Rant 14 - Ogro Numbers

The original sketch page really didn't cover the complexities of how Ogro numbers work, so here's a rant that does a better, more thorough job.

Ogro Numbers

Before I get too deep into this rant, I should point out that this is the angular system of writing. There is also a cursive system that is much more streamlined and easy to write, but reading it requires prior knowledge of the system. If there is interest I will scribe up a diagram of how the cursive system looks.

As you can see, Ogroish is essentially a base 8 system, though technically you can get to 31 without acquiring a second digit. And even at 32, the characters are blended together, not unlike Roman numerals. But the pattern is repeated every 8 digits, with a sort of semi-repeat every 4 digits. This makes the system very easy to understand, once you get your head wrapped around it.

A lot of people are confused about the alt numerals for 8, 16, 24, and so on. To really understand, you have to know the basis of where the characters get their shapes. Every Ogro number is based upon a hand gesture that represents that number; a closed fist for 0 has become a simple dot, or sometimes a square or diamond shape. Ogros start counting with their thumbs (in English we start with our pointers and end with our thumbs), so a horizontal line is logically the symbol for 1. A thumb and one finger then becomes 2, and the system proceeds to 4, which is the number of fingers an Ogro has (unlike humans, Ogros have no pinkies).

So the next number (5) is 1 with an extra line under it, implying one entire hand (because writing 4 would be cumbersome and break higher numbers). Six is the number 2 with the extra line, seven is 3 with the extra line, and eight is 4 with the extra line. However, eight can be written a second, less cumbersome way: a dot with a line under it. This represents a closed fist and an outstretched forearm: to the Ogro this indicates two entire hands and no more (4+4+0=8).

The "arm" is then applied to 1 though 8 to create numbers up to 16. However, like 8, 16 is a cumbersome number to write (it has 5 distinct lines), so it can also be written in a simpler form; a dot and two "arms". By convention, the second arm comes from the left side of the dot, because most Ogros will extend their right arm first. Some people object, saying that it is counter-intuitive to have a duplicate symbol- however, it is just like holding up all your fingers to indicate 10, or one finger and another hand held in a 0 position.

The system follows the same pattern now until 32. 32 is simlar to our 10, it is where the system starts using a second character. However, the Ogroish system again breaks away from English and actually joins the two symbols into one, in order to make it faster to write. Numbers like 33, 34, ect have a small diagonal line added to help legibility; once you get to 40, the diagonal line becomes a part of the extra line on the bottom. The diagonal is dropped after 64, because the 2 numeral already have a vertical line that makes the system easier to read.

In conclusion, if you extrapolate out, the Ogro system of writing will make it all the way up to 1023 before it has to add a third digit, and 32767 before a fourth digit is needed. Like binary, the system seems confusing and impractical at first, but once your head is wrapped around it, the system can be very powerful.

Made with acrylic paint, paper, and photoshop. Original acrylic painting done by my friend Sarah.