Half-Ogre

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The Half-Ogre is, as its name suggests, the fruit of the inevitable union between an ogre and a member of some other species. The resultant creature is tall, strong and hardy, if not quite as brawny as its ogre progenitor, but also possess considerably more brains than its pureblooded ogre kin - admittedly, it may still seem somewhat dimwitted by human standards.

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

In Dungeons & Dragons, the half-ogre's history is a rather unglamorous one. See, they've been around since the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition - and none other than Gary Gygax himself wrote up an article on half-ogre PCs in Dragon Magazine #29, with Roger Moore posting a follow-up expansion article in Dragon #73. But, at the same time, the half-ogre's been pushed to the background, save for warranting a place in the Monster Manual.

The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the "big dumb ugly monster-blooded bruiser" niche is already amply filled by the half-orc. Secondly, given that an ogre is stronger than an orc, you'd expect a half-ogre to be likewise stronger than a half-orc - this makes half-ogres extremely hard to balance.

And yet... they've clung on for dear life. Even if the goliath may have shoved them out of the limelight forever since it got promoted, the half-ogre was a PC option in the first three editions of the game.

AD&D 1e[edit]

As mentioned, the 1e version appeared in two parts in Dragon issues #29 and #73. This version, by the archaic and nigh-incomprehensible rules of the time, looked like this:

Strength 14-18
Dexterity 3-12
Constitution 14-18
Intelligence 3-12
Wisdom 2-12
Charisma 2-8 (double when dealing with ogres & half-ogres)
Infravision 60'
Two hit dice at first level, then regular progression
Class & Level Limits: Fighter (unlimited), Cleric (4), Thief (2), Assassin (2)
Can use a bastard sword one-handed but still receive full damage.
Can never possess psionics.
Double or triple cost for clothes and armor.
Immune to therianthropy
If slain, can only be revived with a Wish or through a Rod of Resurrection, as per half-orc of the same class.
Always take damage as a Size L being.
Size impacts on use of magical items other than rings, bracers and amulets.
Treated as full-blooded ogres for magical weapons specialized against giant-kin.
Suffer the same "to-hit" penalties against dwarves and gnomes as full-blooded ogres.

AD&D 2e[edit]

The AD&D 2e Half-Ogre appeared in the Complete Book of Humanoids, alongside both its Ogre progenitor and its Oni cousin. In comparison to its pure-blooded kinsfolk, the 2e half-ogre looked like this - which was at least a better deal than they had in 1e!

Ability Score Range: Strength 14-18, Dexterity 8-12, Constitution 14-19, Intelligence 3-12, Wisdom 2-12, CHarisma 2-8
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -1 Intelligence, -1 Charisma
Class & Level Limits: Fighter (12), Cleric (4), Shaman (4), Witch Doctor (4)
Multiclass Options: Fighter/Shaman or Witch Doctor, Fighter/Cleric (requires Wisdom 9+)
Natural Armor Class 8
+4 hit points at 1st level
A half-ogre Shaman has access to the Spheres of Combat, Divination, Healing, Protection and Sun.
Takes damage as a Large creature.
-4 penalty to attack rolls vs. gnomes and -2 penalty to attack rolls vs. dwarves.
Weapon Proficiencies: Club, Goblin Stick, Halberd, Spear, Two-Handed Sword, Voulge
Non-Weapon Proficiencies: Drinking, Eating, Fire-building, Hunting, Intimidation, Religion, Tracking, Wild Fighting

3e[edit]

There are actually three versions of the Half-Ogre in 3rd edition; one in Dragon #313, one in Races of Destiny, and the Kyrnnish Half-Ogre in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, which was reprinted in Races of Ansalon. "Secrets of Sarlona", an Eberron sourcebook, would also introduce the Eneko, a Half-Ogre like species descended from Ogre/Half-Giant hybridization.

The Dragon #313 half-ogre is a template that can be applied to Giants, Humanoids and Monstrous Humanoids. Per its own lore, most half-ogres are actually ogre-orcs, followed by ogre-bugbears and ogre-gnolls. Ogre-humans are the least common of their kind, and ogres mating with anything else is almost unheard of.

