Bugbear 5e Guide

Published on June 10, 2020, Last modified on October 4th, 2021

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Bugbear will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Bugbear. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Bugbears?

Bugbears are large Goblinoids. They are known for their vicious, antagonistic behavior. Bugbears tend to live in family groups that operate like packs of wolves, with a pack Alpha. They mainly coexist peacefully, but when moods towards the Alpha turn sour, other strong members of the clan may try to oust the Alpha and claim rule for themselves.

Bugbears Traits

Ability Score Increase: 2 STR, 1 DEX a fairly rare, yet unuseful racial bonus.

Age: Reach adulthood at 16, live till 80

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Size: Medium

Speed: 3oft Walking

Darkvision: 60ft

Long-Limbed+5 reach provides solid offensive ability. Coupled with Polearm Master and Sentinel and it becomes dangerously broken

Sneaky: Free proficiency in one of the most important skills in the game is super good.

Surprise Attack: An extra 2d6 on surprised creatures is great. Especially for Assassin Rogues.

Powerful Build:  Doubling your carrying capacity will certainly come up a fair few times in the length of a campaign.

Languages: Common and Goblin.

Which Classes Work With Bugbears?

Artificer: Nothing here for an Artificer.

Barbarian: +2 STR is what Barbarians are all about. The DEX helps with AC and a free stealth proficiency is great.

Bard: Nothing here for a Bard.

Cleric: Nothing here for a Cleric.

Druid: Nothing here for a Druid.

Fighter: Provides +2 STR for STR-based Fighters and +1 DEX for DEX-based Fighters. If you are going for a STR-based Bugbear build it would make sense to pump DEX and wear medium armor that doesn’t grant disadvantage on Stealth checks in order to make the best use of the Bugbear’s racial traits.

Monk: Nothing here for a Monk, there are tons of Races that give +2 to DEX.

Paladin: The STR helps and Paladins are classic Polearm/Sentinel Builds. The proficiency in stealth might help your disadvantage while wearing heavy armour.

Ranger: Nothing here for a Ranger.

Rogue: +1 DEX is a hard choice for Rogues, but taking Assassinate and catching your enemies by surprise can lead to mega damage even at lower levels.

Sorcerer: Nothing here for a Sorcerer.

Warlock: Nothing here for a Warlock.

Wizard: Nothing here for a Wizard.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.