Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Guide to Being a Monk by Molach

Though I fear the sudden burst of activity will shock the less bold-hearted of our readers, I am happy to present to you yet another guide. Molach is another regular poster on both the ADOM Hall of Fame forums and now the official forums as well. His guide provides a welcome relief from the wordiness I have displayed in three guides I wrote before!

THE GUIDE to Being a Monk by Molach

List of contents:
I. Introduction

II. Manual Information
a. The manual
b. Undocumented features
c. Understanding the manual
Part 1 - The monk’s special martial powers
Part 2 - The skillset
Part 3 - The class powers

III.Starting up the monk
a. Starting equipment
b. Starsigns
c. Races
d. Talents
e. Getting equipped

IV. How to play the monk
a. Playing styles
Part 1 - The mean machine
Part 2 - The Ninja
Part 3 - The Martial artist
Part 4 - The Hermit
b. 2 sample walkthroughs
c. Defeating special opponents

I. Introduction
”a martial artist, an almost inhuman fighting machine trained to fight without weapons or armor. The monk can use them, but, at higher levels particularly, often does better without.” (Bards' tale manual)

“Thirst for existence, O monks, has a specific condition, it is nourished by something, it also does not go without support. And what is that nourishment? It is ignorance experience levels!” (Buddha, with author’s twist at the end)

II. Manual Information.
a. The manual.
Monks are able martial artists striving to achieve perfect mastery of body, mind and spirit. They are experts at fighting unarmed, very good at dodging attacks and strong of will. Monks need to be unencumbered to be able to use their special martial art powers. Monks take vows of poverty at their initiation to prevent distraction by worldly means.

Monks are trained in the following skills: Alertness, athletics, concentration, dodge, find weakness, healing, literacy, and stealth.

The further monks advance, the more they hone their movement skills and unarmed combat powers. At level 6 monks learn to use a circular kick with which they can hit every opponent in the vicinity (but also all friends, so be careful). Using this kick costs 2500 energy points. At level 12 a normal move costs them but 800 energy points, at level 18 but 600 energy points. At level 25 monks become able to change positions with hostile opponents. At level 32 they can score instant kills in melee combat against up to human-sized creatures. At level 40 they can do so against humanoids of any size. At level 50 they have become so attached to the flow of the universe that they actually are able to resist Chaos to a certain limit - Chaos effects are lowered by 10%.

b. Undocumented features.
* The monk can kick down walls to at level 13. This ability will produce rocks as well as ore and gems if you have gemology skill.
* The monk does not receive true-berserking bonus when fighting barehanded.

c. Understanding the manual.
Part 1 - The monks special martial power:
Monks gain a bonus to barehanded combat. At the start they have a barehanded attack doing 1d9 damage, compared to 1d3 for other classes except beastfighter. Each level the max damage will increase with one, and each 4 levels you will get a +1 bonus to damage. First +1 bonus happens at level 4. There is a + to hit bonus too, it comes out to roughly +2 each level. In addition to there is the usual bonus from equipment, strength and weapon skill (unarmed combat)
Here are some typical values you might expect from a monk character at certain key levels in the game. The estimates put below are very conservative, it should not be hard to beat these values and do more damage. Also you will hit criticals from time to time leading over time to a higher average (AVG) damage. But this is also not considered.

Level 1. No bonus:
1d9 damage, AVG damage will be 5.

Level 10. No equipment bonus, +3 from skill (level 8-9), +2 from strength.
1d18 + 7 damage, AVG damage will be 16,5.

Level 20. +6 from equipment, +6 from skill (level 11-12), +4 from strength.
1d28 +21 damage, AVG damage will be 35,5.

Level 50. +12 from equipment, +10 from skill (level 14), +20 from strength.
1d58 +54 damage, AVG damage will be 83,5.

Monks also receive a bonus to DV equal to 2/3 per level, for an increase of +33 to DV at level 50.

Burdened status will eliminate both of these boni, as will wearing a shield.
Wearing «heavy» armor will remove the DV bonus. To be precise, the allowed armors are: Robe, Black robe, Shirt of the Saints, Robes of Resistance, Elven Chain Mail, Clean Robe, Clothes.
Notice the absence of «Ancient mummy wrappings» in the list even though it weighs the same as a robe. Also, strangely, “ugly clothes” are not tolerated. For those who dabble in smithing, note that the only smithable armor is the elven chain mail, made from mithril.

Note that weapons will NOT take away the DV bonus. Monks, unlike beastfighters, receive no penalties from using weapons. In fact, this means that using two-handed weapons actually can be very worthwhile, as the DV-bonus will negate the penalty of not using a shield.

Finally, as a light fighter, the monk receives +1 speed per two levels gained. This bonus will stay even if character wields weapons, wears armor, or becomes burdened.

Part 2 - The skillset
In my opinion, the monks have the best skillset of all classes in ADOM. Great for melee and magic, and containing 3 skills I have used a wish on with other characters. For detailed information about skills, see the ADOM guidebook. I will only comment on what makes these good for monks.

Alertness - Avoiding damage is good for low-armored charcters. DV bonus helps along with other means to making the character unhittable at higher levels.
Athletics - Extra speed along with class powers means that all monsters can be outrun. Also good for melee charaters attack speed, and for getting the crucial STR-increases on initially-weak monks faster.
Concentration - Allows magic to be a serious playing-style for any monk, even at low levels.
Dodge - Good for all characters, and like alertness helps the monk evade hits due to the extra DV bonus.
Find weakness - Lacking in the slaying department, unarmed monks have use for the double-damage hits to damage certain tough opponents.
Healing - self explanatory, if monks did not have this it would have made the early game a bit harder
Literacy - available in the game, having this at start allows monks to start training to become a spellcaster right away.
Stealth - available in the game, helps avoiding too-tough-to-handle early-game monsters.

Part 3 - The class powers.

Level 6 - circular kick. For 2500 energy points, attack all NPC around you with a kick attack.
Rating: Very Bad.
Discussion: This should almost never be used.
Firstly, the best way to play ADOM is not getting surrounded. Fight monsters one at a time, if you become surrounded you should move towards a hallway, or a corridor. While this attack may seem to have merit in clearing the area around you, it really is dangerous to use. Any monsters not killed in the attack will have 1-2 free rounds in which to hit you afterwards. In this time other monsters will have time to close in and mabye even attack. Summoners will have time to summon.
Secondly, while waiting out the time of your action you may not heal yourself like you could have if you had performed a low-cost attack instead.
Thirdly, your kick attack is a bit weaker than barehanded hit. Monks receive a bonus to kicking, but a typical 8th level character of mine had 1d16+9 on unarmed melee attack, but 1d14+7 on kick. It appears that boni from unarmed weapon combat skill is not factored in. This may well be a bug, since you gain melee marks from using the ability.
Fourth point is that normal attacks are pretty fast. 2500 energy equals 2,5 attacks at weapon skill 0. If you have unarmed combat skill level 8 or higher, this means you can take 3 attacks instead of the kick, at weapons skill 15 4 attacks. So normally you have to be surrounded by more than 3 creatures for the ability to be cost-effective at all. This is not a position one should find oneself in.
This really is a novelty skill, used if you are surrounded by harmless creatures. But I would rather be heading towards a corridor still, to mow down the enemies in one direction.
One possible positive use for the ability would be standing in the middle of low-level summons like spiders, in order to gain weapon skill marks. But again, why not just attack them normally....

Level 12/18 - normal movement costs 800/600 energy points.
Rating: Excellent.
Discussion: There is no argument that fast movement is very powerful and always useful for any character. For a monk, this ability is useful because it makes wearing seven league boots less important, as you will outrun anything anyway. Instead wear heavily smithed boots for DV/PV (remember you have body-armor restriction) or even boots of speed (in order to attack faster).

Level 25 - can switch places with hostile monsters.
Rating: Very good.
A potential life-saver, this ability can let you escape difficult situations, and also shuffle your way to take out a nasty summoner in the middle of a monster pack. On the other side, when you are level 25 your monks should be pretty tough (even naked) so you could easily go a whole game without ever using this ability.

Level 32/40 - can score instant kills against humanoids, man-sized and then every sized.
Rating: Mediocre.
Discussion: One of the coolest skills in the game, it is, sadly, nothing one can rely on. A little informal testing indicated that it would activate in about 1 in 30 hits against man-sized humanoids. At character level 32, there are few man-sized humanoids that can survive a hit anyway. At level 40 the power extends giants and demons, but again informal testing against balors made the activation about 1 in 100. Not something to rely on. It does give a nice way to off Emperor Moloch, and if it can work against AnRoR DrAkOn that would be fun.

Level 50 - chaos effects are reduced 10%
Rating: Poor.
Discussion: Avoiding corruption is very important in this game, but the reason for the low grade is firstly that at level 50 game is almost over anyway, and secondly that 10% is not a whole lot at all. It will help against corrupting hits from monsters, and from using elemental orbs, but it may have no effect on background corrution at all, as this occurs gradually over time and the 10% reduction gets lost when rounding. Unless mabye you are on Emperor moloch level or ChAoS plane.

III. Starting up the monk.

a. Starting equipment
A monk always starts out with a robe. Trollish have extra food and start with a heavy club equipped, the other races have a quarterstaff in inventory. Many races have sandals. Some may have tools. Robe and sandals can have +DV or +PV modifiers, but base is [0,+1] robe and [0,0] sandals. One lucky character I had started with [+3,+2]robe and [0,+2] sandals.

b. Starsigns
As monks are passable magicians in addition to being great fighters, both «brain» and «brawn» type starsigns are fine. Some starsigns that work particularly well with monk class:
Dragon: +strength is good for avoiding burden status.
Cup: Enhances the monk's already decent magic ability, also makes levelling faster which makes the level-related abilities come sooner.
Candle: Speedy healing combined with monk's bonus to movement equals being hard to kill.

c. Races
Races have effect on starting equipment, starting attributes, starting skillset, experience table and certain other factors. Skills listed are those not covered by monk class, doubly-trained skills are not listed. Lifespan I consider to be generic to any class and is not discussed. I will also not discuss Ap and Ch stats as I consider them mostly useless, and not connected to the monk class in any way.

Race skills: swimming and food preservation.
Starting attributes: Very average.
Level up: Fast

Discussion: Food preservation is good for all races, mabye somewhat less since monks have less food consumption. Swimming means that you could go for an early dive into the unremarkable dungeon without having to turn back when faced with a river. Fast levelup is extra good as a monk character.

Skills: Gemology, mining, food preservation and bridge building.
Starting attributes: High strength and toughness. Low everything else, especially learning and mana.
Level up: Slowest by far.

Discussion: Starting attributes leads itself to playing the monk as a melee fighter. Highest strength means burden levels will be little problem, and high toughness will give some +PV to make the easy game easy. Mining skill is useless as you can kick walls, but gemology means that you can kick walls for unlimited gems once you reach level 13, for example in the ID. This will take care of any money problem as well as giving gems like health, fire and of knowledge. These crystals of knowledge will likewise take care of problems with low learning. Food preservation is somewhat better for trolls as they have higher food consumption. A troll monk is about as hungry as a regular adventurer.
The big drawback is the terrible experience tables, bad for a monk who wants to be as high level as possible.

High Elf/Grey Elf
Skills: None
Starting attributes: Lower St and To, higher Ma and Le.
Level up: Normal

Discussion: Potentially a mighty character, elves start out weak and must be careful in the beginning game. If you find spellbooks you can probably read them and cast spells from the moment you find them.

Dark Elf
Skills: None
Starting attributes: Like other elves
Level up: Normal

Discussion: Pretty much same as high/grey elves. Dark elves are liked for their excellent skillset, but this is wasted on monks who cover the skills already. Bad shop prices in dwarftown is about as bad for monks as anyone else - you are not able to sell SI for as much money, which means slower precrowns and less gold to buy stats from Garth. Buying items is never much of a problem.

Skills: Metallurgy, Mining, Smithing, Detect traps.
Starting attributes: Higher St and To, lower Le and Ma.
Level up: Slow

Discussion: Smithing and detect traps are available in the game, but will save the character the gold to buy them. Detect traps is one of the most important skills in the game and helps with early-game survival. Metallurgy is useless as you can test most items by attempting to smith on them if you do not know what they are made of. Mining is useless for a monk. Dwarves can get the mithril skin talent, which will make up for lack of PV that can come from not using shield and heavy armor.

Skills: Gemology, Mining, Pick pockets, Ventriloquism
Starting attributes: Lower St, Higher mana.
Level up: Fast

Discussion: Gemology means that you can kick walls for unlimited gems once you reach level 13, for example in the ID. This will take care of any money problem as well as giving important gems of health, power, fire and knowledge. Knowledge in particular are good, as they allow Gnomes to become excellent magic-users once they find some books. Ventriloquism combined with high running speed will also make the gnome monk safer. Fast level up is nice, and the free talent will give some flexibility to the early game, making it easier. A very solid choice for monk, if only a little weak in the very early game.

d. Talents
Everyone has certain favourite talents. I will discuss some that relate directly to the monk class. In my opinion, of course.

”Carrying talents”: Porter - Master Packager - Beast of Burden
These are excellent talents for monks, because of burdened status giving penalties. 72% extra carrying capacity is simply very useful, and I have yet to play a monk who did not get these talents at one point.

PV talents: (Hardy) - Tough skin - Iron skin - Steel skin - (Mithril skin)
These are good for monks, as they make up for not having PV from shield and heavy armor. They will make early game manageable, especially for the frail races.

Money-giving talents:
Useless, as you have no starting gold.

Shield talents:
Not necessarily useless, as Monks can be played with weapons. Shields will eliminate the nifty martial arts damage bonus, so you have to be wielding a one-handed weapon to use shields. You will of course also lose the DV-bonus, but the shield bonus should more than compensate for this. If you plan on fighting like any regular character, these talents are as strong as usually.

