Name dcss:brainstorm:species:ogre
Summary About ogres
Further information
Added by ledtim
Added on 2010-12-26

Ogres were revamped recently, but are still considered by many as the worst race.

Their advantages:

  • High strength and hit points.
  • Ability to use giant spiked clubs and large rocks.
  • Reduced penalties from heavy armour and shields.
  • Low character levelling requirement.

Their disadvantages:

  • Weak defenses make them surprisingly fragile. This is the result of inability to wear most things and penalty to evasion from being large.
  • Bad aptitudes.

many of their advantages to the race conflict with their playing style.

  • They are not particularly good at anything. The only clear perk they get over other races are the ability to use large spiked clubs and large rocks.
    • Large rocks are the best ranged throwable in the game and require very little skill investment to be useful. Of species that can actually use javelins, ogres have a +1 throwing apt (only sludge elves are better). Giant spiked clubs are the best weapon in the game and you are guaranteed one by like D:5. It would be nice (and logical, since stones are findable on the ground) to have large rocks occasionally generate in the dungeon so that non-hunter ogres can find a few prior to the arrival of cyclopses (at which point there is an unlimited supply). — RangerC 2010-12-28 06:17
  • They take reduced penalty from heavy armour and shields, but have terrible aptitudes for using them, and they can't find heavy armour they can wear until well into midgame.
    • -1 is not a terrible shields aptitude. The reduced penalty is A LOT more than most people think. An ogre only needs 9 levels in Shields to use a regular shield with no penalty, while a human needs 15 levels and a halfling 21(!). Ogres get 0 penalty large shields at level 15 while human sized characters need 25 levels for 0 penalty. It's easier to get 15 levels at -1 than 25 levels at +2. On top of that, Ogres use hand and a half weapons as one handers, so they have less attack speed penalty than anyone else when using a shield and a trident, for example. — RangerC 2010-12-28 06:17
      • Reality check: most players consider -1 a terrible aptitude, as evidenced by the race description pages on the Chaosforge crawl wiki. For them the average appears to be around +2 (or 80 in old system). Crawl is largely balanced for specialist characters already. Crawl doesn't have many game-changer items to be found that make you regret that you have bad aptitudes in X (very unlike Powder). Usually you can plan your characters far ahead before you even start a game. In late game it's normal to not even bother identifying most of loot in Elf:7 etc because you're so heavily invested in current skills you won't use them. Gift-giving gods like Sif Muna and Okawaru make it worse. Humans are actually not the most flexible race, they're a race that's bad at everything. Ogres much more so. — b0rsuk 2011-02-19 13:57
        • Reality check: anything evidenced by what people on the chaos wiki think is useless. “Average” necessarily means “not good” and “not bad,” and in reality, 2 is good, -1 is barely bad, and 0 is average. Average apts aren't in a bad place at all and nonextreme apts aren't even that noticeable to begin with. Apts also have nothing to do with why people avoid abandoning significantly trained skills to start over with something else, not sure how you're conflating the two. — OG17 2011-02-19 19:32
  • Really high strength is somewhat pointless since you don't need the extra carrying capacity after a certain point, and one of the main benefit of str is the ability to wear heavy armour and as mentioned, they are bad at wearing them.
    • It's a shame Str does nothing or almost nothing for regular weapons. Pick up a normal mace and you'll do about as much damage with it as a kobold.
  • One of the few good aptitudes they have is Fighting, but the main function of which is to increase HP by a fixed amount, which means they benefit proportionately smaller amount from it then other races since they have high HP to begin with and bad defenses.
    • Fighting should definitely consider natural HP, as spriggans getting the same flat HP increase as trolls makes “low-hp race” sort of meaningless after fighting skill - troll ends up with more, yes, but a spriggan still gets plenty (max for the two is around 310 and 230). It's particularly silly that this sort of concept was already special-cased for felids (170 hp) - make it universal. Use percentages or whatever, adjusting base HP as needed, with the first few skill levels getting a comparatively bigger boost to keep caster-types near where they are now. — OG17 2010-12-28 07:24
      • Off-topic I know, but I don't want this to be lost. It's much worse with MP.b0rsuk 2011-02-19 13:57
  • Another good aptitude is Spellcasting. But other than allowing them to get their first level of Spellcasting from scrolls, it's a bit useless.
    • Please notice that both Spellcasting and Fighting skills can't make up their mind about what they're supposed to do ! They give you a little bit of everything, some HP, some damage, some more power, less hungering, etc. Clearly defining what Spellcasting and Fighting are supposed to do would help to define Ogre benefits as well. When you upgrade Ogre Spellcasting, do you mean to give them easier time with hunger, make them use more spells, make them more versatile casters, make them more powerful casters ? It's a mess. — b0rsuk 2011-02-19 13:57
  • Spellcasting skill's main function is to reduce hunger cost, increase the number of spell levels, and increase MP. That's all very important to dedicated spellcasters, but far less important to hybrid characters since they won't be casting as often to incur the hunger cost and they are not as dependent on MP, and they often don't have enough spells they can cast to max out their spell levels. To a hybrid (which an ogre would be if they want to cast spells at all), good spell school skills are far more important to them than the Spellcasting skill, especially if an ogre wants to wear heavy armour, and ogres have terrible spell school skills.
    • I agree with your analysis of Fighting and Spellcasting - but I think that this disconnect between their good skills and what should be their optimal build is what makes Ogres an interesting challenge. Not every species has to have a MfCr-like perfect fit. — RangerC 2010-12-28 06:17

