DND Brown Bear: Stats, Mechanics, and Ultimate Guide

A Brown Bear is considered one of the most powerful natural animals in Dungeons & Dragons (DND).

What is a DND Brown Bear?

Brown bears are dangerous apex predators in DND. They are one of the largest types of bears, growing to over 7 to 8 feet tall and weighing up to a thousand pounds. These ferocious monsters have a challenge rating of 1 and strength of 19, an impressive peak strength for a natural-realm creature.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about a DND Brown Bear.

DND Brown Bear Stats

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my full affiliate disclosure)
AC11 (Natural Armor)
Challenge Rating1
Hit PointsAverage: 34 (4d10+12)
Passive Perception13
Attack 1Bite 1d20 + 5 1d8+4
Attack 2Claws 1d20 + 5 2d6+4
Attack 3Multiattack (1 bite, 1 claw)
SkillsPerception +3
Speed40 feet, climb 30 feet
DND Brown Bear Stats

DND Brown Bear: Overview

DND Brown Bear
I created this image with Jasper Art and CanvaDND Brown Bear

When it comes to brown bears in Dungeons & Dragons, there’s a lot to know.

For one, their history in the game is long and storied. Brown bears have been around in D&D since the first edition, where they were known as grizzlies.

They’ve had a few changes over the years but they’ve remained a staple of the game.

In their most recent incarnation, brown bears are powerful creatures that can dish out a lot of damage. They’re also surprisingly fast, which makes them a dangerous opponent on the battlefield.

Bears are solitary creatures and often wander around alone.

The most dangerous bear, regardless of kind, is a mother bear with cubs– potentially a force of nature comparable to a raging forest fire.

A bear’s territory is vast in the natural world.

Considering some worlds, such as the Forgotten Realms, are full of mind-stealing evils, it stands to reason that more than one kind of creature will find brown bears to be unexpected foot soldiers.


Brown bears measure an average of up to nine feet tall and weigh up to 1800lbs.

They are often found in colder forested areas, particularly along fish-laden waterways. They are more laid back than other bear creatures, and although they have an above-average climbing speed, they tend to only do so out of curiosity rather than offense or defense.

The brown bear may consider scaling a tree if a target climbs up.

But it is more likely to wander off to find something easier to hunt. Energy conservation is critical to a Brown Bear.

The massive size of brown bears makes climbing trees after prey a net loss.

Brown bears prefer a solitary existence. The only genuine social bonds are between a mother bear and her cubs, who she will aggressively protect with her life.

The majority of violent encounters with brown bears involve protecting cubs or encroaching on their territory.

Bears will roam and hunt close to their chosen hibernation cave in an area considered their territory.

Ecology & Habitats

DND brown bears can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests to tundras.

They’re omnivores, which means they’ll eat anything they can get their paws on, including smaller creatures, berries, and carrion.

These habits may vary thanks to the distinct weather patterns that can be found across the magical forests and landscapes of DND worlds. Because of its ability to hibernate, a brown bear can survive long winters despite having a high-calorie requirement.

A bear’s high-calorie diet contributes to the accumulation of excess energy during the productive seasons, resulting in as much fat as muscle gain.

Brown bears will often retreat into caves or caverns in the middle of winter or other similar scarce seasons in the fantasy regions.

Despite being omnivorous, they eat small mammals and fish as well as berries, roots, and grasses, though they rarely swim far or for long distances.

Their strength can also easily bring down an elk or reindeer all by themselves.

In order to take advantage of fat reserves accumulated when resources and temperatures were high, hibernating brown bears lower their body temperatures, pulse rates, and respirations.

That means a hibernating bear in a dungeon is more difficult to spot in the dark than a napping bear.

Adventurers might need to make a higher perception check.

Here is a good video about DND Bears:

YouTube video by Challenge Level 30DND Brown Bear

Types of Brown Bears in DND

There are many types of brown bears in Dungeons & Dragons.

Some of the common types include the Brown Bear Mount, the Brown Bear Zombie, Juvenile Brown Bear, Giant Brown Bear, Fantasy Brown Bear, Dire Bear, and the Owl Bear.

Brown bears can also be used as mounts or pulling animals for carts and other wheeled vehicles.

If you do encounter one, however, be sure to treat it with respect, as it can be extremely dangerous.

