Davion Fuxa's Ogre guide
A simple guide for new players to look into when playing the Ogre. Presented here are some general ideas on how to play with Ogres, and what options are present to them. I mostly wrote this guide because I found that what was written for them to be lacking and not really descriptive of what to do with an Ogre – and because someone mentioned they had no real guide to play from when they started.
Ogres are generally difficult to play so a little bit of information on what you can do to survive with them should help new players get started with them. This guide mostly covers a lot of the more specific elements related to setup of Ogres, it doesn't emphasis tactics however so look elsewhere for that information. Note that there may be some disagreement with some things mentioned in this guide - as far as I'm concerned that is okay, what is written here is to give you a general idea before and while approaching a game with your own Ogre character.
One of the large species in game, the Ogre is all about lobbing things from afar, clobbering enemies up close with big clubs, and prone to taking substantial punishment due to its large health pool. However, due to a lack of options to reduce or avoid damage, the Ogre Species is a tricky balancing act of managing consumables, difficult spell use, and restricted equipment slots that hinder an Ogre from pushing on in the game.
Ogres have a particularly tough Early Game where they quickly have to find consumables or train up skills in order to survive threats that can potentially end their run abruptly with no real options to prevent it. However, as they progress in the game they can do increasing well as a result of their large size attribute that lets them use Giant Clubs, Giant Spiked Clubs, and Large Rocks; basically you can just clobber anything threatening before it has a chance to do anything.
Most likely when playing the Ogre you will die several times in a variety of different ways. Don’t be discouraged by this, the Ogre is a hard species to play, and it will remain difficulty throughout the game. Depending on how you play too, you may be at the mercy of the random number generator as you progress in the game as well.
Background to Choose
The Ogre species has really constrained options when choosing a background. Because of its haphazard ability to avoid damage in any fashion through Dodging, Armor, or Stealth; an Ogre primarily has to focus on augmenting its offensive abilities to kill the enemy first in order to play. A secondary focus is to try and make up for its defensive shortcomings by way of spells or God abilities.
Berserkers, Hunters, Arcane Marksmen, and Wizard are the limited set of Backgrounds listed as suitable for Ogres. These are all suitable choices because they tend to primarily offer something that either helps the Ogre do more damage, help the Ogre out defensively, or do a mixture of both. What’s more they tend to help your Ogre out immediately upon entering the dungeon.
One other choice I would recommend that isn’t in the limited starting set of recommended backgrounds but can do quite well is the Abyssal Knight. While not immediately ready to kick ass, the Abyssal Knight can do quite well once it has Banishment online, and until then they it can use Bend Space to escape from some of the trouble it may encounter on its adventure.
For the adventurous looking to try other backgrounds that can work well with Ogres, one might try Air Elementalist, Necromancers, Skalds, and Warpers. These backgrounds are much more difficult to run with for Ogres as the playstyle of these backgrounds require you to train spell schools with the Ogre's poor aptitudes to succeed while not having an immediate panic button ready to save them in a tricky situation. Once everything is online though, the character will be running around with some neat tricks in tow from the spellbooks they start out with.
Gods to Worship
Several of the Gods offer different boons that can aid an Ogre in his quest through the dungeon. Some however are less useful and should probably be avoided. Much like selecting a background, when choosing a God you want to augment the Ogre’s Offense or make up for its lack of Defense.
Choice Gods upon reaching the Ecumenical Temple might be Makhleb and Okawaru; these gods offer a variety of ways to help you both increase your Offensives and/or aid you Defensively. With Trog you generally would only worship him after starting with Berserkers, but if you don't plan on using spells you might pick him over Okawaru when playing on a Hunter. If you pick the Abyssal Knight background or somehow manage to obtain worship under Lugonu, it may take time to build up the piety but once you have the god abilities online you'll have a fairly easy time handling anything remotely threatening.
Fedhas Madash, Jiyva, and Ashenzari are some decent secondary Gods to consider. I say secondary however because while you can gain great benefits from these Gods, there are also some penalties with them – Fedhas for food for instance, Jiyva may cost you a lot of Scrolls and Potions which are important as escape options during any part of the game, and Ashenzari of course has the big problem with the fact that you only get the benefits from him when you curse your equipment - and cursing a Giant Spiked Club will restrict your ability to butcher with it. Jiyva in particular isn’t available in the Ecumenical Temple and the only way you could begin quickly worshiping him is if an early Alter spawned for him in the dungeon
Note that there is nothing stopping you from playing other Gods as well – but with the difficult start that an Ogre presents you may find the other Gods to be considerable less useful in helping to keep your Ogre alive to the point where their properties would begin to really show. Taking The Shining One or Zin later on an Ogre can have huge benefits but the lack of using Poison or hitting unaware foes with The Shining one and not being able to skin Trolls with Zin for their Hide hurts quite a bit as well if you were to take these Gods initially. Kikubaaqudgha is a late bloomer in benefits, and the survivability of an Ogre may mean you won't survive long enough to see those benefits. Vehumet and Sif Muna can be a great benefit to most spell-casting focused characters but generally you will not really benefit as much since your eventually focus should fall into hitting things with big sticks and rocks.
Progressive Stat Selection
Ogre's begin live with 10 Strength, 5 Intelligence, and 3 Dexterity. As Ogre's level up, they will get an increase to their Strength naturally every 3 levels. At level 27 you'll have an Ogre with 19 Strength, 5 Intelligence, and 3 Dexterity; before your Ogre's Background starting stats, the 9 stat points you can assign, Mutations effecting stats, and Shuffle Cards/Jiyva Stat Shuffle all come into play. This makes the Ogre the 2nd Strongest species after Trolls, but in the bottom rung of the Dumbest species, and tied with Trolls with being the 2nd Least Agile species.
Due to having such a tremendous bonus in Strength, Ogre's generally never really need to increase the Strength Stat regardless of what background they pick or what style of play they pursue. There are some exceptions like a Ogre Berserker Wearing Gold Dragon Armor perhaps but it really is a limited set where training Strength might be even worth considering. By process of elimination, this means that you are training up Intelligence or Dexterity on your Ogre when you are given the option of picking what stat to train.
Outside of training up Intelligence and Dexterity to the requisite minimums of 7 or 8 to stave off accidental stat deaths; which stat you train really just depends on how focused you are on spells or when you plan to focus on using spells. Training Intelligence on an Ogre can be helpful in getting basic Utility spells online earlier or for casting higher level spells later on. Even without training Intelligence though you can still eventually get basic Utility spells of Spell Levels 1 to 3 reliably castable at the basic Intelligence of 7 or 8. If spells aren't something you plan on using or initially focusing on for a while, then Dexterity can help you out by giving you immediate returns on slightly improved defenses; which go a long way on Ogre's since any improvement to mitigating damage can be a lifesaver.
Early Game Ogre Skill Training
An important thing to note about Ogres is that if you want to survive early on, you need to maximize your offensive capabilities as fast as possible and as early as possible. This means that generally you may want to leave things like Magic Schools, Defensive Skills, and Invocations gaining less experience while to prioritize your experience into Mace & Flail, Throwing, and Fighting; or Conjurations if you happen to be playing a Wizard. Note I say ‘gaining less’ and not ‘off’, if you’re a Zealot who doesn't train Invocations then you will hurt yourself when it comes time to make use of them, and Hexes on an Arcane Marksmen can be tremendously helpful versus uniques like Grinder and Sonja or on particularly tough monsters like Hill Giants which have mediocre magic resistance.
Make a note that while you are best off with Mace & Flail weaponry due to your really high species modifier for it, if you find a decently branded or artefact Polearm early enough before you have really begun to train Mace & Flail to a high level, you should consider using Polearms instead. While the modifier for Mace & Flail is clearly better then for Polearms (And every other weapon category), the Modifier for Polearms isn’t exactly terrible on its own and can be trained up quickly enough on an Ogre. Depending on how good a Polearm might be as well, you may want to abandon Mace & Flail for it even as the game begins to get late - I found for example that Wyrmbane is an extremely powerful weapon in the hands of an Ogre once you train up Polearms to 12 and increase Wyrmbane's Weapon Damage and Accuracy killing a few Dragons or Draconians.
As to what to train of Mace & Flail or Polearms, Throwing, Fighting, and Conjurations, that is really a question of what you have on hand or plan to do with your character. Large Rocks are terribly inaccurate and it usually takes to the double digits in Throwing skill before you start hitting with them reliably. Weapon skills are really a matter of what weapon you will be using and when – A Bardiche or a Giant Spiked Club need a lot of training in their weapon skills to use effectively but for a simple Whip or Trident you don’t need as much weapon skill training. Fighting is generally always useful when you need more health and can actually be considered one of your first defensive stats, plus the skill helps you out offensively as well. As for Wizards training Conjuration, it is just a question of how much of a hybrid build you plan to pursue and when you want Mephitic Cloud online.
Upon clearing up to the Lair or the Orcish Mines you should begin to branch into upping defensive skills of Dodging, Stealth, and Armour as applicable to your character; or if you haven’t already you should raise your Magic Schools and Invocations to a suitable level for whatever it is you plan to do with spells and abilities. Even while an Ogre’s defensive skills are poor, they can still be quite beneficial to train – an Ogre in Fire Dragon Armor can sometimes avoid being seen or waking up a monster that comes into view with a little Stealth training for example.
Make a big note that you could also try taking up Shields on your Ogre if you come across any decently branded Shield or Large Shields in your adventures through the Early Dungeon. Shields can be a tremendously helpful defensively for the Ogre that sorely comes up lacking in such things. Ogres also need less training in Shields to reach minimum delays – at 9 Shields skill and 15 Shields skill you can use Shields and Large Shields without penalty respectively. Just take into account how good your Two Handed Weapons might be if you give them up to do so; while the defensive boost from Shields is great, you are giving up a heavy amount of your offense that can be found from a well enchanted Giant Spiked Club. If you lack a good One Handed Weapon or fail to find one later on as well, that is also a good indication that continuing to use a Shield will be a bad idea and you should consider when using your Two Handed Weaponry options will serve you better; a Shield won't carry you through the game like a Weapon will.
As you approach the Mid Game you should finish up training anything you have yet to before beginning to pursue in earnest whatever you plan on getting for your character – want to be casting Haste? Start throwing all your experience into Charms at this point for it. Maybe throw experience in Translocations if you want to cast Controlled Blink. Bear in mind that Ogres aren’t a smart race so take into account the type of armor you want to wear and realize that the level 8 and 9 spells may simply just be out of your reach to reliably cast. Don't forget to pick up a little training for your level 2 or 3 spells either - Freezing Aura, Repel Missions, Stoneskin, and Animate Skeleton are just a few good examples of spells that are really useful with only minimal training in their respective spell schools.
Considerations in Ogre Equipment
Due to your equipment limitations, you’ll want to attempt to find yourself a cap, a cloak, and a robe with a decent ego as soon as possible; for what little defense they provide, every little bit will help on your Ogre. Later when you start seeing Trolls and some Early Dragons (and assuming you can kill them without dying) you should try and kill and skin them in hope for a Troll Hide or Dragon Hide to enchant into Armor with an Enchant Armor Scroll – even if you don’t plan to wear Troll Armor, Steam Dragon Armor, or Mottled Dragon Armor in the end game it will act as a decent transitional Armor. Just save your Enchant Armor scrolls and wait for a Hide from your preferred Dragon later.
In terms of Jewelry, you want Rings that will help shore up your AC in the beginning, before gradually switching over to Rings of Protection to Fire, Cold, Negative Energy, Poison, and Magic Resistance. Before then though there are a couple rings that stand out as useful in almost all situations: Rings of Strength in particular are golden on the Ogre to let you get the coveted 27 Strength for those who opt for a Golden Dragon Armor before hitting Character Level 27 to Strength just letting you carry more Large Rocks, Javelins, Wands, Food, and whatever else you want to carry around with you on your Ogre. Rings of Protection and Rings of Dexterity are also good for helping to shore up your weak defenses and keeping you alive just a little better - assuming the positive modifier on the Ring isn't something pathetic. For Amulets you’ll want to wear the Amulet of Conservation in order to protect your Potions and Scrolls; unless you have a Cloak of Preservation on hand in which case wear whatever Amulet suits your fancy at the given moment; though note if you have a Cloak of Magic Resistance, you might want to wear that instead of the Cloak of Preservation.
In terms of weapons you should generally wield the best branded Mace & Flail category weapon you find – or Polearm if you find a significantly good one. Note here that I’m saying best branded weapon and not necessarily biggest baddest weapon; using Giant Spiked Clubs are fine but a Great Mace of Protection will shore up your pathetic defenses somewhat and using a simple branded whip even without a Shield can be useful for when a clunky Two Handed Weapon will just flail about on high evasion opponents – Killer Bees and Unseen Horrors for example are vicious Ogre killing machines.
In regards to Shields, using ones with egos that help shore up your resistances to whatever you need. Gaining a Shield with Poison Resistance can free up another of your limited slots for something else in Snake Pits, Spider's Nest, or Shoals. With Fire, Cold, or Fire and Cold, you can help beef out your defenses in the end game where such attacks will become more common place.
With Ranged weapons it should be fairly obvious that Large Rocks are awesome and you should certainly make use of them when they are available. Note though that they are heavy suckers and they are less useful against enemies closer to the edge of your characters Line of Sight – sometimes they will be thrown just shy of your target. You should try to diversify or supplement your Large Rocks with some Javelins which are lighter but still do decent damage and will hit at maximum range – easily stocked up in Shoals if available. Another fancy weapon that utilizes the Throwing Skill to consider is Blowguns which can provide an assortment of debuffs on enemies that can be useful for killing them; higher Throwing Skill will also cause the debuffs outside of poison to last longer. Curare Needles in particular are devastatingly powerful and will be useful for a long while - plus it isn't effected by the Throwing skill (though you still need Throwing Skill for firing it out of the Blowgun, so don't entirely skimp on it). Before you have any of that though, just throwing Darts, Stones, and random starter weapons can help whittle stuff down at range before you kill it in Melee.
Valuing Potions, Scrolls, and Wands
When playing any character you want to make the good use of Scrolls, Potions, and High Level Wands like Teleport, Haste, and Heal Wounds and have them available when you need them in combat. On an Ogre you’ll want to do everything possible to make good use of your consumables because you’ll be using them a whole lot more then you would on most other character you may have played. Use whatever means at your disposal to identify what is on hand so will have the right consumables ready when needed.
Of the three types of consumables, Wands can’t be destroyed by the enemy, and Ogres though still quite poor at Evocations are not as poor with them as they are in each of the individual Magic Schools. Even outside of the High Level Wands you will benefit greatly with the Bolt Styled wands like Wand of Draining or Wand of Fire, as these attacks can be useful in hitting lines of targets down a corridor. However, note that carrying a bunch of wands eats up inventory space as well as the fact that wands themselves weigh 10.0 aum each; and eventually you may want to drop them in favor of more Large Rocks or Javelins. It is also important to note that Wands aren’t necessarily going to be the answer to every situation either – sometimes your other consumables in the form of Scrolls or Potions are more important.
Scrolls are of varied usefulness with scrolls that can be used against enemies, towards your character, or towards your equipment. A well placed Scroll of Fog can help shield you from an army of Centaurs while you bolt into a corridor and a Scroll of Remove Curse on a Giant Spiked Club you are wielding can be undoubtedly important to making sure your character doesn’t starve. Scrolls will start to lose their importance the farther you progress in game due to attacks like Hellfire and Sticky Flame becoming more common and thus more of a threat to your scrolls; as such you’ll benefit from scrolls more in the Early and Mid Game or if you are smart enough to stash your scrolls commonly for non-combat use – like buffing up your Wand of Hasting or Heal Wounds with the Scroll of Recharging before going into the Orb Chamber.
Finally, Potions are perhaps your most valuable resources when it comes to keeping your Ogre alive. Since many potions do well in aiding you offensively or helping to make up for your poor defenses, they can often be what keeps you alive in a critical fight. As with Scrolls, Potions can be destroyed by enemies and as you progress farther into the game you will find more enemies that use Cold Based attacks. Unlike with Scrolls though, the number of Cold Based attacks usually seems to be far less so they will survive a little bit more commonly in the End Game.
Note that with Scrolls and Potions will easily be destroyed in the Realm of Zot so you should avoid taking them in there as much as possible; assuming you have that choice to begin with. If you lack a Wand of Heal Wounds then you really don't have a choice in the matter when it comes to taking the Potions of Heal Wounds in. If you have to take Scrolls and Potions in though, take them in small Amounts and stash the rest where you can easily pick them up and carry on; you'll mitigate the consumable destruction more this way. Wearing a source of Conservation is obviously important as well. Keep in mind that there is a lot more sources of flame and freezing too, so Scrolls are even more at risk of being destroyed.