High Ogres

Surion Maedhros

A Realm of Fire

Not all the races of the Shattered Realms are fortunate enough to have a stable Realm to protect them from the Mists. For most, this lack of safety would be a death sentence, but the High Ogres of the Shattered Realms have managed to survive for thousands of generations. They have accomplished this through the use of an artifact of Elemental Flame, wielded by their leader, called the Flamekeeper. This artifact, known as the Heart of Flame, allows the Flamekeeper to imbue fire with the ability to push back the Mists. The larger the flame, the farther back it forces the Mists to recede. While an empowered torch may create a sphere of safety a foot in diameter, a bonfire that has been empowered can push the Mists back tens of yards. With these flames, Ogres developed a method of creating a temporary Realm by encircling an area with massive bonfires. The Ogres carefully place the fires close enough that the spheres of safety they create overlap. This creates a barrier that the Mists can not cross, but leaves plenty of space for the Ogres to pass between the bonfires.The magic from the Heart of Flame even permeates the smoke created by the fires, pushing the Mists back as it rises and stopping them from pouring in from above the Realm.

The Realms created in this manner, referred to by the Ogres as Ember Yards, can protect the Ogres for a time, but not forever. While fires empowered by the Flamekeeper burn through their fuel at an exceptionally slower rate than a normal fire, they do still require fuel. This means that any Realm the Ogres make will always be temporary, and last only as long as the land has available resources. Once the fuel begins to run out, the Ogres are forced to begin looking for a new location to establish their Realm. Depending on the resources available in and around an Ember Yard the Realm can last anywhere from ten to forty years. Given the Ogres natural lifespan of about twenty years, most Ogres never live to see more than two Ember Yards in their lifetime.

When an Ember Yard approaches the point of no longer being sustainable, groups of Ogres will be sent out into the Mists to begin searching for a new location. When one is found a mass migration begins. These migrations are an extremely dangerous time for the Ogres, as they have limited protection from the Mists during them. It is typical for sixty to eighty percent of the Ogres to be killed or disappear into the Mists during this time. Even once the site of the new Ember Yard is reached, the danger has not passed since it takes weeks to obtain enough lumber to create the bonfires that protect the Realm. During this time the Flamekeeper constructs a single fire at the heart of where the Ember Yard will be, and lights it using the full concentrated essence of the Heart of Flame. This first bonfire, once lit, burns pure white and holds power beyond the ability to push the Mists back. As the construction of the Ember Yard begins, the spirits of the Ogres who perished in the migration appear around the white flame, much as they would in an Earth Circle. Those who are capable of performing a resurrection can then go about bringing back those whose spirits are still strong. Interestingly, this white flame attracts more than just the spirits of Ogres. In fact, the first interaction the Ogres had with humans was with the Spirit of a Caligonaut beside the white flames. This first bonfire provides the Ogres with a small semblance of protection from the Mists, while the bonfires that will form the perimeter of the Ember Yard are built.

While each Ember Yard differs in structure depending on the terrain where they are created, their size rarely varies. Usually they are no larger than two to three square miles. This provides enough space for the Ogres’ population of approximately one thousand individuals. While this is a relatively large area for their population, roughly half of it is used for farmland. The Ogres make their camps in a ring around the farmland, to both keep monsters out of it, and to keep the crops away from the bonfires. Larger Ember Yards have been attempted in the past, but as the perimeter of the Ember Yard increased, so too did the need for fuel for the bonfires. When Ember Yards were made larger than three square miles their longevity drastically decreased, and the practice was abandoned.

The current Ember Yard is nestled within a series of hills. The forest that used to exist there has been entirely cleared away and replaced with living spaces and farms irrigated by a river that flows through the Ember Yard. The wood from the clearcut forest and deposits of coal found in the hillsides have allowed the bonfires of the Ember Yard to continue burning for the last thirty-seven years, as of the Human year 1,017 PVF. Unfortunately it is expected that this Ember Yard won’t last much longer. With the coal deposit running out, and lumber available only through expeditions into the Mists proper, it is predicted the current Ember Yard will only last another two years.

Origin of the Ember Yards

While the Realms they live in now are temporary and Ogre made, that was not always the case. As a child, every Ogre is taught the legend of how they came to be stranded in the Mists. Thousands of generations ago, the Ogres had a stable Realm. This Realm sheltered them from the Mists, but offered no protection against the ferocious monsters that dwelled within it. The Ogres were strong, and though they lost people in the process, they would fight back the monsters every time they came. Some worried as the Ogres numbers began to dwindle, and did not believe that they had the strength to last against the beasts from within the Mists. These cowards turned to the ways of necromancy in order to fight back the horrors, but in doing so brought about the destruction of the Realm.

