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Ancient Domains Of Mystery, forum overview / Spoilers / A Guide to Bards

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Darren Grey
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1648 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 31 seconds ago.
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 10:26 (GMT -5)

About time I contributed to Silfir's guides... This is a lot longer than I expected, but since bards can do so many things there's so damned much to talk about. Currently incomplete - section V on Pets needs to be written after I've done some more testing. Practically all the advice I've given on pets is purely theory at the mo... Comments, suggestions and corrections are very welcome. Once it's finished I'll make a HTML friendly version to send to Silfir.

Guide to being a Bard
by Darren Grey

“Oh, the heart in my breast turned stone, and the brain froze in my skull
But I won through, I alone, and poured my chalice full
Of horrors and dooms and spells, black buds and bitter roots
From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits."

--- Robert E Howard, “The Song of the Mad Minstrel”


I. Introduction – description, manual information, pros and cons
II. Starting Up – starsigns, races, initial equipment, initial pets
III. Skills – the whole damned lot
IV. Character Development – playing styles, class powers, talents, crowning gifts, alignment, wishes
V. Pets – keeping alive, training, special considerations, tactics
VI. Walkthrough – surviving the early game, main locations, bosses, ultras

I. Introduction

This guide will not cover all areas of the game and is intended to be used in conjunction with Andy Williams’ Guidebook. Many thanks to Silfir for starting the ADOM Guides, along with all the other guidewriters and members of the Hall of Fame forums – many of their ideas and tactics have become part of my gameplay and thus part of this guide. Biggest thanks of all go to Thomas Biskup for creating a truly amazing game that has kept me hooked for 9 years.

I have tried my best to verify all information presented, but much of it is still based on presumption, faulty memory and testimonials from other players. If you spot any inaccuracies then please let me know and I will rectify them.

Bards are a very individual class, and yet one of their individual features is being a jack-of-all-trades. Many bards play very differently from each other, due to the random starting skillset, and the immense number of different tactics that can be employed with them. Much of their powers rely on luck, and luck seems to an intrinsic part of the class that they possess great amounts of, allowing them to become very powerful later. However they are a very weak starting class, and thus generally not designed for new players; yet many people find themselves attracted to them regardless. This guide is written for those new players who want ways to survive the early game with bards, and for experienced players that wish to take best advantage of a bard’s huge powers later in the game. My first true ADOM victory was with a grey elven bard, Tarindil, that achieved Ordinary Chaos God status after a very fun playthrough – this guide is dedicated to him :)

Manual Description:

BARD -- Bards are musicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs. They try to make an easy living by telling good stories for a meal. Most of them are below average fighters and don't possess much equipment. This is balanced by their knack to stumble upon strange items. Apart from that, bards make fast friends with strange beings at times. A bard starts his dungeoneering life with one loyal monster or animal companion. Once a bard has become friends with another being, this friendship lasts for a lifetime. Many legendary bards in Ancardia were accompanied by monster or animal companions of equal fame. It is said that talented bards are able to calm the spirit of a beast with their ethereal music.

Bards are not trained in specific skills (except for Music), but rather receive a randomly determined group of skills. They also receive more skills than any other character class.

As bards advance in level they become more and more versatile. At level 6 they receive one additional free skill increase per advancement. At level 12 they gain +1d3 skill levels in 6 randomly chosen weapon skills. At level 18 they receive a base score of 80 + (10 * Learning score) + (20 * Mana score) in four randomly chosen spells. At level 25 they receive 6 random skills (or improve their abilities in up to 6 skills). At level 32 they double their hit point regeneration speed. At level 40 they double their mana point regeneration rate. At level 50 they receive a bonus of +6 to all attributes.

My Description

Bards are masters of music, which in ADOM means masters of animals. Whilst druids start with most animals non-hostile to them, bards have an easy time turning hostile animals friendly and even taming them. This is performed using the music skill, which all bards start with at a very high level. They also have the unique class feature that no pet will ever turn on them without being attacked first. This applies not just to tamed animals, but also to monsters summoned using scrolls of familiar summoning. All other classes are at risk of having their pets turn on them at some point, making it extremely dangerous to have a powerful companion – bards do not suffer this risk. This is the ultimate class for those who like to rely on pets. Perhaps the only class.

Bards start with fairly average stats, with notably higher Learning, Dexterity, Charisma and Appearance. No stats begin below average, except for through racial choices and background or random effects. However they tend to have poor strength and toughness when compared with the fighting classes, and their starting equipment set is simply the worst in the game. They start the game with extremely poor offence and defence, and races other than trolls will quickly finding themselves dead.

Later in the game though they do have a knack for finding better items, and by the end of the game most bards will likely have come across several wishes and a huge amount of stat potions and PoGA, on top of great equipment. In addition to this they suffer far less than others from destruction of valuable equipment – you might even find yourself tempted to jump in the Rift without stashing your treasures elsewhere (don’t though…)

Bards get an additional starting talent (one of only two classes to do so). This is in conjunction with them having the best heir gift in the game – blessed seven league boots, which effectively double movement speed. A character starting with SLBs will have an easy time running rings around enemies, and will likely suffer less corruption in the later game thanks to spending less game time in the wilderness. Many people end up spending a wish on these at some point in the game, and consider them the greatest reason to play a bard in the first place.

Bards get a random set of skills in addition to their race’s skillset. They also get a random number of skills. The manual states that they get more skills than other classes – this is lies! My testing indicates that bards normally get between 4 and 11 non-guaranteed skills, with 7 being the average (not including Music). It’s very rare to get above 8 extra skills, since skills gained can sometimes simply be double-training in ones you already have. Other classes get on average 8 non-guaranteed skills (all of them are between 6 and 11), so bards really aren’t much different. However there is a chance, small though it may be, that you might end up with some amazing combination of starting skills – something many spend a long time chasing after, only to find they die on VD1. Take note – don’t play bards in the hope of ultimate skills, as you will be cheated out of a great deal of time. Monks and rangers offer awesome skillsets and with much higher survivability too. I will admit though, I have seen bards get as many as 14 non-guaranteed skills (the char started with 22 skills in total), and if you ever get that sort of luck be sure to take good care of your little fella since many of those skills are bound to be great.

To summarise a little then:

Reasons to Play a Bard

-starts with a pet
-ability to tame animals
-companions never turn on you
-uber-jackal effect isn’t much worry – the worst offenders can be tamed
-extra starting talent
-seven league boots as Heir gift
-extra luck during the game with items
-possibility of a great skillset
-some brilliant class powers
-excellent all-rounders that can become good at everything

Reasons Not to Play a Bard

-pets have limited uses, and can even get in the way
-normally start with 0 PV and die quickly
-possibility of a horrendous skillset
-class powers often rely on luck and can be worthless
-they fail to specialise in one area, meaning they can never be as powerful in those areas as some other classes (eg wizards, archers and barbarians)

II. Starting Up

Starting up bards can be frustrating if you’re after a particular birth month and number of talents, since you may spend some time before you generate a satisfactory skillset. You can speed up the character generation process by changing values in the adom.cfg file in the adom_dat subdirectory. Setting your desired race, class, gender, name and setting questioned_attributes to false can greatly speed up generation of new characters, limiting frustration a little.

No two bards are alike, so you may want to consider carefully what you want from the class before character generation. However you may just decide to roll with what you’ve got and see how things go – that’s part of the fun of the class. Following are some factors to consider about how your bard will start the game and how certain choices or results will affect your play.


There is a small difference in the two genders that you may wish to consider. Firstly males get +1 strength, whilst females get +1 dexterity. Secondly male shop prices are based on charisma, whilst female shop prices are based on appearance. Overall this makes for little difference, and you are best choosing your desired race based on role-play (personally I have the .cfg set to always male to make things easier). However in purely game terms males will most likely have a slight edge, since the extra strength is more important in the beginning and bards tend to have high charisma. Still, if playing a dark elf you might want to consider being female so that your shop prices are somewhat improved early on.


There are 12 starsigns in ADOM that affect your player in various ways – the manual documents the effects in full. You are assigned a starsign randomly, but many players repeatedly roll characters to get one of their preferred signs. Some people on the other hand base what character they want based on the sign they end up with. Since bards can be played in various ways there is no exact best sign, but following is a discussion of how each sign can affect your play.

Raven - +10 speed, doppelganger resistance, stronger pets, trident comes early
Rating: 4/5
This is a very good sign if you plan on using pets – I don’t know what the exact improvements are, but every little helps. Extra speed is really great for everyone, though it can reduce experience gains (bad for trolls) and can be frustrating when your pets are slower. The rune-covered trident is a brilliant artifact, and getting it as low as level 16 can be very handy (though most bards won’t be able to go near the water cave quite that early).

Book – slight lawful tendencies, extra skill increase per level, better chance to learn spells
Rating: 3.5/5
Lawful tendency doesn’t affect much. Extra skill increase is handy when you have lots of skills. Increased spell-learning abilities is great if you plan on using your character as a semi-caster, especially for mastering difficult spells.

Wand – slight lawful tendencies, +2 Ch, spells for neutrals cost -10%, initial neutrals get +2 Ma and +10% PP
Rating: 2/5 (3.5/5 for neutrals)
This is best for drakelings, gnomes and grey elves who all start out neutral, but not much good for other races. Lawful tendencies don’t affect much. Charisma bonus is always a plus for bards. The spellcost reduction isn’t much, but is handy when they don’t get the reductions priests and wizards boon from. Extra 10% PP at the start is worthless without spells, but the extra Mana can sometimes mean an extra starting talent.

Unicorn - +2 Ap, less corruption, sticks to L alignment more
Rating: 1/5
All worthless in my books. Bards with a healing spell have no trouble staying lawful. Appearance is pretty useless. The corruption loss is very small, and if you start with SLBs you might find corruption less of a problem by the end game.

Salamander - +1 Ch, +3 Ma, +20% PP, fire magic costs 20% less
Rating: 4/5
This is perhaps the best sign if you want your bard to be good with spells. The extra PP is extremely useful, and the reduction is fire magic costs can be handy too. The Charisma bonus is negligible, but the Mana bonus can easily result in an extra starting talent.

Dragon - +2 St, +1 To, -3 Wi, +10% effects from tactics settings, 10% less weapon marks required, combat magic 10% cheaper
Rating: 3.5/5
A handy mix for a bard that wants to use both weapons and magic, though ultimately bards will find themselves using utility spells more than combat spells. The Strength and Toughness bonuses are welcome early on, and the Willpower reduction can go unnoticed until you find some morgia. Tactics effects are fairly small, though can add a few extra DV or to hit when you get the skill.

Sword - +1 Le, 20% less melee weapon marks required, +10% positive effects from tactics settings
Rating: 3/5
Learning bonus is small, as is the tactics effect, but both are nice to have. Reduction in melee marks costs can increase the chance of reaching high weapon levels, but ultimately doesn’t affect things as much as you’d think since mark requirements increase exponentially. Missiles are stronger than melee anyway. Still, if you want to concentrate on melee, this is one of the best signs.

Falcon - +2 Wi, +1 Ch, Survival skill, extra talent
Rating: 2.5/5
Survival skill only starts out at 10, so isn’t much use straight away. Food isn’t normally that much of a problem anyway. Stat effects are not much use, especially at the start. Extra talent is very useful though if you want to get Heir (and can help to start with Alert too, if you want Treasure Hunter – and you do want Treasure Hunter).

Cup - +2 Le, -10% xp requirements, extra skill increase every two levels, +20% spell knowledge from reading books
Rating: 3/5
Learning bonus is always welcome. Bards don’t normally need much experience, but the lower cost can help get initial levels quicker for additional hp and can lead to getting the nice class powers faster. Additional spell knowledge can be handy since you won’t find too many books. Extra skill increase is welcome, but might not make much difference if you start with very high Le anyway, especially after the bard level 6 power kicks in. This sign is a bit more handy for orcs and trolls to improve their chances of having high enough Le for literacy.

Candle – heals much faster, gods give more prayers, extra talent
Rating: 5/5
The higher healing rate is twice the effect of maxed out Healing skill, so if you don’t start with the skill this is extremely handy (and gives you more quest options to start with). It helps hugely with surviving the early game. The prayer effect is hard to notice. The extra talent makes a big difference in comfortably getting the Heir gift though. This is simply the best sign for almost any class, and it benefits bards exceptionally well.

Wolf - +3 Pe, +3 Wi, food is 10% more nutritious
Rating: 1.5/5
This might be handy for trolls, who need more food and start with poor Perception. But who the hell plays trollish bards?

Tree - +5 Wi, harder to change alignment
Rating: 1/5
Willpower is of no value in the early game – by the time it becomes useful you’ll find plenty of morgia. The difficulty in changing alignment can be both a curse and a blessing – those aspiring for ultra endings will hate it with a passion.


There are 10 different races in ADOM, each with different stats and skills, and with certain other special effects. Equipment varies very little for bards of different races, but the random skills and generally average stats mean your choice of race can greatly influence your musician’s overall playstyle. There are many things to consider when choosing race… that will eventually make you pick gnomes. But before we jump to conclusions, here’s a description of each:

Skills Added: Food Preservation, Swimming, (Literacy extremely likely)
Special considerations: none
Starting pet: Silver wolf
Pros: High Learning, fast levelling
Cons: Mediocre in general, medium lifespan, unlikely to have 4 initial talents
Overall: An ultimately boring choice, but there’s nothing wrong with it – might be nice for role-playing.

Skills Added: Alertness, Food Preservation, Swimming, (Literacy likely)
Special considerations: Affected by heat and cold, acid spit
Starting pet: Giant lizard
Pros: Good skills, good starting pet, insanely fast in the tower, acid spit helps early on and combines well with food preservation later, good strength and toughness, excellent HP regen
Cons: Mediocre magic stats, extra healing or regen needed in the tower, slowed down by cold attacks, medium lifespan, unlikely to have 4 starting talents
Overall: An excellent choice for any class, though anyone wanting both Treasure Hunter and Heir will likely have to spend a very long time rolling the right character. Alertness is handy for pet-owners wanting to avoid fireball traps. Best choice for surviving through the early game (when you consider that trolls aren’t really a choice in general).

Skills Added: Detect Traps, Metallurgy, Mining, Smithing, (Literacy very likely)
Special considerations: 25% less gold needed for piety, Mithril Skin talent available, Hammerhead crowning gift possibility
Starting pet: Cave bear
Pros: Great pet, good strength and toughness
Cons: Mediocre magic stats, no useful unique skills, awful PP regen, unlikely to have 4 starting talents
Overall: Good strength and toughness rolls can make them tougher than most for the early game, but their poor spell abilities might restrict them later.

High Elf
Skills Added: Dodge, Literacy, Stealth
Special considerations: Sun’s Messenger crowning gift possibility
Starting pet: Cooshoo
Pros: Good Learning, Mana, Dexterity and Perception, decent chance of extra talent, good PP regen
Cons: Poor toughness and HP regen
Overall: A good balance between spellcasting ability and physical stats – especially good once you find some missiles

Grey Elf
Skills Added: Dodge, Literacy, Stealth
Special considerations: Sun’s Messenger crowning gift possibility
Starting pet: Fairy dragon
Pros: Good Learning, Mana, Dexterity and Perception, very good chance of extra talent, brilliant PP regen
Cons: Very poor toughness and low charisma, very poor HP regen
Overall: Brilliant as casters, but they’ll be very frail till you find some morgia. Their pet is odd and fairly useless, but weirdly compelling nonetheless.

Dark Elf
Skills Added: Alertness, Find Weakness, Stealth, (Literacy likely)
Special considerations: Usually poor shop prices
Starting pet: Giant spider
Pros: Great Mana, Dexterity and Perception, very good PP regen, brilliant skills, high chance of extra talent
Cons: Poor Strength, Toughness and Charisma, awful HP regen
Overall: Very weak initially, and their pet can be handy but won’t act as a meat shield. Can get very good later, especially with Alertness and Find Weakness, but will be crippled for much of the early game.

Skills Added: Gemology, Mining, Pickpocketing, Ventriloquism, (Literacy very likely)
Special considerations: 25% less crossbow marks needed, extra talent
Starting pet: Giant raccoon
Pros: High mana, good toughness and charisma, good PP regen, extra talent(s), useful skills, good starting pet, very fast levelling
Cons: Somewhat poor strength
Overall: Gnomish bards have a higher chance than any other race/class combination to get the maximum of 6 starting talents. They are guaranteed enough talents to get Heir, and very likely (certain with the right starsign) to be able to afford Alert as well, leaving them open for Treasure Hunter later. Having both of these is very nice for Bards. Everything else about them is great too, and their good mana and PP regen mixed with gemology and the ability to tame ants can mean them becoming great spellcasters very quickly – better than elves even, and without the low toughness.

Skills Added: Archery, Cooking, Food Preservation, Gardening, Stealth, (Literacy likely)
Special considerations: Initial rock-throwing skills, extra talent, cursed ring
Starting pet: Big dog
Pros: Great dexterity, and good toughness and charisma, extra talent, good skills, fast levelling
Cons: Awful strength, mediocre magic stats, poor PP regen, medium lifespan
Overall: The best choice for a missile-specialist with guaranteed Archery. Getting rocks from the puppy cave ants will hugely increase damage output early on. Extra talent is great, and best combined with Candle for a minimum of 4.

Skills Added: Backstabbing, Find Weakness, Metallurgy, Mining, (Literacy possible)
Special considerations: none
Starting pet: Dire wolf
Pros: Great strength and toughness, good HP regen, good skills
Cons: Poor learning, charisma and perception, low lifespan, unlikely to get 4 starting talents
Overall: A good choice for a melee based bard, but overall fairly restricted.

Skills Added: Athletics, Bridge Building, Food Preservation, Gemology, Mining, (Literacy unlikely)
Special considerations: Triple experience requirements, double hunger rate
Starting pet: Cave bear
Pro: Awesome strength and toughness, brilliant HP regen, only race guaranteed PV
Cons: Everything else
Overall: I can’t think of a worst choice of class for trolls. They don’t need the pet to survive early on, and they’ll never get to level 50 to see the best class power in the game. They will always be big dumb pieces of meat that can’t fulfil a rounded out class like this. There’s just no point in them being Bards at all – every other class has better things to offer them.

Starting Equipment

Bards have some of the worst starting equipment possible in the game, and have extremely little variation between the races. The following is what you come equipped with (racial variations noted):

-50% chance of leather cap (except trolls)
-clothes (trolls get thick furs instead)
-weapon – high/grey elves and humans get a long sword, drakelings get a scimitar, gnomes and hurthlings get a short sword, dark elves get a short sword and dagger (dagger in the off hand), dwarves get a hand axe, orcs get a battle axe and trolls get a heavy club
-most races get leather boots, though drakelings and orcs have sandals instead, gnomes get gnomish boots, whilst trolls and hurthlings are barefoot
-drakelings get scurgari in their missile slot
-hurthlings start with a cursed ring

Note that normally this will result in 0 PV (except for trolls who normally have 2 PV from their thick furs). Drakelings, dwarves and orcs might get 1 PV from high toughness, with trolls getting an additional 2 or 3 PV, but most character will start off with 0. However lucky rolls on the clothes, shoes and cap are possible to provide some protection. As you can see the starting weapons are generally very weak too.

Backpack equipment is mostly the same for everyone:

-dagger (except trolls)
-torch(es) and relevant tools
-2-4 musical instruments (usually 3, and you might get multiple of the same)
-wand of light (1-9 charges from what I’ve seen)
-food (usually 1 or 2 iron rations, but can vary depending on race)
-gold (most races get around 140-200, but some get around half of this)

Initial Pets

“You laugh at the sight of your friend’s death!”

Your initial pets might not last you long before being slaughtered or replaced by something better, but they could also save your life by at the very least weakening up the enemy. Some of them actually provide decent enough meat shields, especially in comparison to an incredibly weak level 1 bard. More information on keeping pets alive can be found in the later section devoted to pets. Note that some of them don’t actually count as animals, so can’t be retamed with music if you make them hostile. Here’s some descriptions of pets along with a few stats gleaned from experimentation with a blessed stethoscope. Note that these stats, especially the number of attacks, will increase as you level up your pets, though speed will stay the same.

Giant Lizard
Cold-blooded companion of drakelings.
DV/PV 12/6, 17 HP, 1 attack, 2d4 damage, 100 speed
These have very high PV to stop them getting hurt by weak monsters, but generally don’t hit very hard and have few hit points when their defences are broken through. Good to use as a temporary meat shield, but not as a decent offensive pet. You need to level it up carefully to get good use out of it (though in reality it should be replaced by the first cave lizard you find).

Cave bear
Grumpy pet of dwarves and trolls.
DV/PV 17/5, 40 HP, 3 attacks, 2d6+2 damage, 100 speed
By far the best of all the starting pets, with excellent offence and defence. You’ll have to get quite a few levels yourself to become better that this beast. There are actually few animals in the game better than this, so it’s great to keep around through the early game.

Giant spider
Poisonous arachnid follower of dark-skinned elves.
DV/PV 14/1, 20 HP, 1 attack, 3d3 damage, 100 speed
These might seem like great pets to have with their poisoning attacks, and indeed many enemies will drop dead a few minutes after being attacked by them. However, that will likely be after they’ve already killed the pathetic giant spider and your frail little dark elf. Also in spite of their corpses providing a handy resistance, they themselves are still fully vulnerable to poison. Useful, eh? Might as well just eat the damned thing instead of trying to use it as a pet.

