Half-Ogre PC Race

Half-Ogre PC Race


Welcome to 4th Edition week here at KQ.com. All this week will feature wonderful material designed for 4th Edition (while still being inspirational for any edition).


Door? BOOM! What door?

Born from the union of a human and an ogre, the half-ogre is a wretched unwanted creature hated by its parent races. Those born of human mothers frequently suffer the wrath of a community that hates it for its mother’s demise, for few human mothers survive the birth. Those born of an ogre mother bear instead the scorn of their tribe, for the young half-ogre cannot help but be the weakest of its peers…

Yet half-ogres, for all the scorn and ridicule they suffer, survive and even thrive. Lonely creatures, they find solace in the wild, more at home with the threat of the wilderness than under the watchful eyes of a city watch.

Play a half ogre if you want…

  • To be the strong silent hero with a rage simmering inside you.
  • To burst open doors, shatter swords, and pummel your enemies in melee combat.
  • To be a member of a race that favors fighters, rogues, and paladins.

Racial Traits

Average Height: 7’ 2” – 7’ 11”
Average Weight: 320 – 410 lbs.
Ability Scores: +3 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence (Yes, this is a penalty. Half-ogres are, as a rule, dumb as a stump, even those that choose the life of an adventurer.)
Size: Medium
Speed: 7
Vision: normal
Languages: Common, Giant
Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Nature
Door Opener: Any time you make a Strength-based ability check, you gain a +2 racial bonus to your die roll. (This bonus is not added to Strength-based skill checks.)
Ogre’s Hide: You gain a +1 bonus to AC and Fortitude defense.
Fury of the Wounded: You can use fury of the wounded as an encounter power.

Fury of the Wounded (Half-Ogre Racial Power)

As the blood flows from your body, the rage of your ogre ancestry fills you and you strike with savage fury against your enemy.

Trigger: You are hit by an attack that deals damage to you
Immediate Reaction                      Close burst 2
Target: one enemy in burst
Effect: You may make a melee basic attack against one enemy in range.

Physical Qualities

Towering hulks of muscle, half-ogres frequently reach a height of almost 8 ft., towering head and shoulders above their comrades… when they have comrades. Customarily lonely creatures, half-ogres take after neither parent strongly—their bulging muscles are strong only in comparison to their human parent; their intellect impaired, but far from the dim-wittedness of their ogre parent.

Thin, stringy hair crowns their heads, frequently thinning in males even in early adulthood and braided in females with bits of bone or feathers (or even beads for the civilized). Usually black though occasionally venturing into browns or even dull yellow, their hair frames faces marked by symmetry that could only come from their human ancestry, and eyes set deeply into the skull, tiny beady eyes that glint with a spark of wit that few true ogres could grasp. In some half-ogres, the eyes are pure white or black, lacking any other color, though normal human looking eyes predominate. A half-ogre’s tusks jut from their lower lip, curving out and upward, complemented by oversized and sharply pronounced incisors that together cause most half-ogres to stumble and lisp when they speak.

Their skin is rough and leathery, but also strangely greasy. Some trick of their mixed ancestry causes half-ogres to sweat profusely every moment of their lives, covering their skin, which ranges all the customary human colors and into the dull gray, yellows, and even greenish tinges of ogre flesh, with a slick of glistening grime.

Half-ogres can live to be as old as 150 years, though few reach such a venerable age. They enter adulthood at a mere 14 years of age.

Playing a Half-Ogre

To be a half-ogre is to live a lonely existence. Outcast by both ogre and human, few half-ogres find even the semblance of acceptance. In ogre communities, the half-ogre fails to measure up to even the weakest specimens of their parent race while human communities frequently cast out the half-breed into the wild to fend for themselves, unwilling to kill the creature but hoping it dies before it becomes a threat.

Half-ogres trust only rarely. Stronger than most of the common races, and blessed with formidable constitutions, these cast outs either die quickly or come to understand the wilds around them. Half-ogres find themselves torn, unaccepted by either parent race; they fight in the wilds a dual battle against their environment and themselves. Many fail in this battle. The clarion call of evil rings strong in the wild, promising companionship and the ability to let loose the reins that hold back a tempest of impulses to give in to gluttony, to evil, to a vile and rapacious beast that each half-ogre struggles to hold in check.

And yet some half-ogres resist that call. Prone to tumultuous mood swings and ruled by emotion rather than intellect, these more civilized half-ogres still find a place, if a grudging one, in society. Customarily quiet and hunched except when called upon to use their size, half-ogres act as caravan guards, bodyguards, mercenaries, and gladiators.

Half-ogres give their trust completely once earned, and never give up on a friend. Most come close to death many times before they reach adulthood, and they believe life must be experienced completely. They enjoy simple pleasures, sometimes to excess, though the particular pleasure varies widely—food, wine, and amorous company are all frequently sought after, but many half-ogres have a surprisingly expressive and artistic bent as well.

