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Ancient Domains Of Mystery, forum overview / Spoilers / An ADOM Tutorial

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Writer of Overly Long Guides

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1477 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 4 seconds ago.
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 16:29 (GMT -5)

I figured I should probably let this see the light of day. Mainly I'm interested in suggestions on what to include in the strategy guide part.


X. Introduction

A. Basic Controls
I. A Trip to Terinyo
1. Creating a Character
2. The Interface Explained, and Moving
3. Reaching Terinyo
4. Interacting with NPCs
II. Onwards to XP and Loot!
1. A Typical ADOM Dungeon
2. Kicking Asses
3. Doors and Traps
4. Gaining a Level
5. Basic, important commands
B. Sort of Advanced Strategies That Will Hopefully Help You
I. The Art of Battle
1. About Weapon Skills, To Hit and Damage
2. Tactics Settings
3. Archery and Magic
4. What to Do When Things Look Bad (Plus an Accidental Lecture on Dealing with Divine Powers)
5. PV and DV Charts
II. Early Game Tips
1. Building Characters
2. How to begin?
III. Travelling
1. The 'Walk' Command
2. Neat things you might not know
3. Loot Management
4. Food Management
5. Dealing with Sickness and Poisoning

X: Introduction

Welcome to An ADOM Tutorial! This document hopes to educate the interested reader in the very basics of the ADOM game. If you read this right now, you have probably also already downloaded the game. Maybe you even have already taken a look at it and are now thoroughly confused! No surprise there, really - ADOM is a daunting task, and there's nothing there to make it in any way easy for you to learn it if you have never played a roguelike before. Reading the manual from start to finish may be an option, but not exactly the perfect way to learn, considering it is as much fun as studying for final exams.

Experience plays a major role in ADOM. Not only does it follow the proud RPG tradition of basing character progress on ominous "experience points", it also makes it necessary for you, the player, to accumulate a lot of experience in playing the game. Because death is permanent in ADOM (in theory), every one of the numerous mistakes you make due to inexperience can mean that you can't do anything except roll up a new character. This will happen a lot. Who am I kidding - it will happen all the time for a while, until you get better. ADOM is a difficult, and sometimes unfair game - a challenge. It is also mind-numbingly fun and addictive once you learn to play it!

This tutorial has two parts. The first teaches you all that you need to know to get into the action with an actual (sort of) step-by-step start, and the second will teach you more things that should help you learn to stay alive in the early game. If you've already experimented a bit with the game, you will already know many of the things in the upcoming tutorial, but I'll try to mention everything important anyway.

A. Basic controls

I. A Trip to Terinyo

1. Creating a Character

Run the game! If it's the Windows version (referred to as winbeta4 on the downloads page), you'll already be inside a window, with the DOS version running in Windows you can press ALT-RETURN to window it so you can read along while playing. The game tends to lag a bit if you do this, however. Whether you want the winbeta or DOS version on a Windows PC, incidentally, depends on whether you like to play in fullscreen mode. DOS offers fullscreen, winbeta does not. It's not all that important, since saves are compatible between the two versions. If you don't run Windows, then you can only choose the appropriate version (the one for Mac and the one for Linux). Later, you might want to do a google search for ADOM Sage, a pretty advanced ADOM frontend. But let's not carried away.

We'll start with generating a character.

You can of course play whatever you want, but I'd advise you to play an orcish barbarian for this tutorial. I can understand if you don't like the thought of playing an orcish barbarian, but bear with me. Remember that you can suicide him any way you want after we're finished tutorialling.

Character generation starts with the starsign. I'll not go into detail here, if you want to see all the starsigns, take a look at the manual later. We'll ignore this for our tutorial character. Later, you might want to base your choice of class on your starsign.

Now the question of whether you want a specific character type. Well, orcish barbarian is pretty specific, so we'll do that. If you let fate decide, you will not be able to select race and class, and we could end up with something so weak that it dies to a rat if you're not careful. Not good. Orcish barbarians do not carry that risk, because they are always ridiculously powerful.

Male or female really doesn't matter. I had to play for years until I learnt there actually is a minor difference. In this case, because we're going with an orcish barbarian, we'll probably want a male, because that image is slightly easier to stomach, but of course it's up to you - I'll refer to him as a he later on, however, just so you know.

Choose orc, barbarian. Again, check the manual later for more information on the races and classes.

Now you'll see a story of how your orcish barbarian grew up. This is not just flavour - the story will later be reflected by your attributes somewhat, i. e. if you were frail and sickly as a child, you'll get a lower toughness attribute. Press SPACE to continue, in any case.

The next prompt will be the question of whether you want to generate your attributes randomly or answer questions. This is up to you. The questions are actually fun to answer the first couple of times, but sooner or later you'll become sick of them. It doesn't matter for the tutorial. No, really, the effects of the questions aren't all that great.

Question answering or not, the next prompt is the choice of your first talent (or talents). Talents are a way to optimize your character, and you will get to choose more later. Pick something you think sounds cool (or useful). The only thing I'll say now is that many talents that are not on the list can be unlocked by choosing other talents beforehand, and that you can look at the manual if you want to know more.

After you have chosen your talent or talents, you'll be asked to provide a name for your character. Go crazy - I'll refer to your orcish barbarian as "Orcbarb" from this point on. If you're reading this in Notepad or something, you can enter "Orcbarb" in the "Replace" prompt in case you want me to refer him by another name.

Now the really confusing part begins.

2. The Interface Explained, and Moving

Let's start off with a look at your keyboard. Yes, that thing right in front of you... This - this WHOLE thing - is what you play ADOM with.

In ADOM, not only do most letters stand each for their own (at times esoteric) command, the capital letters and many of the special keys do as well, and sometimes you even have to use the Alt and Ctrl keys too! Talk about complicated. The good news is that you don't need that many commands - some are entirely unnecessary. Anyway, for the sake of this tutorial (and ADOM writings elsewhere) you should remember that lowercase/UPPERCASE matters for basic interface commands. For instance, "e" is a different command from "E".

Now look at the screen. The basic ADOM interface consists of three parts:

First, you will see one or two lines at the top that talk about the weather being mild and comfortable and a slight wind blowing. On Mondays and some other special days (Friday the 13th, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, 2nd of July) different messages are displayed, but they don't matter right now. Anyway, these two lines are the message prompt. Here is where the game will communicate with you, the player! Let's continue.

Look to the right, just below the message prompt. There are some ^s, some brown dots and a brown @. Get used to that @ - that is you. Yes, your orcish barbarian, reduced to a tiny brown @. Your PC always is a @, but the color is class-dependant. Let's be happy we don't have to actually look at Orcbarb! Now, these strange characters are actually the upper rightmost part of a map - the map that is called the wilderness map. It is a map of the Drakalor chain, where the entire game takes place. From here, you'll be able to access many locations - dungeons, towns, caves, forests, plains and so forth. For now, the brown dots are a road, and the ^s are mountains, and we'll get back to the map later.

At the bottom, you will see a lot of letters and numbers. These summarize the most important features of your character. We'll explain them in detail later, once again, because we'll have to talk about something more basic first.

The first command I'll teach you - and thankfully one that is not hard to guess even without me to tell you about it - is the "?" command. Thomas Biskup was nice and linked this rather common and appropriate reaction to the game in general to a prompt that lets you access the manual, a MINI-FAQ, a special command you will get to know later, and a list of keybindings. You can look the latter up now and see how many commands there are. Only a fraction will actually be needed, don't worry. You exit this prompt, or the keybindings list, or anything else that is not the actual game interface, by pressing "z", Space or Escape.

The next thing I'll show you are two very helpful screens: The Inventory and the Character Information Screens.

Press "i". A screen labeled "PERSONAL EQUIPMENT" shows up, showing the items you currently wear on your body. There's going to be a helmet, a studded leather armor, an orcish spear, heavy boots and some rocks. All those damn numbers can be safely ignored for now. By pressing the keys along the left side (lowercase or uppercase does not matter) you can unequip or equip items from your pack, and by pressing "V" you can change to the "MISCELLANEOUS STUFF" screen - your pack. There's only an iron ration and some gold here now.

If you got to the "MISCELLANEOUS STUFF" screen and never saw the "PERSONAL EQUIPMENT" one, switch caps lock off, or make sure you pressed "i" instead of "I". The capital "I" command instantly opens up your pack without showing your equipment first, and you can't get to your equipment from the pack if you accessed it by "I".

In any case, "z", Space or Escape will take you back to the main interface. Good. Now let's check the other important screen: Press "@" (In winbeta, press Alt-"q" instead). Here you will see a lot of gibberish that is meant to sum up the most important things about your character. Just knowing about the existence of this screen will do for now. Get out with Space (or Escape, or "z" - you know the deal by now).

Whew. Enough with information screens. How about we do something exciting with Orcbarb? Maybe see where that road takes us to!

But for that, we'll have to learn about moving. Don't worry - it's not hard. You can move in two ways: Using the arrow keys, or using the numpad - if you have one. If this is the case (i. e. you're not playing on a notebook), use it instead of the arrow keys - in fact, never use the arrow keys for anything ever.

I'm not kidding. If you have a numpad, use that numpad. Do not use the arrow keys. They are abomination.

If you are playing on a notebook, therefore have no numpad, and therefore have to use the arrow keys, moving in diagonal directions is going to be a hassle, because you have to look for them in the number row. Just remember: 1 is southwest, 3 is southeast, 7 is northwest, 9 is northeast. I play ADOM on my notebook that way, and it does take some getting used to. Thankfully, non-diagonal movement is usually enough for everyday adventuring purposes. However, you will need the whole number row during the game if you play on a notebook without numpad, because some commands require you to enter directions and will not interpret the arrow keys as expected.

It is possible to reprogram your keybindings so that you can create a pseudo-numpad out of your letter keys, but that also requires rebinding said letter keys to other letter keys or introducing more Ctrl and Alt commands. Check Appendix D for closer information if you want to do it later. For now, bear with it.

You start out being able to move in three directions, because you can't climb mountains yet. Go east - with "6" on the numpad (DUH), and you will be asked whether you want to leave the Drakalor Chain. Of course you don't, but check out that question for a second. You'll notice that the "N" is uppercase, while the "y" isn't. This means that "N" is the default option for that question and will be chosen if you just press Space instead of "n" or "N". So, press space or "n" or "N", and you will not have gone east. Press 1 and 2 to follow the road until you see some other characters.

There are more kinds of terrain, obviously! But what are they all about? I could tell you, but how about you find out yourself? Press "l". This is the "look" command. It will create the "look" cursor you can freely move around to examine your surroundings (also the very useful command you can access from the "?" prompt - "l" is just faster). Use this command often in the beginning! It is very helpful. Exit the "look" mode with Space, Escape or "z".

Follow the road and you will find a brown o, described as a tiny hamlet. Step on it, and you will be told its name - Terinyo. The road ends there. How about we pay that town a visit?

3. Reaching Terinyo

Now for the next command - ">". In this case, it stands for "Enter". It has another use - going downstairs, but that's going to come in later on in dungeons.

In this case, we want to enter Terinyo, so we press ">".

Whoops - suddenly the map part of the basic interface changes, and there is a message at the top that ends in (more)! Well, you've just entered Terinyo, and this is its map. To see "more", you can either hit Space or Enter. Space will show the next two lines of message, while Enter will just skip to the end. In this case it doesn't matter, because there are only three lines of message. Remember it for later nonetheless - only press Enter if you don't care about the part of the message that comes after (more)!

