Race and Class
A first quick point is that, unlike other characters you create, Beorning is both a race and a class at the same time. There are no Rune-Keeper Beornings and definitely no Bear-controlling Lore-Masters – even if Beorn had animals serving him food at his home!
Beorning Character Creation
Creating Your Beorning’s Appearance
Now we’ve covered some background, let’s get in and make a Beorning character in LOTRO!
If you do a quick compare and contrast between the Race of Man and Beorning, you’ll notice that the skin-changers appear stronger and more muscly. This fits with the idea that they are “wilder”, do their own hunting and work the land hard. This feature is less pronounced with the female Beornings, but it is shown more in their facial appearance.
Some of the other settings have similarities with the Race of Man, or are only marginally different that they’re not worth highlighting. However, the following features are:
Different Head Shapes
The heads of those of Grimbeorn’s line appear sterner and more heavy-set. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’m not making a comment here about attractiveness. Merely describing them how I see them. As I said above, the female faces especially have a stronger look about them, which counteracts appearance of the arms and legs. A bit, at least.
No Smooth-Skinned Males
Beorning Eye Colours
You can select eye colours different to most other races: yellows, reds and oranges, for example.
Just use the Eye Colour dropper as you would any other character.
You’ll have already seen from the screenshots in previous sections that LOTRO Beornings can have tattoos. There are a lot to choose from as well, so I’ve give you some more examples above (or to the left).
To customise your tattoo, use the Details and Detail Colour settings. You can also opt to have no tattoo, should you wish.
Tattoo in Bear Form
One of the neat features LOTRO have decided to do is allow the tattoo to display while you’re in Bear-Form. Maybe this was partly because of how cool it is, but partly so other players don’t mistake you for a bear enemy!
Being wild folk, LOTRO Beorning hairstyles live up to that description. Unlike your Race of (Wo)Man counterparts that mostly have shiny, well-tended hair, Beornings’ styles are more ragged, curly and, well, wild. And that’s a good thing! There’s also one particular style that has no similar option for any other race – it won’t be difficult to spot in the gallery of styles I’ve given you below or in the other tabs!
Female Beorning Hair Styles
Male Beorning Hair Styles
I think it must have been harder to create truly unique male styles compared to the ones for the Race of Man. But I’ve included some below for you.
Also, I do apologise. I’m pretty sure my graphics are set to max, but some of those heads look way more angular than I realised!
How Do I Set my Bear-form Fur Colour?
The colour you set your human-form character’s hair is what becomes your bear-form fur colour – simples!
But SSG consistently make great gear for new races and classes. It was true of the High Elf race and of the Brawler class. And it is also the case for the Beornings.
You have one set that you start with (on the left/above) and one set you leave the Introduction quest with (right/below).
Add them to Your Wardrobe
Then, of course, you can add them to your wardrobe and include the skin-changers’ gear in outfits for other races!
Instead, you begin your journey from Grimbeorn’s house…well it’s your house too as you are of his line. What follows then is a series of events that results in you leaving your life of seclusion to journey in Middle-Earth.
Here you are introduced to, obviously Grimbeorn but also Radagast the Brown and Sterkist, Langhár and Ofolmoth, who are also your brothers and sister. These, along with Grimbeorn do crop up later during class quests.
If you want to skip the story summary, Skip to ‘After the Intro’. Or, on larger screens, don’t open the “Story Summary” tab.
Intro Story Summary
A Weakened Line?
Not everyone is happy about this quiet, peaceful life though, especially the males. Sterkist grumbles, but Ofolmoth is the most angry of them all. He feels that the line is being weakened as we have no battle prowess to test and improve our strength. After challenging you to a mini-duel, he sends you off on one of those enthralling fly-swatting tasks.
Goblins in the Mist
Once that is done, you meet up with Langhár, who is just a fab creation of LOTRO’s and has so much character. You have a bit of a wander, only for your thoughts to be interrupted by a random goblin attack. Not that they had any chance against two of Beorn’s line, of course. But the fact that it happened was out of the ordinary. We don’t do “out of the ordinary”.
The Wizard’s Intervention
You hasten back to Sterkist who, shocked, runs towards where Grimbeorn is – now outside the house again. After hearing the report about the Goblins, there’s a lengthy exchange between him and Radagast, which ends with the Wizard telling him to send all his children. But…they are his children to command, so he says he will spare one. Guess who? Muggins, that’s who.