Small or Medium creatures with this template increase in size to Medium and Large, respectively.
If Size increases, boost speed by +10 feet.
+2 natural armor bonus
Darkvision 60 feet
Giant Blood: Treat as a Giant typed creature for special abilities, effects, magic items, etc that key off of race/type.
+4 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
Level Adjustment: +1 if size increased, otherwise +0

Both the Races of Destiny and the Krynnish Half-Ogre is instead treated as a race in its own right. Of the two, the Races of Destiny version is definitely the more powerful: Dungeon Magazine #149 would also use the RoD Half-Ogre as the basis for its Verbeeg conversion by keeping the Size at Medium and dropping the Int and Cha penalties in exchange for only getting a +4 to Str, portraying the former Giant-kin as instead half-ogres whose human ancestry is dominant.

+6 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
Giant type
Large size
Base speed 30 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
Natural Armor +4
Favored Class: Barbarian
Level Adjustment: +2

The Krynnish Half-Ogre is weaker, but at the same time, it has much better support. See, in the Dragonlance setting, ogres are actually pretty big deals in terms of the evil humanoid races, in no small part because orcs don't exist on Krynn. As such, half-ogres actually have a free niche to fill on their own, giving them a freedom they lack in other settings.

+4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
Medium
Humanoid (Ogre)
Base Speed 30 feet
Low-Light Vision
+1 Natural Armor Bonus
Favored Class: Fighter
Level Adjustment: +1

Pathfinder[edit]

In Pathfinder, things are slightly different. There, ogres are disfigured horrors right out of a hillbilly slasher flick - distorted monsters mutated through generations of incest, Lamashtu worship, toxic food and who knows what other foulness. Of course, as a species of killer hillbillies, Pathfinder's ogres love them some rape. Most of the time, they don't remember to stop before their victim dies, but when they do - or when it's a horribly mutated ogre gal snu-snuing some unfortunate guy - the result is a horrible mutant. See, ogre genes are so foul and polluted that any creature with ogre blood in its veins winds up a disfigured abomination in their own right, and that's one gene-pool that won't ever come right. As a result, these ogre-blooded freaks tend to be just as nasty and inbred as their ogre progenitors - maybe more so.

In Pathfinder, though, these unfortunates are called Ogrekin; a "half-ogre" is what you get when an ogre mates with a giant, and whilst such critters are still deformed, they come off a lot better than the poor ogrekin do.

Ogrekin status is handled as a template that can afflict Medium sized humanoids. There's two separate versions, but the idea remains fairly consistent.

Ogrekin Template, mk 1[edit]

This is the first version of the ogrekin template, which appeared in the original printing of "The Hook Mountain Massacre".

Type changes to Giant
+3 Natural Armor
Low-Light Vision
Roll once on the Advantageous Deformity table.
Roll Once on the Disadvantageous Deformity table.
Strength +6, Constituition +4, Intelligence -2, Charisma -2

Advantageous Deformity:

  1. Webbed Digits: The ogrekin has a Swim speed equal to half its base land speed.
  2. Oversized Limb: +2 Strength and can wield weapons one size category larger than normal with no enalty.
  3. Thick Skin: +2 natural armor.
  4. Enhanced Senses: +2 racial bonus on Search and Spot checks.
  5. Triple-Jointed: +4 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks, can move through areas half its space in size without squeezing.
  6. Oversized Maw: The ogrekin has a Bite attack that deals 1d4 damage as a secondary natural attack.
  7. Vestigial Limb: +4 racial bonus on grapple checks.
  8. Fierce Visage: +4 racial bonus on Intimidate checks.
  9. Quick Metabolism: +2 racial bonus on Fortitude saves, double the normal amount of healing from resting.
  10. Vestigial Twin: +2 racial bonus on Will saves, +2 racial bonus on one selected type of Knowledge checks.

Disadvantageous Deformity:

  1. Obese: -2 Dexterity (minimum of 1)
  2. Extra Ugly: -4 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks.
  3. Light Sensitive: Dazzled when in areas of bright sunlight or a Daylight spell.
  4. Weak Mind: -2 penalty on all Will saves.
  5. Speech Impediment: -2 penalty on all skill checks that rely on speech, +20% spell failure chance for spells with a verbal component.
  6. Deformed Hand: Cannot use a weapon in that hand, -2 penalty on attack rolls with two-handed weapons.
  7. Stunted Legs: -10 feet in speed (5 feet minimum).
  8. Pinhead: -2 Intelligence
  9. Fragile: Lose the normal +4 Con bonus.
  10. Freakish Birth: This lucky ogrekin has no crippling mutations at all!