Terrible. The heir gift is Padded clean robe of defense. That means a [+4,+1] (ap+2) robe which grants stun resistance. This is not something anyone should waste 3 talents on, especially as it is susceptible to destruction from burning and exploding runes.

e. Getting equipped

Beginning game (level 1-12):
As a fresh monk you will face an important question: To fight barehanded or use a weapon. Remember that Monks are not penalized for weapon use like Beastfighters are. Deciding to use a weapon actually has several advantages: All weapon skills give better bonuses than barehanded fighting, and you can use a shield for DV and PV if you picked a one-handed weapon like you should. More importantly, you can become burdened without severe penalty to your attack and damage. This is important for instance if you decide to dive down through the UD to HMV, as you can carry that bag of loot to sell at the shop. At the very start your martial art bonus is not too high, as your level will be too low. However, by using a weapon you lose training in barehanded combat. Also, if you happen to wield a cursed weapon it may not be trivial to remove it in the very beginning.

My advice to the starting monk is to pick up at least some weapons for emergency use. If you suddenly get burdened, this will allow you to deal decent damage even if your unarmed fighting suddenly dropped to a pathetic level. And if you find a decent shield early on, you would probably want to wield a weapon and wear the shield. This will really help you survive the harsh early game. You will only lose some unarmed melee marks, as you can throw off the weapon and the shield anytime you want.

As for armor, your special DV bonus from light armor will be very low, and you will probably be better off with the typical PV armor most characters seek. When you get to higher levels, factor in the hidden DV bonus when comparing armor. If you are, for example, level 9, compare a robe [0,+1] to a studded leather armor [-1,+3]. If you put on the robe you get an additional 2/3*9=6 DV. Which would you then rather have, a [+6,+1] or a [-1,+3] armor? That would probably depend on your other equipment, if your "basic" PV is covered through other equipment then high DV is probably better. Again, burdened status will remove the bonus, so maybe you should hang on to the PV one…just in case.

In the beginning game, as usual, hoard any scrolls and potions till you can identify them. Be on the lookout for girdles, footwear, headwear and gauntlets, as you can wear these freely and still have all monkish benefits. Girdles of carrying (thick girdle) are also very useful to you, just be wary of putting on a cursed one. Any books you find should be saved until you have 100 literacy and concentration, and personally I would probably save them until I had over 20 learning, which should be in the mid-game.

Mid-Late game (level 13-50).
Having survived the harsh early years, this is where the monk starts to shine. You will gather several artifacts, and will enjoy watching your damage output rise every level. DV from light armor is almost always too good to pass up, unless you found something really nice like eternium plate or some dragon scale armor. The mid-game is where you have plenty of time to gather equipment which will help you win. There is no clear distinction between mid and late game, because after you have all the stuff, you can just knock off the Ancient Chaos Wyrm, and then complete the game in what you wear, letting levelups increase your damage and DV.

I strongly advise that you employ smithing. As a monk you have access to unlimited ore, just by kicking in walls. Getting a hammer is trivial, getting an anvil can be done by cutting a deal with the greater demon, having it slay the dwarven smith. Just remember to buy the smithing skill first.

Some items to be on the watch for:
Body armor: If you find or get crowned with any of the monk artifact armors (shirt of the saints, robes of resistance) they will probably serve you well enough. For the not-so-lucky monks there exists a very decent alternative: Elven chain mail. This armor starts out at [0,+5], but is fully smithable and made from mithril. Added to this, it only weighs 10s. Perfect for any monk. You might find one in darkforge if none drop randomly for you. Eternium plate mails or dragon scale armor have a big enough PV bonus that they are desirable for all but very high-leveled monks.

Handwear: Elemental gauntlets are not very hard to get, and good hand wear for the +3 PV and resistances. If you have resistances covered elsewhere, some smithed-up gauntlets (of strength, preferably) could be better.

Neckwear: The Ankh adds [+2,+2], and luck too. Carry other amulets for use in certain situations, as always. Artifact amulet is of course your dream.

Girdle, Boots, Helmet: Get high-metal versions of these. If you smith like you should, is it a good idea to get different types of metal for each. Eternium girdle, adamantium cap and mithril boots, for example. It doesn't matter much, they all resist fire and they can be smithed up as high as you want them to be. You may of course have some seven league boots, but they might not be the best choice in the tower of fire where you are going. Also, monks already get good movement speed from class powers, and the boots do not add attack speed. Boots of speed, however, do.

Bracers: My recent favorite is bracers of speed. They add a nice little speed boost, and they are made of iron and can be smithed up. As a monk, you hit hard, and they might help you use hit and run tactics, or get in two quick fight-finishing strikes before your opponent can react. Waterproofing them with blessed oil of rust removal is useful. Bracers of toughness add that important attribute, and they can be improved with scrolls of defense/protection. Bracers of War is every monk's wet dream.

Rings: A blessed ring of damage on your right finger is, indeed, a blessing. Monks have just one damage die, which can lead to low minimum damage even at high levels. Weapon skill, strength bonus and rings of damage all push this lower limit upwards. For other ring finger good choices are really what is good for any class. With the monks' low food consumption they might get away with wearing a ring of invisibility all the time. Ultimate rings are of course ring of immunity and the ring of the master cat.

Cloak: You can wear them all without penalty. Invisibility might be easier to sustain than with other classes, and PV might be better than DV since you already get so much DV, but that is depending on your level and your other equipment.

Missile weapons: Bows might be better, if only for the high weight of crossbows. But I would still at least keep and stash away both kinds of missiles and launchers, hoping for rare slaying ammo. Humanoid and dragon slaying are your most important kinds of ammo. However after level 13 you have a source of unlimited sling ammo or thrown rocks, so it might not be too bad an idea to train with that either, for the early middle game.

Tool: The first orb you find goes here, and most melee monks will put the fire orb as soon as possible, unless they already have Herculean strength. Before or after you have access to orbs, a lit torch will improve your sight-radius.

IV How to play the monk
a. Playing style
Part 1. - The Mean Machine
“mean is the "standard" average”

The Mean Machine - mean as in “average”, is my name for playing your monk without using his special abilities, like you would any other class. This is done by picking up a weapon, and then using a shield. Staying in burdened status will also do the job.

This is a perfectly reasonable playing style. You get the fine monk skills, the reduced food consumption, and the reduced movement at level 12 and 18, the critical hit class-powers and the increase in speed. Every monk might use this style from time to time, in the early game, when suddenly becoming burdened or when finding a great one-handed weapon. If I find executor I *will* become the Mean Machine unless sworn to play as a true hand-to-hand monk.

Part 2. - The Ninja
"Sword and mind must be united. Technique by itself is insufficient, and spirit alone is not enough."
- Yamada Jirokichi

This playing style is a cross between regular weapon-using character and the martial artist. By not using a shield or heavy armor, you retain your great boost to DV. At the same time you can use any weapon or combination of weapons with deadly efficiency. Other characters will usually have a very low DV when wielding a two-handed weapon, but the Ninja does not. Carry with you a wide array of weapons, to dispose of your various foes with maximum efficiency. Two-handed wielding is generally not recommended, but you can do it just fine playing as a ninja. Avoid getting burdened by having great strength or using the strength of atlas spell. Or both. Again, advantages are your skillset, class-powers and increased speed.

Part 3. - The Martial Artist
"A one sided martial artist is a blind martial artist."

The Martial Artist is probably the most traditional fighting style for a monk. Unarmed attacks will be used throughout the game. You may use light armor for DV boost or heavy for protection and other benefits. Your focus on barehanded attacks only means that you quickly gain weapon marks. This is a character for people who do not trust the RNG (random number generator) as they are not relying on lucky equipment finds. You can fight barehanded and naked and still be king.

There are some opponents that may cause grievance to a pure weaponless fighter. Ancient stone beast is a tough nut to crack, with its heavy armor. You can still rely on raw damage to bring him down, or use construct slaying ammo. Emperor moloch is another juggernaut, demon or humanoid slaying ammo will do the job. Another way to bring him down comes if you are over level 40. You can keep hitting him in melee until you get an insta-killing hit. Not something to rely on as you could wait a long time, but extremely satisfying when it finally happens. The ElDeR ChAoS god can be melee'd, but when he dies you must be wielding a certain trident, otherwise something bad might happen. Use slaying ammo to finish him off if you for some reason choose not to ever use a weapon in melee. Easier solution to all these examples are of course to use a penetrating weapon (phase dagger or other) when attacking high-PV monsters, and of course to wield the certain trident once you get it.

Part 4. - The Hermit
“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
- Eden Phillpott

While all monks can use magic for adventuring support or even as a backup attack, the hermit will attempt to use magic as a wizard does. This is not to mean as main attack, but rather as the preferred way to take down problematic encounters. Even wizards kill most of their enemies in melee, but when faced with a greater undead vault, they will certainly use their high-powered magical abilities. This is what the hermit is about, when the going gets tough, the magic starts flying.

To become a successful hermit, one must realize one’s limitations. I will point these out by comparing to the wizard class.
A wizard will start the game with an offensive spellbook. Hermit will not.
A wizard has 100 starting literacy, hermits do not. A wizard learns spells easier than an otherwise identical hermit. Literacy skill, learning score, concentration skill as well as class matters. A wizard gets reductions on spell cost with level. Wizards gain spell marks quicker than any hermit.
Also, wizards find a lot more spellbooks than a hermit.

So you will never be as good as a wizard. But there are ways to become mighty in the arts. First, choose a race with decent magic potential. Any elf will do, or try a gnome. There is also some starsigns that are more magical than others. Then, realize that you will not be using magic for a while. Thirdly, while fighting as any other monk through your early levels, build up your literacy and concentration skill. Literacy can be trained by getting the scrolls from SMC. One will vanish if you use it outside that area, but the scribbled scroll you can read over and over. It will seem to be empty, but you will train your skill. Concentration is not that easy, you pick it up as you level up. Zapping wands of wonder will take away PP, making it easier to train the skill. Next, get good magical talents. Book learner talents, charged talent, maybe strong magic/healing. If you are fortunate enough to find an early book, resist the temptation to read it too soon. 100 literacy, good concentration and high learning are all essential. You have a limited supply of books, so take care of the ones you find. It is best to ID the books before you read them, and save the tough books for later. You may want to start reading and casting non-vital non-offensive spells right away, to build up concentration skill and mana stat. Bless important books to maximize yield. Elves have good learning, and if you started playing a gnome, then you of course build learning by kicking walls after level 13. Your gemology skill will sometimes let you find gems in the walls, higher skill means more gems. Bless and use crystals of knowledge and your learning will rise above 20 fast enough. If you are not shy about using sickness/starvation to train stats, it is not hard to get it to 40.

The main problem is finding enough spellbooks. If you do not care to spend long hours scumming for items (walking around the ID, killing endless gremlins) then you should plan on visiting the Rift and entering the hidden library. This can not be done before you reach level 20, but that may be the time it takes to prepare for your spell-casting days. The library usually has dangerous monsters, so having emergency teleportation and/or healing is recommended.

b. Sample walkthroughs
A traditional start:
Started up a random race monk. Grey elf. Potentially great, but slow at start, so I decide to take it pretty slow. Start with 3 talents, but unable to select “hardy” for defense. Go with long stride, porter and alert. Go to the village and get quests, then village dungeon. Quicly get level 2, but have to retreat and heal up from time to time. At level 4 I have to use a prayer. Still, I can run whenever I want, due to long stride and + speed from levelup. Not much, but enough. I have to be very careful in combat, with 7 To. I try not to become satiated, as that kills my speed advantage. I do pretty good damage now, but am very weak in return.

A look at the character: Level 5 now. 1d13+3 damage dealt. At normal tactics, no DV from eq I have 16 DV. Speed is +3, but I stupidly got satiated, and due to monks low metabolism I have waited a long while for it to drop back to normal. I have picked up some rocks and am busy trying to improve that skill.

Finding a studded leather armor [-1,+3] gives us a choice. To wear or not. This very weak character will wear it, giving up +3 DV for +2PV, but it is close to a draw. If it is cursed we might not be able to remove it for a while, even if we would like to because our level-up DV is better. Also, it is heavy at 250 s, taking up precious carrying capacity.

No wonder, I quickly am faced with the question whether to become burdened or not. I decide to go ahead, because I just lost the DV bonus anyway (the armor was, of course, cursed), and with 13 strength I would like to train it by walking around carrying a heavy load. Also, a nice orc scorcher donated a crude spear I want to start using. My barehanded attack skill is only 2, no extra damage, so I would end up doing 1d3+0 if I attack barehanded while burdened. Guess I can do it against weak enemies to train barehanded, but on the other hand I see many uses of training polearms too. If the spear had been cursed I would be stuck with it, but that would not be a crisis. Holy water will become available, and the spear will be good enough for a fair while.

I enter D:7. And my advice at this point is to just enter the level to generate the druid, and come back after you have a few more levels. Level 6, 4PV, still weak attack. Come back at level 9-10 and everything will be better, weapons skill, speed, martial damage. I therefore decide to set out to destroy the evil druid and (hopefully) die, proving my point.

And true to plan - “Trad. L7 gray elven monk (M). 5766 xps. 4157 turns. He was killed by a cave bear in a sinister dungeon on level 7.” Don’t make this mistake, enter D:7, leave and grow a little stronger. I would recommend CoC, actually. Go down to arena, maybe a bit further, pick up lightweight food (you only need half as much) and pray for some early herbs. If so, stabilize the herbs, go back and finish the druid, and use your new-gained herbalism to reap the rewards.

Next try - fast & furious approach.
Started up a drakeling monk. 18 St and 17 To, a bit disappointing. Only one talent so I take long stride. Went immediately to SMC. Got to level 3, found downstairs. I got hurt a fair bit, but had prayers in reserve. Decided not to use spit, to prove that this can be done with any (somewhat strong) race.

I then have to bite back those words - a herd of blink dogs appear. They fall to acid spit, drop a corpse. I think a troll monk could have taken them, but this guy would have died horribly without the spit.

At level 5, I see that I can train athletics to 72. I go for it even if it wastes some training, knowing that it will give +1 speed now. Remember the breakpoints, 70, 75, 80, 85 etc gives +1 each, 100 gives +2.

Okay, the character died too. I got him sick by carelessness, and then he swam a river to encounter summoned spiders. Might have fought his way out, but I have a guide to write here! Monks have excellent survival skills for this kind of early rush, especially the drakeling. A trip through the UD will typically yield vaults, shops and herbs. Speed-playing the monk is a viable tactic, and killing high-risk monsters quickly will boost your level giving you more killing power.

c. Defeating special opponents
Monsters not mentioned here are not worth mentioning, either because they are too easy, or they are killed with stock-tactics and no special monk skills apply, or I forgot them.

