One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
This is a conversation between Mortellan and I from a GreyChat on some Thursday night a few years back.
We both did Ogre style articles in about the same period awhile back. Mortellan's The Altar of Dhawar and my Ogremeet. They were both relatively popular with the Canonfire crowd so we were throwing around the idea of collaberating on a project concerning Ogre's in their entirety. A "About Ogres, From Ogres" type deal.
Hopefully Mortellan doesn't mind me posting this and if he does, I'm sure he will let me know. Anyway, maybe someday us two will have similiar free time available to actually do this.
Enjoy the read about a project in it's most infant beginning.
<abys> i still wanna do an Ogre type consolidation with you sometime
<mortellan> yes this is true, and before it fades from my memory, lets consider this nugget...
<abys> shore, lemme have a smoke first
<mortellan> in zagig's ruins was like 30-40,000 rings sized for ogre fingers
<abys> haha i know
<mortellan> chew on that
<abys> for controlling an army of Ogres
<abys> room Z604 if i remember correctly
<abys> im a WGR1 fanatic
<mortellan> ya that level totally ruled
<mortellan> go smoke
<abys> guarded by an infiniote amount of invisible stalkers and an organ who's sounds cause fear and confusion in anyone under 12th level
<abys> im back
<abys> i can prolly get Tedra to do an Ogre for our front cover
<mortellan> anyhoo...is there 30,000 ogres in the GH domain area?!
<abys> and it can be some type of "Ogre dwellings of the Flanaess" or something similiar
<mortellan> tedra does graphix, ya
<abys> Yah, in the Abbor-Alz and Cairn Hills
<abys> you might have to count Half-Ogre, Orogs into the mix though
<mortellan> okay i could buy that
<abys> Orogs are half orc half ogre, and then you got the half-ogre half humans - half ogres
<abys> thatd work though, if you ask me
<mortellan> yup...ull is ruled by a half ogre, im ontop of that...where else are ogres in numbers
<abys> flinty hills
<abys> no.. thats ettins, sorry
<abys> well, basically anywhere geographically spread with hills has ogres, but i think the largest concentration is the abbor-alz and cairn hills
<abys> that might be something else we might have to do too, is detail all the different ogre settlements (by making them up, ofcourse)
<abys> its something that has never been done before, so we can run with anything we like
<mortellan> okay i can subscribe to the central lands being ogre mecca
<abys> actually, Blackthorn has a huge amount of ogres too
<abys> in the Gnarley Forest
<mortellan> not too far off
<abys> its detailed in a book i have here somehwere
<abys> Slavers maybe
<abys> ooo yah the pomarj too
<abys> so , Pomarj, Blackthorn, Abbor-Alz, and the Cairn Hills
<mortellan> what would be neat to me is an ogre migration map, mimic of the human one
<abys> hahha yah
<abys> we could do it in an ogre perspective too
<abys> like "for ogres, by ogres" type of deal
<mortellan> so ogres are 'eiger' could we further subrace them?
<abys> every published product is from a human pov, so itd be nice to break away from that and make something unprecedented
<abys> i bet we could
<abys> to a human all ogres are ogres
<mortellan> ull ogres wouldnt be like cairn ogres
<abys> but to an ogre, i bet they are different denominations
<abys> i think we really got something interesting here
<mortellan> thats why i like ItE, orcs were given flavors, despite the name mess ups
<abys> i dont have ItE =/
<abys> oh wait yes i do
<abys> i have a pdf
<abys> i have every Greyhawk product ever released on pdf
<abys> but i dont like reading pdf, books are so much better
<mortellan> ill keep that in mind
<abys> i have a badass ivid pdf
<abys> the Allman layout
<mortellan> big file i bet
<abys> lemme sees
<abys> here, follow this...
<abys> its the best ive found
<mortellan> off topic...
<mortellan> i am working on a CF article about magic items of ull...what topic does that fall under
<abys> spells and magic items
<mortellan> spells...okay it didnt say magic items specifically
<mortellan> there was a relics topic
<abys> nah, put it under artifacts and relics
<abys> yah use that
<abys> i can always change them anyway
<abys> i was going to say...
<abys> i dont think we should use the Flan name motiffs with our ogre subraces
<abys> and instead we should make up ogre sounding ones
<mortellan> oh ya!
