In our continuing series, Hunter Bulkeley introduces you to the Kings of War factions taking part in the Edge of the Abyss summer campaign. Today, he focuses on the hard-hitting Ogres.
Who are the Ogres?
With no written word, much of Ogre history has vanished into the darkness of the past. Modern scholars fret about, trying to piece together the origin of the Ogres, much to the amusement of the Ogres themselves. This dismissal of intellectual pursuits coupled with their employment as mercenaries has given rise to the stereotype that Ogres are nothing more than uncultured brutes in search of gold.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Ogre language is perhaps the most complicated in the world, with fourteen classes of female pronoun, each dependent on context and the speaker’s relationship to the subject. Speaking of an Ogre’s mother is almost never a good idea unless one has spent at least a decade studying the language. This complex language suits the Ogres for they are at heart a people of story tellers, not stories of deeds long past, but events the teller actually experienced, embellished in the telling. An Ogre proves their wealth through the stories they have collected, not through gold amassed.
A race of individuals, Ogres have never been able to understand why the other races pass one person’s belongings to their children when they die. For Ogres, such an act wrongs both the deceased and the children, since the children will not have to opportunity to earn what they inherited. To give an Ogre a gift is perhaps the greatest insult possible, one which almost always ends in someone’s death.
From childhood, an Ogre struggles to survive against the wild beasts and frigid landscape of the frozen north. Those few that survive to adulthood possess incredible skill on top of their sheer physical size and strength. They grow up listening to the stories their family members tell of their time fighting as mercenaries. They hear of the great mountains of Abercarr and the expanding desert of the Eastern Reaches. For an Ogre, no honour comes from knowing his father visited these places. They must travel the world, fight its horrors, and return with great riches to prove their own worth, to make their own stories.
Thus, every year there is the Thing. They call this gathering the Thing for there are no other things in the Ogre calendar, no festivals or holidays. At the Thing, young Ogres sign on to a veteran captain, who persuades them of his worth through reciting his own adventures in the south. Every nation in the world will pay handsomely for the service of an Ogre band, so an Ogre will have crossed Mantica twice over by the time they decide to return home. Upon returning to the warring tribes of their frozen land, they will find a mate and sire a few little ones. Those children that survive to understand speech will sit at their father’s feet, eyes wide, listening intently as he explains how he fought in the south and saw things they could not believe. And so a new generation will grow up, raise their swords, and charge across the world, eager to carve out their own stories.
How do they play?
The army has a low model count and often has fewer units on the table than their opponent. To compensate however, Red Goblin units are available for bulking out the army with smaller rabble but also giving the army excellent speed and a dastardly weapon in the less-than-subtle Blaster. While some ogres carry heavy ranged weapons, as a species they excel at combat, even more so than the orcs. A charge from an ogre regiment (or Legion!) is likely to result in a bloody mess for their opponents. Chariots are an option for both ogre warriors and heroes, adding to their punch. The ogre army is difficult to master for new players but once you have learnt to manage its strengths and weaknesses, it can be a formidable proposition to face.
What’s in the army?
Ogre warriors will be the mainstay of the army, supported by units with either heavy crossbows or blunderbusses. Siege Breakers can make a solid defensive block with a lethal punch. Chariot units provide some speed and an extra crunch but the most manoeuvrable units are the Red Goblin Scouts on fleabags. Some additional, weak ranged attacks are available from red goblins armed with bows and ogre warlocks are often accompanied by their followers, the Berserker Braves. The red goblin Blaster is about as blunt an instrument of destruction as you can find and the army is commanded by fierce ogre captains and warlords, or you can go for a more subtle approach with Ogre Hunters.