ADOM Guidebook

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1st kill - Cats - Karmics - Dragons - Annoying monsters: Early game - Midgame - Late game - Weapon status - Uberjackal effect - Gaining experience - Spellcasting monsters: Spell ranges - Spell powers - Directed spells - Touch attacks spells - Non-targetted spells

Killing monsters

The ADOM Manual has a section about experience and advancement, which is achieved mainly via killing monsters.

0.9.1 The significance of the first kill

Many new ADOM players are dismayed to find that they need to know what monster their PC killed first. By the time they find this out, they have forgotten, of course. Write it down, rename your PC to reflect your first kill, do anything necessary to remember that first kill. It is very important, especially if you are going to attempt an ultra ending. The Courage skill

There is a description of the Courage skill in the ADOM Manual. It is worthwhile to acquire it, although many players ignore it and have finished the game without it. The skill is obtained by finishing the Old Barbarian's quest: kill an additional score (20) of the monster your PC first killed. Note that the Old Barbarian will not give the quest to PCs who have chaotic alignment. The Filk quest

The Filk quest is for very advanced players attempting an ultra ending. The quest objective is to find and kill the named quickling bard Filk. He can be found in the Infinite Dungeon on the level number corresponding to the number of first-kill monsters the PC has killed. This will of course be a minimum of 21 if the PC has acquired the Courage skill. It can also change during the quest if the PC kills additional first-kill monsters after being assigned the quest. See section for more about the Filk quest. Strategy for the first kill: where and what?

There are many schools of thought on what the first kill should be. If the PC wants to acquire the Courage skill quickly after being assigned the Old Barbarian's quest, the monsters should be readily available. If the PC also plans to do the Filk quest later in the game, the total number of first-killed monsters killed must be minimized in order to prevent a tedious and dangerous dive into the Infinite Dungeon. Some experienced players will ignore the Old Barbarian's quest for the Courage skill. This makes it very easy to complete the Filk quest, since if the player has chosen wisely the PC will have killed only one of the monsters in question. Some players choose to make the first kill in Lawenilothehl for this reason. Muggers, for instance, are found only in Lawenilothehl and the Assassins' Guild. Skriek, the ratling found in Lawenilothehl, is the only cloaked ratling in the game (although killing him means the PC can no longer buy keys from him, which can save the PC's life). Hotzenplotz, who is also located in Lawenilothehl, is the only crime lord in the game. He is not easy for an experience level one PC to kill, but it can be done with wizards who have a good offensive bolt spell (not Magic Missile), or hurthling archers who start the game with level five skill in thrown rocks. Hotzenplotz's guardians Grunge and Munge are likewise the only two half-orc bouncers in the game.

If the PC wants the Courage skill and wants to attempt an ultra ending, the following requirements must be met: the first kill must be a monster readily available after receiving the Old Barbarian's quest; it must also be uncommon in the various dungeons the PC will face so that the Filk quest does not get out of control. Entering the Small Cave at the start of the game and killing a rat, kobold or goblin as the first kill, for instance, makes it much more difficult to finish an ultra ending.

0.9.2 Cats - the significance of felines

There are three types of monsters that count as cats in ADOM: cave lions, cave tigers and wild cats.

The Cat Lord resides on D: 35 in the Caverns of Chaos. He rewards PCs who have avoided killing any cats with a powerful artifact ring. He will be hostile towards PCs that have killed cats and becomes more powerful with each cat killed (+10 HP for each cat killed, +1 level for each 25 cats killed, max level 20).

Many players consider the Ring of the Master Cat to be the most powerful and desirable ring in the game. It grants +16 to Dexterity and +16 to speed. In addition it causes the PC to deliver considerably more critical hits with melee and missile weapons and grants the Fate smiles intrinsic.

It is important to remember that even after receiving the ring, the PC must not kill any cats while wearing it, since it explodes in that circumstance. The ring does not explode if it is in the backpack or left on another level when a cat is killed after receiving the RotMC.

Make no mistake about it, the requirement to kill no cats for the entire game is a difficult one, causing many to refer to them as "those damn cats." The power of the ring makes it worthwhile to attempt to avoid killing them.

