Furbolgs are a hulking, ancient race of bear-men who live in northern Kalimdor and in Northrend. Though they have no special love for war or murder, their tribes have become increasingly hostile as of late due to the corruption of the Burning Legion and the Undead Scourge in and after the Third War.
The night elves, concerned by the once peaceful race's condition, have attempted to help the furbolgs settle their tensions. But the mighty bear-men retreat ever further into their territories and fall deeper into the rage that is overtaking their race.
The furbolgs are a race of bear-men who traditionally shared the forests of eternal night with the elves. These simple and peaceful creatures lived in harmony with the forests for generations. They were great friends and allies of the night elves, providing their Sentinels with information about the comings and goings of the forests, and warning them of potential danger.
Furbolgs originated from Northrend. They lived on Azeroth before Titans came to the world. Their oral histories speak of the first time Titans stepped on the world and roamed the wilds. Furbolg may have descended from early Pandaren who settled up in Northrend, becoming more feral; or furbolg of Northrend may have discovered Pandaria and their culture became more contemplative.
War of the Ancients
However, due to a disturbance in the timeline instigated by the Old Gods, the original timeline was altered. In the new timeline, they were convinced to join an alliance comprising of the night elves, the earthen, and the tauren, against the Burning Legion, created by the dragon-mage Krasus.
It was a reluctant truce (many night elves were xenophobic towards the "lesser races") but ultimately successful, and formed the foundation for much of the familiarity and peace between the night elves and later furbolg generations. (It should be noted that other accounts corroborate that this happened, proven by the fact that the blue dragonflight currently exists.) They were led by Unng Ak.
However, the furbolgs' close connection with the forests was exploited by the Burning Legion during the Third War.
As the forests were corrupted, many tribes of the furbolgs became tainted with evil or went completely mad, and began attacking their former allies and destroying the lands they once protected.
What once were believed to be only whispers and rumors of attacks by savage and cruel bands of furbolg in the night elves' enchanted forest have become an increasing concern for the Sentinels. It is thought that the passing of the Burning Legion and the vestiges of its demonic taint drove the simple and peaceful bear-men to madness.
Their aged and wizened leaders have been replaced by ruthless firebrands who lead the crazed furbolgs to prey upon the denizens of Ashenvale Forest. Where the furbolgs coexisted peacefully with the night elves for ages, with claw and fang they now seek to carve out their own home in the endless forest.
Currently, many of these renegade furbolg tribes remain on the loose, and are considered a grave threat to nearby settlements. Those few furbolg tribes who do remain uncorrupted have become withdrawn and suspicious, fearing that any outsider may bring corruption and madness to them as well.
"Faced with the unexpected attacks by demons, undead and their own people, the furbolgs joined the fight, putting their generations of hunting experience to more violent purposes. Formidable warriors, they’ve always been. Formidable soldiers, well, that is a newer concept. Some furbolgs hired themselves as mercenaries to forces on both sides.
"After the war, emissaries from both the Alliance and the Horde (advised by the night elves and the tauren, I expect) approached the furbolgs and invited them into the affiliations, but they declined both. Perhaps it was their reluctance to choose between their friends, the night elves and the tauren. They do seem to be closer to the night elves, but I don’t think they want to claim themselves the enemies of the tauren simply by association. Perhaps they simply felt their problems had always been their own, and they would make their current problems their own as well. They are a proud folk.
"When not attempting to heal their forests or their own people, furbolgs focus on hunting the Legion’s agents, who they blame mostly for their plight. You do not want to get between a furbolg and a demon. To keep life on track, more young furbolgs than ever are training to become shaman, seeing the holy men and women as the only adults who seem calm in these days of horror and uncertainty. With half of the population looking to pick up the spear (although they are deadly enough with their claws and bite) and the other half studying the magic of nature, the furbolgs are a people whose society is changing.
