The School of the Bear was founded by the first group of witchers that split off from the Order of Witchers. The witcher Arnaghad had attacked fellow witcher Rhys, nearly killing him. Anticipating that the other witchers would seek to punish him for this, he arrived at the Order's keep with a posse of brothers. After a battle between them and the Order in which the Order subsequently won, Arnaghad and his witchers retreated and left the Order. They settled in the Amell Mountains and established contact with the dwarves and gnomes in the region.
Some time after the founding of the School, a number of its witchers betrayed it in a similar fashion as before, where they nearly killed its Grandmaster, Arnaghad. These witchers then left and built their own school, the School of the Viper.
At the peak of their power, the Bears often traveled to Skellige, both due to its amount of monsters and the islanders' mindsets being akin to their own. Although the events that led to the establishing of the school happened centuries ago, some of the older witchers from the other schools would refer to them as kinslaying Bears.
The School ceased to function after the Bears failed in a contract to destroy a cabal of vampires. The frustrations of the people in the war-torn provinces around them boiled over into riots. Eventually many of the surrounding villages banded together to destroy the school, as they would rather share the mountains with the monsters then the witchers. The Bear witchers had little to no brotherly bonds with each other and no true loyalty to their school. They decided to part ways with each other and the school, rather then die protecting the keep from the coming humans. Though their keep has been left in disrepair and has been buried by time and the elements, it is believed that some long-time members may have come back to re-occupy it as witchers are necessary again.
Students must pass the trial of the mountain. This requires venturing to the peak of Mount Gorgon to retrieve a special runestone as proof of ascent. It was an especially brutal challenge as many boys freeze to death long before they find the summit.
Witchers of the Bear School, unlike the Wolves or Griffins, tend to be loners and do not forge strong bonds with their brethren, and so them meeting on the Path can even lead to bloodshed. This is because of the philosophy of the school's founder, who believed that witchers should focus only on the job aspect of their profession. He thought that any code or knightly virtues were just inflated nonsense to feed the ego, and thus favored autonomy above all else. This autonomy extended even to the school itself.
Haern Caduch was a difficult place to live. Due to the cold and snow of the mountains the boys had to huddle up close to the hearthfires or sleep beneath many furs. If they didn't they would suffer frostbite or hypothermia. Besides that there was also the never-ending removal of snow from the fortress courtyard. This environment has given the Bear witchers extraordinary endurance even compared to their bretheren from other schools.
They wear heavier armor, favoring defense over agility. Along with the Cat School, they are the only known witcher schools to use crossbows in their hunt. The school may have used shields once. This seems to have been abandoned however after a witcher lost his, along with his entire arm.
Season of the Bear reward tree
This event allows to unlock the lore on this school and a cardback with the school's medallion.
- Scroll 1: The School of the Bear... Little is known about it, yet one look at their custom armor reveals telling details of the witchers who wear it. A hardy quilted gambeson, heavy mail extending to the knees, plate armor spaulders to protect the shoulders...
- Scroll 2: A witcher equipped in such gear would not leap from raking claws, nor sidestep a beast's gnashing fangs. There is no need, for he can endure the blows... And ensure a short distance from which he can exact his revenge.
- Scroll 3: Unlike witchers from the Wolf School – who possess strong bonds of friendship and brotherhood – those from the Bear School prefer a solitary lifestyle, away from the company of other witchers. Should they encounter others on the path, however, rarely does it end without bloodshed.
- Scroll 4: Bear witchers often travel to the Skellige Isles – and this should come as no surprise. For the islands have no shortage of monsters and the witchers get along rather well with the similarly brash, bearded locals...
- Chest 1: Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia once encountered a witcher from the School of the Bear. His name was Ivo. His dark complexion suggested he originally hailed from the warm climate of the Continent's southern regions. Whereas, the bluntness with which he responded to the queen's questions suggested he rarely conversed with heads of state...
- Chest 2: A witcher from the School of the Bear once ventured into Toussaint. Junod of Belhaven was his name – as big as a mountain, with a beard that would put a dwarf elder to shame. He accepted a contract to slay a monster that dwelled in the caverns beneath Marcescent Forest. Alas, he was never seen again...
- Chest 3: Just where is the School of the Bear? Some say hidden amidst the Slopes. Others argue it's found farther south, beyond the Amell Mountains. In fact, no one truly knows. And it's no surprise that Bear witchers have kept their whereabouts a secret, for the slaughter of the Wolf and Cat schools was known far and wide...
- The school appears only in CD Projekt's The Witcher franchise and is not described within Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher series.