Many of their supposed advantages are counteracted by their disadvantages

  • High strength and hit points.
    • Strength helps with heavy armour, but ogres can't wear most heavy armour and have bad armour apts (why the latter, really?). Their poor EV and AC hurts a lot more than the extra hit points help.
  • Reduced penalties from heavy armour and shields.
    • But poor apts at both, and both are hard to find.

vintermann 2011-02-19 14:33


Boost Invocations

How about giving them a large boost to invocations aptitude? The theme could be that ogres are simple-minded pack creatures, who are able to devote themselves to their gods single-mindedly. +2, or even +3, making them have the best invocations aptitude could set them apart from other races.

This would be okay in itself, but isn't going to make ogres any more generally appealing. — OG17 2010-12-28 05:50
I don't think it fits the “crafty brute” ogre flavour. — vintermann 2011-02-19 15:00
Improve shield/heavy armor apts

Improve their shield and heavy armour aptitudes slightly and create a monster earlier in the dungeon, maybe in the lair, that drops a hide that can be enchanted into a -2 or -3 evasion modifier heavy armour (and unlike dragon armours, confer no resistances, and somewhat less protective). This would allow them to obtain a heavy armour to train their armour skill earlier, rather than rely on dodging which they are terrible at due to their large size. This wouldn't affect most other races who can't wear normal armour, since spriggans are not going to be heavy armour users and most trolls would be using unarmed combat which is heavily penalized from heavy armour. Perhaps draconians could benefit, but in my opinion, it's better for them to go with light armour and become an unarmed combat using transmuter or some other type of hybrid.

I liked Ogre Mages, I consider them a better race than current Ogres. For one Ogre Mages were the best race for Statue Form spell - okay casting, good Strength. They were also better unarmed. — b0rsuk 2011-02-19 13:57
Does troll leather armour count? It's only -1 EV (if I remember correctly) but it is usually the best way for an ogre to start using armour. Of course, trolls are pretty tough monsters in the early game, but it's not uncommon to see them before you reach the lair. There's also mottled dragon armour (EV -1 again), and that's another easy monster that is encountered around the depth you suggested. Neither of these armours are particularly heavy, but they are fairly easy to obtain if you know how to. If a -2 or -3 EV armour would be good, maybe it could be something like an elephant hide. — evilmike 2010-12-27 09:29
-1 EV is too light, since it trains dodge far faster than armor skill and would stop at skill lvl 3 or so. — ledtim 2010-12-27 15:23
If I recall my skill training correctly, this is incorrect; EVP no longer caps armour skill training, and disabled skills in trunk train less frequently, and more so at higher levels. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-12-28 09:08
An early source of magically-fitted heavy armor would be great, though not ogre-specific as much as for every restricted race. Elephants are pretty late, maybe use beetles? It's fine if it's strictly worse than comparable medium-sized options. — OG17 2010-12-28 05:50

Nerf their spellcasting aptitude and increase their spell school aptitudes.