Half-ogres favor martial classes where they can fight eye to eye with the enemy, standing toe-to-toe as a fighter or slipping viciously into combat to strike deadly stealthy blows as a rogue, they find the simplicity of steel and blood attractive. Occasionally a half-ogre will find a divine calling, most commonly as a paladin. Some rare cases may seek out the call of the arcane, though even those rarely venture into the arcane practices of the scholarly wizard.

Half-Ogre Feats

Fevered Accuracy (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre
Benefit: While you are bloodied, you gain +1 feat bonus on attack and damage rolls with melee and thrown weapons.

Healing Fury (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, 11th level, fury of the wounded racial power
Benefit: When you use your fury of the wounded racial power, you regain hp as if you had spent a healing surge.

Heart of the Mountain (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre
Benefit: Increase your number of healing surges by three.

Improved Door Opener (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, Strength 15
Benefit: You can draw upon your inner turmoil to enhance your door opener racial feature. Your racial bonus to ability checks increases by one to +3. This bonus increases again at 11th level to +4, and one final time at 21st level for a total of a +5 racial bonus to Strength based ability checks.

Savage Hide (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, 11th level
Benefit: The bonuses granted by your ogre’s hide racial feature increase by one to +2 to AC and +2 to Fortitude defense.

Survival of the Fittest (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, Constitution 15
Benefit: The first time you are bloodied in an encounter, you may spend a healing surge as an immediate reaction.

True Fury (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, 21st level, fury of the wounded racial power
Benefit: The target of your fury of the wounded power changes from one enemy in burst to one, two, or three enemies in burst. You gain a +4 bonus on to hit and damage rolls against these targets until the end of the encounter.

The Enduring Half-Ogre

The half-ogre presented focuses on Strength, creating characters ideally suited as damage dealers. An equally compelling half-ogre can be fashioned based on the ability to endure damage, an element of the half-ogre already seen here in the feats Heart of the Mountain and Survival of the Fittest. At the GM’s option, you may replace the fury of the wounded racial power with the earth’s heart power that follows.

Earth’s Heart (Half-Ogre Racial Power)

You are the boulder, worn by the wind, and you let the attacks that assail you simply blow past, merely wind, having little effect.

Immediate Reaction Personal
Trigger: You suffer damage from an attack.
Requirement: You must be bloodied
Effect: You gain a +1 bonus to AC and Fortitude defenses until the end of the encounter. In addition, for as long as you remain bloodied, you gain regeneration 3.
Level 11—Regeneration 6
Level 21—Regeneration 9

Black Blood of the Earth (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, earth’s heart racial power
Benefit: Your healing surge value is equal to 1/2 your bloodied value plus your Constitution modifier.

Heart’s Defenses (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, 11th level, earth’s heart racial power
Benefit: The bonuses granted to AC and Fortitude granted by your earth’s heart racial power increase by one to +2.

Soul of Stone (Feat)

Prerequisite: Half-ogre, 21st level, earth’s heart racial power
Benefit: You gain a +3 racial bonus on death saving throws. You can survive damage in the negative numbers up to your full hp total, rather than your bloodied value.

24 thoughts on “Half-Ogre PC Race”

  1. This is awesome. I love it. The feats are great. One observation: I think the combination of Fury of the Wounded and Healing Fury might a bit TOO good since once per round it allows him to regain a healing surge’s value in HP. Am I reading that correctly?

  2. Very nice. This seems much more plausible to me than the Goliath as a 4th Ed. race. It also makes me cringe when I think about the poor Half-Ogre baby momma’s. If your halfling rouge needs a big dumb friend this is the guy.

  3. d20, as a rule, never has odd-numbered ability modifiers. 4e, as a rule, never has negatives (perhaps one of 4e’s faults, as I couldn’t represent a gully dwarf’s stupidity in 4e either).

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad to see 4e half-ogre stats. I would like to see some basic standards followed if this is supposed to be a professional work.

  4. First off, I love this!

    @ Yoo-Hoo
    I don’t know how it seems more plausible, not that I wouldn’t love playing the Half-Ogre. I love what he’s done here. The only reason I wouldn’t include it in my campaigns is that with my group any of the “half-“creatures hasn’t ended well.

    @ Trampas
    I understand where you’re coming from with the standards that d20 as a rule doesn’t do odd-numbered ability modifiers. However I think in this case it both fits and isn’t game-damaging.

    Now I wouldn’t want to see odd numbered ability modifiers everywhere but I think that it fits the idea of a half-ogre.

  5. 4e should not have odd numbered bonuses or negatives.

    Also, why is Fury of the Wounded close burst 2? Should it not be melee range? Otherwise this one attack artificially extends their reach.

  6. This race looks like a blast to play, and while I can see the argument for consistency, and the design philosophy behind “no negative numbers” is sound (if a little twinky), I think that the trade-off of +1 STR for -2 INT is a fair one, in a half-monster monster race. I also think that it is balanced by the slightly better than average racial powers. The only thing that I would object to are the favored classes. The half-ogre seems to favor Fighter, Barbarian, Warden and (maybe) Warlock.