Better use the "l" command to see what's going on. Hmm, grass, walls, some people denoted by letters. Interesting. How about we explore this place a bit?

Walk around. You'll discover some new stuff and quite lot of people. For now, just walk around and use "l". If you look at the people, you'll notice that the game offers to tell you more about them - do this by pressing "m" if you want to, and remember that you have this option, because you can use it on monsters later as well and can collect valuable information about them this way.

You'll notice that you can't go through walls, that you can stand under trees, and that if you bump into people, you will get asked whether you want to attack them. ADOM always presumes you want to attack living things if you run into them, incidentally! Say "No" every time - if you want to suicide at the end of the tutorial, saying "Yes" is one of the ways to do it. Don't worry - if you walk into monsters, the game won't bother to ask and let your character get to business (except for the rare peaceful monster).

Well, Orcbarb may be an orcish barbarian, but he doesn't lack social skills completely. Time for another set of commands!

4. Interacting with NPCs

The standard command for interacting with NPCs is "C" - chat. You can only chat with people standing next to you in one of the eight directions.

Seek out a goodwife (any one) and make sure she is the only one in the eight squares adjacent to your @...

Congratulations, you have just Chatted with someone! In a proud RPG tradition, your character never says anything ever and the goodwives really do not have anything interesting to say, but at least it's something.

Now you might think "Why is that guy so anal about having only one near? Can't I talk to people if there are two near me?"

Of course you can. Try it now, with any two people except the village elder or Guth'Alak, the druid (These are quest-givers, their quests trigger on chatting with them, and are mutually exclusive).

Well, with two people possible, the game will ask for a direction. And now you know why you should use that numpad - because the numpad is the way to make any sense of those numbers! Just press the direction corresponding to the person you want to talk to, and you will do so.

(This is where notebook users will start to groan. Well, it can't be helped, you have to use the number row, because even four the non-diagonal directions your arrow keys won't work (at least they don't for me). Thankfully, most notebooks sport some kind of numpad that can be activated with a "Fn" key and which is painted on the keyboard. Well, under ADOM, using that Fn key all the time either won't work or will be a hassle, but at least you have that painted-on numpad to serve as a reminder which direction is what number!)

Note that if the prompt appears, it will show all the directions, even those where there's no one to talk to. It will also include "5". 5 always stands for the square you are on. It's less important for talking (You can talk to yourself, but the results are fairly uninteresting) than for some spells, like Invisibility, that you can cast on yourself or others. Just so you know.

In any case, remember that direction prompt! Not only spells and chatting, many many more commands will ask you for directions this way.

So much for chatting. What other ways are there to interact with NPCs?

Well, not really anything else besides attacking - for most NPCs. But there's a special one, the shopkeeper. You might have seen that house in the southeastern part of Terinyo that had all the %s in it. Let's use this opportunity to teach you how to shop.

Step on the doorway, and Munxip, the shopkeeper, will start off with a greeting. Go past him inside, and step on one of the %s. You will see a "A (or 2) large ration(s) (or some other sort of food) is lying here. (12 gp)" message, or a "Several items are lying here" on some spaces. Well, that's self-explanatory, isn't it? The numbers in brackets are the price of the item. But how do you buy?

Well, first you have to pick up the object to be purchased. Look for a single large ration lying anywhere and use the "," command to do that. Yes, that is a comma. Munxip will say "Feel free to look at this" or something like that - and block the door. Yes, he wouldn't like for you to leave, just like that! Well, Orcbarb is an honorable bloodthirsty savage and the shopkeeper would brutally murder him if he got cocky, so I guess he'll have to pay. For this just go near the shopkeeper like you would to chat with him and press "p" instead of "C", and you'll be taken to a screen that shows the unpaid items in your pack. Well, select the large ration (a bit redundant, that screen).

(If you don't have enough money, then obviously you just tried to buy something that was too expensive. No harm done... Just leave the screen, drop the item again by pressing "d", and select something you have enough money for - a large ration, like I told you. Seriously, you always have enough money for one. If by some freak accident you do not, just leave without buying anything, but read the rest imagining you did manage to buy something to eat... Besides, you still have that iron ration you started out with!)

Now you have gotten rid of a couple of gold in exchange for a nice large ration that will help to keep you from starving later! How cool is that?

Munxip will free the door and let you leave again.

Well, so much for talking to NPCs and buying stuff. Now what did we buy the ration for? Well, for eating obviously! You can eat the ration at any point with the "e" command. You can wait until your character turns Hungry if you like (a message will appear, and "Hungry" will be written at the left bottom to remind you). Just remember that command.

If you want to, you can explore Terinyo some more, but before you think about leaving, talk to the Village elder. He will give you a quest to relieve some carpenter guy - this is where you can press Space to hear him out, or Enter to skip through all he says! You can access your quests at any time by pressing "q", by the way.

There are more quests to be found in Terinyo, but I think Orcbarb is pretty tired of all this social stuff now - he wants to find something he can stab with his orcish spear without being killed by angry townspeople afterwards!

To leave Terinyo, just walk to any edge of the town and say yes to the "Do you want to leave" question. This works for overground locations - it does not work for dungeons. We'll see how to deal with these pretty soon, because a dungeon is our next stop. (Finally!)

II. Onwards to XP and Loot!

1. A Typical ADOM Dungeon

Now, remember the village elder guy? Talking about a cave to the east? Well, let's walk to the east now. You'll now leave the road as well. Hopefully you'll not be attacked... If you are, skip ahead to the sections about battle. Thankfully Orcbarb is powerful enough to survive most wilderness random encounters.

Anyway, look for a brown * in the eastern mountains, behind some hills not far away from the road. That's the so-called Village Dungeon. Enter it the way you already know - ">".

A very important feature of ADOM is that most dungeon levels are randomly generated. So is this one! That also means I won't be able to tell you exactly where to go. I do think that you will not have much trouble finding your first monster... A rat? An orc? A goblin?

Anyway. All ADOM dungeons consist of numerous hallways and doors, and they always contain some stairs. In fact, take one step in any direction, and you will see stairs. They are denoted by "<". That's where you came in, and that's where you can leave the dungeon again, if you step on there and press "<". Easy, no?

Remember: ">" = Enter/Down, "<" = Leave/Up!

This level also has down staircases. Maybe we'll try and look for them now. Just explore the dungeon a bit...

Monsters will often drop items, and sometimes you will find them lying on the ground just like that. Well, you already know what to do with them: Pick them up with ",". You can also drop them with "D" if you don't like them. If it is a piece of equipment, press "i" to equip it, if you like. That's all pretty self-explanatory, thankfully!

If you find a monster, continue with section 2. If you happen to be confronted with a door, skip ahead to section 3. If you find yourself unable to find either monster or door, since you are in fact confronted with nothing but walls, then there's a secret door to be found! Use the "s" command to search for it...

2. Kicking Asses

Before you even think about fighting, let's take a look at the status bars at the bottom of your screen and make sure you understand anything there. We'll start from the left in the upper line, where the name of your orcish barbarian is shown. That doesn't require much explanation, right? Well, right to that are the stats. St stands for Strength, Le stands for Learning, Wi stands for Willpower, Dx stands for Dexterity, To stands for Toughness, Ch stands for Charisma, Ap stands for Appearance, Ma stands for Mana and Pe stands for Perception. Your stats will not change for a while, but it's good that you can always see them.

Next to the stats you will see the letter C. It stands for your alignment. As an orcish barbarian, you are of chaotic alignment in the beginning. If you play other races and classes later, you will start with different alignments. The manual will explain the alignment system for you. We'll just start with the second line, where some of the more important statistics are listed.

You will first see two very important numbers kept apart by a slash. These are your DV and PV. Your DV will be slightly above 10, while your PV can be anything above 6. These values are anything but fixed - in fact, increasing them should be one of your main priorities, and there are many ways to do that I won't go into detail about, but the most important one is equipment - better armor means better DV and PV!

Let's explain those numbers a bit further. DV, Defensive Value, is used to calculate whether an opponent attack hits you. The higher your DV, the less often you will be hit. PV, Physical Value, on the other hand lowers the damage you receive if a monster does hit you, by its amount. Yes, this means damage can be reduced to zero this way (not lower though, you are not healed by enemy attacks!) - the message shown to reflect that is "The [insert monstrosity] fails to hurt you".

The next numbers are your current HP and your max HP. You should always pay attention to this, because if your current HP drop to zero or below, you are dead, a state that is generally to be avoided. Next to that are the current and max PP, power points. You'll probably only have one or two, if at all. These points stand for the magical energy you can employ to cast spells or activate mindcraft if you're a mindcrafter, and your Barbarian doesn't care about these values at all. He might care if he were level 25 or something and also not illiterate anymore, but that won't happen in this tutorial...

The next two numbers stand for your current character level (1), and next to that, your current experience points, XP (0) - sad, I know. If you want to see how many XP are needed for your next level, or the levels after that, press "x".

Only two statistics are left: You will see a "VD:1". This very practical part of your status bar always shows where you are. VD:1 stands for "Village Dungeon 1". Every dungeon, every town has its own short code. If you reload an old game, these can help you remember where you left off.

The last part of your status bar is the tactical display. At the moment, here is where your speed is shown. Yours should be slightly above or equal to 100. Put simplified, if your speed is higher than that of a monster, you will be able to act more often - the higher your speed, the sooner your turn will come. The way this works is explained in the section "Standard Commands & Movement & Speed System & Dynamic Display" in the manual (look under Speed System if you're interested - it's complicated, and NOT required reading!). You can switch through different statistics if you use the ":t" command (To use commands starting with :, enter : first - the game will wait for the rest of the command) and stick with the one you think is most practical - I think Speed is very much fine.

Enough blathering. Let's get some action!

Since you are an orcish barbarian, you should have an easy time defeating your enemy. How do you do this? Easy. Just walk into the monster and Orcbarb will try to brutally dismember it. In the message prompt you will see what happens. You will either hit with your spear or miss, and the monster you fight will usually too either hit (and often fail to hurt you), or miss. Some enemies have more than one attack, and they will all be displayed at this point. Every time you successfully hurt the monster, you will be informed how injured the monster now is - the levels of injury range from "not injured" over "slightly injured", "moderately injured", "severely injured" to "critically injured". Since you are a badass orcish barbarian with ridiculous Strength scores, it may well be that your first monster is killed on the first hit, but in case it isn't, press "l" and you will find that you can review the state of a monster's injuries if you move the cursor over it. This will only work if you are next to a monster, however.

Sometimes you will hit a monster "with full force". That was a critical hit. Critical hits deal double damage and thus are awesome.

In practice, Orcbarb will be able to kill any monster this early in the game by repeatedly walking into it, so you should do just that...

If you want to know just how good Orcbarb is in his chosen trade of stabbing the shit out of monsters, access the character information screen by pressing "@", or Alt-"q" if you play with the winbeta version. Then you'll be able to see your to-hit and damage formula, among other useful statistics (in fact, this screen condenses a lot of very useful information). To-hit is a value that is used in calculations together with the DV of the monsters to determine whether you hit them or not - quite simply, the higher your to-hit the better. The damage formula always consists of a damage die provided by your weapon - in this case, it's a 1d8 - plus the damage modifier, which is added to the value rolled to determine the damage you do (though monsters can absorb damage with PV too). You can easily find out your average damage if you take the lowest possible outcome of the damage roll, add it to the highest possible outcome and divide by two. For instance, your orcish spear does 1d8+2 = 3-10 damage, which amounts to 6.5 average damage. But, you'll see something like 1d8+9 in your character information screen. You have your ludicrous strength score to thank for that! Not to mention the weapon skill bonus you will get if you get even more practice in stabbing people. You can review all your weapon skill scores by pressing Ctrl-"w". Do that. Hopefully the screen is self-explanatory.

