Ogres of the Ice Spire
Ghours can be found among any group of chaotic evil giants, ogres, or minotaurs. These creatures view a ghour's presence as a sign of Baphomet's great pleasure.
A group of ogres in the Ice Spire mountains, north of Citadel Adbar and west of Anauroch, worships Baphomet with great devotion. These ogres are larger and stronger than their common cousins and in recent years have been more active than ever before. Rangers and sages suspect that the cause of this increased activity is the presence of a ghour in their midst. . . .
-- from the entry for Demon, Ghour
Baphomet is an abyssal lord: a demon of near-godlike power, revered by such creatures as minotaurs, ogres, and renegade giants. This foul being's aims on Faerûn are unknown, but increased activity among his servants has led to the discovery of the ghour, a demonic creature not seen in Faerûn before a few years ago. Acora, a cleric of Tyr and careful observer of demonic activity in Faerûn, suspects that Baphomet is making a bid for true godhood, collecting the nucleus of what will become his worshipers through active expansionism in the Ice Spire mountains and Thar.
As creatures of pure chaos and evil, Baphomet and his minions are not prone to empire-building. Instead, Baphomet's most loyal servants, the ghours, lead small bands of perhaps half a dozen giants, ogres, or minotaurs in acts of raiding, plunder, and rampage. An individual ghour may lead several such bands, using its ability to teleport without error to effectively be in several places at once, providing leadership when needed and leaving the bands on their own to accomplish what they do best.
Khurgroth is not an exceptional ghour, nor even one of Baphomet's favorite minions. But he does his job effectively, and has inspired tremendous acts of carnage among several groups of ogres in the Ice Spire mountains. These ogres worship Baphomet without comprehending that he is not (yet) a true deity, and the shamans (adepts) among them work magic by sheer acts of faith. Their devotion, combined with the inspiring example of Khurgroth, leads them into a state of pure blood rage they call the Blood Dance. These ogres are nothing more than 1st-level barbarians with the normal Rage ability of their class, but they view their rage as a divinely inspired state, a blessing of Baphomet to give them victory over their enemies.
Suggested Adventure Arc
These bands of ogre barbarians and their demonic leader pose a serious threat to the people of the Silver Marches, particularly in the northern reaches around Citadel Adbar. An entire mini-campaign could be structured around the player characters' attempt to protect caravans and other citadel travelers from the depredations of these ogres, leading finally to the discovery of the ghour responsible. Such an adventure arc might be structured like this:
Before beginning the adventure, introduce fairly low (3rd- to 5th-) level PCs to Ice Spire ogres in small numbers: a single ogre at level 3, a pair at level 5. These should be apparently random wilderness encounters. Save the ogre shamans for later.
Begin the adventure arc in earnest around level 7. While the PCs travel to or from Citadel Adbar on some other important business, they are attacked by a powerful force of Ice Spire ogres (use enough typical ogres, advanced ogres, and shamans for an Encounter Level at least 2 higher than the average PC level). The ogres are not bandits; Khurgroth sent them out raiding simply to force them to prove their strength. If this group includes a shaman, it will be the first time the PCs encounter the holy symbol of Baphomet.
Once the PCs arrive at their destination, they hear dwarven warriors from Citadel Adbar exchanging stories about assaults by large ogres who fight with incredible ferocity. One of the dwarves (Kurel, a female cleric of Moradin) asks whether anyone has spotted the symbol of Baphomet among the ogres. None of the dwarves have, but Kurel will gladly hear the PCs' story should they wish to tell it. If they do, Kurel identifies the symbol as that of the abyssal lord, and expresses concern that these frequent ogre raids have something to do with the worship of Baphomet. She offers a handsome reward (a valuable magic item) for information about the ogres' organization. If the PC party includes a lawful good dwarf, she gives that character an enchanted weapon (preferable a holy dwarven waraxe, but appropriate to the abilities and level of the character) to carry into battle against the ogres.
When the PCs go looking for ogres, let it take a while to find them. The mountains of the North are dangerous, and the party can experience a number of unrelated encounters before coming across another ogre raiding party. (A pair of perytons, a fog giant, or a squad of dragonkin might be appropriate "random" encounters from Monsters of Faerûn.) When they finally do encounter more ogres, the foes should be a smaller group, about the same EL as the PCs' average level. This group -- not under orders to attack travelers and already having heard of the PCs' defeat of the larger party -- attempts to flee and find reinforcements. (Ideally, this phase of the adventure arc should bring the characters up to 8th or even 9th level.)