Faithful doggy friend of high elven bards.
DV/PV 16/2, 20 HP, 1 attack, 3d3 damage, 100 speed
A fairly weak and useless creature, that most annoyingly of all looks exactly like a blink dog. If it gets caught in a blink dog swarm then you’ll likely fire bolt it by accident. And it’s technically not an animal, so you won’t be able to tame it again with music. The question is, will you care?

Silver Wolf
Slightly prettier dog that hangs around with humans.
DV/PV 15/2, 23 HP, 1 attack, 2d4+2 damage, 100 speed
Again weak, but with a slightly stronger jaw it might be able to take a big enough bite of the enemy before it can fight back. Certainly handy for weakening up an opponent or two.

Big Dog
Yappy little mutt that serves hurthlings.
DV/PV 13/0, 14 HP, 1 attack, 2d3+1 damage, 100 speed
The worst starting pet? Quite possibly. Certainly has the weakest defence of them all. Really don’t expect this to help your hurthling much. Maybe you can use its corpse as a weapon.

Dire Wolf
Ugly mongrel that skulks around after smelly orcs.
DV/PV 14/3, 21 HP, 1 attack, 2d3+2 damage, 100 speed
3 PV ain’t too bad, meaning it can hold its own better than the other dogs. Orcs are reasonably tough though, and their battle axe is normally a decent damage dealer, so you may not need this puppy’s services for too long.

Giant Racoon
Immense stalker of tiny gnomes.
DV/PV 13/4, 19 HP, 3 attacks, 1d6+1 damage, 100 speed
One of my favourite pets. It has decent defences, almost as good as the cave bear and giant lizard. It gets 3 attacks a round, but unfortunately at low damage, making it hard to hurt high PV monsters. The great thing is though that it can crush down walls. Just wait around in a corridor with your faithful companion next to you and it’ll start chewing away on the rocks around you. This means instant ammunition, and more importantly as a gnome you can get plenty of gems from this. Best to do this in low level areas where it won’t get killed, until you’ve trained it up a little.

Fairy Dragon
Cheeky companions of the supposedly noble grey elves.
DV/PV 22/0, 10 HP, 2 attacks, 1d3+2 damage, 120 speed
The oddest pet of all, and one that is unfortunately hard to keep alive. Fairy dragons are incredibly rare to encounter normally in dungeons, and can’t be tamed by music. They have decent speed, meaning you don’t have to wait around on them too much, but very poor physical attacks and defence. However they have a water breath attack that does decent damage (though nothing like momma water dragon unfortunately – and keep them away from gremlins) and rather interestingly will teleport away creatures that threaten them. This is actually more often a nuisance than it is any use, but it’s incredibly fun. They’re cute and individual, and it’s a pity they’re otherwise so worthless.

Be sure to spend a long time thinking of meaningful names for your pets, so their deaths will be all the more painful and heart-breaking.

III. Skills

All bards start out with Music at a very high level (normally in the 70s). They also start with the standard skills of Climbing, First Aid, Haggling and Listening, along with skills according to your racial choice. On top of this they will receive a random number of other randomly chosen skills, which may or may not overlap with the skills already possessed (most likely they will a bit). However there are 5 skills that they cannot receive from this random selection: Bridge Building, Courage, Law, Necromancy and Tactics. All of these bar Necromancy can be achieved through in-game quests. Here follows then a description of every god-damned skill in the game…

Availability: Random selection
Training: Direct application – is usually easy to force up when levelling anyway.
This can be a fairly useful skill, for several reasons, but can rely on a little luck. Fits bards well in that respect... As you increase the skill level more potions become available, viewable with ‘R’. To use the skill simply ‘a’pply it and choose your two ingredients according to the recipes to brew a new potion (usually comes out blessed too). Potions of blindness are an early recipe that can disable a lot of powerful creatures, making tough areas like the fire temple much easier. Potions of booze might be made of extremely common ingredients, allowing a lot of wand recharging and feeding Yggaz for random potions. Youth and longevity potions are handy for short-lived races. Extra healing potions can be extremely helpful if made of readily available ingredients, especially for healing pets. And most importantly when you max out the skill you get a recipe for potions of gain attributes, which can lead to quite a lot higher stats if the ingredients are plentiful. Be sure to look out for recipes that build on each other – potions of extra healing that rely on easily made potions of cure poison for instance.
Alchemy has another use for damaging monsters too. If you deliberately use incorrect ingredients (two herbs for instance) then it’ll make an explosion equivalent to a fireball centred on your location. The size of the fireball is dependant on your willpower, and with proper abuse you can take out a lot of enemies with it. Just be sure to protect yourself and your equipment beforehand…

Availability: Drakelings, Dark Elves, random selection, not wishable
Training: Walking on undiscovered trap squares, evading magic attacks and breaths, narrowly dodging attacks
This skill gives a small amount of DV, increases your chance to dodge magic rays and breath attacks, and increases your chance to evade traps when stepping on them. It gets very effective once you get it to 100, meaning it should be a priority to do so. It’s one of the more valuable skills in the game, and some people play Drakelings or Dark Elves solely for it. When running around with experienced pets it’s generally nice not to set off fireball traps next to them.

Availability: Random selection
Training: Picking up new items
This skill gives each new item you pick up a rating on a scale from horrible to amazing. It’s not wholly reliable though – a cursed armour could be rated good for instance, whilst I’ve seen it rate an uncursed wand of wishing with 4 charges as mediocre. It can come in handy in the early game, but later on you’ll likely have plenty of blessed ID scrolls which’ll do a better job.

Availability: Hurthlings, random selection
Training: Using missiles, hitting targets outside your maximum range
This skill gives small bonuses to missile combat – a total of +4 to hit and +2 to damage when maxed. The real decent thing about it is that it unlocks two missile-related talents – Lightning Shot and Eagle Eyed, which are both awesome for any character that uses missile weapons. If you rely on missiles a great deal you may consider wishing for this.

Availability: Trolls, random selection
Training: Self-training to a degree
This skill gives a chance to increase your physical stats, especially when those stats are low. For a bard this can be useful early on, since most of them start very poor on the physical front. Later on you’ll find that getting corruptions will cause this to recover your dexterity and appearance to a certain degree. At high skill levels (which can be very hard to achieve) you’ll get a bonus to speed – up to +8.

Availability: Orcs, Bart training, random selection
Training: Self-trains when attacking creatures who haven’t noticed you
This skill can give a big damage multiplier when attacking creatures that have yet to notice and attack you (due to stealth or invisibility). You’ll get the message “You stab the foo” or “You splatter the foo” upon a successful use of the skill. However beware, since it can be considered a chaotic act. Bart in Dwarftown gives the skill in reward for handing him the golden gladius.

Bridge Building
Availability: Trolls, manual of bridge building (dropped by Yriggs)
Training: Application, training with Yriggs
To use this skill you need a hatchet in the tool slot and logs in your backpack. Then ‘u’se the hatchet next to a water tile to build a bridge segment. Logs can be gotten by using the hatchet on trees in the wilderness, or by killing trees in the Animated Forest. Logs weigh 200s each, making them difficult to lug around. The skill is often unsuccessful too, so creating a bridge can require a lot of trips in and out of the dungeon to make. This is one of the ways to get across the chaos piranha lake to retrieve the Ring of the High Kings. Wand of cold or frost bolt spell is a thousand times easier.

Availability: All start with this
Training: Climbing out of pits, traversing mountains in the wilderness, training with Yergius
The skill doesn’t actually do anything other than supposedly let you cross mountain wilderness squares on the map. However you also need a climbing set for that – you can get one from the gremlin cave or the pyramid if you don’t find one randomly. Getting the Climbing skill to 100 is essential if you want to enter the Rift, which leads to the Sinister Library of Niltrias. This is recommended for bards to get some extra spellbooks and the weird tome. Yergius can help with getting the Climbing skill to 100 – if you pay him money for theoretical training he’ll make the die increase for the skill higher, making it easier to max out.

Availability: Random selection
Training: Naturally regenerating mana
This skill increases your PP regeneration rate dramatically, and is pretty much necessary if you want your bard to be able to regularly use spells. Also improves your chances with reading spellbooks in the first place. This is definitely worth a wish if you want a spellslinging bard.

Availability: Hurthlings, random selection
Training: Applying the skill
This skill lets you cook corpses, but only if you have a cooking set. These are very rare, but hurthlings start with them, making the skill only properly useful to them. Cooked corpses are very well preserved, meaning they will rot extremely slowly. This is handy for corpses that you are too full to eat, or for corrupted corpses that you want to bring back to the druid in Terinyo in exchange for PoCC. However corpses can be destroyed if your skill isn’t very high, meaning that many prefer the more reliable method of using fire bolts or fireballs on corpses that are lying on the ground.

Availability: Old barbarian quest
Training: Fighting amidst groups of monsters
Normally you’ll receive big to hit penalties if surrounded by a crowd, making it hard to fight your way out. This is especially bad if ambushed in the wilderness or if mobbed in a cavern level. The best tactic in the game is thus to duck into a corridor, or back yourself into a corner, so that less enemies are near you. The Courage skill greatly reduces the to hit penalties, letting you fight more effectively in crowds, though it’s still usually best not to so that you’re taking less hits from enemies. Can be especially helpful in the temples and D50, where crowds are unavoidable. The old barbarian in the clearing in the southern forest teaches this skill to non-chaotics as a reward for killing a further 20 of your first kill.

Detect Item Status
Availability: Random selection
Training: Finding new items
This can be a very useful skill in the early game especially – it tells you if an item is blessed, cursed or uncursed. This is handy for avoiding equipping cursed items before you find an altar which can tell you the same thing. However for bards (unlike for priests) the skill starts quite low, and is slow to increase, so early on it won’t tell you the status of many items. Later on it becomes less useful as you have other methods of identifying items’ status and more ways to deal with cursed items, but it is still nice to have.

Detect Traps
Availability: Dwarves, Yergius, random selection
Training: Find traps with the search command
With this skill there’s a small chance that a search command will reveal hidden traps on any squares around you. This skill is considered nigh necessary for many important game locations, such as the pyramid and several of the temples. It’s also very handy for avoiding door traps, which are the bane of many an adventurer’s equipment. Yergius will teach it to non-lawful members of his guild for a 3500 gold fee, and most players invest some time in gathering the necessary gold quite early so that it can be trained up before the pyramid. It’s generally handy to have this as a bard too, since fireball traps can be hazardous around pets – damaging them and turning them against you.

Disarm Traps
Availability: Yergius, random selection
Training: Apply the skill (good to train this on things like teleport traps and arrow traps that don’t have very negative effects when set off)
Applying this skill on a trap gives a chance that you’ll remove the trap entirely. However at low skill levels there’s also a chance it’ll simply set off the trap. Once you get it over 60 it’ll rarely set off door traps, and over 80 it’ll rarely set off normal traps. Door traps are less trouble if you have the knock spell or wand, but are a horrible nuisance otherwise. Regular traps can also be removed with the right spell, but it is rarer. Most characters will not care for this skill, since after you’ve detected a trap it’s rare to set it off, but Bards may find it useful. Fireball traps can turn pets hostile, and alarm traps can turn multiple pets against each other (which can be fun to watch, but annoying sometimes). Teleport traps can cause all sorts of madness. Yergius will teach it to non-lawful guild members for a fee, but it starts off low and is hard to train up. Best combined with Detect Traps obviously. A good place to train this early is on the teleport traps on the very dusty dungeon level (a good place to train detect traps too) – just be sure to be attuned to the level before removing all the traps.

Availability: High/Grey Elves, random selection
Training: Avoiding hits with extremely low DV
This skill gives a small DV bonus, up to +10 at max skill level. It also supposedly helps very slightly with evading combat magic, but Alertness is far more important for this. Dodge is an extremely hard skill to max out – the best way to train it is to regular fight on Berserk tactics without a shield and with very low DV equipment. However that’s also a very good way to die.

Find Weakness
Availability: Dark Elves, Orcs, random selection
Training: Score critical hits against enemies
This skill increases your chance of landing critical hits, and thus causes far more damage, with both melee and missile weapons. This can be critical (ho ho) to winning a battle, and many choose dark elves just for this skill. It works very well in conjunction with artifacts that increase criticals, such as the bracers of war and the ring of the master cat. You may consider wishing for this if you want to increase your damage output (very helpful for bards).

First Aid
Availability: All start with this
Training: Application
If applied within a few turns of receiving damage this skill has the potential for recovering a few hits points. This can be a real lifesaver, especially at the start of the game when every hit point counts. Many people will always switch to coward tactics and immediately apply this skill as soon as they receive any sort of damage. If you ever get poisoned without resistance your best hope for recovery is to find a quiet corner and wait around, apply First Aid whenever you feel the poison coursing through your veins. The more you use it the better you will get with it, so use it all the time.

Availability: Random selection
Training: Application
Fletchery allows you to create arrows or quarrels with a fletchery set. Fletchery sets are fairly rare, but can be created by dipping tools into potions of raw chaos (has its risks though). It’s usually best to apply fletchery sets on logs from fallen trees to get a high amount of ammo. It also provides much better results at high skill levels, so it’s advised to raise the skill up as high as possible before using up your fletchery sets on it. The best part about the skill is that it’s possible to create large stacks of missiles with ego modifiers attached to them – arrows of darkness for instance, or winged quarrels, or penetrating arrows of slaying *drools*. Requires a bit of luck of course, but you know what bards are like…

Food Preservation
Availability: Drakelings, Hurthlings, Trolls, random selection
Training: Killing monsters that drop corpses, carrying around corpses (like all those useless kobold ones – just don’t eat them)
This skill greatly increases the chance that a monster will drop a corpse when it dies, and also decreases the rate at which such corpses rot away when you’re holding them. This is very handy since many corpses in ADOM give beneficial effects, and some corrupting corpses are handy to preserve to exchange for potions of cure corruption with Guth’Alak.

Availability: Random selection
Training: Application
Allows you to create herb bushes by planting herb seeds. Since you might see all of one herb seed in a game this is pretty damned useless.

Availability: Gnomes, Trolls, random selection
Training: Gem creation, normally through mining (even if it’s monsters doing the mining and you never even see the gems)
Simply having this skill is great, even if you put no points into it. For a bard it becomes especially useful early on. With this skill whenever a wall segment is dug through it won’t just produce rocks and ore, but possibly gems too. A higher skill gives more gems and allows you to identify these gems on sight. Gems can be a great source of income, and can also replicate the spells light, darkness and fireball, as well as restoring health and power points. Best of all blessed crystals of knowledge can give an additional point or two of Learning. Bards can tame the ants on PC2 quite easily, who will then merrily start digging up the whole level creating plenty of gems for your bard to play with. Be sure to use this to max out Learning early on, allowing more skill increases and better spell-learning chances. Make good tactical use of crystals of darkness too.

Availability: All start with this
Training: Application
Bleh, useless. Maybe bards are more successful with this thanks to high charisma, but I haven’t bothered trying and I don’t care regardless. Money is not a worry in this game, and haggling is not a reliable skill in any case – it can cause prices to go up as well as down.

Availability: Jharod’s mercy quest, assassinate Jharod quest, random selection, not wishable
Training: Naturally recover HP
The healing skill increases the rate at which you regenerate HP. If you are not born in the month of Candle then it is pretty much necessary to survive the early game. Later in the game you’ll find the likes of spenseweed and potions better for immediate treatment of wounds. Jharod rewards you with the skill if you show him you are capable of mercy – easiest done by luring the mad carpenter to him. However you start with a higher skill level in Healing if you instead speak to Hotzenplotz about killing Jharod and then go assassinate him. Both of these quests are actually quite difficult for beginning bards, who have poor defences against the carpenter’s attacks and poor offence to be able to attack the healer.

Availability: Druid quest, random selection
Training: Applying on herb bushes, picking herbs
This skill allows you to identify the health of herb bushes, to pick more herbs from bushes without them withering, and to pick uncursed and blessed herbs. The higher the skill the more likely you’ll pick blessed herbs, making it handy to get to 100. Herbs are hugely useful in the game for increasing stats, staying well-fed, curing sickness and poison, healing yourself, and getting precrowns. See the Guidebook for more detail on their application. Guth’Alak, the druid in Terinyo, will reward you with this skill after you kill the black druid if you choose knowledge over power.

Availability: Sheriff in Terinyo
Training: Committing lawful or chaotic deeds
Do you know if you’ve been bad or good? This skill tells you if your deeds are following the path of order or of chaos (“You feel as if behaving in proper form” or “You feel as is transgressing some law”). It only has 100% reliability once maxed out. It is helpful for those who are chasing after the platinum girdle (ie. you’ll know to give up if you get a message about transgressing the law) but otherwise isn’t much use. Most players get to know what the major lawful and chaotic deeds are in the game, and keep an eye on their alignment anyway. Twyat Pare, the sheriff in Terinyo, teaches PCs this skill if they kill both Kranach and Hotzenplotz.

Availability: All start with this
Training: Self-trains
A higher skill in Listening increases the chance that you’ll get messages about things going on outside your range of vision, such as “You hear a slurping noise”. It’s actually quite annoying at times… After you’ve done the arena fights especially this skill doesn’t take long to naturally advance to 100.

Availability: Most start with this (Le above 10), otherwise dark sages corpses or the potion of literacy (first dwarven quest)
Training: Reading scrolls, graves or spellbooks
Few bards start without this – even orcs are reasonably likely to get it. Surviving without it is hard since it deprives you of scrolls of ID, uncursing scrolls and scrolls of chaos resistance. Usually there’s no problem reading scrolls with low literacy, but mastering spellbooks is very difficult whilst this skill is still low. It’s a good idea to read the two SMC scrolls a fair few times when you first visit there (it trains the skill whilst also waiting for further low level monsters to generate). Later on the ratling pamphlet, HMV strange message and papyrus scroll are all good pieces of literature to exercise the skill with. Getting it to 100 if very helpful for learning spells.

Availability: Dwarves, Orcs, random selection
Training: Apply on metal items, find ore and ingots
Woe is ye who ends up with this useless skill. It can be used to identify what metal items are made of. So can the guidebook. Weapons and armour will usually list their material anyway.

Availability: Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Trolls, random selection
Training: Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to mine we go…
Popular with the underground races, this skill reduces the time mining a wall segment takes and also reduces the chance a pick axe will break. Can be handy if wanting to pacify the Big Room, or if you plan to do a lot of smithing (and thus need to dig for ore). Bards have the option of pets to do their dirty work there though.

Availability: All start with this
Training: Using musical instruments
Ah, the true tool of the trade for bards. Every minstrel across Ancardia knows the real power of music. “Music and rhythm find their way into the secrets of the soul” wrote Plato, and it is most true in ADOM with animals. Equipping a musical instrument in the tool slot and ‘u’sing it has a chance to soothe any animals nearby. Hostile animals turn neutral, neutral animals turn friendly, and friendly animals can be tamed. Friendly animals have a chance to attack other creatures assaulting you, whilst tamed animals will fight to protect you and follow your commands. This skill starts out high, and it’s a good idea to max it out quickly because it can be very useful. It’s said that there’s a higher success rate depending on the weight on the instrument, meaning that glockenspiels are the best to use. Note that this doesn’t work on fantastic creatures like griffons (though it does work on giant slugs and some other exotic creatures – more detail in the Pets section). It’s very useful to use this against tensions rooms of animals or summoned animals – some of them will turn friendly or tame and some will stay hostile, and they’ll all end up killing each other quicker than you could have dispatched them yourself. You might end up with many dead friends listed in your flg though. The best application of all is to use it to tame cats, tell them to attack monsters you know they can’t beat, eat their corpses when they die horribly and still claim the kitty ring!

Availability: none (only through wishes or scrolls/potions of education)
Training: Application
I haven’t tested if you can get this through the level 25 class power… I hope not. It’s a fairly useless skill, even for Necromancers, though admittedly the bard’s skill with pets makes it slightly better for them rather than most other classes. It allows you to turn corpses into undead slaves (essentially pets with some extra limitations). They’re mostly weak and useless, though revived quicklings are nice simply because they’re fast (which means they also heal quickly too). However it drains your Mana stat and is a chaotic act.

Pick Locks
Availability: Yergius, random selection
Training: Application
You need thieves’ picks to use this skill – they can be bought from Yergius if you’re a non-lawful guild member, or there’s a set in the pyramid. It allows you to unlock doors or relock them without keys. However if there’s a trap on the door then it will almost certainly be set off. Always search for traps before using this skill. At high skill levels this can be faster than trying to kick the door down, with the added benefit of keeping the door in place if you want to make use of it again. The ability to lock any door can also be handy, since many monsters can’t get through locked doors (though notably some can). Probably not worth the money to buy it from Yergius, though many bards might consider buying and maxing out all his skills before level 25 to be sure of getting different ones from the level 25 class power.

Pick Pockets
Availability: Gnomes, Yergius, random selection
Training: Application (self-trains itself immensely if you use it often)
Yergius will teach this to any non-lawful (as long as you don’t steal from any shops first) and many brutally murder beggars in the bandit town just so they’re the right alignment to get this skill straight away. Using it successfully around 20 times allows admission to the Thieves Guild, which gives access to the very handy Detect Traps. It’s starts off at 1, so you’ll usually have to put a couple of level up increases into it before you can get successful with it (when it’ll start training itself). However pickpocket is more than just a means to an end – it’s a great skill itself. Bards especially benefit from the skill, since they have a certain propensity for finding the most delectable of items. Many useful potions, scrolls and rings are to be had from this skill – not just PoGA and SoCR, but also very useful amounts of holy water and ID scrolls. Which are handy for the RoDSes you find… Bracers of war, Preserver and Whirlwind are all possible artifacts to pickpocket too, even from the lowliest goblin. I find it good to use this skill on lesser vaults of minor humanoids like orcs – they are easy to melee and not dangerous to let up a turn against for pickpocketing. Having tactics at Coward is a good idea when using the skill early on, but once you have a decent shield and some PV it can be best to use Very Aggressive tactics to improve your chances of a shield mark or two whilst raiding their purses. It’s also handy in the game to use the skill quick marking (‘A’) for pick pocketing if you plan to use it often, as other skills added to the list will mess up your command choices. I usually have pick pocket quick marked to 4 or 5, for comfort reasons.

