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Thread: Ogres of Krynn (Volo's guide style writeup)

  1. #1
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    Default Ogres of Krynn (Volo's guide style writeup)

    I finally finished something I've been chatting about, at least a workable first draft.

    I've long felt that Ogres should be a playable race, since they are mentioned in the same breath as Elves and Humans. We did have stats before, but the large size and brutish intelligence penalties generally made them an "exotic" race rather than something you would consider a core race.

    Therefore, I've submitted for the communities approval my best first draft of Ogres. I used the Firbolg and Goliath entries in Volo's guide as inspirations. I was unable to find a particular dragonlance novel passage that would give a good epigraph for the race, so maybe the community's novel readers can help me out there.

    Please critique word choice, problematic stats or abilities, and how well it fits your conception of what Krynnish Ogres look and act like. Would you allow a player who shows up with this race to play in your 5e campaign?
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    Last edited by ferratus; 08-13-2017 at 07:52 PM.

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    So, a lot of views, but not a lot of comment.

    If you don't have any opinions on the rules themselves because you aren't playing D&D 5e, I'm still interested in what the community's gut reaction to the writeup.

    Does the Hibagon subrace match the new breed of Ogre that seems to be arising in Richard A. Knaak's Ogre Titans trilogy? Or the Oni match depictions of Maldred in Jean Rabe's Dhamon Trilogy? What do you think about the innovation of changing the term "Mischta" to mean the overarching term for both Irda and Nzunta High Ogres, rather than just a subset of Irda?

    What do you think of the Curse of Evil mutations, or the personality quirks? Do they form an effective bridge between the elite Ogres of this writeup and the common Ogres of the Monster Manual?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ferratus View Post
    So, a lot of views, but not a lot of comment.
    Yo! Always sucks when you put work in and no one seems to care!

    I don't have anything to add as I'm not playing 5e - sorry. I stopped making things unless a player asks for them a long time ago as, aside from your own amusement, it seems to be a waste of energy. You'll get better feedback from your Ogre players than you will here!

    Still - have a good day and long live the Lance!
    Seriously; what's the point of being a minotaur if you're not going to skewer something, anything, on those beautiful horns....

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    I personally wouldn't let anyone play an ogre at my table. Especially in DL I would tend to push a player toward a Draconian.

    As for your build, the INT or CON bonus makes it look like a reskinned hill dwarf. To me, ogres are huge muscled brutes and they should have that reflect in their stats somehow. A 22 STR stat cap would allow for that. Possibly also allow a PC to exchange 2 points of INT for STR and 2 points of WIS for CON. This would then go along with the big dumb ogre type but would be a PC choice so as to be inline with the no negative penalties on stats that is typical in 5E.

    Overall a nice write up. You do have one extra period in your first table on the last option.

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    Definitely interesting, although I'd never allow Ogre PCs in my campaigns, as I consider them monsters with no redeeming qualities (much like draconians). Half-ogres however are a different matter.

    Compared with the official stats for Minotaurs I'd probably go with +2 Str AND +2 Con and -2 to Int OR Cha (I think recent official racial writeups in Volo's book do show examples of races with negative modifiers.)
    Last edited by Turambar; 08-17-2017 at 08:52 AM.
    It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. Never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you [...] YOU ARE CREATOR AND FINAL ARBITER.
    E. G. Gygax, Dungeon Masters Guide, 1979.

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    I've only played or allowed evil characters in my sessions as part of an evil group, but not on their own. Cunning, sly evil characters might be playable, but ogres...

    I'd increase the modifiers to +2 instead of +1, and because of the medium size you have to add the powerful build, which I'd probably skip by going straight to Large size for the standard ogres.

    Other than that, I like it. It's good to keep seeing 5th Dragonlance material being produced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITA_CRX View Post
    I personally wouldn't let anyone play an ogre at my table. Especially in DL I would tend to push a player toward a Draconian.
    Quote Originally Posted by Turambar View Post
    Definitely interesting, although I'd never allow Ogre PCs in my campaigns, as I consider them monsters with no redeeming qualities (much like draconians). Half-ogres however are a different matter.
    It is interesting to see this sort of attitude in the community. As long as I've been a dragonlance fan, I always thought of Ogres as the third core race. Elves are the lords of light, Ogres the masters of evil, and humans choosing between the two.

