Tuesday, April 9, 2024

D6 Bug-Bears

Not bugbears, but bug-bears - half-bears, half-bugs:

1. Cicadiak: Hibernate as cub-grubs beneath the earth for decades, possessing nearby lifeforms with their dreams. Squirrels and suchlike will hide their hoards nearby, wolverines will bury their kills above the cicadiaks, and humans find themselves anticipating a great and feastwise festival to be hosted at the site, most not quite realizing this festival has never before been celebrated, and seems to have come from nowhere. At the proper hour the cicadiaks will moult into their adult forms, emerge in a great swarm to gorge on the food proffered for them, and deafen many with their roared mating-songs. Once they've laid their eggs underground the adults will perish, though their flesh is too full of parasites to be safely consumed by any survivors of their depredations.

2. Assassin Bearg: Parthenogenic killer queens, birth shapeless offspring which they lick into customized murder-shapes. They become obsessed with those who harm their cubs, even in self-defense, setting ever-better-adapted creations after their scent-trail.

3. Sun Bearab: Roll about large balls of soil, mulch, and waste, which they cultivate as mobile terrariums for their preferred snacks. Bear disconcertingly-long, prehensile tongues, which they use to snag prey and drag them to their terribly-strong jaws. Sun bearabs are the favoured animal of the Burning Hate, and one is often found in his temples, its ball adorned with sneering sun-discs.

4. Blister Beartle: Dominate beehives with their uncanny pheromones, causing the bees and their hive both to grow to unseemly size. The blister beartle, a hideous and hideously lazy creature, is then supplied with as much honey and larvae as it can eat - which is quite a lot. Should the creature be slain, its host-hive's population will usually return to ordinary bee-size within a generation. Usually.

5. Polar Bantis: Largest of the bug-bears. Snow-white in winter and able to remain perfectly motionless for long periods of time, lending it frighteningly-effective camouflage. Flashes out with speed-blinding sickle-claws when prey approaches. During the summer it mottles into a dull grey and hibernates with similar stillness, becoming nigh-indistinguishable from a boulder. Can produce hybrids with cicadiaks in the regions where their territories overlap - these hybrid bug-bears' dreams induce widespread visions of an oncoming eternal winter, leading to despair, war, and so on which leave a surplus of carrion for the creatures to feed on.

6. Gallanda: Obligate cannibals - they can only properly digest their own cub-grubs, as well as the galls which grow around these cub-grubs, which themselves can only survive in bamboo. Often used as a visual metaphor for self-defeat, and for parents who squander their wealth so it can't be passed on to their children. The bamboo-galls produced by gallandas are beautiful and easily-carved, and thus coveted commodities - however the bug-bears guard their larders/groves/crèches with berserker ferocity.

They don't look like this.


  1. We are supposed to have broods XIII and XIX here this year. It's very rare for us to get both a 13 and a 17 year brood of cicadiaks hatching in the same time. Such a nuisance, the way they smash cars and devastate the human population.

  2. I like the sociocultural tie-in with the Gallanda in particular. The Blister Beartle, tying together bears and bees, was inspired. I like the allusion to something called Burning Hate in the Sun Bearab; little pieces of nested worldbuilding like that.

  3. cousin whose place i was staying over at claimed (on video) that i said "they're always talking about bugbears" in my sleep. the 'urge has reached into that world of image with his awful glorious powers.