Welcome to Creature Feature: Starjammer. Today we present the Bearowl, a swooping arboreal predator that is strikingly familiar.
Bearowl CR 6
Patches of fur interspersed between clumps of feathers, this horrific giant bird stands on the hind paws of a bear and is topped with a large ursine muzzle.
Dropping Bear Crush (Ex)
A gliding or jumping bearowl can land on foes as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Dropping bear crush is effective only against opponents one size category smaller than the bearowl. A crush attack affects as many creatures as fit in the bearowl’s space. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 17) or take 2d8+6 damage. Dropping bear crush also triggers the bearowl’s grab ability, giving it a free grapple attempt that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity on all creatures that failed their reflex save.
Gliding Wings (Ex)
While the bearowl is too heavy to fly, its wings does allow it to fall at a very slow and safe space. A bearowl can use its wings to glide. It can make a DC 15 Fly check to fall safely from any height without taking falling damage, as if using feather fall. When falling safely, it may make an additional DC 15 Fly check to glide, moving 5 feet laterally for every 20 feet it falls.
Environment terrestrial forests
Organization solitary, or mated pair (2)
Originally the creation of Zurkhan geneticists, the bearowls were an attempt to make a new superior predator with the traits of both bears and owls. Originally intended to be tamed as expendable shock troops, the bearowls proved to be too difficult to reliably control. Instead, the Zurkhan have instead used the bearowls to disrupt enemy supply lines and harvesting operations, seeding the creatures in planets across the galaxy, disrupting both local ecosystems and attempts to harvest arboreal environments in peace.
Rumors suggest that the Zurkhan scientists were inspired by earlier legends of owlbear hybrids are dismissed by the empire as baseless propaganda and lies. Even if such rumors were true, the Zurkhan are convinced that their version of the creature is far superior to any previous attempts to unleash such hybrid ursines.
In addition to a surprising stealth for creatures of their size, the bearowls are uniquely suited to terrify local populations. Local bearowls are usually noticed more for the ‘pellets’ they leave behind long before they are directly encountered. Unable to fully digest bones, the bearowls vomit up piles of bones, fur, hair and other inedibles across the forest floor, often posing as the only warning of their presence before they strike. Legends of the ‘dropping bears’ have spread wide, leading to a market in questionable serpent cream cures and wards.
While domestication hasn’t been successful, there have been the occasional successful taming efforts by skilled Shaman Knights. These shamans have turned the bearowls back against their Zurkhan creators, as well as using them to combat other threats to the natural galactic order.