Best Way to roll up a level 4 Bear PC?


Advice


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Hey folks!

A player in my campaign wants to play as a bear, and I'm inclined to oblige her for reasons of hilarity. I'm trying to come up with the ideal way for her character to start. I was thinking I could give her Grizzly bear stats in lieu of her first 4 levels, and then let her take PC class levels beyond that. Probably Barbarian for maximum smashing.

Another option is to just give it some stat buffs and natural weapons as it's own race, but let it otherwise be a PC.

I am familiar with the story of Sir Bearington, but this is going to be recognized as a bear. Because of the social challenges this presents, I'm OK with the bear being a basic losing being stronger than the average PC in battle, but obviously it needs to be kept within reason. Other details:

--Implementing some Unchained stuff, including classes and automatic bonus progression.
--20 point buy.
-- Party will include a well optimized blaster Sorceror, a Sacred Hunter Inquisitor, Spirit Guide Oracle, and an Unchained Rogue bringing up the rear. So pretty potent party all around.

What do folks advise?


Might want to do 2-3 levels of black bear (CR3; Medium) rather than 4 levels of grizzly bear (CR5; Large), which would be MUCH more effective in combat. When you factor in PC stat bumps (+4/+4/+2/+2/0/-2 for a 15-point buy), a grizzly might be more effective in combat than you're planning for.

I like the "reasons of hilarity"; run with it.


Thanks for the input. I was considering the black bear; but I figured the grizzly would be appreciated more. And large size presents an interesting dynamic as well, including letting people ride the bear.

I was considering just using the plain old stat array for the bear, rather than letting her adjust her stats via point buy.


1) Create normal character, apply Beast Shape I (for black bear) or Beast Shape II (for Grizzly), charge for the cost of a permanency spell (I know that Beast Shape isn't normally a spell that can be counted for that).

2) Take a normal bear (whichever kind you want), charge for awaken spell, use normal rules for playing monsters (not sure if this could be done for level 4, however).

3) Use the Race Builder rules from the ARG. I've never tried that but I've heard some people have and it isn't too hard.

I think option 1 would be the easiest for all involved, but that may skew things more in the player's favor. Option 2 would likely be the more balanced yet quick approach, but might end up screwing the player (especially if that wouldn't work for a level 4 game... I think an awakened black bear with a combat-related class (like barbarian) is CR 4 by itself not counting barbarian levels, and a grizzly is CR 6. Option 3 has the possibility of pleasing all, but would take the most time to calculate and balance out.

Good luck and have fun!


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

smother honey on a tarp, wait for the bear to start licking the honey, then roll up the bear in the tarp.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:
smother honey on a tarp, wait for the bear to start licking the honey, then roll up the bear in the tarp.

Getting it out of the tarp would be like one massive Brazilian wax.


Bandw2 wrote:
smother honey on a tarp, wait for the bear to start licking the honey, then roll up the bear in the tarp.

XD Hilarious.

Beastshape was a good idea, actually. I think the character's origin was that they were a druid who got stuck in a wild shape due to low wisdom.


this never ends well


While a bar-bear-ian is the most mechanically sound option, you have to ask yourself if it provides maximum hilarity. Why not consider...

Swashbuckler: For me, the appeal of this one turns on finding somebody artistic who will draw a bear in a three musketeers style hat and ruffled shirt. I do like the image of a grizzly bear dancing back and forth like Bear-rol Flynn... thrust, parry, riposte!

Monk: Her character doesn't talk much because she's taken a vow of silence. Maybe let her be an exotic black and white bear from Tian Xia for that Kung Fu Panda/Genma Saotome vibe. If she picks up prestidigiate (Apprentice's Cheating Gloves or whatever) then she can communicate via the multi-sided wooden sign gag.

Sorcerer: Marid bloodline, tattooed sorcerer archetype. Pile all of her traits and feats on Burning Arc (Magical Lineage, Wayang Spellhunter, the Tattoo, Rime spell, eventually Spontaneous Metamagic). Declare that because of her bloodline her usually brown fur is bright blue. Her belly is shaved, and in the center of the patch of shorter hair is a snowflake tattoo. When enemies show up... "Care Bear Stare!"


Captain Morgan wrote:
... a Sacred Hunter Inquisitor ...

Why not just have her play this guys Animal Companion? Assuming you can convince him to have a bear and allow it?


Starting size : small, Speed 40 feet, AC +2 natural armor
Attack: Bite (1d4), 2 claws (1d3);
Ability Score Str: 15, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6,
Special Race Abilitys = Low-light vision, scent

At 4th level = Size become medium, bite up to 1d6, 2 claws ( 1d4), gains +4 str, -2 dex, and +2 con.

.................