There are several ways to deal with cats. Teleportation is one, from a wand or spell. Either teleport the cat away, especially if the PC does not have teleport control, or teleport the PC. Potions of exchange thrown at a cat will turn it into another monster. Potions of raw chaos, available at any time once the PC has Moon Sickle, will turn cats into writhing masses of primal chaos when thrown at cats. Cats can be led over traps until they are killed or turned into a writhing mass of primal chaos. Luring a cat across an alarm trap causes other monsters to become hostile and attack the cat. Note that in newer versions of ADOM, the PC is charged with killing a cat if he creates or sets off a trap that kills a cat. Wands of destruction can be used to safely kill cats since monsters "destroyed" in this way do not appear in the kill list.

PCs that are near Dwarftown can bring cats to Dwarftown and have the Priest, for instance, kill them. This is probably a bit dangerous, since bringing hostile monsters into Dwarftown repeatedly may eventually result in some of the inhabitants becoming hostile. It should also be possible for PCs near the Banshee's level to bring cats to her level and have her wail kill them. Additional monsters that can be used include vortices. Lure a cat close enough to one and allow it to explode. Be familiar with vortices before trying this.

Companions can kill cats for you. Cave lions and wild cats can be tamed with rat and/or giant rat corpses, if you have enough of them. Cave tigers can eventually be tamed with pieces of fresh and/or raw meat, but it requires five or more pieces. If the PC can become invisible, and has not attacked the cat in question, it can simply be walked away from. Cats can be confused with the Ventriloquism skill. While they are confused, run away. Cats can probably be confused or blinded by throwing potions of confusion or blindness at them. Again the run away tactic would be used.

0.9.3 Karmic beings

Karmic monsters come in three main varieties: karmic lizards, karmic dragons and ancient karmic dragons. They can be identified by the fact that they change color with each turn. Be very careful if the PC encounters a lizard with the 'w'alk command. It may allow the PC to wind up right next to the lizard, in which case you may not have time to notice the color change. Karmics demand caution because attacking them in melee causes the PC to lose the Fate smiles intrinsic, then the Lucky intrinsic followed by cursing then dooming if the PC continues. This is not a 100% guaranteed effect. PCs can kill karmics in one hit and not suffer the consequences. However, it happens so often that karmics should not be engaged in melee if it is possible to avoid it. Killing them with magic, missiles, Mindcraft or companions is the way to dispatch them. The changing color of karmics reflects the nature of karmic dragons. They breathe not one element, like ordinary dragons, but have *all* the breath attacks available, varying from turn to turn depending on their color. This also means that they are immune to all elemental magical attacks. Unfortunately karmic dragon scale mail is not available in the game. ;-) They are vulnerable to dragon slaying ammo.

There are such things as karmic wyrms. There is one guaranteed in the game. Thankfully, he is not initially hostile. Another being shares the cursing/dooming property of karmics: Filk, the quickling bard.

Karmic beings will occasionally leave corpses when killed. Eating the corpse of a karmic being will, in order, remove the doomed intrinsic if present, remove the cursed intrinsic if present, grant the Lucky intrinsic if not present and grant the Fate smiles intrinsic if not present. Remember all or any of these intrinsics can be present simultaneously. Thus a PC that is doomed and Lucky would lose the doomed intrinsic and retain the Lucky intrinsic after eating a karmic corpse. The same is true for a PC that has the cursed and doomed intrinsics - the PC would lose the doomed intrinsic but not the cursed intrinsic and would not gain either the Lucky or Fate smiles intrinsics.

0.9.4 Dragons

The various dragons have particular vulnerabilities noted in Appendix J. They have a unique characteristic when killed: a dragon that has picked up gold pieces will drop twice as many when killed, in addition to whatever gold and other treasure it may have been carrying. This is probably a bug and can obviously be used to multiply the PC's gold potentially indefinitely once he is buff enough to dispatch dragons. There is some risk involved since many types of dragons can destroy entire heaps of gold with their breath attacks. Note that the amount of gold in a single stack is limited to a 32-bit integer (231 - 1 or 2,147,483,647). Generating larger stacks will cause errors.