Brown Bear Zombie

The Brown Bear Zombie is a fearsome opponent that can quickly overwhelm weaker creatures.

It’s slow, but it’s immune to most forms of damage and has a lot of hit points, making it a great choice for players who want a challenge.

Stitch marks cover its hulking body and limbs.

The Undead Bear appears as a purple-and-blackish brown furred grizzly bear of an ambiguous nature.

On top of the bear’s body is a pile of dirt with protruding spikes and bones.

It is unclear whether the material simply collected there or if it is, in fact, the bear’s rotting organs.

Juvenile Brown Bears

The Juvenile Brown Bear is a weaker version of the adult Brown Bear.

It’s not as tough or fast as the other two types of brown bear, but it’s still a formidable opponent and can easily take down weaker creatures.

Don’t let its smaller size fool you—a juvenile brown bear is just as deadly as any other brown bear.

Many a DND party has met a dire fate by accidentally running into a brown bear in the wild.

Giant Brown Bear

The giant brown bear is the biggest and strongest type of bear with 3d10 hit points and a whopping attack bonus of +8.

This guy is a bruiser and can knock down enemies with his powerful charges.

Only high-level characters and parties should face one of these monstrosities. Standing, they tower up to 20 feet.

Dire Bear

Dire Bears are gigantic, 8,000-pound monsters measuring up to 12-foot in height. They are the ancestors of the Brown Bears in the Forgotten Realms.

Their horns and scaled skin give them a faintly demonic appearance.

In general, they are much larger and deadlier than a typical bear.

A brown bear will only eat a human conservatively, whereas a Dire Bear considers a human an efficient food source.

Owl Bear

Owlbears are similar to brown bears in build, except that they have giant owl heads.

Fur and feathers cover its coat. Its beak is serrated to simulate a bear’s fangs.

In the Forgotten Realms setting, owlbears are known as aggressive and hostile beasts you’d rather avoid than fight.

Brown Bear Elemental

These bears have harnessed the power of the elements, and use it to their advantage.

Elemental brown bears are found in all sorts of different settings, from frozen tundras to blazing hot deserts.

They are instantly recognizable by their fur, which is infused with the power of their element.

These bears are extremely resistant to damage from their respective element, making them nearly impossible to kill with conventional means.

In addition, they can call upon the power of their element to augment their already formidable strength and speed.

Homebrew Brown Bear

Sure, you can use the standard brown bear from the Monster Manual, but where’s the fun in that?

If you really want to get your players’ attention, you need to put your own spin on things and homebrew your own variant of the DND brown bear.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Come up with a unique concept for your variant bear. Maybe it’s an invisible bear that turns invisible whenever it is attacked. Or a stone bear made entirely out of stone that is immune to all non-magical weapons. Be creative!
  2. Once you have your concept, come up with some statistics for your bear. How big is it? How much does it weigh? What kind of damage does it do? You can use the standard brown bear statistics as a starting point, but feel free to tweak them to fit your concept.
  3. Write up some “flavor text” to describe it in-game. This is where you really get to show off your creativity. Describe your bear in as much detail as possible, making sure to include anything that would be important for your players to know (such as its invisibility ability).
  4. Last but not least, don’t forget to give your bear a name. A good name can really help bring your creature to life and make it more memorable for your players.

Following these steps should help you create a truly unique and memorable variant of the brown bear for your next D&D adventure.

DND Brown Bear Combat Attacks & Actions

Most people think of bears as gentle, cuddly creatures. But make no mistake: brown bears are fierce predators that will attack if they feel threatened.

Here’s a closer look at how these massive animals launch their attacks.

Brown bears typically start by standing up on their hind legs to get a better view of their surroundings.

If they spot something that looks like prey, they’ll start to stalk it slowly and quietly. When they’re close enough, they’ll charge forward at breakneck speed and snatch their victim up in their powerful jaws.

Bears also have sharp claws that they use to rip open their prey’s flesh.

Once they’ve killed their victim, they’ll often drag the body back to their den to eat it in peace.

So, next time your party stumbles in bear country, be sure to give them a wide berth. These creatures may look cute and cuddly, but they’re definitely not to be trifled with.

Multi-attack: You know Brown Bears are a fearsome creature in Dungeons & Dragons, but did you know they can make both a bite and claw attack in the same round? They can and they will.