Availability: Dwarves, Glod, random selection
Training: Application
Smithing requires a forge, an anvil, a hammer, a metal item you want to improve and ingots of the same metal type. It can add DV and PV to armour items, or to hit and damage to a weapon. You can also use it to turn ore into ingots (a good way to train the skill before putting it to use on your items). There are guaranteed forges in Dwarftown and DarkForge, with the chance of forges being randomly generated in any dungeon. Both the smith in Dwarftown and the artificer in DarkForge hold anvils, though the latter is hard to kill. Some people deliberately lure the Dwarftown demon to the smithy to get Glod killed so they can use his facilities. It’s important to cut out background corruption before smithing, as it takes a long time. It can result in some amazing items that outstrip artifacts, especially if you smith up ego weapons and armour. Glod teaches the skill for a race-dependant price – be sure to learn it before having him killed.

Availability: High/Grey Elves, Dark Elves, Hurthlings, Yergius training, random selection
Training: Trains itself naturally (though Yergius training can help immensely, especially by improving the die modifiers)
Being stealthy improves the chance that you won’t be noticed by enemies. This rarely lets you pass them completely unawares, but can give you a chance to backstab them if you have the skill, allowing you to cause higher damage. It can actually be annoying when trying to lure enemies onto altars. 100 Stealth is a necessary prerequisite for getting the weird tome from the library.

Availability: Falcon starsign, random selection
Training: Application, evading or ambushing wilderness encounters
This lets you gather food in the wilderness to stop yourself from starving, but is rarely needed. If you’re bloated whilst gathering you’ll collect plant seeds instead, which can be given to farmers for a lawful boost. If applied whilst on a wilderness water square whilst bloated you can get pieces of fish meat. It can also be used to try and ambush wilderness encounters, which is also pretty useless. Overall the skill isn’t worth much.

Availability: Humans, Drakelings, Blup, random selection
Training: Swim in water
This reduces your chance of drowning (and thus taking damage) when crossing water squares, though it needs to be at high level to completely cut it out. Note that it doesn’t protect equipment in any way – you still need a waterproof blanket and rustproof gear. After going through the water dragon cave it’ll likely train itself for the rest of the game. Blup will teach it before you find his mommy for 2 uncursed carrot juice potions or 1 blessed carrot juice.

Availability: Bart
Training: Playing at different tactics settings
This improves your positive modifiers from the Tactics settings hugely, whilst also reducing your penalties. At high levels it gives great bonuses to hit and damage on aggressive settings, whilst giving giant DV bonuses on defensive settings. It’s a great help to have in the game for any playstyle, which is why you must give the golden gladius to Bart to receive it. Before doing so though, bless and use all your potions of boost learning – with a high enough Learning stat the skill will start out at 100, which is extremely handy since it can be difficult to increase.

Two Weapon Combat
Availability: Bart, random selection
Training: Fight with two weapons
This improves your ability to fight with two weapons, one in each hand. It can give up to +5 to hit with each weapon, and reduces the cost of attacks with two weapons by up to 400 energy points. This latter point is extremely handy, and makes this skill vital if you plan on dual-wielding. However, dual-wielding really is suboptimal – though arguably stylish, it leaves you very open to multiple attacks per round, and greatly reduces the DV you could be getting from a shield. Still, if you really insist on taking such risks then get this skill to max as soon as possible.

Availability: Gnomes, random selection
Training: Application (actually trains very easily)
This allows you to confuse monsters that are standing next to you. Not as useful for bards as for other classes since they have easier means of dealing with cats. However it can still be very useful, especially when trained to max. Confused opponents are unlikely to hit you, and cannot use any special powers like spells. Few enemies are immune to ventriloquism, and at 100 it’ll last for quite a few turns. Confusing Doppelganger Kings is immense fun, and a confused ACW is easily dispatched. This is most handy for characters that rely on melee to take out an opponent – if you rely more on spells or missiles then you won’t want to get close enough to use Ventriloquism. Another use for it is on NPCs in towns – makes them hostile without upsetting the whole town (can even cause other NPCs to attack them in your defence). Using it successfully on shopkeepers, including the casino shopkeeper, will cause no drop in alignment or cursed/doomed status, and no thugs will be summoned. Note that it doesn’t work on constructs, undead and bugs.

Availability: Random selection
Training: Oh I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay…
Last, and quite possibly least, is Woodcraft. This reduces the time it takes to chop a tree down. This is only possibly useful if you have an insane bridge building fetish, or are doing a lot of fletchery.

IV. Character Development

When it comes down to it, bards have 4 ways to kill things: melee, missiles, magic and pets. How you want to develop your character depends heavily on how you want to make use of each of these areas, and you will quickly find yourself making hard choices about which to specialise in. I personally believe bards work best by keeping their options open on all fronts, and attempting as much as possible to be a jack-of-all-trades. Individual playstyles vary though, so here are some guidance notes on how to play as each.


Bards gain melee marks just as fast as anyone else, and with the Sword starsign they can easily specialise extremely well in close combat. However it’s important to have the right skills and equipment. Find Weakness is almost essential, because in close quarters it’s important to make every attack count for as much as possible. The quicker you kill an enemy the less hits you’ll take. Orcs make excellent initial melee bards, but Dark Elves are decent too once they get a decent amount of HP. Luckily bards have an easy time getting the ring of the master cat, which improves melee criticals, and just in time for the Earth Temple too.

High PV is essential, since taking hits is unavoidable, and though many guides suggest DV as being more important I personally find that the majority of monsters will rarely hurt anyone with a high enough PV, especially if you kill them quickly. Grues, higher quicklings and killer bugs are all still extremely dangerous though, and letting yourself get surrounded can lead to a quick death as monsters land more and more critical hits.

Spear and shield is the safest option, and early on you can encourage orcish scorchers to throw crude spears at you in the hope of getting a decent ego weapon. Anything goes though, and high damage output is more important than polearm DV once you get a good shield and train it well. Gnoll war parties on the road next to the pyramid are handy sources of battle axes. Two-handed weapons are ill-advised, unless you find something spectacular, and even then you have to be careful. Your best hope is to find something of penetration or devastation, or better yet an artifact slaying weapon. Good armour is also vital, and you may find your armour getting damaged a lot. Smithing can help a bit with this.

Strength and Toughness are the most important stats for a melee fighter. Strength is necessary for dealing out high amounts of damage, so it’s best to wear items that increase it (including the fire orb when you get it). Early on you can get it naturally to 18 by walking around on “Strained!” a lot. After that ogre and giant corpses can push it a bit further, along with training from Garth. Toughness improved your PV, and most importantly gives you plenty of HP. It’s best increased with morgia root, which handily works even if cursed.

Knowing when to run is vital in melee. Remembering prayers, healing potions and the water orb is too. Darkness is incredibly useful, as most enemies won’t fight back in the dark (including vortices). Teleport can get you out of many hard situations, and it’s sometimes helpful to shift certain fights off a level if you can’t teleport there. Confusion, blindness and paralyzation are all very effective tactics to stop you getting hit in melee, and poisoning can help cause a bit more damage over time for long fights.

It’s important to master the technique of hack ‘n’ back. You’ll likely have seven league boots on for most of the game, and it can provide a great speed advantage against many enemies. To make it more effective you should be well-trained with your main weapon too, since higher weapon skills mean lower energy costs for it too. In difficult fights you may want to keep stepping back and seeing how often you can step back and then attack without getting hit. If done properly it can make you immune to all attacks.

Certain enemies should not be meleed, and you have to learn these carefully. In the early game it’s paralysing enemies like staring eyes, ghuls and mimics. You also have to be careful with corroding monsters like grey oozes, and poisonous monsters before you get resistance (though thankfully most of these are tameable). Later on powerful mimics and dorn beasts become more deadly, and should not be meleed without resistance. Gorgons are also to be greatly feared. Karmics throughout the game are the bane of any primary meleer, but usually regular missiles are enough to take them down over time. Many bosses are unwise to melee, but they’ll be looked at more properly later.


Slaying ammo is the most powerful form of offence in ADOM, and it’s coupled with the fact that you can be impervious to harm whilst employing it – standing 10 squares away from your helpless opponent as he gets pounded by your attacks. There are a lot of excellent missile talents that hugely improve the power of missiles, and making your bard concentrate a lot on missiles will allow him to become very powerful throughout the game. The archery talent is very handy to have for Eagle Eyed and Lightning Shot, giving hurthlings an edge as missile specialising bards.

Training missiles is important, because each skill level gives very good bonuses (far more than in melee) whilst also reducing the energy cost. Coupled with the fast missile energy cost talents at high levels you’ll be firing out 3 missiles in the time it takes the monster to move one square. The best thing about this is that with SLBs you can always stay on the move. Open spaces are your friend here – keep running rings round the enemy, peppering him full of ammo. Of course with most slaying ammo it only takes 1 or 2 hits anyway…

Gaining missile levels is best done early on with swamp hydras, found as a random wilderness encounter in swamps. At their basic level they give 5 marks per hit, so put 100 arrows up their bum and you have 500 marks – that’s the first 8 or so weapon levels. You have to be careful not to let them near you though – SLBs let you keep running rings round them remember. Don’t let them get too close because they hit hard. To get the most out of them it’s best to use long range and low damaging equipment, so that most of your hits will fail to hurt the hydra (it’ll still count as 5 marks). You can keep doing this an unlimited amount. Bards gain missile marks just as fast as any other fighting class, and gnomes have their usual 25% reduction in crossbow mark requirements. Dragon starsign helps a little.

Ammo can be hard to come by. Initially you’ll want to get some rocks from the ants on PC2 – train them up a little and they’ll be very effective even early on. Hurthlings have a distinct advantage with them. Later on you can get loads of arrows from barbarians in the wilderness plains, but it’s advised to have good DV/PV before trying this. If you accept the barbarian encounter and then just keep running around them whilst they shoot at you it’s easy to pick up over 100 arrows. Keep doing this for multiple encounters and you’ll have no shortage of arrows. Crossbow quarrels are a lot rarer though – the only creature that shoots normal quarrels is the ratling archer, and they’re hard to milk. You have to hope for decent stacks found normally in the dungeon, or good results from fletchery if you have it. It’s best to pick up every stack of arrows and quarrels you come across in the game, because you never know just how great they might be. Generic arrows or quarrels of slaying aren’t too rare, and will make short work of any enemy in the game. But more importantly you will build up a big stock of different types of slaying ammo for use on specific enemies. Remember to bless any undead or demon slaying ammo – it will do 50% more damage to those enemies. Remember also that humanoid still covers the vast majority of big enemies in the game.

Dexterity if the most important stat for a semi-archer – it greatly increases the to hit and damage of missiles. Unfortunately the air orb is not found until late in the game, but when you have it make sure to equip it in your tool slot to enjoy its bonuses. The best thing for getting dexterity high is moss of mareilon, but this only works if uncursed or blessed. If you don’t have Herbalism then gather large amounts of cursed mareilon and use a scroll of uncursing on it. Athletics skill also helps the dexterity stat somewhat.

The biggest problem for would-be archers is mobs. If your main target is surrounded by other goons it’s simply not possible to snipe them. Be sure to keep your pets out of the way of your arrows too. Being surrounded by creatures will vastly reduce your to hit with missiles as well, meaning you’ll need melee or magic to get yourself out. Melee weapon skills should not be neglected by anyone wanting specialise in archery, since they still come in useful and give a DV bonus to boot. Shield skills especially need to be risen high, since each level gives an additional +2 DV. Shields can be trained best by letting monsters attack you whilst on Very Aggressive tactics and wearing two shields. Spider factories work well for this. This requires decent PV though, and you have to clear the monsters nearby you now and then when they stop giving more marks (every monster has an individual limit of how many melee/missiles marks they give in total).

Doppelgangers are the biggest problem for anyone relying on missiles extensively. Meleeing them can also be very hard without confusion resistance. Magic is the best thing for taking them out, as they resist nothing. Bolt spells can also be very useful for clearing away many foes at once if stuck in a pickle. Other magic that is useful is webbing for keep them stuck to one place for a while, or restricted to a certain area whilst you keep shooting and shooting.


Bards are non-spellcasters, meaning it takes them triple the castings to get any points of effectivity in a spell compared with wizards. This stops them being great casters that specialise heavily in magic, but it does not in any way stop them from using magic to a very high degree. Bards learn spells extremely well – better than the vast majority of non-spellcasters – and if they have the Concentration skill they will ultimately regenerate PP faster than any other class.

Spellbooks are few though, and what one has must be conserved. It’s helpful to wear items that increase Le whilst reading books, even the crown of science, as it will increase the number of castings learnt from the book. Book-casting is important to use with valuable utility spells like Teleport to make sure the book doesn’t disappear. Book-casting costs more PP and takes longer, meaning it’s unwise to use in dangerous situations. It does train the Mana stat very heavily though. A bard will get up to 4 spells at level 18, but they could easily all be useless.

Willpower isn’t necessary for spellcasting, but it is nice for improving the range and duration of many spells. Assuming you haven’t feasted on greater claw bug corpses then you can quite easily get this stat high with morgia root, even if it’s cursed. Learning is naturally trained by book-reading, though training with Garth also helps. If you have Gemology then it makes it much easier to get Learning to a very comfortable level. Otherwise if you have low Le you may wish to consider eating the Oracle, assuming you are able to remove the dooming.

Curative spells are extremely useful to bards in dealing with pets. Cure light/serious/critical wounds and Heal can be vital in saving a friend’s life. The bard may find himself acting entirely as backup healer, standing back as a powerful duel goes on between two monstrous forces – just make sure you’re healing the right guy. Cure disease and Slow/Neutralize Poison might also be necessary.

Be careful using Darkness around pets – most can’t see in it, and you might end up running into them by accident. Frost bolt can also be a necessary spell for getting pets across water, which Disarm Traps avoids some nasty accidents. Obviously be careful when using ball and bolt spells that allies aren’t caught up in the range of it all. And, uh, don’t cast invisibility on a pet unless you can see invis yourself! Overall a bard is best using magic for utilities rather than offence if there’s a pet nearby.


This will be talked about in greater detail in the Pets section of the whole guide. Animal pets require a lot of care and attention to raise from wild creatures to fantastic killers. Pets gained from the like of a SoFS on DH2 can normally hold their own pretty well from the start, but may still need to be levelled up a bit before they’re as invincible as you want, one hit killing everything in their path. A blessed stethoscope from the healer quest is handy to keep a close eye on how your babies are coming along.

Charisma is the most important stat when using pets, since the chance of them following your orders is based on this. Raising it isn’t particularly easy, though Garth can help a little. Thankfully it only needs to be about 25 or so before they’ll almost always follow your orders.

Beware that pets can get in the way of your own character development. Experience from killing powerful monsters might go to them instead of you, leaving you lacking in levels. This is especially bad for trolls, and if going for precrowns. It can be handy sometimes – gnomes can control their levels a bit more easily for instance, allowing them to explore more before taking on the pyramid (often they are rushed otherwise). Generally you might end up a lower level than usual, but your equipment and stats will be high for your level, meaning you’re still quite powerful. You also will suffer less from uber-effects on monsters, as your own kill tally is low.

A loss of marks can be a big problem when relying on pets – you end up with less weapon and shield marks than normal, and less spell effectivity. This can be combated with deliberate training, like suggested in previous sections. Remember that you don’t actually need to kill anything to train marks – you can hit a monster several times for weapon marks and then let your pet finish off the job so it gets the xp. And vice-versa – if you want the xp but the pet is the main damage dealer, let it weaken up your opponent and deliver the final blow yourself.

Mixing melee and pets will lead to you getting hit most, since monsters will attack whoever hit them first in the round (almost always you). This means that you can get marks with a weak weapon whilst the pet is the one doing the actually damage, whilst also diverting the monster’s attacks from the pet so it doesn’t get harmed. It can leave you vulnerable though, even if you are just kicking whilst wearing two shields on Coward, so it doesn’t work well if you want your pet as a meat shield. But if you want to be the ultimate tag team monster slaying duo (or more if you’ve got multiple pets bukkakeing your enemies) then a good idea is for you to be more defensive whilst the pet dishes out the main damage.

Mixing missiles and pets can work, but obviously not in corridors. You need the pet to be attacking the monster from the side whilst you’re sniping it from afar. This works well at the mouth of corridors – get the pet to stand on the diagonal left or right of the entrance, whilst you’re a few paces back shooting away. The monster will stay locked in melee with the pet whilst still taking heavy blows from your missiles. This can work well if your pet has high defence and you do not, so is especially good as an early game tactic.

Mixing offensive magic and pets is a bit more risky – a recipe for disaster almost. Ball spells are obviously of very limited use around pets. Burning hands is safe, but requires you to be in melee with the enemy and will divert its attacks onto you. Bolt spells can work like described for missiles, but it is far harder to get the geometry right for a clear shot on the monster. It’s also dangerous if using magic missile or lightning bolt – it might ricochet into the pet unexpectedly. Offensive magic works better for taking out things pets struggle with, such as enemies that use magic and breath attacks, many of which have elemental weaknesses that can be exploited.

Keep in mind that spending time training pets can lead to an extremely long game. It takes a lot of time and dedication at the start to get a pet up to a very high level. This can lead to food problems early on, and corruptions issues later. It can also lead to careless mistakes over long playtimes, so be sure to be vigilant at all times. The wrong keypress at the wrong time can lead to all your effort going to waste.

Remember that pets should not be a crutch, and they shouldn’t be an interference either. Be tactical with how you use them and you can make a great team together.

Class Powers

Bards have arguably the best class powers in the game, though much of them rely heavily on luck. Each power adds to the versatility of the class, letting them become better at even more things. Here is a list of the powers along with an analysis of each:

Level 6 – Extra skill increase per level.
This is very handy for a bard with lots of skills, and comes early enough to still be useful for vital things like Healing and Detect Traps. Results in at least an additional 44 skill increases during the game.

Level 12 – +1d3 skill levels in 6 random weapon skills
I’ve not seen this affect anything other than melee weapons – I’m open to correction though. This comes annoyingly early actually – later in the game it would be even better when marks requirements are high. However if you’ve been building up weapon marks a lot then it can be very handy. Being taken from level 9 to level 12 in polearms for instance would make a big difference. It’s generally best if coming up to level 12 you make a conscious effort to top up all weapon skills that are close to their next skill level, since it sets the new level as if you’ve just achieved it (thus if there’s only 7 marks left for axes to go to the next level and you gain one level in it, you’ve effectively only gained 7 marks in it). There’s a little gamble you have to consider for this – do you concentrate on one weapon in the early game and hope this rewards you with a major increase, or try to get many levels over many weapon so you’ll get a few okay increases? Personally I’d say it’s best to specialise in two weapon skills, assuming you find decent weapons. With 6 increases over 10 skills you’d be unlucky not to get a good increase in at least one of them.

Level 18 – Receive knowledge of four randomly chosen spells
The base knowledge you get is 80 + (10 * Le) + (20 * Ma). I hope you’ve been farming crystals of knowledge and book-casting to train Mana… Drinking blessed potions of boost mana and boost learning just before you turn level 18 can help. With 20 Le and 20 Ma you’d get 680 castings in each spell. With a couple of Mana boosting potions this could easily go over 1000. The 4 spells are random, and you can even end up with the same spell chosen multiple times (so you might get double or more training). There are 47 spells in the game, a quarter of which are damage spells, and 27 overall I would consider very useful for Bards, so the chances are you will get decent knowledge in at least 2 spells you’re happy with.

Level 25 – 6 random skills
This is the same as reading 6 scrolls of education – equivalent to two wishes really. That’s just god damn amazing. You might end up with useless skills, but you’re bound to end up with at least one or two you like, if not love. With a high number of starting skills and extra skills gained in game this will possibly bring you to around 75% of all the skills in the game, if not more. Before hitting level 25 it’s a good idea to try and get as many current skills maximised so you don’t get futile increases in them from this power instead of new skills.

Level 32 – Double HP regen
Level 40 – Double PP regen
Both of these are great. The HP regen is in addition to all the regen items you’ve likely found by this stage in the game. The PP regen will make your bard better than even pure spellcasters at recovering quickly (though spells do cost more for bards, but this can be offset by other things).

Level 50 – +6 to all attributes
This is heaven. This is bliss. Weep in joy as your bard becomes the ultimate lifeform.


This is where the hard choices come in – what to specialise in?

Firstly, you want 4 starting talents. Hell, you need 4 starting talents. The Heir gift is far too good to pass up, and Treasure Hunter mixed with bard item luck is simply a sin to ignore. However long it takes, scum your little heart out to get a bard with 4 starting talents and good skills. If you’re a gnome who’s ended up with 6 talents then you may as well nab Treasure Hunter straight off the bat (unless you’re not Candle-born, in which case you might want Healthy).