    "Whether elf, human or Ogre all spellcasters must take the test of high sorcery." "Elves were created by the Gods of Good, Humans by the Gods of Neutrality, Ogres are the children of the gods of darkness." These types of statements are scattered throughout the novels, showing the Ogres as the equals of humans and elves, unlike the numerous greygem races which came later.

    I understand that Draconians and Minotaurs have been given sympathetic treatment in the novels but Ogres have been given their own series of novels where the Ogre race was shown sympathetically, the Ogre Titans trilogy. Within, we saw Golgren trying to pull his kin out of the depths of their debasement, and trying to forge anew a powerful nation that has rediscovered its power and its culture. We saw Golgren had intelligent and competant lieutenants, and the emergance of Ogre artisans, mages and skilled warriors under Golgren's rule. I rooted for Golgren to succeed in those novels, and I'd like to believe that Golgren did.

    I understand that I should make clear that these are Ogres that are post-Golgren, and I'm working on revisions to make that more clear in my writeup. I'll also put a note about "accursed" or "wild" Ogres and put in the large size and negative intelligence bonus stuff for DM's of earlier time periods.

    Compared with the official stats for Minotaurs I'd probably go with +2 Str AND +2 Con and -2 to Int OR Cha (I think recent official racial writeups in Volo's book do show examples of races with negative modifiers.)
    Quote Originally Posted by ITA_CRX View Post
    Possibly also allow a PC to exchange 2 points of INT for STR and 2 points of WIS for CON. This would then go along with the big dumb ogre type but would be a PC choice so as to be inline with the no negative penalties on stats that is typical in 5E.
    The point of this racial writeup is, as I said, is for Ogres to take their place as a core race of Ansalon. What is more, I am trying to fill all hole in the dragonlance setting in terms of monsters that it does not have. Namely, someone to fill the role of the drow in the Forgotten Realms, a race of powerful warriors and mages who can meet the heroes sword to sword and spell to spell as masters of evil monsters.

    Generally, the leaders of the forces of evil have been humans because there is no race to really take up the banner of evil. Minotaurs are too unsubtle, a metaphor for a strong military power like Rome. Draconians have gone full dragonborn, too sympathetic to be vile villains anymore, imbued with a dragon's nobility and majesty.

    If I make them stupid, Ogres are just a big dumb joke. A bigger goblin who will just take orders from whatever human knight or wizard that is his master.

    I want more than Krog Smash! as a character concept, or I'd just use the half-orc stats and be done with it.

    Look at these images of the possibility of what ogres could be in DL if they take their rightful place as the third race:

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...racter-art.jpg
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...9da23e6891.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/564x/7f/0b/f1/7...81c5642e60.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/564x/f6/00/1d/f...0d47cd19b7.jpg
    Last edited by ferratus; 08-17-2017 at 11:30 PM.

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    I'd increase the modifiers to +2 instead of +1, and because of the medium size you have to add the powerful build, which I'd probably skip by going straight to Large size for the standard ogres.
    Ok, so why did I go for a medium build for Ogres? Several reasons:

    1) Large races are usually banned races by DM's in all editions of D&D.

    2) Large races are banned races in 5e because the rules for large creatures allow them to do double damage with weapons, which is an overwhelming power. That's why Firbolgs and Goliaths have a special ability to allow them to act as large creatures under certain circumstances, but aren't truly large creatures. I've extended this by giving Hibagon Ogres the reach of a large creature.

    3) Figuring out costs for equipment, food, lodging, mounts and all other practical concerns for large creatures is a pain in the neck.

    4) Minotaurs are medium size in Dragonlance too, for all the above reasons.

    5) Medium races can relate to each other as near-humans, whereas large creatures are monsters. No romance options, no sitting in the inn with their fellows and so forth. I am trying to restore Ogres to their status as the third race. I want them in the thick of the politics, war, and diplomacy of the setting.

    6) If I was to make the creatures large, I would have to start taking away power to make it balanced, rather than giving options to a medium sized creature to make it more powerful. Players tend to prefer the latter.