Bite: The DND Brown Bear’s bite is one of its primary attacks. The bite deals 1d8+6 points of piercing damage.

Claws: The Brown Bear makes two claw attacks as part of its full attack action. Each claw attack deals 2d(6 + 4) points of slashing damage.

How Big Is a Brown Bear in DND?

When it comes to Brown Bears in Dungeons & Dragons, size is definitely a major factor.

These big bruisers can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh in at around 1,800 pounds. Although they may not be the biggest creatures in the game, they’re definitely not small by any means.

In terms of strength, Brown Bears are one of the most powerful natural creatures in Dungeons & Dragons.

They can dish out a lot of damage, and they’re also really tough to take down.

So if you’re looking for a powerhouse that can hold its own in a fight, a Brown Bear is definitely a good option.

What Is a Brown Bear’s Weakness?

When it comes to facing a Brown Bear in Dungeons & Dragons, you need to know its weaknesses.

Yes, the DND Brown Bear is a powerful creature, but it’s not invincible.

Here are some brown bear weaknesses.

First, the Brown Bear is not highly intelligent. One of the best ways to defeat a brown bear is to outsmart it.

Second of all, you can use distance and ranged weapons to your advantage.

Bears can’t use weapons, so positioning yourself on a big rock, tall tree, or raised surface while shooting arrows or launching spears at the bear can work well.

Third, bears are susceptible to magic.

A spellcaster could stand at a distance and cast spells such as fireball or Animal Control.

With the latter, a wizard might command a brown bear to run away or fall into a pit where it is easier for the rest of the party to defeat.

How To Use Brown Bears in Your DND Campaign (5 Ways)

Brown bears can be a great addition to your Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Here are five ways to use a brown bear in your next campaign:

  1. Random combat encounter
  2. Mount
  3. Source of supplies
  4. Gaurdian
  5. Ally

Random Encounter

There is nothing quite like the thrill of coming face-to-face with a bear in the middle of a forest. The bear can be used as a device to add suspense and excitement to your game.

Here is how it might go:

As the party hikes through the woods, the Elf Druid at the front suddenly stops in her tracks. “I smell something,” she whispers. The rest of the group draws their weapons and prepares for an attack, but nothing happens. After a few tense moments, the Druid speaks again. “It’s a brown bear,” she says. “I think it’s trying to decide whether or not to attack us.”

At this point, the Dungeon Master has two options: he can describe the bear as a friendly creature that is simply curious about the adventurers, or he can choose to make it a hostile creature that attacking them.

If the latter option is chosen, then the encounter can quickly turn into a combat encounter.

The bear will charge at the adventurers, attempting to knock them over and inflict grievous wounds with its powerful claws.

The party will need to use all their skills and abilities to take down this fearsome beast.

But be warned: if they are not careful, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a savage beating.


Collage of DND Brown Bear Mounts
Created by the author with Jasper Art and Canva—Collage of DND Brown Bear Mounts

If your party is in need of a quick way to travel, why not enlist the help of a brown bear?

In a recent Dungeons and Dragons game I played, my party came across a friendly brown bear. We asked the bear if it would be willing to help us travel to our next destination and, fortunately, it agreed!

Here are some tips on using a brown bear as a mount in DND.

First, make sure you have some food to offer the bear.

Bears are very strong and can easily carry multiple people, but they will get tired if they don’t have anything to eat.

A few pieces of meat or a honeycomb should be enough to keep the bear happy.

Second, you may need some kind of magical control over the bear.

This can be in the form of a spell, an amulet, or even just a very convincing and talented Druid. Without some way to control the bear, it is likely that it will become agitated and could even attack you.

Once you have taken these precautions, mount the bear and enjoy the ride.

Bears are very fast and can cover a lot of ground quickly. Just be sure to hold on tight – bears can be unpredictable and may decide to go off the beaten path.

Source of Supplies

A DND brown bear can be an excellent source of supplies.

The skin and fur can be used to make warm clothing and blankets, while the meat is high in protein and can be dried and stored for later use.

In addition, the bear’s claws its teeth can be used as cutting tools or weapons.

If you are lucky enough to kill a brown bear, make sure to take advantage of all its resources.

With a little creativity, you can turn this powerful creature into everything you need to survive in the wild.


