ADOM Manual

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Ancient Domains of Mystery (ADOM for short) is a rogue-like game which means that it is a single-user game featuring the exploration of a dungeon complex. You control a fictional character described by race, class, attributes, skills, and equipment. This fictional character is trying to achieve a specific goal (see below) and succeed in a difficult quest. To fulfill the quest, you have to explore previously undiscovered tunnels and dungeons, fight hideous monsters, uncover long forgotten secrets, and find treasures of all kind.

During the game, you explore dungeon levels which are randomly generated each game. You might also encounter certain special levels, which present a particular challenge or are built around a certain theme.

IMPORTANT: If you are a first-time player you should read the 'How to start' section of this manual.

The Background Story

The Coming of Chaos

For 6000 years, the world of Ancardia was left untouched by the incursions of Chaos, but finally the sinister forces of evil and darkness have found this young and teeming world. In a remote mountain complex, huge dungeons were formed by great magical powers. They seem to contain some kind of dimensional gate which allows terrors from unknown dimensions to enter the world of Ancardia and wreak havoc.

For years, nobody understood the true cause of sudden ambushes by evil monsters, incursions by hideous monster armies, and the rising tide of Chaos. Finally Khelavaster, the great sage, uncovered an ancient prophecy foretelling the Coming of Chaos – a dark and sinister time when the skill, power and valor of a single hero would determine the future of the world. The ancient scrolls of prophecy hinted at a remote mountain range – the Drakalor Chain – which was destined to be the final battle ground for an epic fight between Chaos and Order. Khelavaster quickly made this known to all the intelligent races of Ancardia.

Within weeks, many heroes set out to find the source of the chaotic forces and destroy it. Khelavaster was among the first to enter those dungeons. Many heroes have followed him since then but no one has ever returned from the dungeons. Thus the forces of Chaos continue their conquest and threaten to defile Ancardia…

You are one of those young heroes willing to risk your life to defeat the forces of Chaos, gain fame, fortune, power, and ultimately save your world and your people. After weeks of arduous travel, you have finally reached the center of the Drakalor Chain and now face the entrance to those dungeons of mystery which must contain a means to save your world. You were told to visit a small village by the name of "Terinyo" and talk to the village elder for he might have the latest information about the region. Steady yourself and be prepared to engage in a heroic struggle for the fate of your home world!

The Myth of Creation

The following text, taken from ancient Ancardian lore, provides further insights into the nature of Chaos. Enjoy it if you want to get a deeper understanding of the rich and vibrant history of Ancardia…

From the tome of knowledge, written by Kheeran the Elder at the end of the Second Age:

In the beginning there was nothing, except for Gaethra, the Creator. It shaped the universe from a tear, begotten when the First Dream ended. Based upon the five elemental principles it was formed and perfect it was. Then Gaethra resumed its sleep and its dream.

Thus the First Age began. The world was a primeval and vibrant place, inhabited by the first four races: the Drakelings, born from Fire, the Elves, begotten by Air, the Dwarves, shaped from Earth and Hurthlings, risen out of Water. But the crowning piece of its creation was Man, derived from all four elements. Life was given by the fifth and strongest element – Mana, the ambient magical energy of the Dream.

But, as things go, sleep is not always peaceful. Where there are dreams, there are nightmares and thus eventually Gaethra experienced the First Nightmare and Chaos was born. A vibrant and ever-changing force, born from darkness, Chaos only wants to change, corrupt and alter. From Fire, Orcs were created. Out of Earth Trolls were shaped. The Dark Elves were formed from corrupted Air and the Ratlings, lifted from tainted Water. Thus the Second Age, the time of Chaos began. But Gaethra's Dream proved to be stronger. The pure races united against the forces of Chaos and even the allies of Chaos, highly eligible for change, switched sides and united against the dark force bent upon the complete destruction of the universe known to us all. Chaos was defeated although a new overlord, Andor Drakon, once mortal, rose to power and swore vengeance. Here, at the beginning of the Third Age, the Era of Peace and Tranquility, the text ends. For many generations the world lived in peace and harmony, only disturbed by whatever petty struggles troubled the various races. Now, many centuries after those ancient events, Chaos once more has gathered dark forces and tries its second incursion into the world. Dark times seem to be lying ahead and sages even suspect that Gaethra might be awakening… whatever meaning this might have.

Others are disturbed by the very existence of Chaos… how did it come into being if everything is Gaethra's dream? Just a passing nightmare? Or a sign of madness…?

The Price of the Game

ADOM exists in two versions:

The Cost of ADOM Classic

ADOM Classic is available for free as long as you honor the following license: You are hereby allowed to distribute ADOM Classic freely if the following conditions are met: If you want to thank me (Thomas Biskup) and the rest of Team ADOM for creating ADOM, maintaining it, fixing all discovered bugs, providing support and generally spending a lot of time on the game and if you are having fun with the game, please consider rewarding my efforts by sending a postcard to the following address from wherever you are living:

                Thomas Biskup
                Zu den Tannen 5
                58456 Witten
I love receiving postcards from all over the world. Weigh the fun ADOM gave you against the ten minutes you probably need to write and send such a postcard – and if you find that you like and enjoy the game – please do it. I'm really not asking much… am I?

ADOM Deluxe compared to ADOM Classic

ADOM Deluxe is a greatly expanded version of ADOM available only on Steam (see Current prices will be around $14.99 but might depend on your location. Check the latest price for your location under the given link. Please note that our policy is to offer only occasional discounts for ADOM Deluxe and we do not plan to offer discounts larger than 10% as we believe in continuously increasing the value of ADOM by adding more content instead of devalueing the game with excessive discounts.

ADOM Deluxe incorporates tons of additional features:

Bug Reports & Requests For Enhancements (RFEs)

ADOM contains a number of bugs as is normal for one huge piece of software being developed by a single person (about 280,000 lines of code as of ADOM 2.3.7). Thus it's absolutely necessary to send bug reports in to me if you experience problems with the game.

Bug reports are submitted at

and should contain at least the following information:

  1. your real life name and your email address
  2. the version of ADOM you are using (exact version)
  3. the operating system you are using (exact version)
  4. a description on what you did to produce the error
  5. all dumps ADOM might have created
Unless asked you should not include any binary files.