    7) (THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON) In the Ogre Titans trilogy, Ogres are described as being naturally around Golgren's height (a largeish medium size) before they were cursed. As Ogres are shaking off their curse of evil, they are going to return to their natural size.

    Compared with the official stats for Minotaurs I'd probably go with +2 Str AND +2 Con and -2 to Int OR Cha (I think recent official racial writeups in Volo's book do show examples of races with negative modifiers.)
    As for your build, the INT or CON bonus makes it look like a reskinned hill dwarf. To me, ogres are huge muscled brutes and they should have that reflect in their stats somehow. A 22 STR stat cap would allow for that. Possibly also allow a PC to exchange 2 points of INT for STR and 2 points of WIS for CON. This would then go along with the big dumb ogre type but would be a PC choice so as to be inline with the no negative penalties on stats that is typical in 5E.
    I'm afraid you guys are reading the text wrong, Hibagon Ogres can get +2 strength if they choose. All Ogres get +1 to strength whether Mischta, Hibagon or Oni, as strength is a defining feature of Ogre-kind. Oni are intelligent, so they get an intelligence bonus. Mischta (Irda/Nzunta) are beautiful, so they get a charisma bonus. Hibagon are strong, so they get a further strength or constitution bonus.

    Hibagon won't be stronger than Goliaths (Tarmak), Dragonborn (Draconians) or Minotaurs, but I don't see why they have to be. The minotaur and the ogre seem to be evenly matched in that arm wrestling picture in Races of Ansalon.

    Why no intelligence penalty? I want them to be the masters of evil. To fill the same design space as drow elves and tieflings. I want them to the equals of elves and humans. I can't do that with an intelligence penalty.

    The only race with a ability score penalty at all in Volo's guide is the Orc, which didn't get a full Player Character writeup, just a paragraph of racial stats for making NPC characters. Why? All WotC wants out of the orc is a dumb, savage killer.

    Volo's Guide racial ability score adjustments

    I want much more out of Ogres than a dumb barbarian with a greatclub.

    I understand why you wouldn't allow Ogres at your tables though, because if I am reading all these comments right, you guys aren't interested in Ogres as being anything other than just another monster, or at the very least certainly not as important as races such as Draconians or Minotaurs.

    After all, it explains why you weren't interested in reading all the flavour text I wrote about Ogres and their history and current status. Either that or I was so incoherent that I didn't explain that Hibagon Ogres are basically written up as a warrior subrace with the intelligence, cunning and good fashion sense of an Ogre Mage. Like this pipe smoking debonair villain.



    Or my headings aren't very clear, because nobody is talking about the Mischta or the Oni, so I'm thinking everyone just jumped to the first stats they saw about Ogres, were disappointed they didn't see what they expected (+4 strength, -2 intelligence, large size) and didn't read the rest of the entry.

    Is the flavour text that the curse is fading emphasized on the first page enough?

    I guess most readers wouldn't think about the dragonlance specific backstory of Ogres and their legendary stupidity and gigantism being linked to their curse enough to really have an impact on the reader when explained in a couple paragraphs. When one thinks Ogre, they think Shrek or the dumb bully of fairy tales. Maybe I should just call them Oni in the big heading in the front, and use the word Ogre solely for the cursed Ogres?
    Last edited by ferratus; 08-18-2017 at 12:38 AM.

