Mumblebear

Small Magical Beast
Hit Dice:
2d10 (11 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: base 40 ft. (8 squares), 20 ft. on rear legs
Armor Class: 15 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 12
BAB/Grapple: +2/-2
Attack: +5 melee (bite 1d4) or +5 ranged (ray 2d6)
Full Attack: +5 melee (bite 1d4) or +5 ranged (ray 2d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Attacks: Arcane surge, magic item use
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3
Ability Scores: Str 6, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 4, Wis 16, Cha 12
Skills: Appraise +7, Climb +6, Use Magic Device +21, Swim +6
Feats: Weapon Finesse (Bite)
Environment: Temperate and warm forest
Organization: Solitary, pair, or gaze (3-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: 1d3 Magic Items, (see below)
Alignment: Usually Neutral
Advancement: By Class Level
Level Adjustment: +2

A small tailless quadruped ambles out of the forest, accompanied by a low and indistinguishable grumbling speech, and rears onto short hind legs. It reaches a paw into a marsupial pouch and produces a short, thick wand, which it brandishes at your party, to your surprise.

The mumblebear is believed to be a distant cousin to the koala, although they have little physical resemblance. As with the koala, the “bear” moniker is a misnomer. The creatures are actually unique marsupials. Their thick fur varies anywhere from inky black to a very pale blond, depending mostly on diet, and therefore region. Although it is common to see calico or blotch-patterns, it is unheard of to see a striped mumblebear, thus limiting the number of times it has been confused with a raccoon, which it otherwise resembles rather strongly (albeit a rather large raccoon, with no tail...).

Both genders have pouches, and both are capable of carrying and nurturing their young from birth. Generally speaking, the mumblebears lead a quiet life of hunting and gathering. They prefer the uninhabited depths of primordial forests or jungles to the proximity of other sentient creatures. They seldom even congregate together (a gaze of mumblebears is a family unit consisting of one dominant male that usually but not always has class levels, 1-2 mating-age females, and 1-2 young of either sex). Mumblebear young are weaned from the pouch at around 5 years of age when they are physically mature, and reach sexual and social maturity at around 10 years. They can live to be 100 years of age. They average three to three and a half foot high on rear legs (halved when on all fours), and both genders average about 80 pounds.

Mumblebears earned their names for the inarticulate speech they endlessly grumble under their breaths, and their apparent inability to stop talking completely...even while sleeping! The mumblebear speaks its own language and a smattering of odd words in other languages, but cannot converse fluently in other languages unless class levels and skills in speak language have been taken. Personal names are not commonly used by mumblebears, but those exposed to other races will accept names over time. They tend to prefer names that suit their own palate, such as Fargra, or Goro.

Mumblebears do collect magic items, but they are very particular about what items they keep on them at all times. They disregard all other manufactured goods, and have no desire to collect mundane equipment or treasure.

Combat
Mumblebears generally avoid combat unless surprised or cornered, or protecting their young. Although they are fairly dangerous against inexperienced foes, they are clever enough to know the limits of their power, and often make a quick strike from distance and then flee on all fours, hoping to avoid further combat. Only the bravest few mumblebears that take to a life of adventuring ever willingly enter combat for reasons other than self-preservation or to protect their young.

Mumblebears typically attempt to soften a foe with their arcane surge ray attacks, and enter melee only if forced, at which point they always backpedal in order to use their ray attacks when they become available again.

Some mumblebears acquire magic items, and this is where they become truly dangerous. A mumblebear’s ability to use most magic items means one never can be sure what it will wield against its foe. They will not typically keep items too large for them to carry, or those they cannot use, but there is nothing to keep them from using such objects if they happen to be available, and they are likely to remember where such things are, if they have seen them before. Although not tremendously intelligent, mumblebears use magic items in their possession to the greatest possible advantage, always with the intent to flee, rather than to win a conflict.

Arcane Surge (Su): As a standard action, the mumblebear can tap into its innate connection with arcane power and create an arcane surge. This surge is completely under the control of the mumblebear. It manifests as a range 30’ ray of energy. Using the ray is a ranged touch attack that draws an attack of opportunity unless the mumblebear makes a Concentration skill check (treat the surge as a level 2 spell). This ability is available once every 1d4 rounds. Mumblebears grumble arcane gibberish under their breaths whenever using this power. Anyone attempting a Spellcraft check to identify the words or the arcane surge by listening to the words does so with a -10 penalty.

Magic Item Use (Ex): The mumblebear has a unique affinity for magic. Arcane magic, divine magic... even most psionic devices (if your campaign uses the magic-psionic transparency rules) are not difficult at all for the mumblebear to use. Most learn to activate their items by starting with “activate blindly” to discover the functions of the item, and then move on to normal activation. They gain a +20 racial modifier to all Use Magic Device skill checks, which means very little escapes their little arcane paws.

Mumblebears greatly prefer small items like rings and wands. They will also keep small wondrous items, although anything too large to fit in their pouches is likely to be left behind somewhere. They also have the unnerving habit of drinking potions that are offered to them, right on the spot.

Mumblebears as Player Characters
Most mumblebear player characters and NPCs are rogues. Some become scouts, and fewer still become druids. Only the rarest mumblebears take warrior-type classes like the fighter, ranger, or paladin.

Mumblebear characters possess the following traits:

  • -4 Strength, +4 Dexterity, -6 Intelligence, +4 Wisdom.
  • Small size: +1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits ¾ those of Medium characters.
  • A mumblebear’s base land speed is 40 feet, but it must be on all four limbs. If walking only on rear limbs, its speed is reduced to 20 feet.
  • Darkvision out to 60 feet and lowlight vision.
  • Racial Hit Dice: A mumblebear begins with two levels of magical beast, which provide 2d10 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +2, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +3, Ref +3, and Will +0.
  • Racial Skills: A mumblebear's magical beast levels give it skill points equal to 5 x (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1). Its class skills are Appraise, Climb, Use Magic Device and Swim. Mumblebears have a +20 racial bonus on Use Magic Device checks, and a +4 racial bonus on Climb and Swim checks.
  • Natural weapon: Bite (1d4 damage).
  • Special Attack: Arcane surge (see above).
  • Automatic Languages: Mumblebear pidgin. Bonus Languages: None.
  • Favored Class: Rogue.