0.9.5 Strategies for dealing with particularly annoying monsters

Suggestions for more annoying monsters are welcome. No uniques, though - they are dealt with in the section pertaining to their location.

This section is about *annoying* monsters. Not necessarily very dangerous or life-threatening, just monsters that are your personal pet peeve with some attack or characteristic that infuriates you. Early game Midgame Late game

0.9.6 Weapon status - blessed, uncursed, cursed

The damage inflicted on an opponent that falls into the demon or undead category is dependent on the weapon's blessed vs uncursed vs cursed status. The formulas are as follows:

Cursed weapons also seem to be more prone to breakage. Blessed weapons seem to be less prone to breakage.

0.9.7 Monsters gain experience level - the uberjackal effect

Monsters gain xp level when the PC is killing them. It means if you manage to kill a number of rats, the next generated rat will have higher xp level. Rarer creatures require fewer kills to raise their xp level, a minimum is 5. For example, orcs require 75 kills, rats and giant rats 50 kills, jackals 12 kills - avoid killing lots of those by any means! Exceptions are breeders, who never gain xp. Monsters gain:

0.9.8 Gaining experience

High Learning increases experience gains. For every 1 xp gained (remainders are accounted for exactly, there is no rounding loss), the PC gains Le/1000 bonus xp. The Good Learner and Great Learner talents increase xp too. Good Learner alone is 150%, Good Learner + Great Learner is 120%. Remainders are accounted for incorrectly and there is rounding loss for many small kills.

The experience gained per killing a monster is dependent on Speed of both combatants according to the following formula:

Exp_gained = base_exp * (monster_speed / PC_speed)

This means lowering PC's speed as well as increasing monster speed before delivering the final hit are means of generating more experience. This is most commonly achieved by repeatedly casting Slow Monster spell at the PC. Beware however, there is a limit on maximum xp gain. Going beyond the limit will yield only 1 xp.

Besides killing monsters, experience can be gained via disarming traps. A fraction experience (1/20) is gained when offering piece and when sacrificing monsters at an altar. There is no other known way of gaining experience.

0.9.9 Spellcasting monsters

Not only the PC, but also some monsters are able to cast spells. However, the spell selection for monsters is very different, as is monster spell mechanics. Spellcasting monsters do not use the PP and spell knowledge/power system PC uses. There are three classes of monster spells: directed spells, touch attack spells, and non-directed spells, and two monster spellcaster's properties: spell range and spell power. Spell ranges

Directed spells have a range which is a property of the monster spellcaster. This range is the same for all directed spells, and is generally square; beware of diagonals. High level monsters gain 1 spell range per 4 levels. Chaotic and lawful spellcasters have one third less range on Silvernight and Darknight, respectively. Base ranges are a function of spellcaster type as follows:

Spell ranges
Range Spellcasting monster
3 kobold shaman
4 dark elven wizard, dark sage
5 black druid
6 great white wyrm, ogre magus
7 druid
8 great black wyrm, ki-rin, lich, master necromancer, skeletal king
10 ancient karmic wyrm, great blue wyrm, master lich, minotaur mage, multi-headed chaos dragon, priest
12 Ancient Chaos Wyrm, ancient blue wyrm, great karmic wyrm, great red wyrm, lich king, old crone, oracle, shadow wyrm
14 emperor lich
15 Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage, quickling bard Spell powers

The damage of spells is determined by another parameter of the monster, the spell power. Every additional level gives a monster +1 spell power; chaotic and lawful spellcasters get one third more spell power on Darknight or Silvernight respectively.

Spell powers
Spell power Spellcasting monster
3 kobold shaman
4 priest
5 master necromancer
6 black druid
8 ogre magus
12 cat lord, great white wyrm, shadow wyrm
13 druid, quickling bard
15 greater daemon
16 great black wyrm
18 black wizard, green hag
20 fairy dragon, great blue wyrm, lich, skeletal king
22 ancient karmic wyrm
24 great red wyrm
25 annis hag, master lich
30 Ancient Chaos Wyrm, ancient blue wyrm, great karmic wyrm, ki-rin, lich king, oracle
35 emperor lich
40 old crone
45 minotaur mage
50 multi-headed chaos dragon
63 Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage Directed spells

These spells can be cast at range. Monsters will still use them in melee sometimes. Energy bolt / Death ray

The Death Ray spell, described as an "energy bolt", attempts to instantly kill the target. It is a dodgable spell and has finite range. Even if it hits, the target still may make a saving throw and may have resistance; in either case, damage is done instead. There is no multiple death ray resistance. The damage done by a resisted death ray is equal to Xd3+Y where X = Max(15, spell power) and Y is 1d(spell power)-1. The PC will save on a (Mana + Luck) in spell power chance.