Those that survived their Realm’s destruction were forced to wander the Mists with no protection but the weapons they carried, and no food but what they scavenged. Desperate for any chance of survival, groups of Ogres were sent out to try and find any safety from the Mists they could. The remaining Ogres did their best to survive, but every day more and more were killed or just disappeared. It was not until a full month had passed that the sole survivor of those groups returned. Early in the morning on that day, an Ogre with flames for his eyes appeared at the edge of camp, the Mists recoiling from him. This Ogre, the first Flamekeeper, approached one of the fires the Ogres had been using to stay warm. He placed his hand into the fire and instantly the flames burst higher. As the fire grew, the Mists that surrounded them drew back from its touch. Shocked and in awe, the Ogres listened as the Flamekeeper instructed them to take all the wood and supplies available and surround the encampment with bonfires, creating the first Ember Yard.


Life inside the Ember Yard is hectic. Constant work needs to be done in order to ensure the survival of the Ogres. Food needs to be scavenged or grown and then cooked. Trees have to be felled and split for the bonfires. The borders of the Ember Yard need constant patrol against possible attack from monsters in the Mists. All of these and a hundreds more daily tasks make it so there is never a quiet moment within the Ember Yard. There are always Ogres moving about either taking care of some sort of business or reveling with one another once their day’s work is done. Combined with the limited space available for sleeping, this causes the Ogres’ lifestyle to be fairly communal. Sleeping spaces are often shared by groups of Ogres that are close with one another, and it is uncommon to find anywhere within the Ember Yard camps where there are not others nearby.

Resources are often scarce and must be scrounged from the areas within and around the Ember Yard. As much space as possible is needed for growing food, and so Ogres do not grow cotton. As such, clothes, huts and other amenities are often made of leathers and furs. Tools and weapons are likewise constructed from stone and bones. Because the Ogres lack a large supply of domesticated animals, most of these bones and leathers are taken from what they can hunt in the areas around the Ember Yard. Almost daily, groups of Ogres will venture into the surrounding Mists looking for game, and more often than not what they find are the various types of monsters that live within it. While these monsters are extremely dangerous to fight, the Ogres are not picky about where their materials come from, and will gladly slay a Mist monster for supplies. Due to the seemingly unending variety and number of monsters in the Mists, this keeps the Ogres well stocked in all kinds of bones and leathers. Even the meat of the Mist monsters is put to use, as the Ogres have no problem devouring it, especially given that it is one of the few sources of meat they have access to. Occasionally the job of hunting for food and materials is made easy when monsters leave the Mists to attack the Ember Yard. While fighting these monsters outside the Mists is considerably easier, the Ogres have come to find that not all monsters from the Mists leave a corpse behind when killed outside of the Mists.

Occasionally, deposits of various ores are found in or nearby the Ember Yard. This ore is always mined to exhaustion and used to make weapons, armors and tools that are carefully cared for over generations. Likewise, the discovery of pre-Mists ruins can provide occasional access to magical goods, as well as metallic tools. Because of their rarity, items made of metal are often considered special by the Ogres and seen as great prizes. Trade between the Ogres is often done via favors and bartering, though copper, silver and gold veins have been mined in the past. While these precious metals are sometimes used in trades between Ogres, they are primarily kept to trade with the Selunari when they visit.

Unlike many other cultures, family ties are not strong between Ogres. When an Ogre chooses a mate, their pairing may last a long time, but is seldom permanent. Even ties between children and parents are loose, as the children are generally raised communally. While an Ogre may know who their biological parents are, they are likely to have several Ogres whom they consider “parents” who helped to raise them, and do not always count their biological parents among them. During childhood, Ogres are taught in a variety of topics ranging from combat training to agriculture to determine what skills the child possesses. Once a child reaches age five, they are considered fully grown and an adult. At this time, they are required to start helping with the defense and prosperity of the Ember Yard in whatever manner they are most suited for. While an Ogre at this point may still spend considerable time with those that raised them, the parent-child relationship ceases to exist and is replaced with a relationship of peers.

Most disputes in Ember Yards are settled the same way, through one-on-one duels. If one Ogre takes issue with the actions of another then they will challenge them to a fight with the loser being in the wrong. These fights are often quick and brutal, with no distinction made between magical or physical prowess. Any method available to come out victorious can be used, but no resurrections can result from it. Any actions taken by a duelist to win a fight must be fixable by their own hand or wear off over time. In the event that the “winning” duelist is unable to prevent their opponent from dissipating, they are considered to have lost anyway. In situations where the losing party feels strongly about the issue that sparked the duel, they can challenge the winner to another duel to reopen the issue, but not for at least a week's time. In the event that an issue is continuously brought up via dueling, or an Ogre is thought to be exploiting those weaker than him, issues can be brought before the Flamekeeper. Judgment passed by the Flamekeeper is final, and no further duels about that issue can be initiated.