In any case, congratulations on your first killed monster! Many, many more will follow. If you killed enough monsters to suddenly advance to level 2, skip ahead to section 4. Otherwise look for some sort of door and read 3 first.

3. Doors and Traps

All dungeons have rooms and hallways that connect them. The doors are what keeps you from entering many rooms. You can open them either by using the "o" command or, conveniently, by walking into them. Now you'll have to pay attention to the messages at the top. If the game says the door is stuck, try again until it opens. You will succeed eventually. If it says the door seems to be locked and you don't have a key, well, there is your first locked door. Man, that's annoying. Does this mean you have to go find a key that fits, or go around the door?

Actually, it doesn't. That's where another important command kicks in (hur hur): the "k" command. It stands for "kick". That's right, you can kick monsters and doors, and even items lying on the ground. This is seldom good for anything because only monks are really good at kicking and you can, y'know, pick up items to move them, but kicking is your method to open locked doors by brute force! Funnily enough, a hurthling wizard is able to kick doors down just like Orcbarb, though he might need more tries - any character can kick down doors! Who needs stupid keys anyway?

There is a catch, as you might have guessed. Locked doors have a pretty high probability to also be trapped. You might get lucky and have the trap not go off despite kicking the door, but the trap WILL go off if you break the door at the latest. Depending on the type of trap, this is deadly. Do not kick locked doors if you are low on HP!

There are two types of traps that can be easily avoided up front, however: If you kick the door from a diagonal direction. That way you avoid both the door falling down on you and the stone block door trap. It's not always possible to do this, but if you can, always kick a door from a diagonal direction. Won't help against the other traps, so don't feel too safe.

Needless to say, there are non-door traps. You will activate them more often than you'll like, of course. Some of these are just annoying, some are deadly, especially the pit viper one. Pit vipers are very dangerous because they have a poisonous attack. There are tricks to dealing with poison, but they'll be talked about later. Hopefully you'll not find any traps for some time, while you learn the ropes, kill some monsters and keep exploring VD:1.

If large areas of the screen are yet unexplored, but you can't seem to find the tunnels or doors leading to them, chances are good there is a secret door in one of the rooms. They are more likely to show up on the western and eastern parts of rooms. Secret doors are indistinguishable from walls on sight, but with the "search" command you can check the walls in the eight adjacent squares. If you use the "ws" command, activated by pressing "w" and "s" right after that, you will do a continuous search, which stops after 20 turns of searching or if you are interrupted - either by a monster or by success in finding a door. "s" also searches for traps if you have the Detect Traps skill.

If you run out of things to explore, find the down staircases. They are represented by ">". While "<" lets you go upstairs (and leave dungeons if you are already on the uppermost levels), ">" is used to go DOWNstairs. Note that you can use stairs if hostile monsters are next to you, but only if you stay withing the dungeon - you cannot leave a dungeon with a monster on your tails.

If you haven't done this already, find yourself a monster now and go back to section 2, and work on gaining your first level.

4. Gaining a Level

If you collect enough XP, you gain a level. This will happen instantly. Gaining a Level can have many effects. The most important, and immediate, of them is that you get skill advances.

You will be shown a list of your character's skills. I didn't talk about that information screen yet, huh? Take this opportunity to check out the skills your orcish barbarian has. Just by name now, because that's all you can see in this screen - later, for your first "serious" character, you will want to peruse their skills in the manual to learn as much as possible about them.

Finished? Good. At the top of the screen, you will be shown how many skill advances you have. Spend them on skills you want to increase. The row with the "4d5"s, "3d4"s and so on tells you by how much your skill advance will advance the skill (the "d" stands for dice - "4d5" means that four five-sided dice - well, not REAL dice, of course! - are rolled and the skill increased by the sum. Yes, the game does not care if the die in question can actually exist in reality - it's just a way to generate random numbers). Next to that is the maximum value the skill can reach with this levelup, and the actual current value of the skill.

For now, I'll tell you that skills like Dodge (makes you harder to hit), Athletics (helps improving physical attributes) and Find Weakness (increases chance for critical hits) are excellent choices to increase at any point, so just increase those - if you like another skill better, increase that instead, it really doesn't matter. You cannot increase skills that have already reached their maximum for this levelup, but until that there is no limit to the number of skill advances you can sink into your favorite skill.

For any skill, 100 is the absolute maximum value - you won't reach this with your first levelup, but maybe later. Anyway, after your skill increases are done with, you will be thrown back to the main interface and can continue your adventures.

If you reach level three, you will get an additional screen that asks you to choose a talent. You might remember that screen from character generation. You will get an extra talent for every level that is divisible by three - level 48 is the last level you get a talent in as the maximum level you can reach is 50. Just choose any talent you like.

If you reach level six (having fun?), you will receive your first class power. These are gotten at level 6, 12, 18, 25, 32, 40 and 50. And yes, they are called class powers because every class has different ones. You can activate them with Ctrl+"x".

5. Basic, important commands

There are a number of commands that I haven't mentioned yet that are also pretty essential, even if I couldn't show them to you because they rarely actually come in, or cannot be used by an orcish barbarian easily (or, for that matter, are needed much). Many of them are self-explanatory. A bit of practice will burn most of these into your memory, but you can also write them down if you want to.

"D" - Drink. This will show the potions you carry and ask you to drink one of them. It is also used to drink from pools. Many potions (and pools) have negative effects when drunk, so don't start drinking potions blindly unless you really have to gamble on one being a healing potion.
"r" - Read. This will let you read scrolls and books. Most books are spellbooks, and reading them can prove hazardous. Orcbarb starts out illiterate, so keep that command in mind for a literate character. Note that scrolls can have negative effects - handle them with the same care as potions.
"t" - Target. This command is used for distance attacks. If you have equipped something in the missile slot, you will throw that item - your orcish barbarian has some rocks to throw, so you can try this out already. If you have equipped a missile weapon, like a bow, crossbow or sling, you have to equip proper ammunition to use them with in the missile slot (slings are used with rocks or sling bullets). Sling bullets, arrows and quarrels are the only items that cannot be thrown - the game only recognizes them as ammunition for the respective missile weapon. Everything else is fair game, though needless to say that chucking scrolls, food or rings at your opponent won't do much. Merchants can throw gold coins for actually pretty significant damage, though.
"Z" - Cast Spells. This is important for wizards and other spellcasting types. You can only cast spells you have learnt from a book, except if you are an elementalist - they have automatic spell knowledge that increases with level. The manual will tell you more about this method.
"z" - Zap a Wand. Wands are magical phallic thingamajigs that can assist you in many situations. Non-spellcasters use these to make up for their deficiencies. Sadly, you don't know what your wands do in the beginning. If you can help it, don't shoot one directly at a wall - if it turns out to be a lightning or magic missile wand, you'll hit yourself.
"U" - Use. This will show you your inventory and tell you to choose the item you want to use. Not all items in your pack are shown - only those the game recognizes as "usable" (which is not the same as actually being usable - not everything you choose will deliver meaningful results). Do not mix up "using" and "equipping". You equip over the Equipment screen accessed with "i". If you want to "use" a weapon, you have to equip it, not use it.
"u" - Use the Item in your Tool Slot. This is a convenience feature - you can set an item you often use here so you don't have to look for it in your pack. Here is where torches can be carried without taking up your hands so you can wear weapons in them. You cannot keep lit torches in your pack!
"a" - Apply Skill. Here you can use some of the skills. This also shows the skill screen that you know from the levelups so you can have a look at them. An important skill to remember in the beginning can be First Aid.
":m" - Review messages. This will show a list of the last messages encountered. Useful if you were a bit too hasty with pressing Space or Enter and want to know what exactly happened.

That's about it! Whew. There are more commands, yet play the game with the commands above for a bit first. You can always check out the keybindings list to look for what you might want from the others.

Before you read the second part of this tutorial, you might want to take the time to read the manual for a bit. The section on skills, races and classes are especially worth it, as is the section on spells if you want to try a spellcaster.

B. Sort of Advanced Strategies That Will Hopefully Help You

I. The Art of Battle

So, you're back, huh? Thought so. I guess you have now played for some more? This means that you now actually have more questions than when we first started out! Don't worry, that's a good thing. After all, you need questions if you want to grasp the answers to them. No use just telling you!

Prepare yourself - this section will introduce a whole lot of new commands. These are not required to succeed in the game, but they are helpful - if you ask advanced players, you will notice that they all use at least most of them regularly.

1. About Weapon Skills, To Hit and Damage

Have you already seen the weapon skill information screen (Ctrl+"w") or read the manual section on weapon skills? If not, it might not be a bad idea, but read on. I will try to explain now how the weapon skill system in ADOM works, and how it influences your strategies.

If you open the weapon skill information screen, you will notice it is divided in three sections. The first one is dedicated to the many classes of melee weapons. Every melee weapon in the game belongs to one of these, but not all items that can be wielded as melee weapons - ANY ITEM can be wielded as a melee weapon, from statues to spellbooks, arrows to anvils, glockenspiele to gnomish candy, but you will not grow in any melee weapon skill if you keep using those that are not part of a melee weapon class. That's one reason why you don't want to use glockenspiele or arrows as melee weapons (the other is that they do pitiful damage!). Note that Two-handed Weapons does not include all weapons you wear in two hands - two-handed polearms like the halberd, or any kind of staff, while two-handed, belong to the Polearms, respectively Staves, weapon classes.

The next part shows the ranged weapon classes. For ranged weapons, the same thing is true as is for melee weapons - you can use almost anything as a thrown weapon, but only things that fit into these classes will make you grow in skill.

Finally the shield skill, which shows your skill in using shields (Captain Obvious strikes again!).

What are the benefits of weapon skills? Well, you can see three columns in the middle - to-hit, damage, and DV/Range. In these columns, you can check your weapon skill row and see the boni you get for wielding a melee weapon of that class. For instance, if you have skill level 2 in using swords, you will get +1 to your to-hit. Check the manual for more details on the benefits of each weapon class - Two-handed weapons get very high damage boni on higher weapon skill levels, while Polearms and Staves grant high boni to DV. Ranged weapon skills add to-hit and damage for ranged weapons belonging to their weapon class, but not DV - in the column where the DV bonus of weapon skills is shown you will see the bonus to range instead. Higher skill means you can shoot farther. Lastly, shields will only grant a bonus to DV - two per skill level, and the actual bonus received depends on the quality (read: DV score) of the shield.

Now, what is this "marks" column? Well, it shows you how many "marks" you still need to collect to advance to the next weapon skill level. For melee or ranged weapons, you accumulate marks by hitting opponents with the respective weapon, but only if you are not in Coward mode (see next section). For shields, you accumulate marks if you block attacks from opponents and are not in Berserk mode (again, see next section). Attacks are blocked if your opponent scores low enough on his attack roll that you are not hit thanks to your overall DV, but high enough that you would have been hit if you hadn't had your shield DV (i. e. the DV value of the shield itself plus the shield skill DV bonus).