"One positive thing the war has done for the furbolgs is get them more acquainted with the world outside their forests. Formerly only the friends of the night elves and tauren, beings of the forest, and a self-contained people, now the furbolgs are watching the movements — political or otherwise — of the Alliance and Horde; traveling more; learning more about the world outside their forests; and widening their view of life as it applies to them in this new and harsher world." ~ Attributed to Brann Bronzebeard
Furbolgs have their own language, Ursine, and a few speak Darnassian. Furbolgs sometimes learn the languages of their friends and, occasionally, their enemies, including, Common, Low Common, and even Taur-ahe. Some furbolgs speak common and low common as primary languages. Horde players are able to briefly converse with the furbolgs of Blackmaw Hold in Azshara during the quest using Briaroot Brew.
Independent. Furbolgs have long been friends of the night elves and regard the tauren with esteem. They are wary of all other races. The night elves attempted to convince the Blackmaw furbolgs of Azshara to join the Alliance; they would have succeeded, if not for .
Furbolgs are tied to nature. Some accounts have them worshipping primitive godlike figures (they venerate the bear twins, Ursoc and Ursol),) but primarily they revere nature and the spirits of the world. The bear twins are the primary patrons of those who believe in a balance between nature and all living creatures.
The furbolg are the most fervent followers of the bear twins in the present day, following in their magical tradition and carving their fortress, Timbermaw Hold, in the form of a gigantic, growling bear head. The Hold is the shrine to the Ancients Ursoc and Ursol. Furbolgs try to mimic the ales made by Ursoc.
Furbolg leaders are shaman or druids — which furbolgs usually also call shaman, making little distinction between the two practices. Furbolg priests are unheard of; only those who break far from furbolg society would follow the path of a deity or philosophy. Ursa totemics follow the paths of the bear twins.
Known furbolg NPCs, by zone level.
In addition to these named furbolgs, there are a few places where one can find them as generic mobs, typically hostile, but sometimes neutral to everyone if somehow not corrupted by outside forces.
- Starfall Village, Ban'ethil Hollow, Ban'ethil Barrow Den, and Gnarlpine Hold, Teldrassil
- Stillpine Hold and Bristlelimb Village, Azuremyst Isle
- Blackwood Den, Darkshore
- Bristlelimb Enclave, Bloodmyst Isle
- Thistlefur Village, Greenpaw Village, and Bloodtooth Camp, Ashenvale
- Deadwood Village, Felpaw Village, and Timbermaw Hold, Felwood
- Bear's Head, Ursolan, and Timbermaw Hold, Azshara
- Winterfall Village, Winterspring
- See also: Arakkoa NPCs, Blood elf NPCs, Broken NPCs, Cenarius' Children NPCs, Dark Iron NPCs, Draenei NPCs, Ethereal NPCs, Fel orc NPCs, Forest troll NPCs, Goblin NPCs, High elf NPCs, Naga NPCs, Ogre NPCs, Wildhammer NPCs
Furbolg names tend to be simple and denote important characteristics about the individual.
- Male Names: Darkmaw, Swifttrack, Treebreak.
- Female Names: Gripjaw, Ragerun, Softstep.
- Family Names: Furbolgs do not have family names, but they sometimes use their tribes’ names (like Felpaw, Snow Flurry, or Timbermaw) in their place.
Furbolgs resemble bears with a few humanoid characteristics — bipedal gait, dexterous hands, and the ability to speak. They dress in loose loincloths or togas when they wear anything at all.
Fur color normally ranges from light brown to black, and white furbolgs from Northrend are called polar furbolgs. Fur color also denotes status in the tribe: shaman have gray fur, and black fur marks the most powerful furbolg fighters.
Furbolgs are big and strong, averaging 7 to 10 feet in height and 3 feet in width. Many furbolgs continue to grow even after they reach maturity, adding layers of muscle. Furbolgs weigh 300 to 400 pounds on average, though some reach 500 pounds.
Most furbolg tribes live in isolated villages in Ashenvale Forest. A few live in other wilderness areas on Kalimdor. Grizzlemaw, in the Grizzly Hills region in Northrend, is by some accounts the center of furbolg civilization.
Furbolgs do often place totems around their territory.
Uncorrupted furbolg tribes
- Main article: Timbermaw tribe
- Found in Northern Felwood, Western Winterspring, and Northwest Azshara.
