They’re dumb, and big, and also dumb, and did I mention dumb? Ogres are a mainstay in many D&D encounters that require a big brute who hits hard and acts directly. However, there may be other options for these hulking masses of muscle. Here are some adventure hooks related to Ogres.
Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “O” is for Ogre as Joe Lastowski once again shares some great adventure hooks featuring everyone’s favourite dumb brutes.
Adventure Hooks: Ogres
1. Seven SamurOgres
In a play on the plot to the Kurosawa movie Seven Samurai, a band of Ogres has been demanding tribute from the town, or they’ll come in and kill everyone. The town, which isn’t wealthy, tries to hire the PCs to stop these monsters, since they’re too big for any of the town militia to handle. The party must help the town shore-up their defenses to defend against the next Ogre attack, while also trying to figure out how best to infiltrate the Ogre ranks to kill their leaders.
2. Ogre the River & Through the Woods
Bridges over a river next to a new town have been repeatedly smashed, and a late night stake-out of a bridge will show the party that it is Ogres who are smashing the bridges. The bridges will need to stay up so that the town can engage in vital trade. Upon investigating, though, the party learns that the Ogres believe there is a powerful god or spirit in the river, and these Ogres believe it is sacrilege to the River God to build bridges over her. The simple-minded Ogres may not realize that their “god” is actually a playful sprite throwing her voice, but the party will nonetheless have to figure out how to deal with them.
3. Gift of the Ogre Magi
Most Ogres are brutish and dumb. But once in a blue moon, an Ogre comes along that has an innate ability to manipulate magic. This does not mean, however, that the Ogre has suddenly become a scholar. In this adventure, your PCs are investigating several smash-and-grab type thefts of magical components, magical creatures, etc. from nobles in a town. When a particularly evil artifact that was being held for safety in a local temple gets stolen, the party must act quickly. It turns out that all of these items are being stolen by an Ogre Magi and his Ogre brothers… only the Magi doesn’t know exactly what they do. He can only sense magical power within them. Now that the Ogre has a chance of unleashing the dark power in the artifact while trying to “make more magic go boom”, the party may have some tense negotiations, or a throw-down fight with the Magi & other Ogres before the dark artifact regains its power.
4. Ogre and Ogre Again
The party runs into a confusing situation when they kill an Ogre, then later in the day find the exact same Ogre (same chipped tooth, same skin coloration, same ponytail, etc) in their path, with no apparent memory of meeting the party previously. If they kill this one, another just like the previous two shows up. Even weirder… there is no evidence of the previously killed bodies when the party looks for them. Is this an immortal Ogre? Some kind of weird Groundhog Day time loop? No, eventually the party will find an evil wizard who is trying to perfect a cloning spell, and using an Ogre as his test case. Unfortunately, so far the copies don’t last more than a day before their essence dissipates and they disappear, but he is getting close… so long as he’s not disturbed by pesky adventurers!
5. Giants?!? Ogreat…
Ogres, while big & tough, are not the top of the food chain. When a family of Giants moves into the nearby mountains, Ogres are forced to move down to attack the villages at the foot of the mountain. Can the party negotiate with the Giants to co-exist with the Ogres?
6. Somewhere, Ogre the Rainbow
The Feywild is supposed to be a land where dreams become reality. It is even said that certain Feywild pocket dimensions may actually be the dreams of strong-willed creatures in the material world. What happens when the party accidentally ends up in a deep corner of the Feywild where an Ogre Magi’s dreams are reality? How long will it take them to realize they are in another creature’s dream, and what will they do to try and convince it to wake up (or not wake up). How will they escape? And how do an Ogre’s dreams differ from those of normal Humans, Elves, Dwarves, etc.?
A town has been experiencing horrible problems with an Ogre. However, witness reports vary widely. Some say it has metal claws. Others claim that it breathes fire. Others claim that it has four legs. Is this an Ogre-mage? Is it some sort of shape-shifter? No, actually it’s a down-on-their-luck theater group that turned to banditry when they realized they could use their special effects and Ogre costume to scare villagers away from their valuables.
As a gentlemen’s wager after one of your party members makes some arrogant claims, a local noble challenges the party to a test of their teaching ability. That test is to teach an Ogre to read and write. And it turns out he has just such an Ogre in a cage on his estate. You can go many ways with this… make the Ogre very smart, but pretending to be dumb out of spite to the noble; or make the Ogre eager to learn, but totally incapable of mentally handling reading & writing; or maybe the party decides to fake it through some Weekend At Bernie’s-like chicanery involving Mage Hands and prompting the Ogre to move. Whatever way you go, try to have fun with the Ogre character, who may become a recurring NPC friend of the party’s after this challenge is completed.