That's about it with the effects shown in the information screen. There are two other effects of weapon skills not shown in that screen, only one of which is documented in the manual: The higher they are, the fewer energy points are consumed by your attacks (meaning that you can move earlier after you have attacked and thus attack more often), and they also seem to protect you from being disarmed.

Anyway, what does all this tell us about strategy? Well, quite simply: You have to make choices. Will you switch between weapon classes often, or stick with one? Which weapon class do you favor? Polearms, for instance, have an exceptional DV bonus - if you wear a spear, which is a one-handed polearm, with a shield, you can combine the Polearms weapon skill DV bonus with the shield skill to get enormous amounts of DV - there simply is nothing better for defense, not even wearing two shields, at least if your Polearms weapon skill is high enough. On the other hand, spears usually don't do much damage, making this the preferred choice of those who rely on other means to deal damage - spellcasters, for instance!

Just be aware that the raw damage and to-hit of a weapon you just found is not all that needs to be considered in deciding whether you want to use it. This does not mean that learning a new weapon skill from scratch can't be worth it - there are some weapons, especially artifact weapons, so powerful they are VERY EASILY worth it. Just don't be fooled by pure digits - "1d7+4" might look better than "1d8", but if you already have level 7 in polearms compared to level 0 in swords it is better to keep the normal, iron spear instead of switching to the mithril broadsword... The second reason not to trust the numbers is that most of the really awesome artifact weapons are not awesome because of their damage stat, but because of magical effects as deadly as they are cool.

2. The Tactics Settings

And we will begin now with introducing an extremely important aspect of battle: The Tactics settings. You can employ one of seven tactics settings during battle. They range from Coward, over Very Defensive, Defensive, Normal, Aggressive, Very Aggressive, to Berserk. These tactics can be toggled in two ways; I actually forgot one of them because the other is so much more convenient: The keys ranging from F1 to F7, F1 being Berserk, while F7 stands for Coward.

Now, that's the technicalities. What are the actual effects? Well, the more defensive you fight, the less likely are you to hit your opponent - and if you do hit, you will deal less damage - while your DV increases. On the other hand, the more offensive you fight, the higher will be your chance to hit and your damage, while DV drops, making you easier to hit.

Remember - you can change tactics settings at will, without losing even one split-second of time. It's entirely possible to be a coward in one and a berserk in the very next turn, switching to coward afterwards!

Here's a few hints on using the tactics settings to your advantage:

- When a monster is about to attack you, and you want to do anything that is NOT attacking in melee or with a missile weapon, such as casting a spell, switching items or drinking a potion, switch to Coward. Since you won't use your to-hit and damage in that turn, it's a sizable DV boost with no disadvantages! Some people advise using Coward as your default setting, just in case something attacks you out of the blue. Pretty paranoid, but they are certainly right, it won't hurt and you never know. Yet, the only thing that is important is that you remember the Coward setting if you are in a close battle situation - it really can save lives!

- The Coward setting is also perfect for situations where you have to employ the world-renowned plan B: Running away. That's a no-brainer, right? There's actually more than only the DV benefit helping you out while you run for your life: If your HP drop to 33% of your max HP or less, you will actually be able to run faster in Coward mode because you are scared shitless and get panic-powered adrenalin rushes! This can often spell the difference between life and death. Remember, survival is the most important ideal in ADOM, in everything you do. If you have to run away to survive, don't think twice about it.

- When there is NO monster near that could attack you in the next turn, and you want to shoot one with a missile weapon, switch to berserk. This is the subversion of the previous hints: In this case, your DV value is no factor at all, so you get a free to-hit and damage boost. Missile weapons don't gain as much from Berserk mode as melee weapons, but every bit helps, and hey, it's free. Beware of monsters with ranged attacks (they are few and far between though)!

- If you find you have trouble damaging a monster in melee, it may be because its PV is too high. In this case, switch to Berserk mode so you get more damage through that thick armor. Be careful of course - it leaves you much more open to attack. The same goes for missiles in melee range, of course - with missiles outside of melee range you want to have berserk mode on anyway. (Missiles in melee range sound dumb, but you get no penalties for using missile weapons against an opponent next to you, and many ranged combat specialists, especially archers, simply deal much more damage with missile weapons than in melee.)

- You can maximize your damage output at the cost of defense if you fight as a true berserker. True berserking means fighting with a melee weapon in berserk mode naked - you cannot wear armor. In exchange, you get a sizable to-hit and damage boost in addition to the regular berserk bonus. This is actually not a bad way to keep PCs alive in the early game that have shitty armor anyway, like wizards - their enormous to-hit and damage will allow them to kill most enemies that do come near you in one hit. You are still allowed to wear rings, necklaces and bracers, by the way, as well as a tool and missile weapons. (Watch for the "You lust for blood!" message - you only get the true berserker bonus if it's there when you attack an enemy.)

- There is a skill in the game that increases the benefits and decreases the penalty of tactics settings. No race or class starts with it, you have to trade in an artifact you can receive as a prize in a quest. This is very much worth it!

- Coward, Berserk and Normal are the most used settings. Normal because it is the most balanced one for melee combat especially without the Tactics skill, Berserk and Coward for the aforementioned situations. That doesn't mean that the other settings do not have their merits in some situations, though... Very Aggressive is the most offensive setting at which you can still collect shield marks, for instance, while Very Defensive is the most defensive setting at which you can still collect weapon marks. If you have the skill mentioned above at a high level, Aggressive and Defensive give so much benefit sacrificing so little that they're arguably better settings for battle than Normal.

3. Archery and Magic

Let's talk about archery first. The first thing I have to tell you is this: Archery is an extremely effective method of killing monsters, and everyone can become good at it. That's right, everyone. Even your wizard will profit a lot from training in archery. Why is archery so powerful? Several reasons. First, the damage output is pretty high, especially with talents and weapon skills. Second, you can use it without getting near monsters. Third is the existence of slaying ammo. "Slaying ammo" is the catch-all term for the wide variety of arrows and quarrels of [insert monster type] slaying. With these, you can actually easily defeat foes that would otherwise crush you beneath their heels - or at the very least be much harder nuts to crack. The slaying property will, if the monster hit is the right creature type, at least double the damage - but it could also possibly triple, quadruple or quintuple it! That's right, FIVE times the damage. These arrows of dragon slaying, or quarrels of humanoid slaying you might find actually live up to their names!

This leads to following conclusion: Consider picking up every stack of arrows and quarrels you can find, and keep crossbows and bows around to constantly use them, because a higher weapon skill means even higher damage! Not to mention that monsters rarely have ways to attack you from a distance.

Another helpful archery trick to remember is that you can target any point on the map - your missile will stop once it hits a wall, door or monster. If direct aiming at a monster would hit a wall, it is sometimes possible to hit the monster still by aiming at a different point farther along the same angle! Experiment.

Now for magic. A few pointers. Battle spells are powerful, but they cost PP, and every time you use them, you lose a bit of spell knowledge. Once you're out of spell knowledge, the spell disappears from your list, and you can't use it until you obtain spell knowledge again by reading a book. Playing a spellcasting character means balancing the usage of spells with missile weapons or melee weapons. If you carry around moderately-sized libraries with you, or have something like 25 Learning, it's less problematic. In any case, use ball spells for powerful monsters, and bolt spells for your everyday guys. Be aware that monsters can be immune to elements. Note that there is nothing, not anything, in the game that is immune to the Magic Missile spell! Even though the damage it deals is low compared to other spells, you can train up its effectivity and keep using it, and later on it will be your spell of choice against most of the enemies you meet.

Be careful using Lightning Bolts and Magic Missiles, though... You will know what I'm talking about when you have successfully committed suicide using them for the first time. (Some lections are best learned the hard way - besides, you won't be able to say I didn't warn you!)

4. What to Do When Things Look Bad (Plus an Accidental Lecture on Dealing with Divine Powers)

First of all, a very helpful thing to know in your early game is that your god (goddess) likes you. Well, he (she) starts out liking you - you'll find that it is not all that hard to piss him (her) off. But in the beginning, he (she) looks down on your efforts fondly. Perhaps he (she) finds weak early game PCs cute. Anyway, you can use this to your advantage with another wonderful little command: "_". Yes, that's an underscore. It stands for "Pray". Praying can do all sorts of cool things, but the most important one is that it will completely heal you instantly if you're low on HP. This can easily save your life in the early game! With the credit you have with your god, you can do this at least two times (at least for a while, and converting to a different god will destroy any kind of credit you have with your previous god, while your new god is still too sceptical to help you), but with the proper sacrifices, you can essentially keep this option often for many more sticky wickets to come.

Sacrifices? Oh well, as good a place as any to discuss this. During your adventures, you'll find altars of different gods. For your convenience, these altars are all already the right ones for your race. Now, there's three gods: A chaotic one, a neutral one and a lawful one. Whenever you pray, you will pray to the god that is of your alignment (already looked up the sections on alignment? If not, do so!). So you will have to sacrifice to him so he likes you more. For this, you have to find an altar of the correct alignment, which is shown by its color. Black altars are chaotic, gray altars are neutral, and white altars are lawful (It's possible to change alignment, and even convert altars though, but this is a bit too advanced to be discussed here). You can either sacrifice items with "O" while you stand on the altar, or you can sacrifice monsters that are currently standing on your altar - with "O" as well. Both methods have risks: While standing on an altar (this will mostly only happen with chaotic altars, but can happen with neutral ones as well), a monster could show up and sacrifice you, which means instant death. Sacrificing monsters that step on the altar, however, is problematic because neutral and lawful monsters will get pissed if you sacrifice monsters of your own alignment. This is less of a problem with lawful deities because there are few lawful monsters, and those that exist are rarely hostile, but for neutrals, it's hard. As a rule of thumb: Nearly all animals are neutral. Bandits, outlaws, cutpurses and the like are obviously chaotic, as are orcs, kobolds and goblins, and can safely be sacrificed. Incidentally, chaotic gods don't care at all what you sacrifice - they are evil, after all! This makes live sacrifices the perfect method for chaotics. Lawfuls are very good live sacrificers too, and can safely sacrifice items as well, because only lawful monsters could be able to sacrifice them, and as I said, there's very few of them. Neutrals have to be somewhat wary with both methods.

Okay, that was a bit excessive, but altars are important, so you probably learnt something. We'll get back to altars in a later section.

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand. What to Do When Things Look Bad. Well, you've read the tactics settings section above, so you know about the Coward setting, and that it is most useful when you want to run away. Let me take this opportunity to tell you: Do it. You have to play some games and learn some harsh lessons, but you will develop a sense that helps you know when your chances are bad. There's no shame in running. This is a game where death is a reality - in other games, you can simply reload when you die, and try sections over and over again (you can do it in ADOM too, but it requires fiddling around with save files, is considered a form of cheating, and hella boring). So, run away if you have to. No one will look down on you - in fact, we will admire your wisdom! Having the sense to run away from overwhelming danger is what differentiates the mediocre ADOM player from the good one.

Of course, running away is not always easy, as monsters could block your escape routes. Another very important hint is to check your items. You should pick up every wand, every potion, every scroll, every gem you find, in case they can save your life in a difficult situation. More importantly though, you have to identify these items. When you first find all these items, you will know what they look like, but not what they do. In a hard situation, it might be too late, so try and prepare! Again, a later section will give you more hints on that.