Death ray
Death ray user Resisted damage range
ki-rin, oracle 30-119
emperor lich 35-139
Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage 63-251 Stream of energy

This is a simple non-elemental damage spell. It is displayed as a yellow line segment and described as a "painful stream of energy", or "strong magical energies" when affecting monsters. It has finite range and can be dodged when affecting the PC; against monsters, it can be shrugged like a bolt spell, with attack power equal to spell power. It does (spell power+2)d4 damage.

Stream of energy
Stream of energy user Base damage range
dark elven wizard, dark sage 2d4
priest 6d4
Ancient Chaos Wyrm 32d4
old crone 42d4
Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage 65d4 Confusion

This spell attempts to confuse its target. There is no path requirement; if the caster can see the PC and the PC is in range, it is fair game regardless of angle or anything in the middle. For monsters, success is based on a spell range and level, duration is Max(1, spell power/4)d2; for PC the maths are much more involved and not worth detailing here in prose. Chance to resist Confusion depends mainly on Willpower, with an effective +6 Willpower bonus per properly equipped -Conf item. Luck is also added to effective Willpower. Confusion duration depends mostly on -Conf items, but there is a small Willpower influence; Wi from 10 to 40 reduces average duration by 20% (no effect on maximum).

Confusion userWi thresholds to resist confusion with a given probabilityMax confusion durations
50%75%90%95%99%99.9%99.9999%Is level 6+ Mindcrafter
Number of -Conf items
black druid 3 4 5 5 6 8 11 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
great white wyrm, shadow wyrm 6 9 10 11 11 12 15 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
druid 7 10 11 12 12 13 16 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
great black wyrm 8 12 14 15 15 16 19 8 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
great blue wyrm, lich, skeletal king 10 15 18 19 19 20 22 10 3 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
ancient karmic wyrm 11 16 19 20 21 22 24 10 3 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
great red wyrm 12 18 21 22 23 24 26 12 3 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1
master lich 13 19 22 23 24 25 27 12 3 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1
Ancient Chaos Wyrm, ancient blue wyrm, great karmic wyrm, lich king 15 22 27 28 29 30 33 14 4 2 2 2 1 2 1 1 1
emperor lich 18 26 31 33 34 34 37 16 4 3 2 2 1 2 2 1 1
old crone 20 30 36 38 39 39 42 20 5 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 1
minotaur mage 23 34 40 42 44 44 47 22 6 4 3 2 2 3 2 1 1
multi-headed chaos dragon 25 37 45 47 49 49 52 24 6 4 3 2 2 3 2 2 1
Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage 32 47 56 59 62 62 64 30 8 5 3 3 2 3 2 2 1 Glowing Balls / Magic Missile

This is attack spell which targets like an arrow. It is dodgable, and can be shrugged by exactly as a bolt spell. It displays as a blue * and is described as glowing balls, but in the endgame dump is named as magic missiles, leading many to beleive it non-elemental, but it actually does fire damage; it speeds up Drakelings, can melt beeswax, and is reduced significantly by fire resistance (divided by 1 + 6 if intrinsic, + 3 per item). Base damage is (spell power/2)d6.