Keriax, the Black Druid, is often the first special enemy encountered. The problem with him is that his monster level will be connected to your character’s level. Monks have no special attacks at the start, and their ability comes very much from character level. If you wait to be powerful, he will be more powerful too. So, either be a strong fighter race, or have luck finding stuff you can use against him (wands, spells) or use the simple but effective tactic of entering his level early, leave, and come back when you are stronger. Then you can laugh at his puny skills before dispatching him “mit eleganz”. The artifact is not generated when you enter the level, just when you kill him.

Yulgash, the Master Summoner, gets a spot here, too. If you wait till you are above character level 25, you can use your switch places with hostile opponents-ability to get close and personal to him, and end his summoning capers right there and then.

The Emperor Moloch is armored like a tank (200 PV). He will take a lot of critical hits with barehanded to croak. I suggest alternative tactics on him. Blessed demon/humanoid slaying ammo if you play a pure martial artist, otherwise penetrating or a big demon slayer. Rune-covered trident could work fine against him, and you’d have high DV if you were smart enough to be unburdened for the fight.

Elder Chaos God. You have to be wielding the trident while killing him. Humanoid slaying for style, otherwise bash him with the trident. Or scepter, if you took that route.

Final thoughts.
During the process of writing this guide, I have grown more fond of the monk class. Versatile, and with many unique abilities, they can easily become mighty, and are at least fun to play. I wish all potential monks out there luck with their attempts!

Silfir, for starting up the guides thus leading to this coming into being.
Soirana, for making a guide from which I borrowed some headings and general ideas.
F50 for making the direct request for this guide.
J. for providing the info about martial attack bonus
Kevin O’Connor for making the list on martial art bonus.
Hilter, Darren Grey, Silfir, Soirana, Nightmare, gut, J., for various input about the guide.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Guide to Being a Druid

2008 has been rather slow up until now, but we are not actively pursuing a stable update schedule or something like that. Updates will come when I have been given something to update with or, as the case may be, when I have produced something myself yet again.

I apologize for some of the fifth and last section. As I wrote most of it between one and three in the morning, it may have turned out rather silly.

We are slowly making our way to completing a collection of guides for every one of the twenty classes. For this, it is necessary that some of us tackle guides of classes that neither sound too hot nor are, quite frankly, any remarkable. That said, these classes tend to become a delightful experience for their mediocricy, simply because you're not as much under pressure while playing them. If you manage to lose with a high elven archer, or with an orcish barbarian, people (okay, some people) will ridicule you, because it is OH SO EASY to play with them. But if you try to play a dwarven druid and succeed, the same people will nod appreciatively in recognition of your skill! Which is what we all aim for, right?

And that is why I wrote this


I. Manual Information - The part which takes the least effort.
II. Starting up the Druid - Anything that should be considered before even the first step.
III. Playing style - What's your druid going to do a priest can't do better?
IV. Equipment - What you should use, what you should get
V. Monster Bash - Hints on how to seriously kick asses even as a Druid

I. Manual Information

DRUIDS -- Druids are nature priests. They worship the Old Gods and regard all nature as a holy thing to worship and protect. Their specialty are spells of nature and protection. It is said that no animal will willingly harm a druid.

Druids are trained in the following skills: Climbing, Concentration, First Aid, Gardening, Healing, Herbalism, Listening, Literacy, Survival, Swimming, and Woodcraft.

At higher levels, druids become extremely attuned to nature itself. At level 6 they learn to evade wilderness encounters whenever they choose to do so. At level 12 they regenerate power points twice as fast as usual while in the wilderness. At level 18 they become immune to all weather effects. At level 25 they are able to summon 1d3 major animals as servants at the cost of 1d3 mana points (an almost permanent loss, as it only regenerates after a very long period of time). At level 32 they regenerate hit points twice as fast as usual while in the wilderness. At level 40 they become immune to lightning. Finally, they suffer 10% less corruption from all such attacks at level 50 due to their close connection to nature.

II. Starting up the Druid.

1. Starsigns
First of all, an obvious vote for Candle. Why Candle? Because its effect is greater than that of maxed out HP regeneration. Because it is greater than the effect of a maxed Healing skill. And because all of this added makes you near invincible, even if you decide to play a Druid. Raven is good for the extra speed and for the possibility to get a very powerful artifact quite early. Since Druids are spellcasters, and always start out neutral, the Wand starsign is an obvious benefit, as is Cup (less so, because going up in levels quickly won't help a Druid that much). Salamander helps with its extra mana and its bonus to fire spells; to a limited extent, as Druids almost never start out with fire spells. The benefit of the Unicorn starsign, like that of Candle, is independent from the class chosen, and useful if you are especially paranoid about corruption. Extra willpower offered by the Tree starsign and the Wolf starsign is mildly helpful for spellcasters, but great willpower becomes really important only later on, after the acquirement of ball spells, and regardless of the starsign willpower is unlikely to start at values so high that the ever-popular morgia roots can't replicate the effect and add even more willpower. Dragon and Sword can be useful depending on your playing style. A Druid who casts only spells all the time will make less use of these starsigns than a Druid using mostly melee and missile weapons, casting spells as support. Falcon is pretty bad, as it adds a skill Druids already have, and the extra talent is provided by Candle as well, in addition to the most overpowered starsign effect of all. Lastly, the Book starsign is probably not that bad a deal, especially early on when Druids struggle a bit with their relatively (for a spellcaster) low Literacy skill.

So, to recap:

Horrible: Falcon
Bad: Wolf, Tree
Okay: Book, Dragon, Sword, Unicorn
Good: Wand, Cup, Raven, Salamander
Almost cheating: Candle

2. The Races of ADOM trying to be Druids
There are more consistencies among Druids of the different races than there are usually among the classes. Druids all have four things in common at least: A wooden shield and a spellbook of Divine Wrath, the clerical version of Lightning Bolt, as well as exactly two random potions. Apart from that, they are similar in a preference for blunt weapons (elves posing the exception) and light armor, in contrast to priests, who oftentimes wear heavy armor.

a) Human
Skills added: Food Preservation
Starting equipment: Leather armor, light cloak, cudgel OR quarterstaff, sandals, wooden shield, fire-making stuff, two random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some other spellbook, some food

Pros: Extra spellbook, decent Learning
Cons: Only one skill added, low Mana

Verdict: Humans are the epitome of mediocricy. They neither make exceptionally good fighters nor are they remarkable spellcasters. Ironically, that fits with the Druid, who also doesn't exactly excel at either early on. The one advantage of the human race is their Learning bonus. This actually benefits a Druid well, as it increases his ability to learn spells. Don't rely on them too much; your mana is average at best. All in all, the human is not the worst choice, but not a terribly good one either, especially because of their lousy skillset. The extra book can help tremendously on occasion, though, especially if it's a spellbook of Cure Light Wounds.

b) Troll
Skills added: Athletics, Bridge Building, Food Preservation, Gemology, Mining
Starting equipment: Hood, thick furs, light cloak, heavy club, wooden shield, some random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some more food

Pros: Extremely strong and tough, nice array of skills
Cons: Troll leveling requirements and troll metabolism, horrible spellcasting abilities, short lifespan

Verdict: Hugely dependant on playing style and personal preferences. Generally, all trolls are united in the disadvantage of their slow, slow leveling. When you reach level 2, another character would have reached level 4 or 5, and when another character would be at level 50, you're still struggling with the thirties. This isn't as bad as it sounds, as you get unbelievable strength and toughness stats in exchange, meaning you'll be at least as sturdy in battle as a non-troll with the same experience. Especially in the beginning you will pretty much crush everything in your path, leading to easy survival. You do gain access to Druid class powers a lot later - you can ignore that since Druid class powers are craptastic. Bad is the fact that you'll learn much slower, especially skills and spells. Your Literacy skill will start terribly low, and will take a long time to increase with only three skill advances per level. The Gemology skill is thus of terrible importance. Why? Check its skill description to find out! Also note that all the skills (with the exception of Bridge Building) are very useful. Trolls are reasonable Druids, if you can handle their obvious disadvantages (not helping matters is the increased food consumption).

c) High Elf:
Skills added: Dodge, Stealth
Starting equipment: Hood, leather armor, light cloak, scimitar, leather boots, wooden shield, some random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Good spellcasting abilities including good Learning, nice skills, long lifespan
Cons: Rather low toughness

Verdict: This is definitely not a bad choice. High Elves don't get many skills, but this time they do fill some holes in the Druid repertoire: Dodge adds some staying power in melee, and the Stealth skill is a minor, but all-time help to any adventurer, and required to receive a very valuable, though unreadable, artifact book. Thus, even though strength is average and toughness is low, with your scimitar, leather armor and wooden shield you should be able to use melee to some extent. The Learning score is equalled only by the Gray Elf, and your Mana score will be high enough to kick some ass.

d) Gray Elf:
Skills added: Dodge, Stealth
Starting equipment: Hood, leather armor, light cloak, scimitar, leather boots, wooden shield, some random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Excellent spellcasting abilities thanks to good Learning and Mana, nice skills, long lifespan
Cons: Very low toughness, low health regeneration

Verdict: Compared to the high elf, playing a gray elf increases the tradeoff of toughness and HP regeneration in exchange for spellcasting abilities (Learning's the same, though). Whether this is to your liking or not is up to you (it's to mine), there is not much in the way of differences between the two races.

e) Dark Elf:
Skills added: Alertness, Find Weakness, Stealth
Starting equipment: Hood, leather armor, light cloak, scimitar, leather boots, wooden shield, some random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Excellent skills, decent spellcasting abilities, high Mana, long lifespan
Cons: Low toughness, low PV, low health regeneration, average Learning

Verdict: Let's make no mistake about it - the skills you would get as a dark elf are very, very tempting. Getting Alertness and Find Weakness is definitely the better deal compared to getting Dodge. However, Dark elves have the disadvantage of starting with a low Learning score compared to the other elves. This puts a limit on their early spellcasting, when Literacy is yet low and you don't get many castings from your few early-found spellbooks. Besides, the Find Weakness skill only kicks in if you're using weapons, while the Druid is pretty much a primary spellcaster later on. However, everybody has to fight in melee at some point, and Find Weakness can help a lot. I'd call this one of the best choices for Druid overall.

f) Dwarf
Skills added: Detect Traps, Metallurgy, Mining, Smithing
Starting equipment: Studded leather armor, hooded cloak, heavy cudgel, heavy boots, wooden shield, some random potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Decent strength and toughness
Cons: Low Mana

Verdict: The humble dwarf makes for a decent druid, though not a terribly powerful one. His high strength and toughness and his rather sturdy starting equipment will make the early game rather easy. Dwarves have an okay Learning score, making them halfway decent spell learners, but rather low Mana, meaning they won't be able to cast as many spells in a given tough situation. Still, worth considering.

g) Gnome
Skills added: Gemology, Mining, Pick Pockets, Ventriloquism
Starting equipment: Leather armor, hooded cloak, club, wooden shield, fire-making equipment, some random potions, spellbook of divine wrath, some food

Pros: Good mana, nice skills
Cons: Low strength, a club

Verdict: There's not really much negative to say about the gnomish Druid. However, unless you want the skills, there's also not much of a reason to play one. True, they're tougher than elves while possessing a fair degree of magical talent, on the other hand, toughness isn't that much of an issue with relatively high starting PV and the Healing skill, considering the existence of morgia roots. The fact you gain experience faster isn't really an issue, considering the overall suckiness of the class powers you would get quicker. Still, his skills, especially Gemology, are very nice to have.

h) Hurthling
Skills added: Archery, Cooking, Food Preservation, Stealth
Starting equipment: leather cap, leather armor, leather girdle, hooded cloak, club, cursed ring, wooden shield, fire-making equipment, cooking set, some potions, spellbook of divine wrath, some food

Pros: Nice skills, good dexterity, good at throwing rocks
Cons: Horrible strength AND horrible mana, a club

Verdict: Hm. Well. An adventurer who hits like a tiny girl and can't spellcast his way out of a paper bag. Why would anyone in their right mind consider playing a hurthling Druid? Well, they have an interesting array of skills, including the Archery skill, which opens up the way for some excellent Archery talents. They also have Food Preservation and Stealth, and are even the only race with that particular combination. Depending on your skill preferences, you might play a hurthling Druid. If it's not for the skills or the awesome rock-throwing, stay away from this race.

i) Orc
Skills added: Backstabbing, Find Weakness, Metallurgy, Mining
Starting equipment: Studded leather armor, leather girdle, hooded cloak, quarterstaff, heavy boots, wooden shield, some potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Nice strength, toughness and starting PV, Find Weakness
Cons: Short lifespan, sucky spellcaster

Verdict: Okay. Studded leather armor, wooden shield and heavy boots combined with the high strength and toughness expand on your capability of surviving the early game. On the other hand, you should avoid learning spells for some time until you have successfully worked on your Learning and Literacy. Sadly, you don't have the Gemology skill to support you in that regard. Choose this race if you want some melee prowess and the Find Weakness skill, though all in all, a dwarf will probably turn out to be the better choice, because he doesn't suck so much at spellcasting and has the same equipment and stat advantages, lacking only Find Weakness - again, druids are pretty much spellcasters later on.

j) Drakeling
Skills added: Alertness, Food Preservation, Music
Starting equipment: Robe, leather girdle, hooded cloak, quarterstaff, bracers of defense, wooden shield, some potions, spellbook of Divine Wrath, some food

Pros: Nice strength and toughness, good skills and racial ability
Cons: Low PV, mediocre spellcasting abilities

Verdict: Another interesting choice. This is the only race starting without some sort of leather armor, though; you'll even start with the lowest PV of all. Drakelings are used to being treated this way, and can counter this well through their racial ability. Seeing as you don't have much Mana to work with, this will add to your early game survival chances. Nice skills to tempt you, that's for sure.

k) Conclusion
As you may have seen, there is no definite right and wrong regarding choice of Druid race. In fact, regardless of what you choose, there will always be some tradeoff skillwise or statwise. There are a lot of skills Druids don't usually have which are offered by races. Surviving the early game is always doable with a Druid thanks to their relatively sturdy starting equipment - most Druids begin the game with at least 3 points of PV including the shield -, the Healing skill and the Divine Wrath spell. If pressed for an answer, I'd probably vote for a gray elven Druid. This is because that gives you the best spellcasting abilities you can get, enabling you to make full use of your spellcasting all the earlier. A dark elven Druid is good if you want a challenge, it will pay off later thanks to their skills. If I were to play a Druid concentrating on melee early on, I'd probably go with a dwarf, though.