Early on you’ll want to get Treasure Hunter, to help with item drops from the very start. Bard starting equipment is so poor you need everything extra you can get. After this you’ll have somewhere between 14 and 16 talents to spend over the rest of your levels. These are the main ones you’ll want to consider:

Missile Tree
Lite: Quick Shot, Good Shot, Keen Shot (3 talents)
+3 to hit/damage, -10% energy cost
Medium (archery req’d): above plus Lightning Shot and Eagle-Eyed (5 talents)
+6 to hit/damage, -20% energy cost
Hardcore: above plus 3 Affinities and Missile Master (9 talents)
+9 to hit/damage, +2 to hit with chosen weapons, -20% energy cost

Missile Weapon Master is perhaps not worth the 4 extra talents, but the first two lines of the tree are certainly worth going for if you meet the prerequisites. Handy to get early on so you have an instant source of decent damage.

PV Tree
Hardy, Tough Skin, Iron Skin, Steel Skin, Mithril Skin (5 talents)
+3 HP, +7 PV

Only worth it for dwarves to get the Mithril Skin, and only worth it is you plan on melee fighting a lot.

DV Trees
Shields: Shield Specialist, Shield Expert, Shield Master (3 talents)
+6 DV

Defence: Careful, Very Careful, Defensive Fighter, Dodger (4 talents)
+5 DV, +3 when Very Defensive/Coward

Additional shield DV is nice early on, but notably not much additional to what a shield would provide (+30 at least from a good trained shield). Defensive Fighter requires the Quick talent, and Dodger requires a high Dodge skill (hard to attain). Very Careful is very good when casting spells or firing missiles on Coward mode, or even just general wandering about. Careful is a prereq for the book-casting line of talents.

Basher Tree
Basher, Powerful Strike, Mighty Strike (3 talents)
+6 to hit/damage with weapons weighing over 100s

Only good with the right weapons. If you find Purifier, get these talents to go with it.

Book-Caster Tree
Lite: Potent Aura, Careful, Strong Aura, Good Book-Caster (3 talents)
Book-casting costs only double PP
Full: Above and Mighty Aura, Great Book-Caster (5 talents)
Book-casting costs only 50% more PP

These are handy if planning to book-cast a lot and worrying about mana reserves running low. Remember that book-casting still takes triple the time of a normal casting, so this is in no way going to replace regular castings, especially of battle spells. Instead it helps when casting utility spells such as Teleport. Overall it’s perhaps not worth the many talents unless you hope to use spells a lot. Obviously not worth getting unless you find some books to go with it, though Teleport at least is guaranteed if you save Khelly.

Potent Aura, Strong Healer (2 talents)
+4 damage healed by spells

This is very handy if you have a healing spell of any sort - +4 can make a big difference over repeated castings. If you get a healing spell and plan to use it on yourself or pets lots then this is certainly worth 2 talents. If you’re going for the book-casting line as well anyway then this only costs 1 additional talent.

Quick Tree
Quick, Very Quick, Greased Lightning (3 talents)
+9 speed

Handy for everyone – the extra speed affects all aspects of a bard’s repertoire. Spells benefit from this best, since they get no natural energy point reductions.

Porter Tree
Porter, Master Packager, Beast of Burden (3 talents)
+71.6% carrying capacity

Bards find plenty of neat stuff, so this is handy to lug it all around when your strength is low. Especially get this if you’re a packrat. If you have and rely on Strength of Atlas this is less necessary.

Good Learner (1 talent)
+2% xp gained

This actually tends to act as up to 50% more xp on monsters killed, making it extremely worth having. Trolls and people restricted by their pets will find this especially handy.

Long Stride is useful early on if you don’t have SLBs. Healthy is useful early on without the Candle starsign. Charged might be useful early on, especially without Concentration, though it becomes more redundant later with the level 40 class power. Sixth Sense can be worth it for the extra edge against traps which can spoil the sacred love between a bard and his pet.

Crowning Gifts

Bards have pretty awful starting equipment, and their gods really don’t put much effort into making it up for them with crowning gifts. Whilst there’s nothing truly awful in their line-up, it’s all pretty mediocre too. No artifact armours, no slaying weapons, no amazing items like BoW or Preserver. An assessment:

Boots of the Divine Messenger  [+3, +3] {Dx+5}
+TCtrl, -Death, -Para

Nice boots, really, but I have SLBs I’ve been wearing all game, that I’ve likely been investing all my scrolls of defence/protection into. However if you don’t like the properties of SLBs – in particular if your pet is holding you back, making fast walking speed worthless, or you have insane speed anyway – then these are admittedly nice to change into. Also handy instead of SLBs for places where you’re worried about equipment destruction.

thin dagger “Cat’s Claw” (+4, 3d3) {Dx+8}
Yes, that’s all there is to it. Oh yeah, supposedly it’s a rat slayer. As in it does extra damage to rats. Those creatures that are the subject of life or death every game? Yeah… (okay, admittedly, for a level 1 bard rats are easily a subject of life and death every game, but by the time you get crowned I’d hope you’ve moved beyond that pitiful phase) [PREcloak of Oman (+2, +0) [+4, +4] {Dx+8}+Tele

Now this is a little better. Without a doubt the best of the bunch, simply because it’s an artifact cloak so it’ll never get shredded. The teleporting can be handy (by this stage you should have control) and the dexterity bonus is extremely good – especially if you rely on missiles. However the teleporting could also be less useful if you’re stuck to a pet.

staff of the Wanderer (+2, 3d8+2) [+6, +3] {To+6}
-Fire, -Sleep, Shock immunity

As staffs go, this is pretty good. But it’s still a staff. A two-hander, meaning no shields, and thus a loss of over 30 DV. The To bonus is nice, but not enough to make up for the losses.

rune covered long sword “Trusted One” (+1, 5d3) [+7, +7]
-Fire, -Cold, -Acid, -Shock, -Sleep, -Petr, -Stun, -Death, -Para

One-handed, good defensive stats, and resistance to everything. Just a pity the damage is awful and it has no slaying properties. However if you specialise in swords then this might come in useful as a backup defensive sword for when you’re using missiles or magic or pets.

rune-covered sling “Whirlwind” (+12, +12)

Doesn’t look like much, but I’ll admit that rocks from this thing really hurt. This is very handy if you want to missile through the tower – it won’t burn, and rocks take ages to explode themselves. Plus it gives an extra source of fire resistance. But other than that only the very dedicated to slings will seriously consider using it, since rocks have zero slaying powers.

elven long bow “Sun’s Messenger” (+15, +15)
Undead slayer (high and grey elves only)

Pray to Correlius and Ayssia that you get this baby, because it seriously prods buttock. You will tear emperor liches to pieces with this thing.

dwarven pick axe “Hammerhead” (+2, 2d10+4) [+2, +2] {To+3}
-Fire, -Stun (dwarves only)

If you want to do some mining then this can be nice, but by the time I usually get crowned I’ll have a decent number of pick axes anyway. It doesn’t give you any of its additional Toughness or resistances when in the tool slot either- has to be equipped as a weapon for that. Not actually a bad axe in terms of damage, but nothing spectacular either. If you get it early, and you have gemology, then it may truly be a godsend.

Managing Alignment

As a bard you have an additional sure-fire way of managing alignment that others do not, and that is thanks to your skills with animals. It becomes even greater if you have a healing spell that you can infinitely use (ie bookcasting). This sort of manipulation is great for aspiring gods, or even just for those who like doing different quests. However this can also become a hindrance overall, and you have to learn to pay attention to your alignment a lot if you don’t want to mess up your piety early game, or become a fallen champion later.

Committing chaotic acts is pretty easy in the game – kill beggars and townspeople, dig graves, eat undead, sac at black altars, etc. For bards there is a much safer and far more guaranteed method though. If you’re struggling to stay on the dark side of the force then simply find yourself an animal, any animal (best if they’re not as powerful as you, but can still take some hits). Now take out your favourite instrument and tame the animal. Once it’s friendly and happy and dancing along to your merry tune, kick it in the face. The game will ask if your sure, and once you respond positively and shove your boot in the mongrel’s mug you’ll get an alignment drop. Now the animal will be snarling and raging at you, and likely trying to chew your ankle off, but all you have to do is tame it again with your soothing tunes. You can repeat this ad infinitum, probably leaving the animal with severe emotional trauma and getting yourself arrested by the local animal welfare services. Most importantly it will cause your alignment to plummet to whatever depths you desire – whether it be staying off NL or CN for crowned neutrals and chaotics, or lawfuls that want to start doing Gaab’Baay’s quests.

Committing lawful acts can be easy if you heal any injured pet. To do this en masse it’s best to take a fairly tough pet, get it cornered somewhere so it can’t move (block it in with doors for instance) and get it poisoned (tarantula pet, or poison it yourself – doing it yourself means you’ll have to retame the animal). Once it’s poisoned you’ll keep getting messages about it wincing in pain – just heal it each time. You can throw potions at it if you have a decent supply, but more helpful is if you have a healing spell you can keep on spamming, preferably with book-casting so you never run out of it. Be careful in case it ends up berserking on you. Another way of getting pets injured quickly is to take them into the water cave and half-drown them – then take them out again and start healing. This sort of healing will cause your alignment to soar upwards, and you can easily achieve L+ like this at high levels (very handy for those who have been through many chaotic quests and deeds and then want to get crowned lawful).

The problem with these is when you perform lawful or chaotic acts normally, and these cause undesired interference with your alignment. If you tame half a room full of spider summons and then decide to just acid ball the whole room you’ll take a big alignment hit. If you’re a chaotic or neutral character sustaining a beloved pet through difficult fights you’ll spend a lot of time healing it, and you’ll likely find your alignment getting dangerously high. It’s important then to be careful with these, and to regularly use the above tactics together to keep your alignment balanced on where you want it. And don’t forget other methods of alignment change either.

Overall it is usually easiest to keep bards lawful when maintaining pets, so you should strive to go for a lawful gate-closing or ULE.


As a bard you are perhaps more likely than others to encounter these delightful little babies through lucky rings and wands, and you will have to ponder carefully what you would like to have. Following is a list of recommended wishes for different stages of the games:

Early (pre-Dwarftown):
AoLS is likely a priority at this stage, and many scum pools just to get a wish for one. An early wish at very near the beginning is possibly better off spent on protection though – an AoLS is no good if you die before you get through the UD. Some skills can be useful is expanding your character’s repertoire early on.

-“amulet of life saving” to save Khelavaster – worth 2 spellbooks, some items and 6 SoCRs, as well as opening up ultra possibilities
-“red dragon scale mails” a good armour that’ll give you a useful immunity in preparation for the Tower
-“eternium tower shields” if you haven’t found any decent shields so far (UD often has some nice crystal ones)
-“eternium plate mails” best armour, though only if you don’t need the immunity of a dragon scale mail
-“pairs of seven league boots” if your original pair has been destroyed
-”girdle of giant strength” always handy, especially if meleeing a lot
-“Find Weakness” to help with melee combat
-“Concentration” if you’ve found some spellbooks you want to use

Mid (pre-Casino):
You should have decent enough armour by now, and only if you’re really lacking should you consider one of the above equipment wishes. AoLS is still an early option, but soon becomes a thing of the past.

-“pairs of seven league boots” is still an option if you’re lacking for some reason
-“girdle of giant strength” if you find your carrying capacity limited and damage output poor
-“Find Weakness” is worth considering if you find yourself having difficulty damaging opponents, but may be best holding off until after the level 25 power
-“Concentration” is again a possibility now that more books are being found, but should also hold off until after L25
-“scrolls of education” has a chance to increase your range of skills even further after L25, plugging in all the missing details, but be sure to max out what skills you can first
-“scrolls of chaos resistance” may find themselves needed if you’ve not gotten as many as you should so far
-potion of gain attribute ingredients if you have 100 Alchemy
-“spellbooks of Acid Ball” if you’re good with spells and want something powerful
-“spellbooks of Cure Critical Wounds” this is *necessary* if you want to use pets a lot against big bosses. I rate it better than Heal, because it’s much cheaper to cast and benefits more from effectivity.
-“ring of weakness” if you want to get insane strength through scummy means

Late game (after Casino):
There shouldn’t be much you’re after at this stage of the game. Casino has a lot of useful stuff, and good items should be dropping left right and centre. Still, there may be certain items you’re after…

-“scrolls of chaos resistance” can never be underestimated
-“girdle of giant strength” if none have been found and your strength is low
-“scrolls of chaos resistance” because you’ll never have enough
-“scrolls of chaos resistance” because you really will never have enough, especially if going for ultra
-“potion of gain attributes” if you really have wishes to spare get a few of these, though Alchemy can work out far more economical
-any useful spellbooks, skills and equipment that are somehow missing from your awesome bard
-save for “speed”, if you’re going through the gate to face Andor

V. Pets and Companions

Section currently incomplete. Will be updated over time to include:

-How to get (taming animals, SoFS, figurines, berserker emps, Hawkslayer)
-How to keep alive early on
-How to train (SMC, wilderness, ID, VD, forest, EG)
-Obtacles (traps, darkness, rivers, forest, tower)
-Healing, protecting, preparing
-difficult enemies (vortexes, dragons, spellcasters, poisoners, paralyzers, undead)
-Inventories – dos and don’ts
-Other uses for pets (doors, protecting items, shields)
-Best pets
-Hawkslayer advanced
-Killer bugs advanced
-Giant dragon turtle advanced

VI. Walkthrough

This is not a complete walkthrough, but a highlight of how to survive with a weak character early on, best methods for handle certain boss fights, and special considerations for bards in different areas of the game. Bards have numerous methods of handling different situations, and everyone has their own playstyles – the instructions presented here are just suggestions, not requirements. For a really complete look at every area of the game please see Andy’s Guidebook.

Surviving Against the Odds – The Early Game

The start is one of choices, and these will depend on your character and your ambitions. First step is always to enter Terinyo for food and quests, but here are some considerations you must make:

The First Kill

Normally I make my first kill in the bandit town, so it’s something easy to find later but rare enough overall. However the bandit village is extremely dangerous for anyone with 0 PV, even with a strong pet. Even regular bandits and cutpurses will deal high damage to you – outlaws, outlaw leaders and assassins will brutally murder you, and assassins will easily kill most pets too. Drakelings are one race that can survive thanks to acid breath, and you can explore the bandit town more safely with them. Their cave lizard pet can also hold its own very well against even outlaw leaders (though a lucky hit by an assassin can mean its demise). Dwarves can get through with their cave bears, but they’re unlikely to be able to kill anything themselves. If you go to the bandit town initially then be sure to get Pickpocketing and have a look at the wares in the black market. If doing the carpenter quest it’s wise to have a chat with Hotzenplotz, cause you never know how things might turn out…

Your first kill will likely have to be in a dungeon or the wilderness. However fear not your ultra ambitions, because your awesome bardage powers come into play once more. If your first kill is an animal you need never kill that type of monster again. Large dogs in the wilderness are a nice find, and large bats or rabid dogs are very common in the early dungeons. I wouldn’t recommend anything that can be summoned like jackals or rats. If you ever encounter your first kill again them simply calm them down or tame them with music so you won’t have to kill them (unless you’re completing the barbarian quest). If you bump into other monsters you don’t want to have as a first kill before finding a prime target then get your pet to take them down. If all of your starting equipment is awful and you have trouble dealing damage then it can be a good idea to take stuff off and True Berserk for extra damage – this is dangerous around companions though.

Another rather sadistic option for grey elves is to kill their fairy dragon. It’s very easy to do, and is probably the most unique first kill any bard could get (apart from Trinity having the ElDeR ChAoS GoD as her first kill of course). Not only is this horribly cruel though, but it also leaves you deprived of what little protection you had. And it would make the Courage quest impossible – I personally recommend getting the skill, as it does make itself handy in the temples.

To remember your first kill with extreme ease then simply press ‘&’ and enter the name of your first kill. Whenever you want to check it later just press & again and the last monster you looked up will be displayed in brackets. If for some reason you want to check the monster description of something else then make sure to press & again afterwards and re-enter the name of your first kill.


Bards have a pretty decent chance of recovering the blanket from here without rising to risky levels. However, if you plan on pickpocketing a lot you likely won’t need it much. Still, you should go to the SMC at level 1 anyway and stick around for 100 turns reading the 2 scrolls on the entrance stairs. These will train your literacy very nicely and generate plenty of low level monsters in the area – useful for when you next pass through.

If you want to pass through then let your pet do all the work so you don’t gain any levels. Choose your own first kill wisely and record it with ‘&’. Only get the pet to kill humanoids – other animals can be made friendly instead, which is far easier to deal with that constantly spawning monsters. Keep a close eye on how injured your pet is, and take time to let it stop and heal if necessary (though it will be slow to heal). Tame other animals to command if your first pet is taking too much of a beating. Find the blanket and the stairs, and spend a bit more time on the level reading the scrolls to get more low level monsters generated before leaving again. If you get a chance to lock a breeder in a room somewhere then hurrah, SMC pacified and no longer a risk.

Saving Kenny

You have a choice – to be the hero and save the puppy, or to let it die and console the little girl later (or maybe use the puppy corpse as a missile and throw it in her face). The puppy quest will likely get you killed, but you have some advantages over some other classes. Firstly is the ants on PC2 – they are no bother with a bit of music. Secondly you have blessed SLBs (I hope – if not then give up). This means you can run away from monsters more easily, and especially gives you an easier time on the cavern level. Thirdly you can calm most summons with music, so getting gang-raped by a spider factory is hopefully not a problem.

I would not recommend doing the quest, because you will likely have a frustrating death, leading you back into the character creation process all over again. But for the perfectionist here is my advice on how to get through alive (and the puppy alive too hopefully). Enter the first level with your pet and find the stairs as quickly as possible. Get your pet to kill anything nasty, but kill weak enemies yourself for experience. Use music on any animals you see the try and train it up a bit. Try and get a level up or two, and max out music and any other skills you feel are important. Enter PC2, but tell your pet to fall back as soon as you see any ants (unless you want it killed). Calm the ants down, and tame 3 of the giant ant warriors. Get them to kill giant ant workers for experience – if you find an ant corpse and want to eat it then make sure to do it when not around any ants. Encourage all your ant buddies to dig down walls (especially if you have gemology). Pick up some rocks to use as missiles.

Continue down with your 3 new friends, getting them to kill anything in your path. Try and keep behind them as much as possible, ordering them to kill enemies when they come into sight. It really helps to give them unique names so you can distinguish them more easily. Kill weak monsters yourself if you want to gain some levels, though if you’re after the Kranach quest then you’ll want to stay below level 6. Getting through PC5 can be difficult, and there’s two ways to do it. The first is to hide behind your ant warrior shields, slowly progressing through the level until you find the stairs. The second is to zip around in your SLBs, hoping you won’t get hit by anything, and hoping the stairs are nearby. This latter option is only really viable if you’ve picked up some armour on your travels, and have some sort of decent offence in case you get trapped somewhere (hurthlings with rocks are fine). If relying on the ants as shields then watch out for anything that throws or shoots missiles – these can easily kill you from a distance if you’re not properly hiding behind your insectoid shields.

Whether to actually fetch the puppy now or not is up to you. You could just generate the level with him alive and then return later when you will have less trouble securing the puppy. With SLBs it can be easy enough to find it before it dies, but you may not want to take that risk. If you do find it then I still recommend not taking it back yet unless the stairs on PC5 were very close. Be careful in case it attacks any monsters – best to keep telling it to retreat and order your proper companions to do the dirty work. Some people like to save the lawful bonus till later – this isn’t such a problem for bards unless you particularly don’t want the lawful bonus now (ie. you want to be N to get pickpocketing or other Yergius skills) Taking on the vault this early is usually unwise, especially is it’s a mixed vault.


Again I don’t recommend going after this chap with a bard. However you will have the advantage that with SLBs you won’t be wasting a huge amount of time in the wilderness, and you can easily keep your level below 6 by getting pets to kill all enemies. Don’t do this quest without at least 3 or 4 points of PV though – preferably more. You’ll likely need to get some decent new pets – giant ant warriors are certainly nice, cave lizards are great, and brown/grizzly bears (found in the forest) are awesome. Training them in the SMC or ID a little is a good idea. It’s recommended that you have some good offence yourself too.

Once you get attacked by the raiders you will not have your pets with you first turn. Be on Coward with good armour, and two shields if possible (admittedly unlikely to be an option this early in the game). Once you move a square your faithful friends will make their grand entrance. I’d advise you to get them to attack Kranach first – give the initial order to the toughest of your pets with the highest PV. Meanwhile don’t let the raiders gang up on you – your SLBs will help keep them off your tail. Try to keep a monster next to you as a missile block though (either pet or enemy). Concentrate on the raiders one by one, trying not to let either yourself or any of your pets gets surrounded. If you have good pets and good defence yourself there shouldn’t be much trouble.

Mad Carpenter vs Black Druid

There are a lot of factors that go into what quest you take – the healer or the druid. If you don’t have Healing and are not Candle-born then it makes the choice a little easier – taking the carpenter quest from the village elder will make the early game easier for you. You can harvest well enough without Herbalism anyway. However if you feel you don’t need the Healing skill then the rewards of the druid quest are lucrative – either Herbalism (a great skill) or a spellbook of frost bolt and wand of cold (also great, and particularly important later on). On top of this you get an artifact (the black torc – handy as ratling fodder or to sell or sac) and the chance of a potion of cure corruption if you deliver the black druid corpse back to Guth’Alak (only non-chaotics get this, though you can stash the corpse in the shop till later). But this is overlooking another advantage to bards – if you get a healing spell that you can use on pets, you can get unlimited potions of ultra healing and a blessed stethoscope from Jharod. This can be incredibly handy, though admittedly neither are necessary for the game, especially if you don’t care about pets. Overall I find the druid rewards are better, but it depends on what you want.

