Friday, March 1, 2013


Ogre lineage doesn’t just ruin offspring—it ruins whole bloodlines.  Ogre seed is so dominant, so foul, and so ruinous, that it warps the entire family tree.  The traits simply do not breed out.  The child, grandchild, and so on down the line are always ogrekin.

And an ogrekin is a mutated mess—blessed and cursed with deformities that reveal its giant heritage, and with rages, desires, and lusts acceptable in only the vilest of humanoid societies. 

Bear with me, everyone reading yesterday, but I’m going to repeat myself: If you care about ogrekin, Nicolas Logue’s “The Hook Mountain Massacre” in Pathfinder #3 (which introduced them), is pretty much essential for demonstrating how one a family of these inbred half-breeds operates, as well as for more adventure ideas in that issue’s “Bestiary” section.

That “Bestiary” also contains even more GM deliciousness, like two longer, more gruesome lists of deformities.  And unlike the hardcover Bestiary’s ogrekin entry, which limits the template to humanoids, the original template allowed for monstrous humanoids and fey as well.  So while half-ogres, orogs, ogrekin bugbears and the like are all well and good, if you want to create an ogrekin medusa, green hag, or dryad, I’d love to see that disgusting stat block.

Oh and 1e orog fans, you’re not forgotten. Stick around through the end and we’ll chat…

A caravan has been dragged off the road—it’s wedding season for a family of ogrekin (the fruit of their own incestuous labors having all been stillborn).  Fortunately for the horrified captives, the ogrekin are still human enough to crave elaborate wedding ceremonies—remarrying is one of their favorite pastimes when trading sibling-spouses—which buys would-be rescuers time to save them.

The orcs of the Iron Skull clan are famous for their warped orog shock troops.  The Iron Skulls sometimes grant an orog to another clan as a gift, but only after gelding it first to preserve their monopoly.

The Trollwoods are misnamed; encounters with ogres and ogrekin are far more likely.  At least one family of half-ogres lives there, as well as isolated half-elf ogrekin and a tragically corpulent half-dryad ogrekin bound to an oak as stunted and rotund as she is.  Some of these ogrekin grow to enormous size (ignoring the template’s confinement to Medium humanoids), particularly the half-troll ogrekin near Grasp-Ankle Bridge, and Og-Bog, a woebegone half-ettin ogrekin who can’t understand why he/he has two heads (not to mention a vestigial arm).

Pathfinder #3 & Pathfinder Bestiary 2 204

Mail call!

Any chance you’ll touch on the classic orog and ogrillon in the ogrekin entry?

Sure, I’d love to, except…er…I don’t know that much.  I wasn’t a 1e or 2e player, so I never saw the orog or ogrillon in context, aside from the occasional offhand reference in Dragon or Dungeon.  So I can’t say much with any authority.  (And as far as I know, the 3.0 orog only really showed up in the Forgotten Realms book Races of Faerûn, and those weren’t even half-ogre/half-orc; they were just tougher orcs from the Underdark.)

And also…I never really got the orog and ogrillon.  Because while the orog is a great idea, together they made zero sense.

To quote Wikipedia, “An orog is a crossbreed between a male orc and a female ogre. Orogs usually live among orcs; they are stronger, more intelligent, and more highly disciplined than typical orcs.”  Um, because ogres are paragons of discipline?  These aren’t hobgoblins we’re talking about.  And where are these female ogres living?  Are they palling around with the orcs on a regular basis?  Otherwise, the orogs would be lucky to make it through childhood among their larger cousins.  Or at some age did the orogs just get tired of always being the short ones and decide to find some orcs so they could beat up on someone smaller?  (Wait, that actually does make sense!)

Okay, so it’s a draw there.  But the ogrillon is where things really get nuts: “The ogrillion is the brutish, armor-skinned offspring of a female orc and a male ogre.” 

Um, how does that work?  The dominant genes must be tied to the sex chromosomes; otherwise the sex of the father and mother wouldn’t matter.  But clearly sex-related genes work differently in magical settings, because otherwise only male offspring would get the fDNA (fantasy DNA) that would be expressed as the ogrillon phenotype. 

And armor-skin?  Bwah?  Where does that come from?  (Other than, y’know, it’s an “ogre-armadillo.”)  And what does that do to a female orc’s uterus?  Yikes!

(My dad’s an OB/GYN; this is not exactly odd conversation for me.) 

If anything, ogrillons should come from the male orc/female ogre pairing, as the female’s larger womb would offer a more secure shelter for the child to grow and develop, thus explaining the more advantageous physical characteristics later in life.  So I could buy the orog/ogrillon split, if and only if the parents’ sexes were reversed.

So in short, filbypott is right: orogs are a completely logical result of orcs and ogres living in proximity, and awesome in theory.  But in terms of publication history, everything written about them since has been categorically bat-guano insane.  :-)

So hail to the orog, and meanwhile I’m sticking the ogrillon into the same category as the faun/satyr rape problem and the perennial nast-fest that is the sphinx: fantasy sex that makes me go ewww.

Back to filbypott:

I haven’t seen many non-human ogrekin; odd since the template can apply to any humanoid. Imagine troll or hill giant ogrekin.

Technically it’s any Medium humanoid, but I’m not going to quibble.  Your wish is my command—see above.

PS: There was a joke to be made yesterday about the octopus entry being yesterday’s sushi.  But I forgot to make it.  I gotta stop doing this at 11 PM.

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