Last week’s poll was handily won by ogrification, which did not really surprise anyone, I think. As someone confided in me, it’s simply fun to say. What no-doubt horrific process hides behind this amusing tongue-twister? Let’s find out…
One of the most pernicious curses ever unleashed on Ipeiros, Ogrification is a communicable bodysculpt enchantment that transforms the victim into a horrific parody of their former body and erodes their mind. The result is an ogre. Anyone so transformed may forcibly transform others, thus spreading the curse. Originally intended as a weapon, the uncontrolled spread of the curse gave rise to the Ogrewar.
Ogres are significantly larger than their former bodies, covered in bulging muscles and sometimes bone spurs at their joints. Their jaws are especially enlarged and restructured like those of a hissing python, allowing them to open even wider. Ogres possess very little critical reasoning ability and retain only hazy memories of their past lives. While ogres do not feel hunger, they greatly enjoy eating, and will swallow nearly anything organic.
The bodysculpt was developed by the ork wizard Valormaw, who sought to create an army capable of defeating the Dread Tyrant. In his studies of Endelbraid the Younger, the ork seized upon the foundational commonalities of bodies and experimented to find if they could be modified. The initial transformations produced an unsightly but substantial increase in muscle mass, bone density, and sheer stature, as well as terrible chronic pain. Pain suppression was woven into the technique to compensate. Reductions in intelligence and impulse control were considered acceptable losses, as they could be mitigated with a strong command structure.
Believing that his revolution could not rely on just one person—himself—to raise his army, Valormaw then encoded the ability to perform the bodysculpting enchantment into the bodysculpt itself. The process of swallowing, transforming, and disgorging the new ogre was disgusting but effective, and turned the enchantment into a self-replicating curse. When Valormaw lost control of his army, orgres spread in every direction, intent on spreading the euphoric transformation to as many people as possible. Thus began the Ogrewar.
While the Ogrewar ended with the largest throngs of ogres put down, small packs and individuals escaped the outriders and fled into remote corners of the world. While ogres have a drastically reduced lifespan—their distorted bodies collapse in a few years—the escaped ogres find and convert lone travellers or foolhardy adventurers often enough to roughly stabilize their population.
The Bardic College collects and organizes reports of sightings (and instructs all its bards to send in such reports), freely providing this information to anyone who requires it. Travelling merchants are always eager to get the most recent broadsheet, making copies for others wherever they go. Bounties to clear out new ogre packs are a common, as the work is both difficult and dangerous. More than one attempt to slay a pack of ogres only succeeded in increasing its numbers.
There is no known cure for the curse, as ogrification is an inherently destructive process: the victim’s old body and mind are cannibalized to effect the transformation. After the Ogrewar subsided, the Dread Tyrant captured a number of ogres and took them to Tour Toriel, bidding his wizards to either tame the ogres or control the curse. Even the greatest minds the Tyrant could devote to the curse failed, finding only that undead ogres were unable to spread the curse.