Guardians can be a invaluable addition to any DND game.

Enter the brown bear.

Bears are fiercely powerful adversaries, making them ideal guardians for important NPCs or locations. You could even have them patrol an area, deter invaders, or even covertly deliver messages.

Just be sure not to anger the bear, or you may find yourself on the receiving end of its wrath.


Brown bears are large, powerful creatures that can be both a boon and a hindrance to adventurers in Dungeons and Dragons.

On the one hand, their size and strength make them ideally suited for combat situations.

On the other hand, their lack of intelligence can sometimes make them difficult to control. Nevertheless, brown bears can be valuable allies if used properly.

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your furry friend in a DND campaign:

  1. Utilize their strengths. As mentioned before, brown bears are incredibly strong and tough. They can dish out a significant amount of damage in combat, and their thick fur provides them with natural armor against attacks. When using a brown bear as an ally, be sure to put them in situations where their physicality will be an asset.
  2. Don’t rely on their intelligence. Because they are not particularly intelligent creatures, they can only follow simple commands. Thus, it is important not to give them tasks that are too complicated or require too much planning. Instead, focus on using them as muscle in combat situations or for other straightforward tasks.
  3. Take advantage of their natural tendencies. Brown bears are naturally curious creatures, which means they can be trained to perform certain scouting tasks. If used correctly, these natural tendencies can be turned into assets instead of liabilities.
  4. Be prepared for their unpredictability. One of the most difficult things about working with brown bears is that they are notoriously unpredictable creatures. They may seem docile one moment and then become aggressive the next. As such, it is important to always be cautious around them and have a plan for dealing with their outbursts of aggression.

So there you have it: five ways to use a brown bear in your next DND campaign. Be creative and have fun with it.

How To Describe a Brown Bear in DND

One of the toughest parts of DMing a DND game is narrating the adventure.

Since I’ve used brown bears in several campaigns, I thought I would recreate some of the ways I described the encounter with the bears.

Feel free to use these brown bear encounter descriptions verbatim:

Description #1: DND Brown Bear Attacks Camp at Night

It was a dark and moonless night, and the camp was eerily quiet.

Only the soft crackle of the fire broke the silence. Suddenly, there was a loud rustling in the bushes. The campers tensed, reaching for their weapons.

Then, with a deafening roar, a huge brown bear charged into the campsite.

The bear swiped at the closest camper, knocking him to the ground. The other campers leaped to their feet and began to fight back, swords and daggers gleamed in the starlight as they plunged into the bear’s fur.

But it was no use. The bear was too strong…

Description #2: Brown Bear Enters a Town

The imposing bear lumbered into town, paws the size of dinner plates leaving imprints in the soft earth.

It paused, sniffing the air, taking in the unfamiliar scents of humans and civilisation.

The bear had never seen anything like this before, but it was not afraid. It was curious. Slowly, cautiously, it made its way down the street, drawn by the tantalising smells of food.

The closer it got, the more aware it became of the humans watching it with wide eyes and open mouths.

But the bear paid them no heed.

It was focused on one thing and one thing only: following its nose to the source of that delicious smell.

And then, finally, it reached its destination: a bakery. The bear’s stomach rumbled as it caught sight of rows of freshly baked pies cooling on wire racks.

Without hesitation, it reached out with one massive paw and grabbed one of the pies.

Then, with a satisfied grumble, it settled down to enjoy its stolen feast.

Description #3: Brown Bear Zombie

The zombie bear lumbered across the grassless lawn of the abandoned church, its grotesque appearance causing people to flee in terror.

The bear’s fur was matted and filthy, and its eyes were sunken and lifeless.

Its mouth was open in a silent snarl, revealing yellowed teeth covered in rotting flesh. The stench of death emanated from its body, causing people to gag and retch.

The bear’s movements were jerky and unnatural, and its limbs seemed to move independently of each other.

As it lumbered closer, people could see that its belly was bloated and distended, and that its intestines were hanging out of its abdomen.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you use brown bears in your next DND campaign, remember to always be intentional.

Just as you would with a Leviathan or ice giant, use brown bears with purpose.

After all, a brown bear introduces a certain uncontrollable wildness into a game.

Related posts:


Monster Manual
National Park Services (Brown Bear Info)