  7. Jeff: Fury of the wounded is supposed to represent the half-ogre, who is on the brink of having reach from his size, managing to use that reach if only briefly in response to being wounded. The first draft only allowed use when the half-ogre became bloodied.

    The odd number was a conscious design choice. I wanted the half-ogre’s strength to come through in the design, for them to really be, potentially, the physically strongest character a person could make… this meant more than a +2, which is possessed by Goliaths, Minotaurs, Dragonborn, half-orcs, longtooth shifters… almost commonplace, isn’t it? Yet a +4 would mean, potentially, a +6 ability modifier at 1st level. A +3 allowed them to still be the strongest, ahead of the curve, without providing that advantage until 4th level and keeping them just very slightly ahead of the curve through the game.

    As for the penalty… I agonized over it. The half-ogre for 1st edition had ranges and racial maximums… 12 for int and wis, 8 for charisma. Later versions of the half-ogre have -2 penalties for int, wis AND cha. The extra +1 strength had to be balanced by something, and in THIS SPECIFIC CASE, I felt a penalty justified.

    Quinn: I wrote this some time ago… there was a reason I chose those specific classes. This was a homage to older versions of the half-ogre, trying to preserve that feel. It may be that one of them favored paladin or rogue and that’s why I went that route, I simply don’t remember and it’s not clear from older drafts.

    Also, as an aside because the text does make clear that there is a confusion somewhere… the original version of door opener read as follows:
    Door Opener: Any time you make a Strength based ability check you gain a +2 racial bonus to your die roll.
    The choice of ability check rather than skill checks was deliberate, as str based ability checks are the bend bars/lift gates/break through doors skill of 4e.

  8. I feel the half-ogre’s strength could have been better exemplified through racial encounter powers and feats. When you start piling on to ability modifiers, you start to affect much more than the fluff of being strong. You are effectively giving this Race a +1 to hit and damage right off the bat because of the nature of the system architecture. Representing raw strength could be better demonstrated through the rerolls of STR-based checks (not unlike the Goliath).

  9. Matt: I appreciate you disagree with the means I used to portray str for the half-ogre. However similar creatures need to be differentiated sometimes in the game mechanics. I did not want to create a clone of the goliath, I wanted to create a half-ogre that, when played, felt like a half-ogre in old school days.

    As for the speed issue, Ogre Speed: 8, human speed: 6. I don’t see how a 7 speed for the half-ogre is problematic here. There are at least two other races with full race write-ups that provide a 7 speed.

  10. Koldoon: You have done a great job thinking this through from a design standpoint and preserving the old-game feel. A really awesome job!

  11. Sonofapreacherman

    First of all, great racial write up, and certainly welcome at my table. I think some half-ogre backgrounds and a racial paragon class are warranted now. :)

    Speaking to another point, let it be said that more than any previous iteration of D&D, all ability score are equal in 4th edition. A such (and this flies in the face of much that has been already said here) if you are going to pin a -2 Intelligence on half-ogres, then it should be returned with a +2 Strength, meaning, the half-ogre should begin with +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, and a -2 Intelligence modifiers. This is also in keeping with the idea that 4th edition races are not balanced with odd numbers.

    I understand that the author wanted to differentiate half-ogres from goliaths, but the inclusion of a negative modifier to Intelligence already accomplishes that. No need to keep breaking standards.

  12. Matthew J. Hanson

    There’s a lot to like here. The idea of the encounter power is good, but I think having it as a burst that lets you make a melee attack is a little odd. I might write it up like this:

    Trigger: You are hit by an attack that deals damage to you
    Immediate Reaction Personal
    Effect: You may make a melee basic attack against one enemy in range. Your reach increases by 1 for this attack.

    I’m also not to keen on the +3 Str -2 Int. Penalties serve to limit class and build choices rather than provide balance. (Want to play a half-ogre swordmage? TOO BAD!)

  13. There is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t play a half-ogre swordmage, it just wouldn’t be optimized. Really guys, is it necessary to min/max every single character you make? Some people actually create characters with role-playing in mind, not just roll playing.

  14. Fossawhey d'Orien

    Brings me back to 1st and 2nd Edition. I have fond memories of an article written by Roger Moore about a family of Half Ogres. Love to see this in print!

  15. not a fan of 4th yet, but this race sounds great to play. Anyone who gets too wrapped up in rules that say you can’t do this or you can’t do that should just relax. a penalty to a stat for a race sounds completely just to me. it sounds fair, people who complain about their elf having a lower con than someone else should just play somethig else. Some of my favorite characters were using those penalty stats as their primary ability. a dwarven paladin is a world of fun. a halfling barbarian :) and i could have alot of fun with a half ogre wizard :) it’s all in how you play your character and negative stat modifiers give you a chance to play outside the box.

  16. Just stumbled across this. Nice write-up. Don’t understand all the chatter about ability score mods. Rules this and rules that. If you want to make it +4 str, do so. Maybe remove /reduce something else for balance. Don’t like -2 int, remove it and the offsetting +1 str. Jeez, it’s a game…. not a blueprint for a nuke where something bad will happen if not followed exactly as drawn out.

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