ADOM Guidebook

Skills - description and usefulness

There is an excellent section in the ADOM manual on skills. Be sure to take advantage of it. Some additional tips are provided here.

Alchemy - One recipe is gained for each ten points in this skill. The last recipe gained at skill level 100 is always for potions of gain attributes. The keystroke shift-r brings up the recipe list. Ingredients can be potions and herbs. The available recipes are always for: blindness, booze, cure poison, deafness, extra healing, gain attributes, insight, longevity, poison and youth. The order is random except for gain attributes. When the skill level reaches 100, only blessed potions can be created. This is important because of the unpredictable behavior of blessed potions of deafness (see Appendix E). Mixing the wrong ingredients results in an explosion. The diameter is related to the PC's Willpower as usual. This can be exploited. Run out of castings of Fire Ball? Wear your red dragon scale mail and apply some clumsy Alchemy.

Thanks to Krogg and Ascaron for the following observations:

The level of the Alchemy skill seems to have a definite effect on the BUC status of the potions produced. Alchemy at 100 when creating potions of confusion, for instance, resulted in seven uncursed and 25 blessed. Ascaron tested 100 times creating PoGAs. The results were 70/28/2 B/U/C using two uncursed potion ingredients and 72/26/2 using two blessed potion ingredients. Using two cursed potions gave 66/31/3 results. This is probably within the margin of error for a sample of this size. Therefore the BUC status of the potion ingredients matters little, if at all.

Alertness - Very helpful for evading bolt spells and undiscovered traps. Small DV increase.

Appraising - Not very useful. Ratings seem to be mostly dependent on BUC status. Cursed items can be rated as good, a nasty surprise. Wands of wishing can be rated as mediocre - ridiculous.

Archery - Obvious benefits. Prerequisite for some nice missile talents. Archers get extra bonus from the skill.

Athletics - Nice +8 bonus to speed at 100. Very powerful combination with Raven birthsign.

Backstabbing - Very powerful when combined with invisibility.

Bridge Building - If you must build a bridge it is obviously essential.

Climbing - Manual omits the fact that this must be at 100 to enter the Rift. Training with Yergius makes this much easier to achieve.

Concentration - Critical for wizards and necromancers. Get this to 100 ASAP.

Cooking - Useful for preserving the corpse of orb guardians. Hurthlings enjoy the added benefit of preferred cooked corpses for sacrificing.

Courage - Nice to have, some ignore it entirely when going for an ultra ending.

Detect Item Status - Nice but not necessary.

Detect Traps - Very important unless you can recharge wands of trap detection indefinitely. There are several heavily trapped areas in the game. Very useful for detecting trapped doors as well. 'A'pply this skill towards any door whose trapped vs untrapped status is unknown.

Disarm Traps - Nowhere near as important as Detect Traps. Once detected, traps are easily avoided. Gives a small amount of experience when applied successfully. This may be the only way to get experience without killing a monster. A skill level of 60 is reliable for door traps. Floor traps require higher skill level. A skill level of 80 is still risky.

Dodge - Very nice DV +10 at skill level 100.

Find Weakness - Very nice increase to critical hits. The skill stacks with weapons which are prone to criticals (but not slayers, which always deliver criticals against vulnerable opponents) and the Ring of the Master Cat, for example. It increases the chance to score critical hits with ordinary missiles such as rocks, coins and arrows.

First Aid - All PCs have this. Can restore (some) recently lost hit points, but perhaps more importantly, can be used every turn to fight poisoning. Apply the skill every time the game generates the message about "poison coursing through your veins!"

Fletchery - Wait until skill level is high, ideally 100, to use it. Use logs, not sticks. Blessed logs give double the number of missiles. Arrows are more abundantly produced than quarrels. There is a small chance of producing prefix and suffix missiles.

Food Preservation - Important for all, essential for Necromancers.

Gardening - Requires herb seeds to train. Using the skill to plant herb seeds is the only way to convert a dungeon level that does not support herbs to one that does. Herb farming can increase a low level PCs stats quickly and produce endless sacrificial fodder. See sections and 0.13.6

Gemology - Gems are found and some identified solely depending on this skill. Without it, gems will not be found when mining. Exploitable.

Haggling - Somewhat useful for all, essential for merchants. Only use it at high skill values or a price increase will be the most likely result.

Healing - Very important for all PCs. Get it if you aren't born with it. The only possible exception is those born under Candle. Still nice to have at 100.

Herbalism - Very useful for all PCs. Willpower, Toughness and Dexterity all go to ~25 with herbs. All herbs picked without this skill will be cursed. To use the skill, 'A'pply it while standing on an herb square. The game indicates the health of the plant. Herbs "full of blossoms" can be safely picked twice; "strong herbs" can be picked once. Picking from a "withered" plant will kill it often enough that it should be avoided.

Law - Marginal. By the time this skill informs you of the criminal nature of some act, the PC has already committed it! Does inform of lawful acts.

Listening - All PCs have this. High skill level may train perception. Trains naturally, don't waste level advances on this.

Literacy - Essential for spellcasters, most of whom are born with high levels anyway. Less important than it used to be, since reading scrolls does not require high literacy.

Metallurgy - Handy for weaponsmiths.

Mining - High level in Mining helps stop pickaxes from breaking and reduces the number of game turns spent digging.

Music - Essential for bards, of course. Very high levels are needed for good effectivity.

Necromancy - Necromancers, of course. Get this to 100 as soon as convenient. Do not believe the manual about very slow regeneration of mana. Using the skill trains the mana attribute. Some corpses are not eligible for Necromancy. These include the Cat Lord, Yulgash, Nuurag-Vaarn and Filk, despite the fact that they are all humanoid. The game responds with "The -foo- corpse turns to dust." The Minotaur Emperor, however is eligible and makes a good slave. Corpses should not be blessed or cooked when used for Necromancy. This results in a slave which is critically damaged.