They have a very unique aptitude niche right now, doing this will make them blend into the vaguely caster races like hill orc, centaur, deep dwarf and so on. I think Ogres are fine the way they are frankly. Yes they're generally terrible but the challenge is what makes them interesting and fun. — st 2010-12-27 11:34
I agree, there's nothing wrong with “bad” races. Putting everything on equal footing makes everything boring. — OG17 2010-12-28 05:50
Ogres could use some logical size-based buffs (right now, the size system is biased towards small creatures and large creatures mostly get penalties), but otherwise I also think they should stay as is. — RangerC 2010-12-28 06:17
Ogres aren't “bad”, they're bad. If you want a challenge, choose an unusual class/race combo. All races should have class-situations where they are best to play, for ogres it's currently very few. And it's hard to imagine a sprint map, for instance, that was good for ogres that wasn't simultaneously better for at least two other races. I think ogres are being double-punished from being big - once when devs decided the aptitudes, and then again from size factors in the game. — vintermann 2011-02-19 14:44
Fiddle with magical apts
Evening out all of their magical aptitudes would be a boring way to go, but I still think there's a lot to be gained by boosting ogres' magic in some way. They're objectively worse than trolls or the tougher medium-sized races at straight-up combat…the only thing they have going for them is +2 spellcasting, but with -3 in every single school they're heavily discouraged from using it. What I'd love to see is for the four elemental schools (probably not poison) to be brought up to +1 or even just 0 with everything else left the same. This would give them a fun niche as battle-elementalists while still making them very bad at branching out past their starting school (especially since the elemental schools oppose each other). Flavor-wise it could be said that ogres are shamanistic and have a natural understanding of nature magic but no grasp of higher arcane learning. I don't think this would exactly rocket them out of the “challenge race” category, but it would make them more fun to play (especially in the early game) and give them a niche more interesting than “sucky trolls”.— Sjohara 2011-1-10 20:50

I suggest raising ogres' spell school aptitudes from -3 to -2 and raising their Unarmed Combat aptitude from -1 to +1. They will retain their niche while sucking quite a bit less. Start simple, I say. — minmay 2010-12-27 18:49

I suggest keeping the basic shape of their spc vs. spell skill divide (crafty but unsophisticated witch-brutes, great flavour). But I think the penalty should be less severe for some schools - cut it down to -2 for 2 or 3 of the schools that currently few races are good at, maybe give them -1 in one particularly witchy skill (hexes?) — vintermann 2011-02-19 14:44

Modify Size-Based Effects (generally)

Ogres (and Trolls) should get a few logical size-based improvements and perks - this should make them more interesting (and feeling more like an actual 'large' species and less like one that is just handicapped by size).

  • Ogres should not flounder in shallow water, because of their size, and should be better than other species at avoiding drowning. Movement penalties can still apply.
  • Elephants (and any other size-huge) species should not be able to trample ogres. Dragons (size:GIANT) should be able to trample, but Ogres should have a chance at resisting.
  • Large rocks should rarely spawn on D:1-12 (after that, cyclops and giants have plenty) for throwing purposes.
  • Ogres should use 2 handed (except giant clubs) weapons as 1.5 handed. Ogres have a handedness advantage with medium weapons - for example, an ogre uses a trident one-handed, a merfolk 1.5. However, give them each a bardiche and both races use it as a 2 handed weapon (should be 1.5 handed for the Ogre). This would give ogres the weapon choice between a giant spiked club OR a great mace/bardiche with large shield as a final weapon combination.
  • Ogres can wear hides in the cloak slot (stole this one from the size page), so you could have combinations like a robe of resistance and a storm dragon hide cloak. Not sure exactly how current EV penalties for hides would work when worn by ogres as a cloak. — RangerC 2010-12-28 06:50
General changes like making size matter more are a lot better than ogre-specific buffs, yeah, especially ogre-specific buffs like “better apts.” — OG17 2010-12-28 07:17
Not floundering in shallow water is done in trunk. — dolorous 2011-02-19 15:16

