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An orc-captain, o, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is the strongest type of orc that can be encountered, and has two weapon attacks.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As part of resolving issue #679 regarding congruence between non-player monsters and their player counterparts, commit b6a3d4b gives poison resistance to all orcs, except for the goblin and hobgoblin (in order to distinguish them from other orcs). All strong orcs are also capped at 18/50 strength for purposes of polyself, with the exception of Uruk-hai; as of commit 651a5b2, the orc-captain polyform also retains 18/** strength.


Randomly generated orc-captains may be peaceful towards player orcs. Hill orcs, Uruk-hai, Mordor orcs, and ordinary orcs can all grow up into orc-captains.[1]

Orc-captains Hill orcs may appear among the hostile o that generate in throne rooms, as well as the various monsters that can be randomly generated by looting a throne while confused and carrying gold (provided there is no chest on the level).[2]

In a game that has Orcish Town, several orc-captains will appear within the town walls, and are flavored as the leaders of a rival horde.[3][4] A named orc-captain can appear elsewhere in the Gnomish Mines and the main branch - they are considered the leader of the invading horde, and will usually carry the most valuable of the Minetown loot, including the watch captain's weapon, shiny rings, and some fruit named either "paddle cactus" or "dwarven root".[5][6][7][8][9]

An orc-captain can be generated with the equipment of either a Mordor orc or Uruk-hai:[10][11][12]


While the orc-captain is not randomly generated in groups, and is not significantly stronger than a Mordor orc or Uruk-hai in terms of base stats, their ability to attack twice per turn and potential for good armor can offset their low speed. An orc-captain with a decent weapon can deal unexpected melee damage, particularly if you are lacking in AC.

Orc-captains may be best engaged at a distance unless their inventory contains an orcish bow and poisoned arrows, including those picked up from other dead orcs - poison resistance is ideal to have by the time you encounter one, especially if you are raiding Orctown. Fortunately, orc-captains are not poison resistant themselves, and orcs may also hit their comrades with the arrows; a patient player can use this knowledge to outwit and defeat the captain. A heavily armored player with a good enough weapon on hand should have much less trouble besting an orc-captain in melee.


The orc-captain is introduced in NetHack 3.0.0, where the various orcish monsters are first differentiated from each other.


Many of the orcs in NetHack are derived from their portrayal in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, either directly or through their adaptation into Dungeons & Dragons.


In variants that give AC bonuses for wearing racial equipment, orc-captains may prove tougher foes than in vanilla NetHack.


In SLASH'EM, orc-captains will be given an orcish dagger if they do not generate with an orcish short sword or scimitar. They can also hit as a +1 weapon. Two orc-captains appear in the outer open area of Grund's Stronghold.

In older versions, orc-captains were the first quest monster for the defunct Dwarf quest, composing 55% of randomly-generated monsters in the branch; they may also appear among the o generated throughout the branch, including the 14% of randomly generated monsters that are composed of orcs. The branch also generates eight orc-captains at level creation on the locate level, and four orc-captains at level creation on the lower filler level(s).


In dNetHack, orc-captains may appear as the ruler of a throne room - their court can contain orc shamans, Mordor orcs, hill orcs, hobgoblins, goblins, manes, quasits. Orc-captains may also appear in the court of a throne room ruled by an ogre king.

The Chaos Quest generates some orc-captains on level creation for various floors in two of its variants:

  • The Mordor Ruins variant of the Chaos Quest generates an orc-captain on the level in the main dungeon containing the branch's magic portal. Three orc-captains are also generated at the Mordor Wall, while two are generated in the Mordor Fortress.
  • The Chaos Temple Quest generates an orc-captain within the forest area of the Ancient Temple level, and 110 of the randomly generated monsters on the level will be orc-captains.


In xNetHack, orc-captains are considered lords to their kind, and have their base speed raised to 9; they also have poison resistance like player orcs.

For weapon generation, orc-captains that roll Mordor orc equipment have a 13 chance of either generating with a scimitar (23 chance) or a stack of orcish spears (13 chance); orc-captains that roll Uruk-hai equipment instead have a 13 chance of either generating with an orcish short sword (23 chance) or a stack of orcish spears (13 chance).


In EvilHack, orc-captains have poison resistance like player orcs and gain AC bonuses for wearing proper racial equipment like the player and other monsters - orc-captains that roll Mordor orc equipment have a 13 chance of generating with an orcish scimitar as their weapon, rather than a standard one; orc-captains that roll Uruk-hai equipment have a 13 chance of getting orcish boots rather than dwarvish boots (which replace iron shoes from NetHack). Orc-captains have a 14 chance of generating mounted atop wargs.


In Hack'EM, orc-captains have poison resistance. They have 9 speed and are lords to their kind as in xNetHack, and may also generate the same kits for Mordor orcs and Uruk-hai as in EvilHack.