Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder RPG (1st Edition) Starfinder RPG Pathfinder RPG (2nd Edition)


The Starfinder Roleplaying Game is about more than just meeting aliens—it’s also about playing alien characters. In Starfinder, the word “race” usually refers to an intelligent, selfaware species whose members can be considered characters rather than simple monsters. While not all races are appropriate for player characters, many of them are; any creature with a racial traits entry is a member of a potentially playable race, provided that your GM approves it.

Bear (Uplifted)

Source Interstellar Species pg. 134
Though their physical forms resemble those of their mundane counterparts, uplifted bears are far from simple animals; those who underestimate them do so at great peril. At some point in the past, a population of bears—the stories range from an initial group of several dozen to all the bears on a dying planet—were modified to increase their mental capabilities, granting them extraordinary intelligence. The details of who modified the bears, and why, were either lost to the Gap or, as more conspiratorial takes posit, deliberately concealed. While some uplifted bears are obsessed with uncovering their origins, others feel this focus on the past only holds their people back.

Ability Modifiers +2 Str, +2 Int, -2 Wis
Hit Points 6

Size and Type

Uplifted bears are Large magical beasts with a space of 10 feet and a reach of 5 feet.


Uplifted bears have a climb speed of 20 feet.

Ferocious Charge

As the Ferocious Charge universal creature rule.

Limited Augmentation

The only augmentations that can be installed in an uplifted bear’s brain are datajacks and the mechanic’s custom rig.

Limited Telepathy

Uplifted bears have limited telepathy with a range of 30 feet.

Low-Light Vision

Uplifted bears have low-light vision.

Natural Survivor

Uplifted bears have a +2 racial bonus to Life Science and Survival checks.

Natural Weapons

Uplifted bears have natural weapons that function like those of vesk, except the bears’ natural weapons deal slashing damage.


Uplifted bears have a land speed of 40 feet.

About the Bear (Uplifted)

Physical Description

Physically, uplifted bears resemble non-sapient bears, though their bodies were modified along with their minds to grant them a few enhancements. Their clawed forepaws are more dexterous than those of an animal bear, with opposable thumbs to manipulate objects easily. They retain all the physical strength of any bear, and their size is formidable. An uplifted bear can be roughly 5 feet tall when on all fours, but when maneuvering bipedally, as most prefer, they stand up to 10 feet tall.

Like animal bears, they generally have short tails, small rounded ears, and thick fur coats consisting of both long guard hairs and shorter insulating hairs. Though they have the teeth and digestive systems common to a carnivorous species, uplifted bears are typically omnivores and can subsist on a wide variety of diets—though they need a larger volume of food if consuming solely vegetarian fare. An uplifted bear's sense of smell is generally weaker than that of an animal bear.

The original uplifted bears appear to have been drawn from an assemblage of Pact Worlds species, creating a diverse array of features and pelages. Coat coloring ranges among black, brown, blonde, and white, including patterns that resemble those of Lost Golarion's pandas or Castrovel's sun bears. Some populations grow especially large, with massive appetites and thick fur to help them stay warm in colder climates. Others have bodies better designed for swimming than clambering up trees, and others still have especially long tongues once designed for insectivorous diets. Whatever their apparent species differences millennia ago, the process that uplifted these bears also left them genetically compatible with each other (but not with animal bears or other ursines).

Strangely, uplifted bears' brain structure seems to resist most technological augmentations, except for datajacks or custom-designed rigs. Some bears believe it was intended as a means of protection against external control by whoever modified them, while others fear that it's a sinister method of holding them back from achieving their true potential.

Home World

With no memory of their origins, uplifted bears lack a home planet of their own. Small communities of uplifted bears exist throughout the Pact Worlds. Many occupy higher-gravity planetoids in the Diaspora, while others live on heavily forested or jungle planets such as Castrovel or Landahl in Near Space. These settlements range in size from tiny outposts of a few dozen residents to small villages of a few hundred.

One of the largest uplifted bear settlements is on a Diasporan planetoid optimistically named Greenview. Greenview has a breathable, if thin, atmosphere, and for the past several decades, uplifted bear scientists have been attempting to terraform the planetoid to encourage plant growth, with mixed results. What began as a research outpost grew into a town of nearly 600 residents now known as Furmark as trade sprang up to support the scientists' work. Although only limited vegetation has been coaxed out of Greenview's rocky soil thus far, there are plenty of mineral deposits to support the community in the meantime, and Furmark does a brisk trade in various valuable ores.

