped them as too mundane and boring, hardly monsters at all, but while browsing my gaming library, I came across Alan Leddon's article, “The Bear Myth,” in Pyramid #3/38: The Power of Myth. It got my creative wheels spinning.

As with the spiders, please follow up with additional seeds, variations on these, or other related monsters and ideas. And don't hesitate to create new threads for other monsters.

Bear (Monsters, p. 16)
  • Bear Hunt. The King is mesmerized by reports of massive white bears that dwell on the distant polar tundra. Desiring a specimen for the royal menagerie, he posts a spectacular bounty. Multiple expeditions are aiming for the prize, with no scruples about sabotaging their competition. The lengthy journey involves dangers of the wild lands beyond the kingdom’s borders and survival in an unforgiving climate. The bears themselves are vicious and powerful, routinely hunting humans. The PCs may also face Frost Snakes, Ice Wyrms, and dreaded Ice Weasels. The people(s) of the tundra venerate the bears as sacred and will oppose attempts to kill or capture them. Managing to snare a live bear is only the first step of the perhaps more arduous task of returning it to the kingdom in good health, evading rival poachers and fanatical holy warriors from the northern tribes along the way.
  • Uneasy Slumber. A massive cave bear is rampaging among rural farmsteads and villages, slaying entire families in their homes as they sleep. The bear has a distinctive pale stripe on its snout and is a cunning opponent. The rub, however, is that if it is captured, injured, or slain, it vanishes at sunrise, only to return, whole, the following night to continue its depredations. Further investigation (e.g., Tracking, Research, contact with a knowledgeable NPC, etc.) reveals that this bear matches the description of a legendary barbarian chieftain’s spirit totem. The chieftain’s hitherto hidden tomb is nearby; something has disturbed his rest and his totem spirit reflects his disquiet. The bear can be banished for good if the chieftain’s spiritual woes are assuaged. This might involve resealing his tomb, recovering looted artifacts, or defeating his true spirit in ritual combat.
  • The Bear Myth. A blight is withering the kingdom’s crops. Sages, soothsayers, and priests have observed omens that suggest that the god of death is at the root of it. The harvest can be saved if heroes can retrieve a burning torch from the god’s palace in the underworld. The quest requires heroes to locate the legendary cave of the bear king in the mountains, far from the passes and fertile valleys. Sleeping among the bears in torpor will open a dream portal to the underworld. The first obstacle is to fight the bear spirit(s) – perhaps bare-handed. This instance (or region) of the underworld has an ursine theme, so other obstacles will relate to bears in some way. PCs may need to cross a raging stream, catch an unusual fish, fight various creatures with bear-like traits, engage in a wrestling match (using, perhaps, Douglas Cole’s forthcoming Fantastic Dungeon Grappling rules), or overcome similar challenges.

Last edited by Dalin; 04-17-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Lady Bearington. The PC's find a fair damsel in the dungeon and rescue her, but don't trust her for all the usual reasons. However she is a big, strong girl under her fancy princess clothes and surprisingly helpful in combat. Will they overcome their suspicion and let her join the group? In any case, Lady Bearington is actually an intelligent bear with disguise and acting skills in the 30-40 range, impersonating a human for purposes of her own. She's not hostile to the PCs, but if they blow her cover she'll be beary angry.

PanserBjorn. This dungeon is run by an evil dwarf druid. Instead of orc guards, he uses awakened bears in heavy armor. Good luck delvers!

Bouncing Here and There and Everywhere. Homogeneous Bear Monks with Super Jump. Delcious Homogeneous Bear Monks with Super Jump.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:31 PM   #3
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Da Bears: Giant mutated bears try to fight their way out of a prison made by the mage Bill to keep them contained due to their frightful powers. Meanwhile, adherents of the Great Swerski do their best to maintain the prison, but how long can they hold the line against Da Bears?
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:53 PM   #4
DouglasCole
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
Da Bears: Giant mutated bears try to fight their way out of a prison made by the mage Bill to keep them contained due to their frightful powers. Meanwhile, adherents of the Great Swerski do their best to maintain the prison, but how long can they hold the line against Da Bears?
Naturally Da Bears were mutated by the eldritch powers of The Great Ditka.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
  • Uneasy Slumber. A massive cave bear is rampaging among rural farmsteads and villages, slaying entire families in their homes as they sleep. The bear has a distinctive pale stripe on its snout and is a cunning opponent. The rub, however, is that if it is captured, injured, or slain, it vanishes at sunrise, only to return, whole, the following night to continue its depredations. Further investigation (e.g., Tracking, Research, contact with a knowledgeable NPC, etc.) reveals that this bear matches the description of a legendary barbarian chieftain’s spirit totem. The chieftain’s hitherto hidden tomb is nearby; something has disturbed his rest and his totem spirit reflects his disquiet. The bear can be banished for good if the chieftain’s spiritual woes are assuaged. This might involve resealing his tomb, recovering looted artifacts, or defeating his true spirit in ritual combat.
.[/LIST]
Ok, basically I need to write up this tomb that the PCs ransack, and then have Uneasy Slumber as the consequence a few sessions later...
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

A devil bear has kidnapped a villager's wife...
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:59 PM   #7
DouglasCole
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by LokRobster View Post
Ok, basically I need to write up this tomb that the PCs ransack, and then have Uneasy Slumber as the consequence a few sessions later...
This would be an outstanding Nordlond adventure as well.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

The PCs find that an unsettling creature has broken into their homes, eaten they're food, worn their clothes and slept in their beds. Investigation shows that the monster just seems to be looking for a comfortable safe place. The players can guess where the monster will break-in next, will they show her mercy? Or team up and destroy her.
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:12 PM   #9
Dalin
 
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by LokRobster View Post
Ok, basically I need to write up this tomb that the PCs ransack, and then have Uneasy Slumber as the consequence a few sessions later...
That sounds fun. I always like it when one adventure plot can spawn other unexpected adventures down the line.
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:16 PM   #10
Dalin
 
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Default Re: [Adventure Seeds] Bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
This would be an outstanding Nordlond adventure as well.
I had Nordlond in mind as a possible backdrop for both "Uneasy Slumber" and "The Bear Myth." For the latter, I've been meaning to reread the grappling rules in HoJ (or, better yet, the updated and expanded set) to see how a delver might fare against a bear if they couldn't use weapons. The more I've been mulling it over, the more I like the idea of arriving in the underworld without gear. (Should have called the scenario "Bear Naked.") Fits the whole bear myth theme of rebirth, too. As partial compensation—and to explain plausible victory in a wrestling match with the king of the bears—ability scores could be boosted: your spirit body isn't burdened with imperfect mortal flesh . . . Or the questors might get the equivalent of Heroic Grace, Might, and/or Vitality. Good scenario design would also have other options (tricking or avoiding the bear, making use of terrain features for weapons, etc.), but it feels very DF to have some badass, blood-soaked barbarian manage to strangle a humongous bear.

Fun to playtest.
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