This was first published on Nov. 22nd, 2014.
Last week, we looked at the Beorning starting area. It finally recieved a Lotro-Worthy Rating of 9/10. How’s that for impressive? This week, we’re going to look at the class itself. Sure, the character models are bulky, but how are the class deeds? Why did the devs make our three trait tree lines a tank, a DPS, and a support? Where did they get these choices? How do they all fit together? Please note that the class quests will be overlooked for the moment because I haven’t been able to level my Beorning fast enough to access them all. We could check the wiki, but we don’t do secondary sources here! At least no secondary sources for Lotro… Secondary sources about bears are fair game, because I’m not walking up to a bear and asking it if it will let me see how thick its fur is. 😀
I would love to say that the Beornings are both a race and a class! To play the Beorning class, you need to pick the Beorning race. The Beorning race doesn’t have any other classes to choose from, so we won’t have any Beorning Lore-Masters running around. Which is probably a good thing. The Beorning race isn’t taller than the race of Man, which is disappointing, but the Beornings are certainly much bulkier. They look like they could easily snap you in half and toss you over their shoulder. During the early Beorning race quests, nearly everyone you talk to will say something like, “My! Aren’t you a big one!” and “Wow! You’re really tall!” That doesn’t quite satisfy the quote about them being taller, but it’s nice to give their enormous height a passing nod. We’re still not granting them a point for it though. The character model satisfies the following quote:
“Standing near was a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs with knotted muscles.” (pg 111)
And completely ignores this one:
“…and towering tall above Gandalf. As for Bilbo he could easily have trotted through his legs without ducking his head to miss the fringe of the man’s brown tunic.” (pg 110)
In Lotro, the Beornings ability to shift into a bear can only be accessed in combat. This makes sense. If I had the ability to be a bear all the time, I would never be in my man form. I’d run around Hobbiton scaring little hobbits. While this is a game, and it makes no sense to have the Beorning class be able to always be a bear, we don’t care about that over here. We’re not rating how awesome the game is, or common sense. We’re talking about lore here, and lore is structured and oddly specific. Nowhere does the book say that Beorn can’t be a bear unless he wants to turn someone into meat paste. Beorn can be a bear all the time. Not to mention that Beorn can move faster as a bear, and in Lotro the bear form doesn’t get a movement speed buff. His ability to be a bear for as long as he likes and move faster as a bear is shown by this quote:
“He had been over the river and right back up into the mountains – from which you can guess that he could travel quickly, in bear’s shape at any rate.” (pg 124)
And there are no references to dancing bears. Which makes me sad. We don’t have a special Beorning dance yet. Maybe at the next festival? I’d like to see the Beornings do this.
“I should say there were little bears, large bears, ordinary bears, and gigantic bears, all dancing outside from dark to nearly dawn.” (pg 122) Whether Gandalf is just having fun or being serious when he refers to them ‘dancing’ is uncertain. But I kind of like the mental image of dancing bears.
They did get something right though! A weirdly specific something. In Lotro, your bear form’s fur color is based off of your hair color. In the book we see that “…sometimes he is a huge black bear, sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard.” (pg 109) Notice how Beorn’s fur color and hair color are both black. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but it most certainly is lore accurate.
“Beornings descend from ancient Men, and can “skin-change” into bears when angered. They are gruff, distrusful, impolite, respect all creatures of nature, and hate orcs more than anything else.” (Lotro character creation)
All in all, this is fairly good. The fact that Beornings descend from ancient men (maybe?) is shown in “Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before the goblins came into the hills out of the north. I cannot say, though I fancy the last is the true tale.” (pg 109) I think we’ve already covered the shape shifting pretty well, so let’s just wrap this up with the following quotes. Orcs and respecting creatures of nature will be covered later.
“…said Beorn, who was never very polite.” (pg 113)
“Troop of ponies. What were you – a travelling circus?” (pg 114)
“He can be appalling when he is angry, though he is kind enough if humoured” (pg 109)
I think we get the picture that Beorn is a rude person.
Might of the Wild gives Beornings +15 might. In above quotes we see that Beorn is a very strong man, so this is acceptable.
Few in Number reduces their fate by -7. While there are many descendants of Beorn out there, we are really only looking at one family line. It’s not that many compared to how many humans are wandering around.
Natural Resistance increases their poison resistance by 1% due to their bond with the natural world. I will agree that they have a bond with the natural world. I think turning into a bear is as big a bond as you can get with the natural world. Perhaps a wound resistance would be a better choice. Why? “Bears have the ability to dramatically lower their heart rate while hibernating and will readily do so if injured, as a defense mechanism against blood loss.” (wikipedia – bear hunting) There’s also this.
“In the American West, poison was usually only practised by the owners of cattle or sheep who had suffered losses from bears, though this was rarely put into practise seeing as bears were harder to poison than most other carnivores such as wolves” (wikipedia – bear hunting) That’s right Lotro, you got lucky this time.
Thick Hide increases their vitality by +15 because Beornings are supposedly thick skinned. And they’re right about this one! “A bear’s fur is often very thick, and it can function much like armor. In situations between bears and other predators, such as humans, this thick fur acts with the bears thick skin and layers of fat as a buffer against most physical attacks, sometimes buffering to some extent even against firearms.” (wikipedia – bear)
All I can say is this. Don’t piss off a bear.
– huge with knotted muscles (ie: bulky)
– Beornings are a race
– hair color matches fur color
– rude, distrustful, and impolite
– Beornings descend from ancient men (?)
– accurate race bonuses
Things not found:
– height is wrong
– beornings can shift into a bear at any time
– there should be a movement speed buff while in bear form
We’ve covered quite a bit today, and we will continue to do so. Our last installment will be looking at the deeds. That’s right, we’re covering the deeds. Not to mention the trait trees. Be sure to check it out, I’m sure that we’re going to have a lot of fun picking through this. Remember to comment and hit that subscribe button.