As any sophisticated, sensible ursine knows, humans are ill equipped to deal with our kind. They are not stupid, per se, but they have narrow definitions of intelligence, civilization, and even personhood. That we poop in the woods and prefer the taste of freshly caught fish to that of crushed weed-meal seems to the human an excellent argument for our lack of moral and intellectual agency. And yet they have done remarkable things, those humans, despite their well documented lack of soul. We must give credit where it is due.
A most notable attribute of humans is their adventurous sensibility. They have a true adventurer culture, something lacking in the lands of bears. Perhaps this is due to the greater number of problems in their communities which require extra-legal solutions. Whatever the reason, the adventurous lifestyle is an attractive one. It is therefore not uncommon for a young bear to travel among humans for a time. Of course, to avoid agitating the humans, it is necessary to employ disguise. But that is simple enough to accomplish, and need not be discussed in detail here.
The technique employed by a Bear in Disguise defies explanation. Very little actually changes about their appearance or mannerisms. They may wear a hat, or a suit of armor, but they do not alter their face to appear more human. They do not shave their fur. They do not use any illusory magic. Likewise, their vocal range is restricted to the same growls and roars of any bear. And yet somehow this disguise is almost completely impenetrable. Something about the way they carry themselves, or the way they modulate their voice, or something, makes a bear seem–in all respects–to be a human in good standing.
Which isn’t to say the disguise is perfect. For each NPC encountered, the referee should roll 1d20 to test that NPC’s perceptive abilities. On a roll of 20, that NPC sees the bear as they are, and will usually be understandably distressed by the presence of a ferocious wild animal. Others will likely think this perceptive individual is crazy. Though, if a particularly compelling argument is made, NPCs who failed their first perception check may be allowed another d20 roll. No NPC should ever get more than these 2 perception rolls, regardless of circumstance.
Further, only NPCs that can reasonably be said to be paying direct attention to the Bear in Disguise receive this roll. If the bear is walking down a crowded street, there is no need to roll a check for each individual on that street. Only the vendors who target the group would need to be rolled. Although, if the bear were the center of attention (say, the guest of honor at a banquet), that would require a large number of checks. Use your best judgement to determine who is paying attention to the bear, and who merely casts a casual glance in their direction.
In any circumstance, the true nature of a Bear in Disguise is never known to their own companions. The other PCs are all assumed to have failed their checks, otherwise they would never have been chosen as companions in the first place!
A Bear in Disguise has a d12 hit die, and levels as a fighter for the purposes of experience and saves. Bears in Disguise have no special limitations for weapon or armor usage; though clothing and armor must be specially fitted for them to wear it.
Bears in Disguise are always treated as though they are 1 encumbrance step lower than they are. When they are lightly encumbered, they act as though they were unencumbered; when heavily encumbered, they act as though lightly encumbered, and so on.
When grappling, Bears in Disguise are treated as 2 levels higher than they are. Or, if you are using the base LotFP grappling system, Bears in Disguise receive half of the melee attack bonus a fighter of their level would receive during a grapple.
Beginning at first level, all Bears in Disguise have a 6-in-6 Bushcraft skill.
While a Bear in Disguise may opt to use a weapon, they are primarily skilled as unarmed combatants. They may make two claw attacks each round against a single opponent. If both of these claw attacks hit, then they may make a third attack using their bite.
- At first level their claws deal 1d4 damage, and their bite deals 1d8.
- At fourth level, their claws deal 1d6 damage, and their bite deals 1d10.
- At seventh level, their claws deal 1d8 damage, and their bite deals 1d12.
While bears are occasionally aggressive towards humans, they are strictly peaceful with one another. A Bear in Disguise may never turn their claws on another of their kind. If they do, they are marked for death, and will be the target of bearsassins for the rest of their days, without any hope of appeal. If a bear is encountered by the party, the Bear in Disguise may speak with this bear and attempt to negotiate a settlement amenable to both groups. If hostilities break out regardless, they are within their rights to remain neutral in the combat.