If you take the druid quest, you may have a fairly easy time overall, though the first few levels are much more dangerous than VD 1 and 2. Take some time to level up before going too deep, and make sure any pets are decently trained too. There are many animals throughout the dungeon, all easily tamed. Keethrax can be trouble if unprepared. You’re unlikely to have spells that would hurt him (or any spells at all really) and meleeing him is dangerous since he drains stats (besides, you’re unlikely to be decent in melee either). Missiles are the best way to take him down – hurthlings with thrown rocks should especially excel. Drakelings can also take him down pretty quickly with acid spit (which should still be quite powerful in this stage of the game). Another option is of course pets – acid slugs tamed on the level can be a fun way to assault him, I imagine. He casts darkness a lot, but you start with lighting equipment that should negate this easily. His magic missile might hurt a bit without fire resistance, and can be especially hard on pets. I’d recommend getting minor pets you don’t care about (like cats you’ve just tamed) to engage him in melee as a distraction whilst you shoot him with missiles. Another option is to come back for him later – generate him at a low level and return when you can handle him more easily.

If you take the carpenter quest you might have some trouble without preparation. It’s best to keep pets out – you don’t want them attacking Yriggs (they’ll likely be killed – and you don’t want him dead either). Running away from the mad carpenter is easy with SLBs, but taking hits going up the stairs can be very troublesome. It’s best to have several levels under your belt for extra HP, and you could desperately do with some armour from somewhere. If you don’t feel ready then spend some time on VD 1 and 2 building up your character – these are extremely safe locations, with mostly goblins and orcs generated. With very weak characters I sometimes don’t leave this safe haven till level 9 or 10 so I can be sure they will survive. Remember that more dangerous monsters like ghuls and ogres can be generated further down that can easily kill a weak bard.

After leading the carpenter up to the healer, hopefully with no serious incidents, Jharod will heal him and he’ll disappear. Check out the hatchet he drops straight away – it’s always blessed, and can sometimes be a decent weapon. If you’ve spoken to Hotzenplotz you may consider assassinating Jharod and getting Healing from Kranf Neist instead, since this means your Healing starts at a higher skill level. I wouldn’t recommend this though – no chance at a stethoscope and unlimited PoUH. Speak to Jharod and he’ll teach you Healing (or train it further if you have it already).

So how to get these unlimited ultra healing potions you wonder? Firstly your Healing skill must be at 100. Then you must show Jharod your mercy powers again. To do this you must heal a pet in front of him – this is best done with a healing spell like Cure Light Wounds (throwing potions of healing works too, but you only have so many potions). I recommend having reasonably well-trained tarantula and bear pets. Get the tarantula to attack the bear, poisoning him, and then lead the poisoned bear to the healer. Keep healing the bear when he winces from pain (best to bookcast) and chat to Jharod each time. First time he’ll give you a blessed stethoscope too – this is brilliant for checking out the status of all your pets.

Unremarkable Dungeon and HMV

After the initial quests you should have a few levels and some okay equipment. If you have Gemology you should have used the ants in PC2 to get yourself plenty of pretty gems. Best not to sell all of these in the black market if their prices are poor, but sell enough to get yourself Detect Traps. Sell whatever you have to in order to get this skill – it will be extremely useful. You may even consider some of Yergius’ other skills. Hotzenplotz is too dangerous to take on now – pets in particular have a hard time with his poison. Leave him for later if you want the marble amulet. He’s best taken down with bolt wands, and even then can be tenacious. It can be a good idea to use some money to get a full set of keys from Shriek the cloaked ratling – these help with all the door traps you’re about to encounter.

With a bit of luck you might have found an altar for holy water and item iding. With some effort you might even have attainted a precrown. Usually the scroll you have the most of at this point is identify, so dip your largest scroll pile in holy water and read one in the hopes of identifying all your equipment. There’s a small chance you might have found herbs and will now be regularly using morgia to train your toughness and willpower. Hopefully you’ll have found some blink dogs, tamed them and gotten them to fight each other to the death and eaten a corpse for teleport control (you can kill them yourself of course, but that’s so much duller). You should also have poison resistance, and maybe acid and fire too.

If you feel underpowered you may want to spend some time training and hunting for items in the infinite dungeon – just don’t go below level 9 (even that deep is dangerous at this stage). Training pets here can be a good idea too.

Now it’s time for the UD, which is dangerous but full of promise. Only go here if you feel confident about making it through the SMC without any serious encounters – that means you’ve explored it before and the stairs are easy to get to, or you have a source of invisibility that’ll see you through. In this dungeon be careful of door traps. Best to search on locked doors before kicking them down. Always stand on the left or right side of a door before trying to open it – never head on. Never allow pets to be standing next to a door as you open it – if they’re hit by a blast they’ll turn on you.

If you find herbs try to arrange them into 2x2 patterns – hopefully you can get some morgia and moss of mareilon. If you find an altar, and you’re of an appropriate level, then consider a precrown by luring enough monsters onto the altar (or stomafillia herb if you’re lucky). You’ll likely be neutral or chaotic at this stage of the game. Chaotics should be careful stepping on their altars with enemy monsters around – it’ll lead to a quick death. Neutrals are more restricted in what they can sac – no animals for a start. Keep your pets on a different level whilst saccing, they’ll just be a nuisance. It normally takes somewhere between 70 and 100 livesacs to get enough piety. When you get to extremely close it’s time to pray for a reward. However neutrals beware – saccing will bring you to N= alignment, causing absolutely close instead of extremely close, and crowning instead of precrowning. So to adjust your alignment tame a weak animal and then give it a good old kick in the face, bringing you down to N-. Now pray, and hope for something nice.

If you found no altars or herbs in the UD then alas, you shall have to wait until the CoC. Don’t despair though, the unremarkable dungeon normally has many other nice things, especially for bards. Good equipment is common here, including crystal shields and adamantium weapons. Shops and pools are common here (though pool-drinking can be risky business if you don’t have an altar nearby to remove dooming). You can even find RoDSes in the last few levels, so pickpocketing of the locals is actively encouraged. Hopefully you’ll come out with a much improved inventory.

Look out for decent pets too – lightning lizards can be nice rare finds, chaos lizards are fairly decent, and cave lizards are extremely tough. Bears are probably the best thing to find at this stage of the game though, with quite a decent HP reserve and a strong attack. Train up your pets on weaker monsters, being careful not to let them get too injured. If you have too many pets get them to attack each other – survival of the fittest after all.

Beware of mixed vaults – don’t take them on unless you feel strong enough. Vortices can be a huge hazard. If you don’t have resistances then hopefully you’ll have a source of darkness that you can use. Otherwise send a pet to make them blow up before they get to you, or rely on your SLBs to keep running away and shooting arrows at them from afar. A great many enemies can be safely dealt with like this. Also be careful of golems of all sorts that may simply be immune to any of your attacks – running away from them is always an option.

After coming through the UD you’ll get to the High Mountain Village. Beware of a possible stone giant lord roaming round the outside wall – it can kill a PC before you even see him. Get your pets to go in front of you, and hope they get hit first (best to run away if one appears unless you have some awesome equipment). Inside the town you’ll find a great shop with usually excellent prices. Beware of mimics though – send a pet through the shop first. You’ll likely have found lots of nice treasure in the UD, so sell the heavy stuff first in case the shop runs out of money from your loot. Check out for decent stuff to buy – there’s usually at least a couple of items worth picking up. There’s a cavity behind the wall in the north side of town – teleport in if you can (wand of trap creation can help – just be sure you can get out as well) and pick up the cursed scroll of chaos resistance there. On the west side of the village search for hidden doors leading to a potion of ultra healing and stairs to the wilderness.

A few notes on some of the denizens of the HMV:
-Gaab’baay (purple @) is found behind a hidden door on the east side of town. She gives quests to chaotics that lead to one of the key items for getting a special ending.
-Hawkslayer (brown @) can be found roaming around. If your level is in the high twenties or above you can recruit him as a companion by giving him the password “Iceberg”. He is one of the better possible companions, becoming ridiculously strong at high levels.
-the malicious doctor (pink @) sells a flesh golem companion for 25k gold – this is an utter rip-off, don’t fall for it.
-the oracle (light grey @) can be killed and eaten for a potential +6 Le increase (works best if you bless the corpse and sicken yourself before eating it). She can be killed safely with missiles, but don’t stand in a direct line from her in case she Death Rays you. Eating her corpse also dooms you, so you’ll need a way of removing this (sac some gold if you’re very close to your god)

Before leaving this area for the main dungeon remember that the UD has some nice items, and possibly nice shops you’ll want to revisit. It’s a good place to train pets too. Consider revisiting or spending some time here if you want to improve your character, especially since you now have easier access to it through the HMV.

However by this stage pets will begin outliving their usefulness. You will now hopefully have a decent weapon and armour, and some missiles, and will want to be concentrating on training yourself up more with these. Pets are handy for the early game, but you’ll now likely find them slow, cumbersome and unreliable.

For those who love pets though there is an option – in the forest where you exit the HMV from there is a new place to the west. It is only available to those who have seen many incarnations in this land, and contains perhaps the most powerful animal pets of all: killer bugs. If you have over 70 DV and 80 HP and have many meat shields you’re willing to sacrifice then you might be lucky enough to survive their onslaught long enough to tame their hearts. Do you want to risk it? See the Bug Temple section for how to gain control of these fiercesome animals even at low levels – possibly even at level 1.

The Early Caverns of Chaos

Before advancing on the Caverns I’d suggest taking a little trip in the dusty dungeon and getting the wand of teleportation there (see the guidebook for details). You should also train detect and disarm traps there. The pyramid is even possible now if you’re well-equipped, but I’d only recommend doing that if you’re worried about hitting level 17 soon. You might also want to visit the Barbarian’s glade in the southern forest to get the Courage quest from him if non-chaotic.

Having been through the UD you should now be reasonably well-prepared for the caverns of chaos. If you skipped the UD you may have to be more careful. There’s often a mixed vault on D2 or D3 which can be good for items. The arena level is great to reach for gathering food – forget all the rations and corpses of the past, cooked lizards are far more economical. You can start doing some arena fights now if you want, but don’t become the champion yet. If you’ve been relying on pets too much you may find it hard though. It you meet any cats throw potions of exchange at them or zap them with a wand of teleport (you did get the dusty dungeon one, right?)

The Big Room can be a nuisance. If you have an item of invisibility then definitely wear it. Stabilise whatever herb patches you can. If you haven’t encountered herbs yet then this place is vital for your whole game survival. SLBs should allow you to run around the monsters easily enough, and summons or worms are often easily dealt with by music. If you have invis then harvest in peace for a while – it’s important to get some necessary herbs, especially morgia.

From now on you should be continually using morgia to get stat-increases – do not let up on this at any stage. You should get increases every level up as well as randomly in between. Check the guidebook for more information on how to use herbs effectively. Also do searches on RGRA, the HoF forums and the official ADOM forums on how to grow and use herbs if you are not experienced in this already. Herbs are vital to your success, in particular in training toughness to get yourself much higher HP. You may want to pacify the Big Room to make the process easier. You can pick axes for this by ordering companions to attack dwarves in Dwarftown (they’ll likely die doing this, so use ones you haven’t spent time training).

The si level is accompanied by a strange smell. Be sure to search for traps on the si square – best to kick the item over a space and then pick it up if you have pets nearby. Let the si start duplicating in your backpack, and always keep at least one there until you run out of money problems. If you haven’t gotten a precrown yet then around now is really your last chance – go much further in the game and you’ll generate too many artifacts. You should now be able to get gold from selling the si and other items, as well as stomafillia from herb harvesting – both are valuable sacrifices. A precrown may not be any good of course, but it could get you something brilliant.

Dwarftown will contain a shop (watch out for a mimic), an altar (co-aligned unless you’re chaotic – never try converting it), a stat-trainer, a smith, a hidden mystic, and an old dwarf that gives quests. Check out the shop for anything worth buying and sell everything you have to sell. Invest some money with the trainer on strength, charisma, learning or perception if you feel the need (check out the guidebook for amounts to pay him, though they’re not guaranteed by any means). If you’re of neutral alignment teleport (if you’re using the wand be sure you can get out again) into the mystic’s room and chat to him in the hope of getting some scrolls of chaos resistance (the exact requirements of this are unknown). The smith can also teach you smithing for a price, and repair items.

Thrundarr the ancient dwarf is in the centre room with two guards outside, and has several quests he can give to you. Talk to him about “portal” and “quest” to get the first two. The portal quest you shouldn’t do just yet, but his first quest will be to slay a random monster. Hope to god it’s something decent. Spend some time in the Big Room or the levels below Dwarftown till you find it, but don’t go below the level with two down staircases (normally around D15). When completed talk to him about quest for your reward (inventory IDed) and about quest again for your next task: get beyond the animated forest.

You can try and go via the dwarven halls, but it’s unwise. Teleportation and invisibility help, if you have them. It’s often worth a peek in at least to see if the stairs are nearby, though even that can be fatal. Crossing the animated forest is best done using two shields and a lot of patience. Invisibility helps to keep a low profile, and teleportation speeds the crossing immensely. The trees get very tough if you kill too many of them. Crossing with pets bears some special considerations (see their section).

Once across you’ll get a message about the quest being completed. If you have an AoLS through some stroke of luck you might want to dive further to save Khelly and get his rewards, though at this stage you might be worried about missing out on the pyramid if you gain too much experience. If you’re really lucky you might have a scroll of familiar summoning. If that’s the case then you will most definitely want to find the stairs up to DH2 and bless and use the scroll there. DH2 pets often include the likes of balors, emperor liches and greater earth elementals. For other races these can be dangerous friends to have around, but with the bard loyalty power you’ll be able to safely use them for mass destruction.

Thrundarr’s reward is a wand of fireballs, which is about to come in handy. His next quest is to slay an ogre tribe, but forget about that for now and head back to the surface. Things are gonna get serious.

Rising to the Challenge – The Mid Game

Here is where things get tougher. Special locations become more frequent, and you will start regularly encountering boss monsters that need preparation and thought to overcome. This is what separates the completely new players from the more weathered ADOM fans. The ability to get here requires a fair bit of luck and skill – from now on luck won’t be so dominant. Corruption will now also begin to creep into your game.


Head out over to the pyramid in the middle of the map. It’s a simple enough place if you’re decently prepared, though some nasty monsters are sometimes generated at the top. Apply detect traps at least 3 times before every step, because this place is full of traps. You might even prefer to leave valuables elsewhere so they don’t get destroyed. It’s also unwise to bring pets in here. On the far right on the first level is a hidden cache with a climbing set and pick axe – can be worth picking up. The stairs is up at the top left – make use of any teleport traps you find to skip most of the level. On the second level head to the top-right till you find a corridor full of traps leading to a hidden room with the up staircase.

It’s best to drink a potion of invisibility before ascending, or put on an invis item, since sometimes the likes of gorgons can be generated. Look out for any nasties up there and proceed to target the mummies. Blessed arrows or undead slayers work great on them, or fire spells if you have any. You only *have* to kill Rehetep, so if there’s anything you don’t think you can handle then avoid them. Try not to get surrounded – it’s best to run around shooting everything, letting your SLBs keep you out of harm’s way. Poisoning your arrows also helps to bring Rehetep down sooner. And the wand of fireballs will make short enough work of him if necessary. He’ll drop the ankh and the ancient mummy wrapping – pick up both, and equip the ankh unless you happen to have Preserver or need some particular resistance. Leave at your leisure.

Dwarven Graveyard

Head south and east now to find the dwarven graveyard near the southern swamps. You’ll want to bless your weapon before heading in here since this place is usually easiest tackled in melee. Weapons of hunting can be handy in here for getting Wraith and Wight corpses that increase toughness. Once you get in you’ll be surrounded by lots of minor undead. I recommend heavy pickpocketing here as you dispatch them. If you have decent PV then feel free to fight on very aggressive tactics to improve shield marks. Clear the whole outside and gather whatever loot you like – there can be some very nice drops here sometimes.

Head into the middle building and find the stairs. It leads into a small room with hidden doors at the side. Beware of traps all over this place. Again search for traps 3 times every step. Keep going through to the bottom-right, and then work your way up till you find a passage leading to the far centre-right. In there you’ll find a large room with plenty more undead like you saw above, Griff the undead chaos dwarven berserker and Nonnak the master necromancer. The ancient mummy wrapping is good to be wearing at this point to resist Nonnak’s ice attacks. Griff can be damned hard in melee, and it’s best if you have some undead slaying ammo to take him down or fire-based spells. The wand of fireballs that Thrundarr gave you earlier should work nicely. Nonnak is also dangerous to melee – I recommend missiles for him too, or try and get him in with Griff on the same fireball blasts if you’re using the wand. The rest of the undead are easily dispatched. Try not to get caught up in the centre area when fighting Nonnak and Griff though – best to only battle them in the tunnel.

Once that area is cleared dig up the grave in the middle (‘u5’ with a pick axe) for Nonnak’s sword. Check out the little structure on the right wall for a hidden door with a bone golem inside. He can also be tough – if you don’t have construct slaying ammo then the wand of fireballs can come in handy again. However he’s also easy enough to take out with the old run and shoot tactic using blessed ammo, assuming you cleared the general area up a bit. Once he’s dead check out the square he was standing in for the elemental gauntlets, which you may want to equip (search for traps on that square first though).

You may consider digging up graves in the upper part of the graveyard. This will likely produce some nice items, but can give some nasty surprises too. Digging graves marked “Great treasures are buried here” can produce RoDSes and artifacts, or other good items, but will also summon Liches of some description – possibly even Emperor Liches, which you certainly can’t handle right now. If you have an amazing pet or some blessed undead slaying ammo you might consider taking the risk, but make sure you have a method of teleportation to get yourself out if something nasty appears.

Remember that digging graves and eating undead are chaotic acts, and if you want to keep high piety you should try and stay your current alignment.

Further Dwarven Quests

With the ancient mummy wrapping you should now complete the ogre caves. The wrapping helps you see the ogre magi and protects you from their ice attacks. The ogres should be no trouble for you now. Eat stomacemptia and devour their corpses whilst sick and starved to increase your strength (this is likely much needed). The quest reward is 5k gold pieces. Ogre cave is also now a handy place to stash items, since there are no enemies there. The next quest is to become champion of the arena – the AMW can again help with the last fight of this, which is often another ogre magus. Thrundarr’s reward may be some decent armour, or it may be some handy blankets and potions, often including a blessed scroll of familiar summoning (if so go use this on DH2 now!)

You can do more arena fights for cash, but I don’t recommend it unless you’re really strapped because some pretty tough monsters can appear. You will also now have the golden gladius for becoming arena champion. It is best to hand this to Bart in the pub in Dwarftown in exchange for some skills, most importantly Tactics. Be sure to drink blessed potions of boost learning before doing this though, as it makes it very likely the skill with start out at 100, which is extremely helpful.

Final Dwarftown quest is to slay a greater demon in the town. Find him quick before he kills people, and take him down with missiles (he’ll drain stats in melee so keep your distance). Demon slaying helps if you have it, but normal blessed ammo will do the trick. You can also sac him on the altar if you’re co-aligned. Reward is a fairly useless heavy artifact – I’d recommend selling it.

High Kings Tomb

If you don’t have a climbing set get one from the gremlin cave in the south-west, and then head across the mountains to the cave in the far north-west. You’ll go through two normal levels and three caverns levels before reaching the final, special level. This dungeon isn’t without its perils; you may encounter new and dangerous monsters like doppelganger kings, stone oozes and master mimics, so be careful. Hopefully by this stage the morgia training you’ve been doing is kicking in and you’ve got a decent amount of HP – if so then keep it up, the more the merrier. Remember that sickness training can get your toughness further. With a bit of luck you might have a helpful pet from DH2 as well, but don’t rely on them too much.

The last level blocks teleportation, and is completely empty apart from a small hut on a little island… in the middle of a lake of chaos piranhas. If you dive in there they’ll do over 300 damage a round, which is officially known as Ouch. To cross you need a wand of cold or an ice spell (frost bolt or ice ball) to make an ice bridge. If you haven’t got these then you’re in a bit of a pickle… You may want to try zapping a wand of wonder over the water and keep recharging it till you get the right spell. Or you could scum the High Kings caverns for the right item, or hope you’ll get a handy spell at level 18. An alternative is have an unhealthy fetish in bridge-building which would require carting down loads of logs over and over till you finally build enough segments – hopefully that won’t be necessary.

There’s an inventory weight limit for ice bridges (though your character weight doesn’t matter strangely). Check on the ‘@’ screen that you’re not carrying over 2000s before stepping on the ice, or you could be facing a very horrible death. Make sure there’s no duplicating sis in your pack either – best to cross with as little as possible really, dumping everything off at the side before you cross. Door is trapped, so be sure you can deal with that (wand of knocking works beautifully).

The guardian isn’t the toughest you’ll face, but he has some tricks up his sleeve – worst of all confusion. Wear a ring of clear mind, and if you get confused then do something like apply a skill or clean your ears (‘E’) until it wears off, otherwise you might stumble into the piranhas. Fire resistance helps resist his spells, and he dies soon enough to a good blessed melee weapon or undead slaying ammo. He also can’t see invis, so an easy way to take care of him is with wands or bolt spells whilst invisible. You’ll get the Ring of the High Kings for your troubles, quite a decent artifact ring that is a key item later on.

