Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Postcards from the Flanaess
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
    On the Bugbears of the Flanaess: History, Culture and Nation
    Posted on Mon, December 29, 2009 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "Orcs are violence and martial skill. Goblins are survival and intrigue. Kobolds are bitterness and sadism. Ogres are viciousness and brute strength. Gnolls are savagery and bloodlust. Hobgoblins are ritual war and hatred. Bugbears, for their part, integrate all of these traits to varying degrees in allying or opposing certain humanoids, all towards serving their own unique traits of manipulation and stealth.

    ---Duke Palamenio of Garasteth, Sage of Monstrous Culture and Psychology, University of Rauxes, 229 CY.

      Social mores and practices:


                Bugbears, or buchveer in the old Flan tongue, resemble larger versions of goblins, being thin, long-limbed and spindly, yellow- to yellow-brown skin, pug noses, large ears, bandy legs, and so forth.  They are, however, much taller than goblins, being six to seven feet tall, and are physically much stronger.  They are also covered in a thick layer of hair, usually colored either a tan brown or brick red.  Bugbears also move much more gracefully than the clumsy and shambling goblins, being both careful and stealthy  Their eyes also differ, sparkling with malign intelligence and colored a greenish-white with red pupils. 


                Bugbears are much more cautious and circumspect than the smaller humanoid races.  They do not reproduce as quickly as orcs or goblins, and so are not inclined to continually war on other races.  They are no less aggressive or evil, but prefer quick, stealthy strikes and wars of attrition against their foes, rather than full-out combat.  If they have any goblin minions, bugbears will often use these underlings as the frontline assault.  Wandering families may be found within the realms of civilized man, but bugbears prefer to fight only when necessary, and will not waylay random human villages in the same manner as other races. 


                Instead of dwelling hidden among mankind, or in large families and cities, bugbears prefer to dwell among goblins, hill giants, hobgoblins or gnolls, or in bands of extended nomadic families numbering about four-score on average.  Bugbears living among other humanoids and giants freely offer their services as guards and scouts, happy either to be in charge of the lair, or to act as allies valued for their special talents.  Wandering families are always on the move, usually staying in small cavern complexes or temporarily residing in dungeons. 


                Bugbears have family structures similar to those of most humans, with married adults raising the children they have together.  Bugbears have very distinct and strict gender roles in these families: the females are responsible for raising the children, while the males are responsible for protecting them, gathering food, and dealing with outsiders.  Bugbears are notoriously oppressive and cruel towards their females and children, and weaklings are callously abandoned with no consideration for their welfare.  The females and young must always be ready to do whatever the males command, with a beating being the least of punishments. 


                Bugbears do not organize themselves into clans or tribes, and the only thing keeping many families together is the chief they support.  Chiefs must use both force and wit to keep their subjects in line, being both able to maintain the support of most of the families, and fend off any potential challengers at the same time.  Bugbears curiously blend orcish and goblin rules in this manner.  If too many bugbears disapprove of the chief’s performance, they will simply abandon him, much as do the goblins.  However, any male bugbear can challenge for the chieftainship at any time.  If he rouses enough support from other bugbears, he can force the current chief into mortal combat, with the survivor becoming chief.  There can only be one chief at a time, and he can only be unseated by death, unless the lesser bugbears abandon him.  Bugbear families can leave their bands or the humanoids they stay with at any time, either singly or in groups.  Although these emigrants can strike out on their own, naming a new chief, or take up with another group of humanoids, they cannot expect their old allies to take them back. 


                Bugbears hate orcs for their constantly attacking bugbears and refusing to accept bugbear offers of alliance against mutual enemies.  They ignore trolls as stupid brutes that cannot be bargained with, although the trolls particularly enjoy feasting on their succulent flesh.  Bugbears can team up with ogres for temporary alliances, but the ogres are usually too stupid and unreliable to stay allied for long.  Bugbears get on surprisingly well with hobgoblins, hill giants, goblins, and gnolls, all of whom accept bugbears as fellow warriors and useful spies and scouts, although they dislike hobgoblin aggression.  Kobolds are simply bite-sized snacks. 


                In battle, bugbears are careful, considered, and meticulous in their planning.  Their great gifts for stealth, as well as their sharp senses, make them useful as scouts and spies in times of war, either for other humanoids or evil humans.  They have a cunning charisma and battle-sense, despite their general stupidity, and have a surprising pragmatism and ability to work with other humanoids as necessary.  This is combined with a cold-hearted ruthlessness, however; bugbears feel no remorse at abandoning or even murdering their allies if they feel they must do so to survive.  Their actual tactics and skills in combat are nothing if not fiendishly calculated and brilliant. 