<abys> i threw in some ogre language on my Ogremeet article and people seemed to dig it, so..
<abys> like "Deth Podak" means "moment of position"
<mortellan> wow, this could be fun
<abys> yah, i really think it will be a hit
<abys> we're both real popular Cf authors and neither of us have over 5 submissions heh
<mortellan> go fig
<abys> we'll obviously include ogremeet and the altar, ofcourse
<abys> what i like to do is look at maps from various modules and there will be a location on a map that has absolutely no detail, then i devote my writing to that
<abys> i bet we can find plenty of them that we could use for ogre locales
<mortellan> yup, that and we can peruse the encounter charts
<abys> and even if thats not the case im a pretty good hex-mapper
<abys> yah encounter charts
<mortellan> i've done my share of maps, mostly hand drawn tho
<abys> heh, i sux at those =.
<abys> lets figure out a format
<abys> we wanna do a full-blown, history of - subraces of- etc etc?
<abys> i think thatd be cool, and the migration charts are an awesome idea
<mortellan> yeah that could be the prologue to the individual area entries?
<abys> but where do you suppose they migrated from? i speculate they shared flanaess land with the flan way back, but were supressed to the hills and caves when the human migrations and Aerdy swept the land
<abys> well, it depends how we subrace them i guess
<abys> where do you suppose ogres originated?
<mortellan> true, maybe we can pick some other's brains on ogre origins
<abys> i think Argon has something on that
<abys> his ideas are a little unorthodox though
<mortellan> i agree ogres would have to be in place pre-migrations or else they wouldnt have kept up
<abys> do you know of the cairn builders?
<mortellan> i read it once
<abys> they are a pre-Flan flanaess people who built the star cairns and such
<abys> or so says Erik Mona
<mortellan> oh ok
<abys> but i think we could say the ogres built them
<abys> pre-human migration
<mortellan> the star cairns?
<mortellan> hmmm i ran that adventure, not sure
<abys> bcuz the cairn builders, as far as canon (Erik Mona) says are an unknown, all we know is they have been dubbed "the cairn builders" and they built the cairns
<abys> and that they built them before the Flan were running around the flanaess
<mortellan> then ogres would be older than flan?
<abys> heh, yup
<mortellan> kinda neanderthalish?
<abys> which they are
<abys> they never really evolved much?
<mortellan> okay, slightly off topic...ogre magi
<abys> i love em
<abys> and ogre shamans
<mortellan> i know lil of them
<mortellan> seperate race, or what?
<abys> well, kind of, they are "oriental"
<mortellan> how does this work for us then
<abys> but there is 12 of em in the bottom of the Tower of Power devout worshippers of Nerull
<mortellan> ya and one is in Maure Castle too
<abys> well, they are one of those things that hasnt been touched on much, so i think we can do whatever we want with them
<mortellan> okay, anyhow my thought is they are highly intelligent as ogres go...so...
<mortellan> include them in this cairn builder mythos?
<abys> we could speculate that they are from Greyhawk's kara-tur (which is what canon states) and they fell in place among the flanaess ogres.. maybe did some breeding and we have a new issue to deal with
<abys> lets have the magi come over and head up the cairn project
<mortellan> ya, their origins then could still be a mystery
<abys> yup, we could just mention that in passing
<mortellan> now we got some stuff
<mortellan> i better save this convo or ill regret it
<abys> heh yah, my brain is swamped now
<abys> how do you do that?
<abys> besides copy/paste?
