Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Class: the Ogre

Back when the Greyhame Game was just picking up, only a few sessions in, one of the prospective players asked me if he could roll up an ogre character for the game. No, I immediately replied, wishing as referee to retain control of the game and its B/X basis (this particular player was familiar with 3rd edition and its rules for monsters as characters).

But then I relented. After all, directly from Holmes, "At the Dungeon Master's discretion, a character can be anything his or her player wants him to be. Characters must always start out inexperienced and relatively weak and build on their experience. Thus, an expedition might include, in addition to the four basic classes and races ... a centaur, a lawful werebear, and a Japanese Samurai fighting-man." (p.7, Dungeons and Dragons, by Gygax and Arneson, edited by Eric Holmes, 1979 edition)

So I agreed that he could play an ogre-character, but not until another character in the game had reached fourth level (given that ogres start off with HD 4+1). Well, today he remembered that conversation, and told me he was going to roll up an ogre tonight (probably for Thursday's game). I told him to roll it up as usual, 3d6 in order, and I'll write an ogre-class ... so here goes.


Strength is the prerequisite of the ogre class, and STR 13+ provides a bonus of 5% to earned xp, while a STR 16+ provides a bonus of 10% (non-cumulative). Ogres may not be of Lawful, Clannish, Good, or Evil alignment; Ogres of less than INT 13 also may not be of Arcane alignment.

Level 1 -- Bully                       -- 4d8 HD     -- 0 XP
Level 2 -- Brute                       -- 5d8 HD     -- 16,000 XP
Level 3 -- Masher                    -- 6d8 HD     -- 32,000 XP
Level 4 -- Ogre                        -- 7d8 HD     -- 64,000 XP
Level 5 -- Bluebeard               -- 8d8 HD      -- 120,000 XP
Level 6 -- Chieftain                 -- 9d8 HD     -- 240,000 XP
Level 7 -- 7th Level Chieftain -- 9d8+4 HD -- 480,000 XP
Level 8 -- 8th Level Chieftain -- 9d8+8 HD -- 600,000 XP
Ogres may advance no higher than 8th level.

Languages known are Ogre, Orc, Troll, Stone Giant and a pidgin Common. Ogres with INT 13+ may learn additional languages (or be fluent in Common) normally. All ogres start play as illiterate, and remain so until/unless they spend time in-play learning to read and write.

Ogres fight and save as a fighter of a level equal to their hit dice (i.e. an Ogre 1 fights and saves as a Fighter 4). They may use any weapon or shield, but armor must be fashioned specifically for their frame, at great cost. Magic armor may not be worn unless fashioned for a giant-type creature to begin with.

Without armor, Ogres have an armor class of 6; they start the game with a suit of piecemeal armor that lowers this to armor class 5 when worn. To fashion armor for an ogre, the cost is 100 gold for leather (AC 4), 400 for mail (AC 2), or 1000 for plate (AC 0), at minimum.

Because of their great strength, ogres deal 1-10 damage when striking with clubs of their own make. Any other weapon in their hands deals an additional +2 to damage (i.e. a spear would deal 3-9 damage, rather than 1-6). This is in addition to any bonuses or penalties from an ogre's strength score, so an ogre with STR 13 will actually deal +3 damage on every hit with a normal weapon (or 2-11 damage with his own club).

All Ogres begin play with only three items: piecemeal armor, a club, and an ogre-bag. The ogre bag may carry up to 4000 coin of weight, and contains an additional 2-5 random items according to the table at the bottom of the post (roll once at first level; after that, what's in your bag is what you put into it).

At 4th level (Ogre HD 7), an Ogre may invest 5000 gold into raw materials, magical components, etc., in order to complete an esoteric ritual to sew and create a new ogre-bag which is actually a bag of holding. The creation of this bag takes from 1 to 3 months to create, though--as the ritual is largely involved in the slow process of stitching everything together--it may be interrupted by periods of adventuring. Nevertheless, any time spent adventuring does not count toward time spent creating the bag.

At 6th level (Chieftain HD 9, so basically "name level") an Ogre may carve out or seize a cave or some other underground complex as his lair. Depending on the Ogre-character's proclivities, the referee will provide the details for this adventure. Once the lair has been secured and any inhabitants driven off or subdued (or, if carving it out, any attempts to take it by other creatures are driven off), the Ogre will attract a tribe of 2-20 normal HD 4+1 ogres to join him. These do not serve per se, but may be bullied into doing the Ogre chief's bidding.


Contents of an Ogre's Bag
Roll 2-5 times on this table at first level. After that, what's in your bag is up to what you put into it.

11 - hemp rope 100'
12 - a battered lantern
13 - a week's worth of hardtack and pemmican
14 - two halves of a 10' pole
15 - a large, tarnished hand-mirror
16 - a scroll which is actually a randomly generated treasure map; you can't read it, of course
21 - a lump of wax
22 - a tangled mass of string and twine
23 - a large jar of lard
24 - 50 pieces of greasy parchment
25 - 2-12 iron ingots
26 - large cast iron cooking pot
31 - 4 large, round, river rocks
32 - a broken-off stalactite/stalagmite--may be used as a club that deals 1-12 damage
33 - a cool geode; you think it's worth something, but it probably isn't
34 - a little box of dirt you took off some halfling; doesn't seem worth much
35 - 1-6 chunks of ore; could be copper, might be gold
36 - 1-6 pieces of fool's gold
41 - a large bone whistle fashioned for your lips/mouth
42 - a long braided sling; casting large stones with it, you deal 1-8 damage
43 - soiled laundry (jerkin, etc.) that even you won't wear anymore
44 - a sewing kit with large bone needles--sometimes even ogres need to stitch something!
45 - a large whetstone and a large knife (shortsword) sharpened by it
46 - an idol of your god or giant-hero, whittled with some patience
51 - the corpse of a giant rat
52 - a live troll arm--you've got to keep eating from it day-to-day or it will grow into an angry troll
53 - 1-6 of what might be dragon teeth (the kind that grow armed warriors when planted)
54 - 2-12 orc heads
55 - a roper's gizzard containing 1-3 gems worth 10-100 gold each
56 - a wyvern's sting with one dose left
61 - a giant's femur, scrimshawed with scenes of battle
62 - a cask of fine wine of excellent vintage; you've been saving it for a real shindig
63 - a battered old book of poetry worth maybe up to 600 gold (except you can't read it)
64 - a rolled-up old tapestry worth maybe 100 gold to the right collector
65 - furs worth 100-600 gold
66 - 1000 gold


  1. Well done, you have made it simple and pretty well balanced. And the picture is good to.

    1. Thanks! I hope the class turns out well in-game. The picture is from the 2e Monstrous Manual, which was my first D&D rulebook--so it informs much of my vision of the game