3. Choosing a gender
You will probably wonder why the hell this should be important. Did you think you could make a decision in startup that wouldn't have consequences? Yes you can, but that one is the decision on your name. Your gender choice is a decision with minor consequences, but consequences nonetheless. These are the criteria:

a) The stat bonus
Choosing a gender will yield a certain stat bonus. Male characters start out with an extra point of strength, while female characters gain an extra point of dexterity. Which of these do you want? Considering that strength directly influences carrying capacity and every ADOM character is likely to walk around with lots of stuff, it could be called the more important stat of the two. On the other hand, dexterity has an influence on DV and speed, which is very handy, and melee damage granted by strength isn't as important for a spellcaster as it would be for a melee class. However, strength is harder to increase in general, and more strength means you can carry more stuff without advancing to the next burdening status, which would impose penalties on the same DV and speed! Walking around in Strained! mode will increase it to 18 or 19 eventually, regardless of the potential maximum; but higher than that you get only with arduous and expensive training or potions of strength. Dexterity, on the other hand, is very easy to increase to values of at least 25 with herbs, and employing several tricks you can increase it to 30 with the same method. However, until you HAVE found herbs, dexterity is likely to stay where it is in the beginning. So which one of the two is preferable? There is no single right answer. The limit of 19, as has been stated, can be reached with a simple form of training available to anyone right from the start. Trolls will start out higher than that usually, so the extra point of strength granted by playing a male trollish Druid is not easy to gain otherwise. On the other hand, trolls are so strong they are unlikely to have problems with carrying capacity. Wouldn't they be better served by a minor improvement on their subpar dexterity stat then? On yet another hand, a single point of dexterity makes a lot less difference than a single point of strength, doesn't it? Then again, dexterity cannot be trained early on until the right kind of herb is found, while you can start training strength right away, if you so desire!
If you ask me, that one stat point isn't really that important. It's well within the range of the randomness every character has concerning his stats. Whether you prefer the extra point of strength or dexterity certainly is a question of playing style, but you should rather choose your Druid's gender according to the other criteria available.

b) Shopping
All shopkeepers in the game are males. All shopkeepers in the game are pretty lonely males. If you have a shop in the darkest corners of a dungeon wondering whether you should have interpreted the claims of a "lively business environment" or "hordes of customers who would kill to obtain your high quality merchandise" differently, you don't see a lot of, well, booty. We all can understand and appreciate the shopkeeper's plight, can't we? Considering ADOM playing geeks are male in majority and themselves don't see a lot of... Ahem. Understandably, the shopkeepers' brains all shut down once they pick up hints that the adventurer who entered their shop is, under all those layers of armor, dust, dirt and blood, in fact female. This leads to the fortunate effect that once they catch a glimpse of your well-endowed rack and the amazing curves of your slender body, your long, luscious hair, and this fascinating smile that would shame the clearest, sunniest and bluest skies, they will immediately do anything to make your shopping experience as delightful as possible, including and fortunately limited to low prices. It also leads to the unfortunate effect that if they see you and think you're ugly (your troll teeth with the pieces of rotten human flesh inbetween or the orcish stench of foul eggs ticking them off), they will be hasty to get rid of you. How dare you destroy their fantasies of gorgeous women they might be able to meet once they have made a fortune in their secluded dungeon shop! That's why you will get ridiculous prices if you're playing an ugly female. (Even Waldenbrook and Munxip, who don't live in forlorn dungeons, but civilized settlements, seem to be desperate to see some hot stuff. Apparently, dwarves really don't have any women and human goodwives aren't such a lovely sight...)
Male characters don't get prices calculated on that basis. Instead, the more winning the attitude of the male, the lower the prices they get. The more unpleasant and rude, the higher the prices get. Yeah, it's pretty shocking. Considering how people nowadays generally behave in shops, you wonder why they don't have to pay tons of gp more for every insult they throw at the poor shopkeeping slaves. Oh well.
The short version of all this: While shop prices are calculated on your appearance stat if you're female, they are calculated on the basis of charisma if you're male.
Druids gain neither a penalty nor a bonus to their charisma and appearance stats. The races, however, do. This means that the choice of gender based on this criterium is made on the basis of your race. If you're a race with higher appearance than charisma, go female. If you're a race with higher charisma than appearance, go male. If your race has approximately equal stats in both, let yourself be guided by other criteria. Here is a list of the races' basic stats:

Human: 10 App versus 10 Cha = Doesn't matter
Troll: 6 Cha versus 5 App = Doesn't matter much
High Elf: 10 Cha versus 14 App = Go female
Gray Elf: 8 Cha versus 18 App = Go female under any circumstance
Dark Elf: 7 Cha versus 12 App = Go female
Dwarf: 9 Cha versus 9 App = Doesn't matter
Gnome: 12 Cha versus 10 App = Go male
Hurthling: 12 Cha versus 10 App = Go male
Orc: 8 Cha versus 7 App = Doesn't matter much
Drakeling: 10 Cha versus 8 App = Go male

Now, this looks very easy, but there is more to consider.

First of all, Appearance is very likely to take a very serious drop once the endgame is approached. The majority of corruptions affect Appearance, and all of these affect Appearance negatively. This means that female characters will get very bad prices once they gather sufficient corruptions. On the other hand, there are only two corruptions that affect Charisma negatively, meaning males will have a higher chance of getting good shop prices in the endgame. That said, prices generally don't matter in the endgame, as the casino provides any player with an essentially endless supply of money. Even without casino money, you're likely to find more than enough of it later on through adventuring.
On the other hand, Appearance is easier to manipulate than Charisma. There are clean robes, diadems of beauty, cloaks of adornment, pendants of beauty - all rather common items that improve the Appearance stat considerably. On the other hand, Charisma can be improved only by the rather rare helm of leadership and the grantedly common necklace of the silver tongue. The Appearance stat wins that particular round. The items that improve Appearance are easier to recognize (cloaks of adornment always are the one kind of cloak that isn't hooded or leather but weighs 40 stones, clean robes are identified as such on sight and silver diadems are always diadems of beauty) and stacked together even surpass the bonus of the helm of leadership.
My advice: In case of elven characters, take advantage of the high Appearance score by choosing female. Hurthlings, gnomes and drakelings should probably choose males, but at least for all the others shopping isn't that important a criterion. Be aware of the implications of choosing either gender already discussed, and remember that it's most important to adhere to the third criterion, which is, incidentally, also the master criterion for anything discussed in the whole section II:

c) Duh
Play whatever you want to play.

III. Playing style

1. Divine spellcaster trouble: Why play a Druid when you can play a Priest?
It's a good question. These are the only primary divine spellcasters in the game (The Paladin casts divine spells, too, but is a primary melee fighter). Both of them share the tendency to find lots of books, with a lower probability of finding offensive spells. Druids and Priests alike are more likely going to be stuck with those eight copies of the spellbook of Know Alignment, one of the most pointless products of Ancardian literature known to man, just as an example. Anyway, if you look at Priests and Druids, you will notice the following:

- Priests have (usually) better armor and melee weapons
- Priests have nice stats
- Priests get spell cost discounts as class powers that even outclass the Wizard's
- Priests get Detect Item Status
- Priests are a lot more literate
- Did I mention those badass spell cost discounts? Look at them, they're frikkin' huge!

What does the Druid have to offer?

- Sucky class powers (The ability to evade wilderness encounters is probably the best of the lot - that's saying much)
- Average armor and melee weapons
- Average stats (No penalties, remarkably)
- No spell cost discounts whatsoever
- Animals won't attack you (oooh, big deal)

So, why play a Druid instead of a Priest?

- "Animals won't attack you" is actually a bigger deal than you might think. Animals are one of the most prominent, and more dangerous types of monsters in the early game - most of the poisonous foes early on are animals. Druids will usually have more neutral monsters in a given level than any other class. Neutral monsters are useful. You can bypass them with the ":s" command, but hostile monsters will mostly bump against these like a wall, meaning you can use neutral monsters as buffers to help you escape. Sure, you won't get XP for the animals you don't kill, but what do you want XP for? The craptastic class powers or that tiny bit of extra HP and PP you get? You're not in a hurry to increase in level!
- Some priests have lower than average equipment. Yay for being average all across the board!
- You can piss off your deity without losing your glorious class powers. Okay, they're not worth having in the first place, but even so.
- You are guaranteed an offensive spell in the beginning of the game. Priests oftentimes start out with only defensive spells.
- Actually, that's pretty much it.

Yeah, I can't coat it into more sugar than I already did. Priests are better than Druids. A lot.

Still, that doesn't mean playing a Druid can't be fun. They are primary spellcasters, after all. Even though they are divine spellcasters and thus not as good at casting exclusively arcane spells (like ball spells), they still get just as mighty in the endgame once enough spells and suitable mana and willpower are acquired. So what if you have to pay the full power point cost for your spells? You'll still kick ass!

Druids are also useful as therapy after you've encountered far too many cats for your taste in the last few games. Those damn cats you must not kill in order to receive that enormously powerful artifact! A Druid has considerably fewer problems. With very few exceptions, all cats are created neutral.

2. Playing Druids
Druids are spellcasters. This means you'll find a lot of books, and you'll have to put some thought into using them. Books should either be read until they disappear, read some times and then kept, or sold. The best of these procedures, in my opinion, is the first. Reading books trains your Learning stat, which helps you reading more powerful books you may find later or already possess. So even if you have more castings of Know Alignment than you'll ever need (read: any at all), read those five books you've just found! If you get a point of Learning out of it, it was definitely worth it. Keeping a book serves two purposes: Waiting until your Learning, Literacy and Concentration is higher so you get more learnt castings out of it, or bookcasting. A primary spellcaster should have no need for bookcasting, usually. Early on, some especially complex spells may refuse to provide you with decent castings, granting 20 castings per read or so (by "castings", I refer to the number that appears first in every spell's description, which will go down by a random, usually single-digit number every time you cast that particular spell - it's not the number of castings left, because that number is indeterminable). If this is the case, you should keep the book until you get better at Learning and Literacy, and if you have a desperate need for that spell, bookcast it. Selling books may be useful, too, in case you really need the money, but reading them instead is usually worthwhile at least for the training of Learning.
From books we switch the focus to spells. There are several types of spells that damage the enemy: Bolt spells, ball spells and "touch" spells. Bolt spells have the farthest reach of all the spells, but they can only be cast in a single line. Luckily, foes have the habit of lining up in a hallway, which makes casting the bolt spell a very fun thing to do indeed. Some bolt spells have the property that they bounce off walls, meaning that very skilled users of these spells can bounce them around corners to hit even more foes there. Very nifty, but also dangerous, since these spells bounce straight back if you accidentally shoot them at a wall or corner (The longer your spell range, the more dangerous it gets, especially if there is a wall behind you as well!). Many a promising spellcaster died casting a bouncing spell the wrong way. Divine Wrath, your starting spell and a very important tool for early game survival as a Druid, is such a bouncing spell.
Ball spells create a blast originating from the square you're standing on, hitting all surrounding enemies. This blast is greater if you meet or exceed certain levels of willpower, and the blast ignores walls or doors, meaning that enemies standing behind walls or doors, but inside the blast radius, will still get hit. Very sneaky; in fact I now instruct you to laugh maniacally every time you pull this off. These spells are the most damaging of all, and also the most expensive in mana cost.
Touch spells are few and far between - except for Baptism of Fire, or Burning Hands as arcane spellcasters would call it, there are only a few. These spells affect only one square next to you, and are good for cases where there is only one monster you want to kill.
Remember, as a spellcaster, you have many ways of making your life easier, once you've accumulated the proper repertoire. A key spell is Ethereal Bridge (or Teleportation). Not only allows it for quick escaping in a pinch, it can also shorten travel times by a large margin. However, you need teleport control to maximize the usefulness of this spell. Teleport control can be gained from the corpse of a blink dog. Should you ever stumble across a blink dog and it summons its blink dog cronies, hope for the best! Though you will have to attack the blink dog for it to summon its cronies. Or tame it with the help of bones, so it attacks other monsters and summons its cronies against them. Whatever way you choose, make it so that lots of blink dogs die so you get one of their corpses! Protector of nature my ass!
Another make-your-life-easy spell is Knowledge of the Ancients (Magic Map), which provides you with partial knowledge of the dungeon map. This is good to find places in dungeon parts you haven't explored before but can't seem to find any way leading to, or locations to teleport to. Especially in the Minotaur Maze this spell is the key to success over failure.
It also should be mentioned that as a divine spellcaster, your healing spells will improve a lot more by use than those of arcane spellcasters, meaning you can rely on them a lot more to survive tough situations. The longer you live, the longer you can bash your opponent with your weapon!
There's a whole load of other spells of varying usefulness, the last advice I will give here is: Be creative! Especially early on, when you may have to make do with what you get, you may find spells useful you wouldn't even think about using otherwise. Maybe there is a spell suitable or even designed to solve your current predicament?
Being a Druid, spellcasting doesn't come easy to you, as you start with low Literacy and Concentration scores, meaning you don't get many castings out of spellbooks. Thus, you will spend some time fighting melee. The first thing you should do once you start up the game is hit "i" end equip your wooden shield. If your character starts out with a two-handed weapon of some sort, the first thing you should do is find a one-handed weapon and equip that and your wooden shield (you can delay this until you stop finding only daggers, but if you find a broadsword or especially a spear, switch). Shields are important for spellcasters, because they help you defend. Your main way of attacking in the hard battles is using spells, which don't use your to-hit and damage formulas, meaning you can do everything you can to maximize DV. This means switching to coward before casting a spell while an enemy is near, and wearing the best shield you can get your hands on. You can fight in melee, too, of course - but you're not that good at it without a decent melee weapon, and seeing that you don't have class powers, skills or exceptional stats to back up your measly melee prowess, you shouldn't risk going all-out - you'll be hit more than it's worth. Of course, this is different for trolls or orcs in the beginning, but once you've developed your magic skills, you'll want to benefit from a high shield skill.
Anyway, after you've started battling evil monsters with a bit of knowledge in the Divine Wrath spell and your combination of low-end melee weapon and wooden shield, the game is a game of "kill killable monsters" and "run away from unkillable monsters" and "avoid to die in the process". Be not afraid to run away and use your spells in doing it. Likewise, remember that you have spells! It's a good strategy to try and take out all the monsters early on with your melee weapon and resort to a Divine Wrath once you notice you have encountered a particularly hard nut to crack.
Later on, as you find more spellbooks and become more skilled at magic, your Druid will become a lot more easy and fun to play. More spells, more castings and more PP are the main reasons for that! Just remember that later on, the powerful monsters will have a lot more resistances and will not be easily affected by most spells. A rule of thumb: Minor Punishment (or Magic Missile, as the heathen dabblers in the spellcasting arts will call it) works against everything... Eventually.
Druids love to have high DV and PV, and they love to be speedy because it enables them go get more ground in a battle, thus letting them cast more spells and regenerate more PPs to cast even more spells. Druids love the Learning, Willpower and Mana stats. Learning enables them to read books more effectively, granting more castings. Willpower increases the power of spells, and certain values of Willpower increase the radius of ball spells, making them even more effective at fighting huge crowds of monsters. Mana increases the number of PPs you can have, and thus the number of spells you can cast before you effectively run out of PP, especially when coupled with PP regeneration - which is another important attribute for Druids. PP regeneration can be increased with a better Concentration skill and potions of raw mana, as well as a certain talent. Strength, Toughness and Dexterity are still important, because they enable you to carry more stuff and deal more damage, take more punishment, and give you more DV and speed, in order. Perception is of minor importance as it only enables you to look farther and has a minor influence on the success of trap evasion. Appearance and Charisma are of very tangential influence. Appearance is nigh useless unless you're female (see II.3), charisma at least has an influence on success 'o'rdering pets around.

