Vigrid's Hill Orc Fighter Guide

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The following article is a character guide. This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised. Read at your own risk and alter to fit your play style as necessary!
Version 0.13: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

A Hill Orc Fighter is listed in the "builds for beginners" section of the wiki. While it's true that playing a melee-centric Hill Orc is much simpler and easier than most builds, there's something the wiki doesn't tell you: punching your way through your problems will only get you so far. In the end, you need to be just as strategic with your decisions as every other build.

Which is why I wrote this guide: to help your orc carve its bloody path through the underworld to get to the Orb of Zot.



Things that should be maxed out:

  • Fighting. Fighting gives you HP. HP directly translates into survivability for any melee character. You are, primarily, a melee character. Focus it.
  • Your primary weapon skill. Focus it until you reach the max weapon speed for your weapon of choice, then leave it on. Even after your weapon speed's been maximized, weapon skill will still scale up your damage. Damage is good.
  • Armour. With a high armour skill, your armour becomes less encumbering, making you more accurate and a bit lighter on your feet.

Things that are recommended:

  • A ranged weapon skill, any kind. You're likely to get Throwing, but hold out for a bow. It scales very well with your skills. Go to 7 if you don't want any ammunition from Trog or Okawaru, and go no higher than ten.
  • Shields. Shields add an extra layer of protection to your character, although wearing a shield does take away a few good weapon choices (triple swords and the best variety of axes). Train until around ten.
  • Short Blades, Maces & Flails or Polearms. Assuming you aren't using any of these as your main weapon, both are good in circumstances where slashing damage can be catastrophic, (cough hydra cough) or, if you're a big fan of cleaving, in situations where you're better off dealing with an enemy piecemeal. In either case, only level the weapon's skill up to its minimum delay.
  • Evocations. Evocations is very, very, very highly recommended, especially since most magical skills are too mediocre to bother with. A good collection of wands, rings, and amulets will make up for the versatility you'd lose by foregoing magic.
  • Invocations. Invocations are good for most gods' abilities, and essential for some gods (here's looking at you, Makhleb). You rarely have to put much into it, however. Put in enough to bring your abilities' failure rates into the single digits, then turn the skill off.

Options that aren't recommended, but are optional:

  • Most Magic Skills. Chances are, you won't get very far in any of the schools, due to your mediocre aptitudes and very low Spellcasting aptitude. Find a few choice ones, like Regeneration or Shroud of Golubria, and get those to low failure rates before turning off the skills.
  • Stealth. Stealth is not really conducive to a heavily armoured fighter's strategy. Even if you do decide to build into it, you'd have to sacrifice some/a lot of protection before it's effective.
  • Evasion. Much like stealth, evasion is hampered by all of the best armors you can get.


For this character, the lion's share of stat points should go into Strength. Dexterity should be added every other time, until it's around 13-15. Only add to intelligence if you're going for a hybrid build, and cap it before 12.


There are a large variety of gods in Dungeon Crawl, but there are a few in particular your character will want to choose between.

  • Trog - Trog gives some of the best weapons in the game, and the first two abilities he gives you cost a relatively small amount of food and no piety. Burning spellbooks even increases your piety, along with effectively giving you a fiery landmine. However, if you choose Trog, you're effectively cutting out magic from your repertoire until you abandon him, and he doesn't give you the armor that Okawaru grants.
  • Okawaru - Okawaru's gifts and skill bonus, as well as Finesse, are all worthwhile. But there really isn't much in terms of support that Okawaru provides, outside of his two passives and the gear he drops. It's often a good decision to stick with him until you have a good pick of weapons and armor, and drop him afterwards.
  • Makhleb - Health on kills, piety-powered destructive blasts and the ability to summon demons. Makhleb makes up for your lack of magic, and can even supplant the need for ranged weapons. The main downsides are the fact that his summons have a chance to turn hostile, and the lack of any endowments.
  • Beogh - Beogh is an odd duck. He gives you Smite which, while not obscenely powerful, will hit pretty much anything at full damage. He gives heavy bonuses to orcish weapons and armor, which can give plate mail protection comparable to crystal plate mail with a lower encumbrance, and orcish variants exist of nearly every weapon. And he gives you the chance to gain orcish minions, which is itself a double-edged sword, since they will often block you from engaging your foes in melee, but do provide a very nice meat shield. The main problem comes with actually reaching him, and building up enough piety that he becomes useful, since his gear bonuses are relatively low to start and Smite doesn't unlock until ** Piety.

To summarize: if you run into an altar to Trog, Okawaru, or Makhleb before the Temple, join up immediately. If you want to go through the game with Beogh, avoid killing all the enemies and skim across the floors until you find an orc priest, then work your way through the previous levels. Otherwise, wait until you reach a temple.

In the late game, switching to The Shining One is advised, especially if you're're going for more than 3 runes. Most of your enemies will be demonic by that point.

Strategy Overview

  • Know thy enemy. Examine every foe you encounter. If they look dangerous, they probably are, and you shouldn't wade into an entire horde of them. Anything the game doesn't tell you, the wiki is more than happy to divulge.
  • Blink is your friend. Getting scrolls of blink or teleport control is a very, very good thing. The ability to make a controlled blink, either right next to a particularly nasty wizard or right outside of the combat zone, is valuable. Try your best to not waste any scrolls, and if you're going to get any Translocations at all, get Blink.
  • Soften up hard targets. Trolls, giants, any highly-competent melee combatant should be smacked at range before they get too close for comfort. Never engage them in straight melee.
  • Better them than you. If you have allies, such as a summons or Beogh's army, generally you want them to take hits for you, or at the very least, distract the weaker enemies while you mop up the rest. The game will continue if they're dead. It'll stop if you're dead.
  • Items are the best. If you have less than 5 varieties of scroll, wand, ring, amulet and potion on your person, chances are you're woefully under-prepared for the challenges ahead.

Additional Reading

Other than these points, stick to the Walkthrough, and . Both of these guides will take you far, but in the end, only a good deal of skill and a little luck will get you to the end of the game.