- The Timbermaw appear to be the only furbolg tribe (besides the Stillpine) that has not yet been corrupted in some way, and as such are one of the only factions that can be communicated with.
- Faction points can be gained with them by killing Deadwood and Winterfall furbolgs.
- A good reputation with them allows you to buy rare items from them.
- See also: Timbermaw Hold reputation guide
- Main article: Stillpine tribe
- The Stillpine furbolgs are an Alliance-friendly tribe of furbolgs living in Azuremyst Isle, Bloodmyst Isle, and the Draenei capital, the Exodar. After completing a quest chain, starting with Stillpine Ancestor Akida, in Azure Watch, Alliance players can communicate with this faction at Stillpine Hold.
- Main article: Barkskin Furbolgs
- Supposedly found in the Barrow Deeps beneath Mount Hyjal.
- The Barkskin furbolgs have not yet been found in-game despite their appearance in Warcraft 3, and their fate is uncertain. Though it is likely that they have been corrupted in much the same way as many others of their race, this is unconfirmed. This tribe is the basis of many furbolg playable race rumours.
Corrupted furbolg tribes
- Main article: Deadwood tribe
A hostile furbolg clan found in Darkshore, Ashenvale, and Felwood.
- Main article: Foulweald
The Foulweald are a tribe of hostile furbolgs who reside in Ashenvale and are viewed as a possible threat by the Horde.
- Main article: Gnarlpine
Though originally peaceful, the insidious effects of Fel Moss have caused the Gnarlpine to go berserk and attack their former allies, the night elves.
- Main article: Blackwood tribe
- Found in Darkshore
The Blackwood tribe was corrupted by Xabraxxis until a group of Alliance adventurers slew the involved satyr and purified the Blackwood with an offering of blessed fruit, nuts and grains.
- Main article: Thistlefur tribe
- Found in Ashenvale Forest
The Thistlefur are a tribe of hostile furbolgs who reside in Ashenvale. They are viewed as a annoyance by the Horde as their village blocks the way to Splintertree Post, and gives the Alliance an extra expansion path.
- Main article: Winterfall tribe
- Found in Winterspring
Former allies of the Timbermaw Furbolgs, they have grown increasingly aggressive to them and other inhabitants of Winterspring. As Salfa explains, they are now at war, so killing Winterfall furbulgs will increase your reputation in Timbermaw Hold.
- Main article: Bristlelimb tribe
- Found in Azuremyst Isle
Northrend Furbolg tribes
Grizzly Hills is the homeland of the furbolg, and outnumber every other race there combined. In central Grizzly Hills the only known furbolg city, Grizzlemaw hold but half their number, the rest are gathered in clans and scattered throughout the region.
The following are the known clans/tribes, however, there are more out there.
Snow Flurry clan
- Main article: Frostpaw tribe
- Found in Rage Fang Shrine and Grizzlemaw in the Grizzly Hills. Enemies of the Redfang. Corrupted by Yogg-Saron.
- Main article: Redfang tribe
- Found in Heart's Blood Shrine and Grizzlemaw in the Grizzly Hills. Enemies of the Frostpaw. Corrupted by Yogg-Saron.
A furbolg form can be obtained by using obtained in the Alliance-only Ashenvale quest line *  . It is by using this item that the character is able to speak to Krolg.
Furbolgs are probably loosely based on the Fir Bolg of Irish mythology. The Fir Bolg were a pre-Celtic race who inhabited Ireland millennia ago; as with most such beings, it is unclear whether they were human, near-human, or something else entirely. The Fir Bolg were forced out of Ireland by the Tuatha de Danaan, who are vaguely similar to elves.
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 62
- ^ Quote: "It is no longer my purpose to hunt, but to teach the hunter. That is what fate has handed to me."
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 45
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 85
- ^ Furbolg (English). Beastiary. Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2009-06-25.
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 147
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 149
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 9-10
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, pg. 17
- ^ a b c d e f Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 10
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 250-251
- ^ a b Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 65
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 85
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 68
- ^ ''World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 382
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 251
- ^ a b c d e Lands of Mystery, pg 102