3. Druid class powers
Now comes the part of the guide where I will whine a lot, so be prepared. We will talk about Druid class powers. Druid class powers are a perfect example for one of the main features of ADOM: Imbalanced classes. Some classes are simply better than others, in some cases a lot. This is fully intentional, of course, as it provides players with opportunities to challenge themselves (and guide writers with opportunities to whine). After all, this isn't World of Warcraft, where players think they have reason to whine on message boards because their favorite character has one skill that is slightly less powerful than a similar skill of another class, or because there is one item available for anyone that makes their entire build slightly less insanely powerful than other builds and therefore completely obsolete.

Anyway, let's go through those class powers step by step, but first discuss the class feature which is not a class power as such: The fact that animals won't attack you. This is a boon and a curse. A boon it is because peaceful animals can be quite helpful early on. You can use them to block the way for a pursuing monster by bypassing them in a hallway using the ":s" command. Sometimes, they fight other monsters hostile to you and help you take them out. You also don't have to worry about killing cats anymore (Killing a cat denies you access to a very powerful artifact), as you will be warned before you attack them, and they won't attack you, leading to peaceful coexistence. A curse (or annoyance) it is mainly because of breeders. Non-hostile breeders will quickly swarm whole parts of dungeon levels with more non-hostile breeders, leading to wailing, gnashing of teeth, and ":s"-clickfests. The other annoyance (A minor one) is that all those neutral animals created mean less XP for you, since you cannot kill them without taking alignment damage or exploiting a bug. You make up for that by killing the other monsters, though, and you're not in a hurry to gain levels. You'll see why after I've finished whining. One point of caution: Not all animals are non-hostile. Animals summoned by enemies such as black wizards, wererats or werewolves will be hostile. Keethrax' animals are likewise hostile, including his goddamned cats. A good reason not to pick that particular quest.

At level 6, Druids gain the ability to automatically evade wilderness encounters. This is actually not bad. In fact, it's the best class power the Druid will get, at least in my opinion. This ability means that you won't be killed by overly powerful wilderness encounters in the early game, for instance, on the way to the Caverns of Chaos, or even in the small eastern part of the wilderness where the early game dungeons are located. No swamp hydra deaths, no hill orc raiding party rapes... Of course, this class power leaves a bitter aftertaste as it effectively obsoletes the main use of one of your skills - Survival. It would have helped to evade wilderness encounters; now it only enables you to get food in the wilderness. Which you won't need to do if you're any smart and buy lots of large rations.

Level 12 grants you... The awesome power to regenerate power points twice as fast in the wilderness. Now, what do you need this for, after you got a class power six levels before that enabled you to avoid all wilderness encounters, cutting down the fighting you need to do in the wilderness to pretty much zero? The only use I could imagine is that you will be able to leave a dungeon and regenerate power points quicker before getting inside again. Only that even without this class power, this would still work fast enough. And if you were able to leave a dungeon specifically to do this, you're probably not far deep down, meaning you probably aren't level 12 in the first place, or you would be severely underpowered for your level. If there was more need for fighting to be done while in the wilderness (I have to check whether the quicker regeneration still works while you're engaged in battle in locations such as the dwarven graveyard or any wilderness level itself), this would be nice, but as approximately 95 percent of the game, and 99.9 percent of the fighting, will take place in some sort of dungeon... Bah.

Level 18 grants you an immunity to weather effects. This means that... Well... If it rains, your equipment and inventory won't get all drenched, soaked or rusty. You could wear a hooded cloak and carry a waterproof blanket to replicate this effect; both are items you are bound to find a lot until level 18. You're going to have, like, several spare hooded cloaks since cloaks get destroyed frequently and it's good to carry around a lot of them, and you're going to have about as many waterproof blankets. Also, only about 5 percent of your game will (should) take part in the wilderness, and heavy rain is rare. This class power is pathetically weak, especially for a level 18 class power. It's up there in the uselessness Hall of Shame together with the level 25 class power of the farmer, the ability to make mighty iron rations out of corpses.

The next class power up for evaluation, level 25, is the ability to summon animals at the cost of Mana stat points. You're level 25. At this point in the game, the animals you will be able to summon wouldn't even be able to scratch you were they fighting you. Likewise, against opponents you would need support against, they would fall like there is some sort of prize for falling most quickly. Also, they would win that prize. The only real use of these extra animals is to create them as cannon fodder or moving obstacles. For instance, you fight the Ancient Chaos Wyrm and don't like to be hit by his shock attack, so you summon an animal to let it stand between you and the Ancient Chaos Wyrm. Now the Wyrm won't be able to hit you until he has dispatched your furry friend! Apart from not seeming like the kind of thing a Druid who takes roleplaying seriously would do, it doesn't work too well as a strategy, as you still have to kill the thing the animals shields you from, and if this requires a bolt spell it will kill the animal as well. It's not the most useless class power ever, I suppose, but considering you have to sacrifice Mana stat points to fuel it and you can summon friends to help you using other means (most notably a scroll of familiar summoning) that do not require that sacrifice, not really anything to yearn for, either.

Level 32 gets you the likewise useless twin brother of the level 12 class power: It enables you to regenerate HP twice as fast in the wilderness. Right. Imagine a level 31 Druid, by that point probably equipped with several variants of healing spells, a Healing skill at level 100, maybe even an item of regeneration or two, and with lots of potions of extra and ultra healing or lots of blessed spenseweed herbs, fights a heated battle deep in the main dungeon, a dozen of levels away from the nearest exit into the wilderness. What will that Druid think once he has acquired the next level and therefore this class power? I'd wager it'd be something along the lines of "The FUCK?" or "Dammit" or "I really should've listened to my job counselor when she told me that Druid wasn't really a promising career option". Or he'd simply shrug and go on with his business. Which you should do, too. Another class power to forget about.

Probably the second best of the class powers will become available at level 40: The immunity to shock. It does sound pretty awesome the first time you read it. My major problem with this: It comes much too late to be of use. A level 40 Druid is usually in the process of wrapping up a game, and at this point, he should have either acquired shock immunity in some other way (by eating a blessed lightning lizard corpse, getting crowned with it or possessing corresponding items, like a crown of lightning or the artifact armor Nature's Companion) or sufficient resistance (double should be enough, triple is very easy to achieve: intrinsic from any blue dragon corpse, elemental gauntlets and Ring of the High Kings is a nice combination) thanks to artifacts or rings to survive anything made of lightning opponents may throw at him. Should a level 40 Druid not have any source of shock immunity, this is a nice class power, but not likely to improve a lot on the success you've already been having if you made it this far. Might be nice for the Blue Dragon Caves, though.

Lastly, at level 50, another one of those powers that would've been awesome had they come earlier. Less corruption from corrupting attacks, employed by balors for instance, might help you a bit on D:50, where you're likely to be at this point. 10 percent, however, is pretty low. It essentially means that on average, for every ten corrupting hits, you can absorb one for free getting the same corruption a normal character would get. It might save your ass should you have come to D:50 ill-prepared, though, so it's far from a useless class power. In general, I consider the level 50 class power to be always a pretty unimportant one, regardless of its power, simply because if you've reached level 50 without it, it's fair to assume you don't need it for anything.

Let me say this at the end of this part of the guide: Druids are tailored to be better in the wilderness than in a dungeon. If you decide to play your game in a way that is wilderness-heavy, like a challenge game that requires you to only play in the wilderness until you reach character level 50, Druids are a lot more useful than they are in a standard "close the game and win" game. This guide assumes you want to do the latter; that's why I heap so much abuse and laughter on the Druid class powers. They're not all that bad, only specialized in a way that makes them almost useless for normal needs.

Lastly, a nice effect of the Druid class powers being so useless is that you don't need to concentrate all that much on gaining levels. It's still good to be higher level for the skill advances, extra PP and HP and such, but it's not critical.

Why are you still here? Don't you want to read the next section? What, you want to hear about the bug? The bug that allows you to attack neutral monsters without alignment damage? But why? Surely you can play this game the way it was intended, without exploiting minor errors made by The Creator that allow you to do things you shouldn't be able to do? Sigh. Fine. If you attack a neutral monster by hitting "y" in the dialog "Do you really want to attack whoever?", you get an alignment hit. This holds true if you shoot spells, missiles or thrown weapons AT them (In case of the spell, you aren't even asked, but still get the drop). What you can do, however, is aim your missile or throwing weapon anywhere you want. Not only is this a useful trick if you want your missile to fly a slightly different course so that it can hit an enemy when direct aiming at him would hit an obstacle, it also means that if you aim at nowhere on particular (an empty square), and were to hit a neutral monster purely by accident (yeah, right), that monster would turn hostile, but your alignment wouldn't go towards chaotic. Because you obviously wouldn't have intended (ha ha) to hit the monster, therefore it wouldn't have been right to give you a penalty on your alignment! Congratulations, you just tricked the moral code of a computer program! I'm so proud of you! (I mean, would have tricked, because such low methods are obviously beneath your ADOM playing standards, are they not? Right? Yeah, right.)

4. Battle tactics
Your tactics stance (the thing you can set with the keys from F1 to F7) should be on Coward every time you cast a spell in battle. If it is not, at least in hard fights (no one cares about your tactics stance if you off a goblin with Greater Divine Touch just for kicks), you're not doing yourself a favor. Remember: You can change your tactics stance at any time without it costing you anything. You can freely change between Coward and Berserk for every turn of a battle if you so desire, regardless of how unrealistic this may be: "HARRRR I SMASH YOU *click* oh no, don't hurt me, please, have mercy *click* GRRRR I WILL FEED YOU YOUR GENITALS *click* aaaah mummy help me". The Tactics skill should be high priority because it increases the DV you gain if you switch to Coward. If you are not casting spells, choosing the right tactic isn't as straightforward; generally, the more PV the opponent has, the more damage you should aim to deal, and against opponents with special attacks you don't want to be hit by (like strength or toughness drain), too offensive tactics aren't wise. One thing you should remember: If you have the Tactics skill on a reasonable level, 60 or something, then don't fight with normal tactics. Fight either in aggressive or defensive mode. Why? Because you sacrifice a minor amount of DV or to-hit/damage to get a great amount of the other in both cases. Defensive mode is usually my favorite for battle.

5. L33t Dr00d 5k111z

a) Climbing
You climb mountains or out of pits with this. For pits, the skill score affects your success climbing out; for mountains, it lowers the time you spend climbing. The game can be finished without even climbing once in the mountains, and to visit all locations available in the game it's theoretically necessary to climb exactly six mountain squares, four of which you have to climb solely to reach the Sinister Library of Niltrias and go back again. Of course, you will climb more mountain squares if you don't visit the dungeons in the upper left corner of the Drakalor Chain in one go, but still, there is no need to fool around in the mountains. In other words, climbing these squares faster with the help of a higher Climbing skill is in no way important. Having a higher chance to climb out of pits helps in a situation where you are currently in a pit with a dangerous monster closing in on you; however, these situations are very, very rare. Climbing must be at 100 if you want to enter the Rift, though, so if you plan to enter it at some point, you have to pay attention to this skill, as it will probably not reach 100 if you don't invest some skill advances or training from Yergius.

b) Concentration
Increases PP regeneration and has a positive influence on learning from books. You are a spellcaster. This is your unrivaled favorite numero uno √úberskill. You want it at 100 as soon as feasible. It needs some training to get there, though. You train this skill by depleting your PP supply so you have to regenerate it. In other words, you train this skill by doing what you're going to do all the time anyway - cast spells! If that isn't handy, nothing is. If you don't cast spells, you obviously don't need this skill, but it's a great help once you get your spellcasting started. A high level in this spell achieved by training isn't worth wasting your precious early Divine Wraths on, though - use Divine Wrath when it is needed to save your life. If your human druid started with a useless extra spell, use it more often early on so you can at least train up Concentration with it, though.

