ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery) – Tips and Tricks for Getting Started

Before you play the ADOM game, you will definitely want to know these simple but useful tips and tricks. If you have any tips feel free to share with us!

Things to Know Before Playing

Character Creation

Some of the easier starting classes include:

  • Archer: One of the strongest and safest classes in the game, especially bow-and-crossbow -oriented ones. Starts with the Concentration skill so can also do some spellcasting on the side.
  • Paladin: Strong skillset, good starting equipment, both melee and spellcasting abilities, easy to please their diety.
  • Priest: Similar to the Paladin but focused on the casting side. Starts with the convenient Detect Item Status skill which can help avoid cursed items.
  • Barbarian/Fighter/Healer/Duelist: Different flavors of melee-focused fighters. Barbarians are the physically strongest (but non-elves start illiterate), Fighters are the most balanced, Healers the most resilient and Duelists the best weapon specialists.
  • Wizard: Very frail early on but grow to be extremely powerful with an immense amount of options for practically all situations.
  • Elementalist: Basically simpler Wizards that learn spells innately as they level, easier start than Wizards but not quite as many options in the long-term.

Some race considerations:

  • Most Dark Elves, Orcs and Trolls start Chaotic in alignment which can make certain things trickier for a beginner. Dark Elves and Orcs do start with the very desirable Find Weaknesses skill, while Trolls are immensely tough (but level very slowly).
  • Mist Elves have amazing caster stats but are immensely frail and take damage from iron items such as certain rings or amulets, making them a poor starter option.
  • Gnomes level up very fast so they’re especially good for classes that are weak at the beginning. They’re also tougher than elves, which makes them a pretty safe spellcaster race.
  • Drakelings are well-balanced, start with good abilities and can spit acid which gives them a bonus ranged option especially handy for classes that lack them.

Some notable star signs:

  • Candle is always a solid choice, providing strong natural HP regeneration even without the Healing skill (and especially with it) and a free Talent doesn’t hurt either. Recommended for beginners.
  • Raven gives a large Speed boost which makes all actions noticeably faster. It also lets you acquire a certain mid-game quest reward (a powerful polearm) a whole 20 levels earlier than non-Raven characters.
  • Book makes it much easier for semi-casters to successfully learn spells. Good for any non-Mindcrafter class that has the Concentration skill but isn’t inherently a spellcaster such as Archers or Healers.
  • About starting attributes: Toughness is critical with any character and most also want at least 10 Learning and Perception for guaranteed literacy and decent vision range. Learning, Willpower and Mana are all important for casters. Charisma and Appearance have very niche uses and be considered dump stats for most characters. You start with a bonus talent if your starting attributes are divisible by 7 though, so them being cheap to raise can help hit that.
  • Many talents have a variety of prerequisites, including other talents. Consult the talent tree on the wiki for details as these are not visible in-game. Some easily missable special options include “Treasure Hunter” for more loot (Alert + Miser) and “Heir to the Family” for a powerful starting item (Charismatic + Boon to the Family).

General Advice

  • The ADOM Guidebook is a historically useful resource, though some information is outdated by now. The ADOM wiki has been maintained over the various patches.
  • Don’t forget to try prayer if you’re in a dire spot! Prayers cost piety which is primarily gained by sacrificing gold, corpses and living creatures on co-aligned altars (Shift-O sacrifices a living creature standing on an altar tile.).
  • It’s good to always have a ranged weapon equipped for some free shots at approaching enemies, at least some stones to throw if nothing else. In the same vein, even a spellcaster should be prepared having to engage in melee at times.
  • Eating corpses can have a variety of effects, some desirable and some not. You can safely eat the corpses of most common creatures, with some exceptions like kobolds and normal rats.
  • You can get a rough estimate of an unknown item’s quality by checking how much a shopkeeper is willing to pay for it.
  • Combat tactics can be changed on the fly with the F1-F7 keys without it consuming an action. Offensive tactics are especially useful when firing a ranged weapon for example, while casters tend to stay on the defense. Note that Berserk tactic prevents improving one’s skill with shields, while Very Defensive/Coward tactics do the same for weapons. Coward also makes you move faster while very low on health.
  • There are two mutually exclusive quests in the first town, one by the druid and the other by the village elder. The latter is the easiest way for a (non-Chaotic) character to learn the very important Healing skill that boosts HP regeneration. The quest involves finding the mad town carpenter from a nearby cave who one should try not to kill, but instead lead to the wandering healer found on an earlier level of the cave.
  • Before you dive into a dungeon, it can be worth visiting the shop in the outlaw village southwest of the first town. Even if you can’t afford anything, walking over the items will permanently identify them for the future.
  • Spear and shield is a solid weapon combination for almost every class for their hefty avoidance bonuses when trained. Swords are also always reliable. Be careful of cursed items though, and keep an eye out for items with irregular weights as they might be made of rarer materials.
  • You can make holy water by dropping water (or “watery potion,” which is just unidentified water) on the altar of a god who likes you. Anything dipped in holy water will become blessed. A lot of items become much better when blessed, and in a pinch it also allows you to remove (previously) cursed equipment.
  • Quick-marking spells and abilities to number keys via the in-game menu can expedient the use of anything you make frequent use of.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13543 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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