Well, for a section called Art of Battle, I wasn't talking about many things related to battle here, huh? Well, if the situation were one where battling is a good option, things wouldn't look bad, now, would they? Seriously, though. If things look bad, and you can't avoid a battle, and you have run out of healing or can't safely get through with the few healing sources you do still have, the important thing is to carefully sit down, think, and consider your options. Which course of action will give the highest chance of survival? Do you try to get yourself into a position where you can fight as few monsters at a time as possible, even if it means giving up a chance to fight yourself through the masses to find an escape route? Will you start drinking potions or zapping wands at random (can prove more helpful than one might think!)? Will you resort to fighting in the darkness, giving yourself an advantage in exchange for the loss of recon and ranged attacks? Will you try to kill off that enormously powerful monster in berserk mode after all? The sad thing is, experience will be what helps you make the right decision, so you will die often in the beginning - Always remember: Learning from mistakes is the best way to improve!

5. DV and PV Charts

Now, can you call a guide good that does not have any kind of superfluous chart? Hardly! So you will appreciate these ones. They take DV and PV values and describe how, in my experience, they influence your ability to survive, and how you should fight.

PV 0 or 1: Very dangerous. You absorb practically nothing. Stay away from melee combat if you can help it, especially if you do not have Healing and your DV or HP are nothing special. If you are this low, your armor either sucks or you're not wearing any, so if you have to fight in melee, consider doing so in true berserk mode (wearing no armor at all, shields are allowed, bracers too, apparently, as are rings and amulets - and obviously you need to be berserk) to hopefully one-hit-kill your enemy. Smart use of "5" will almost always let you get one hit in before the enemy.

PV 2 or 3: Very slowly getting somewhere, but still extremely low. Almost any enemy will be able to damage you. Decent (60+) Healing, or the Candle starsign, will be able to alleviate the damage you suffer most of the time. The upper levels of the early game dungeons (NOT the UD below the Small Cave, or the Small Cave itself beyond character level 5 for that matter) can be reasonably safely explored then. Without a means of decent HP regeneration, however, stay out of melee range if possible.

PV 4 to 6: Finally you are able to absorb many of the attacks of the lowest-tier monsters: Goblins, rats or kobolds and the like will seldom be able to harm you. Even the a bit more brawny ones will at least find their damage reasonably well absorbed. Acceptable for early game dungeons, and may even be enough to explore the VD until the end and save the carpenter. Don't get too cocky, however, especially if your HP regeneration is low.

PV 7 to 9: Should be enough for all early game dungeons, even for the types that engage in melee a lot and aren't blessed with high healing capabilities. Be careful in the UD or the bottom levels of the PC, or anything beyond D:5. It's entirely too low for the midgame, though high HP and healing capability can get you far with it, especially if you use ranged attacks mostly.

PV 10 to 12: Early game dungeons should be a cakewalk. Sufficient for the midgame with decent Healing, HP or DV, or if you are really good at archery or magic. Should carry you to Dwarftown and beyond in any case.

PV 13 to 16: Much improved safety. I consider these the lowest acceptable amounts from the Animated Forest up until the water temple, though without good ranged damage it might get dangerous.

PV 17 to 22: Now we're talking. This is generally enough, even for the endgame if you play ranged-heavy characters with maximized Healing plus a couple of blessed potions of extra healing in stock, though characters that fight in melee a lot should definitely get more. Okay for the Tower of Eternal Flames (Good strategy is much more important than PV there).

PV 23 to 28: Enough for most places, including all the temples, and even D:50.

PV 29 and above: The more, the better! Returns become somewhat diminishing, because by now you absorb enough damage from most of the enemies in the entire game to last you through fights easily and your Healing will take care of the rest. However, critical hits - those that easily surpass 100, even 200 damage - will not be sufficiently lessened in impact, so DV is getting more important. If you're this high already, start favouring DV-increasing equipment somewhat.

PV 80: Then again, there is something to be said for all-eternium or highly smithed-up armour providing one with near-invincibility from almost anything.

The same kind of chart can be done for DV, somewhat. I will estimate your chances to be hit, and thus how you should go about fights if your DV is in the corresponding ranges. Of course, DV changes with Tactics settings - if I don't mention particular ones, I assume you're at Normal, so take that into account.

DV below 9: You will get hit practically all the time. VERY dangerous if your PV is low. You probably will only have this in this case if you fight in berserk mode, which tends to keep you away from damage by killing the enemy first. Some characters start out with this low DV in Normal mode because they wear extremely heavy armour - that will make up for it early on, and DV will quickly improve thanks to shield and weapon skill.

Dv 10-15: You will be hit relatively often in the early game, not to mention later on. With halfway decent PV, you can feel pretty safe, with low PV you're in trouble. Many characters start out with a value in this range, especially if their Dexterity is low.

DV 16-20: Early game opponents will start to have trouble hitting you. Offers a kind of relative safety to zero-PV characters. Still unacceptably low for anything but the early game, at least if it's in Normal mode.

DV 21-30: Depending on your PV, this will be able to carry you to Dwarftown.

DV 31-40: Lower end of the spectrum of what's acceptable for the midgame, if coupled with decent PV.

DV 41-50: A good range. If you're in there in Normal mode, you're pretty safe throughout much of the game. Risky to enter the endgame with this if your PV is not terribly high and you plan to go melee a lot.

DV 51-60: Good amount of DV for Normal mode!

DV 61-80: The range of what level 50 characters that don't pay much attention to this tend to have, and almost more than enough for the endgame. Still, the higher the better, especially for DV.

DV 81-100: Excellent values. Either you're using an excellent shield with a high shield skill plus a spear coupled with extreme weapon skill, or you're in Coward mode (and still have a very good shield and shield skill!). Pretty much the maximum you can get without a shield, if you are an extremely 1337 user of polearms or staves (why would you want to become one? Found a quicksilver quarterstaff early or something?) or have highly smithed up equipment.

DV 101-120: You're in Coward mode and wear an excellent shield with an excellent shield skill, most probably coupled with a spear. Also, your Tactics skill is high, your Dex is high, you may have smithed up a bit...

DV 121+: It's getting ridiculous. Stop it. Give those poor beggars flailing at you a chance to actually hit.

DV 1500: This is the highest DV in the game (don't even dream of getting this). Good thing that some attack forms don't need to beat DV scores to hit.

II. Early Game Tips

1. Building Characters

If you're familiar with tabletop RPGs, you'll know that there are two types of players when it comes to character building: Those who just make something they think is okay and roll with it, and those who make elaborate plans on how to fine-tune their character in every little way, combine obscure races with obscure classes found in limited edition sourcebooks in order to generate mighty demigods with equally mighty multiclassing penalties...

Surprisingly, even though I have to admit I love planning out characters in every single detail, I love ADOM for the system it offers, which actually leans more towards "Just roll with it". Sure, there are 200 different race/class combinations, and some are definitely "better" than others, but regardless of what you choose, there is a lot of randomness involved (even if you answer questions!). Now, if you're a player of the first kind, you'll just take something you think sounds cool and won't care much about the rest. I find, however, that Optimization in ADOM is fun, because you can only control and therefore optimize parts of your character - the rest of the game is "Roll with it" in its purest form.

Now, what are the things to keep in mind when you create a character and decide to optimize him?

First of all, choose yourself a class. The manual is essential for this. Well, somewhat. The barbarian concept of "Bashing monsters first, asking questions second" is easy to guess, for instance.

Once you've found a class you think rocks, you should base all other choices on the question "What will benefit a character of this class most"? Several major factors will have to be taken into consideration.

1. Starsign. I mention this first, even though it's relatively minor, because the starsign is always the first thing you know about your character once you create him. You can decide to stick with your starsign even if it doesn't fit, or you can reroll until you get the starsign you want. Or you can make some sort of list of classes in your mind that you'd like to play, and choose the actual class you want to play according to the starsign you got. Thankfully, there are some starsigns that are good for any class, like Raven and especially Candle, the most powerful starsign of them all.

2. Racial skills. Every race comes with their own small skillset. Usually, you want these skillsets to add to the skills you've already received due to your class - either by providing additional boosts to central skills by "double-training" them (the use of this is doubtful in my eyes) or by adding certain skills to form an awesome total skillset (which is what I like to do).

3. Racial stats. Every race also has very different stats. Trolls are tough, strong, dumb and have shitty Mana, Appearance and Charisma, for instance, while gray elves are very dextrous, have excellent Learning, Mana, Perception and Appearance, but very low Toughness and Charisma. (The Guidebook Knows the attribute bases for the races.) Races with low or mediocre Learning can end up illiterate if they choose a class that doesn't get Literacy - the threshold is 10 Learning. Start below, and you remain illiterate. (Barbarians and Beastfighters are always illiterate unless they are grey or high elven.)

4. Racial starting equipment. Each and every combination of race and class - all 200 there are - comes with its own starting equipment. There are tendencies across them all - for instance, the wizard starting equipment is almost the same across all races, and every hurthling starts with a cursed ring, and elves of some classes sometimes get elvish bread instead of iron rations... But sometimes, the starting equipment can also be radically different between the races. In short, you can't know the starting equipment of a certain combination unless you try it. Just generate a quick character of this r/c combo, check out the equipment, and you'll know the idea. Some race/class combination surprise with rare items that no one of the other 199 character combinations would start out with, like dark elven beastfighters, orcish priests or hurthling assassins.

5. Minor or not so minor racial tidbits. Orcs, trolls, humans and drakelings have relatively short lifespans, which means that they are much more vulnerable to death by aging attacks, while all elves are practically immune to this kind of death. Drakelings have a racial ability that can be activated with "m" that allows them to spit globs of acid at their enemies, essentially a magical attack powered by food instead of PP. Dark elves, orcs and trolls start out chaotic, gray elves, humans, drakelings and gnomes start out neutral, and high elves, hurthlings and dwarves start out lawful - the alignment governs the choice of early game quests somewhat. Many more tiny little irrelevant differences exist... Whether you choose a race based on these depends on your playing style, or simply your personal preference (like "I don't play treehuggers"). The worst disadvantages of any race are with the troll, however - not only does he need more food than all the others (double the amount in the beginning!), he also gets severe leveling requirements, which lead to sloooooow leveling.

6. Talents. Thankfully, you do not have to decide on all the talents for your character right from the start - only along the way. Some, however, are chosen at startup, and the starting talents are somewhat valuable, because a few paths can only be walked if you choose certain talents right in the beginning. If you have three starting talents, you can even receive an heir gift depending on the class - you'd do well to check which class can get which heir gift before you spend three talents on the stuff (The Guidebook Knows all the heir gifts). This is relevant for the choice of your race, because if you want more than one talent, you have to choose hurthlings or gnomes to guarantee it for most classes, as those are the races that get a bonus talent. Added to the bonus talent of the class, you can guarantee three starting talents, enough for Heir. This is the reason gnomish or hurthling bards are generally recommended, as the bard heir gift is made of win and awesome.

Dark elven paladins are an example for a combination that offers an excellent skillset. All dark elven skills are missing from the paladin skillset, and they are all extremely valuable. The catch is that dark elves have low Toughness, which isn't good for a melee character, but as paladins have Healing and dark elven paladins get pretty good armor this is easily forgiven. Dwarven paladins, on the other hand, don't have that much of an excellent skillset, but they wear extremely heavy armor and have just the right stats for a paladin - high Strength and Toughness, and pretty high Learning for later support spellcasting. Which of the two is the better choice? It fully depends on what you value more. The dark elven skills don't make much of a difference very early on, the dwarvish heavy armor does. On the other hand, 100 Find Weakness later in the game does an excellent job of amplifying your damage output, and getting the skill in the game, while possible, is no trivial achievement - scrolls and potions of education are very rare and give only random skills, and wishes are even rarer and should maybe be used for other things.