Size needs to be fixed. The problem is that big races currently get double-punished: They have bad apts at dodging, stealth, armour etc, and they get built-in penalties for size. Either all size disadvantage should be at the aptitude level, or all should be at the size factor level - I think the latter is best, on reflection (so that an Ogre at 27 dodging doesn't have the EV of a spriggan at 27 dodging). — vintermann 2011-02-19 14:44

Unique Hunger Counter (big rumbling Ogre guts)

In the tavern, Stormlock suggested: “Would it be possible to give them larger stomachs, so to speak? So they can have a higher maximum and satiated food values. That way they still need to eat a ton, but at least it takes them about as long as everyone else to starve to death while recovering between fights.”


  • Increase size of their hunger counter levels (perhaps 1.5x, or even double?)
  • Increase their fast-metabolism by 1 tic


  • Ogres would need to consume more to become full (big, rumbling bellies), but would be able to “store” more satiation than other races
  • However, this would mean that Ogres gain less relative benefit than other races (except Trolls) from any given satiation source.
  • This would in turn change the relative costs of other hunger costed abilities - spellcasting hunger, for instance, would be less relatively expensive for them.
  • This would beneficial in areas where you already don't eat all of the chunks, but more of a concern in areas where chunks are few and far between

I'm not sure about how this should interact with external hunger sources (hungry ghosts, etc.) - i.e. whether they use percentage effects or fixed ones. — jeffqyzt 2011-2-18 09:36

This is interesting but becomes less so if you raise metabolism with it. Larger satiation thresholds are functionally similar to gourmand, which trolls have with fast meta 3, so giving ogres both pseudogourmand and fast meta 2 would make them feel similar as far as nutrition goes. — OG17 2011-02-18 22:04

Ogres as a challenge species aren't obvious

Ogres are intended as a challenge species, but to new players this is very unintuitive. The forum made this problem obvious (and also hurt a few people's feelings, it seems). Looking at the description in the manual, players expect playing an ogre to be similar to playing a troll, i.e. you have very poor aptitudes but make up for it by being a brute. It takes quite a lot of playing to break free of that pretense. One would expect ogres to be a strong beginner's species, going by the manual, their status in pop culture, and encounters with them in gameplay. They're pretty much the opposite. Compare this to mummies: in most fiction, they're shambling wrecks barely better than zombies, and monster mummies reflect that. It took me quite a lot of playing to realize ogres were bad, and until about a month ago I didn't realize they were intended to be bad. If I had known earlier that they were intended to be such a challenge species, I would not have suggested buffing them, and I'm sure this applies to quite a lot of other people as well. — minmay 2011-03-17 00:17

Clearly indicating challenge species
  • Add an indicator of difficulty to the species screen. A three-star system was suggested - challenge species like ogres would get three stars, mid-range species like hill orcs would get two, and easy species like trolls would get one. It could also be the other way around, with ogres getting one star and trolls three; not sure which one would be more intuitive. Of course, this would be useful regardless of what happens to ogres.
  • Change the name to something players actually expect to be difficult. Forum suggestions ranged from “Ogre runt” to “Hobgoblin” to “Fat Hobo.” Simply renaming them to something completely new (similar to how ynoxinuls aren't named after anything) would get rid of most of the inaccurate player perceptions. Some people are against this because having monsters and player species that are similar is good.
  • Independent of the above, change the manual's description of ogres to better reflect them in gameplay. At the very least, add something like “Although Ogres are large and strong, their natural defenses are poor and their size makes them easy targets.”

Simple changes

What about this:

  • add +26 hp by xl27 (so it's Hu 270, Tr 313, Og 326 with max fighting)
  • improve some apts that make it differ from trolls (Fighting, M&F). This would make them stand out more.