Other than that, give the character a PC class at first level, add in a +2 bonus to one ability score of player choosing, ...... and if the player chooses a druid, let her use her wildshape to change into one humanoid race of her choosing (but limit it two only 1 kind, human/elf/dwarf etc) as a use of wildshape.


Gilfalas wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
... a Sacred Hunter Inquisitor ...
Why not just have her play this guys Animal Companion? Assuming you can convince him to have a bear and allow it?

Dude wanted a big cat as his animal companion; he was very specific on that. Plus, animal companions rarely compare favorably to a well built PC.

Also, there's a chance that some PvP will happen down the road (or at least party alliances may shift) and I don't want the bear beholden to any one character more than role-play leads her to be.

I also really like the idea of bear monk, but I will need to talk to the player and find out if she wants to go that route. I think she may have appreciated the simplicity of "just being a bear."


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:

this never ends well

damn it, the tigers were supposed to give the bears their support in that battle...


Well, whatever race is burly and hirsute, and leather armour is a must.

Grand Lodge

It might turn out something like this

http://i.imgur.com/FzZBq6K.png


Oliver McShade wrote:

Starting size : small, Speed 40 feet, AC +2 natural armor

Attack: Bite (1d4), 2 claws (1d3);
Ability Score Str: 15, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6,
Special Race Abilitys = Low-light vision, scent

At 4th level = Size become medium, bite up to 1d6, 2 claws ( 1d4), gains +4 str, -2 dex, and +2 con.

.................

Other than that, give the character a PC class at first level, add in a +2 bonus to one ability score of player choosing, ...... and if the player chooses a druid, let her use her wildshape to change into one humanoid race of her choosing (but limit it two only 1 kind, human/elf/dwarf etc) as a use of wildshape.

I would definitely not use the animal companion bear. It is much weaker than the regular bears.

Ignoring size and stat concerns, it is missing the grab ability on its claws. An ability that the bestiary bears have. An ability that tigers and lions still get, all while getting pounce, rake, and large size (and the str score that goes with it).

Seriously, what is with that? Why does the tiger get to be so over powered, while the bear isn't even up to the level of other bears.

Anyway general advice- Give them all the size and stat advantages of a bear....while giving them the obvious disadvantages as well. Bears lack thumbs. No weapons other than natural attacks, and very few items can be used (no wands, they need someone to pour potions into their mouths, etc.).

For a system that assumes you have hands, that is a fairly big penalty. And as such, it makes the stats tonyz suggested fair (add in the +6 natural armor as well). After that, he can just become bear and give him that golden armor and...whatever that one movie with the talking polar bear and the people with familiars was about.


I must say that a sorcerer bear just seems great to me. Give it modified natural spell as a bonus feat , and unleash on the world.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Gilfalas wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
... a Sacred Hunter Inquisitor ...
Why not just have her play this guys Animal Companion? Assuming you can convince him to have a bear and allow it?

Dude wanted a big cat as his animal companion; he was very specific on that. Plus, animal companions rarely compare favorably to a well built PC.

Also, there's a chance that some PvP will happen down the road (or at least party alliances may shift) and I don't want the bear beholden to any one character more than role-play leads her to be.

I also really like the idea of bear monk, but I will need to talk to the player and find out if she wants to go that route. I think she may have appreciated the simplicity of "just being a bear."

Seems fair.

I know there was a Bear Warrior PrC in the old Complete Warrior for 3.X. Not sure if a perusal of that would help you out at all. It was assuming a humanoid shape shifting into a bear ala Beorn. Might help though.

Or you could just start her exactly as any other human character and just say she is a bear and treat her as a quadruped. That would seem to be the most fair and balanced against other characters.

Is this supposed to be an Awakened Bear or just a 'bear' from the woods or what? Is she looking to be a melee type?

chuffster has the right idea IMO. Have her become a Natural Attack BarBearian.


Thanks for the input folks! I wound up giving her a stat array, after PB and racials, of:

STR 22
DEX 13
CON 17
INT 6
WIS 10
CHA 6

I wound up giving her all 4 levels in Barbarian, leaning on the reasoning lemeres outlined.

One thing I'm torn on is whether she should get the Grab special ability. I was thinking of giving it to her as feat, but then I started to look at how it could interact with stuff like Raging Grappler and the Brutal Pugalist. Perhaps this is something she could get at higher levels-- I'm not a fan of how many feats it takes to be good at combat maneuvers, and eventually once the other players have begun to pick up more attacks and tricks her claw/claw/swipe every round will be less of a big deal.

I dunno, I like the idea of this thing doing mad bear hugz but grab is a helluva ability.


So it turns out you can get Grab and other perks using the Animal Fury and Savage Jaw rage powers. OH WELL.


I totally want to see an invulnerable rager bearbearian with beast totem. At 10th, you'll have a pouncing bear with a boatload of DR and some extra toughness. Consider looking at the werebear for bear feats.

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