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An Uruk-hai, o, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. They are a strong type of orc that are faster than Mordor orcs, but slower than hill orcs.

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 b6a3d4b9 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 651a5b21, the orc-captain polyform also retains 18/** strength.


Randomly generated Uruk-hai often appear in large groups, and may appear as peaceful towards player orcs. A Uruk-hai can grow up into an orc-captain.

Uruk-hai 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).[1]

In a game that has Orcish Town, large numbers of named Uruk-hai will appear within the town walls[2] - other named Uruk-hai can appear elsewhere in the Gnomish Mines and the main branch, carrying various looted items with them.[3][4]

Uruk-hai have a 13 chance of being generated with each of the following: an orcish cloak, an orcish short sword, a pair of iron shoes, an orcish bow and stack of 3–14 poisoned orcish arrows, and an Uruk-hai shield.[5] They also have the standard 12 chance of generating with an orcish helm.[6]


Uruk-hai hordes are usually the most threatening groups of orcs you can encounter in the early game: while not as heavily armored as Mordor orcs, they are somewhat faster, and their poisoned arrows can end your game instantly unless you have poison resistance. Fortunately, they are still quite slow compared to an unburdened player, especially one with speed, and can still be beaten using similar strategies - even so, you will want to be decently armored and poison resistant to avoid a nasty instadeath.

Drawing Uruk-hai into corridors is as viable as against any other group of orcs, since Uruk-hai lack poison resistance and are just as likely to hit each other with their arrows, if not more so. Facing an Uruk-Hai in melee may deter them from using their arrows, allowing you to pick them up and possibly use them against the rest once they are killed (including maneuvering them into range of their comrades' shots). As with other orcs, Uruk-hai corpses can be a decent source of nutrition, and orcish characters will want to consider using them for sacrifices in Orcish Town.


The Uruk-hai first appears with the other types of orc in NetHack 3.0.0.

From NetHack 3.1.0 to NetHack 3.2.3, Uruk-hai were the first quest monster for the Elf quest, composing 55% of randomly generated monsters in the branch, and each level of the quest also generated some Uruk-hai at level creation: six on the home level, one in the upper filler level, three on the locate level, four in the lower filler level(s), and six on the goal level.

The Hobbit quest in those versions also generated some Uruk-hai at level creation on some floors: one on the home level, four on the locate level, and two in the lower filler level(s).


Like the other orcs of NetHack, the Uruk-hai are based on their portrayal in J. R. R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth. Described as "black orcs of great strength", they first appear in the setting's Third Age as a new breed of orc that was larger, faster, more powerful, and did not have the aversion to daylight that was common among other orcs.

Many Uruks were among the orcs of Mordor that served under Sauron, while others were in the service of Saruman's forces - these latter Uruks are the basis for the Uruk-hai of NetHack, particularly the company seen guarding the tower of Isengard. The Uruks in Isengard bore an "S"-shaped elf-rune wrought in white metal on the front of their iron helms, and their shields bore a small White Hand of Saruman centered on a black field (as opposed to the red-eyed shields of Sauron's armies). Aragorn commented that their gear was quite unlike those of other orcs: they used short, broad-bladed swords as opposed to curved scimitars, along with great bows (i.e. orcish bows) made of yew wood and built similarly to human bows.

While various orcs appear in Dungeons & Dragons, Uruk-hai in particular are not among them, though they may be the inspiration for orog, the offspring of male orcs and female ogres that are stronger, more intelligent and more highly disciplined than the typical orcs they live among.


In variants that implement AC bonuses for wearing racial equipment, Uruk-hai may prove even tougher foes than in vanilla NetHack.


In SLASH'EM, Uruk-hai will be given an orcish dagger if they do not generate with an orcish short sword.

Five Uruk-hai appear in the halls of Grund's Stronghold.


In UnNetHack, Uruk-hai are likely to be among the random orcs generated on each floor of the Ruins of Moria branch.

Uruk-hai wearing orcish armor gain a bonus point of AC per piece of armor.


In dNetHack, Uruk-hai are considered human as well as orcish.

Uruk-hai will grow up into Uruk-captains rather than standard orc-captains, and randomly generated Uruk-captains will always have an accompanying group of Uruk-hai.


In xNetHack, Uruk-hai have poison resistance like player orcs.

For weapon generation, Uruk-hai have a 13 chance of either generating with an orcish short sword (23 chance) or a stack of orcish spears (13 chance). Uruk-hai can still generate with iron shoes, which are renamed to dwarvish boots - a comment in the code suggests that Uruk-hai steal these boots from dwarves.


In EvilHack, Uruk-hai are generated with orcish boots instead of iron shoes (which are considered dwarvish boots), and have a 17 chance of generating mounted atop wargs. Uruk-hai gain AC bonuses for wearing proper racial equipment like the player and other monsters, and have poison resistance like player orcs.

Uruk-hai are capable of entering berserker rages, increasing their damage from each round of attacks for the duration of the rage, but making them likely to hit monsters around them besides their intended target.