Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do Ogres Get a Strength Bonus When Wielding Weapons in AD&D?

This question hit me as I was waking up this morning (and it applies to Giants too, I guess).

Do Ogres get a strength bonus to hit and to damage when wielding weapons, and if so, how much?

Ogres do 1-10 damage OR by weapon.

In the description section of the Ogre in the Monster Manual, it mentions:

I'm going to assume this is in reference to the variable weapon damage in the Player's Handbook for Damage vs S-M / L and not a poorly written instruction on the strength bonus an Ogre gets when wielding his weapon.

The Dungeon Master's Guide list Gauntlets of Ogre Power granting 18/00 Strength, for an attack bonus of + 3 and a damage bonus of + 6. This can easily lead to the assumption that the average Ogre has a Strength of 18/00 (similar to the way Belts of the variable Giant Strengths bestow hit and damage bonuses).

So, if the Ogre gets a bonus to hit and combat when wielding a weapon, why would he ever use his fists?

Even a tree branch (treated as a Club or a Staff) would do 1d6 + 6 damage for a range of 7 - 12, and he would strike at + 3, basically hitting as often as a 7 HD creature. Better than 1-10 range for the damage and striking at a 4 HD creature.

Truthfully, back in my High School and College years, I always gave Ogres, Giants, Ettins and the like a strength bonus in combat, which made them truly terrifying creatures. I'm not sure if I upped their expo value - I somehow doubt it ;)

What's good for the players is even better for their adversaries ;)


  1. They should - in 2e, they include the strength bonus in both the THAC0 and damage portions of the entries in the MM. Ogre THAC0 is 17, they have a +2 bonus to-hit when using weapons, and the damage by weapon is listed as "by weapon, +6"

  2. Also Giants got the bonus damage in AD&D 2e. One of the things to check if you were playing AD&D 1e adventures with 2e rules (only in the case you didn't want to TPK, obviously).

  3. A friend of mine ran Against The Giants back in the day. He told me he gave every giant their STR bonuses at that time. It made the adventure a real deathtrap/challenge. Not necessarily a bad thing... :)

  4. In 1E, monsters do not get stat bonuses, unless the DM wants them to have them. There is a discussion (on page 15 of the DMG) of the average Strength scores for various humanoid creatures.

    Personally, I find that it's easier to not give stat bonuses, and assume that damage ratings in the MM take Strength into account.

  5. I think the bonus as written means "leaders get a +1 bonus/chieftains get a +2 bonus".

    One of Gygax's house rules was that all giant-classed creatures, including ogres, get a damage bonus equal to their hit dice. That would imply that, in his game anyway, the strength bonus to hit and to damage did not apply.

  6. I'm pretty sure the intent is as written. 1-10 straight or by weapon type with bonus. Of course this might lead to some apparent anomalies in actual use since the PHB and DMG were written later and are practically taking a different view of matters. (AC10, anyone?)

    What we have here is the unusual (for the 1e MM) situation of a monster ability score actually being somehow 'known'. If we want to try to rationalize this I suppose that just as a thief or zero-level guy with 18 strength doesn't get a percentile roll, neither do monsters. Only fighter & their subclasses. (Never mind that the whole percentage strength thing is just a weird and silly way of trying to pump up the fighter class, that's another matter. It works out here.)

    Oh and personally, I feel that fire giants hitting for 5d6 damage is /plenty/ for pre-UA first edition.

  7. "I'm going to assume this is in reference to the variable weapon damage in the Player's Handbook for Damage vs S-M / L "

    Since the AD&D MM was written with OD&D rules, and the PHB did not exist, I'm pretty sure this is not the case. Just as other monsters say "2-8 damage or by weapon type", so the Ogre with his 1d10 or by weapon type +2.

    I tend to have my AD&D & BX ogres do 1d10+2 or 1d10+3 with a club, no to-hit bonus though. This also works ok for hill giants doing 2d8+7, still less than the flesh golem that attacks twice/round with fists for 2d8/2d8! But with larger giants like fire giants, adding in STR bonus to listed damage starts to look excessive.

    1. BTW I think an ogre wielding an actual ogre-sized 2-h sword should be rolling much more than a 1d10! But 1d10+2 is ok for a typical ogre's crude club.

  8. I thought that +1/+2 means leader types are +1 to hit and +2 to damage.

  9. The way this description for Ogres in the MM1 was written is kind of par for the course in 1st Ed. Gygax knew what he meant. And you could always send a note to the Dragon asking the Sage or Leomund to clarify.

    Strength is one thing but momentum of the swing another. If a Fire Giant sword swing connected with your PC it would launch the poor sap a dozen yards or more. Combat in 1st Ed, and D&D in general, seems an eclectic mix of rules structured to define an abstraction in game terms only.

    e.g. Hill Giant throws a rock and hits your PC. 2d10 hp of damage coming your way.

    Trying to think it through any further just confuses everything.


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