<mortellan> its not easy
<mortellan> im trying c/p
<abys> yah thats what i did, took about 5 shots into ms word
<abys> we should come up with a history behind those rings in the bottom of the tower of Zagyg too, some one had built those with a serious purpose
<mortellan> ya that was my thought, no one makes that many magic rings without being serious about something
<abys> and Zagyg got ahold of them somehow
<abys> so it would have to be one serious motherF'r that Zagyg would run into
<abys> or Zagyg himself made them, but that is boring
<mortellan> it would be too tedious
<abys> Zagyg is about as over-done as Tharizdun imo
<mortellan> he was too active to sit around and make 30,000 rings
<abys> or he might have had them made for him
<mortellan> i am thinking that, maybe a trade off of some sort
<abys> alignment-wise the motive behind osmething like that smells Lawful Evil to me
<abys> which isnt Zagyg
<mortellan> law for sure, enslaving a race of ogres
<abys> Scarlet Brotherhoodish, but not them since they are purists
<mortellan> id have to review what else was among that treasure, there would be other related clues im sure
<abys> well i have it right here, lemme check out that excerpt whilst i smoke another
<mortellan> like i recall there being several jars of food that acted like decanters of endless water
<abys> is says here that they were commisioned to be made by Zagyg on a far off world
<abys> he had planned to build an army with them
<mortellan> ya i dug out my copy too
<mortellan> they ft hill giants too
<abys> they are platinum and have an insription in an other-worldly languges, but a read magic says it reads...
<abys> ahh ok )
<mortellan> i played my WGR1 to pieces
<abys> i have some spelljammer **** too, so i oculd come up with something for the "other-wordly" stuff if we feel like it
<mortellan> so all this was from a spelljammer caravan
<abys> actually if you read the Z603 it even says he was on a spelljammer ship
<abys> hehe yah
<mortellan> i have Greyspace, hmm
<abys> i want to keep the main focus on ogres tho, so perhaps we should just mention that kind of stuff in passing too
<abys> on ogres, from an ogre's point of view
<abys> caqn you think of any other ogre stuff in canon?
<abys> even something small like those rings can really turn out a huge story for us
<mortellan> id have thumb thru each one to knwo for sure
<abys> other than WGR1
<abys> i know that book inside and out pretty much
<mortellan> ya does toee have anything ogrish?
<abys> in Valkemf submission i places some ogre settlement in the Corusks but didnt name it
<abys> not really ToEE is wierd
<mortellan> good deal, so much terrain to exploit there
<mortellan> ogres worship vaprak?
<abys> i speculate Iuz had employed Ogres alot in his early days of rule, but the ogres left his employ once the fiends started showing up torturing them all leabing the orcs behind to man his armies since the orcs dig that kind of stuff
<abys> yah Vaprak, although in Ogremeet I had them worshipping Nerull and being cannibals, and WGR1 has the Ogre Magi worshipping Nerull as well
<mortellan> okay this is good
<mortellan> one god for all is too constraining
<abys> i have to come up with a reasoning behind that though, Wes caught me on that one
<mortellan> and that is
<abys> but yah, i dont like 1 god per demi-human or humanoid race, how limiting
<abys> lol, i have no clue on a reason ogres owuld turn to Nerull heh
<mortellan> i am mulling over ull ogres worshipping a demon prince
<abys> Graz'zt might make sense since he was close by in Perrenland with Iggwilv?
<abys> or is that too far away to say the infulence spread from Perrenland to Ull?
<abys> through Ogre channels
<mortellan> id rather keep grazzt over by iuz/perren
<mortellan> my first inkling is baphomet
<abys> Anthraxus would be cool, but i suppose he really doesnt fit
<mortellan> must do more research
<abys> yah, i dont know jack about Baphomet
<mortellan> he is in with minotaurs
<abys> but diversifying their (ogres) relgion is great idea
<abys> we oculd put it in the context that ogres think humans are dumb for thinking they'd put all their eggs in 1 basket with Vaprak
<mortellan> vaprak is nasty too...maybe nerull is the good alternative in their mind
<abys> that link has some grodog stuff on baphomet
<abys> so we got Vaprak, Nerulll, and Baphomet
<abys> we can tie their religion into their subracing rather easily
<mortellan> yes indeed
<mortellan> could you imagine the hierarchs getting those 30,000 rings and subverting ogres who already like nerull
<abys> copy/paste break
<abys> alot of people oculd use those rings
<abys> a fallen lord of the shield lands would be a prime canidate
<mortellan> imc the players melted them down for their platinum worth
<abys> he could use an army like that as leverage to get land out of Iuz in trade for using his army against furyondy
<abys> omg, morons!
