"I do not consider my nature to be a curse. It is a duty. I safeguard the wilds from those who would despoil them."

The wilderness holds dangers aplenty for the unwary and unprepared. Savage humanoids gather in fell places to launch raids against caravans and homestead alike. Twisted monsters lurk in the shadows and deep caves. Old ruins harbor the spirits of old kings and warriors turned to evil. As dangerous as these realms can be, certain folk take it upon themselves to protect the world and innocents from these threats. From the fearless ranger who prowls the old paths to the druid who secures founts of primal magic from exploitation and ruin, such guardians fight on the front lines against the spreading darkness. Yet they do not fight alone. The legendary werebears emerge from their isolation to fight at their sides and uphold the ancient charge placed upon them by nature’s divine protector.
    Werebears stand apart from most skinchangers. They lack the evil natures that compel their cousins to commit violence against mankind. Rather than grapple with the bloodlust and savagery so pervasive among the werebeasts, they retain their morality, in part from Melora’s favor and also from the great task they accept as theirs. As Sehanine’s curse spread through the werebeast clans, Melora reached out from her heavenly realm and sheltered the bear clan. They had ever been among her most devout servants and took no part in the misguided effort to steal the moon from the sky. In exchange, she commanded them and all their descendants to protect the world against their fellows’ wickedness, to secure the wilderness against the despoiler and destroyer, and, above all, to keep alive the old ways of the world’s magic.
    Although many werebears descend from the bear clan, others come by their lycanthropic natures in different ways. Rangers, wardens, and others might receive the gift of lycanthropy after performing a great service for the druids or for a nature spirit. Melora sometimes rewards favored priests with the ability to transform into bears after a demonstration of uncommon devotion.
    Regardless of the transformation’s cause, werebears do not remain in civilized areas. They live alone in unspoiled forests and mountains. They construct crude shelters or settle in caves. And the lands and all the creatures living there for miles around fall under their protection. Werebears tend their lands and watch over their charges to ensure the natural processes are left undisturbed. Should anything or anyone threaten the lands they guard, the werebears respond with deadly force and lead the people and the beasts to destroy their intruder, fighting until no threat remains.
    Even though many werebears remain in their chosen lands, some do not settle in one place for long. They come to see the entire world as their responsibility. These werebears are the ones most likely to become adventurers, and they crusade against evil in all its forms. They take up with like-minded adventurers, preferring the company of individuals also connected to the spirit world.

    Werebear Starting Feature (1st level): You gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against disease.
    You have the shapechanger subtype. As such, you are subject to effects that affect shapechangers. In addition, any enemy has combat advantage against you when attacking you with a silvered weapon or implement.
    In addition, you gain the bear shape power.
    Werebear Level 5 Feature (5th level): When interacting with bears or similar creatures, you gain a +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks.
    Additionally, while bear shape is active, you gain a +1 power bonus to AC and Fortitude.
    Werebear Level 10 Feature (10th level): When you use the bear shape power, you can assume the form of a humanoid-bear hybrid, instead of a bear. While in hybrid form, your equipment does not become part of your new form, and you are not forced to drop any items you are holding. You are also not limited to using implement and weapon attack powers that have the beast form keyword.

Werebear Utility Bear Shape

Surrendering to the beast within causes you to shed your humanoid form and become a savage bear.

Encounter        Polymorph
Minor Action      Personal

Effect: You change from your humanoid form to a beast form—a bear—that lasts until the end of the encounter. Alternatively, you can end the form as a minor action and shift 1 square. While you are in beast form, you can’t use weapon or implement attack powers that lack the beast form keyword, although you can sustain such powers.
    While in this form, you have low-light vision. The form is your size, and it doesn’t otherwise change your game statistics or movement modes. Your equipment becomes part of the form, but you drop anything you are holding, except implements you can use. You continue to gain the benefits of the equipment you wear, except a shield.
    You can use the properties and the powers of implements as well as magic items you wear, but not the properties or the powers of weapons or the powers of wondrous items. While equipment is part of the form, it cannot be removed, and anything in a container that is part of your form is inaccessible.
    Until the form ends, you can use the secondary power at will.

Bear Shape Secondary Power

Encounter      Beast Form
Standard Action      Melee touch

Target: One creature

Attack: Highest ability modifier + 3 vs. AC
    Level 11: Highest ability modifier + 6
    Level 21: Highest ability modifier + 9

Hit: 1d8 + highest ability modifier damage, and you mark the target until the start of your next turn.
    Level 21: 2d8 + highest ability modifier damage.

Special: You can use this power in place of a melee basic attack.

Werebear Utility 2Bear Up

Your massive arms itch to wrap your enemy in a crushing embrace from which there is little hope of escape, and your wounds begin to close.

Encounter        Beast Form, Healing
Minor Action      Personal

Requirement: You must have started this turn bloodied.

Effect: Until the end of the encounter, when you hit with bear shape’s secondary power, you can grab the target until the end of your next turn. In addition, while you are bloodied and in beast form, you have regeneration 2.
    Level 11: Regeneration 4.
    Level 21: Regeneration 6.

Werebear Utility 6Enraged Bear

Sudden pain shatters your control and you transform into a bear before your enemies’ eyes.

Daily        Beast Form, Fear
Immediate Reaction      Personal

Trigger: An attack hits you while you are not in your beast form.

Effect: You use bear shape even if the power is already expended. Each enemy within 3 squares of you that can see you takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).

Werebear Utility 10Blessing of the Great Bear

You call out to the Great Bear and feel nature’s magic flow through to aid an ally in need.

Encounter        Beast Form, Primal
Standard Action      Melee touch

Target: You or one ally

Effect: You end one effect that a saving throw can end on the target.

Published in Dragon Magazine 410.