c) First Aid
Can be 'a'pplied to heal recently sustained damage, and has a small chance of fighting (or healing) poison or sickness. A useful, and often underused, skill. You have the Healing skill, meaning HP regeneration isn't that much of an issue, but still - don't deny yourself the advantage of using this skill. Of course, if you're engaged in battle against a powerful monster beating the crap out of you, you won't have time for First Aid. After the battle is over, however, you will, and those few HP you may still be able to regain are nothing to scoff at, at least in the early game. Because the amount of damage healed by First Aid is a percentage of the amount of damage recently sustained, this skill will heal more damage if your enemy hit you harder - meaning that even late in the game, when a fire elemental has dealt a critical blow for, say, 100 damage (they do that occasionally), using First Aid will benefit you by a quite large margin. Still, as long as the monster who deals even larger margins of damage is near, it's probably wiser to use the more powerful means of Healing available to you later on in the form of blessed potions of extra and ultra healing. Every character has First Aid, but at the levels you start out usually (Druids have a higher level compared to most other classes, granted), it's unreliable. The more points you invest in it, the more likely it is to help. And in the early period of the game when you lack the Slow Poison and Neutralize Poison spells (humans *may* start out with one of those), alraunia antidotes, potions of cure poison (It's *possible* for every Druid to start out with one or even two) and most importantly poison resistance, this is potentially the last thing that can save you from death to poisoning. Being poisoned, you may have to wait out the poisoning period, and without using First Aid to replenish most of the HP lost to poison, you will most probably run out of HP faster than your Healing skill and your natural regeneration will be able to compensate for. There also is, as mentioned, a minor chance to fight sickness; sickness is a lot rarer than poison, but can be contracted by any rat that attacks you and is usually eventually fatal for an early game PC. Again, you can use First Aid everytime you lose HP due to sickness. The chance to get rid of it entirely is pretty low, though. At the very least, First Aid will keep you alive a few more steps until you can see a professional Healer. Since you have Healing, First Aid isn't of as high importance as I may have made it out to be, and it certainly will become obsolete once Healing spells or herbs are obtained. Nevertheless, it probably isn't a waste to spend some of your early skill advances on it, when you will need them most.

d) Gardening
Can be 'a'pplied to plant seeds. Plant seeds may turn into a tree (or so it is rumored), though I don't seem to have much success with that usually - which doesn't matter, as there are trees aplenty in the wilderness, even if you happen to have need for them. Herb seeds you plant on dungeon levels successfully will turn into herbs. Remember that a single bush of herbs will die out very quickly. For your herbs to survive, you have to make sure at least three herbs are planted in an L-shaped group. You can produce herbs by pouring holy water on the ground; however, unless the level in question has or has had herbs at some point which were either there initially or planted with the help of Gardening, these will not be able to sustain themselves regardless of how many neighbouring herbs they have. Herb seeds are very, very rare. This means that just with herb seeds and Gardening, you won't be able to get into some serious herb farming; you need a good base of herbs for that, as it will be found in so-called herb levels (One of these is guaranteed), or lots and lots of holy water. If you want to create a herb patch in a dungeon level of your choice that didn't have herbs originally, use a herb seed to make the whole level herb-fertile, and holy water to make the wondrous L-shape. Low levels of Gardening lead to low levels of success, and since herb seeds are so rare you don't want that. If you plan to use Gardening at all, which you certainly won't exactly need to, make sure it is on a high level. It can probably be trained by planting some of the otherwise highly useless plant seeds. Be careful, however: 'A'pplying Gardening means your PC will try to plant a herb seed if one is available in the pack. If you want to plant plant seeds in stead, drop the herb seeds first.

e) Haggling
Can be 'a'pplied on a shopkeeper to haggle over shop prices. Has (according to my experience) a very low chance to actually work out in *your* favor (high Charisma probably helps), and small improvements on price are entirely not worth the investment of skill advances you'd need to get them. Money can be a problem early on, but it's more worthwhile to just kill more monsters to get more treasure, equipment and XP in addition to the cash. Pass.

f) Healing
Heals HP at random intervals. The higher the skill, the more HP will be healed over a given time period. A very valuable skill, especially until you find other, plentiful means of healing such as books containing healing spells or special kinds of herbs. A major early game helper, so even though this trains naturally (read: by you taking damage, which is near impossible to avoid) and will reach 100 at some point in the future, you may want to give it an extra boost to help your character survive early on.

g) Herbalism
Allows to pick herbs that aren't cursed. Gives a chance to identify herbs upon picking. The higher the skill, the more blessed and uncursed and the less cursed herbs will be found: at 100, the ratio is usually similar to 60% blessed, 25% uncursed, 15% cursed. Also higher is the probability that you will identify a given herb on picking: at 100, every herb picked is instantly identified. You will also be able to pick more herbs before the bush withers: about 3 from a fully blossomed bush without Herbalism, 10 with Herbalism at 100. You can also 'a'pply the skill to give you a higher chance to know which herbs grow in a particular bush, and what state the bush is in (whether it is full of blossoms or already nearly withered or anything in between). In short, this skill makes you a l33t herb expert. There are two herbs that heal your HP (pepper petal, spenseweed), there is a herb that heals poison (alraunia antidote) and one that heals sickness (curaria mancox), there are two herbs that can increase your stats (morgia roots and mosses of mareilon) and there is one herb that, at least in its blessed state, is the most filling food in the entire game (stomafillia). There are also herbs that damage your HP (burb root), poison you (demon daisy), sicken you (devil's rose) or completely empty your stomach (stomacemptia), and even those CAN be useful, if one is careful with them and knows what he or she is doing. Herbs provide one of the best ways to pimp your character. Be glad that you have this skill, invest in it and start farming herbs! Note that in their cycles of growth and withering, herbs follow the rules of Conway's game of Life. Check out wikipedia for those rules, or the guidebook if you want a more detailed guide to ADOM herb farming! Long live herbalism!

h) Listening
Allows to hear things. The higher the skill, the fewer sounds will elude you. For example, if you hear a thunderous explosion, some monster somewhere on the dungeon stepped on a fireball trap - useful information? Well... This skill isn't among the most, or even particularly helpful. In any case, since it is trained all the time without your influence, it doesn't need any skill advances spent on it. It will reach 100 some time after level 15, and until that, the values you have are high enough. You'll be fine (and best off) not paying any attention to this skill.

i) Literacy
Enables you to read scrolls, books and all other writings. Higher values increase the chance to successfully read a spellbook in order to learn the spell included, and have an influence on success reading grave messages or the scroll of literacy check. A Literacy value of 100 will enable you to read anything, anywhere, anytime, with one notable exception. Also, success reading spellbooks is dependant on other factors as well, like the Learning stat or character class (Mindcrafters, Beastfighters or Barbarians for instance are pretty bad at it, but Druids are primary spellcasters and thus very good). This skill is of crucial importance to a spellcaster. Druids start in the forties; this needs heavy improvement. Without a decent skill, you will fail reading spellbooks often, and failing to read spellbooks can have harsh consequences, including and not restricted to the loss of the spellbook. Get this to 100 as soon as possible. It will require some training. That's where spellbooks of Shitty Spell No One Cares About come in handy, or one of the scrolls that can be read repeatedly without it disappearing - the ratling pamphlet the ratling rebel at the arena hands out is the most useful of these, as it doesn't trigger a message that you have to press a key several times to end.

j) Survival
Can be 'a'pplied to search for food in the wilderness. Improves battle conditions against wilderness encounters: You will be ambushed less often, and you will be able to spring an ambush yourself more often. Also, it is easier to evade encounters altogether. This skill is of restricted use, and once you've reached level 6 you're able to evade all wilderness encounters without fail, obsoleting a large part of that already restricted use. The ability to find food in the wilderness is pretty pointless, as there are other ways to get food that don't waste as much game time, and Survival only can save you from starvation if you are in the wilderness - did I already mention that about 95% of the game takes part very far away from the wilderness? Do not invest in this skill unless you plan to fool around in the wilderness a lot, for example as part of a Wilderness Level 50 challenge game, where you admittedly will need it for the food, lacking other sources.

k) Swimming
Lessens or prevents damage from drowning while swimming in water. Improves your speed while moving underwater. The higher the skill, the greater the chance that you will "easily swim the water" instead of drown. Weight is also a factor in that, though. Not a bad skill, in unforeseen situations it may save your life. The probability that you have to cross a river at some point is high, and depending on your luck finding spells (Nether Bolt can be used to cross rivers, too) you may not have other means at your disposal (except Bridge Building, but Swimming is infinitely preferablte to wasting time for that). Since this skill may save you from death in an emergency situation, spending skill advances on it can hardly be called a waste, though it is by no means essential, either.

l) Woodcraft
Lowers the time spent on chopping trees. This skill sucks monkey balls. Because you don't have Fletchery, you can use logs only for bridges. Because you have Swimming, you can cross rivers without bridges. Because you are a spellcaster, you are extremely unlikely to need a wooden bridge at any point in the game - ice bridges are easily available to you. And remember that this skill only helps CHOPPING trees - on the off chance that you ever need to build wooden bridges, you will be better served improving your ability to build said bridges so you don't have to chop as many trees - which saves a lot more time than improving Woodcraft ever will.

6. Skills obtainable through race choice
Note: All skills can be obtained by scrolls or potions of education. However, these grant random skills and sometimes only skill increases to existing skills, meaning they are nowhere near reliable if your goal is a certain skill. All skills with two exceptions (Alertness and Healing) can be gotten by wishing for them - 100% reliable, but wishes are very valuable and rare. Still, some skills *are* worth a wish. Some skills cannot be obtained in a way other than these two, but there is a certain number of race-specific skills that can be obtained in the game by fulfilling various requirements of equally varying difficulty. It's important to know, if you evaluate a skill for race choice, whether and how soon and easily you can obtain this skill otherwise. If there is no specific way to get the skill mentioned, it is only available through wishing and scroll/potion of education.

a) Alertness
Dark elves and drakelings have finely tuned reflexes. Passive skill that increases your chances to evade traps and spells. On high levels, DV points are added. Alertness prolongs your life especially against powerful enemy spellcasters throughout the entire game. It's somewhat hard to increase, though, probably because it is trained by successfully evading spells, and spellcasters are rather rare. If you have finished increasing the skills more critical to early game survival, increase this to the maximum amount possible. Note that this skill cannot be wished for - Wishing for "Alertness" yields an increase of the Perception stat. This skill is probably one of the best you can get by choosing a certain race. To top it off, both dark elves and drakelings get other nice skills as well, most notably Find Weakness and Stealth for the dark elf, Food Preservation and Music for the drakeling.

b) Archery
Hurthlings are extremely skilled at throwing rocks for some unfathomable reason. Not only start they with this skill as a result, they also get a weapon skill of 4 in thrown rocks and only need two thirds the marks to increase the thrown rocks and sling weapon skills. Archery increases your to-hit and damage with missile attacks, giving +5 to-hit and +2 to damage at level 100. Certain levels in this skill are a prerequisite for the Lightning Shot and Eagle Eye talents. This skill is kind of useful. It depends on how much you want to use missile weapons. Since you are a spellcaster, you have other means of killing enemies from a distance at your disposal. Nevertheless, ammo equipped with slaying powers is a lot more common than slaying power artifact melee weapons, and there are opponents in the game that are a major pain in the ass to subdue in melee or with spells, but easily dispatched with the right kind of slaying ammunition, especially if you're halfway competent at archery in general, i. e. you chose the right talents. The talents you need the Archery skill for are very powerful. Eagle Eye nets you boost to to-hit and damage equal to Good Shot and Keen Shot combined, and Lightning Shot builds on Quick Shot to make you some sort of bow and arrow machinegun! Druids benefit well from this skill, but being skilled in missile weapons isn't as important for them as it is for, say, a next-to-no-spellcasting melee class like Fighter or Barbarian. If your ADOM playing style is archery-heavy, a Hurthling is worth your consideration, though. They also offer Food Preservation, Cooking and Stealth, all not bad.

c) Athletics
Trolls have incredibly muscular builds. This passive skill increases speed, giving a maximum boost of 8 points of speed at skill level 100. It also increases the chance of getting increases in the physical attributes Strength, Dexterity, Toughness and Appearance. This is quite an awesome skill, especially if maxed. Trolls also get Food Preservation, Gemology and Mining!

d) Backstabbing
Orcs are as dirty as their fighting tactics! Gives you the opportunity to "backstab" unsuspecting opponents, dealing additional damage. Backstab damage is not always dealt. For neutral opponents, the message "Do you really want to backstab the -foo-?" has to be generated if you want to get backstab damage. For hostile opponents which simply haven't yet seen you thanks to Darkness, the Stealth skill or invisibility, there is no such message, and whether you get backstab damage is a matter of skill level-influenced luck. Backstabbing can be obtained later on in the game, so it's not worthwhile to play an orc for it, since they don't get Stealth and need Invisibility or Darkness spells to get any use out of it. Orcs do get Find Weakness and Mining as well.

e) Bridge Building
Trolls are renowned for being crafty engineers... Actually, no, they aren't, but they still start with this skill - a mystery of the ages. You can build bridges with it. The higher the level, the higher is the chance to succeed when building a bridge segment by 'u'sing a hatchet on a log. This skill is almost absolutely useless. You start with the Swimming skill, so don't be a wuss and jump in. With a decent swimming skill and full health, every river can be crossed. If you don't have the time to regenerate yourself to full health or didn't think to get a decent swimming skill, you're screwed, and knowing how to build a bridge doesn't help you shit when there's a monster right behind you! When Swimming is otherwise out of the question, either because the body of water is too wide for you to swim through even at full health or because it's full of predator fish, you're going to have to use other means of crossing the river. And even if teleporting won't work because of the dungeon level preventing it, there is still one method left which is superior to Bridge Building: Ice bridges. You can make them with wands of cold or the Nether Bolt and Freezing Fury spells. Ice bridges can break if you carry more than 2000 stones of weight, but they don't require logs to be built, and the spells that produce them produce with every casting - Bridge Building has a high chance of failure on low level, and you don't get to a high level without wasting way too many skill advances on it and, God may have mercy on your soul, awful shitloads of practice. 2000 stones aren't enough for you? What kind of lazy idiot are you? Take several trips! Even if you wanted this skill - God knows why - it's pointless to play a troll for it. Trolls get the skill at a single digit value. To increase it, you need a manual of bridge building. You have to choose Rynt's quest to get it from Yrrigs. And guess what - ANY character who gets the manual can read it and get Bridge Building themselves. If you choose the Keethrax quest, trollish Druids will be the only ones with Bridge Building - completely and utterly stuck at a level at which you have to calculate fifteen logs per bridge segment, unless you wish for a manual of bridge building - a move so addlebrainedly idiotic you should delete ADOM in an instant if you actually find yourself even contemplating it. Choose trolls for Athletics, Food Preservation, Gemology, and Mining, if you do - all good reasons.

