Saturday, February 5, 2011

Arandish Ogres as PCs

As the Crimson Blades of Ara "Characters" chapter describes the Ogre PC race:

Ogres are once-human creatures who were magically transformed by Telengardian magicians into powerful fighting monsters during the Old War between Telengard and Achelon. After that disastrous war ended, these mutants found that they had very little place in human society, and most of them retreated to the mountainous and wooded areas around Telengard and northern Delzar. Presently, ogres can be found nearly anywhere on Ara. Though many have retreated into the wild, avoiding contact with other races, many others live amongst humans (in Delzar especially), or dwell in ogrish communities like the city of Lionheart in Northern Achelon, or the village of Ogrehome south of Blint. Ogres, especially those who have lived in the wild, tend to be feared by humans, primarily due to their great physical size and often horrible appearance.  Ogrish characters are also hindered by the fact that, due to their strange origins, they cannot [. . .] practice magical arts, and are predisposed toward severe near-sightedness (that is, the inability to see at distances).

Using that inspirational passage as a guideline, here are the requirements for and special abilities attributed to Arandish Ogres as a PC race in Labyrinth Lord:

Arandish Ogre
Requirements:  STR 17, CON 10
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 9  (XP progression as Dwarf, LL p. 10)

All Arandish ogres have large, somewhat pointed ears (of which most ogres are very proud).

Cause Fear.  Due to their relative scarcity in civilized lands, combined with their imposing size, Arandish ogres cause fear in 0-Level characters and people who fail a saving throw vs. petrify / paralyze (or, if you prefer, a WIS check).  Players of Arandish ogre characters should be forewarned that they may cause serious problems for their parties if they plan to intermingle with characters of other races in human-dominated lands -- which they almost certainly will, as adventurers.

Near-sightedness. Since Arandish ogres were originally developed to be the ultimate melee combatants, their vision was never designed to be effective at long distances. Therefore, all ogres see clearly at a maximum range of about twenty-five feet; beyond that, things get very blurry for the average ogre, and optical technology in present-day Ara is such that glasses have not yet been designed which can correct for this deficiency. Therefore few ogres are comfortable handling missile weapons of any kind, except perhaps thrown spears, knives, or stones.

[Available as pdf here.]

Note 1: For those who wish to go further with this and make PC ogres even weirder- and/or scarier-looking, see the "Additional Ogre Quirks Table" on p. 32 of the CBoA Characters chapter pdf.

Note 2: See also ckutalik's writeup of Half-Ogres as PCs, also fair game in Ara.

What about Ogres as Monsters?
In Crimson Blades of Ara, we accounted for ogres-as-PCs vs. ogres-as-monsters by calling the former "civilized" ogres and the latter wild ogres. I suppose that that terminology works just as well now as it did then, though for D&D purposes I might prefer a different way of distinguishing one from the other, based upon an interesting development that occurred during CBoA game play in the 1990s. During one particular Northern Arandish campaign (Dave's I am fairly sure) the PC party stumbled across a tribe of "natural" ogres, that is, ogres whose existence predated the Old War-era creation of ogres by Telengardian wizards. Those "natural" ogres did not suffer from nearsightedness the way "created" ogres do -- and this difference works very well for Labyrinth Lord and other D&D-inspired games, since it allows one to simply use the "monster" ogre (as listed on LL p. 90) as written. Further, it helps explain / justify the existence of Ogre Mages (see AEC p. 132), a monster I have always liked a great deal, since while "created" ogres have no innate capacity for magic, "natural" ogres (the genetic stock from whence Ogre Mages come) do.

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