Orc (monster class)

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For other uses, see Orc.

Orcs are a monster class that appear in NetHack of monsters represented by a lowercase letter o. All orcs are, unsurprisingly, orcish.

The orc monster class contains the following monsters:

Common traits

Orcs hitting a mounted player have a 50% chance of hitting the steed instead of the usual 25% chance that others have.[1] According to a comment in the source code, this is because orcs "like to steal and eat horses and the like".

Wielding Sting or Orcrist will indicate the positions of any orcs on the current level.


Orcs typically wear orcish armor and ordinarily wield orcish daggers or else orcish bows and orcish arrows, the latter of which are often poisoned. Orcs are also throne room monsters, and many of them can appear among the members of the "court".

A variant of Minetown is overrun by orcs, with the usual inhabitants all killed - this "Orcish Town" will contain numerous named orcish monsters within and outside the walls. In a game with Orcish Town, more named orcs will be encountered throughout the Gnomish Mines and the Dungeons of Doom, carrying loot that would normally be found there. This includes weapons such as the watch captain's long sword or silver saber and even candles (normally sold by Izchak and done so that players can still obtain seven for later in the game).


Individually, goblins and orcs are generally easy targets unless you happen across one with a very powerful weapon or a wand. Orcs often appear in groups, however - even then their strength is not too great, but their poisoned weapons may catch you unaware and lead to an untimely death. Poison resistance and crowd-control tactics such as the following can make battles against them much easier:

  • Lure the orcs into a corridor, so never simultaneously fight more than one (or two, if they surround you).
  • Climb the staircase, wait until you heal, then return to the level to kill the remaining orcs.
  • Engrave Elbereth and scatter the orcs while you pick them off.



Main article: Orc (SLASH'EM)

SLASH'EM introduces several new orcs:


In UnNetHack, orcs will attack any elves they see (and vice versa) as part of Nephi's grudge patch.

The deep orc is introduced as a new orc.


The orcs of NetHack are derived from Dungeons & Dragons, which in turn are based on their portrayal in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Encyclopedia entry

Orcs, bipeds with a humanoid appearance, are related to the
goblins, but much bigger and more dangerous. The average orc
is only moderately intelligent, has broad, muscled shoulders,
a short neck, a sloping forehead and a thick, dark fur.
Their lower eye-teeth are pointing forward, like a boar's.
Female orcs are more lightly built and bare-chested. Not
needing any clothing, they do like to dress in variegated
apparels. Suspicious by nature, orcs live in tribes or
hordes. They tend to live underground as well as above
ground (but they dislike sunlight). Orcs can use all weapons,
tools and armors that are used by men. Since they don't have
the talent to fashion these themselves, they are constantly
hunting for them. There is nothing a horde of orcs cannot

[ het Boek van de Regels; Het Oog des Meesters ]


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