Monster Mayhem

Monster Mayhem Archive

Beholder (February)
Umber Hulk (March)
Vampire (April)
Ethereal Marauder (May)
Orc (June)
Delver (July)
Half-Dragon (Aug)
Troll (Sept)
Diamondback Viper (Oct)
Stellar Deva Celestial (Nov)
The Vrill (Nov)

Intrepid illustrator Sam Wood dons his safari gear and goes a-monster huntin’. His prey is familiar to veteran players, but Sam warns that this old foe has some new tricks up its sleeve:

"Okay, this was a really tough decision. I was tempted to mention the revamped dragons (scary) or one of the all-new monsters created for the new D&D, or any number of other candidates. But in the end, I'm gonna have to go with the orc.

"I know what you're thinking. ‘The orc – how boring.’ Which is exactly why I chose it. You see, in the new D&D, the orc is no longer the generic, cannon-fodder, garden-variety, couldn't-think-of-anything-else-to-throw-at-the-party monster. Under the new rules, monsters adapt, learn skills and improve their abilities. They spend as much time thinking about how to get you as you do thinking about how to get them. And no one exemplifies that like the reliable old orc, who players will never again take for granted."


Medium-Size Humanoid
Hit Dice: 1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft. (scale mail), base 30 ft.
AC: 14 (+4 scale mail)
Attacks: Greataxe +2 melee; javelin +0 ranged
Damage: Greataxe 1d12+3; javelin 1d6+2
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Defenses: Darkvision 60 ft., light sensitivity
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +0, Will –1
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 8
Skills: Listen +4, Spot +3
Feats: Alertness

Orcs are aggressive humanoids that raid, pillage, and battle other creatures. They have a hatred of elves and dwarves that began generations ago and they often kill them on sight.

Orcs suffer a –1 penalty to attack rolls in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.

When they’re not actually fighting other creatures, orcs usually spend their time planning raids or practicing their fighting skills. Their language varies slightly from tribe to tribe but anyone who speaks Orc can understand them. Some orcs know Goblin or Giant as well.

Most orcs encountered away from their homes are warriors; the information above is for an orc of 1st level (see "NPC Classes" in Chapter 2: Characters of the Dungeon Master’s Guide for more about the warrior class).

Orc Characters

An orc’s favored multiclass is Barbarian, and orc leaders especially tend to be barbarians. Orc clerics can choose two of the following domains: Chaos, Evil, Strength, and War (favored weapon: spear). Most orc spellcasters, however, are adepts (see "NPC Classes" in Chapter 2: Characters of the Dungeon Master’s Guide). Orc adepts favor spells that deal damage.


These orc-human crossbreeds live in either orc or human society (where their status varies according to local sentiment), or in communities of their own. Half-orcs usually inherit a good blend of their parents’ physical characteristics. They are as tall as humans and a little heavier, thanks to their musclulature. They have greenish pigmentation, sloping foreheads, jutting jaws, prominent teeth, and coarse body hair. Half-orcs who have lived among or near orcs have scars, in keeping with orcish tradition.

Typical half-orc ability scores are: Str 13, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 8. They have 60-foot darkvision but are not sensitive to light.

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