Random Encounters: Owlbear

Hey everyone! Today I write about the noble and majestic… um Owlbear… ok not really either of those things they are actually awkward monsters 😀 !

Shout out to Logan for the request of this topic. When asked why Owlbears, he replied, “They are the closest thing I have seen to Man-Bear-Pig.” HA!

Owlbear 1

The above image is the one I am most familiar with of the Owlbear. It is from the 3.5 Monster Manual, and sort of highlights a lot of my thoughts on Owlbears. They are weird bizarre monsters. I mean an owl and a bear? In the past Owlbears were largely unthinking, blood thirsty beasts. Thought to originally be the creation of some sort of magical experiment, they normally roamed solo, attacking and hunting where ever they went. Normally found in forests of some sort, I always felt Owlbears felt shoe-horned into the game as a potential go to Random Monster.

This often led me to rarely if ever use them, I just could not picture a place for them in my games. However; I doubt Logan wanted to just hear me write off this creature :).

owlbear

One potential use for an Owlbear would be to use in corrupted and mutated forests, then they would fit right in. Owlbears could also be used in a demented Wizard’s lair, as his pet creation, sort of like a Flesh Construct. Perhaps even more spooky would be a Druid, obsessed with tinkering with creation and the food chain. The Druid has magically bred several Owlbears, which serve as his minions. In either of these instances the Owlbear should be described as moving awkwardly and unnaturally, seeming to be uncomfortable or in pain, really play up the aspect that these things should not be!

D&D 5th edition has fleshed out the Owlbear to make them mesh better with a more “natural” landscape. They continue to be fierce, aggressive, and predators; however, they have been given more intelligence, and can even be trained by resourceful  creatures. Apparently this revised version of the Owlbear is even often encouraged to create dens at the foot of Elven tree villages, the Owlbears then serve as additional protection for the elves, cool!

This revised image comes with a much more natural looking image as well:

Monster_Manual_5e_-_Owlbear_-_p249

The origins of this creature remain a mystery with rumors of a wizard being the first creator, though some creatures, such as Fey disagree stating Owlbears have always been a thing. This is great because it still leaves plenty of variety of ways the mighty Owlbear can be used.

Have you ever faced or used an Owlbear? What are your thoughts on this bizarre creature?

As always, I would love to hear from any readers, and am more then happy to take requests for future monsters or topics!

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