Owlbear: Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

The only good thing about Owlbears is that the wizard who created them is probably dead.

Xarshel Ravenshadow, gnome professor of Transmutative Science at Morgrave University

With respect, Xarshel Ravenshadow, I must disagree with you. The only good thing about owlbears is literally everything about them.

Lore: Mysterious Nighttime Hunters

Ferocious, aggressive, and stubborn, the owlbear is one of the wild’s deadliest predators. When its hunger stirs, it forgets the very concept of fear. As such, even creatures stronger than the owlbear avoid tangling with it. Only a fool goes into battle against one who has nothing to lose.

Much like regular owls, an owlbear emerges in the darkness of night to hunt or search for a mate, screeching to mark its territory as it goes. They’ll reside in caves typically found within dense forests, storing the carcasses of their kills for later consumption. Whether they hunt alone, in pairs, or even a whole family, these creatures are deadly. Although, like normal bears, the cubs are left on their own once they can hunt by themselves.

Although they are intelligent by animal standards, it is difficult to tame an owlbear. It can be done with enough time, food, and luck, making it one of the most loyal and deadly protectors one could possibly ask for. Some communities even make them into sport animals, like for racing, though it hardly ever ends well. Others use them as natural defenses or as war beasts or pets.

No one quite knows where these creatures came from. Some scholars theorize that a particularly demented wizard created them by merging a giant owl with a bear. Other sources claim the creatures to be far older, and some fey claim that they have always been around, living in the Feywild. Nobody is quite sure.

This lore makes for good world-building, but little else. You could use it to sprinkle these monsters throughout the setting, either as enemies to fight or as a part of the environment. However, if you want to craft an actual story out of their lore, your options are limited.

Design: Keep It Simple

You wouldn’t think putting an owl and a bear together would work. But lo and behold! It’s one of the most beloved designs in all of Dungeons and Dragons!

Can I pet the giant murder bear/bird?

As simple as this design is, it works remarkably well! It looks charming and cute enough to be entertaining, yet it strikes a genuinely imposing and dangerous figure. You might smile at the idea of meeting a creature like this while you’re playing, but if you actually ran into one in the forest, it would be an entirely different story.

When you really think about it, this marriage of appearances isn’t so bizarre. Both bears and owls are often considered to be fairly cute or majestic creatures in the wild. But the fact of the matter is, both are highly deadly predators that could – and would – rip you to pieces if given the chance. Putting the two together is like mixing peanut butter and chocolate!

Even if the idea is still a bit silly. Every time I describe this monster to a first-time player, they either laugh or beam with delight. At least, up until I say “Roll for Initiative.”

Speaking of which…

Stats: Big Angry Bird

Did you expect this to be some giant boss monster? Some magical beast that would push your players to their limits? Bruh, it’s a bear that looks like an owl. What did you expect?

This monster is as simple as it gets. It can peck you with its beak and slash you with its claws. Its AC is pretty low, as is its HP, so you can kill it just as fast as it can kill you.

Oh, but it have advantage on Perception checks thanks to Keen Sight and Smell. So… don’t try to sneak up on it, I guess.

This is as simple a fight as you can get. You just hit it until it dies. Boring, but I can’t really call it disappointing. Again: what did you expect?


As delightful and charming as this monster is, it doesn’t do a whole lot by this series’ standards. Sure, its design is simple and works incredibly well. But its lore is basically just window-dressing for your campaign and their stats are as simple as you can get.

With all that in mind, the Owlbear is going to #125 on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em)
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Lamia
  18. Bronze Dragons
  19. Brass Dragons
  20. Copper Dragons
  21. Gold Dragons
  22. Chuul
  23. Kuo-Toa
  24. Gibbering Mouther
  25. Kraken
  26. Intellect Devourer
  27. Chimera
  28. Death Knight
  29. Fomorian
  30. Bone Devil
  31. Dracolich
  32. Faerie Dragon
  33. Gelatinous Cube
  34. Lich
  35. Orcs (all four of ’em)
  36. Magmin
  37. Kobold
  38. Kenku
  39. Hobgoblins
  40. Night Hag
  41. Green Hag
  42. Black Pudding
  43. Ankheg
  44. Hook Horror
  45. Oni
  46. Storm Giant
  47. Hill Giant
  48. Empyrean
  49. Efreeti
  50. Grimlock
  51. Minotaur
  52. Dao
  53. Cloud Giant
  54. Manticore
  55. Drow (all four of ’em)
  56. Shadow Demon
  57. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  58. Marilith
  59. Drider
  60. Aarackockra
  61. Azer
  62. Demilich
  63. Spectator
  64. Gray Ooze
  65. Ochre Jelly
  66. Hydra
  67. Marid
  68. Harpy
  69. Werejackal
  70. Otyugh
  71. Half-Dragon
  72. Cambion
  73. Fire Giant
  74. Nothic
  75. Animated Armor
  76. Banshee
  77. Basilisk
  78. Yochlol
  79. Bulette
  80. Cloaker
  81. Darkmantle
  82. Doppelganger
  83. Ghoul and Ghast
  84. Ettin
  85. Medusa
  86. Pit Fiend
  87. Erinyes
  88. Chain Devil
  89. Bearded Devil
  90. Barbed Devil
  91. Spined Devil
  92. Ice Devil
  93. Mimic
  94. Djinni
  95. Merrow
  96. Nalfeshnee
  97. Glabrezu
  98. Chasme
  99. Grell
  100. Barlgura
  101. Horned Devil
  102. Balor
  103. Shadow Dragon
  104. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  105. Werebear
  106. Lizardfolk
  107. Vrock
  108. Dretch
  109. Gnolls (all three)
  110. Goristro
  111. Hezrou
  112. Manes
  113. Frost Giant
  114. Weretiger
  115. Werewolf
  116. Duergar
  117. Quasit
  118. Dryad
  119. Flumph
  120. Goblin
  121. Nightmare
  122. Wereboar
  123. Wererat
  124. Githyanki
  125. Owlbear <——————
  126. Planetar
  127. Imp
  128. Ogres/Half-ogres
  129. Clay Golem
  130. Flameskull
  131. Displacer Beast
  132. Carrion Crawler
  133. Githzerai
  134. Grick
  135. Invisible Stalker
  136. Rug of Smothering
  137. Bugbear Chief
  138. Bugbear
  139. Flesh Golem
  140. Vine Blight
  141. Twig Blight
  142. Needle Blight
  143. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  144. Bullywug
  145. Hellhound
  146. Ettercap
  147. Gas Spore
  148. Cockatrice
  149. Lemure
  150. Homonculus
  151. Merfolk
  152. Solar
  153. Deva
  154. Gorgon
  155. Hippogriff
  156. Griffon
  157. Cyclops
  158. Centaur
  159. Ghost
  160. Fire Elemental
  161. Water Elemental
  162. Air Elemental
  163. Stone Giant
  164. Deep Gnome
  165. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  166. Iron Golem
  167. Stone Golem
  168. Earth Elemental
  169. Galeb Duhr
  170. Helmed Horror
  171. Flying Sword
  172. Crawling Claw
  173. Violet Fungus
  174. Shrieker
  175. Gargoyle

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