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A bugbear, h, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is a fairly common type of humanoid monster with a single weapon attack.

Bugbears are the source of a couple of unique messages.


In addition to random generation, a bugbear may be one of the random humanoid monsters generated on each floor of the Gnomish Mines at level creation, except for Minetown and Mines' End. Bugbears may generate as peaceful towards chaotic characters, and can be generated with a random offensive item, miscellaneous item and/or defensive item.

Bugbears are among the various hostile monsters encountered in throne rooms, and sitting on a throne or else looting it while confused may also generate one or more bugbears, provided there is no chest on the level - bugbear generation from thrones does not respect extinction.[1]

Bugbears are the first quest monster for Cavemen, and 55% of the randomly generated monsters in the Caveman quest branch will be bugbears; the humanoid monster class is also the first quest class and makes up 14% of randomly generated monsters, some of which may be bugbears. Twelve bugbears are distributed among the four eastern chambers of the home floor at level creation, and seventeen bugbears are generated on the locate floor at level creation; five bugbears are generated in the upper filler levels upon their creation, and four bugbears are generated in the lower filler levels upon their creation.


Bugbears can hit decently hard against early characters, but usually do not pose a significant threat to experienced players that can take advantage of their low speed. Even so, keep an eye out if they pick up armor, weapons or other items - a bugbear with an offensive wand will prove to be actual trouble for a fledgling character, and in a worst case could possibly spell a quick end to the game.

Bugbears may be an occasional target of strategic genocide for Cavemen that want to boost intelligence via eating mind flayer corpses - this is a double-edged sword in practice, as it also means more chances that you may end up forgetting several item identities or even be left without a brain.


The bugbear first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


The bugbear is a classic Dungeons & Dragons monster that debuts in Greyhawk, the game's first supplement. The monster takes its name from a folkloric creature that is similar to the boogeyman (or bogeyman), particularly featuring in tales told by some cultures to frighten disobedient children; the name is derived from similar roots to the word "boogeyman" as well, and in a modern context is used to describe a pet peeve. In medieval England, the bugbear was depicted as a creepy bear that lurked in the woods to scare children.

Dungeons & Dragons popularized the depiction of bugbears as large, hairy beings that are either goblinoids or distantly related to them; they are usually chaotic evil, and may additionally have other bear-like traits such as clawed hands. Bugbears are as likely to make their homes above-ground as they are below it compared to the more subterranean goblins, and some live in loose bands of at least a dozen members. Bugbears generally arm themselves with second-hand gear, and despite seeming clumsy, they are capable of moving stealthily and quickly if the situation calls for it.


You hear the roaring of a confused bear!
An unseen bugbear got stuck in a web.
You hear the roaring of an angry bear!
An unseen bugbear got stuck in a bear trap.
You howl in anger!
You walked into a web or bear trap while polymorphed into a bugbear.


Some variants make bugbears members of the orc monster class.


In UnNetHack, tigers replace bugbears as the first quest monster for the Caveman quest.


In dNetHack, bugbears are much less common in throne rooms due to the addition of specific court monsters for a throne room's given ruler.

In the Mordor Ruins variant of the Chaos Quest, eight bugbears are generated in the first cave of the Mordor Cracks upon level creation.


In xNetHack, bugbears are part of the orc monster class, o. Like other orcish monsters, they have poison resistance and are immune to the shrieks of Nazgul, and share a mutual grudge with elves.


In EvilHack, bugbears are part of the orc monster class, o. Like other orcish monsters, they have poison resistance and an aversion to mithril, and share a mutual grudge with elves. Bugbears are also generated with the orcish defaults for orcish armor and weapons, and gain a +1 AC bonus for each worn piece of orcish armor.


SlashTHEM adds the huge bugbear and bugbear chieftain, which first appeared in NetHack-- 3.0.10 and NetHack-- 3.1.3 but were not carried forward to SLASH 6.

Encyclopedia entry

Bugbears are relatives of goblins, although they tend to be larger and more hairy. They are aggressive carnivores and sometimes kill just for the treasure their victims may be carrying.