The Problem:

Yes those dreaded humanoids. Players want to play them but DMs have a hard time dealing with them. Simple beings like goblins and kobolds are easy to incorporate into a campaign but what if the players want to play something more DM challenging. Ogres are an excellent example of powerful humanoids that make DM’s life hell.

Image, in 2nd edition, a massive brute with a 19 strength and a 19 constitution. An ogre with a maximum of 19 hit points at 1st level, specialized in 2-handed sword, and shield. He is a whopping +4 to hit and +9 damage. No simple 1st level monster can take that! At 5th level this beast has, on average, has 57 hit points, does a d10+9 damage, and has a THAC0 of 12. Lets not forget he can’t be held by hold person and he has a natural AC of 5 plus his shield. So what if he’s a moron, a klutz, and is ugly. Usually we know why players pick this race, to smash, kill, and be powerful yet dimwitted.

The Remedy:

One must remember that in 2nd edition large creatures take large damage. That bad breath hulk is taking a d12 from a long sword not a d8. Make him the main target of ambushes. Make it more difficult for him to get magic that he can use. Also remember that players should play their characters appropriately. Ogres don’t figure out plots, traps, or solve the riddle of the sphinx.

Another problem that confronts ogres is the friendly factor. Already plagued by a low charisma and short aggressive temper, ogres don’t fit well in the civilized world. Commoners are more often than not going to run in fear from the ogre, perhaps even get a mob together. Higher level characters would promptly want to kill the beast, unless PCs reason with them.

When performing combat against the party it is difficult to balance villains properly when one character stands out so much. Making the enemy equal to the level of the party will make combat a breeze for the players as the ogre will generally smash everything. The party will make sure the ogre always is well protected. If the enemy is too high level then as soon as the ogre goes down they party gets the crap beaten out of them.

A better approach is to make one opponent equal in power to the ogre and the rest to the party. This way it will keep him busy and if he goes down the ogre’s specialized opponent will be already damaged enough that the other party members can handle him.

The last approach is a bit more fun for the DM, at least when I did it. Make a large group of small annoying creatures to assault the party and their ogre beast. Sure there will be a lot of corpses flying but so many creatures trying to hit the ogre will gradually bring him down to size. If your really malicious allow the large runt group a cleric or wizard that animates the bodies as they drop. Since there are so many opponents the party will have a difficult time getting to the evil spell caster

If all else fails and the ogre is ruining your campaign and encounters, eliminate the threat by a force of great magnitude. I don’t prefer this method myself. I would not allow the race in the first place if I felt it was a problem.

…Darth and Negahri, tired from their ordeal with the pursuing party, have managed to evade them. It is finally safe and Darth heals the ogres wounds, he is at full strength again and ready to do battle.

As they find their way out of the sewers they come across a chest along a small passage. “How unusual” Darth thinks. Negahri seeing treasure immediately picks up the chest to open it. It is heavy so he picks it up from both sides before Darth can usher a word of caution.

Suddenly Negahri can’t let go of the chest and the lid opens up with a set of teeth. Darth recognizes the creature as a mimic as tells Negahri to let go and smash it. Negahri raises the chest above his head to smash the mimic against the wall. In his haste, he perfectly places the animated mouth above his head. One chomp later the mimic has satisfied his hunger and Darth’s strong lackey is dead. Darth quickly moves away from the exotic beast and grumbles to himself, “stupid ogre”…