Orc (starting race)

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For the "orc" monster, see orc.

You can play NetHack as an Orc: o. You will see yourself as @ (unless you have showrace turned on), but you are actually considered to be designated by the letter o for other purposes.

Racial benefits and restrictions

Orcs have intrinsic infravision and poison resistance. Like cavemen, they suffer no penalty for cannibalism, nor for eating cats and dogs. As an orc, you will also find many more peaceful inhabitants in the early and middle dungeon levels.

Orcs are always Chaotic. They can be Barbarians, Rogues, Rangers or Wizards. From an attribute perspective, they are somewhat terrible; at their maximum they can have moderately high strength, average dexterity and constitution, but suffer in all other aspects - intelligence, wisdom and charisma. Each of their maximum attributes is lower than or equal to the corresponding maximum of every other race except elves. The following table outlines their maximum (unaided) attribute levels.

Character
Race
Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
Orc 18/50 18 18 16 16 16

Orcish items

The starting equipment of an orc character is inferior to that of other characters, because all weapons or armor (except the ranger's cloak of displacement) are replaced with Orcish equivalents where possible. However, Orcish arrows shot from an orcish bow receive a +1 multishot bonus.

Strategy

  • All chaotic players can automatically convert cross-aligned altars by sacrificing their own race on them. This is an easier task for the orc player on early levels.
    • Subsequent orc sacrifices will summon major demons out of Gehennom as peaceful, which is a good way to avoid fighting them later. Further sacrifices will summon peaceful foocubi, giving orcs an easy way to power up in the mid- to late game.
  • The Gnomish mines are not a light choice for the orc, as 90% of all monsters will hate you.

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, orcs have several more options for roles. An orc can play as a Barbarian, Flame Mage, Ice Mage, Necromancer, Ranger, Rogue, Undead Slayer, or Wizard. Beyond that, they are largely the same as Vanilla, good physical fighters, low mental stats and charisma, start with poison resistance, can commmit cannibalism without penalty, and start with inferior equipment. Unlike most races, do not gain any race-based techniques.

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.