ARCHIVED Demos' Hill Orc Priest guide
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR AN EARLIER VERSION OF CRAWL, AND IS NO LONGER RELIABLE. TO HAVE IT REMOVED FROM THE ARCHIVES, PLEASE UPDATE IT FOR THE CURRENT VERSION.
Hill Orcs do not suffer from an overabundance of character build choices. They only really excel as armored fighters, but do this job quite well. Your biggest choice will be in determining whether you are a hard Orc or a choppy Orc. Those wanting damage should push hard into axes, while those wanting more survivability might consider maces to compliment a shield. This choice should be made relatively early, though the two do crosstrain. Despite being a starting skill invocations can be safely ignored, as it only modifies smite. It is useful but eats piety at an alarming rate and shouldn't be relied upon. Some brave Orcs may also consider building themselves entirely as support casters. This can be worthwhile, but cuts hard against the grain of your aptitudes and is not recommended for novices.
- Spell Casting (Prepare for misery if you attempt this.)
On As Needed
- Traps and Doors
Managing Your Followers
The key to a successful Orc Priest is followers. Whenever you meet an Orc the game rolls your piety and experience level versus their hit dice. If you fail the Orc attacks as normal, but if you succeed they join your crusade of looting and murdering.
So what is an Orc follower? Orcs are medium sized, living, humanoid creatures. They have average speed and slightly below average magic resistance. Each Orc can hold one melee weapon, one piece of armor, a stack of throwable weapons, one ranged weapon, and as many consumables as they can hold. This is important because it means Orcs can hold and benefit from gear, up to and including artifacts. In addition Orcs level up. Every time your Orc kills there's a chance Beogh will give him a name or turn him into a higher level version of himself. For these reasons its much more beneficial to cultivate a few elite bodyguards rather than using waves of weak Orcs as meat shields. By the time you get to the Lair its possible to have a cadre of followers even stronger than you!
o > o > o > o + o
The most numerous types of Orc are melee fighters. Their HP and offense tend to scale much better than their defense, so you should give them the best armors you can spare to keep them going. Bows will help them level much faster and keep them from going Leeroy Jenkins on you (that is, sprinting all the way in melee and ruining your plan). Once they reach knighthood they will gain a battle cry that berserks nearby allies. Their final forms, the Orc warlord has frightening damage potential. Give them your best second hand gear and watch them carve a bloody path through floor after floor.
The first unique Orc fighter, Urug, is of marginal use. Most of his power comes from his gear, and once he's been stripped of this his he's really nothing more than an Orc Warrior with better HP.
o > o + o + o
Squishier than their melee brethren and much more difficult to keep alive, Orc casters are none the less invaluable additions to your team. The basic Orc wizard will spawn with a dynamic spell list that can include Magic Dart, Throw Flame, Throw Frost, Slow, Haste, Confuse, Invisibility, Cantrip, and the fabulously suicidal Blink. If you can keep them from blinking into an elephants mouth long enough they will be promoted into an Orc Sorcerer. Orc Sorcerers get a massive upgrade to their power with their fixed spell list of Bolt of Fire, Bolt of Draining, Summon Greater Demon, Paralyze, Animate Dead, and Teleport Self (which they will blessedly not spam). His wide array of summons, many of them summoners themselves, will engulf the enemy in a storm of demons and zombies. As frosting they even get a level of inherent fire resistance.
The unique Orc wizard Blork can be helpful if you can convert him. He has a basic wizard spell list that contains both Haste and Invisible, as well as every offensive spell and some slightly bumped up stats.
The unique sorceress Nergalle is more interesting. She resists fire, cold, and magic and casts unique spells including Summon Spectral Orcs (undead Orc Warriors with draining), Dispel Undead, and Haste Other to name a few. Her ability to haste friendlies makes her quite valuable, and her ability to drain enemies is potent (if occasionally irritating).
o > o + o
They have a fixed spell list that includes Pain, Cantrip, Smite, and Minor Healing. Priests are wonderful to have as followers for the same reasons they're horrible to have as enemies. They can heal themselves, wear heavier armors, and hit anything they can see with smite. Their irresistible damage and smite targeting means they can help you from anywhere within line of site, and won't fall victim to the occasionally pants on head combat AI. High Priests are even nastier, losing Cantrip and Pain but gaining Animate Dead and Summon Greater Demon. They are completely immune to fire damage and are incapable of feeling mercy.
