A Guide to the Nations:


After the goblins had rattled the gates of Constantinople then dispersed through Graecia, came the ogres. They were no so much invading as they were running, for close on their heels were the armies of the orcs (more about that dreadful Empire later). We first meet ogres crossing the Rhenus River at the end of 1131 AUC, taking advantage of the absence of Emperor Gratian, who had his hands full of goblins at the time. The following year they descended from the Frankish Alps into the Po River valley. They presented a terrifying aspect, what with their shaggy hair, wearing the skins of great wolves, and wielding their massive kuggilz with which they bashed in the heads of all who opposed them, and of a good many who did not.

They rampaged down the peninsula, stopping at Rome only long enough to sack the city, then on still further south. Just when it seemed as if the ogres might overrun the whole world, their great king Alareiks died of a fever, though he was yet a young man. Imagine the dismay of his people! They wept and wailed and laid waste the countryside in their grief, for they knew themselves to be surrounded by enemies. They feared to stay, but they feared even more to leave their fallen leader in a grave, so they came up with a remarkable solution.

They were in Calabria, in the little town of Consentia, near which runs the Bucentius River. This river the ogres dammed up, exposing the river bed. They used human captives to dig the grave. Once their king was buried, the ogres murdered the humans, then broke the dam, to let the waters flow over the burial site. To this very day, no one knows exactly where Alareiks is buried, though many have claimed to know.

With the death of Alareiks, the ogre army dispersed. In the following centuries we hear mentions of ogres here and there, from Hispania to Illyria, but only fleetingly. The ogres, it appears, withdrew from the world.

When we later hear of ogres, after the Second Dark Age, they are quite civilized. They had learned Latin and learned to read, though they themselves never developed a script. We suppose they once had their own language, but all that has survived are a handful of words—kuggil being one of them.

Ogres are ugly creatures. On this point all nations—elf, human, dwarf, even orc—agree. The proportions of their bodies are all wrong, with arms too long and legs too short, and far too many muscles. Their faces are heavy, with overhanging brows, broad noses, jutting chins; withal, so heavy it seems their face must slide to the ground under its burden. Moreover, they brawl so readily, scarce an ogre can anywhere be found whose face is unscarred or unbroken.

Their strength and courage make them good comrades in war. From earliest days they have hated trolls, and will ally with anyone who will fight them. For this reason, in past times orcs allied as readily with orcs as with humans, and for that reason humans came to mistrust ogres. Since the Hundred Years War, though, ogres have sided steadfastly with humans and dwarves (though ogres and dwarves do not get along at all well).

Despite their fearsome appearance, ogres can be quite gentle, and most have a rather philosophical bent of mind to them. They are slow in wit, but persistent. Once they set their mind to a problem, they will hang on more tightly than a bulldog. As violent as they are in youth, in old age they are quiet and sedentary, preferring a warm fire, warm beer, and the comfort of their family. They tend to live far from human settlements, but they welcome elves because “they rarely stay long.” They are amused by fae folk in general, and loved to be entertained by them.

Ogres do not build cities, but they do live in settlements. These are no more than concentrations of homes, somewhat like a human village. Their numbers are greatly reduced in our times, but in the ancient days, during the Dark Ages, historians tell of thousands of them moving in great tribes across the land. What a sight that must have been! Thousands of the great, shambling creatures, some pulling their ogre-waggons with themselves as beasts of burden, for ogres have tamed neither ox nor horse, toiling over the mighty Alps or wading the rivers of Italia!