DMs Guild Review – The Owlbear

A character class where you embody one of the most iconic D&D creatures.

dms guild

A review copy of “The Owlbear” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Jackson Lewis

Owlbears are one of the most iconic creatures in D&D. Kinda silly, kinda fluffy, and often ferocious. Who hasn’t looked at an owlbear and wanted an awesome pet? Better yet, what if you could just be an owlbear?

The Owlbear is a new character class with full level 1-20 progression, with three Owlbear Heritage subclasses. Judging from some of the jokes, like starting equipment that includes half-eaten rations and a slightly pointed rock, the designer is all too aware of the goofy premise. Yet the abilities seem balanced, and the owlbear possesses a number of cool moves.

The owlbear class has a natural AC of 13 + DEX, which is a bit low, but makes up for it with a d12 hit die. Starting at level 2 the owlbear gains a pool of Ferocity points. Similar to a monk’s ki points, the owlbear can spend them to unleash special moves, such as lunging at enemies to knock them prone, or grappling them in its beak.

Ferocity is a satisfying mechanic, though the rules don’t state if we get these points back on a short or long rest (hopefully short). The Owlbear can use both its beak and claws as natural weapons but doesn’t gain Extra Attack until level 5, and like a Circle of the Moon Druid, attacks don’t become magical until level 6.

While this owlbear can speak, it still can’t use weapons or armor. At level 6 it can attune to magical weapons and items to gain their benefits even if it can’t wield or wear them.

The owlbear can also summon a bestial ally at level 2, and self heal at level 3, both of which scale up with leveling. All these abilities make the owlbear a bit too flexible before taking into account the subclasses.

At level 3 the owlbear can select one of three subclasses, which obviously follow the route of fighter, spell-caster, and rogue. The Iron-pelt gains always-on damage resistance (wow) and can charm enemies it would normally destroy. Green-Beaks acquire druid spells, and can use Ferocity like Sorcery Points to regain spell slots. The Black-Paws can use Ferocity to hide as a bonus action, and deals extra damage when striking from the shadows.

All three are solid subclasses, and showcase the versatility of an otherwise straightforward class design. Unfortunately the class lacks any of the fun extra tables that we see in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Unique owlbear traits, or methods of cursing, or sample animals to summon would have been welcome additions. Otherwise it’s a surprisingly serious attempt at a silly class concept.

Pros:

  • Goofy, self-aware class concept that nonetheless feels decently balanced.
  • Three subclasses emphasize fighting, spell-casting, or stealth.

Cons:

  • No Xanathar-esque tables for traits, Owlbear curse, etc.

The Verdict: If you ever stared in wonder at the majesty of the mighty owlbear and thought – ‘why not me?,’ The Owlbear class is for you.

A review copy of “The Owlbear” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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