Rift and Library

I don’t recommend doing this now, but it’s an option if you’re feeling tough enough, and handy whilst you’re in the area. You also need 100 Climbing and 100 Stealth – if you don’t have these get some training with Yergius and come back later. Some people leave it off till after the tower, though personally I find it’s nice to gain some extra levels before then. Requires care though, and importantly requires excellent offence and defence and the ability to kill very powerful monsters (slaying ammo helps immensely). Don’t rely on bard luck to save your items when you fall down – best to stash many breakable items (especially potions and valuables like SoCRs) in the high kings tomb entrance. You should still bring some useful stuff, but not everything (bring a quarter of your holy water for instance, and 1 or 2 SoCR). Bring 2 climbing sets, 1 blessed and 1 uncursed. Also bring in lots of useless stuff you don’t mind losing – gemologists should have lots of worthless glass that fits the bill nicely.

You might find some nice items in the levels, especially deep down, and you might gain some good xp too. But beware of monsters that you can’t handle, and always be ready to run away. The corruption on the bottom two levels is very high too, so don’t stick around there too much. The library can be accessed by a second exit on RL5 or 6. The library is the main reason for coming through the Rift – it’s the primary source for spellbooks in the game for bards (who unfortunately find few). By this stage in the game you should be able to read many spellbooks successfully and make good use of most spells. Some can come in handy for the challenges ahead. You need to spent 2000 turns in the library with maximum Stealth before chatting with the ghost librarian to get the weird tome, which can be delivered to the Mad Minstrel for more SoCRs. During this time you can battle the monsters inside (magic is fine to use) and read spellbooks.


This is usually a pre-Tower test of toughness. Only wear fireproof gear, have a fireproof blanket or two and have fire resistance (high kings ring and elemental gauntlets both help). If you have a blessed ring of ice then you can safely wear equipment that would normally burn. Inside DarkForge are many tough steel golems that breathe fire, and can be hard to kill with their high PV and strong attacks. Construct slaying ammo works beautifully on them, but it might get burnt whilst lying on the ground and you might not have enough for them all. Penetrating or high damage or humanoid slaying melee weapons also do the trick. If you got lucky and have lightning ball you can also take the place down with great ease. Ice and acid ball work too. If you have none of this stuff then you’ll likely have great difficulty getting through, and may just want to teleport raid the treasure rooms. It’s also recommended to have high DV/PV and over 150 HP to withstand their attacks, especially if meleeing them.

This is the first place in the game where animals completely fail. A highly trained killer bug pet might be able to kill everything with heavy healing support, but otherwise your music skills have just lost their use as anything other than a way to distract cats. DH2 summoned pets might also fare well enough here, but don’t count on it. Besides, there’s usually a few level ups to be had here, and you should keep those to yourself.

Exploring the level fully will reveal a room full of weapons, a room full of armour, a room full of pools, a room full of money and a couple of hidden rooms in the bottom left with a down stairs and the crown of science. Beware of traps throughout. I’d recommend picking up almost all the weapons and armour and reading a blessed scroll of ID, because you never know what some of them might be. Artifact armours and weapons are often generated in here. With some luck you can find some excellent equipment to serve your quest. Be careful with the crown of science – it’s autocursing and it dooms. The down stairs can’t be used yet.

You’ll also find many forges, but don’t smith here because of the background corruption. Kherab holds an anvil you may want to steal for smithing elsewhere, but killing him is very difficult. With SLBs and humanoid slayers you might be able to pull it off if you’re daring. You can also sometimes shoot him safely from behind the water in the pool room if you’re cowardly.

The pools here are often used to scum for wishes, primarily for getting an Amulet of Life Saving to save Khelavaster if his existence is still in a state of superposition. Equip luck-enhancing items like the ankh and drink drink drink. If you ever get doomed or cursed status then pop off to the nearest altar to get it removed (by attaining very close status with sacrifices). Hopefully you also have back-up blink dog corpses in case you lose teleport control. The pools can play havoc with your stats and statuses, so it’s handy to drink a potion of insight when it’s all over to check up on what resistances you need to recover.

Water Dragon Cave

At some point walk around in the water squares in the wilderness map and you’ll discover stairs leading to an underground lair – this is where Blup’s mom lives. You need an item of water breathing or a blessed ring of the fish (bless it *after* putting it on) to survive in here. Any pets brought in here will slowly drown. Inside is a treasure cavern and Blup’s mother – speak to her and then Blup to ensure that the rune-covered trident will come your way eventually. There can be some nice items on the ground of the momma dragon’s caves, but picking them up will make her hostile, and she can make your existence extremely brief with teleport and a water breath attack that causes up to 400 damage. However you can safely loot stuff in darkness – just be careful.

There are many animals to beware of in here too, including giant dragon turtles that can use a breath attack of similar power to the greater water dragon’s. However they can all also be calmed and even tamed with music. In fact the fishies will even follow you outside into the fresh air and follow you around dungeons, attacking enemies at will, and the dragon turtles even still have their cool breath attack. An odd bug, but a fun one, and these dragon turtles make fairly powerful pets. In fact I lied before – these animals will easily take down DarkForge, and even Kherab, it’s just kinda cheating to do so… But really, later in the game when it doesn’t matter any more come and have a play with these for the fun of it.

Water Temple

Hopefully you saved Khelly and are now exploring deeper into the Caverns of Chaos. This place can be done after the fire temple, but usually you’ll want to get the Water Orb first. You’ll find a level where you can only explore half of the screen – the other half must be dug through. Inside you’ll find water snakes, water grues, water elementals, chaos servants and a big bad Snake From Beyond. Avoid melee with him unless in the dark, because he poisons hard. There’s not much space for missiles, so your best bet is magic. Use wands of acid if you have them, though any element will do. One easy tactic is hiding invisible behind water elementals and acid bolting the Snake. The elementals will shrug off the bolts whilst the SfB quickly melts away. Recover the orb, and the corpse too if you want to deliver it to Guth’Alak for a PoCC. Be careful not to step on the altar, and be careful of traps. The other temple denizens aren’t much worry, though the grues can be a nuisance if you have low DV, and the elementals require a strong offence to overcome their PV. Pets have trouble surviving against the Snake because of his poisoning attacks. They usually can’t cross the water either.

After this you may wish to dive further till you reach a wall of flames to get more items and experience. If so be wary of the banshee level (the one filled with corpses). Use beeswax to block your ears before you go near her or you’ll die instantly. She dies quickly herself to any attacks, especially blessed undead slaying ammo.


This is often the optimal point in the game to get crowned, if you haven’t done so already and you aren’t aspiring for an Ultra ending. DarkForge loot can be sold for a pretty penny, and alignment can be manipulated easily enough. Sac the necessary gold, equip the mummy wrapping, and hope for a half-decent artifact and maybe a good immunity. Fire is of course very preferable for the challenge you’re about to face.

The Tower of Eternal Flames

This is one of the biggest challenges in the game – some say the biggest. For many characters it’s the test of whether or not they have what it takes to go the whole way. You should normally be over level 20, with DV around 100 on Coward, PV of at least 30 with just fireproof equipment, and preferably over 250 HP. You want at least 2 blessed fireproof blankets and all equipment worn on the body must be fireproof unless you have blessed rings of ice. On top of this you also need fire immunity, or 4 items that give you fire resistance (2 if you have intrinsic resistance from a corpse or pool). Heavy healing powers are recommended too – blessed potions of extra/ultra healing, blessed spenseweed or the water orb (wear the elemental gauntlets before using it). High piety helps immensely in case you need to pray for healing or power.

Inside the tower are many dragons, elementals, demons, giants and grues. All fire-based of course. At the top is a temple full of these creatures with the most powerful boss you’ve encountered yet – the Ancient Chaos Wyrm. Most of the enemies in the tower can be difficult. The ACW is truly formidable.

Because of the equipment restrictions missiles are not normally an option for the tower, leaving you stuck with melee or magic. Melee weapons are best blessed to do extra damage to the fire demons and grues. Demon and humanoid slayers work really well against these, and construct slayers or penetrating weapons help cut down elementals quickly. Be careful of corrupting hits from grues – you need exceptionally high DV to avoid them. Also be wary of criticals from elementals that can take down your HP very quickly. Another thing to watch out for is rocks thrown from fire giants and fire giant kings – a critical from them can cause a huge amount of damage. Watch your HP at all time – it’s easy for it to get majorly knocked down without you even noticing, leaving you flabbergasted when the next hit kills you.

Invisibility can come in extremely handy in the tower – only the ACW and the chaos servants at the top can see invisible. This couples beautifully with Frost Bolt (if you got it from the druid’s quest) letting you lay destruction to the denizens of the tower without taking a single hit in return. Ice Ball takes easy care of them too, especially if you use the Water Orb and Nonnak’s sword to get your willpower over 32 for a higher radius. It doesn’t work with invisibility, but kills things so quickly it doesn’t matter either way. Blessed potions of boost willpower also help to make this even more destructive on the top level. Other spells work too, of course, though fire-based spells are ineffective.

The temple level at the top is very similar to the Water Temple in design – half the dungeon is a set of normal rooms (with a cool glowing effect on the walls – though a poor screen and bad lighting can make the whole level hard to see). The temple proper is on the right-hand side and the walls must be dug through to be reached – teleportation is blocked on the level. 2 zaps from a wand of digging should get you through. There are rooms full of elementals, grues and chaos servants, and the central chamber is dotted about with demons and dragons, not to mention the great Wyrm himself standing on an altar in the centre (and no, you can’t sac him). Pets are generally useless on this level – they usually take damage from the background heat, and almost none can hold their own against the ACW.

The Ancient Chaos Wyrm has no elemental weaknesses (ice spells won’t be as much use to you here), is immune to fire and has strong defences. More importantly he has an extremely strong melee attack which corrupts, and can blast you an energy ray for up to 100 damage that can’t be resisted (Alertness helps to dodge it though). He has a confusing attack that requires high Willpower to resist – have the water orb in your tool slot at all times. He is vulnerable to poison, paralysis, blindness, webs and confusion. Disabling him with some of these is very much recommended, especially if you want to melee him. He shrugs off stun rays a lot, but with a bit of persistence can be made safer with this too. Doing damage to him can be hard, but there are a few methods you can use to take him down.

Melee: You need a good weapon, preferably penetrating, with a very high damage output. You’ll also likely need lots of healing items. Wyrmlance can be handy, but as a two-hander it can leave you far too low on defence. High DV is obviously helpful, and high PV is utterly essential. The Wyrm is best disabled with blindness or confusion before you start to work on him. It’s also best to fight him away from the main area so that you don’t get surrounded by other creatures. When digging in it can be best to make two parallel diagonal lines into the temple one space apart – this will create a wide tunnel with a row of columns down the middle. You can lure the ACW out through this, using the pillars as shields so he doesn’t fire his energy ray at you. If you have very high speed you might want to try a special version of hack and back that involves running around one of these columns, putting a hit in whenever you get a turn more than him (known as pillar dancing). Employing this effectively can mean never getting hit by him. Beware of criticals, especially if he berserks when close to death. If he panics throw a rock at him to lure him back. Be wary of his energy ray at all times, especially if he’s not standing next to you.

Missiles: Dragon slayers make very short work of this guy. Though missiles will burn up in the tower you can keep them stowed in your backpack and only take them out when facing the Wyrm. Crossbows burn less often than bows, especially if blessed, but it may be wise not to risk sacrificing your best weapon to the heat. Rings of ice obviously help. It’s usually best to try not to disturb the Wyrm until you’ve cleared the other rooms so that you don’t get surrounded. The middle area has a lot of space for running around shooting, but be aware that without your usual SLBs you may find your normal tactics more restricted. Dragon slaying or generic slaying ammo takes just a few hits to kill him, but a lot will miss. If you don’t have any such slayers then regular ammo will eventually take him down (best dipped in poison first), but may burn in the process. Arrows of darkness and thunder can help against him, as do the usual methods of disabling him. Avoid his energy ray by never staying out of range. Some people prefer to lure him down a level so they can teleport about whilst shooting him – obviously be careful doing this.

Bolt spells: My preferred method, especially with invisibility. Dig in through the bottom area into the room full of elementals. Try not to kill all of these, but plough your way through them to get near the centre chamber. Kill monsters at the mouth to the room until you start getting message about a force attacking your mind – that means you’ve got the big guy’s attention. Make your way back into the room and wait for him to show up. The trick here is to always have a monster in between you and the ACW. Grues and elementals work best because they shrug off bolts more easily than he does. Do *not* use frost bolt for this tactic – it will kill your meat shields too quickly. Acid bolt or wands of acid work best. Lightning bolt can be very effective if you get a nice setup where the bolt bounces back onto the Wyrm but doesn’t reach the monsters next to you – the ACW will be hit twice and die sooner, whilst your shields are little affected. Beware of criticals from the monsters next to you if you don’t have invis (two shields and Coward tactics can help), and if they die be sure to replace them quickly.

Ball spells: If you’re lucky enough to have these then they can be used well. It’s best to disable the Wyrm first though, otherwise you’ll end up with a lot of hits from him. Can also be handy to have meat shields in the way to avoid his energy ray. If you find yourself getting hit by the energy ray a lot then you may wish to take the drastic action of standing next to him whilst balling him. This has the effect of making him melee you more often than energy blasting you – not ideal, but if you have high physical defence it can be preferred. Be sure to have healing on standby if needed, and watch out for berserking criticals or panicking when he’s severely injured.

Drakelings take extra damage in the tower from the background heat that can’t be resisted – to survive they need regen items (which aren’t usually fireproof) or regular healing, so be careful. On the plus side they get insane speed, which lets them hack and back all the monsters in the tower safely (though the Wyrm’s energy rays can still be a problem – I hope you have Alertness well-trained with them by this stage).

Be alert for corruption all the time. Background corruption is stiff, and grues can land in a lot of corrupting hits. Picking up poison hands or stiff muscles can severely hamper your chances of success. Make sure you bring at least one blessed SoCR with you in case of this.

Once the Wyrm’s down pick up the orb and his cooked corpse. I usually clear the rest of the temple for the extra experience levels it gives.

Ascending to Power – The Late Game

Having completed the fire temple you should be in your mid-twenties. More than half the game is now finished, and over the course of your final dive you are going to find your bard rising from strength to strength. With the right skills, equipment and stats you will become a walking powerhouse. What was once a weak pathetic character that cowered behind a pet when faced with rats will now become a strong and proud slayer of anything that dares come into its path. Don’t let overconfidence lead to your demise though – there are still challenges ahead, and many dangerous monsters to boot. I will briefly cover the main points of the late game.

Bug Temple

I’m putting this section here before detailing the lower Caverns of Chaos because it fits in location-wise with the other surface area descriptions. However, I really don’t advise doing this at this low a level – you’ll want to be level 40 at least with DV over 150 and HP over 600. Still, it is possible to do it early with a bard – with the right tactics. It’s even possible to take on the top level instantly upon entering the chain (requires SLBs though).

The greater claw bugs and killer bugs hit numerous times with armour-piercing attacks, meaning you should emphasise DV over PV. It’s also best to wear artifact armour since they’ll strip everything else of all its PV very quickly. They’re fast too, meaning you need SLBs to run away from them. They dodge attacks fairly often, but notably always get hit by bolt spells. It doesn’t take many castings to kill them either, so with SLBs and decent knowledge of a bolt spell you can clear the top level very easily (level 1 wizards can do this too in fact, with some care). High visibility helps immensely – wear a torch or amulet of the eye to increase your visual range if your Perception isn’t great. Be careful never to let the bugs within 2 spaces of you, and stick near the edges so you can run away whenever necessary.

Music can be of great use when of low level, since they can all be tamed. It takes a bit of effort, but by running around them and not taking on more than 1 at a time you can eventually take the whole area (or get them to kill each other). You have to be extremely careful though. It’s best to use a torch for better visual range and apply music with ‘U’ (frustrating to do, since you need to keep going through your backpack to find the musical instrument). Music only works at short range, and takes several attempts to work. Remember that it has to take them from hostile, to neutral, to friendly and then to tamed. A neutral monster can still turn hostile again, so watch out.

Once you’ve tamed the killer bugs it’s best to get one of them to kill all the greater claw bugs on the top level. This will gain it some levels, making it of more use. Be careful it doesn’t get killed itself though.

Before descending make sure you have 8 bugs tamed, and preferably experienced. Get them all to stand around you before you go down the stairs, making a wall of creatures on all sides. In the first room keep using music and hope for the best that all the greater claw bugs attacking are killed or calmed. Get your best killer bug to kill off all the greater claw bugs around you (even the ones you’ve tamed) and be sure to heal him or let him recover if necessary. Block off the top, right and bottom corridors with wands of door creation – they lead to rooms full of killer bugs. Also block off the first turning in the left corridor – it leads to more killers. Check the guidebook for a map of the place and the locations of secret doors and killer bug rooms.

Follow the corridor round with your killer bug pet, blocking off the next room. Note that the killer bug room after that is blocked by a secret door, but there’s another secret door next to it that you need to get through. Be sure to kick it down rather than search for it so the killers aren’t disturbed. Block off the top-right room before opening up the main chamber. If you encounter any other bugs on the way then bolt them or get your trained killer to take care of them.

Dealing with the main cavern can be extremely difficult. Meleeing is ill-advised. Better to bolt your way through them all on Coward, healing as necessary. Magic missiles and lightning bolt bounce around quite nicely. If relying on your killer bug pet then be sure to only let him tackle one enemy at a time and keep healing him as necessary. Also keep using music so the bugs start fighting amongst themselves. The killer bugs will be very hard for it to handle, so give it all the support you can.

Kick the statues to destruction in the main room to get the rewards and to stop bug generation. Remember that the items all start out cursed. The most important thing is the scrolls of chaos resistance, though the quarrels of slaying and potions of ultra healing are nice too. If once you’re done your killer bug pet is well-trained and bale to take on other killer bugs with ease you may consider getting it to clear all the killer bug rooms. Doing so will make it even more experienced, and will start you down the path of having an amazing companion throughout the game.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Passing the wall of flames will lead you first to the eternal guardian, who can be peacefully passed if you’re wearing the Ring of the High Kings. Pet-rearers and trolls may want to abuse him for xp though. After that is the casino, where you can gamble and buy loads of great items. The casino guard blocking the stairs is easily removed with teleportation. If you want to rob the shop for any reason then it’s best to confuse the shopkeeper first and kill him in darkness. Hopefully you’ll get loads of awesome items here, including spellbooks, artifacts, stat potions and slaying ammo. Be sure to pick up everything that looks interesting (keep an eye on the prices) and ID them all to decide what you want to buy.

You’ll soon find a shortcut to the surface that leads up through DarkForge – handy to use for the rest of the game, and I usually leave a gold coin next to the shortcut stairs so I can distinguish it easily when coming back up. You’ll find the bunny level after that, which shouldn’t be a problem with a wand of digging and SLBs. Following from that is a hopefully peaceful cat lord who’ll give you an awesome artifact ring. Check other guides on how to kill him if he’s hostile – this is a guide to bards, not a guide to idiots that can’t take advantage of the class’s best feature.

Note as you’re going down here that you may run into greater vaults. Be careful with them, especially undead ones. If you get the message “You feel truly excited” when entering a level then zap a wand of item detection and a wand of monster detection to get an idea of what’s there. If you see a black ( or yellow ~ it might be worth taking on, or at least teleport robbing. However you should weigh up carefully how easily your character can manage the main enemies. It’s often wiser to come back later.

Air Temple

Leave pretty much all items vulnerable to shock damage on the previous level. Dig through to the main temple and kill the outside critters if you feel the need. Zap a detect traps wand near the entrance so you won’t fall victim to them. Open up the entrance and start killing. Yuglash can summon some nasties (cats can be the worst thing) but is usually a pussy. All methods of slaughter work well, but I personally recommend invisibility and bolt spells. The elementals can’t see invis and will often stand still whilst you send bolt spells over them, leaving Yuglash trapped in the middle. He dies quickly enough. Collect the corpse and orb and make your merry way out.

Earth Temple

This can be tough, but is usually not too much trouble. Ball spells help a lot, as do penetrating weapons, demon slayers (for the grues) and construct slayers (for the elementals). If you find they’re too much to handle in large groups then lead them up one by one to the level above and kill them there. This is also advised if you’re using a strong pet to kill them. Healing sources can help a lot. The Ancient Stone Beast is tough, but with high DV and PV you shouldn’t worry too much about taking hits from him. Gradually whittle him down and recover the Orb of Earth.

Blue Dragon Caves

On the way down you’ll eventually find a split that leads to the Unreal Cave system, which contains the Mana Temple and the Blue Dragon Caves. Before going through these I recommend diving to D48 and killing the anomaly guardians for experience. On UC4 you’ll meet an ancient karmic wyrm that offers you a quest to kill an ancient blue wyrm. Only accept this quest if you’re going to complete it straight away. Have strong shock resistance or immunity and drop most of your equipment that isn’t shock resistant on the stairs (though still bring some handy stuff). Dragon slaying ammo is very handy to have along, but bless it and keep it in your pack.

The BDC is full of many experience rich and tough monsters, as well as many blue dragons and wyrms. Only the wyrms and ancient dragons can see invisible, and they only start appearing on BDC3, so with invisibility you can farm the regular dragons here for lots of great items. Be sure you can deal with the likes of greater molochs and titans if you run into them – teleportation helps, as does appropriate slaying ammo (titans and greater titans are also easy to deal with in darkness too). The Earth Temple should have given you plenty of levels – this place will likely take you to the forties at least.

