It’s finally time for the most metal setting element in the Speaking Lands: the horrific OGREWAR. This started as an off-the-cuff reference in one of the Figher archetype’s distinctions, Veteran of the Ogrewar. It amused me to imagine the many variations in what players would come up with for what the Ogrewar was for their games and their backstories.
This is my version of the Ogrewar, in which I fell prey to a common theme in my writing where I aim for “slightly weird and spooky” and end up with “horrific.” Hope you enjoy!
The Ogrewar was a disastrous military conflict in which an extensive bodysculpting wizardry produced its eponymous “ogres.” Initially intended as supersoldiers dedicated to bringing down the Dread Tyrant, the ogres proved impossible to control and ran rampant across the continent. After its initial stages, the conflict was ignored by the Dread Tyrant, who allowed the carnage to spill through his tributary states. The conflict was only ended when a hasty alliance of crowns and cities banded together to put down its vanguard at Caer Larionad.
The process of ogrification was developed by the ork Valormaw, building on and simplifying the earlier anatomical morphology work of Endelbraid the Younger. A communicable bodysculpt enchantment, orgrification turned a subject into a hulking monstrosity of considerable size and limited intellect who could barely feel pain. Ogres could also transform others into new ogres. This transformation could sculpt both Speaking Peoples and other creatures, a result that Valormaw had not even considered, but the army was shortly supplemented with savage ogrehounds.
At first, Valormaw saw promising results as desperate revolutionaries lined up to be converted into ogres capable of fighting the Dread Tyrant’s forces. They toppled the lieutenants, governors, and tax collectors throughout Outland and marched northwards towards Tour Toriel. They faced and demolished two legions on their way north and seemed poised to assault the Unassailable Gates when disaster struck.
The advancing forces camped on the banks of Ellamthorn Lake, where someone stumbled onto and transformed one of the local nymphs. The resulting ogre-nymph escaped to convert other nymphs, all of whom retained the species’ bestial impulses. These ogrified nymphs then went hunting for prey, and swarmed into the officer encampment. Valormaw and most of his officers were entrapped and turned to ogres, obliterating the ogre army’s command structure overnight.
Thus an army of ogres was unleashed, spreading across the continent in an unruly but relentless wave. The ogres were eager to transform others to spread the euphoria of pain suppression, and responded in anger when refused. Entire towns and cities were destroyed as the ogres insisted on giving everyone their ‘gift.’ Few survivors were able to flee ahead of the tide of ogres and warn their neighbors, but as word spread, the once-army was quickly dubbed the Rampage.
The Rampage employed no strategy to its spread, and so the dwarves of Kharzan simply closed their Outland doors. The Tyrant, too, was able to shutter Tour Toriel and let the ogres sweep by. While the southern reaches of the Norsteppes saw some losses, the nomads were able to flee north and avoid the worst. The brunt of the Ogrewar fell on Wildermarch to the west and Loratha Forest to the east. The greatest portion of the Rampage followed the path of least resistence, the trade roads, which led to Caer Larionad.
The city’s council saw the Rampage coming with enough time to rally assistance from both their allies and rivals alike. The elves of Loratha saw ogrification as an abomination creeping into their sacred forests and were quick to pledge their bows and swords. The entire Council of Mages from the Arcane Mysterium descended from their towers to fight. City diplomats convinced the Kharzani that, if the city fell, the dwarven high road would go nowhere and trade would dry up. Goblins, kobolds, and even gajanana from Verdasrushed north to prevent the Rampage from sweeping around Kharzan and into their own lands. The city was swollen with refugees determined to make a last stand at Caer Larionad.
The battle outside the walls of Caer Larionad lasted for three weeks as wave after wave of ogres descended on the city. Valormaw, now an ogre, rose to prominence again as he applied what little faculties he still retained to coordinate the attack. In the end, however, the defenses held and the Rampage was broken. Outriders, many of them elves and Outland refugees, rode east to run down fleeing ogres and put them to the sword.
(Whoops, I actually forgot to write the transition-to-poll paragraph!)
Um. Right. You know what to do. What’ll we check out next week?!?