High elven archers and dark elven archers have another interesting relationship. The difference in stats isn't high, and the dark elven archer has a much better skillset due to the addition of Find Weakness. But, the high elven archer has the edge in starting equipment - they start with a bow and lots of arrows, while the dark elven archer only has a hand crossbow and much less ammunition for it, which is also much rarer than arrows. This means that high elven archers have a much easier time in the early game.

Seldom do excellent skillsets, excellent stats and excellent starting equipment go hand in hand. Orcish barbarians are the exception to that rule. They get Find Weakness, are ridiculously strong and their starting equipment is excellent for barbarians.

Another interesting choice for a melee character: Drakish fighters. Decent Strength and Toughness, the addition of Alertness to an already very good skillset, and acid spit to get rid of enemies that are dangerous in melee. Only catch? Mediocre starting equipment, and it's not really a bad one.

2. How to begin?

Something beginners are often not aware of is that you have a choice between two quests right in the beginning of the game. Whether you talk to the village elder or the druid first will determine which one you will undertake.

The main difference between these quests is that each one will make different skills available to you. The village elder quest will open the village dungeon, and make it possible to obtain the Bridge Building and Healing skills, and the druid dungeon accessible only in the druid quest can get you either Herbalism or, if you already have Herbalism, Gardening, plus a relatively decent artifact. The interesting skills here are Healing and Herbalism. Healing increases your HP regeneration rate significantly, and Herbalism makes it much easier to harvest herbs later, some of which have extremely useful magical effects.

Now, whether you already start with either Healing or Herbalism depends entirely on the class you chose. There are four possibilities:

1. You start out with both of these skills. Wizards, Healers, Druids, Rangers, Beastfighters and Priests are examples. This makes the decision a bit harder. Realize that the Druid will offer you an alternative reward to the Herbalism skill (the "power" one), not to mention the possibility of getting that artifact. Also realize that choosing the village elder quest will still at least generate the Healer, whose existence might spell the difference between a slow and painful death to poison or sickness and, well, not dying said death. Spellcasters will probably want the power reward of the Druid.

2. You start out with only Herbalism. The Merchant, the Mindcrafter, the Necromancer, the Barbarian and the Farmer are candidates for this start. Usually this makes for an easy decision. Get Healing, ignore the Druid. If you have the Candle starsign, you might choose differently because you already have very good HP regeneration, but I'd recommend against it. Healing is just too useful a skill to pass up.

3. You start out with only Healing. Paladins, Monks and Elementalists earn this distinction. This is probably the easiest choice. Herbalism can be an enormous help if you do find herb patches, because without you will only get few herbs and those few will also be cursed. On the other hand, the village elder quest offers so little for people who already have Healing... Bridge Building? Please. Don't make me laugh. (Okay, if you don't have Swimming, Bridge Building might look like a worthwhile alternative. It isn't, it's probably among the most sucky skills in the game, though not as sucky as Haggling or Metallurgy. Admittedly, that's because Swimming is very easy to get if you know how. I'd better give you a hint, because there is no way in hell you'll find this out on your own: Baby water dragons love carrot juice.)

4. You start out with neither. Examples are the Fighter, the Archer, the Assassin, the Thief... This is the toughest one. Herbalism is very useful, but especially for the melee classes HP regeneration is almost essential. If you have the Candle starsign, however, it might be a good idea to pass up Healing and get Herbalism instead, but be warned - Herbalism can be wished for, while Healing cannot.

Now, so much for quests. After getting the three quests available in Terinyo, you have to make a choice on the course of action. I recommend just ignoring Kranach, the raider lord, unless you have a reasonably powerful race/class combination. Kranach's gang is not strong, but their sheer numbers on an open field can overwhelm you. Also, the fucker is pretty elusive at times.
I recommend saving the puppy quest for later. It's possible to save the little bugger, but rather difficult, because you only have limited time (four days starting upon entering the chain) to reach the bottom level of the Puppy Cave. This is a goal you can set yourself, and it's not impossible to achieve - you need a bit of luck with the second last Puppy Cave level, but unless you are dumb enough to dash straight for the bottom level - take the time you ARE given - it's doable. The hard part, let me tell you, is not getting TO the puppy, but getting OUT with it still alive.

In any case, the first dungeon you want to explore is pretty much either of three places:

- The Small Cave to the Northwest
- The quest dungeon (village dungeon or druid dungeon)
- The Infinite Dungeon

The Small Cave contains monsters that somewhat scale up with you, but it's a dangerous place to get stuck in, as monsters become stronger twice as fast as you. Go in there, get the special item the scrolls try to lead you to, and leave, preferably before you reach level 6. The quest dungeons have the advantage that their first levels are probably among the easiest places you will ever find; this makes them perfect places to safely get some levels under your belt before you explore anything else. The Infinite Dungeon, located more to the south of the quest dungeons, is a peculiar place. It's possible to repeatedly clear multiple incarnations of its first level, which is one of the safest ways to level in ADOM.

III. Travelling

1. The "Walk" Command

Faring well during battles is important, but there are many things outside of battle that need to be paid attention to. We'll start off this section with telling you about a command that is, technically, only a convenience feature - but you better learn about it quick before you develop one of the worst habits thinkable: Holding down keys, especially the arrow keys. DON'T DO THAT. I've got a friend who refuses to stop doing it, and every time I watch him play I want to rip out the few hair I still have (Despite being knowledgable and pretty skilled, he hasn't gotten near winning without cheating yet - no surprise there!). Holding down keys in ADOM is a horrible idea (except for one case, but you'll play for a LONG time until you find that one place). Yes, it increases the speed in which some of the more repetitive things can be done. The thing is, the game can't process the commands at the same speed as they're given if you hold down keys. Say you walk down a hallway, and it's too long, and you hold down the arrow key to get there faster. Suddenly you see a white j appear. A gelatinous cube! You immediately release the key - but you continue to walk down the hallway, run into the cube, become paralyzed, and are horribly killed by your own stupidity.

The excruciating stupidity of this death is amplified by the fact that there is a command dedicated to walking down long hallways: The "Walk" command, activated by pressing "w", then a direction on the numpad - "w4", for instance, to walk to the left. If you use the walk command to move, the character will keep moving in the indicated direction unless one of the following happens:

- A monster is encountered
- A trap is found
- A doorway is reached
- A wall is hit EXCEPT if you are in a tunnel or hallway - the character will keep following the tunnel
- A crossing is reached
- In short, anything of note!

The "walk" command is the safe alternative to holding down keys to move. The "w5" command and the "ws" command exist as well, by the way - "w5" makes you wait in the same position for some time and is the closest thing you have to a rest command - very useful if you want to heal up. "ws" lets your character search a place repeatedly instead of only once, stopping either if he finds something or if any of the above happens. Again, if anything remarkable happens, your rest or search is interrupted and control is given back to you.

Use this command. Yes, I know it's a bit hard to get used to and it's not strictly necessary, but once incorporated into your playing style it eases playing without compromising your character's safety.

2. Neat commands you might not know about

You may have already had the pleasure to meet a "neutral" monster, i. e. if you try to attack it, you get the "Do you really want to attack" message. Maybe you've already met one in a hallway, and now it's blocking it. Now, if you are chaotic anyway, your likely course of action will be to yell "OUTTA MY WAY FUCKER" and brutally murder the poor thing. But, if you care about your alignment, you've probably teared out your hair trying to get past peacefully.

Fret not, there is a command tailored to help you: ":s". No, I did not make some freak typo. ":" commands (there are few) are executed by pressing ":" before you press the letter that is assigned to the command. So, to use this, enter ":" and then "s". You will then be asked for a direction. Easy, choose the direction where the blockading neutral monster is located. In most cases, you will now swap positions, and you can go your merry way! Very rarely does this not work - it doesn't work with all NPCs in towns, and it doesn't work with animated trees and shambling mounds, two monster types you will meet later. And of course, it does not work with hostile monsters... Unless you are a monk or beastfighter of high enough level.

Another very obscure command that may come in useful - albeit in very special circumstances - is Ctrl+"t", used to deliberately trigger already discovered traps you are currently standing on. This can be used to "milk" spear or arrow traps if you can take the damage, or to teleport yourself away in case of an emergency.

There is also the Wipe Face command "F". I'm mentioning it here because I remember my friend (yeah, the guy from above) who told me about the cases of permanent blindness he had to suffer through on occasion - nothing, not praying, not anything seemed to be able to help him. Well, he apparently had the room event where mud flies into your face, and did not realize the tremendously simple solution! It's understandable, though - unless you have taken a good look at the keybinding list at some point and noticed this rather odd command, it can definitely happen that you struggle with Mud In Yo Face. But it won't happen to you anymore - I have now told you about this command, and you don't even need to memorize it - once the event happens, you have now at least heard of it and will remember (hopefully, but you can also just start another thread on the forums about it and get derided for asking a n00b question - kidding, we're a very friendly bunch)!

Next up is Dip - "!". This is used to dip stuff into potions. That's the order - choose the stuff, then choose the potion to dip it in. That's the way you use oils of rust removal and holy water (Do not drink these - the latter is too valuable, the former... well, guess what happens if you drink stuff that can remove rust!). Most potions are wasted without any effect if you dip things in them, but some will hold surprises for you...

Another neat command is "n" - Name. With this command you can name people that do not already have a name. If you have the sufficent patience, you can for instance name all the inhabitants of Terinyo any way you want (Say hello to "Dennis, the farmer"!) This command has practical uses too, for instance if you want to keep apart monsters from other monsters of the same species. You can also use this to rename your character, in case you just gave him or her a gibberish or nonsense name on startup, realize that it's actually going well and that he or she is worthy of a real name.

The "&" command, by the way, can be used to remember monsters you have encountered. Enter their name, and you will get their monster memory entry, containing a description, what you have found out about it, how many you have killed and how much XP they gave.

Take a look at the special pick up and drop commands in the keybindings list - all conveniently located right next to each other - and experiment with them.

3. Loot Management

Loot Management consists of weight management plus identification.

ADOM has a buttload of items. Nearly all of them have some sort of use - even the potion of uselessness is not as useless as you might think (and as a fortune cookie will tell you, finding a use for it could pay off...). At the very least it's possible to sell anything for money, after all (no, that use does not count for uselessness potions - would've been too easy, no?).

Items will pile up while fighting monsters in practically limitless amounts. What is sadly not limitless is the amount you can carry. You may have noticed that as you pick up more and more stuff, you become Burdened, Strained, Strained with an exclamation mark, and finally Overburdened!, at which point you lose your ability to move.

Generally, you should develop a tolerance level, a level of burdening at which point you decide to drop things to stay below the line.

For monks, this is pretty much fixed at Burdened, because they lose all their unarmed combat powers if they are even Burdened. For others, it should be noted that Burdened does not have that many negative effects. You lose five points of speed and a slight amount of DV, that's all. Mind you, five points of speed can be a lot in the very early game if you need to run away from enemies, because it can easily push you below 100 speed! But unless you expect to come into situations where you have to switch into full runaway mode without enough time to drop anything, Burdened status is easy to stomach, and it offers a lot of extra space for your items.

