Improved ADOM Guidebook

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All trades or master one? - Class considerations - Grand Mastery - True Berserker - Melee combat - Missile combat - Critical hits


PC's ability to successfully attack monsters in melee or missile combat is improved via weapon skills. A general description of them can be found in the ADOM Manual. Press Ctrl-w to display your current weapon skills. Pressing W or M displays your melee or missile weapon statistics, ie. how likely are you to hit and how much damage you do with your currently equipped weapon or weapons. By the way, to attack with missile, just throw it. This works for thrown daggers and bows alike.

In general, a PC with higher Strength will do more damage with a given weapon. There seems to be one important exception to this: whips. As implemented in ADOM, the damage done with whips, especially dual-wielded whips, seems to be more dependent on Dexterity than Strength. The manual touches on this subject, stating that a PC must have high speed to use two whips effectively. Dexterity seems to be at least as important.

0.7.1 Jack of all trades or master of one?

This is a matter of personal preference and style. The advantage of becoming very proficient with one weapon becomes clear from reading the manual: bonuses to the to-hit, to-damage, and to DV as well as reduced attack cost when using the weapon. There is also the possibility of achieving Grand Mastery, where the attack cost is reduced to the point where about 1 1/2 attacks per round is possible. The downside is also easy to imagine: without an artifact weapon in the specialized category, a PC can have the weapon destroyed and be without one. In practice this is not usually a problem since there are generally plenty of weapons to be found in the game. Also, a PC may run across a truly outstanding weapon at some point in the game, some of which are guaranteed, and have no skill with the weapon. Again, this is not usually a huge problem since mid- to high-level PCs will be able to train up their weapon skill in any given category relatively quickly.

Critical hits yield double skill marks. If the PC finds a weapon that delivers critical hits, it will train about twice as fast. Throwing shield yields shield skill marks. No skill marks are gained if fighting using Very Defensive or Coward tactic setting. No shield marks are gained on Berserk.

0.7.2 Class considerations - what weapon to specialize in

Beastfighters - Beastfighters receive severe penalties for using melee weapons, and should avoid doing so for this reason. They develop a formidable unarmed attack as they advance in experience and Unarmed Combat skill. Note that the penalty does not apply to missile weapons; all Beastfighters should practice with missile weapons in order to take advantage of -foo- slaying ammunition.

Mindcrafters - Willpower is critical for Mindcrafters. The Sword of Nonnak is a guaranteed artifact sword available to most PCs at experience level 15 or less. It grants +5 to Willpower. This makes Swords an attractive weapon class for Mindcrafters to specialize in, at least during the early game.

Monks - Monks also receive penalties for using weapons, albeit not as severe as Beastfighters, and so should specialize in Unarmed Combat. Monks also excel at kicking and receive a class power that enables them to deliver a circular kick.

0.7.3 Achieving Grand Mastery

Grand Mastery is difficult to achieve. It will not happen simply from using a single weapon type throughout a normal game. Becoming doomed in the wilderness for the frequent wilderness encounters is one way of generating an infinite number of enemies to be killed with no corruption. The Crown of Science (doubly useful because of its +9 bonus to Le) or a ring of doom can be used for this.

There is one class + starsign combination that can reasonably expect to achieve Grand Mastery during a normal game. Note the following two manual entries:

From the Weapon Skills section:
Farmers are so skilled in the use of polearms that they need 20% less marks to increase in their use.

From the Horoscope section:
Sword Positive modifiers from Tactics settings are increased by 10%, costs to increase melee weapon skills are reduced by 20%, +1 to the initial Learning score.

This double 20% reduction in cost to increase weapon skills means that Farmers born in the month of the Sword who use polearms exclusively, and do not hurry, can expect to achieve Grand Mastery with polearms. This will happen approximately by the time the PC reaches the Mana Temple, depending on the ending the PC is going for, etc.

0.7.4 True Berserker

Any PC except Monks, who wield a weapon without armor (Beastfighter is no exception), and switch tactic to Berserk, get a True Berserker bonus, which is +10 to hit and damage, in addition to Berserk tactic setting bonus. Shields, necklaces, rings, bracers, tools, missiles, missile weapons and armor with "of rage" suffix can be worn and the PC is still a True Berserker. If the requirements for true berserking are met, every melee attack will yield the "You lust for blood!" message before hits or misses are displayed. Also, the message "Do you really want to attack..." will not be displayed and the PC will instantly attack any monster, hostile or not.

0.7.5 Melee combat

To hit
Stunned gives -4, Blind -4, Bloated -2, Satiated -1, Drunk -1, Blessed +2, spear without shield +2, Invisible +4, Dwarven Shield and Dwarven Rune Axe paired +10 (axe must be in left hand), Needle and Sting +50. Furthermore there is bonus based on Strength: +(St-12)/2, +(St-9)/2, only positive bonus is applied. Melee Weapon Master talent gives +3, Basher, Powerful Striker, Mighty Strike give +1, +2, +3 if weapon weight>=100s, Brawler +2 if unarmed. Monks and Beastfighters get additional bonuses if unarmed (see for details).

An enraged monster has twice as many attacks as it normally would, and has 3 less DV.

To damage
Torch +1d4 and additional +2d4 vs fire vulnerable, thorns corruption +3d3, Assassin or Thief lvl 12+ and backstab *2, of the sun suffix vs undead *2, ashen vs undead =0, hateful weapon and Berserk tactic +2d6, Barbarian's mighty blow *2, tremendous blow *3, deadly and chilling silence room *10, vibrate with life room /10, blessed weapon vs undead and demons *1.5, cursed /2, rusty weapon /2, broken weapon /2, meleeing with a missile weapon /2, lawful weapon vs chaotics +1d8, chaotic weapon vs lawfuls +1d8, critical blow *1d4+1, slaying *1d4+2, mild weapon /5, penetration weapon +monster PV.

Fighting with two-handed weapons (only of that specific category, not polearms or staves) yields an extra 0,5 St damage bonus (limited by weapon skill, see the manual entry for more details).

0.7.6 Missile combat

To hit
Blind -4, Stunned -4, Confused -4, Drunk -3, Satiated or Bloated -1, Burdened or worse -1, Blessed +2, Invisible +2, Archer +lvl+6, Paladin, Thief, Barbarian, Fighter +lvl/2, Assassin, Bard, Ranger +lvl/3, other classes +lvl/4, Merchant throwing gold +lvl-1, Good Shot, Keen Shot, Eagle Eye talents +1, +2, +3, +Max((Dx-12)/2,0), +Max((Dx-9)/2,0), stuck in webs /2, shifting breeze room /3, +Concentration/50, +Archery skill bonus (read manual).

In R+, severe penalty is applied to to-hit missile combat modifier if wielding two shields. Perception attribute adds minor modifier.

To damage
Merchants throwing gold get lvl/2 + 3 more damage.

0.7.7 Critical hit chances

Base chance is 5%, but Luck modifies this slightly. Murderous weapon doubles this chance. Then add the following:

Due to a bug, Ring of the Master Cat (+16%) and Bracers of War (+8%) increase critical chance only if used as melee weapons. Both items are fixed.

Updated March 11th, 2013