Faced with increasing raids and surprisingly organized behavior, the PCs must track the ogres to the Ice Spires -- a region infested with all varieties of giantkind. If the characters remain focused on their task, they may actually manage to negotiate with hill giants for information about the ogres, learning that the ogres' aggressiveness is not directed solely at the folk of the Silver Marches: They have even attacked giants. If the characters decide to fight everything they see, they face some tough battles with hill and possibly stone giants, none of whom pay allegiance to Baphomet (but all of whom know of his existence). Giants aside, the characters encounter Ice Spire ogres aplenty -- holed up in small cavern lairs, in bands of half a dozen or so. These cavern lairs all contain images of Baphomet crudely painted on the walls, as well as images of another figure: a huge, horned ogre. In some paintings, the horned ogre (Khurgroth) is shown standing over a deep crevasse, presiding over sacrifices to Baphomet (shown as a shadowy figure looming behind his demon servant), while noxious fumes (painted in hideous greens and yellows) rise from its depths.
As the climax to the adventure arc, the PCs travel to the Dour Fissure (as the ogres call it) to confront Khurgroth and his minions on their home turf. The demon and ogres use their knowledge of the terrain to their best advantage, presenting a tremendous final challenge to the characters.
Ice Spire ogres in small numbers make suitable opponents for fairly low-level characters. In larger numbers, however, they can take on high-level characters with ease. Consult the following list for suggested encounters appropriate to PC parties of various levels. Statistics blocks for typical Ice Spire ogres (1st-level barbarians), advanced Ice Spire ogres (5th-level barbarians), and ogre shamans (4th-level adepts) follow.
EL 3: one Ice Spire ogre
EL 5: two Ice Spire ogres, or one shaman
EL 7: four Ice Spire ogres, or one advanced Ice Spire ogre, or two Ice Spire ogres plus one shaman
EL 8: four Ice Spire ogres plus one shaman, or one advanced Ice Spire ogre plus one shaman
EL 9: two advanced Ice Spire ogres, or four Ice Spire ogres plus one advanced Ice Spire ogre, or two Ice Spire ogres plus one advanced Ice Spire ogre plus one shaman
EL 10: six Ice Spire ogres plus one advanced Ice Spire ogre plus one shaman
EL 13: Khurgroth plus six Ice Spire ogres plus one advanced Ice Spire ogre plus one shaman.
Khurgroth, Ghour: hp 120, Monsters of Faerûn, page 33.
Typical Ice Spire Ogre, Bbn1: CR 3; Large Giant; HD 4d8+12 (ogre) plus 1d12+3 (barbarian); hp 40; Init +1; Spd 40 ft.; AC 18 (flat-footed 17, touch 10) [-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural, +3 hide]; Atk +11 melee (2d6+10, Huge greatclub) or +4 ranged (2d6+7, Huge longspear); Reach 10 ft. (15-20 ft. with longspear); SA Blood Dance (Rage) 1/day; AL CE; SV Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 25, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 4.
Skills and Feats: Climb +8, Listen +5, Spot +3; Weapon Focus (greatclub).
Blood Dance (Rage) (Ex): When raging, the ice spire ogres are +10 hp; AC 16, SV Fort +11, Will +4; Atk +13 melee (2d6+13, Huge greatclub); Str 29, Con 21.
Advanced Ice Spire Ogre, Bbn5: CR 7; Large Giant; HD 4d8+16 (ogre) plus 5d12+20 (barbarian); hp 87; Init +1; Spd 40 ft.; AC 20 (flat-footed 20, touch 10) [-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural, +5 breastplate]; Atk +16/+11 melee (2d6+11, +1 Huge greatclub) or +8 ranged (2d6+7, Huge longspear); Reach 10 ft. (15-20 ft. with longspear); SA Blood Dance (rage) 2/day; SQ Uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC, can't be flanked); AL CE; SV Fort +13, Ref +4, Will +4; Str 25, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 4.
Skills and Feats: Climb +14, Listen +9, Spot +7; Alertness, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatclub).
Blood Dance (Rage) (Ex): When raging, the ice spire ogres are +18 hp; AC 16, SV Fort +14, Will +5; Atk +18 melee (2d6+14, +1 Huge greatclub); Str 29, Con 22.
Possessions: Large breastplate, +1 Huge greatclub, bearskin +1 cloak of resistance, potion of bull's strength, 290 gp.
Typical Ice Spire Shaman, Ogre Adp4: CR 5; Large Giant; HD 4d8+8 (ogre) plus 4d6+8 (adept); hp 48; Init -1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (flat-footed 16, touch 8) [-1 size, -1 Dex, +5 natural, +3 hide]; Atk +8 melee (2d6+4, Huge greatclub) or +3 ranged (2d6+3, Huge longspear); Reach 10 ft. (15-20 ft. with longspear); AL CE; SV Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +7; Str 17, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 7.
Skills and Feats: Climb +2, Concentration +10, Listen +5, Spot +5; Combat Casting, Weapon Focus (greatclub).
Possessions: Huge greatclub, huge longspear, Large hide armor, scroll of stoneskin (must make DC 8 caster level check to use), wooden holy symbol of Baphomet (a maze with a red-eyed bull's head superimposed).
Spells Prepared (3/3/1; base DC = 12 + spell level): 0 -- detect magic, ghost sound, guidance; 1st -- cause fear, obscuring mist, sleep; 2nd -- see invisibility.