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Shifter Bear

A common bear with a chameleon-like fur.

Contents


[top]Abstract

Being a fairly common creature throughout Aelyria, the Shifter Bear is not the subject of many myths or legends. It was not until the last few decades that they were properly studied, but it is known that orc shamans may favor them for certain rituals involving strength and stealth.

[top]Physical Appearance

The Shifter Bear is a large omnivore that much resembles others of the bear species. It averages near 5 feet tall at the shoulder when on all fours and can top 10 feet in height when standing on its hind legs. Its shoulder breadth is on average about 4 ˝ feet in measurement and it looks like a bear in every way except its fur. It has fur of the same thickness and length, depending on the season, but depending on where it last slept, or held still for a little while, it may be a different color or texture.

Like a chameleon, a Shifter Bear's fur can adapt to its surroundings, making them hard to spot. This includes such things as the color and texture of the fur. When not trying to hide or sleep, a Shifter Bear's fur returns to its normal color, which is splotched, usually in beautiful browns and blacks. Their fur in the winter is a pattern of white and grays, and is much thicker and heavier than their summer coats.

When on all fours, a Shifter Bear's shoulder averages at about five feet high, with its head being slightly below this when it walks. It has a hump across its shoulders, although this is noticeably smaller than a grizzlies’ hump. When it stands on its hind legs, these bears can reach up to ten feet in height and are very intimidating to face. Aside from their height, these creatures easily surpass 1000lbs, some possibly nearing double that.

[top]Climate and Terrain

Shifter Bears can be found in nearly all reaches of Telath with the exception of the Arakmat Desert and the islands around the Medonian Continent. These often oddly colored creatures can be found mostly around forests and mountains.

[top]Diet

Being an omnivore, like other bear species, a Shifter Bear can eat a large variety of things; plants, tubers, berries, fish, smaller mammals (including humanoids), and birds all make the list of what these bears can eat. Fortunately, most of these bears are content eating plants and fish and don’t bother tracking down humans and elves for breakfast. Occasionally this does happen, whether the bear is sick or old and a human is the easier meal, or if for some reason it views humans as a targeted food source and hunts them purposefully. When a bear has the opportunity to catch live game, it may hide itself among trees and bushes, using its fur to camouflage it further. Once hidden, it usually waits until its target is within sprinting distance. Like other bears, the shifter bear can sprint up to 30 miles per hour for distances up to about 100 yards.

[top]Organization

While generally solitary in the exception of mating season, Shifter Bears are very social animals, and unless there is a shortage of food or they are contesting for a mate, they get along with each other very well. In mating season of course, the males fight with each other for mating privileges, and there are often large numbers of bears in a single area during this time. The mating season usually occurs in the fall season, and the babies are born in the spring when things begin to warm up again.

After mating, the male is driven away by the female, and she finds a comfortable hiding spot to bear her young in. She only ever gives birth to one or two cubs at a time, and protects them with her life. They feed of her milk for about two months, after which time she weans them onto a diet much like her own.

They reach adolescence at eight to twelve months, at which time the mother leaves them, as they are fully capable of fending for themselves. They are considered full grown and can mate at twenty months, although some grow after this age. The oldest known Shifter Bear died at an approximate age of forty-three ordinances. When a shifter bear dies, its fur returns to its normal colors.

The rate of a Shifter Bear's digestion runs at a faster rate than other bears, which means that they eat more often and usually in greater quantities. This makes it hard for them to gain the necessary fat stores they need to last the winter hibernation. Because of this, Shifter Bears do not hibernate like normal bears. It is suspected that it is because of their enhanced intelligence and higher metabolism that they do not hibernate.

[top]Combat

A bear has many options when fighting. It has its impressive strength to supply massive amounts of power to its attacks, making getting hit a painful experience even without the claws in play. Its massive size makes it near impossible to stop, when it decides it wants to go somewhere, and it can charge through men and horses without slowing.

Its claws, like other bears, are up to four inches long and can tear through most leathers and skin alike. Their teeth are, of course, just as dangerous, and a Shifter Bear will sometimes grab or pin an opponent to bring these nasty weapons to bear. If it gets an opponent pinned, the bear will sometimes simply crush its skull or other limbs by biting it.

Their ability to change color too is very helpful. They use their furs ability to hide from prey and opponents until very close, and while not as effective a camouflage as a chameleons skin changing is, they use natural cover to make up for this lack. Their fur can also change its texture to become harder and spiny, like short porcupine needles. While this does not add any sort of true protection, it does make getting hit by them that much less pleasant, as their fur can scratch open flesh and possibly even leave small cuts.

[top]Special Abilities

The ability to change the color and texture of its fur is an oddity unknown to many other mammals, and is mostly reserved to the reptiles or fish species. The fur adaptions change at about the rate a chameleon's does, which is to say, rather quickly.

[top]Resistances/Weaknesses

Being bears, Shifter Bears are very tough and can take lots of damage. Part of this is due to the fact that they have very thick skin and fur, and heavy, dense bones to carry them. Like some wild animals the shifter bear can survive in anything but the most hostile of environments.

[top]Other Notable Information

Being social creatures, they do well not only with members of their own species, but if raised properly, or trained well as a cub, they may interact well with the sentient races. They are more intelligent than the average bear, and are very good at reading body language and tones, and can come to understand spoken languages given enough time and interaction. Also, if trained correctly, Shifter Bears can theoretically be used as mounts, and scavengers. They are very loyal creatures and ferocious in their defense of a companion, but also playful when relaxed.

Unfortunately, when a Shifter Bear dies, its fur does not retain its shifting abilities, but becomes splotched with color. The color scheme depends on the climate the bear originated from, and how old the bear was when it died. Most bears have coats that are shades of brown and black, but the occasional few have white coats with splotches of grey and black. These pelts make magnificent cloaks, rugs, and coats, and are highly valued for their beautiful patterns.

[top]Credit

Credit goes to Carnasch


Created by Nimh, October 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Last edited by Nimh, March 15, 2015 at 03:08 PM
0 Comments, 897 Views
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