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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Ogre Gang

This band of four ogres has been preying on travelers along a dilapidated road that passes through a stretch of wild land between two neighboring kingdoms. Unlike most ogres, this gang robs then leaves their victims alive instead of serving them up as the evening meal. The ogre's area of operation consists of hilly woodlands dotted with rock outcroppings and stream-cut ravines. The muddy dirt road winds through fifteen miles of this rough terrain, offering many locations to stage an ambush.

The Ogres

Merch - The leader of the gang, Merch is far too clever to be a normal ogre; in fact he is anything but normal. Merch was once human, the apprentice to a powerful magician. His master polymorphed him into an ogre for some minor infraction, but in the process Merch lost his memories of being human (he wears a fine silver amulet as his sole link to his past). He realizes he is not a normal ogre and uses his superior intellect to hide this fact from Grotch and Dorg, cultivating Bregosh's friendship as a shield against the pair.

Merch has the Good strength and toughness of a typical ogre, but only Mediocre combat skills. He has Good intellect, and a Fair grasp of some minor illusion and alteration magic. If forced to fight he wields a massive quarterstaff, though he prefers to use his magic abilities to avoid combat.

Bregosh - A towering, fearsome ogre, Bregosh would be a real terror if he had more than a child's mind. A serious head wound (which left a rather hideous scar) left Bregosh as something of a simpleton, a fact that Merch has taken great advantage of. Bregosh has an affinity for small animals and Merch caters to this by insuring there is always a little grain available so he can feed his 'pets'. He also views Merch as a friend and will protect him if he is threatened.

Bregosh is a brute of an ogre with Great strength and toughness and Good combat skills. His Poor intellect makes him a tool for Merch. In combat Bregosh wields a oak cudgel wrapped with iron bands and studded with bent and rusty spikes.

Grotch and Dorg - A pair of brothers cut from the same pattern, these two ogres are very typical of the breed, dull, strong and hungry. They provide the surly muscle for the gang, their baser tendencies held in check (barely) by Merch's wily scheming and the Bregosh's superior muscle.

Grotch and Dorg are typical ogres, with Good combat skills, strength and toughness, but Mediocre intellects. They're good in a fight, but not much use otherwise. The brothers use a matched pair of Great quality heavy axes in combat (see below).

The Operation

The gang's usual method of operation is to fell a tree across the road, then rob anyone that comes along, taking valuables, food and drink, along with the occasional horse or mule. Bregosh and Merch are usually stationed near the deadfall, while Grotch and Dorg block any escape once the trap is sprung. Merch will do the talking, while the others guard against treachery. They will defend themselves if necessary, but even Grotch and Dorg's dim brains have realized that stealing is less risky than killing.

If forced to fight the ogres, particularly Grotch and Dorg, will do so. If sorely pressed, Merch will order the retreat, making use of an obscuring illusion to cover their retreat. His favorite tricks include an illusion of additional ogres appearing from nearby cover, a wall of fog, and an alteration spell that obscures and alters the caster's trail, leading any pursuit astray.

The ogres have several crude camp sites scattered along the road. Each features a crude lean-to, a fire pit, and perhaps a small cache of foodstuffs secured beneath some heavy stones. They have a more permanent base in a small cluster of caves in the hills. Grotch and Dorg share a cave while Bregosh and Merch have dens of their own. Each ogre has their own cache of valuables and food. A fourth cave serves as a sort of common hall, with a communal cache of food and a big fire pit.

Treasure

  • Merch wears a Good quality silver amulet, inscribed with his former master's personal seal. He also carries a pouch with an Average quantity of silver and gold coin.
  • Bregosh carries a pouch of 'pretties', random stones and pebbles that have he's picked up in his travels. He's added a few pieces  of jewelry to his collection, including a Good quality ruby ring and a Great quality sapphire pendant that bears a minor enchantment.
  • Grotch and Dorg are more mercenary, each carries a pouch with a Fair quantity of silver and gold coin.The axes they wield are Great quality weapons (with a little cleaning and sharpening at least), serving as two-handed weapons for human-sized creatures.
  • Each of the ogres has a Good stash of minor trinkets and valuable goods (silverware, pewter, silks, etc.) stashed in their respective caves. Merch's stash is hidden by a minor illusion.

Hooks

  • Merch's former master is trying to find his former apprentice to reverse his condition. The party is tasked with finding the ogre and returning him alive to his master's care.
  • A rival of Merch's former master wants to recover the seal Merch wears and use it in a complex fraud scheme. The rival will pay well for item, no questions asked.
  • One of the two towns flanking the ogre's area of operations, wants them gone, they interfere with trade and are a hazard to the local populace. The other town wants them to stay, viewing them as a buffer against potential aggression from their neighbor. In fact the local lord has been paying off Merch and his crew to insure the road remains hazardous.
  • The axes used by Grotch and Dorg were actually made by a famous Dwarf craftsman at the behest of a local noble, a gift for the twin sons of his ruling lord. He wants them back!
  • The ogres have stolen the McGuffin and stashed it back at their caves. The party must find and recover it. Simply killing the ogres is not an option as the McGuffin's location dies with them.
  • Grotch and Dorg are scheming against Merch. They've secretly hired kobold assassins to take down their leader, leaving them in charge. The kobold gang has been spotted in the area and the party is tasked with getting rid of them.
  • Merch has begun to recall his past and is trying to find out more about it. He and Bregosh head into human lands to try and uncover his past.
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