Ogrekin Template, mk 2[edit]

This is the finalized version of the ogrekin template, which appeared in the Bestiary 2 and gained further mutations in the Inner Sea Monster Codex.

Type changes to Giant
+3 Natural Armor
Low-Light Vision
Select 1 Beneficial Deformity or roll to determine.
Select 1 Disadvantageous Deformity or roll to determine.
Strength +6, Constituition +4, Intelligence -2, Charisma -2

Beneficial Deformities:

  1. Oversized Limb: +2 Strength, can wield weapons one size category larger without penalty.
  2. Oversized Maw: Gain a Bite attack that deals 1d4 damage.
  3. Quick Metabolism: +2 racial bonus on Fortitude saves.
  4. Thick Skin: +2 natural armor bonus.
  5. Vestigial Limb: +4 racial bonus on grapple checks.
  6. Vestigial Twin: All-around Vision.

The Inner Sea Monster codex added these extra deformities:

  1. Bulging Eye: Gain Darkvision 60 feet.
  2. Enlarged Skull: Negates the normal Int penalty for Ogrekin.
  3. Gnarled Hands: Gain a Claw attack that deals 1d6 damage as a primary natural attck, or Improved Natural Attack (Claw) as a bonus feat if the base creature already has claw attacks.
  4. Grotesque Ears: Blindsense 10 feet, +4 racial bonus on Perception checks.
  5. Lanky: Reach increases by +5 feet.
  6. Snout: Gain the Scent quality.
  7. Thick Feet: +4 racial bonus to CMD against bull rush, overrun and trip, +2 to AC against attacks made whilst charging.
  8. Vice Grip: +2 racial bonus on disarm and grapple, +4 racial bonus to CMD against disarm and grapple.
  9. Warty Knuckles: Gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.
  10. Webbed Fingers: The ogrekin gains a Swim speed equal to half its land speed.

Disadvantageous Deformities:

  1. Deformed Hand: Cannot use a weapon in that hand, -2 penalty on attack rolls with two-handed weapons.
  2. Fragile: Lose the normal +4 Con bonus.
  3. Light Sensitive: Dazzled when in areas of bright sunlight or a Daylight spell.
  4. Obese: -2 Dexterity (minimum of 1)
  5. Stunted Legs: -10 feet in speed (5 feet minimum).
  6. Weak Mind: -2 penalty on all Will saves.

The Inner Sea Monster codex added these extra deformities:

  1. Atrophied Eyes: Gain the Light Blindness weakness.
  2. Bad Eyes: Attackers increase their Flanking bonus to +4, the ogrekin suffers a -2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls against targets more than 30 feet away.
  3. Brittle Bones: Attackers gain a +4 bonus on their confirm critical hit rolls against this ogrekin.
  4. Deformed Feet: The ogrekin can't run, and takes a -2 penalty to CMD against bull rush, overrun and trip.
  5. Distractible: If the ogrekin rolls a natural 1 on an ability check, attack roll, saving throw or skill check, it becomes Confused until the end of its next turn.
  6. Flaking Skin: Natural Armor Bonus decreases to +1, gain Vulnerability to Non-Lethal Damage.
  7. Massive Girth: Size category is +1 when attempting Stealth checks.
  8. Offensive Odor: Charisma penalty is -4 instead of -2, creatures with Scent can detect this ogrekin from twice as far.
  9. Trusting: -2 penalty on Will saves against mind-affecting effects, -1 penalty on Initiative checks.
  10. Twisted Spine: -4 penalty on grapple and trip checks, standing up from Prone requires a full-round action.
Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races
Core: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Dark Sun: Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen
Dragonlance: Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur
Mystara: Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak)
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
Oriental Adventures: Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk
Planescape: Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling
Spelljammer: Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil
Ravenloft: Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope
Complete
Book of X:
Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
Dragon Magazine: Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart