Ogre (Dungeons & Dragons)

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An illustration of an ogre.
First appearancethe Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974)
AlignmentChaotic Evil

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, ogres are a lesser race of giants. An aquatic subrace of ogres is known as "merrow". D&D ogres are also closely related to the race of ogre magi, a more intelligent race with blue skin and great magical abilities. Typically Ogres stand between nine and ten feet tall and can weigh up to 650 lbs. Ogres are closely related to trolls, and are distantly related to the various races of giants.

Publication history[edit]

Ogres have a long history within the Dungeons & Dragons game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The ogre was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974). They are described simply as large and fearsome monsters.[1]

Ogre variants appeared in Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The ogre appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where they are described as ugly-tempered and voracious creatures sometimes found as mercenaries.[2]

The ogrillon, a crossbreed between ogres and orcs, was introduced in the Fiend Folio (1981).

The aquatic ogre (or merrow), is introduced in Monster Manual II (1983).

The half-ogre first appears as a player character race for AD&D in Dragon #73 (May 1983).

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the ogre, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981 & 1983).[3][4][5] The ogre was featured as a player character race in the gazetteer The Orcs of Thar (1989). Ogres were also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[6] the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).[7]

The half-ogre appears as a player character race for this edition of the game in Dragon #29 (September 1979).

Top Ballista (1989) features the mutant ogre.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The ogre and merrow appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[8] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[9]

The half-ogre and the ogrillon are presented for the World of Greyhawk campaign setting in Greyhawk Ruins (1990), and then also appear in the Monstrous Manual.

Irda, relatives of ogres for the Dragonlance campaign setting, first appear in the game in Dragonlance Adventures (1987), as a player character race. The ogres of the world of Krynn are featured in Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix (1990), and include the high ogre (irda), and the orughi. The Time of the Dragon set (1989), described the ogre as a player character race in the "Rulebook of Taladas".[10] Taladas: The Minotaurs (1991) presents three types of the yrasda: the aphelka, the thanic, and the ushama.

The Zakharan ogre for the Al-Qadim campaign setting, is introduced in City of Delights (1993).[11]

The ogre and half-ogre are detailed as playable character races in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993),[12] and the ogre and half-ogre are later presented as playable character races again in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).[13]

The ice spire ogre for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting is introduced in Giantcraft (1995), and later appears in the Villains' Lorebook (1998).[14]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The ogre appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000), which also included information on the merrow.[15]

Two variations on the ogre, the shadowlands ogre and the shadowlands troll, were introduced in Oriental Adventures (2001).

Dragon #304 (February 2003) presented the ogre as a player character race, and Savage Species (2003) presented the ogre as both a race and a playable class, and the merrow and half-ogre as player character races.[16]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The ogre appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003), which also included information on the merrow.

The half-ogre is presented as a template in Dragon #313 (November 2003). Two different versions of the half-ogre race are presented in Races of Destiny and the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. The Dragonlance version is reprinted in Races of Ansalon.

The skullcrusher ogre (along with the skullcrusher sergeant) is introduced in Monster Manual III (2004),[17] and the ogre guard thrall, the ogre scout and the ogre tempest appear in Monster Manual IV (2006).[18]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)[edit]

The ogre appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[19]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014-)[edit]

In 5th edition, the Ogre appears in the Monster Manual.



Occasionally allowed as a PC race, half-ogres are smarter but weaker than ogres. The half-ogre is the result of a union between a human and an ogre. They can sometimes pass as unusually large, albeit ugly, humans.


These aquatic ogres are green and scaled with webbed hands and feet. They are faster and fiercer than their land-based kin, but are otherwise similar to normal ogres.

In the 5th edition, merrow are merfolk corrupted by a prolonged existence in the Abyss.

Ogre mage[edit]

These blue-skinned ogres are more intelligent than their mundane kin, and possess some innate magical abilities, such as invisibility and shapeshifting. They are a little taller than standard Ogres, averaging ten feet.

Critical reception[edit]

The ogre was ranked third among the ten best low-level monsters by the authors of Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. They posit that the ogre "teaches players about fighting big, powerful, stupid monsters, which is an iconic D&D experience".[20]

In other media[edit]

Ogres were featured in the video game Baldur's Gate series, including appearances in Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2.[citation needed]

Other publishers[edit]

The ogre is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Classic Monsters Revisited (2008), on pages 46–51.[21]


  1. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  2. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  4. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  5. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  6. Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  7. Slavicsek, Bill. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (TSR, 1999)
  8. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  9. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  10. Cook, David. Time of the Dragon (TSR, 1989)
  11. Prusa, Tom and Tim Beach. City of Delights (TSR, 1993)
  12. Slavicsek, Bill. The Complete Book of Humanoids (TSR, 1993)
  13. Niles, Douglas and Dale Donovan. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (TSR, 1995)
  14. Donovan, Dale. Villains' Lorebook (TSR, 1998)
  15. Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  16. Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  17. Burlew, Rich, et al. Monster Manual III (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  18. Kestrel, Gwendolyn F.M. Monster Manual IV (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  19. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  20. Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Rich; Grubb, Jeff (2005). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-7645-8459-6. Retrieved 27 March 2012. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  21. Baur, Wolfgang, Jason Bulmahn, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Mike McArtor, James L. Sutter, Greg A. Vaughan, Jeremy Walker. Classic Monsters Revisited (Paizo, 2008)

Further reading[edit]

  • Bennie, Scott, Scott Haring, and John Terra. Otherlands (TSR, 1990).

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