Hill Orc

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page is about the player species. For the monster, see Orc.

Hill Orcs are Orcs from the upper world who, jealous of the riches which their cousins (the Cave Orcs) possess below the ground, descend in search of plunder and adventure.

Hill Orcs are more robust than Humans. Their forte is brute-force fighting, and they are skilled at using most hand weapons (particularly axes, with which they are experts), though they are not particularly good at using missile weapons. Hill Orcs are passable users of most types of magic and are particularly skilled with Fire.

Many Orcs feel superior to all other species and beings, and they have formed a religion around that idea. Only Orcs can worship Beogh, the Orc god. They can join Beogh even without an altar whenever an orc priest is in sight.

Innate Abilities

  • Hill Orcs are the only species capable of worshipping Beogh. Hill Orcs that can see a conscious orc priest or orc high priest are offered the chance to convert to Beogh on the spot.

Hill Orcs have a base Strength of 10, Intelligence of 8 and Dexterity of 6 (before Background modifiers) and have normal base magic points.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Hill Orcs receive all the skills and equipment listed for their background.

Difficulty of Play


Hill Orcs are easy to play, due to their high HP and good aptitudes for melee skills. They have excellent skill in Invocations, making them better at using certain gods' abilities. Also, Hill Orcs are alright at magic, with decent aptitudes in a variety of spell schools.

Compared to Minotaur

Melee Hill Orcs are very similar to Minotaurs. Their differences are listed below:

  • Minotaurs deal somewhat more damage in combat, due to having Horns. This can make a difference, especially in the early Dungeon.
  • Minotaurs have better defensive aptitudes (Armour, Dodging, Shields). Hill Orcs are better at Invocations.
  • Minotaurs are worse at Axes, but better at other weapon skills.
  • Minotaurs are terrible at all magic schools.

Overall, the differences are slight. For a "pure" melee build, Minotaur edges out. But they are both strong species; games are rarely lost because you picked one over the other. (It's worth noting that Trog, one of the most popular 'melee gods', doesn't rely on the Invocations skill at all.)

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 2 Armour 1 Spellcasting -3
Dodging -2
Maces & Flails 1 Shields 1 Conjurations 0
Axes 3 Stealth -1 Hexes 0
Polearms 1 Summonings 0
Staves -1 Invocations 3 Necromancy 0
Unarmed Combat 1 Evocations 0 Translocations -2
Throwing -1 Shapeshifting -2 Alchemy -2
Fire Magic 1
Short Blades 0 Ice Magic -1
Long Blades 1 Air Magic -2
Ranged Weapons -1 Experience 0 Earth Magic 0


  • In 0.32, Hill Orcs will be replaced with Mountain Dwarves.
  • Prior to the changes to rations in 0.21, Hill Orcs would always start with meat rations instead of bread rations.
  • Prior to 0.15, Hill Orcs had the innate Saprovore 1 mutation.
  • In 0.10, Hill Orcs received several aptitude changes to accommodate the removal of Mountain Dwarves. It is this version where they gained the +3 Invocations aptitude (+2 before the global Invocations buff was removed), a positive Fire Magic aptitude, and marginally better spellcasting stats.
  • Prior to 0.8, Hill Orcs received only +2 MR per level.
  • Prior to 0.6, Hill Orcs received +3 magic resistance points per level.
Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianTrollDeep ElfArmataurGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganGhoulTenguOniBarachi
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidMummy