“Oh no, Megamind’s got another one!” The party hears someone scream in the distance of an industrial town. From the same direction, they hear snarls and screams of what sounds like a bear. Heading toward the noise the scene plays out.
In the middle of a laughing crowd, a male human yells, “noooo, get away from me!” as he runs away from a brown bear high on some scent. Its nose is up in the air and it’s flailing wildly as the man narrowly escapes each swipe. Finally one flail from the bear lands, slashing the mans thigh. He screams out in pain and punches the brown bear on the chin, jolting it out of its entrancement. Realizing it is now in the middle of a village, the bear begins to sprint away, leaving tracks in the slightly muddy road.
If the party interacts with the man, they will notice that he has a giant metal contraption on his head. He introduces himself as Nieck Traumer and says, “I haven’t been able to remember things good since the accident, so I heard if I put this on I’d remember things more good.” He wraps his knuckles on the side of the contraption and some vents unhinge. Any check will identify that there appears to be an odor coming from the helmet that smells a bit fishy.
The bear scampering away pauses and turns back toward the man, stumbling again on its rear legs, entranced by the scent wafting its way. “Ahhhhhh,” screams Nieck. If the party has someone with solid Animal Handling skills or Speak With Animals, they can learn a bit more about what is happening. If not, they can frighten the bear away.
The townsfolk implore the party to resolve their bear problem however they see fit and are willing to give a steep discount at any of their local shops.
Brown Bear Motivation (relayed by DM however works in the situation): A local pack of brown bears is attempting to scavenge for food after a duo of other brown bears began damming up the river and keeping all of the fish for themselves. The metal helmet worn by Nieck has been giving off a strong odor they smelled a mile away and they were just trying to find nourishment for their pack. The bear will offer to show the party the way if they decide to follow.
Into The Woods
Once the party heads into the woods, to either defeat the bears or follow the bear, they can pick up the tracks pretty easily. As they approach a river, have them roll a Perception check.
If it is high, they catch a quick glimpse of two bears shifting shape into two human men. If it is low, they only see the two men, standing in the river.
“Oh hi there,” one man waves.
They don’t have much to say to the party, but if they see the brown bear with them they will fake acting frightened and say “ah, a bear! Run!” If the party lets them flee, they will return and the cycle continues of the bears wandering back into town because of the two men in the river.
If the party investigates the forest further, they will find several bears and bear cubs that look slightly underfed (don’t want it to be too sad!). Speaking to the bears or from other clues, they can see the bears aren’t able to find any fish to eat.
Two men motivation: They are, in fact, werebear brothers and have attempted to run off all other bears and creatures in the area to make way for a fishing lodge they want to build along the river. The town rejected their original proposal for environmental reasons, so now they are scaring the brown bears into town in attempts to make the townsfolk pay for their rejection of the lodge. It must be this location they insist, because it has the best foot traffic and the broadest range of fish types in any river in the realm.
The two men (Kody and Brody Ackk) can’t be intimidated, but it’s possible they can be persuaded if the party is extremely convincing that they know of a better spot to open the hatchery.
I Bearly Know ‘Em
If the party interrogates the two men further or decides to put a stop to their river thievery once and for all, they will shift back into hybrid form and take the party on.
This is likely a pretty straightforward battle, but you can leverage the relationship of the two werebears to make their tactics more intense/impressive.
If one of the brothers is unalived, the other brother will go into a rage and add 1d4 to each attack.
The other brown bears are too exhausted to assist in any of the fighting and will watch from a distance, making bear noises that sound like cheering as the party sorts the situation out.
If the river is restored and the brown bears regain access, they will happily jump back into the river and chow down on some fish. If the party flees, the brown bears will look sad and go further into the woods, hoping to find more food elsewhere.
Pain In the Nieck
Returning to town, if the party was successful, Nieck and the townsfolk will be thrilled and take them on a shopping spree for whatever goods they may need (within reason as this is an industrial town after all).
If the party is unsuccessful, the townsfolk will insist Nieck gets rid of his helmet, which makes him extremely sad, but does prevent the bears from returning.