Some philosophers in days of old said that monsters were manifestations of our fear, long before it was known that they were animals and people like any other, even if sometimes they had magical origins. So I felt it was fitting to end with the only beast who actually is born of fear, the more pure monster of all.
Bugbears begin their lives as darkness and fear, born where the two intersect. A child’s belief that something evil lurks within the shadows, seeking to do them harm, is the first spark in a bugbear’s creation. When first born, they are but a phantom, a tingle down your spine when you walk through their patch of shadow. It takes more sleepless nights and tears of terror to grow them into something that can be seen, a colorful, fanged shape in the shadows, and even more to finally put them into flesh.
Bugbears are as diverse as the children whose minds spawn them. Always, they are vibrant in color, but their actual features vary wildly, shaped by a child’s particular fears. A child who fears the water may spawn a bugbear with webbed hands and feet. One attacked by a bird may create a beaked beast. Whatever their shape, once given physicality, they feed on both fear and flesh.
Bugbears are exceptionally common in the north, spawned by the constantly-nervous goblins. They tend to be born small, and usually live short lives, as their colorful fur gives them away to greater predators. However, with great enough fear, bugbears can grow and grow. It is said that deep in the woods, the largest bugbears in the world growl and groan, and frighten entire goblin tries to suckle on their terror. The kings of monsters, terror given flesh, and a fitting end to our exploration of the great north. I bid you a fantastic New Year.