<abys> thats crazy
<mortellan> platinum ingots...they wanted to mint their own coins
<abys> id take 30,00 ogres anyday
<mortellan> well you have to convince 30,000 ogrs to wear them, no small feat
<abys> just walk up to a settlement of ogres and dump the rings out of the bag into the ground and walk away, come back tomorrow and theyll all be wearing them
<abys> yah, im sure the rings have to be given and taken willingly with master present
<mortellan> its so simple its genius
<abys> ok lets get back to format for a minute
<abys> we'll prologue with history and migrations
<abys> then jump in osme flavor story with the cairn building and ogre magi
<abys> then well detail some settlements
<mortellan> sounds reasonable
<abys> which we have right now pomarj, blackthorn, cairn hills, abbor-als, ull, and we'll make up osme small ones
<mortellan> ya to round out the flanaess
<abys> then we'll do some stuff like ogremeet and altar of dwahar
<abys> and finish it off with relgion
<abys> or somethign like that
<abys> maybe we better preface with religion as an overview and then in each subrace detail their preference and why, etc etc
<mortellan> the subraces, ya
<mortellan> do ogres make magic items
<mortellan> ogre magi can
<abys> lets say about 10k words in total for the history, subraces, religion, then add detail the different ogre settlements at about 1k word each, and finish off with some 1k submissions like ogremeet and altar
<mortellan> oooo gotcha
<abys> yah, ithink magi are theo nly ones capable of creation
<abys> basically in item creation there is 2 spells of severe importance
<mortellan> slap on a map or two, with tedra's help a cover....voila
<abys> "enchant an item" which is 6th level? and "permanancy" which is 8th level in 2nd Ed. im unsure how 3rd Ed. works
<abys> yah, i think thats a good format
<mortellan> 3E would only require a relevant spell and the item creation feat, pathetically easy
<abys> wow that is easy
<mortellan> altho some feats have level limits
<mortellan> like rings is high compared to scrolls
<mortellan> anyhoo...i like your word limits
<abys> oh yah, have to start with those
<abys> otherwise bite of more than we can chew and the project will fail and not get done
<abys> ive done that plenty of times myself
<abys> and kick myself in the **** for going to far overboard
<abys> we have to always keep in mind that we need to leave osme stuff open for other DMs to develop for their personal campaigns and taste
<abys> i think we got something really solid going here though, i bet people will really enjoy it
<abys> we got a good basis, how do you wanna split the work?
<abys> i must admit im rough with religion, how are you on that end?
<mortellan> i am actually good at religion
<abys> ok, you can handle that
<abys> i can probalby map migrations and writer some history np
<abys> id wanna correspond with you on the migration paths though so were on tyhe same page
<mortellan> oh totally
<abys> ultimately the migration paths will decide where we make up their settlements
<mortellan> otherwise itll be like a linguini migration map
<abys> well have to get together on subraces idea too
<abys> i think we should do this..
<abys> we could each write up a number of settlements anywhere we want, say 5 each or so, and then let that decide the migration paths, sort of
<mortellan> that would be easier, yes
<abys> this will be quite easy i think
<mortellan> i'm online most nights, you use msn messenger?
<abys> no, im an AIM'er
<abys> but we can meet here?
<mortellan> i gotta run off to work right now...you gonna still be here in an hour?
* mortellan does the bulk of his chatting at work
<abys> really we just need to both write up a few settlements each and some more mysterious places in the spirit of ogremeet and altar, you write up religion, i write up history, we do some together stuff on subraces and blamo
<mortellan> more mysterious places! of course
Mortellan went off to work at this point and I believe I went to sleep. _________________ Kneel before me, or you shall be KNELT!
I think I have that transcript buried around somewhere too and yeah like smillan I've seen a couple ogre related things written since that conversation. And none of what I've read vaguely conflicts with the ideas we had back then. It's a very doable project and commentary would be appreciated maybe to kick start it again.
I think you guys where on to something. I remember both of those articles there were very well done. Yes I am unorthodox, I appreaciate the mention Abysslin.
Mort what i think in brief reference Abysslin ment was my Trolls Of Oerth article. If I where to put my take on this Vaprak in the central figure or the Ogre religion. Ogres speak a dialect of Jotun (which I've based on real world Futhark). Futhark has three alphabetical sets the most simplistic is the first maybe 13 letters exist in the language.