                Bugbears have rarely invaded the lands of man en masse, preferring to cooperate with other humanoid races to achieve their goals.  They have served as leaders and chieftains on their own, leading goblin communities, or worked as guards, soldiers and spies for other races.  Few are the direct confrontations between a great number of bugbears and humans or demihumans; the bugbears have neither the population or inclination to engage in such open warfare. 


                Throughout history, bugbears have won battles by attrition, using stealth and hit-and-run tactics to wear down their foes.  They have also participated in the conflicts and wars of other races, allying themselves with whichever side appears to be winning.  Bugbears, for example, served alongside goblins in the forces of House Naelax during the Turmoil Between Crowns in Aerdy.  They have also worked with Nosnra, one of the leaders of the incursions Against the Giants in the 570s CY, and allied with either the Horned Society or Iuz, depending on who they saw as the winner of the conflicts with other races. 


                Today, bugbears serve in the armies of dozens of evil despots, mad wizards, and warmongers across the Flanaess.  While they are themselves chaotic and evil, matters of law and chaos matter little to them when they choose their allies, provided that they are able to gain the most treasure, glory and power by working with the winning side. 


                Famous bugbear chieftains:


                Aggreklek the Horned Demon: Bugbear chief born in 562 CY, now twenty-nine years old (as of 591 CY); lives in the south-eastern Yatil mountains; famous for his berserk rages in combat; famous for slaying six frost giants on a hunting trip when he was just sixteen years old; famous for the number of half-goblin sons he has had with the goblin women under his command; personal heraldry is a portrait of himself as a demon, shrouded in flames and with long, spiked horns. 


                Jugreddeln of the Storm of Madness: Bugbear chief born in 548 CY, now forty-three years old (as of 591 CY); lives in the Hool Marshes between Keoland and the Hold of the Sea Princes; famous for his frightful war-paint, which he uses to decorate his own body with frightfully realistic, haunting images; famous for his alleged sorcerous powers, which enable him to summon storms, cause madness in his enemies, or produce nightmarish hallucinations; personal heraldry is an image of a man screaming as ghostly images and faces leer at him out of a thunder and lightning storm. 


                Kulglaas the Skuilripper: Bugbear chief born in 560 CY, now thirty-one years old (as of 591 CY); lives in the Nutherwood between Urnst, Nyrond, the Pale and the Bandit Kingdoms; famous for invading all these human realms and their demihuman neighbors; famous for being able to “persuade” the hill giant chiefs he supposedly serves by shattering the skulls of other beings with his bare hands; famous for being a master chef, able to cook “delicacies” out of the contents of the skulls he rips off his defeated foes; personal heraldry is a collection of bloody heads from different races. 


                Old Scartooth: Bugbear chief born in 534 CY, now fifty-seven years old (as of 591 CY); lives in the Grandwood Forest between Rauxes and Rel Astra; famous for wielding a huge magical morning star in the image of the bugbear god Hruggek; famous for slaying well over two hundred challengers to his position as a bugbear chief; famous for outliving all his sons; personal heraldry is a set of stylized bugbear fangs biting a kobold in half. 


                Ugdren the Screamer: Bugbear chief born in 550 CY, now forty-one years old (as of 591 CY); lives in the Gnarley Forest between Greyhawk and Dyvers; famous for being able to unite many of the rival goblin tribes in the forest to invade both the free cities and the many independent lords of the area; famous for his bloodcurdling screams and shouts in combat; famous for the many “fashionable” clothes he is able to weave from the beards of slain dwarves and the hair of slain elves; personal heraldry is a viciously wounded, bloodsoaked bugbear warrior screaming at a darkened sky with a blood-colored moon.

    Related Links
    · More about Monsters of Greyhawk
    · News by LordCeb

    Most read story about Monsters of Greyhawk:

    Excerpts from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Orcus, Demon Prince of Undead

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 3.33
    Votes: 3

    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Very Good


     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    Associated Topics

    Monsters of Greyhawk

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: On the Bugbears of the Flanaess: History, Culture and Nation (Score: 1)
    by JellyMin on Sat, July 22, 2023
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Bugbears living among other humanoids and giants freely offer their services as guards and scouts, happy either to be in charge of the lair, or to act as allies valued for their special talents. See more...

    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.29 Seconds