Saint Roka is the holy grail of conversions. If you can manage to convert him you have an Orc with excellent gear, high HP (200!), high melee damage, and even Smite. There is no situation in which he isn't dangerous, and can even survive the endgame with proper gear.
- Press T to shout basic commands to your followers, such as attack, wait, and follow.
- You can set your allies' pick-up behavior by pressing Ctrl+T. I recommend setting it to "all", so your orcs can use whatever they want. You can also set it to "player" if you want to give them a specific item (like a potion of healing or nice gear), or "nothing" if you don't want your followers to pick up anything.
- If you set your allies' behavior to "all" when there is a lot of good equipment lying around, press t and select "Wait" so that your allies will wander around picking up and equipping the items nearby.
- You may want to set your allies' pickup behavior to "nothing" when you visit your stash to prevent them from picking up gear being saved for later.
- Give your orcs ranged weapons. Javelins, crossbows, and polearms of reaching all greatly increase your orcs usefulness in battle.
- The easiest way to get your orcs promoted is to leave your strongest orcs behind, because they'll steal all the kills.
- You should leave all your orcs behind if you're heading to a water-filled branch. They won't be of much help splashing in the water.
- Make sure your followers are at least within 3 squares/tiles of you before you go up/down stairs. If you wait a few turns, your followers will organize themselves with the strongest orcs being closest to you.
I suggest turning off invocation, since high levels of invocation is only useful for smiting. Play like a normal fighter and recall your orcs to surround an enemy whenever you might have a hard time.
There are a few ways to keep you orcs alive. Recall them whenever you receive a message for an off-screen kill, as your orcs might be seriously injured. If your followers are badly injured find a room to rest in (don't forget to close the door) or a secluded area. If your orcs are close to dying in a fight then teleport them away or leave the area and recall them to you.
Depending on how well you take care of your orcs, you may have 3-5 warlords and several knights with you in the Realm of Zot. Zot:1-4 should be easy, if you kill enemies one at a time. Zot:5 isn't too hard if you and your allies are hasted, but they'll get slaughtered pretty quickly if you aren't careful.
Magic map the level and clear the area outside the chamber. Then, teleport repeatedly until you land near the Orb chamber. Recall your followers, haste everyone and force your way to the Orb. Now grab the Orb and teleport out of there! Don't forget to bring your followers with you on your way back up the dungeon.
- Be very careful when IDing scrolls around your followers. IDing a scroll of immolation at the wrong time may leave you surrounded by angry ex-followers who will then try to kill you.
- You will start getting followers earlier than you get the option to recall them. Managing these early adopters is painful, so don't get too emotionally attached. Keep them close with plentiful shouts until you get the recall command. You might not want to use automated exploration, as it tends to leave followers strewn all over the level. That is a recipe for losing them: even well equipped orc knights can get in over their heads, and they have no escape tricks to keep them alive.
- If you get a few high level followers, and you get tired of micromanaging your war party via shouting, consider parking your best followers in safe levels until you gain the recall command.
- When and whether to clear the Orcish Mines is a choice! You probably can just jump in and clear the place as soon as you see it, but you may not leave the mines with many followers if you don't have the recall command. Farming the mines for a few followers at a time may be best until recall comes along.
- Be aware of monsters such as Mummies that will give death curses. If your allies kill a Mummy there is a chance that they will become demoted ex. an Orc Knight becomes a Orc Warrior.
- Confusion effects are your worst enemy when playing as an Orc Priest simply because if you accidently damage one of your orc allies Beogh will require penance (you lose all your divine benefits) AND that confused allies tend to be very dangerous (Orc knights can and WILL berserk). Be VERY careful when dealing with exploding fungi and swamp drakes as they can confuse not only you but your allies in a large area. If you find yourself confused your best bet is to just wait your confusion out unless you have no allies nearby (which is unlikely).
- Keep in mind that you can smite invisible monsters and uniques! Maurice giving you grief? Smite him. You can use this on unseen horrors, but keep in mind that it is risky since unseen horrors move around randomly like bats. Smite is also a good panic button but keep in mind that it doesn't take many smites to make your piety level go down a star.