The last level is filled with blue dragons of all kinds. Invisibility helps to stop you getting surrounded and spammed by lightning bolt attacks (which will annoyingly drop any loot your kills drop). Ball spells work very nicely here, as do very strong melee attacks and well trained missiles. The Ancient Blue Wyrm has a lot of HP, along with regeneration and the ability to heal himself, so he can take some time to kill. You may want to paralyze and poison him to help finish the job quickly. He grants a lot of experience when killed. If he drops a corpse be sure to eat it – gives shock immunity and a speed boost.

The rewards from the Ancient Karmic Wyrm are a pile of treasure, including the artifact dagger “Needle” (unided as just a normal dagger). Not much use without its twin “Sting” though. He can now be killed with dragon slaying ammo or magic missile for a lot of experience if you want it, but it’s likely you’ll not need this as a bard.

Mana Temple

The last big challenge before D50, this place can be tremendously tough and requires a hell of a lot of preparation. Death ray resistance, see invisible, confusion resistance, a light source and several sources of healing are necessary. The ancient mummy wrapping handily provides the first two. Like all the temples teleportation is blocked here. To get into the temple dig into the lower right side of the level till you find a corridor full of traps. Cast Farsight if you have it and zap a wand of detect traps before going through here. As you go through your PP will be drained to zero, meaning spells are usually unavailable for the main fight. After going round the main corridor you’ll find a hidden door into the main area.

Inside are many chaos wizards who will aggravatingly fill the place up with chaos servants, greater chaos servants and purple jellies. These aren’t important for you – annoying as they can be to fight all you care about is the main guardian, the Chaos Archmage. If you have a ball spell with lots of willpower you can clear the mess rather easily (though you’ll have to recover PP with prayer or scrolls/crystals of power, or cast out of HP). Otherwise it’s best to stand at the entrance slowly meleeing through the crowd until the Archmage comes out to play.

Nuurag-Vaarn the Chaos Archmage has a huge amount of HP and a corrupting melee attack. He is immune to all elements other than acid. He also has a range of powerful spells at his disposal, which he uses often. He casts Darkness with a giant radius, a powerful energy bolt, an ice spell, confuses strongly, drains stats when standing next to him and casts Death Ray. The last one will kill you instantly if you don’t have resistance. It’ll still cause over 200 damage if you are resistant. Many many characters have an easy time with the rest of the game only to die horribly here.

The best way to handle him is to get him into a corridor and disable him with potions of blindness or confusion, and then take him down with humanoid slaying arrows or quarrels. High dexterity and well-trained bows or crossbows are nigh essential for this, as he can be very hard to hit. You might want to wear Dex-boosting items to get it as high as possible. Don’t let other creatures get in the way, and don’t let them stand next to you either as they can reduce your to hit. If he’s not confused or blinded then be sure to keep your distance when shooting him to stay out of range of his spells. If he comes after you then keep running to make some space between you. Remember you can’t shoot in the darkness – you’ll need an amulet of light, or keep casting or zapping light. Beware also of triggering traps in the dark. If he’s in the dark then you should get messages saying you’re hitting him, and eventually you’ll receive a huge experience bonus.

Powerful melee weapons (especially humanoid slayers) or acid ball will also do the trick, but with a bit more risk. These can both be used in darkness too (though make sure he doesn’t run away if you’re using acid ball). Poisoning can make the fight go by a little quicker. Boosting willpower also helps to give your ball spells greater range, which helps to stay out of direct line. If his spells aren’t disabled though then you’re going to find your ass quickly handed to you. He’s especially dangerous when berserking on low health – he can get in several death rays or energy rays in one turn, killing you with extraordinary ease.

Once he’s dead enjoy the xp boost, grab the loot and run. Some of the others temples are worth clearling, but certainly not this one. The enemies take ages to plough through in a highly corrupting area and give very poor experience and items. Ignore them and move on… to the final challenge.

D50 – The Final Fight

Get back to D48 and put the orbs in their respective slots. Generally best to do mana first as it’ll drain all your PP. Before putting in the fire orb zap a wand of monster detection and look for cats – if there’s any around go find them, tame them, and tell them to attack the nearest tough monster. Also don’t bring pets onto this level. Pets can’t follow you below here anyway. D48 is best crossed by zapping a wand of digging to the north-west and kicking yourself off the wall before you start using missiles to propel yourself along (I always save a dagger of returning for this). Be sure to fire a potion of uselessness against an empty square too (not against a wall) to get a free artifact.

When you descend you’ll be on the final level of the Caverns of Chaos. Teleportation is thankfully not blocked here, and if you’re going for ultra you might want to just teleport into the gate straight away – I always enjoy clearing the place though. Reading a blessed scroll of magic mapping before getting started is often nice. Drakeling will need to recover their speed after D49 – botched alchemy, improved fireball, wands of fire and crystals of fire all work.

There are a huge number of ways to take on this place, and as a bard you’ll have a lot of choice. There are also pussy methods that I won’t even bother mentioning. Spells are generally best to clear the mobs, especially the annoying chaos wizards, and missiles or powerful melee take good care of the balors. Anything goes though. Short-lived races should beware of the ghost lords too – invisibility thankfully reduces their threat. If you haven’t hit level 50 yet you certainly will clearing this place out, and you can bask in the glory of the wondrous level 50 bard power - +6 to all stats. Try not to cum on your keyboard when this happens…

Pets can’t cross the ice level, but a great tactic to use here is to get a pet or two with blessed scrolls of familiar summoning. You’re very likely to get something powerful like a greater elemental that can bash apart the chaos minions with ease. They’re usually not much good for anything other than a distraction against the balors though, so you’ll have to deal with those bad boys yourself.

Once you’ve had your fun close the levers and hop back up the stairs. Teleport your way out of the dungeons, get the white unicorn to clear you of corruption, finish off any little things you want to, and leave the Drakalor Chain in glory. And go see your mum – the poor woman’s probably worried to death about you.

The Path to Divinity

Bards are great for getting ultra endings with because they become so powerful later on, and so versatile to take on all the challenges. Their ability to change alignment with great ease also comes in very handy, and starting with blessed SLBs means they have a better chance than anyone else to

Demented ratling: Finding the artifacts early on can be hard. Black torc, moon sickle, big punch and phial are all obvious choices, but you may have to make some hard decisions about giving him things like the sword of Nonnak or the ankh if you really want to satisfy him early and kill Keriax sooner.

Gaab’baay: Farmer corpse is more easily attained thanks to pets. PoCC should be gotten from the black druid beforehand when non-chaotic. Monster detection wand is frequent enough, but scroll of danger requires a little luck (potion shop or pickpocketing can help). Wear a dooming item and roam the forests to find a giant boar – they make nice fast pets actually, but you just want their skull.

Keriax: Dragon slaying ammo. ‘Nuff said.

Malakai: Only for OCGs. Use humanoid/demon slayers or melee him/her safely in darkness.

Filk: You do remember your first kill, right? And it was an animal you haven’t killed 500 of, right…? Get the quest from the assassin prince after completing the BDC. Kill him as well for Sting. You’ll find Filk on the level of infinity equal to your first kill. He falls easy to a wand of fireballs.

Emperor moloch: The scintillating cave can be full of dangerous monsters that you really don’t need to kill at this stage of the game. Zip through it if you’re worried about corruption. Use a blessed scroll of magic mapping and wand or scroll of monster detection to find the guy, then teleport over and kill him quickly with blessed humanoid or demon slaying ammo. Pick up the crumpled scroll and teleport out.

Khelavaster: You have saved him right? You’ll find him invisible roaming around Terinyo. You must be non-chaotic when giving him the crumpled scroll to attain the Trident of the Red Rooster. Have fun with it – if you’re planning on UCG then I suggest equipping it straight away and trying it out on Khelly.

Quicling Tree: I think this is worth noting here because the speed from their corpses is handing for fighting Andy. However if you think you can get to ChAoS before day 90 then it’s well worth avoiding this, since the corruption is such a f***er down there.

So, with all that completed it’s time to enter the gate for the final battle. Make sure when stepping through your meet the following requirements:
-not intrinsically cursed or doomed
-crowned champion of correct alignment
-extremely corrupted if C or N
-wearing the crown and medal of chaos
-wielding the sceptre for OCG, the trident for all others

I’d also suggest drinking yourself full of blessed stat-boosting potions and spending at least one wish on speed. Once inside remove the chaos artifacts and drop them (they are not needed) and remove corruption if necessary. Use any blessed scrolls of peace you have. Use a blessed scroll of magic mapping and a wand of monster detection, then teleport over to Andy.

It’s possible to melee him to death with the trident, but the easiest way to kill him is with blessed humanoid and demon slaying missiles. Stand out of direct line with him whilst doing so. If he summons WMoPCs then use a wand of fireballs or crystal of fire to burn them out of your way. He might send spells your way, but he’s very unlikely to hurt you. He has over 10,000 HP so I really hope you brought enough arrows and quarrels along. After a looong time (you’ll likely need more SoCRs) he’ll drop dead, and your divine destiny will be sealed. The dischord has been muted, and you are about to play a new rhythm in the tunes of fate…


Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 3/18/2009 at 22:52 (GMT -5) by Darren Grey]
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1477 days, 19 hours, 15 minutes and 42 seconds ago.
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 13:37 (GMT -5)

Read it. Loved it. A LOT.

Some thoughts below:

Skill descriptions:

Archery: If the manual doesn't lie, the skill gives a +5 to hit bonus at level 100.

Bridge Building: Don't want to be too anal, but you can learn Bridge Building from Yrrigs in Terinyo directly if you have saved him, no need for the manual then (or does he refuse to teach you if you don't have the manual?). Logs weigh 800 stones, not 200 - if they WERE as light as large rations, Bridge Building wouldn't be a thousand times less useful, only ten maybe.

Disarm Traps: Don't you need thieves picks for this too?

First Aid: "Sitting around hoping for recovery" is not the best way to deal with poison if Jharod is nearby. I've had cases where I survived the trek to Jhared only thanks to First Aid, and would've died otherwise. Without poison resistance, the blasted stuff can linger around for a long time.

Gardening: Even one herb seed will make a level able to sustain herbs if successfully planted. After that, you can use holy water to create more patches to get a steady 2x2 patch. This can be useful if you don't want to walk all the way back to the Big Room every time you want herbs. It's a pretty useless skill, but maybe not as completely useless as you said.

Literacy: Not "Learning above 10", but "Learning at least 10".

Swimming: Cursed juice works too, but you need a lot.

About bookcasting in the "Spells" section: It requires 3000 energy points, meaning it takes longer to RECOVER from it. If the spell cast is an emergency teleport to safety, that's no loss. Oh, nevermind, I see you mention that in the talents section.

About the level 25 class power related to the skill section: It might be good to mention that you should refrain from wishing for skills until level 25 unless you need it early. There's a chance that you'll get the skill anyway. And again you mentioned it later on! Maybe good to mention it earlier for the guys who dare not to read this through to the end - on the other hand, screw them - not our fault they have no taste.

About Jharod, and unlimited potions: Are you sure you need to heal the pet in front of him? I think Trinity, the famous one-kill chaos god, went to the Water Cave with a pet and just kept healing it there to get the potions of ultra healing she needed to increase HP to halfway decent levels.

About greater vaults: Dont forget the blue ' or the green = (ring of immunity, though its value can be debatable) or ) (emerald dagger, which I find better than executor because most demons are humanoid anyway and it poisons and crits). Also, giant greature vaults are easy enough with a strong melee weapon and leave you with many tasty, tasty corpses.

I think the potion of uselessness works if you throw it against a wall as long as you get propelled at least one square, i. e. you must not throw it against the walls of the corridor, but you can throw it against the wall right behind you when you go down. At least that's what I think I've done often enough, and I think it always worked.

Won't crystals of fire only work to regain speed as a drakeling if you use them with a sling?

I think it's unfair not to mention the wand of destruction method. I agree it is for pussies in some way, but there are those that simply aren't capable of handling all the enemies at this point because of hard fights beforehand and having trouble with corruptions.

I'd not hesitate to give the demented ratling Nonnak's sword for even a split-second, personally. Five willpower in exchange for having to fight with a melee weapon with the offensive power of a glorified butter knife? Also, mention that you can spend sucky precrownings on him.

You forgot to mention you need to be level 45 to get the Filk quest. Worth considering since you need to be at least neutral to get the TotRR, and if you want to be the Ultimate Chaos God that's as early as you can go get crowned chaotic.

And the most important requirement for an ultra ending also sadly went unmentioned: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY OR UNHOLY: DON'T BE A TROLL!
You drop the golden ball.
You kick the golden ball. It slides to the west.
Suddenly Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, appears! "That's not how you play Quidditch! are you even listening?"
Which direction? (123456789) 4
Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, is hit by a bolt of acid! Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, is annihilated.
You hear the ecstatic cries of a large crowd!
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Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 14:52 (GMT -5)

A few things I think may also be true:

Bridge Building - Strength of Atlas can help you carry a ton of logs downwards. I actually used it once for this... don't forget that from below it's only 5-6 sections you have to abridge and you can carry two times as much with the Strength of Atlas.

Useful pet alert - if you're level 25, need a pet and are reasonably tough, I suppose you could go to the forest and tame a giant boar.
1l= Y0(_) [4l\l R34[) 7l-l15, Y0(_) l\/l(_)57 83 PR377Y G00[).
Darren Grey
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Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 16:27 (GMT -5)

Some good points there Silfir - will modify the guide at some point. I'm pretty sure Disarm Traps doesn't require picks, but I'll test it. Gardening isn't very reliable unless it's at 100, and it's easy to go a whole game without finding a herb seed - still worthless. Didn't bother mentioning cursed carrot juice for swimming because I don't know how many it takes and you're more likely to have uncursed. Healing *must* be done in front of Jharod - check out the Trinity posts on RGRA and you'll see that's detailed there too (though general healing in the water cave was used for alignment change separately). The artifacts I mentioned to look out for in vaults are just meant to be examples (and are my favourite couple). Crystals of fire can be thrown - no slings needed. I've never done wand of destruction, so I couldn't easily write about it - anyone interested can check other guides. Nonnak's sword is usually handed over without regret, but some bards might be relying on ball spells a bit - can be handy in the tower if you have ice or acid ball for instance. Later on it, the RotHK and the elemental gauntlets can all easily go, along with whatever other junk you find, but early on they can be tougher choices. I'm not sure about the potion of uselessness, and I don't think I want to test it - I know long ago I used one and didn't get a gift, and wasn't too happy about it.

And I already said not to play trolls. At all. Will emphasise though that playing a Troll bard for Ultra is even more stupid.

Maul: At level 25 a giant boar is no use to you. They're good pets mind, mostly for their speed, and they will get a mention in the Pets section when I write it. Perhaps if trained up they'd be good, but killer bugs are still better. Will give it some testing though.
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 5/8/2008 at 16:32 (GMT -5) by Darren Grey]
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> don't forget that from below it's only 5-6
> sections you have to abridge


> and you can carry two times as much with
> the Strength of Atlas.

I thought the carrying capacity bonus was
10 x mana stat.

Well, I am not through reading this great
guide yet, but I don't think I will get more
time to read through it tonight. I will post
a few thoughts now, and a few more tommorow.

I will list only some spelling glitches, that
spell-checkers might miss. If you have no
interest in these, just mention it, and I'll
(try to) stop : )

> extremely useful, and the reduction is fire
> magic costs can be handy too


> Raven - +10 speed, doppelganger resistance,


> quite a few levels yourself to become better
> that this beast


> Getting it to 100 if very helpful for learning
> spells

is very

> It's starts off at 1, so you'll usually


> Toughness improved your PV, and most importan


> Dexterity if the most important stat for a
> semi-archer


> weapon skills should not be neglected by
> anyone wanting specialise in

wanting to specialize

Now for the (hopefully) more relevant thoughts:

> and will likely suffer less corruption in the
> later game thanks to spending less game time
> in the wilderness.

I know what that means, but it kind of makes it
sound like the wilderness is corrupting.

> Tree - +5 Wi, harder to change alignment
> Rating: 1/5
> Willpower is of no value in the early game

It is of little value, but it does give a few
extra HP's.

> Giant Racoon
> Immense stalker of tiny gnomes.
> DV/PV 13/4

If only the gnomes could start with that much
PV : )

> recipes to brew a new potion (usually comes
> out blessed too).

I'm pretty sure, the status of the mixed potion
is entirely based on how high the alchemy skill
is trained. I recently mixed 10 potions of
longevity with my troll assasin, as soon as he
got the recipe. Only four came out blessed. On
the other hand, I have mixed ~10 potions of
deafness with alchemy at 100, and (sadly) all
were blessed.

> The skill doesn't actually do anything other
> than supposedly let you cross mountain
> wilderness squares

It also helps you climb out of holes faster.
This is useful for PC's that depend on melee
attacks, when they dig graves. You can't hit
(or run from) that emperor lich, until you climb
out of that blasted hole.

> Book-casting costs more PP and takes longer,
> meaning it's unwise to use in dangerous
> situations.

This kind of makes it sound like the extra
energy points are consumed, before the spell
takes affect. Actually, the spell takes affect
immediately. The extra energy points are
consumed, after your re-location is complete.
Still, it is dangerous to use in a place like

Put me in the 'fool filter', where I belong!
Darren Grey
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1648 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 32 seconds ago.
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 19:18 (GMT -5)

You have a good eye for spelling errors - I'm impressed. Keep them coming :) Will update with the other details too.
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 21:06 (GMT -5)

Firstly, let me start by saying "booo".

Why you so mean to trolls? I'm actually a bit surprised at the immense lack of objectivity regarding this race. I would not consider playing a trollish bard as 'stupid'. Challenging, yes, but not plain stupid. I know there is a lot of prejudice against trolls (what a great way to start a sentence), but trolls are just as capable of making a ULE as any other race (I will refrain from adding "if not even more"). Seriously, Darren. Boo.

Secondly, bards can obtain necromancy at lvl 25.

Furthermore, I will not read any of your books if the Unicorn starsign is worthless in all of them.

To sum up:
-necromancy obtainable
-unicorn starsign not worthless

(I have to get back to you on the positive things, right now my heart is broken. I'll be down at the pub - in tears; cursing people for their prejudice against trolls; getting ogled at by old ladies in a non-accepting fashion; getting comforted by the occasional pro-troll bypasser; feeling a bit weird about being comforted by pro-troll bypassers; getting hammered and waking up next morning with a tr... a really hot, hot lady)
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I'm currently writing up a troll guide. Perhaps
then trolls will get some lovin'. I consider
myself very pro-troll, but even I'll admit they
make lousy bards. Could a troll bard even BE roll

*A 7'5", 573 lb. troll cheerfully frollicks
(stomps) through the forest, playing a flute,
while tiny woodland creatures follow faithfully


Put me in the 'fool filter', where I belong!

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 5/8/2008 at 23:04 (GMT -5) by gut]
Darren Grey
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Posted on Friday, May 09, 2008 at 04:18 (GMT -5)

I like trolls, but I don't think they suit bards at all. Just in the same way I like wizards, but don't think they're great true berserking with two-handers. The playstyles just don't fit well. Of course I'm welcome to hear other opinions, but you'll have to give me at least some reasons why you should play trolls as bards instead of some other class :P
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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Trollish bards seem to be good in various challenges:
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spell takes affect

Effect. For the grammar nazi. :]

and you can carry two times as much with
the Strength of Atlas.

I thought the carrying capacity bonus was
10 x mana stat.

There are many things I don't know, but as for that... MUCH HIGHER. I think I saw them in the 10k's with some character.
1l= Y0(_) [4l\l R34[) 7l-l15, Y0(_) l\/l(_)57 83 PR377Y G00[).

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 5/9/2008 at 08:23 (GMT -5) by Maul]
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I am actually very poor at spelling, and I never
spellcheck anything I post here, unless it is a
guide or something that might wind up on the
blogspot. The reason for pointing out the typos
in the guide, is that spellcheckers sometimes
miss them.

For the SoA spell it's '1000 x mana stat', not
'10 x mana stat'. That was another typo. The SoA
spell can get your carrying cappacity into the 10k
range, if your mana stat is 10 or above.

Put me in the 'fool filter', where I belong!
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Ah, I see. It was just a joke, anyways. :) I don't think there are too many characters other than trollish/orcish nonwizards that don't even have 10 mana. So I suppose the log problem's solved. (10 logs are 8k)
1l= Y0(_) [4l\l R34[) 7l-l15, Y0(_) l\/l(_)57 83 PR377Y G00[).
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"Level 12 – +1d3 skill levels in 6 random weapon skills
I’ve not seen this affect anything other than melee weapons – I’m open to correction though."

both time i have gotten this i have gotten some levels in 1 missile weapon, so it's possible (i though propable, but guess not) also it did seem that the weapon skill upgrades tended to favor skills you allready had at a bit higher point, altho not always ofcourse, but that mugth be me imagining...
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1477 days, 19 hours, 15 minutes and 42 seconds ago.
Posted on Friday, May 09, 2008 at 12:02 (GMT -5)

You know, doppelganger might be a typo, but that's actually how it's written in German (ignoring the fact that it starts with a capital latter there, being a noun, and that there's an umlaut on the a).