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    Well, I can only speak for myself, there's often more than one explanation to things, so I'll say that I commented only on the part that interested me. In general I have zero interest in allowing any type of PC ogres at the table. Half-ogres, much like half-orcs, I'd allow, though, because of that "half" in the name (and taking a cue from Gygax, that means that they are in the small 10% of mongrels that can pass as humans.) Similarly, no draconian PCs. Minotaurs have a more varied history, so I'd allow them as PCs.
    I read the stat changes you suggested, and I counter-suggested flat +2 Str, +2 Con, and either a -2 to Int or -2 to Cha. Clearly you don't care for penalties, so there it is (but note that Kobolds also get a penalty to Str.) In general, I am not a fan of the "no penalty" system.
    This doesn't mean that Ogres can't be "masters of evil"; I don't see the implication, as you seem to suggest, that to be such, they can't have a penalty to Intelligence. A penalty only means they can't be as smart as an Elf on average, say, but then what? You can have exceptional characters which become leaders. Then, there's always the option of Oni if not straight Ogre.
    I also don't care much about the fading curse etc. In my games Ogres are monsters, much like Draconians, and that's it. I want a clear divide between Good and Evil, and both races provide great examples of the latter.
    But take it all with a grain of salt, as probably I am not in the target "demographics" for this kind of development.
    Last edited by Turambar; 08-18-2017 at 07:40 AM.
    It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. Never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you [...] YOU ARE CREATOR AND FINAL ARBITER.
    E. G. Gygax, Dungeon Masters Guide, 1979.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turambar View Post
    Minotaurs have a more varied history, so I'd allow them as PCs.

    In my games Ogres are monsters, much like Draconians, and that's it. I want a clear divide between Good and Evil, and both races provide great examples of the latter.
    You're a bit inconsistent there aren't you?

    I mean, minotaurs don't have that varied a history. There is Kaz, the good minotaur because he befriended Huma Dragonbane the greatest hero of good in the entire Dragonlance canon... and... the noble minotaur that died at Dragon's Point because he needed to reclaim his honour by letting himself be brutally killed by members of his own clan?

    I mean, history has to start somewhere, and basically you're just saying that you accept minotaurs as PC's because they have generally been accepted as PC's. But they are just as monstrous as the Ogres in the original modules. In fact ogres tend to show up more as potential contacts and allies more in those original modules than the minotaurs do.

    Clearly you don't care for penalties, so there it is (but note that Kobolds also get a penalty to Str.)

    [snip]

    This doesn't mean that Ogres can't be "masters of evil"; I don't see the implication, as you seem to suggest, that to be such, they can't have a penalty to Intelligence.

    [snip]

    You can have exceptional characters which become leaders
    I missed the penalty for kobolds, but in both cases those aren't full racial writeups for playable characters, they are simply to give character levels to monstrous NPC's and boss monsters. Orcs are stupid, and kobolds are weak.

    I don't necessarily object to penalties in general, but I specifically object to an intelligence penalty to my new Ogre race in particular because ability score bonuses and penalties do matter for how to race is perceived. -2 strength means the race is weak, full stop. -2 means the race is stupid, full stop. It doesn't mean slightly less intelligent than elves, it means stupid.

    I want to revive the power and majesty of the ancient ogres (with monstrous retouches) and unleash them on the world. I don't want Blode and Kern to just be a source of brutes for whatever human leader is coming next to conquer the world... I want Golthuu, the Dream of Golgren, that the Ogres are a menacing power in their own right.

    Not just an exceptional leader like Obould Many-arrows summoning a horde of disposable brutes, but a race of gifted magi and cunning warriors. Like the drow.

    Then, there's always the option of Oni if not straight Ogre.
    This is where I think I made my biggest mistake with the entry. I called them Ogres instead of Oni. If you type in Ogre into google image search, you get Ogres as you see them. When you type Oni into google image search, you get Ogres as I want people to see my new re-emergent powerful ogres. I was stupid to think that Dragonlance backstory would override the wider cultural undertanding of ogres greedy giant brutes.

    It is helpful to get this perspective, so I will be sure to put a short NPC writeup of "cursed" ogres (complete with an intelligence penalty, large size, +4 strength bonus). I don't really see the need to write up balanced PC stats for them with interesting special abilities or what not, because I agree with you that those types of Ogres don't really make good PC's.

    I will also point out that Ogre is the name for the fully cursed and monstrous Oni, simple brutes that are ruled by an Hibagon, Yokai, or Mischta Oni elite.

    I also don't care much about the fading curse etc.
    But take it all with a grain of salt, as probably I am not in the target "demographics" for this kind of development.
    Different strokes for different folks I suppose. I will say though that Dragonlance has a dozen dumb strong races (including minotaurs!) but no real monstrous race that leads other monstrous races.
    Last edited by ferratus; 08-19-2017 at 03:23 PM.

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