Despite rumors to the contrary, ogres are a species apart and not simply very large goblins or orcs. Like orcs and goblins, ogres posess the ability to conduct photosynthesis through the green hue of their skin. Unlike them, though, ogres tend to be much larger: an adult ogre is usually 10 feet tall and in excess of 1000 lbs. They also have a decidedly simian build, with short and stocky legs to support their bulk but very long arms on which they can knuckle-walk to move faster.

The key differentiator between ogres and other sapients–though classifying ogres as sapients remains a matter of no small debate–is that ogres have never formed social groups larger that closely related bands. They understand and can speak a few words but have no language of their own so far as is known. This has led many to dismiss them as mere beasts, an evolutionary link between evolved sapients and their simian forebears.

This is in fact not the case. Ogre social organization is extremely complex, based around triumvirates of mature males that gather a band of mature females and immature males about them to live a mobile lifestyle of foraging and raiding. The males in the triumvirate routinely conspire against, challenge, and kill each other, an order that other sapients often use to take control of ogre bands. If someone is able to kill all three ogre band leaders, they are regarded by the others as the new leader.

Despite their limited language skills, ogres are masters of nonverbal communication and can converse in the Silent Tongue and sign language with a high degree of fluency. They are also extremely adaptable and excellent mimics: once exposed to the use and maintenence of metal weapons, for instance, they will practice those skills on their own. This is why most ogres encountered in latter days were well-armed and well-armored.

Unfortunately, the territory required for ogres to live in the wild was considerable, and as the nations of the world consolidated their borders, ogres found themselves squeezed out or in many cases deliberately killed. By the time of Uxbridge’s Anarchy in Pexate, for instance, ogres were extremely rare aside from a few captive bands belonging to powerful barons. The dawn of the modern age saw them all but extinct, confined to a few tracts of vast wilderness in Poccia and “sapient zoos” in Pexate and Layyia. Like the trolls of Ceres and the halflings of Daqin, ogres were simply unable to effectively adapt or oppose cultures in which organized warfare and professional soldiers were the norm.

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“Why do they call it Ogrestab Hollow?” said Eyon. “It doesn’t sound safe to me.”

“Gob would tell Master, but Gob feels that Master seeing it with his own eyes would be best.”

Ahead of them, the trees parted to reveal a very large ogre, skeletal, in great and rusting armor. He was propped up by a cottage and a lance that he held, one that had skewered the walls all the way through.

“Goodness,” Eyon said softly.

“Gob assures Master that the Hollow is quite safe,” Gob continued. “It is in fact one of the great prides of Gob’s people within these borders.”

“How do you mean?”

“Ogres are gobkin but often no friends of we the gobs. This ogre was particularly old, and thus particularly large and particularly clever, as Gob is sure Master knows that ogres get bigger and cleverer all their lives.”

Eyon did not, in fact, know this. He had never seen an ogre up close. “So he decided to take the village?”

“The ogre sought to take the village and live in the manner of a lord,” said Gob. “As you can see, his was very fine arms and armor. The villagers appealed to a band of gobs to drive him off, as it was during the Anarchy.”

“Looks like they were successful.”

“Master is very astute,” said Gob. “Most of the gobs were easily killed, but the great gob Rnaea Stonethrower climbed that cottage roof and killed the ogre with a single stone to the eye. He was too big to move, so after Rnaea earned her name he was simply left as he was.”

Eyon nodded. “Very brave. What happened to the gobs?”

“Rnaea Stonethrower became matron of her tribe, as I’m sure Master knows is the gob way. The villagers invited the gobs to live among them as equals in return for their service.”

“But I don’t see any people,” Eyeon said, squinting. “Only gobs.”

“As is so often the case, Master, your people eventually forgot their gratitude,” said Gob. “In time, they all moved away to be among their own kind and abandoned the village to the gobs. The gobs keep it now in their own way, and Master’s people rarely venture here, fearing ogres or worse. The great dead ogre, Rnaea’s ogre, is a useful reminder of that.

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