Content of the article: "Power Word: Bear"
Some of you may be aware (it's been making the rounds lately) that we don't actually know the Proto Indo European word for bear. That in and of itself is curious but not entirely surprising, but what I find particularly interesting about it is the alleged reason: various cultures have decided at various times that saying the name of the animal out loud is likely to summon it, at which point it will maul you. So they relied instead on euphemisms like "the brown one" (from which many of our current words for bear are derived).
Which lead me to the realization that there's a glaring omission in the traditional D&D spell list: power word: bear. I've taken a stab at rectifying this (the important details will also appear at the bottom of this post for the click-averse).
Naturally, a spell as ponderous as a Power Word isn't going to summon your typical CR 2 fuzzy boi. The spell requires a truly beastly bear more befitting its station, and to that end I also present the arth, a bear of monstrous proportion and fiendish intelligence (for a bear, anyway).
These are draft attempts, and I welcome your comments and criticisms on both the spell and the monster. To that end, I have a few notes about my intention:
- It's a Power Word, so it should be pretty high level. I started at 7th ties for lowest of the existing Power Words. The bear it summons should be on par with 7th level summons, so around CD 8.
- I wanted it to be a bonus action instead of an action. This is partially because I think that makes more sense for power words, but also because "suddenly a bear" is funny.
- It fits in a weird space where it's more single-combat-focused than summon spells typically are but also more persistent than power words usually are.
- Trying to balance all of that, I've given it a one-minute duration (most summons seem to be one hour) that relies on concentration and thrown in the "if you lose concentration it turns on you" clause.
- There isn't a whole lot of balance thought given to the spell lists I added it to, my inspiration there was more "nature people or people who specialize in forgotten lore."
- I basically started with the t-rex as a CR 8 base, but I wanted it to be more focused on knocking you down and tearing the stuffing out of you. So it gets two claw attacks that have a chance to knock you down (DC 13 STR save), and then a respectable bite that becomes a pretty scary bite if you're prone. I may need to tone the damage down a bit on the claws at least.
- It goes into a frenzy at half hit points where it gets a little bit of extra damage, a burst of speed, and resistance to physical damage. I set the hit points at the lower end of the CR 8 beasts because of this, but I might need to lower that a little further.
Power Word: Bear (7th level, conjuration)Casting time: 1 bonus actionRange: 60 ftDuration: 1 minute (concentration*)
You designate one creature within 60 feet and speak aloud the true name of the beastly arth. The creature is summoned next to the target and attacks it immediately. Each subsequent round on your initiative the arth will attack the designated target to the best of its ability. The arth will vanish after one minute or after its target has died, whichever comes first. The summoning cannot be dispelled and the arth cannot be banished for the duration of the spell.
If you lose concentration on this spell before 1 minute has elapsed the arth remains summoned but is no longer under your control. It immediately rolls a new initiative and switches its target to you.
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