f) Cooking
Hurthlings love to devour their slain foes' corpses well done and deliciously seasoned. This skill can be 'a'pplied on a corpse to try and cook it with the help of a cooking set. If successful, the corpse is cooked, if not, it is wasted. Higher levels mean lower chance of failure. Cooking corpses increases their nutrition value by 50 percent and slows down their decomposition rate considerably. This skill is helpful to keep corpses around that you can't or don't want to eat right now, but want to save for later. Here is a list of uses for it:

- Cook every corpse in the early game before eating to get more nutrition out of it
- Cook the corpses of highly powerful chaos beings (black druids, orb guardians, black unicorns) to be able to deliver them to Guth'Alak in time, who rewards you with a potion of cure corruption for them
- Cook corpses that grant rare intrinsics that you can't eat right now due to being bloated
- Cook corpses that grant rare intrinsics that you already have, to keep them healthy (well, healthy for you) until you can sell them to Munxip or any shopkeeper who runs a "general store", from whom you can buy them back any time in case you lose the intrinsic they give
- Cook displacer beast corpses to provide a means of emergency teleportation
- Cook karmic lizard or karmic dragon corpses to carry around in case you need them to remove dooming or cursing

This skill belongs in the "convenient, but of low importance" category. Hurthlings get Archery, Food Preservation and Stealth, too, so consider it a bonus.

g) Detect Traps
Dwarves are l33t experts when it comes to sensing discrepancies in the dungeon around them. With this skill, they can find traps if they 's'earch for them. Without this skill, a character can find hidden doors with the 's'earch command, but never traps - he just doesn't know what to look for. A higher skill level increases the probability to find a trap in a search attempt, meaning you'll find traps quicker. A skill level of 100 doesn't guarantee the finding of a trap in a single attempt, but practically does so if you spend several turns searching. Detect Traps works with a ring of searching, enabling you to find traps without actively searching for them, but a high skill level is needed before this is of any help, and not every trap will be found without spending several turns searching. Traps hurt throughout the game: Early on, you live in fear of any kind of trap, especially the stone block one, because they can kill your Druid. Later on, you live in fear of traps because they can destroy your valuable magic items. Of course, nobody expects you to use Detect traps on every single dungeon square, but it's common sense to use it in heavily trapped areas such as the Pyramid or the Dwarven tomb or the air and mana temple. Also, you should check every door before trying to open it, because a door trap can - it's unlikely, but it can - trigger upon a failed attempt to merely open the door. Very nasty. This is a very useful skill, some feel it is essential; that depends on how well you can cope with the occasionally lost items and the damage. There is a wand of trap detection, so the effect of this skill isn't unique, and if you know the trap layout of the more dangerous places, you can use these and forget about Detect traps rather comfortably. Still, get it if you can. Detect Traps can be taught by Yergius if you gain entry into the Thieves Guild, so it's only worthwhile to choose a dwarf if you want Detect Traps right from the start, which may be a tad bit paranoid, but not a bad decision otherwise. Even if you're a dwarf, you want to gain entry into the Thieves Guild anyway to get the Stealth skill as well as skill training in Climbing and Stealth. Dwarves also get Mining and Smithing.

h) Dodge
High and gray elves are gay elegant and graceful. Dodge adds DV. At skill level 100, 10 points of DV are gained. Nice skill, though the bonus isn't that overwhelming; especially considering you'll probably have serious trouble to get Dodge that high. Take every opportunity to increase it as long as it is possible. A nice addition to the gray and high elven skillset nevertheless, which otherwise isn't remarkable except for Stealth.

i) Find Weakness
Dark elves and orcs know where it hurts the most! This skill increases the probability that a critical hit is scored. Critical hits cause double damage, but do not ignore PV. Still, since PV is substracted from your damage roll result, if your damage is doubled, you will gain more than only double the damage if your opponent's PV is higher than zero: If your opponent's PV is 20, and you deal 40 damage, only 20 get through; but if you deal a critical hit, 60 of the 80 resulting damage will be substracted from your opponent's HP, triple the amount you would have normally managed! Critical hits are awesome. Thus, Find Weakness is equally awesome. It doesn't affect spell damage, though, and you can probably live well without it, especially if you find artifacts with badass slaying powers. Still, playing a dark elf or an orc for this skill is a good decision. Dark elves offer Alertness and Stealth, orcs mainly offer Mining (you can ignore Metallurgy and Backstabbing pretty much).

j) Food Preservation
Humans, trolls, hurthlings and drakelings... actually, I don't have any clue why they know how to preserve food, but the others don't. Perhaps they just love good food this much? Possession of this skill slows the rate at which food rots, and increases the likelihood of monsters leaving behind usable corpses. (Apparently, knowing how to not let food rot makes it more likely for you to carefully kill your enemy so the body isn't transformed to dust or whatever the hell happens with the body if you can't pick it up... This skill is pretty mysterious.) The higher the skill, the slower the rotting and the more corpses you get. All in all, a very useful skill. In the early game, it alleviates food problems somewhat by giving you more corpses. Throughout the game, it increases your chance at getting very nice corpses, such as the ones of quicklings, blink dogs or giant slugs, or ogres and giants... in short, 100 points in Food Preservation = maximum amount of stat-gaining corpses and rare instrinsics! It's not crucial to success, but helpful. Humans have only this skill going for them, while trolls, hurthlings and drakelings gain other skills too.

k) Gemology
Trolls and gnomes know what's what with shiny things. This skill allows for identification of gems. A skill level of 100 identifies almost any gem on the spot. Also it makes it possible for gems to appear amongst the rubble that is created when walls are dug either with a pickaxe or by a creature that possesses that ability, such as giant raccoons, ankhegs, giant ant workers and warriors or dwarves. This is also the prime appeal of this skill, especially for a spellcaster, because it means you can mine for crystals of knowledge, which increase the Learning score if blessed, to a max that is somewhere between the twenties and thirties. For Druids, who get a measly Learning bonus for being Druids, this is tremendously helpful. Of course, mining for gems requires a lot of pickaxes, or a lot of money to let Glod repair said pickaxes after breaking. It also has the inherent threat of waking powerful and pissed stone giants, meaning it's a very dangerous endeavour for an early game Druid and thus not as helpful as it could be - UNLESS YOU LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. Druids are the master of gem mining simply because they can have others do it for them. Go to the second level of the Puppy Cave - the one that opens after you talk to the tiny girl - and watch the neutral ants dig up all the walls. Search through the rubble and rake in the jewelry! Whoever said that being a tree-hugging lover of nature doesn't pay? Gnomes and trolls not only offer this great skill - making good use of it is ESSENTIAL for trolls, because they get levels a lot slower and a higher Learning score at least offers more skill advances per level (apart from the desperately needed support in learning from books!). Both races get even more good skills! (Are you seeing why I have such a hard time deciding on a race? All of them except humans offer some unique benefit thanks to their skillset!) While not only both trolls and gnomes get Mining to assist their gemology, gnomes also get Ventriloquism and trolls get Food Preservation and Athletics.

l) Metallurgy
Orcs and dwarves know their metal. Grants a chance to identify pieces of ore and ingots on sight. Can be "a"pplied to determine whether a certain item is made of metal, and if it is, which kind. Higher levels improve success in identifying. Possible uses? Finding out which kind of ingot you have to use to improve certain items that don't automatically tell you which metal they're made of. Finding out which pieces of ore and ingots are of which metal so you can choose which to carry around with you. Except, you know, there is such a thing as trial and error for the items, and regarding ore and ingots, you'd be hard pressed to find any group of items that is easier to identify by weight than these. Iron is the heaviest item, mithril is a bit lighter, adamantium is a bit lighter than mithril, and eternium is yet another bit lighter than adamantium and about half the weight of iron (a little bit less, if you look at ingots and remember that they are pretty much the only examples of "pure" metal - Iron ingots weigh 20 stones, eternium ingots weigh 9 stones). Long story short, this skill sucks like a goddamned vacuum! Don't bother getting it! Play dwarves or orcs for their other merits: Find Weakness for the orc, and Detect traps and Mining for the dwarf.

m) Mining
Trolls, orcs, gnomes and dwarves have uncanny knowledge of digging out tunnels and stuff. Decreases the time that passes while digging through stone using a pickaxe, and lessens the chance of a pickaxe breaking. At skill level 100, digging through a square takes only about five turns, and if the pickaxe is blessed, it should hold out for fifty diggings on average before you may have to fix it or get another one. This skill is convenient, but far from essential. There are means of digging besides using the Mining skill and a pickaxe which are far safer and quicker; most notably the fairly common wand of digging. Using a pickaxe for mining is what you must do if you want to mine for ore and gems, however. To mine for gems, you must have the Gemology skill. To mine for ore, no particular skill is needed, but with Mining both it and mining for gems will take a LOT less time. The third thing you can mine out of the dungeon walls is stone giants. If you're an early game PC, your reaction to a stone giant awoken and made hostile is going to be "OH MY GOD RUUUUUN", if you're reasonably powered up, it's going to be "Mhmmm tasty stone giant corpse extra strength point yum yum". A powerful gnomish or trollish Druid that has learned Smithing thus will be able to kill three birds with one stone if he decides to mine. This skill is convenient in general, and extra convenient if you're playing a gnome or a troll. Reasonable skill levels only add to its usefulness, and are a good thing to aim for once you find yourself with spare skill advances you don't really know what to use on.

n) Music
Drakelings got Rock'n Roll in their blood or something. This skill allows you to play musical instruments by 'u'sing them - at least with any chance of success. At level 100, you will always succeed playing the instrument. Levels inbetween directly govern your success. Playing music will tame nearby animal monsters - the same type of monsters that usually is already at least neutral to you. The emphasis is on "usually" - there are exceptions, and Music is good to remedy that. It's the cheapest method to get animal companions, once you've raised it to a decent skill level and found an instrument to use it with. Because of its low starting level and the fact that drakelings don't get any instrument, it is immediately disqualified as an early game helper - but the early game help it would have provided is mostly made up for by the Druid class feature. In conclusion, not the greatest skill out there, but useful. And since you can tame killer bugs, probably the most powerful animal out there bar none, even suitable for helping you in dangerous battles. Drakelings also get Food Preservation.

o) Pick Pockets
Gnomes seem to be sneaky little greedy bastards. This skill allows you to pick pockets (duh). Higher skill levels improve success doing so. Unsuccessful picking of pockets is likely to turn the victim hostile. Use of this skill in general is a chaotic act unless you use it on a hostile opponent. Yeah, why would you use it on a hostile opponent? It's not like this skill magically generates an item in the pocket mere split-seconds before you pick it, leading to huge loads of additional items gained from a great number of enemies that possibly include artifacts or other hugely valuable items of weight 10 stones and lower. I mean, how crazy would that be? Don't be silly! Ha ha... Ha. Sigh. Can't fool you, can I? If you want to exploit the potential for cheap play that this skill offers, go right ahead. Note that you have to successfully pick the pockets of about twenty-five people to get access to the Thieves Guild. Also note that you can learn the Pick Pockets skill from Yergius right from the start without any requirement aside that of having to be non-lawful. It's thus highly unnecessary for you to be a gnome to get this skill, as ALL Druids start out neutral.

p) Smithing
Did you think that this would be an RPG where dwarves wouldn't adhere to their stereotypes? Allows to remove rust from weapons. Also allows to improve weapons, shields and armor that are made of any of the four metals. To use it, 'a'pply the skill while standing over a forge with a hammer in your hand and an anvil in your backpack. You can then choose an item to work on. If you choose a rusty item, you will attempt to remove the rust. If you choose any other item that is smithable (made of iron, mithril, adamantium or eternium), you will also be asked to choose an appropriate ingot to use in improving it. If you choose the ingot, you'll be able to do the same the other way around. If you choose a piece of ore, you will attempt to melt down the ore. For all of these actions, the Smithing level improves whether you will be successful and to what extent. This is especially important for improving items, as the higher the Smithing skill, the higher is the improvement you can achieve. Improving a weapon will increase to-hit and damage first, at the very last add a point of DV. Improving shields and armor will improve DV and PV. The skill is very powerful, which is alleviated by the difficulty you will have finding the tools to use it.
Hammers are common - except for the two-handed huge iron hammers, you'll be able to use any kind of warhammer or large hammer.
Anvils are rare. You can't rely on finding one, so it might be good to know that there are people who have anvils: Kherab, the dwarven artificer of Darkforge, and Glod, the dwarven smith in Dwarftown. Of course, if you try to kill Kherab, you'll notice he will prove to be a lot more vicious than you might be able to stomach. He is not invincible, but he has a hard-hitting poison melee attack. Kill him with humanoid slaying ammo, acid bolts or minor punishments. Glod is a pushover compared to him, but unfortunately attacking him outright will mean angering the whole Dwarftown - not good. But still, he is the best source of an anvil. The best way to get it is to either confuse him using the Ventriloquism skill - after which he will attack you and the whole of Dwarftown will rush to YOUR help thinking you were the one being attacked first - or to teleport him out of his smithy and try to lure him to another level. He will follow you if you go down or up stairs while he is in an adjacent square. Since he walks around randomly and you can't control where you teleport him, this is both a matter of luck and patience. Remember that you can switch places with him using ":s", and that this will push him slightly into the direction you want... But it remains a matter of luck and patience.
The last thing you need is a forge. Forges can be randomly found in dungeons a good deal more commonly than anvils. However, since you will spend a lot of time whenever you smith, it's good to have a forge in a non-corrupting area. That might not always be possible - sometimes you are just that unlucky - but it's worth exploring every one of the non-corrupting dungeons in search of a forge. Both the Village Dungeon and the Druid Dungeon are non-corrupting all the way through, just like the Puppy Cave. The Unremarkable Dungeon is not only corruption-free, but has a higher chance to generate random dungeon features including forges - in nine cases out of ten, you'll find a forge there. Exploring the Unremarkable Dungeon, however, means getting through the Small Cave at least once. Either you do that early on in the game, where the place isn't as dangerous, or you do it later with invisibility and teleports. The Caverns of Chaos also offer seven or eight non-corrupting levels (Counting all the levels till D:9 including the shortcut level, but substracting the Big Room and the Arena) where a forge might be created. Most notably, if Dwarftown is on D:9, it will be non-corrupting, and so will be Glod's forge! If Glod is still on the Dwarftown level, he will charge you for using the forge, though. You have to lure him to another level (or kill him) to use his forge for free. If you already did that to get his anvil, less hassle for you.
Before happily going off to kill poor Glod, remember that he is the only person in the game who will repair your broken items. Should he be dead, only scrolls of repair will be able to do that, and they're only available in restricted numbers. So before you kill him, mine all the ore you need, having him repair your pickaxes, THEN get his anvil. A good ADOM player knows well how to abuse and exploit the innocent while staying technically lawful...
If you combine the holy trinity of anvil, hammer and forge, and add to that assloads of ore to make into ingots to improve items with, you have in your hands one of the best ways to really buff up your equipment. See that crown of regeneration [+0, +0]? Want to make it [+9, +9]? Thought so! Want your phase dagger to bypass your opponent's PV as usual AND have (+12, 1d4+9) [+1, 0]? Thought so! Have fun smithing!
Note that the Smithing skill can be bought from Glod for a price. That price can be quite high, but is always affordable. Characters that obtain Smithing this way instead of by being a dwarf won't miss much, as the tools to use Smithing are hardly ever found before Dwarftown and Glod are reached. Dwarves also get Detect traps and Mining, though, the latter useful to mine the ore that is needed to get in some serious Smithing.
(If you killed Glod for his anvil without having obtained Smithing beforehand, allow me to say this to you: BRUHAHAHAHAHAAAA! SERVES YOU RIGHT, YOU IDIOT!)

