| The well-worked goldmines of the orcish tribes. These tortuous caverns are filled with orcs, their humanoid labourers, and piles of their freshly mined gold. Enterprising merchants have set up trading posts to help relieve the orcs of their auric burden. The haphazard manner in which orcs tend to dig their mineshafts has resulted in a complex and treacherous tangle of chambers in which it is easy to get trapped.
The Orcish Mines are four levels deep and contain the entrance to the Elven Halls.
|An entrance to the mines of the orcs, filled with their gold, but treacherous and easy to get trapped in.|
The Orcish Mines are an early branch full of orcs, gold, and the entrance to the Elven Halls. Although the Mines lack a rune, the bottom floor contains a guaranteed collection of shops, and the gold found along the way makes it easy to afford any particularly useful treasures they may sell.
The Orcish Mines are four floors deep and found between Dungeon:6-11. The entrance stairs are usually decorated with orcish idols and occasionally even altars to Beogh, and they are guarded by a large group of orcs, including such threats as orc warriors, orc priests, and occasionally even trolls.
Most floors of the Mines are made up of several disconnected open areas, all of which are accessible through either stairs or escape hatches on adjacent floors. Occasionally you'll also find floors that consist of one huge room instead, which is usually the case on Orc:4. As the Mines are made almost entirely of rock, bringing a source of digging will allow you to create shortcuts between portions of a floor. Expect almost no hallways or chokepoints aside from those you dig yourself.
The Mines are one of the easiest areas in the game to get surrounded in. When exploring a new floor, you will often immediately encounter at least a few orcs who will shout, alerting nearby reinforcements. If you find yourself getting surrounded, especially if orc priests are involved, use stair dancing to defeat smaller groups of orcs in safety. When you move away from the stairs, avoid relying on false chokepoints; orcs are smart enough to maneuver past you to give other orcs access to you, and getting cornered with priests around is suicidal.
Monster difficulty here is extremely variable. While most monsters will be plain orcs, orc warriors, orc wizards, and orc priests, any kind of non-unique orc, troll, goblin, or ogre is eligible for generation (see list below). The deeper you go, the more likely you are to face greater threats. That being said, even the lesser orcs can be a handful; orc warriors in plate mail can take a beating while orc priests can smite you. Also, even if you can easily tab your way past dozens of common orcs without missing a beat, do pay attention to the combat logs; almost everything here is armed, and weapons of electrocution and distortion do generate here from time to time. Unless you're speedrunning, exercise a little caution.
On the plus side, the Mines typically contain 1000-3000 gold and much enchanted orcish equipment, including plate mail and heavy weaponry on the warriors and various robes on the mages, priests, and sorcerers. You can also find shops here, both randomly and guaranteed on the bottom floor (though the bottom floor's shops will be heavily guarded).
While most of the Orcish Mines can be reached via normal staircases, some portions may only be accessible through escape hatches. As these sections will almost certainly contain more gold and may contain shops, it's not a bad idea to eventually use each escape hatch, just in case. It is not especially safe to do this until you feel confident that you can take on large groups of standard orcs, however, as an unlucky hatch may land you in a lot of trouble with no easy way out.
Although the Mines entrance is usually found first, it is common to ignore it until you've attempted the Lair, which is widely considered to be a less dangerous branch. Some character types, in particular Venom Mages, may wish to clear the Mines first since the only poison-resistant monsters there are wargs. The hordes of low-level monsters make this branch a good place to build piety with gods who award killing or blood sacrifices. Necromancers can also make good use of the large quantity of corpses generated here. Followers of the orc god Beogh may wish to max out their piety before entering here so they can recruit as many high-level allies as possible.
No specific resistances or other intrinsics are required to clear the Orcish Mines, although being strong in melee or having good spells for crowd control is highly recommended. If you cannot comfortably defeat roaming orc packs in the Dungeon, you are not ready for this branch.
Along with granting access to the Elven Halls, the bottom level shops are an excellent incentive to clear this branch. Their contents aren't free, but it's common to find at least one item for sale that is useful throughout the game.
- Orc priest
- Orc high priest
- Orc wizard
- Orc sorcerer
- Orc warrior
- Orc knight
- Orc warlord
- Two-headed ogre
- Ogre mage
- Rock troll
- Iron troll
- Hill giant
- Stone giant
- Gnoll shaman
- Gnoll sergeant
Earlier versions of Crawl had sections of the Orcish Mines that were completely disconnected from all other areas. Using shafts, escape hatches, or teleports carelessly could maroon your character in an unescapable area, unless you had a source of digging or teleportation.