And so, you are sent to Eriador to convey to Aragorn about the stirring evil that Radagast is aware of and is about to convey to the other Wizards.
After the Intro
Once you’ve received your bundle of supplies from the end quest, you’re teleported to Archet after the Blackwold attack. There you join up with the Epic alongside the Race of Man.
Which Roles Can Beornings Fulfil?
I don’t always follow the “expected” path for classes; my Guardian main is yellow line despite red line being deemed the best for solo content. However, when playing a LOTRO Beorning, I do tow the line – the red line, to be precise.
It has great DPS, the heavy armour provides your defence and the self-healing is strong. So you are a heavy armour DPS and it feels sturdy enough for solo content. The healing skill Hearten is available to Red Line, can be used on yourself and others initially. But later you can choose to make it only a self-heal but with a greater effect. You choose how to spend your Trait Points.
One of the reasons I love these skin-changers in LOTRO is that the combat is relatively simple. This is true even at higher levels. I have no experience of them in group combat so I cannot pass an opinion on that. But, for solo content, the Epic, Skirmishes and Solo instances it does a great job. Here’s a look at a few of the aspects.
Passive Stat Changes
Firstly, a look at the boring math(s) thing. Each race in LOTRO has combat stat tweaks to reflect their heritage, constitution etc. As you’d expect, the Beornings have strength and nature-related changes – these are buffed. But Fate is debuffed due to the, erm, fate of the race is uncertain.
Might of the Wild
+15 Might, which is your primary fighting stat.
Few In Number
-7 Fate affects some regeneration stats and critical rating.
+1% Poison Resistance Rating, slightly decreases the chance of enemies poison effects working on you. Does not affect other types such as bleeds.
+15 Vitality, increases your maximum HP and out of combat morale regeneration.
Hotkey or Slot Skin-Changing Skills
For this reason, you need to be able to switch between the two easily. “Bear-form” and “Man-form” are two separate skills, so quickslot them. I have Bear-form on my
= keybind and Man-form on
Shift+= keybind. See what works for you.
As well as monitoring your HP, you know, in order to stay alive (ah ah ah ah stayin’ aliiiiive), the other gauge you need to keep an eye on is your Wrath. Ready to get angry? Great! Or something…
What is Wrath?
Where other classes have Power, Beornings have Wrath. It is through gaining and using Wrath that you can transform to a Bear and use Bear-form only skills. In one sense, it is similar to the Hunter’s “Focus” gauge. The more Wrath you have, the longer you can spend in Bear-form and use Bear-only combat skills.
As a side note, this does mean that you do not need power potions nor to choose combat stats that increase power regeneration.
Have a Laugh
Go to Old Man Willow in the Old Forest who is supposed to make you drowsy. On every other class it depleats your Power Gauge. But you don’t have one so roar-ah-ha-ha!
It is your use of combat skills that will increase Wrath. Look for
Adds X to Wrath in the tooltip:
If you run out of Wrath in Bear-form, you will automatically return to Man-form to build some Wrath again.
You can build Wrath rapidly using… Ferocious Roar both in and out of combat. But this requires human form and this is why having both skin-changing skills slotted makes so much sense. You can trigger Ferocious Roar in human form, switch to Bear-form and the Wrath will keep building.
As with Man-form, some Bear-form combat abilities add to your Wrath gauge. Many, however, utilise that resource. Your challenge is to keep it high enough to maximise your damage as a Bear.
The first combat skill that adds Wrath is Thrash. In the early levels, while you have few skills, keeping a high Wrath gauge is pretty easy. Once you get into harder fights, or against larger groups of enemies, you will need to keep an eye on it more.
While in Bear-form you will increase your Wrath by default. This is at the rate of 1 Wrath every 3 seconds. This is true, except if you have the Wanderlust effect.
Why Did I Accidentally Change to Man-Form?
Excuse the pun but… bear in mind that some combat skills are Man-form only. While many are greyed out while in Bear-form, some are not. If you use a Man-form-only skill while a Bear, you will be automatically transformed back, even if you have Wrath to spare.
Using Items in Bear-Form
Some items on the landscape may be usable in Bear-form, but many cannot. I’ve never seen a Bear wielding a pickaxe to mine ore, for example. The same is true in LOTRO – darn you quasi-realism!
Thankfully, it’s easy to spot if you need to transform to use a particular object. Look for the text
requires human form. Though that wording does make me wonder why LOTRO retained Man-form in the skills.
Beorning Shapeshift Bar
How To Disable or Enable the Shapeshift Bar
I never took to it, as I fight with my keybinds on semi-autopilot. So I know where my bear skills are without the swap-out. But it may work for you. Thankfully, LOTRO have made it available as an option (see right/below).
Rough, Solo Combat Pattern
For most early-level fights, you can just follow this simple process:
- Build Wrath in Man-form
- Transform to Bear-form.
- Maintain Wrath as much as possible, until you run out. Repeat from Step 1.
Later on, longer fights may involve multiple transforms. However, if you learn which of your skills add Wrath in Bear-form, you may not need to return to Man-form very often.
Note: Just be aware that your Beorning Class Deeds are a mixture of Man- and Bear-form skills. So do mix up your combat approach from time-to-time!
Other Lower-Level Skills
Here are some combat skill highlights you can earn earlyish on.
- Hearten: (From level 6)
An initial heal followed by a heal-over-time effect. This can be applied to others (including grouped NPCs). In the Red Line, you can choose to spend a point to change this to Composure. This is only self-directed then and is a single heal based on a percentage of your HP.
- Grisly Cry (from Level 18)
If you’re in the Red Line, this is your only crowd control mechanism. But you may want to use it if you’re up against a large group of mobs.
- Cleanse: (From level 22)
A powerful debuff-remover, Cleanse can remove up to 3 effects so long as they’re Disease, Wound, Fear or Poison.
Gearing Up Your Beorning
As always, be guided by the tooltips you see when you hover over the core stats in the character UI. Also, while you may think the Beorning is a melée fighter (at least, when not healing), you will have both physical and tactical combat skills.
- Might (Very Important): Increases your Physical Mastery, Tactical Mastery, Block, Parry, Evade and Critical Rating. So…pretty much everything. You cannot overdose on your Might, except maybe at the level cap.
- Vitality (Important): Increases your maximum Moral, Resistance Rating and non-combat Morale Regeneration.
After those, choose the stats that suit you best.
- Agility: Increases Physical Mastery, Critical Rating and Evade Rating.
- Will: Increases Tactical Mastery, Tactical Mitigation, Evade Rating and Resistance Rating.
- Fate: Increases Critical Rating, in-combat Morale Regeneration, Tactical Mitigation, Resistance Rating and Finesse.
Beornings can also benefit from a 5% damage bonus from Clubs and Axes through their Racial Traits.
Unique Beorning Features
As if this class was not unique enough, there are a couple of other aspects worth highlighting here:
Who needs a mount when you have a +62% movement speed in Bear-form? That’s right, so long as you’re out of combat, you can amble along at some fair speed!
Although it says “any form”, if you are in Man-form, you will transform to Bear-form. Wanderlust will stop when you return to Man-form also.
Note: Wrath does not increase while using Wanderlust because it’s about peaceful movement. Why be wrathful while also being calm, hmm?
Bake a Honey-Cake
Beornings were known for their honey-cakesref, though not so much for sharing them. As a LOTRO Beorning, you can bake honey-cakes anywhere. Indeed, you do not need a crafting facility or gathered ingredients!
What do you do need is to earn the relevant Racial Trait then have it as an active one. You can then bake a Beorn’s Honey-cake which gives you in- and out-of-combat morale regeneration. If non-Beornings eat one, it also grants in- and out-of-combat Power regeneration.
Beorning Racial Traits
- Club and Axe-Damage Bonus: +5% damage from one- and two-handed clubs and axes.
- Emissary: a buff to Fate, which works to counteract the “Few in Number” passive stat change.
- Feral Presence: Buff your Fellowship’s Fate.
- Might and Conviction Bonus: If you play 99% solo, you can ignore this as it relates to Fellowship Maneuvers.
- Natural Diet: A buff to Disease resistance, on top of that given under passive stat changes.
- Return to Grimbeorn’s Lodge: head back to where it all began. While in the lower levels, this may not have much usefulness, it may be great to take a break back home sometimes.
- Virtuous Beorning: You don’t have to be a ‘bad bear’. Follow in Beorn’s steps with buffs to Honour, Empathy and Fortitude, when these Virtues are equipped.
- Bake a Honey-cake: make morale (and for others, power) regeneration food anywhere at any time, with no ingredients!
- Bracing Roar: empty your Wrath for a huge health increase.