Glowing balls
Glowing balls user Damage
black druid 3d6
druid, great white wyrm, quickling bard, shadow wyrm 6d6
great black wyrm 8d6
great blue wyrm, lich, skeletal king 10d6
ancient karmic wyrm 11d6
great red wyrm, master lich 12d6
ancient blue wyrm, great karmic wyrm, lich king 15d6
emperor lich 17d6
old crone 20d6
Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage 31d6 Cone of cold

Works like glowing balls, but deals cold damage. Displays white *. Shock bolt

Works like glowing balls, but deals lightning damage. Displays yellow *. Avoiding directed spells

Your ability to avoid spells is not affected by DV, tactics, what you're avoiding, or even the level of the caster. There are five checks to evade spells; only one of them needs to pass. Most of the checks are much harder in the dark. First, you will avoid a spell on a (Dx + Luck) in (Dx + 50 (120 in dark)) chance. Second, you will avoid a spell on a (Mana + Luck) in 1000 check. The third check only applies if your speed is greater than 100; you have a (speed - 100) in 100 (200 in darkness) chance to avoid spells, capped one short of perfection (99% or 99.5%). Thus, if speed is boosted above 200, or 300 for darkfighting, effective immunity to bolts is achieved; this is useful to remember against dangerous spellcasters. Finally come the skill checks. Fourth is a straight Dodge in 1000 (2000 if darkness) check. Finally, an Alertness check with a difficulty of 200 (400) is made. Since Alertness is a [+] skill, multiple checks are possible at high skill values; at 100, Alertness negates 7/8 of bolts that get this far. With 99 Dexterity, 200 speed, and 100 Alertness, 1 in 2400 spells will connect. Touch attack spells

These spells can only be used in melee range, so avoiding them is easy - just stay out of range. Drain stat

Monsters will only use Drain stat against the PC, never other monsters. If successful, one random stat is lowered by 1d3 permanently.

The Drain stat spell is used by the following spellcasters: black druid, great white wyrm, greater daemon, lich king, emperor lich, old crone, minotaur mage, multi-headed chaos dragon, Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage. Curse

This spell will only be used by monsters against the PC, and has two possible results. An item is selected from inventory completely at random. If the PC has have no items, or gold is the item chosen, the PC himself will be subjected to the curse; otherwise, the chosen item will. If the PC already has the Cursed intrinsic, there is 16.7% chance to gain the Doomed intrinsic instead.

The Curse spell is used by the following spellcasters: black druid, quickling bard, great black wyrm, black wizard, green hag, annis hag, master lich, lich king, emperor lich, old crone, minotaur mage, multi-headed chaos dragon, Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage. Teleport other

Pretty self-explanatory effects, equivalent to zapping a wand of teleportation. Against monsters, only a level-dependent save is used; low-level monsters will almost never resist. In principle this provides a way to teleport Khelavaster off the stairs; sadly, the monster AI will never make attacks against dying sages. No effect on non-teleport levels.

The Teleport other spell is used by the following spellcasters: druid, quickling bard, fairy dragon, old crone, Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage. Avoiding touch attack spells

The PC avoids Stat drain or "Curse the PC" spells if Luck + 1dMa-1 >= 1d(spell power-1). Therefore, high Mana and Luck are extremely beneficial, but cannot provide enough safety from these.

Curse item and Teleport other use easier save. They are avoided if 1d(spell power)-1 > Mana+Luck. Thus, high Mana can make your PC safe from item curses; the Mana needed in this way must be equal to the relevant spell power. With 25 or higher Mana, any item is safe from all cursing monsters that are not also stat drainers (if the PC has positive Luck, and it is not Darknight). Non-targetted spells

These spells do not require an enemy at all. Invisibility

Turns the user invisible for (spell power / 2)d4 turns. Used by ogre magus (4d4 turns), cat lord (6d4 turns), and Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage (31d4 turns). Darkness

Darkens an octagonal area around the caster. Diameter is equal to spell range. Used by black druid (diameter 5), and Chaos Archmage, ElDeR cHaOs GoD, ancient sage (diameter 15). Heal

Heals the caster up to (spell power)d5 damage, with no effect on any statuses. Used by priest (4d5), black druid (6d5), druid (13d5), ancient karmic wyrm (22d5), Ancient Chaos Wyrm (30d5), ancient blue wyrm (30d5), ki-rin (30d5), old crone (40d5), ancient sage (63d5). Greater Heal

This spell restores its user to full health and ends bleeding. Used by ancient sage, emperor lich, lich, lich king, master lich.

Please note that this is an unofficial and unauthorised copy of Andy William's ADOM Guidebook. For further information on the legal and moral challenges raised against this Improved ADOM Guidebook please see
Updated April 16th, 2010