Strained, on the other hand, starts getting problematic. It drops speed by another five points and takes away even more DV. A speed penalty of 10 pretty much makes sure that running away is not an option anymore. It also increases food consumption, so it should definitely be avoided if you have problems keeping yourself fed. Still, Strained is okay to be in if your character is pretty powerful and food is not an issue. Starting with Strained, you will train your Strength simply by walking around - so for weak characters some time spent with this is actually recommended.

Very Strained, or Strained! as it is shown in the status line, is not a recommended setting to use for long. The speed drop is enormous, the DV penalty likewise, food consumption is the same as in Strained. It also causes you to fall down stairs if you descend. If you're Strained! long enough, you might lose Dexterity points, so you probably shouldn't be for long - Return to a shop and sell the items you planned on selling for money anyway, or stock some in a safe place. Strained! will train strength up until a maximum of 18 or 19 points - many advanced players will actually stuff their pack with junk very early on for them, and once they've reached 18 points, drop it all. Some of the more patient will just buy lots upon lots of large rations and press "w5" a lot until they reach the magic value (bleh).

Overburdened! is quite simply horrible: It rapes your speed and your DV, causes even more food consumption, additionally cripples your melee prowess, and most noticably stops you from moving entirely. You pretty much only become Overburdened! by accident. Staying in Overburdened! trains strength more quickly than staying in Strained!, but also rapes your Dexterity much faster and will not attain higher values than Strained!, besides being hella boring. The next step should thus be to drop some items to at least regain your ability to move, and seriously consider selling off some loot or dropping some junk - even if being Strained! doesn't bother you, being close to the edge to Overburdened! will only slow you down, maybe even keep you from picking up valuable items because you do not have the time to deal with your encumbrance at that point. Better to deal with it as soon as you notice the problem.

These are your options. Will you stay unburdened at all costs? Will you tolerate Burdened, or Strained, or will you not care at all and just walk around Strained! all the time? It's up to you. However, whichever path you take, you need to learn a valuable skill: Judging whether an item is worth carrying around.

Your inventory space is the currency with which you have pay for the weight of items, and you always have to consider whether an item is worth its space, or whether you would be better off storing it somewhere safe or just forgetting about it entirely. Simply put: The higher the weight, the higher the usefulness to you must be.

That should all be pretty clear. But what is the usefulness of an item? That's where ADOM experience plays a huge role, and where you will have to learn. It simply depends on an innumerable lot of factors whether an item is going to be useful or not, and the most infuriating fact is that upon finding an item, you will not even know many of them because the item has often not been identified properly - you don't know its armor ratings or weapon ratings, its effect, whether it's cursed or not... Even items that look the same and weigh the same can be hugely different from each other, and you might not already be able to identify their features using scrolls of identify.

Some rules of thumb for item management in general:

- It is a good idea to keep spares around, because item-destroying traps can be everywhere. But don't overdo it - keep your paranoia within reasonable bounds, at least as much as possible. A replacement melee weapon or two is a good idea, four replacement chain mails is a bad one. Weight is important for worn items, it's even more important for your spares. An elven chain mail, even if you possess stronger, but heavier armor, is so light while still being so sturdy you can't go wrong if you keep carrying it.
- Weights that deviate from the norm for a given item - like 32 stones instead of 40 for a longsword - hint at a difference in the material. The lighter the better - but if armor is heavier than the norm, it might be crystal, which is also a lot better than iron.
- Actually, "odd" weights are always worth looking into. Just as an example, the only dagger in the entire game that weighs 13 stones is one of the most powerful artifact melee weapons.
- Said weapon also appears as light green on the dungeon map, instead of the regular grey of usual iron daggers. Many items that have strange colors are magical in nature and can thus prove to be more valuable than meets the eye.
- When using missile weapons, don't carry rocks AND arrows AND quarrels. Stick with one or two missile weapons, and carry ammunition for these. Rocks are incredibly weight-inefficient compared to arrows and quarrels, so remember that they are very easy to find or produce and don't carry around a lot of them.
- If you've amassed a lot of missiles, drop those that come in single or double stacks and are not slaying ammunition or eternium, adamantium or something along the lines. They're not helpful in hard battles because you have to waste turns reloading after using them earlier, and you probably have enough large stacks for everyday use anyway.
- Potions, scrolls and wands are very hard to identify without scrolls of identify, but they are very, very lightweight. Because most potions, many scrolls and almost all wands can be useful at one point, just pick them all up. At the very least, they get you a lot of gold for their weight if you sell them!
- Explore any shop you stumble across (maybe except Munxip's one, as it is thoroughly uninteresting), because items in shops are almost always identified (presumably because they have price tags with a description). You don't need to buy them - you will recognize this item on sight for the rest of the game! Well, at least most of the items. Neckwear strangely often refuses to stick in memory.
- Every "general store" (shops that aren't restricted to one item type, and will therefore buy anything from you) should be treated as an opportunity to get rid of "loot", i. e. items that you only took with you to sell for profit anyway. They have other uses, though. When you try to sell an item, the shopkeeper will make an offer based on what he thinks the item is worth - and shopkeepers often know more than you. If he offers a lot of money for an item it's likely a good one. Items the shopkeeper offers the same price for are usually the same - they offer the same ratings and have the same status, if they aren't exact copies of each other anyway. This is an excellent way to find out, for instance, which one of the five unidentified pairs of leather boots is worth keeping.
- You have to identify scrolls of identify - once this is achieved Loot Management becomes so much easier. Any scroll, potion or wand can be identified if you simply use them (not a terribly good idea because some potions, wands and scrolls have negative effects, but often it's all you can do), and identify makes no exception. Because they are usually the most common scroll, you should probably play for a while until you have collected lots of differently labelled scrolls, and read the scroll of which the label is most common in your pack. The best thing that can happen, of course, is that you find a scroll of identify in a shop, because that will instantly identify the ones you already have in your pack!
- Altars (of your alignment) rock, especially for item management. First of all, if you drop an item on one, it will tell you whether the item is blessed or cursed or neither. Second, if you drop potions of water (watery potions) on them while your deity is "very pleased" with you or better, they will turn to holy water, which can be used to bless items (and remove curses this way!), including scrolls of identify. A blessed scroll of identify is the be all and the end all of identification, as it identifies EVERY item in your possession, and as a bonus it also reveals the blessed/uncursed/cursed status of them all (which you can find out with altars anyway, but you can't carry altars with you).
- If you know a piece of equipment isn't cursed, it's usually safe to equip it to see more of its statistics. Sometimes you can be extremely unlucky and get stuck with an item that has more devious properties, though.

Note that "/" brings up a list of all items you have already identified. Sometimes you will not recognize amulets you have already identified, but the amulet will often still be listed here. This is probably a bug.

4. Food Management

Every ADOM beginner sooner or later dies of starvation, it's nothing to be ashamed of. But, it can be avoided.

First of all, if you keep dying of starvation, do not play trolls - they consume double the food. Some classes are better with food than others - beastfighters start with six pieces of fresh meat, which will last for a while, and other classes can start with a larger supply of food as well. Monks only consume half the food others do, as do farmers once they reach level six (don't play farmers though, as the only other thing they're good at is sucking. HARD.). The Food Preservation skill, provided by certain classes or certain races, is also helpful. Lastly, hurthlings start out with a cooking set and the Cooking skill and ususally more food than the other races. You shouldn't switch to a different class or to hurthlings just for the food, though. Even with a "normal" start - regular food consumption and one iron ration - you can avoid starvation safely if you know how.

Terinyo does not have a food shop for nothing - it's your first stop anyway, and those large rations can get you far. In the beginning, you have lots of inventory space, so why not just spend all your money on some? It's true that they are heavy, but that only means that weaker characters can get their strength trained with them. Win-win!

Of course, these large rations will only get you so far, and sometimes you realize you have a problem when you're deep down in a dungeon and the food shop is far away... And hopefully you have realized that problem before you arrive at Very Hungry! and get the dreaded "You don't own anything edible!" message!

First things first: Get out of Strained status if you're in it. That's a no-brainer, right? Also, remember that instead of for healing, you can also pray to the gods for satiation. A lifesaver, but it won't work if you've used up your prayers, of course.

Considering the food you still have, and the prayers, now calculate whether you can make it back to Terinyo, or at least the wilderness if you have the Survival skill. A large ration can last a couple of levels if you zip through them on the shortest route possible. Divine satiation is almost guaranteed to last you long enough because it will take you right up to Satiated level, which is almost four large rations' worth!

The large ration is something of a standard among food items - most foodstuff will get you as much as a large ration. Nothing weighs as much, though. If you do not have food susceptible to rotting that you have to eat first (apples, raw meat, corpses), eat large rations. Elven bread, gnomish candy and fresh meat offer more nutrition than large rations and are pretty light, so they should be eaten last - in short, this is the order in which the "common" food should be eaten for an optimum of weight management combined with food management:

Stuff that rots, large rations, hurthling cakes (they do not satiate much), iron rations, loaves of dwarvish bread for non-dwarves, loaves of bread, loaves of hurthling bread, melons and dwarven sausages, fortune cookies, pieces of dry meat, loaves of dwarvish bread for dwarves, pieces of fresh meat, gnomish candy, loaves of elven bread. I'll ignore some of the more exotic foodstuff here.

Elven bread in particular is excellent emergency food because it is extremely lightweight while offering excellent nutrition - I usually never actually eat it, and sometimes I end the game, PC at level 50, the forces of Chaos utterly defeated, with my loaf of elven bread and a couple of spares for good measure still there!

Now, let's take a look at "stuff that rots". The majority of this group is made up of the corpses of monsters. And believe it or not, most actually make good eating, as long as you use common sense. Rule of thumb: Cannibalism is a-okay - corpses of PC races are always yummy, even if you feel uneasy. Orcs are good. Goblins are good. Ogres are good. Kobolds are bad, very bad. If you're a dark elf, spiders are good (if you aren't at least one spider is good because it gets you resistance to poison!). All non-poisonous animals and beasts are good, with the exception of gorgons and any kind of rat that is not a giant rat (for some reasons you can only eat giant rats without vomiting). Zombies and ghouls are bad, but you might have guessed eating them is not a smart thing to do. You might be (pleasantly!) surprised at the effect of some of the more advanced undead corpses, like wights, wraiths or vampires.

A prime principle of ADOM is that no corpse will kill you instantly, with very rare and very obvious exceptions.

If you have run out of food and figure you can't make it back to Terinyo or the wilderness to use Survival, press forward and kill as many monsters as you can - if they drop a corpse or food, your life might be saved! Only if you are on the verge to starvation, no food is there, no monsters to kill, should you resort to drinking unidentified potions in the hope they will buy you some more time - Most potions get you a small amount of nutrition, some few will get you more.

Note that there is a scroll that magically satiates you upon reading, so even reading scrolls randomly might (veeery rarely) save you.

Also note that the most nutritious food in the game are blessed stomafillia herbs. They are so nutritious that you remain bloated for quite a while after eating one of them - three times as nutritious as elven bread with the same weight! Even in a cursed state, they are equal to one large ration, and if neither cursed nor blessed, equal to (uncursed) elven bread. Make use of a stable stomafillia herb patch to solve your food problems indefinitely! The only trouble is that after eating one you'll spend a lot of time Bloated, which loses you ten points of speed. Be careful.