I based my version of Trolls on mythological sources but felt I included enough Greyhawk or D&D flavor in my article. By stateing what humans consider to be Ogres mages might actually be a Troll mage is easy to assimilate for me. Not only that but it stems away from the oriental Oni ogre magi. The closest asian contient is quite opposite from where I believe you would place your Ogre migrations from.
Another link my Troll article has to your ideas is the fact they where present before the flan and influenced Flan culture styles of dress, and Flan culture in general. I also state the dwarven race had many influences upon Flan culture as well. Heck even Oeridian dress is highly influence by above said cultures.
If you remember I also mention Urdlen which is referrd to in both Troll and Gnomish culture. Who's to say Ogres don't relate to him as well. Perhaps Vaprak was supported by Urdlen and eventually succeeded from Urdlen making him the god of Ogres and Trolls freeing them from Urdlens oppression. I also make Urdlen the god of Spriggans in my article. Might I add a fertility goddes who is also the goddess of Gluttony which Ogres seem to excel at might be good for you guys. Herda goddess of Fertility and her mate Herd God of Gluttony sort of the Ogre version of Geb and Nut. You can say Ogres equate the two in that Ogres are highly arouse when they are well fed.
Thats my two coppers for now hope I helped spark this thing up again for you guys.
The "Ecology of the Ogre Mage" I mentioned above is similar to some of the things that Argon mentioned in that Ogres and Trolls are of common origin. It also ties in with what Mort and Abysslin were speculating about their pre-historic origins.
In short Ogres and Trolls are the descendants of humanoid tribes that worshiped Vaprak in the ancient times when "man was closer to beast." Vaprak rewarded his most devoted followers with children who were "great warriors, hulking brutes twice the height of ordinary men with great claws and thick skin." Most of his humanoid worshipers eventually turned away from him to more civilized gods and Ogre Mages were his last-ditch effort to make his followers predominant by sending three of his fiendish sons to lead this most powerful tribes in a crusade. Ogre Mages are the descendants of those sons, abandoned to the Material Plane by Vaprak for their failure to win.
Why the difference between Ogres and Trolls? The "Ecology of" article doesn't speculate but I wonder if the two breeds developed from evolution, the ones with the dominant traits won out, producing offspring with similar traits until there ended up being Ogres and Trolls. Given the differences in the environments they favor this could work. Another approach might be to say that the racial origins of of the original worshipers of Vaprak whose children were so "blessed" might have been different. Maybe Trolls came from Vaprak worshiping Elves and Ogres came from Vaprak worshiping Humans. I kind of favor the latter idea although I'm sure Humans and especially Elves wouldn't care for it.
Check out the latest Pathfinder adventure - The Hook Mountain Massacre -which has a very well-done "Hills Have Eyes" take on ogres and introduces the very evocative "ogre-kin." Lock up yer wimmenfolk!
The most impressive treatment of ogres I've seen, really made me think of ogres in a new light, has been the Warhammer supplement justly entitled "Ogres." In short, they like to eat and worship something they call The Maw.
Now, The Maw makes me think of the demon prince Turglas from Dragon Magazine, tieing things back to D&D.
Combine elements of all three of these and ogres are IMO a fascinating "new" race. Not just swordbait anymore! _________________ GVD
_________________ My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
So when are we going to see the full article with the individual breakdowns.
I just moved back to the states in august...a friend of mine came up to visit for thanksgiving and brought all the D&D stuff he had been storing for me during my six year tour abroad. Just yesterday I located the paper file on this so I can post it as soon as I have time to type it out...perhaps over Christmas break. Now that I am back in a land with Macs I might even be able to recover an e-version.
In the meantime, I have a different article in the queue...one about treasures of the Wegwuir... _________________ My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
Well I'm not going to lie, it's often pretty dead. We struggle to hit the critical mass of people required to keep Greyhawk conversation going often, but we keep trying to encourage people to swing by in the hopes things improve. Since I've been keeping records, our peak concurrent users was 16.
Generally people start paying attention in channel around 10pm EST. You can find me there 24/7 (w80), although I'm not always in a position to chat.
Type "!replay 300" and boccob will send you the last 300 lines of chat privately. (Or replace 300 with anything from 30 on up, if you'd like less.)
Hope to see in chat!
Hmm. I thought Thursday nights were all but dead any more. Guess I'll have to "pop in."
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