Recently, an uplifted bear team exploring the Vast discovered a planet in the Ferra system unpopulated by sapient creatures and full of skyscraper-sized trees. Since this report spread, a contingent of uplifted bears has begun calling for their kind to adopt this planet as their home world. Further surveys have noted that the planet, dubbed Ursana by its original explorers, contains ample natural resources and animal life. Ursana still has no formal status according to the governments of the Pact Worlds, though several members of this uplifted bear group— dubbed the Open Paw for their slogans promising “an open paw” to any bear wishing to settle on Ursana—have filed pending petitions with the Pact Council to have it officially recognized as their home world. Though the Pact Council has provided no response thus far, the bears' cause has attracted the support of several prominent organizations thanks to the efforts of the Open Paw's de facto leader, Devran Gars, a professor of natural history at the University of Qabarat.

In the meantime, some uplifted bears have begun immigrating to Ursana and building settlements, most of which are still quite small. An advertising campaign by the Open Paw aimed at uplifted bear communities throughout the Pact Worlds hopes to encourage more to settle on Ursana, extolling the benefits of having a unified home planet. Not all wish to relocate so far away, however, especially since Ursana's location in the Vast would prevent it from becoming a member of the Pact Worlds proper.

Society and Alignment

As a widely dispersed population, uplifted bears often adopt cultural characteristics of their neighbors. Regardless of location, though, they often have several points of commonality. Many uplifted bears are more comfortable in natural, vegetated environments than in large cities or space stations, and their settlements tend to reflect this preference. A typical uplifted bear town is a marvel of engineering, with structures built into and onto the surrounding trees and walkways twining up through branches. In areas where native vegetation is unavailable, uplifted bears often opt for artificial alternatives or expensive imports. This affinity for natural landscapes has given them a reputation for preferring terrestrial living situations over space stations. Though commonly true, it isn't universal, and some uplifted bears do make their homes in places like Absalom Station. In general, however, many uplifted bears prefer the company of animals and animal-like humanoids and choose to settle in less urbanized and populous environments.

Due to their bestial and imposing appearance, uplifted bears have an unfair reputation for violent tempers, yet their personalities are as varied as any other sapient species. While some bears are happy to live up to the stereotype, others frown at the notion that physical might makes one a ferocious brute. Many uplifted bears, particularly those in scientific or academic professions, deliberately cultivate an erudite and sophisticated appearance to counter such assumptions.

As a species scattered across the galaxy, uplifted bears value community and are often delighted to encounter a fellow bear unexpectedly. Still, uplifted bears also enjoy having their own space, and bear families in a settlement typically maintain homes of their own set away from the central town structures—close enough to go socialize when they wish, yet far enough that they can live without feeling as though their neighbors are peeking over their shoulders. Uplifted bears don't typically engage in formal marriages; bears wishing to formalize a romantic relationship simply move in together without much fanfare, and bears wishing to end one just separate with an equal lack of ceremony.

Though community is important to them, uplifted bears generally consider communities to be rather loose arrangements; they're happy to help their neighbors when needed but prefer maintaining their independence as much as possible. Accordingly, uplifted bear communities seldom have formal leadership, with each family deciding its own affairs. For settlement-wide issues, a forum convenes to discuss the issue, culminating in adults voting on a course of action. This method can be inefficient, particularly when contentious topics are involved, but ideally ensures that every member of the town gets an equal say.

On Ursana, community governance is slightly more formalized. Each uplifted bear settlement on the planet is under the auspices of a town council with a loose network of mutual-aid agreements between communities. The Open Paw has advocated the creation of a unified planetary government, an Ursanian Senate, to represent uplifted bears' interests to the Pact Worlds. Aside from a few self-styled bear senators taking the role upon themselves, such efforts have largely stalled while awaiting the Pact Council's decision on Ursana's status.

Life Cycle

Uplifted bears are born into litters of up to four cubs. A pair of uplifted bears usually only have one or two litters during their lifetimes, and they never try for a new one until the first set of cubs are at least 6 years old and require less direct care. Uplifted bears age more slowly and live longer than their animal counterparts, reaching physical maturity around 12 years old. They're still considered somewhat mentally immature at this age, however, and often don't leave their parents' home until several years later. Most uplifted bears live between 50 and 60 years, though it isn't unheard of to encounter an elder in their 70s.

