All brown bears are thought to have evolved from a single species. They all have very large and curved claws, which may be as long as 4 inches in length. Due to the structure of their claws, and their excessive weight, adult brown bears cannot climb trees. However, they have been known to push over trees up to a foot in diameter in order to get at a defender.
A brown bear will focus its claw attacks on a single defender, but may attack a separate person with its bite. If both the claws hit a defender, this will indicate that the bear has gotten a hold of the defender and will now maul for 3-18 additional points of damage. Following the mauling, the bear will release the defender, but may attack that individual again the following round.
Brown bears like to feed in the morning and evening to avoid the afternoon heat. During the day they will loll, particularly in warm weather. They will seek shelter in a cave or under a large tree during rainstorms. They eat all summer long to gain weight for the winter months.
The hide of the brown bear is shaggy and the fur rough and less valuable commercially. Brown bearskins are usually shaved during tanning.
Bears have been hunted for their skins and for meat. Among some humanoid tribes in the New World, the brown bear is treated as an animistic spirit.
Broods may be up to 4 children, usually protected by a single mother. During the majority of the summer, male bears will forage on their own and will have little contact with the mother. As the children reach maturity, a pair will reunite and be seen together in the late fall, before hibernation. Brown bears hibernate for 3 to 8 months, depending on the latitude.
Encounters#1 (foraging): single bears, usually male, will seek berries and other fruit, fish or whatever else it can find in the landscape, from May until November. Unless food is scarce due to a fire or blight, usually bears at this time will be standoffish and encountered at a distance of 6-18 hexes. However, if the bear is encountered it will take advantage of whatever food it can find in a party's camp (including a pony or riding horse - 20% chance - if the bear is unusually hungry), approaching from a place furthest from the party members - if shouted at, there is only a 25% that it will simply move off. If attacked, it will defend itself, but move off if stunned and allowed to recover.
#2 (hibernating): if encountered in a subterranean setting, this will always be within a hundred yards or so of the surface and the bear will always be hibernating. In December there is a 50% chance that the bear is awake; between January and April, this chance lowers to 10%. If encountered in its den and disturbed (rustling armor will be enough), the bear will wake up easily and will behave aggressively. If interlopers do not flee immediately, the bear will attack until driving them off or the bear is killed. Brown bears at this time will attack with +1 to hit and +1 to all damage rolls.
#3 (rearing young): from May to July, mother brown bears will travel with their young. The mother bear is extremely dangerous at this time, for if the party finds themselves between mother and cubs, the mother bear will rush to fight to the death against the perceived threat. When attacking, the bear will mercilessly attack with +2 to hit and +3 damage until the threat is dead.
#4 (territorial): brown bears can live in close proximity to humanoids, but they will become aggressive and territorial at times. At such times it will make it's presence known at a distance of 13-20 hexes, often roaring or standing to indicate that others should move off and leave the animal alone. If approached within 3-12 hexes the bear will attack, continuing until it is stunned (if it is allowed to recover, it will then run off). Usually this behaviour involves a mated pair.