Epic Monsters: Drop Bears (5E)

Today’s Epic Monster is probably my all-time favorite entry in the series because honestly how could it be anything else? I’m talking of course about the deadliest beast in all of Australia, the vicious creature from the brush: DROP BEARS!



If you have somehow not yet heard of Thylarctos plummetus you are in for a treat. I first learned about Drop Bears in August of 2013 via the (excellent) webcomic Penny Arcade but they were already something of an in-joke between Australians--if any of you Aussies can speak up with more information please do so! That PA comic came a few months after the Australian Geographic did a spoof article in conjunction with the Australian Museum which has a proper entry for them just like any other species.

Which is awesome. Just like the Drop Bear.

Design Notes: The drop bear is part bear and part rogue, designed to make a party go “HOLY S#$%!” and panic. With that in mind it is sneaky, gets something good from ambushing, and can reload that situation pretty quickly. The DMG build brings it in JUST ABOVE CR 3 and the Blog of Holding at 2.6 but given the potential for catastrophe with criticals I feel the higher of the two is the right choice.


Drop Bear
Medium beast, unaligned


Armor Class
14 (natural)
Hit Points 42 (5d8+20)
Speed 40 ft., climb 35 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
17 (+3)​
18 (+4)​
19 (+4)​
5 (-3)​
13 (+1)​
10 (+0)​

Skills Athletics +7, Perception +3, Stealth +8, Survival +3
Damage Resistances poison
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages --
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Cunning Action. On each of its turns, the drop bear can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Drop Bear Weaknesses. The drop bear has the following flaws:

  • Fork Aversion. The drop bear has disadvantage on attack rolls made against creatures with two or more forks worked into their hair or fur.
  • Spread Revulsion. The drop bear cannot stand Vegemite or toothpaste. When a creature that spreads either substance behind its ears or armpits gets within 30 feet of a drop bear, the drop bear growls uncontrollably and has disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks while doing so.
  • Urine Disgust. The drop bear does not like the taste or smell of urine. When the drop bear is presented with one or more creatures soiled with urine, it becomes agitated and attacks wildly, charging at the nearest non-urinated target (or the target with the least urine if all targets have soiled themselves).

Sneak Attack (1/Turn). The drop bear deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the drop bear that isn't incapacitated and the drop bear doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. The drop bear attacks once with its bite and once with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage.


REACTIONS

Vicious Rend. When the drop bear hits the same target with its bite and claw attacks on its turn, it can use its reaction to deal an extra 10 (4d4) slashing damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

Mike Myler

Adventurer
The Zorbo, as found in Tomb of Annihilation, seems pretty spot-on as a drop bear to me.
I don't have Tomb of Annihilation and am playing through it with a group (just started last week). Any more details you can give me that won't be spoilers?
 
One note: i believe that the vicious rend ability, would require either a bonus action or an incidental to activate, since it activates on the drop bear's turn. A reaction is used when not on your turn.
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
One note: i believe that the vicious rend ability, would require either a bonus action or an incidental to activate, since it activates on the drop bear's turn. A reaction is used when not on your turn.
Most of the time but not always :)

5E SRD said:
Reactions
Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else’s.
 

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