Bugbear Guide 5e
Published on June 10, 2020, Last modified on June 9th, 2022
What is this guide?
This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the bugbear will be right for your 5e 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 Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
- 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 Bugbear in 5e?
Source: Volo's Guide to Monsters
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.
Bugbear 5e 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
Speed: 3oft Walking
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.
Bugbear 5e Subraces
In the Monsters of the Multiverse update, bugbears have received significant buffs to some of their traits and are now considered to be descended from the fey.
Darkvision: This is the same as the original bugbear.
Fey Ancestry: Advantage against being charmed and being unable to be put to sleep by magic will come in handy in some tough situations.
Long-Limbed: This is the same as the original bugbear.
Powerful Build: This is the same as the original bugbear.
Sneaky: In addition to being proficient in Stealth, bugbears can now enter spaces that would only fit a size Small or smaller creature. This can be useful for a scouting character, especially in tandem with the Stealth proficiency, but is situational and doesn’t add much to this trait.
Surprise Attack: The change to this trait is the biggest buff to the bugbear. As long as the creature you are attacking hasn’t made an attack of its own yet, you can get Surprise Attack damage on multiple attacks in a single round if you roll well in initiative and your class has Extra Attacks.
Sources Used in This Guide
- Basic Rules
- Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
- Eberron: Rising from the Last War
- Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
- Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- Fizban's Treasury of Dragon
- Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
- Monsters of the Multiverse
- Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
- Mythic Odyessys of Theros
- Player's Handbook
- Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
- Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
- Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
- Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- The Tortle Package
- The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
- Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
- Volo's Guide to Monsters
- Xanathar’s Guide to Everything