Close as they are to the haunted land of Sylvania and the Orc-infested Worlds Edge Mountains, the Bears of Averland do not lack for opportunities to prove their martial valor. Even so, the Knights have often found themselves without a foe and have thus fashioned a series of martial tournaments to provide an outlet for their energies (they had previously engaged in the practice of Halfling coursing — outlawed in 2402). These tourneys test all facets of what the Black Bear perceive to be Knightly skills and include such feats as swordplay, horsemanship, and of course, quaffing.
Where the name of the Order originates is a source of much debate. The official story, as put forward by the Bears themselves, speaks of a noble-yet-impoverished Knight having to wrestle a great bear to save a lady of noble birth who had become lost in the wilderness. Recognising the nobility of his deed and being possessed of great wealth, she presented her saviour with a gift of money, which he used to found a Order house in Averheim.
It is in this memory that each of the Order's tournaments is opened by the Grand Master wrestling a bear — a practice that can lead to a great many Grand Masters coming and going in the space of a year. Other, violently suppressed rumors indicate that there was no such incident and that the Order takes its name from a tavern of the same name in Averheim.
The enthusiastic and brazen nature of the Order means they pay no heed to the numbers that they face. But, this can also work against them on occasion, as they often tend to argue among each other instead of fighting the foe.
- Warhammer Armies: Empire (7th Edition) -- pp. 40-42
- Warhammer Armies: Empire (6th Edition) -- pg. 12
- Warhammer Armies: Empire (5th Edition) -- pg. 52