What the hell kind of word is "greature", incidentally? I meant to write "greater". Man, I must've been tired.
You drop the golden ball.
You kick the golden ball. It slides to the west.
Suddenly Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, appears! "That's not how you play Quidditch! are you even listening?"
Which direction? (123456789) 4
Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, is hit by a bolt of acid! Harry Potter, the apprentice wizard, is annihilated.
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Darren Grey
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Posted on Friday, May 09, 2008 at 15:13 (GMT -5)

zov: That troll only got to level 50 through a wish engine, and ended up in such a state that starting race is irrelevant. The guide isn't exactly intended for people employing extremely advanced tactics like that.
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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Finished it, and learned a bunch!

More spelling glitches, that might not be caught
by a spellchecker:

> The stairs is up at the top left


> bug pet is well-trained and bale to take on


> lightning bolt attacks (which will annoyingly
> drop any loot your kills drop)

destroy any loot

> D48 is best crossed by zapping a wand of
> digging to the north-west and kicking yourself


Some (hopefully) more useful thoughts:

> Wishes

No mention of bracers of resistance? I think they
make a great early-mid game wish. Saving Khelly
is better, so are RDSM's, and maybe some extra
SLB's too, but I would rank the bracers above
the eternium shields, and armor for sure.

Bracers of resistance have the following traits:

They will likely fill an empty slot in your
equipment, so you don't have to give up anything
to use them.

They will never become obsolete. They are valuable
in the early, mid, and late game. Making them a
fine choice for your scrolls of protection/defense.

You can wear (and benefit from) them, even in
places like the ToEF and Air Temple. This is one
more reason to invest your scrolls in them. The
SLB's will not likely join you in these places.

Once rustproofed, they are nearly indestructable,
yet another reason to invest improvements here.
They will be much safer here than on SLB's.
Of course, if you do a lot of smithing, your
scrolls are better used elsewhere.

(Off the top of my head, I can't think of any
non-artifact item that is more indestructable.
Maybe eternium gear, but I seem to have memories
of losing some piece of eternium to an acid trap.
Maybe that's just glitchy memories though.)

If you do smith the bracers up, they use iron
ingots, the most abundant ore available. That
means it's even an option for easily bored
players, like me.

> I'd advise you to get them to attack Kranach
> first – give the initial order to the toughest
> of your pets

I have zero experience in doing this quest (any
quest) with pets. I wonder if you would get
credit for the kill, if your cave bear (or
whatever) kills Kranach.

> spend some time on VD 1 and 2 building up your
> character

I consider VD 4 to be a safe place to get some
levels as well. If you get poisoned or sick on
VD 2, your (probably) dead, but on VD 4 your
safe. Like you mentioned though, monsters are
a bit more dangerous there.

> Hotzenplotz is too dangerous to take on now

Not with the right tactics, he's not : )
I know you might not want to clog up the guide,
by explaining obscure battle tactics, but here
they are... just in case. Killing Hotz and gang
can be accomplished safely with any PC of any
exp. level. All you need is ~30 gold pieces,
and all the rocks you can get hold of, at least

Drop some gold pieces between Hotz's hut and
the river to the upper right hand corner. Throw
a rock at Hotz, and retreat to the river. Your
plan is to use the river as a Hotz-proof shield.
If the weight of the rocks slow you down, stash
them above the river before attacking. Hotz will
stop his pursuit periodically, to pick up single
gold pieces. This will give you plenty of time
to get above the river, and Hotz will come to
stand directly below you.

If you have hordes of rocks, set your tactics to
coward, and attack, this will maximize your
missile skill marks. If you don't have hordes
of rocks, just throw them while berserk.

> mystic's room and chat to him in the hope of
> getting some scrolls of chaos resistance (the
> exact requirements of this are unknown)

Should mention you at least have to be neutral.
Chaotics get nothing, and I'm pretty sure that
lawfuls never get the SoCR's.

> Crossing the animated forest is best done using

Should mention darkness, as a 'save your skin'

> greater earth elementals. For other races
> these can be dangerous friends to have around,
> but with the bard loyalty power you'll be able
> to safely use them

Relatively safely. If you hit the wrong trap,
you get an insta-death.

> You only *have* to kill Rehetep,

Too true. There is a feature (bug?) in the game
that cuts out Rehetep's speech. You know the
message he gives, if you approach while invisible,
that wakes up the whole level. Well, if you
teleport to stand directly in front of him, he
will use his turn to attack, instead of shouting
the wake-up call. This is much prefered to
having the monsters wake up, if there is a
dangerous one in there that can see invisible.

> Griff can be damned hard in melee,

No mention of holy water? Darkness, blindness
for Nonnak?

> useless heavy artifact – I'd recommend selling

Unless I am mistaken, I think you get more value
out of it, by saccing it.

> If you don't have a climbing set get one

If you bring the two guaranteed ones, you can
stash one on the first level. This isn't
neccesary, but it could possibly save you a big
headache. It's rarely needed though, so might
just clog up the guide.

> Door is trapped, so be sure you can deal with
> that (wand of knocking works beautifully).

Square key also. Maybe more clog though.

> 4 items that give you fire resistance (2 if
> you have intrinsic resistance from a corpse

If you have pursued the PV line, and aquired
the immune to pain talent, only three are
needed. Handy, because you should have two -fire
rings, and the Elemental Gauntlets by now.

> Missiles: Dragon slayers make very short work
<snip a bit>
> Avoid his energy ray by never staying out of
> range.

'Never staying out of range'? You mean never
standing in a straight firing line?

> Picking up poison hands or stiff muscles can
> severely hamper your chances of success

Not poison hands. That would increase your chance
of beating the tower. It would however, severly
hamper your chance of remaining sane, should you
forget about it when picking up all your gear

> It’s best to use a torch for better visual
> range and apply music with ‘U’ (frustrating to
> do, since you need to keep going through your
> backpack to find the musical instrument)

Haven't done this with instruments, but it works
with some other items. You can stick an item in
your missile slot to speed up the 'U'sing process.

> In the first room keep using music and hope
> for the best that all the greater claw bugs
> attacking are killed or calmed.

I think there is a cap per level, of how many
animals you can tame. You can have more than
three pets, but you can't tame more, until you
are down to two. My only experience with this
was with 'Piper', my exp. level 1 dark elven
bard, that I tamed the BUGWIL with, so I could
very well be wrong here. The cap may apply only
to 'taming' the animals, not 'calming' them, but
I don't remember.

> Magic missiles and lightning bolt bounce

I have had the experience in the past of having
destroyed the statue in the middle of the room,
using lightning bolt. If one uses lightning bolt,
it is indeed best to bounce it, as opposed to '
shooting it straight downward.

This is probably just clog though, probably
leave this out.

> it's best to confuse the shopkeeper first
> and kill him in darkness.

I think ventriloquism is the only confusion
source, that doesn't cause cursing. In practice,
you can only get the shopkeeper to 'moderately
wounded' before he runs like a scared rabbit.

> Cast Farsight if you have it and zap a wand
> of detect traps before

Also, neclace of the eye, and a torch.

> If he's not confused or blinded then be sure
> to keep your distance when shooting him to
> stay out of range of his spells

Is that possible? I didn't think the Archmage
had a limit to his bolt range. The safest method
of killing him that I know of, is to lure him
to a place where you can stand just out of a
straight line with him. He will use nothing but
his useless frost bolt, from then on out. He
won't even run away when he panics, he just
fires more frost bolts.

Again, maybe just more clog, as the methods you
describe would work fine.

> . Be sure to fire a potion of uselessness
> against an empty square too (not against a
> wall) to get a free artifact.

The best way I have heard this described was by
Moloch, I think. 'No slide, no gift.' That makes
perfect sense, because you are being rewarded
for using the 'useless' to travel. If you describe
it like 'fire a PoU against an empty square',
there could be confusion. I'm sure someone will
toss one straight to the left, upon entering D:49,
and wonder "Where's my gift!".

> Their ability to change alignment with great
> ease also comes in very handy, and starting
> with blessed SLBs means they have a better
> chance than anyone else to

Missing segment, or just a ':' or '.' ?

> Black torc, moon sickle, big punch and
> phial are all obvious choices

Was CoS left out because of the Le boost?

> Keriax: Dragon slaying ammo. 'Nuff said

Maybe also mention confusion resistance.

> the assassin prince after completing the BDC.
> Kill him as well for Sting

You make it sound easy! He is sometimes a tough

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2306 days, 20 hours, 50 minutes and 28 seconds ago.
Posted on Friday, May 09, 2008 at 23:20 (GMT -5)

> Reasons to Play a Bard
> -starts with a pet

I think one reason to play a bard, is their
excellent skill increase modifiers.

For instance, a troll necromancer usually
starts with the Food Preservation skill at
~50, and the modifier at 1. I haven't seen
1d5, and even 1d3 is pretty rare, usually
it's just plain 1. This is pretty annoying,
because they are 'double trained' in FP.
Meaning they get it once from class, and
once again from race. The guidebook leads
one to believe there is some benefit to
this, but it (unfortunately) means nothing.
At least in this case.

On the other hand, I have not seen any
bard skill modifier start below 3d4, and
4d5 is the prevalent modifier. This can
make a big difference for skills that get
much more powerful as they rise. A Food
Preservation skill of 100 is much better
than at ~50.

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Darren Grey
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1648 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 32 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 09:37 (GMT -5)

Many thanks for all the tips and corrections. Going throguh the guide copy I have here and updating it (I won't update the forum post yet). Modifications I'm making based on everything said here (in order of their appearance in the thread):

Archery: Manual says +1 to hit per 25 of the score, which is a max of +4 like I stated. Am I misreading something?

Bridge Building: Corrected availability and log weight. Added note saying "you may want to keep the manual safe in case you have no choice but to use this."

Disarm traps: Tested - thieves picks are not needed.

First Aid: Added Jharod note.

Gardening: Added line "Can be used to start up herb generation on any level (which then requires many holy waters to make up a decent number of squares) but often fails at low skill levels."

Literacy: Corrected.

Book-casting: "Unwise to use in dangerous situations" is admittedly vague, but I can't think of a brief way of explaining it better. Teleport is still unwise to use unless you have to - in a dangerous situation you're better off with a wand or scroll.

L25 extra skills: Note added saying "You might want to get all the Yergius skills, even the useless ones, and max them out so you don’t end up with them. Wishes for skills and potions/scrolls of education are best used after getting skills from this, unless used early."

PoU on D49: Corrected to "Be sure to fire a potion of uselessness to get a free artifact (it must make you slide though)."

Crystals of fire: Changed to "thrown crystals of fire". Also found a spelling error that gut missed! (Drakelings)

Ratling fodder: Added "Crown of science and sword of Nonnak are also available if you don’t mind losing them in exchange for getting to Keriax earlier. Perhaps some poor precrownings can get a use here too."

Filk: Added "You need to be level 45 to get the quest, but only trolls will have trouble with that."

SoA and Bridge building: Added note to High Kings tomb section saying "hopefully that won’t be necessary, but if so blessed girdles of carrying and strength of atlas and a bloody tonne of patience can all help."

SLBs + corruption: Expanded line to "will likely suffer less corruption in the later game thanks to spending less game time in the wilderness, thus improving their chances of getting to highly corrupting areas before the corruption rate doubles (day 90)."

Tree Willpower: Changed from "no use" to "little use" :P

Alchemy: Changed to "usually comes out blessed when trained".

Climbing: Changed to "Lets you traverse wilderness mountain squares if you have a climbing set, and improves your chances of climbing out of pits (handy when gravedigging)."

Necromancy: Updated about availability. Trolls and Unicorn sign are still worthless for bards though, Sulangatori :P

L12 weapon skills: Changed to "This can increase melee or missile skills, though I’m not sure about shields." Will test this out more to see more about chances etc. Also noted "Gremlin place is a good place to train for plenty of marks with few xp gains, though for precrown-hunters it does mean generating another artifact. Swamp hydras gives plenty of marks too, and are tough enough to take many hits without dying, and with care and attention care be taken on safely using hack ‘n’ back (be careful with swamp terrain slowing you down though)."

Kranach: Killing him with pets lead to no reward from the sheriff, but does get you the appropriate line in your flg. Updated the section to state "You need good offence yourself too, because Kranach must die by your own hands. If a pet kills Kranach the sheriff will give you no reward. ..... When you move your faithful friends will make their grand entrance. Get them to attack the raiders, blocking them off aiming at you, but be sure to keep them away from Kranach himself. Go for Kranach as soon as you can whilst your pets are tied up and kill him quickly. He’s very tough, so you need good PV and a damaging weapon, or maybe some sort of bolt wand. SLBs can be used for hack ‘n’ back, but be sure to switch to Coward when moving as his missiles can hurt bad. The rest of the mob can be mopped up one by one – use SLBs to stop yourself getting surrounded and keep a missile shield nearby at all times."

I've heard of this problem with killing the sheriff for Hotzy too. Will do more testing with various assassination quests and put info on it into the general Pets section.

VD1/2 safety: Added to the note about staying on low levels stating "though venturing down to VD4 gives the option of being healed and cured of poison/sickness by Jharod." Also made the safest path clear at the start of the walkthrough: "The safest option from there is to go to VD1 and stay there till you have over 60 HP. After that you can explore with less risk. Doing this will save you a lot of frustration from spending time generating characters that inevitably die."

Dwarven mystic: "neutral alignment is necessary, though the exact requirements are unknown" - can't believe I forgot to state that clearly! Chaotics get nothing by the way - the mystic says something like "You're not the one I've been waiting for!" and disappears. Was really pissed off when that happened to me last - I completely forgot to check my alignment since I'm almost always neutral.

Animated Forest: Noted that the trees don't fight back in darkness. However with two shields and SLBs bards should have no trouble crossing - I rarely have troubles here personally.

Griff/Nonnak: I don't like the holy water tactic myself - if people want to use that then they can find out from the guidebook. Added a note to say that neither can fight back in darkness though.

Big Punch: Changed to "selling or saccing". I don't think there's much difference, and the gold is more versatile.

ACW's energy ray: "Never staying out of range" changed to "staying out of range"!

Poison hands: It may come in useful in the tower, but not if you want to eat or use healing potions - can definitely be a huge hindrance if you don't notice it.

Instrument in missile slot: A great tactic, and duly noted.

Animal taming cap: There is indeed a cap of 3 animals per level you can tame - hadn't considered that properly. You can keep calming though even after you have 3 pets. You can also take some pets off the level to allow you to tame others. Changed some of the tactics and wording to be more appropriate.

Csino shopkeeper: Changed wording to "Be careful if you want to rob the shop – the shopkeeper and his minions are very dangerous (though they don’t fight back in darkness). You may also be cursed if you don’t use Ventriloquism on him first."

MT traps: Changed to "Improve visibility with Farsight, necklace of the eye and a torch"

Nuurgy's bolts: His death ray is of limited range at least - 5 squares I think, though I try not to let myself be in a position to have that tested. I don't think his energy stretches too far either. I could be wrong though... I'll test this out further. If my acid-spitter gets that far he'll ertainly find out :P

Ultra intro: Heh, somehow I didn't write in half the intro I intended. The full words: "Their ability to change alignment with great ease also comes in very handy, and starting with blessed SLBs means they have a better chance than anyone else to get to Andy before day 90, thus helping with the immense corruption problems any aspiring god suffers from. Also their crowning gifts are nothing special, so you’re not missing out by putting that off."

Keriax: I wanted to keep things brief (anyone going for ultra should read up a lot more) but I suppose it's worth more detail: "Dragon slaying ammo kills him quickly, or normal arrows dipped in poison will slowly take him down at low levels. Run around him avoiding his bolts and have extremely good confusion resistance."

Assassin Prince: Is he not easy? :P I've only taken him on with very powerful characters. Since this is noted in the ultra section I expect readers to do the same.

Skill increases: "good skill increase modifiers" added to reasons to play a bard.

Spelling corrections added, though my spell-checker prefers "doppelganger" to "doppleganger". Checking this out online, it seems that TB is the one with his spelling wrong! As a Germanic word you'd think he'd get the spelling of "doppelganger" right!

Thanks for all the corrections and suggestions guys - they really help. Will let you know when I have the Pets section completed, though it will take a lot of testing I haven't time for right now (exams about to hit).
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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3041 days, 20 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 11:25 (GMT -5)

Trolls are far more suited for surviving the early game than most other races. That's one excellent reason for rolling a trollish bard. Slow experience accumulating can be used for a good thing. Trolls are by far the most suited race for doing both puppy quest and Kranach quest without much hazard involved, due to slow leveling up and good PV. That's two. Two excellent reasons why trolls should be regarded as something more than simply "worthless" as bards. Not ideal, yes, but worthless...

And what about their regeneration rate? Healing is not needed with trolls and many times players find themselves in situations where they have to make a hard choice between healing or herbalism. Three. Three perfectly good reasons for playing trollish bards.

On a side note, I think you should also make it clear that bards are perfectly playable without the heir gift. People tend to forget that.
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3208 days, 5 hours, 3 minutes and 48 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 12:42 (GMT -5)

Hey, thanks for a great guide Darren, this made me want to go try and get another bard off the ground (mine usually die in freak incidents from bad luck). Was actually doing pretty well with this one, until i ran out of satiation while fighting Hotzenplotz and had to eat. He then proceeded to destroy me. Oh well, I'll try again. =)
Going for 2nd win
Darren Grey
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1648 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 33 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 13:53 (GMT -5)

Sulangatori: All good points to play trolls, but not trollish bards. My whole point is that this class isn't so good for trolls compared with other classes. The fighter-type classes suit it's natural strengths better and the spellcasting classes let it multitask a lot more (as bards they have trouble with spells). The only classes worse for trolls might be elementalists and mindcrafters. There's nothing in the guide that can't be applied to trolls anyway, other than mentioning that you can steamroll through the early game with one.

And yes, bards can be played quite easily without the Heir gift. But the Heir gift is so damned nice that it's a shame to give up on. Many people are attracted to the class just for the joy of starting with blessed SLBs.

FantomFang: You paused to eat during a fight with Hotzy? Uh, I must say that's possibly not the best of tactics. Especially when the option's open to leave the area, eat and come back. Best of luck next time though :)

Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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3041 days, 20 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 14:51 (GMT -5)

>isn't so good

Well, this is such a more appropriate way to describe trollish bards than "stupid" and "worthless". It will do for now.
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Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 16:25 (GMT -5)

To my eyes, the only special benefit that trolls
get from the bard class, is skill increase
advantages. I think bards get 2 free skill
increases per level, (was that mentioned in the
guide?) just for being a bard. Also, they get
insanely high skill increase modifiers, 4d5 most

Other classes (like monk for example) might offer
more reliable skills, but how fast can you expect
them to increase to 100. It can take a long time,
when your level-ups are few and far between.
Especially when you have to increase your skills
1d5 at a time, with only three advances per level.

A troll BARD on the other hand, would be able to
increase his (hopefully) great skills by 4d5 at
a time. Very useful since you get five increases
per level-up.

I haven't tested, but a troll, with the right
skill set, may deal more damage than the true
fighter types. Well, once he's trained them up
a bit anyway : )

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Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 19:45 (GMT -5)

Darren Grey
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1648 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes and 33 seconds ago.
Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 01:38 (GMT -5)

2 extra skill advances...? How the hell did I not know about that?! Guide revision time! Will include this new information and expand the trolls section, since that is a fair point. I still think it's a shame most trolls won't see the L50 power, but they do have other advantages like getting more use from the L12 power since they'll have built weapon skills up more.
Waldenbrook, the dwarven shopkeeper, mumbles: "I'd offer 9 gold pieces for yer dwarven child corpse."
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Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 09:03 (GMT -5)

I did test a bit, about troll bard vs true troll
melee type damage. The bard's find weakness skill
tends to start a bit lower, so does level out to
1d3 when approaching 100. The true melee type
still has the advantage on damage. Same thing
with dodge.

However, all the bard's skills do increase at a
very fast rate. Quickly getting find weakness and
dodge into even the 70's provides big benefits.
Most pronounced, is how fast the trolls natural
skills increase. Food preservation, athletics, and
gemology, all rocket to very high levels in no
time. Meaning extra speed, corpses, and gems all
over the place.

I started up a troll mindcrafter, just for the
sake of comparison. Oh goodness, the athletics
skill is at 47, and only increases by 1d3. Food
preservation is at 61, and only increases by 1.
Herbalism, climbing, and stealth, are all in
their 40's now (at exp. level 9) all with
modifiers of 1d5. Horrible. Funny, I never paid
much attention to how much impact these modifiers
have on gameplay, before this guide : )

The mindcrafting troll (snicker) found a stupid
eternium halberd, upon entering the SMC. Now I
have to play him! It'll be good practice for the
troll guide, so I won't complain : )

About troll leveling problems: Theoretically, any
troll can get to level 50, as soon as they get
to the eternal guardian. I will try to include in
the troll guide, some methods for killing many
incarnations safely.

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3041 days, 20 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 15:52 (GMT -5)

It's a very nice guide. As a student I like the lay-out because it's very formal and well-structured. Good thing to start these guides, so well done to Silfir and Grey and the rest.

Have you seen the wiki-adom?
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Lord of DurisMud

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2551 days, 27 minutes and 56 seconds ago.
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 18:48 (GMT -5)

A lot of Troll bashing here, but I actually ask this in earnest:

"I can't think of a worst choice of class for Trolls"

I suspect there is a typo there, worse instead of worst, but I must say it turned out pretty cool the way it is written here. I can relate to that.

Why is not Beastfighter or Monk worse for Trolls? Even more level-dependant...
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Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 03:02 (GMT -5)

I think it's worth to try taming at least one green 'i' in Bug Temple at level 1 even if you haven't SLB. It's really easy, and helps a lot. Not necessary to tame every bug - just take one, that's enough in the beginning!
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