Pick Locks - Useful for thieves. Must have thieves' picks. Both unlocking and locking doors is possible. It is possible to close and lock a door in one turn by applying Pick Locks.

Pick Pockets - Useful for all, since "common" items such as potions of water and scrolls of identify can be pickpocketed, which are sometimes not so "common". Occasionally a truly outstanding object can be pickpocketed. Proving the PC a successful pickpocket allows entrance to the Thieves Guild, a means to receive very useful training.

Smithing - Useful for all PCs, the specialty of weaponsmiths.

Stealth - Useful for all PCs. 100 skill level required to get the Weird Tome from the Ghost Librarian.

Survival - Useful for all PCs, especially trolls and rangers. All PCs born in the month of the Falcon receive this. Applying the skill while Bloated on a non-water square causes plant seeds to be gathered, which have some nutritional value and can be given to farmers for a small lawful boost. Doing the same on a water square causes fish to be gathered, which can be used to tame a variety of monsters (see Section

Swimming - Nearly essential for all PCs in later gammas and 1.0.0+ that include rivers (at least those without a means of casting Frost Bolt).

Tactics - Useful for all PCs, increases modifiers from the tactics settings.

Two Weapon Combat - Useful for all PCs. Two words: Needle. Sting. Best for Rangers. Dual wielding is not recommended for early game PCs since it lowers DV (no shield) and doubles attack turn length.

Ventriloquism - Ventriloquism is a means of confusing monsters, who will then be hostile after recovering from the confusion. They do not, however, alert other monsters on the level. This makes the skill extremely useful against shopkeepers (including the Casino shopkeeper), farmers in Terinyo (for Gaab'Baay's quest) and Thrundarr, who will wander off his lever when confused. If the skill is not trained to 100, there is a chance the monster will simply become hostile, but again, it will not alert other monsters. Thanks to CheatMan for the following observations: Attempts to use Ventriloquism on any undead always fail. Attempts to use Ventriloquism against constructs may succeed, but they do not react to it. Ventriloquism, unlike Mindcraft, works against all insects. Ventriloquism works against all orb guardians and Keriax.

Woodcraft - Reduces time spent felling trees.

0.4.1 Guaranteed ways of acquiring skills

The following skills can be taught or trained by NPCs, providing alignment restrictions are met (see section 0.2.1).

Bridge BuildingYrrigs
Couragethe Old Barbarian
Detect TrapsYergius
Disarm TrapsYergius
GardeningGuth'Alak (under special circumstances, see section
HealingKranf Niest
LawTywat Pare
Pick LocksYergius
Pick PocketsYergius
Two Weapon CombatBart

0.4.2 Non-guaranteed ways of acquiring skills

Potions or scrolls of education can grant a new random skill or increase proficiency in an existing random skill. Skills can also be wished for; the exceptions are Alertness and Healing.

0.4.3 Training skills

In the sense meant for the sake of the following table, "training" means actions that will cause a skill to spontaneously increase, without the player deciding to increase skill proficiency when gaining an experience level. This is different from Yergius' training, which can change the potential maximum for a skill (how high the PC can raise it) and the dice roll (how fast the PC can get it there). The value of Yergius' training can only be taken advantage of when gaining an experience level or after successfully applying the skill elsewhere in the game.

SkillTraining method
Alchemy successfully applying
Alertness spontaneously discovering a trap (not using the Detect Traps skill) or evading a spellcaster's bolts
Appraising evaluating many items
Archery using missiles (apparently including scurgari and boomerangs but not other thrown missiles) and only when successfully firing a missile into the red zone
Athletics automatic
Backstabbing attacking unsuspecting monsters due to invisibility, Stealth or a nonhostile monster - always results in the message "You stab the -foo-..." or "You splatter the -foo-..."
Bridge Building successfully applying
Climbing mountaineering, climbing out of pits
Concentration regenerating power points
Cooking successfully applying
Courage fighting more than one opponent
Detect Item Statusevaluating many items
Detect Traps successfully detecting traps, whether the skill is applied or with the search command
Disarm Traps successfully disarming traps
Dodge successfully dodging spells and missiles
Find Weakness when the PC scores a critical hit "...with full force"
First Aid applying, even if unsuccessful
Fletchery successfully applying
Food Preservation carrying corpses or other food items susceptible to rotting, probably by killing monsters as well
Gardening successfully applying
Gemology whenever the PC or a monster destroys rock; the game checks whether a gem is generated
Haggling successfully applying
Healing automatic when wounded
Herbalism picking or successfully identifying an herb bush
Law whenever the PC receives the "You feel as if {behaving in proper form|transgressing some law}." messages
Listening automatic when sounds are present
Literacy reading spellbooks, gravestones, fortune cookies and (at least non-magical, if not all) scrolls
Metallurgy evaluating many items; may also be trained when the PC is on a level where digging is occuring (determining whether ore is present, and which type)
Mining mining, i.e. only using pickaxes against stone
Music when a monster is successfully tamed or calmedusing the skill
Necromancy successfully applying + level dependent for Necromancers
Pick Locks successfully applying
Pick Pockets successfully applying
Smithing successfully applying + special considerations for weaponsmiths
Stealth automatic
Survival automatic when moving through the wilderness (avoiding encounters); successfully applying
Swimming moving through water: dungeon rivers, wilderness water squares, Shyssiryxius' cave
Tactics fighting with tactics settings other than normal and switching often
Two Weapon Combat successful hits when dual-wielding melee weapons
Ventriloquism successfully applying
Woodcraft automatic when traveling through forest squares in the wilderness or animated forest; also by attacking trees in the animated forest

Updated October 14th, 2009