Spiritual Traditions

Without a unified history, uplifted bears often experiment with new traditions to see what might bind their communities together, particularly in matters of faith and spirituality. When something works, these communities often dispatch informal evangelists to share the tradition with other groups, ever eager to create some shared cultural zeitgeist. Nature-themed traditions are among the most successful, tapping into uplifted bears' instinctive appreciation of the wilderness. As a result, many uplifted bears adopt elements of the Green Faith, often syncretizing it with other spiritual beliefs or pantheons.

Of the major Pact Worlds deities, Oras is the most commonly worshipped amongst uplifted bears, especially by those who believe it was responsible for their sapience. Talavet's faith is also common, as the uplifted bears who follow her feel she provides inspiration for a unified sense of tradition their people haven't yet achieved. Uplifted bears with an academic inclination often follow Yaraesa, appreciating her focus on scientific achievement, while those who dedicate their lives to solving the enigma of their creation might follow Eloritu in the hopes that one of the many hidden truths he holds contains the key to the puzzle. Uplifted bears of a cruel and malicious disposition might follow Damoritosh or Lamashtu, believing that their physical might makes them superior to others and deserving of whatever they can take from those who are weaker.

Unity Or Assimilation?

Arising inexplicably in far-flung locales, uplifted bear communities are caught between two impulses: one emphasizing development of a shared cultural unity, the other viewing a bear settlement as having more in common with the other peoples in the area than the distant homes of other uplifted bears. The tug-of-war between the two is currently the central question of uplifted bear societies, and nearly all uplifted bears have an opinion on the matter. Many fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, recognizing the benefit of having some shared traditions while adapting to the worlds on which they've made their homes.

The Open Paw has made some concerted efforts to disseminate information about traditions or customs that various bear communities have started. This effort has led to the creation of several holidays, such as a winter solstice festival known as Evernight and Trailblazers' Day, commemorating the discovery of Ursana. Attempts to create a constructed uplifted bear language have been less successful, as most bears view the notion an interesting thought experiment but impractical for actual use.

Mysterious Origins

No matter their birthplace or circumstances, every uplifted bear shares one commonality: the knowledge that their people owe their sapience to whoever—or whatever—uplifted them. Theories differ regarding who might have done so and their motives. Some uplifted bears believe their sapience was a gift given to them by a powerful mystic of the Green Faith, while some believe that Oras, god of evolution, chose to transform them beyond their animal origins. Others fear they were created for a darker purpose as an army of sleeper agents and that their creator might one day return and carry out nefarious plans.

Uplifted bears deal with the mystery of their creation in various ways. Many uplifted bear settlements began as scientific outposts dedicated to studying pre-Gap relics in an attempt to uncover their origins. Sometimes, an uplifted bear delving into these matters becomes obsessed with solving the puzzle, abandoning all other concerns along the way. Uplifted bears refer to such individuals as being “rooted” and view them with pity tinged with trepidation. Family and friends often try to intervene early with such an obsession, hoping to head it off before it becomes ingrained.

Some uplifted bears, especially those of younger generations, find this focus on the past frustrating. They view it as holding their people back, forcing their attention toward their past circumstances rather than looking to the future. Such individuals often leave their home communities for areas more heavily populated by other species, building new lives where their origins are less important than their capabilities. Still, they too grapple with the mystery of their past, even if only in trying to ignore it.


Uplifted bears generally use a single given name with no surname, though those who live primarily among other species might adopt one. These names tend to sound harsh and guttural to the humanoid ear. Uplifted bears also often adopt epithets throughout their lives, placed after their given names. These epithets can refer to physical characteristics, careers, personality characteristics, or accomplishments and are often used as nicknames. Some example epithets are “Firetail,” “the Engineer,” “Silvertongue,” and “the Starseeker.”

Sample Names

Some sample uplifted bear names include Arrak, Baors, Durran, Girra, Hako, Koroek, Nozobi, Mur, Rauki, Tarrathak, Uenka, and Zavranik.

Vital Stats

Average Height 9-11 ft.
Average Weight 1,000-1,500 lbs.
Age of Maturity 7 years
Maximum Age 60+1d20 years