At some point in the game, you will travel to a dungeon in the central part of the Drakalor Chain - the Caverns of Chaos, the main dungeon of the game. On the third, fourth or fifth level of that dungeon, you will encounter the Arena. The place is littered with ratling traders trying to sell you food. There are two kinds of food they sell you that are actually worth buying: Fried bat and cooked lizard. Cooked lizard weighs 3 stones apiece and has the nutrition value of large rations - in short, it's close to the perfect food, and definitely worth paying up to five gold pieces each, considering (uncursed) large rations usually sell for at least twelve! Only gnomish candy, elven bread and uncursed/blessed stomafillia offer more nutrition in relation to weight. Fried bat is equal to fortune cookies in nutrition - light, but doesn't fill you up much. Still worth it if the ratling traders are out of cooked lizard and you still need food - 100 fried bats are still equal to 20 large rations while weighing only as much as one and a half of them!

5. Dealing with Sickness and Poisoning

Let's assume that you do not have the spells to solve your problem, because if you have, then there's no problem at all.

Sickness can be caused by the attacks of some monsters or by eating the wrong corpses - rabid dogs or kobolds spring to mind. It will cause heavy, semi-random drops to your stats. This will reduce your max HP by a hefty amount. In addition, your character will suffer feverish fits, causing a couple of points of damage each round until your current HP are lower than or equal to half of your max HP. So in addition to having your max HP lowered, you will constantly get pushed down to half of that lowered max HP. Not to mention the drop of your other stats, often including Strength!

Other than with the Cure Disease spell and a paladin class power, it can be healed by eating curaria mancox herbs or drinking potions of healing, preferably blessed. It will wear off on its own though, but you might suffer a potentially lethal final feverish fit, so it's recommended to deal with it. PCs of 50 HP or more have been killed by waiting too long... Praying is very unlikely to work - it will fill up your HP first, and you will immediately start suffering feverish fits again. A second prayer MIGHT cure sickness, but it also might heal you again, with you instantly losing the few HP gained again.

Poison is both better and worse than sickness: It doesn't lower stats, but it can be lethal much more quickly. It will lose you HP in semi-random intervals ("You feel the poison coursing through your veins!"), with the length of the intervals and the amount of damage governed by the strength of the poison. The effect will gradually decrease, but often you'll be dead long before the poison wears off.

Poison can be healed with the Neutralize Poison and Slow Poison spells, as well as with a potion of cure poison, an alraunia antidote herb or a potion of healing. Praying will also work if you're at full HP - usually this means two prayers in succession, but you can also get to max HP with other means and then pray.

If you have none of these methods at your disposal, you have to delay your demise as much as possible. If you've taken the Yrrigs quest, Jharod was generated - he can heal poison (and sickness, incidentally). You can prolong your life by heavy use of the First Aid skill. Every time poison courses through your veins and damages you, First Aid can be "a"pplied for a chance to recover most or part of the damage lost. Here's where the difference between 25 and 80 First Aid will be most noticable. If you can fight the poison with First Aid well enough, your HP regeneration - especially if you have Healing - can make you break even, or even slowly recover some ground until the poison wears off on its own.

If you're lucky enough to find a spider corpse (preferably before you're poisoned, but after can work too if you have still have some HP of air), you can solve most of your poisoning worries by eating it. It will poison you, but you should also get the message "Your threat feels very rough and your stomach burns", which means you've just become resistant to poison! From now on, poison will wear off very quickly, and is no threat unless you're REALLY low on HP or poisoned REALLY hard. I should warn you, though, that cursed (i.e. rotten or cursed to begin with - "slightly rotten" thankfully still stands for uncursed) spider corpses do not always grant poison resistance, the main reason why it's much preferable to try eating spider corpses BEFORE your situation starts getting really messed up.
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!

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 10/15/2008 at 05:25 (GMT -5) by Silfir]
Registered user
Painted this one too.

Last page view:

2306 days, 20 hours, 50 minutes and 51 seconds ago.
Posted on Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 05:46 (GMT -5)

I have to go to sleep before finishing it. After
reading the first part though, I have to say I'm
amazed that you had the patience to go into so
much depth. When I read the part about 'how to
move', I first thought it was overkill. Then I remembered that when I first started playing
ADOM, I couldn't fully use the NUMPAD yet. I look
forward to reading the rest.
Put me in the 'fool filter', where I belong!
tipo mastr
Registered user

Last page view:

3042 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes and 47 seconds ago.
Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 23:13 (GMT -5)

Uh...looks like in the beginning you mixed up "d" and "D"...i dont think anyone would be able to drink the huge rock they just picked up... =P
Registered user
Writer of Overly Long Guides

Last page view:

1477 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 5 seconds ago.
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 05:25 (GMT -5)

Aw sunuva...

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!
Registered user
Lord of DurisMud

Last page view:

2551 days, 28 minutes and 18 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 04:09 (GMT -5)

Lookuing good so far (just read the tutorial section, and quick-ish too).

What would really complete the tutorial is if you/someone can make a demo game of an orcish barbarian, divided into sections, to be viewed when you read certain parts. So first read about creating char, then see the demo. Then enter terinyo, and demo. When you enter the village dungeon, of course start with a *big* message saying "YOUR actual dungeon will be different from this, all dungeons are created randomly."

Hard to do on this forum, need a seperate webpage to do this.

Feedback: Include the 'k' command for kicking down locked doors. When I started out I didn't know this, assumed one needed the key (I had seen one or two keys in the game) like "normal" "hunt-the right key" "RPGs".

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 10/20/2008 at 04:13 (GMT -5) by Molach]
Registered user
Writer of Overly Long Guides

Last page view:

1477 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 5 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 07:12 (GMT -5)

Kicking is discussed in the section about traps, doors and secret doors, I think?
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!
Registered user
Lord of DurisMud

Last page view:

2551 days, 28 minutes and 18 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 09:32 (GMT -5)

Oh, yes it is. Of course. Just checking...


Mabye something about that tactics discussion, starting up and PV. A character with 0 PV takes damage every turn from every monster. 4 PV and you can walk around ID:1 tank-style with little fear because so much is blocked. Level 1 mosters pretty much do like 1d2, 1d3 or 1d4 damage. And you can find a decent set of equipment on the first dungeon level (VD or ID). Difference between Dungeon level 1 and 2 is also quite big, but that is another story.

My playing style for characters starting with less than 4 PV is to go to ID:1 until I get it. (VD:1 also works, but descending to VD:2 without PV can be hurtful.) Unless I have some sort of high-powered attack (spells or archery)

Typical early item finds which help are studded/regular leather armor or better, a shield (wooden or large), some gauntlets, iron/heavy boots or a metal cap. Collecting this set patiently will go a long way towards surviving long enough for the game to become interesting.

Another suggestion: Make a tutorial for a spellcaster. Hurthling wizard, for example. Take him through basic wizardry (read the book in first wilderness square, take concentration on first levelup). This last bit only if a demo also shows it.
Registered user
Chaos Freak

Last page view:

1558 days, 23 hours, 50 minutes and 46 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 09:36 (GMT -5)

read it. If i were... Non Adom player that article would kill me:). But that is just me.

Some ideas:
Winbeta vs DOS version. I think main issue is stability. People usually use more stable one. On my computer this was anecdotal, since i always used DOS but after putting some service pack update i got 1/3 crashes on saving. While winbeta started working vet nicely.

"V" to go to backpack. "v" works as well and needs less finger work.

Dropping department still states "D" fro drop.

PV - i always thought as of protective value.

"Z" I alaways use Esc. Once again less finger work.

Neutral char will never be sacked on neutral altar. Chaotic or lawful might, but not neutral. Same lawful char on white marble.

ention energy discount while running on coward bellow 1/3 hp. Saved my ass so many times...

Mention some guys heavily use First Aid after each hit and "c"lose door command.

St might be trained at burdened, and i believe strained gives panalties for to hit and to damage.

i do believe STrained! does not reduce Dx. I oftenly stay in this while herb farming.

Sickness severely reduces natural hp regeneration. You should mention sickness from rats and Jharod as prime healing source early on.

I somehow was under impression eating spiders while being poisoned does not work.

good writing overall.

A root is a flower that disdains fame.
Kahlil Gibran(1883-1931)
Registered user
You'll never get rid of me

Last page view:

3073 days, 13 hours, 28 minutes and 15 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 10:25 (GMT -5)

Burdened trains strength but I think the limit is 15. Strained! gets you up to 18 and I'm very sure it doesn't abuse dex as I walk around strained! quite often to decrease my speed if it's high.
If you're feeling happy, don't worry, it'll go away.

Originally posted by noob: "I'm everytime amazed how you people know to exploit every single little bug (or not-bug) for elaborated scumming tatics even if the feature seems completely useless or bad."
Registered user
The Knight of the Black Rose

Last page view:

526 days, 14 hours, 3 minutes and 7 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 11:13 (GMT -5)

Strained! can go up to 20 sometimes. I don't know what exactly factors are involved, but getting St up to 20 is sometimes possible early game, and sometimes it's not.
May have something to do with St potential.
A pessimist sees a dark tunnel.
An optimist sees a light at the end of that tunnel.
A realist sees a train.
And the train driver sees three idiots on the tracks.

[Edited 1 time, last edit on 10/20/2008 at 12:36 (GMT -5) by Maelstrom]
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Writer of Overly Long Guides

Last page view:

1477 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 5 seconds ago.
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 12:15 (GMT -5)

I should be more exact about when you need to use capitals and when you don't. "Remember: Only commands used in the main screen are case-sensitive, menu options aren't!" Man, that statement was so clarifying I could kick myself for not having thought of it sooner.

I've gotten poison resistance while poisoned oftentimes - cursed corpses sometimes don't work, which can be a nasty surprise (usually the poison you get from eating isn't that severe though), but this really has saved me from death to poison occasionally. I guess it's not exactly [whatever the hell the adjective to intuition is] to think of poisonous spider corpses as the cure, or at least a treatment for a severe long time poisoning.

Regarding Dex abuse of Strained!, I've had differing experiences, but I'll note that. Burdened also trains strength - of course, I knew that, I just didn't mention it. As for the upper limit - I said 18 because I wanted to be on the safe side. A simple "20 was observed" in brackets behind it should suffice.

I think I've noted in my strategy guide how dangerous PV below 4 is. I call the upper levels safe IF you have Healing 60 or Candle or something like that.

Excellent suggestion from Molach though - I really should stress the importance of getting some basic protection from armour before venturing too deep if one plays a char that doesn't start with it, in the section "How to Begin?". Also, spellcasting demo... I chose the Barbarian for my tutorial because I felt that if there's anyone who can just go all out and kick asses during the first levels without special instructions it's Mr Orcbarb (well, dwarven paladins kind of fit the bill, too). Spellcasters are much less straightforward, and the purpose of. That's not to say that a detailed demonstration of how to play a gray elven wizard - say, a youtube video - would not be totally fucking awesome. Maybe someone without a hilarious German accent, with more time on his hands and actual videomaking skills could make one. The technicalities of wand zapping and spellcasting, i. e. how to handle bolt spells... Maybe a bit more elaboration on the importance of the "123456789" prompt?
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!
Spartan Spartacus
Unregistered user
Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 08:44 (GMT -5)

Requesting for closing this ad for unregistered users. As this is even mentioned as quide source in official site.

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