The Flamekeeper and the Heart of Flame

The Flamekeeper is the unequivocal leader of the Ogre nation. It is through their power over Elemental Flame that the Ogres are able to stay safe within the Ember Yard, but their responsibilities extend to more than that. The Flamekeeper is also responsible for facilitating the day to day activities of the Ember Yard. Keeping track of food and fuel stores, organising patrols, and expeditions into the Mists are all part of the myriad responsibilities a Flamekeeper has. The Flamekeeper is also responsible for settling disputes brought to their attention. While this is often done when an Ogre with a problem approaches them, a good Flamekeeper stays in the know on current events in the Ember Yard to stop problems before they start.

The title of Flamekeeper comes from their ability to use the artifact known as the Heart of Flame. It is this artifact that gives them their unparalleled control over fire, and allows them to keep the Mists at bay. While this artifact is central to the survival of Ogres, no one, even the current Flamekeeper, is certain of where it came from. Either the original Flamekeeper never divulged that secret, or it has been lost though the passing down of the legend. Few have actually laid eyes upon the artifact itself. The Heart of Flame does not often take on a physical state, and instead exists as a source of energy within the Flamekeeper’s body. The only time it solidifies as a tangible object is when the Flamekeeper permanently dies. Despite the power and strength that the Heart of Flame grants the Flamekeeper, they are still mortal with the same lifespan as any other Ogre. With the Ogres’ lack of emphasis on family ties, the succession of a Flamekeeper is not hereditary, but instead passed on to one the Flamekeeper deems worthy. Often a Flamekeeper, upon reaching the ages of fifteen to sixteen, will begin grooming a promising Ogre to take over the position next. Upon their death, the Flamekeeper’s body bursts into flame, rapidly burning away until nothing is left but ash and the Heart of Flame lying in the middle of it. In its physical form, the Heart of Flame resembles a fist-sized rock made of embers. The new Flamekeeper will then touch the artifact and absorb it into their body, thus continuing the cycle.

Selunari and Other Realms

The Ogres are not the only race without a proper Realm in the Mists, and they are aware of this fact. The wandering Selunari are a people that the Ogres have a longstanding friendship with, offering their traveling caravans refuge any time the Selunari happen to cross their path. Though these visits happen only once or twice a year, and seldom last for more than a week, they are looked fondly upon by the Ogres. Many will make room in their day to spend time trading and reveling with the visitors. Metallic goods and fabrics that the Selunari have made or traded for in other Realms are items that the Ogres fervently desire, and haggle for. Stories from the Selunari’s travels are also relished, and information on the various types of monsters found in the Mists is freely traded.

With the Selunari come tales of the far off Realm of the Sarr and Wylderkin, as well as the Realm of the Oathsworn. Occasionally when the end of an Ember Yard is drawing near the idea of trying to relocate to one of these two Realms is discussed, but never adopted. Every Flamekeeper has decide against it as the Sarr’s prejudice against magic would not allow the Ogres to stay, and the frozen tundra of the Oathsworn’s Realm would not be able to provide for the Ogres. Few argue against these decisions, and those that do are often called cowards afraid of the Mists by their fellow Ogres. Despite this, curious Ogres have ventured out to see what these other Realms have to offer. Even more have had their curiosity piqued since their contact with the Caligonauts, and the discovery of the many other Realms throughout the Mists.

A Life of Flame

To the Ogres fire is more than just a tool; it is a central focus of their life. They are aware that without the power of Elemental Flame their kind would have died in the Mists long ago, and choose to honor it for what it has given them. Seldom will an Ogre go a day without lighting or tending to a fire of some sort, even as small as a candle. During times of crisis in an Ogre’s life, they will often create and tend to a flame while reflecting on their life and what they should do. They believe this form of meditation creates a connection between themselves and the flame, allowing them to see more clearly what needs to be done. One of the largest ways that Ogres honor Elemental Flame is upon their death. When an Ogre permanently dies it is custom for their bodies and most personal possessions to be thrown into the bonfires that guard the Ember Yard. In doing so they both help protect their people, while giving back to the flames that protected them all their life.

Playing an Ogre

Ogres are a brash and forward people who act on what they feel and want. They have a long history of venturing into the Mists, and hold no fear of the monsters that dwell within it. Their culture is one of direct confrontation and immediate action. The crowded and constantly active community of the Ember Yards has lead the Ogres to have a peculiar view on privacy. Private conversations are not something that they are accustomed to, and Ogres will generally speak their mind regardless of who else is around. Likewise, they tend to give little thought to approaching others to engage them, regardless of what those others might be doing. Despite this, Ogres are still able to pick up on social cues and are not oblivious to when people want them to go away. Their relation with Elemental Flame is a deep one, but they also respect the dangers of fire and do not use it carelessly. Ogres do understand that other elements have their uses, but many Ogres prefer the use of fire and flame when applicable.

You might consider playing an Ogre if you wish to play a character that is quick to take decisive action, or a fierce, nomadic hunter of the creatures of the Mist.

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