KiloByte 2011-03-17 01:03

Good ideas. +1HP per level is simple and effective. They have fighting +2 and M&F +1 (trolls have fighting -2, M&F -1). What do you suggest? fighting and M&F +3? — galehar 2011-03-19 10:21
Heck, even +5 could be ok, since both mettle and clubbing people over the head is something ogres are all about. People shouted at me when I suggested +5/+5 so it could be slightly less extreme, but at least to me there's no downside in going whole hog. — KiloByte 2011-03-19 11:19
Aptitude improvements are definitely good, but I'm concerned that making the aptitude for one weapon skill so high will put it into no-brainer territory. (Merfolk have a similar problem with regard to polearms.) — dolorous 2011-03-19 16:07
Note that +3 would (currently) be the best aptitudes of any species for either fighting or Maces/Flails. Personally, I'd go +4 fighting, +2 M&F. That would give them a noticeable bump in fighting prowess/hitpoints, and an advantage when using maces/flails, without it being overwhelming vs. unarmed, polearms, and staves (still pretty overwhelming vs. axes and blades, but I think that's fine.) — JeffQyzt 2011-03-21 09:20

galehar's version sounds fine to me, boost their HP as proposed and apts to +3/+3 for fighting/maces for 0.8. Maybe looking into the suggestion below for using two-handers as 1.5 handers would be interesting for 0.9. — MarvinPA 2011-03-25 15:52

Patch posted to Mantis for using 2 handers 1.5 handed. Feel free to use for 0.9. — RangerC 2011-04-05 05:41
After some testing, another +1 to galehar's version. Besides, there's a precedent for +3 for one weapon type and +0 for another with kobolds. — dolorous 2011-03-27 19:02
Done. — MarvinPA 2011-03-27 21:36

Here's my suggestion:

  • Use 2H weapons as 1.5H weapons (except for GSC).
  • HP boost, until racial fighting HP boost goes in.
  • Axes ⇒ 0
  • Long ⇒ 0
  • Shields ⇒ 0
  • Staves ⇒ 0
  • Unarmed ⇒ 0
  • Maces ⇒ 2
  • Throw ⇒ 2

Justification: they should be good at M&F/throwing, and could use a tweak here. They don't need to have -3 in axes/long blades; there are big choppy two handed versions of these that are quite ogre-ly. 0 apt in non-tiny weapons is just fine; possibly weapon size or strength requirements should be changed so big races have problems with all small weapons.

Note: Ogres have bad apts overall, so having most of their apts be negative and then having one apt at +5 is just dumb. Compare with mummies are great at necromancy - that's why they have +1 in it, because their baseline is lower.

(Seriously, +5? WTF? That's better at M&F than Mf are at polearms, and almost no one uses non-polearms on a Mf.) — Eronarn 2011-03-22 20:48

Er, the difference between weapons they're supposed to be bad at and maces they use exclusively being mere 2? That's almost no weapon differentiation. — KiloByte 2011-03-23 00:35
The difference between 0 and 2 in the player's eyes is huge, regardless of how important it is in gameplay. That's plenty of differentiation when those are the only skills they even have good apts in and one of their innate racial abilities is “can use the best maces”. Besides, there's nothing saying they shouldn't be able to use greatswords or battleaxes if they want; they'll just be a little less efficient. Daggers and staves should probably be really negative though. I notice he didn't mention polearms though; are we treating those as a favored weapon or not? — Brickman 2011-03-23 05:52
Ogres' polearms aptitude is already 0. It was originally bumped up from -1 to avoid the M&F no-brainer, to ensure that they weren't below average for every weapon that could be edged, and because the size differential for high-end polearms seemed to fit ogres (e.g. they'd use a bardiche the way smaller races would use an axe). — dolorous 2011-03-23 14:13
Add Carnivore Mutation

Note: text moved from proposed species: Ogres are pretty sub-par at the moment. No standard armor, can't dodge that well, specialized in slow-swinging weapons. They do impressive damage, but that's not as important as survivability. My suggestion for a start on improvement would be to give them back one level of the racial Carnivore mutation so that they're at least better at being berserkers.

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dcss/brainstorm/species/ogre.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 17:26 by XuaXua
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