q) Stealth
High, gray, dark elves and hurthlings are nimble and adept at moving silently or being simply too small to be seen. This skill will add a chance that a monster might not see you in the dim light of the dungeon. The higher the skill, the better the chance, but 100 will not make you invisible. Also, all Stealth bonuses are lost if you attack an opponent. The skill does not have an impressive effect - which is fine, because its job is to avoid making an impression. With the help of stealth, you might be able to position yourself better before you attack, or retreat without being noticed, or make backstabbing attacks with the help of the Backstabbing skill. This is actually one of the two main uses of Stealth: A chance to backstab without being invisible or making your surroundings dark. The other main use is simply possessing the Stealth skill at 100, because if you get it this high, you will be able to move quietly enough so that the Ghost Librarian in the Sinister Library of Niltrias will be grateful to you. If you move 2000 turns or something along those lines in his Library without 'C'hatting (spells can reportedly still be cast), he will even ask you to deliver something for him. The reward for this delivery is very valuable indeed, so going through all the hassle necessary - Increasing Climbing and Stealth to 100 - is very much worth it. Stealth can be taught by Yergius by gaining entry into his guild as described in the skill description of Pick Pockets, so it's not that crucial to play an elf or a Hurthling for it. Because it is one of the few skills that can assist you in early game survival, it might be beneficial to choose one of them anyway. High and gray elves also offer Dodge, dark elves also offer Alertness and Find Weakness, and hurthlings Archery, Cooking and Food Preservation.

r) Ventriloquism
Gnomes have some strange abilities. What are they, circus people? Anyway, this skill can be 'a'pplied to try and confuse people or monsters. Confused people and monsters will stagger around for a while, come to their senses, and turn hostile to you if they weren't hostile before. This can be exploited to kill people "in self-defence" without getting any repercussions for it. Also, having monsters confused in battle makes them unable to use any action besides stumbling around and attacking you in melee. Very nice if you're confronted with monsters that have powerful spells. The weakness of Ventriloquism in this regard is that it has to be high level to be reliable, and that you have to stand adjacent to the target you use it on. Getting so close might prove hazardous to your health, especially if the skill check fails. If you want to use this skill, play a gnome, train it and spend skill advances on it to get it high (We're talking at least 80, preferably 100 here - training against small fry helps). Gnomes also have Gemology and Mining and so are a good choice in any case.

s) Acid Breath
Drakelings have some serious case of bad breath. Special ability (used with "m") that spits a blob of acid in a certain direction. The blob has a range limited to a couple of squares. Once it hits an enemy, it deals damage to it. The amount of damage depends on the level of the drakeling. If the damage dealt is greater than the remaining HP of the enemy, the blob completely dissolves him and hits the next monster in range with the remaining damage. This isn't a skill per se, but like the skills mentioned in this section it's something you'll get if you play a certain race, and should be evaluated here as well. An important thing to know about the Acid Breath is that while it deals elemental acid damage and is unhindered by PV like a spell, it doesn't consume PP to use: Rather, it uses up nutrition. Food serves as fuel for the Acid Breath. This means that using it often means you'll need a lot more food. It also means that if you're bloated, you can use the Acid Breath to get yourself down to satiated again. This is handy in case you have a corpse in danger of rotting that you want to eat as quickly as possible.
Also consider that the Acid Breath gains power solely by level; you can't train it by use or spend skill advances to make it any stronger, while spells and weapons can improve in spell effectivity or weapon skill. That's why you shouldn't use the Acid Breath except when it's necessary, you should rather train up melee and missile weapons or spells. Still, it's a major asset to have especially in the early game, when the Acid Breath provides a means to kill opponents with a "sort-of" spell even with zero PP. Spend all your money on large rations if you start the game as a drakeling Druid and want to use the Acid Breath.
Note that being a racial ability, you can't get the Acid Breath from a wish or any kind of potion or scroll... Well, not directly. There is a corruption, the Sulfur Breath, which provides you with pretty much the same power, and cursed potions of cure corruption, potions of raw chaos and cursed scrolls of chaos resistance could corrupt you to the point where you get it. Needless to say, that would be a fairly idiotic method... The normal case is that you develop it by chance at some point and start to use it then. It's one of the corruptions I'd not be in a hurry to get rid of.

7. Other skills you can get

a) Courage
Improves your fighting prowess while being surrounded by removing the penalties you suffer to your to-hit for every enemy except the first standing on one of the eight squares around you. It also reduces the to-hit boni of said enemies. At 100, even being surrounded by eight enemies at once will incur rather low penalties. This skill cannot be gained by choosing any of the races or classes; it's one of the two skills that can only be gotten in-game. To get Courage, you need to complete the quest of the old barbarian living in the clearing near the entrance to Darkforge in Southern Central Drakalor. The first step is to be actually given the quest: To qualify, you need to have killed 500 monsters. That should be doable. If you've done the early game quests and travel westwards to the Caverns of Chaos for the first time, you most certainly will get the Courage quest. A bit harsher are the requirements of the quest itself: You have to kill twenty more of the kind of monster you killed first. The hardest part for most players is probably remembering what the hell that first kill was. Smart players have written it down somewhere or even named themselves after it (extra-smart players type in the name in the "&" monster memory and let the game remember it there). Needless to say, if the monster you need to kill is rare, you'll have a hard time finding twenty of it to complete this quest. It really depends. Should you not know your first kill, the best thing you can do is get the quest, go on about your business crawling through the dungeons and occasionally check back on the old barbarian. Once you have killed enough monsters, he'll teach you sum'thin 'bout Courage. Note that you must not be chaotic if you want to either receive his quest or receive his evaluation - he won't talk to chaotics at all. The Courage skill is not essential - a smart player knows not to be surrounded, and your best action if you are is not to start fighting the monsters around you, but to whip out an Ethereal Bridge spell and get the hell out of there! At least that's the theory. On the other hand, there are levels where you might not have it that easy, so getting the skill is most certainly not a bad idea, but other players happily kill the old barbarian for XP and forget about Courage entirely without being worse off for it (Yes, I'm looking at you, the-one-who-breaks-his-lines-himself-while-typing). Note that the first kill is relevant for another reason - check the Guidebook for that. Courage trains naturally to a good extent, as you often find yourself fighting more than one opponent at a time. You don't need to spend skill advances on it, but Courage always has pretty good dice and can usually quickly be freely trained till 100, so it's certainly a good alternative to having to spend perfectly good skill advances on, say, Haggling.

b) Disarm traps
Can be 'a'pplied to disarm door or floor traps. You have to stand adjacent to the square containing the trap. Higher levels improve the chance of success. This skill requires thieves picks to use, which are either found in the pyramid or very rarely from random drops. It costs 3000 to 5000 gold pieces to be taught Disarm traps by Yergius once you enter the Thieves Guild. You have to be level 13 to get the thieves picks from the pyramid as well. Also, you're a spellcaster, and there is a spell called Disarm Traps that sports a 100 percent success rate and trains mana if used. In short, this skill is not worth the money you have to spend on it at all. The only good it does sitting there in your skill list is that it increases the likelihood of your scrolls and potions of education giving you other, more useful skills. That alone might be enough for some, and gold isn't hard to come by, so if you like, get it.

c) Law
Will tell you when you've committed a chaotic or lawful act. Only at level 100 will you be told all the time, at lower levels you will not recognize all the acts. This skill can only be obtained if you complete both the Kranach and the Hotzenplotz quests from Tywat Pare. The Kranach quest requires you to kill Kranach, the raider lord (he can be met in a random wilderness encounter as long as you haven't reached level 6) and the Hotzenplotz quest requires you to kill the crime lord of Lawenilothehl and will only be given to you once you reach level 10. If you have managed to kill both of these criminals, Tywat will teach you the law skill in addition to the reward he gives you for killing Hotzenplotz. Killing Hotzenplotz is rather easy as long as you use spells and keep him the hell away from you, but finding Kranach can take an awful shitload of time and killing him and surviving his raiding party isn't trivial for an early game PC (though with smart use of Divine Wrath, it should be doable). All this and the fact that the skill is almost as useless as Haggling, Metallurgy or Disarm traps mean that at least I will lose no sleep not getting this skill. Knowing what constitutes a chaotic act is a no-brainer (hint: killing non-hostiles, robbing graves and wearing amulets of chaos are among the more obvious ones). The same can be said for the few lawful acts the game provides (killing criminals like Hotzenplotz, completing quests, healing injured companions or neutrals, wearing amulets of order). In short, this skill is useless, and unless you want it for the same reason as Disarm traps (though you'd have to want it badly), don't bother getting it.

d) Pick locks
'A'pply to open locked doors or lock unlocked closed doors. Thieves picks are required. Will bypass traps if successful, but might trigger them if unsuccessful. Can be taught by Yergius if you pay him 3000 to 5000 gold pieces. As has been mentioned under b), you pretty much have to be level 13 to get thieves picks. Like for Disarm Traps, there is a spell that opens locked doors: Divine Key. It's just as common as Disarm traps and even costs a little less PP, on top of that wands of knocking can open doors for you as well. There are also keys to open any door in the game (also disarming all the traps in the process). To top it all off, you can just 'k'ick the door often enough to destroy it, though that will trigger the trap contained. Even if you want to lock a closed door to keep monsters out, there is the Seal of the Spheres spell to do it for you. Pick locks might be more useful if you could get the thieves picks for it more easily, but as it stands, it's just as useless as Disarm traps. Get it to fill up your skill list with useless junk so you get better stuff with potions and scrolls of education.

e) Tactis
Increases the benefits and lowers the penalties for fighting with special tactics other than "Normal". The higher the level, the greater the boni provided, eventually making the Normal stance the least desirable for fighting. This skill is taught by Bart, the grizzled gladiator already mentioned under the skill description for Backstabbing, after you give him the golden gladius. Combine the words "awe" and "some" to get a slight idea of the value of this skill. If there is any skill worth getting in this section, it most certainly is this one. As a spellcaster, you will (in crucial situations at least) cast all your spells in coward mode, and having Tactics at a decent level will increase your DV in that mode by far more than the Dodge skill can get you. On the other hand, if brute force is required, switching to berserk coupled with a good Tactics skill will make you able to rip your opponent to even more shreds. Did I already mention that you should get this skill under any circumstances? Win the arena, trade in your golden gladius with a happy smile and receive two (for orcs one) extra skills to go with it!

f) Two weapon combat
Lowers the to-hit and attacking speed penalties received for fighting with two weapons. The higher the level, the better your dual-wielding. This is yet another skill you get if you give the golden gladius to Bart. As for its value... Needless to say, if you don't plan on using two weapons, every skill point spent on this skill is a waste; if you do consider fighting with two weapons, get this as high as ever possible, as without a very high Two weapon combat skill dual-wielding is tremendously inferior to the weapon and shield or the two-handed weapon route. Even with the skill at 100, at least for a Druid such as yourself, dual-wielding is still a bad choice. You might be able to attack more often in the same time, but you will always attack twice and thus take more time in each turn, meaning you are less able to react. On top of that, you forgo using a shield, which will deal a hefty blow to your possible DV. Also, having two reasonably powerful attacks compared to having one insanely powerful attack (such as that of an eternium two-handed sword) means you have to overcome the PV twice and might end up with less damage than with the one two-handed weapon. As long as you don't use Needle & Sting (which get such great bonuses if used together in Two weapon combat that they're almost always worth it) or some other insanely powerful melee weapons (like eternium weapons of penetration, which bypass PV, and may be worth attacking with twice if you can avoid getting hit too much), don't fight with two weapons unless you really want to because you think it's cooler or whatever. If you don't dual-wield - as has been said, don't increase the skill. Sooner or later the time will come where you have skill advances you don't know how to spend, and Two weapon combat will probably still be a better choice than Haggling.

8. Talents
Check the guidebook for complete and detailed information. The ADOM manual itself will also tell you about the prerequisites of the talents, so go there if you want to avoid the temptation of perusing spoily sections of the guidebook. I will offer my opinion on the talents available nonetheless.

As a Druid, you will usually start with two or three starting talents, sometimes one, sometimes four. The theoretical maximum is five. This means at least 17 talents. There are combinations of talents that provide quite a significant bonus. You won't be able to get all the potentially useful talents, though, so you have to make decisions. These decisions should be based on the playing style of your Druid.

Anyway, here's the talents I would consider taking. If a talent has been mentioned several times, that means it's a part of different "talent chains". You only have to get it once.

Alert, Miser, Treasure Hunter (because I love treasure), Potent Aura, Charged (extra PP regeneration), Long Stride (It helps escaping by improving your movement speed), Quick, Very Quick, Greased Lightning (speed is very important), Careful, Defensive Fighter, Very Careful, Dodger, Shield Specialist, Shield Expert, Shield Master (extra DV is very helpful, take as many of these as you want), Porter, Master Packager, Beast of Burden (so you can carry lots of helpful equipment without getting burdened as much), Good Shot, Keen Shot, Eagle Eye (Extra missile damage, slaying missiles will become even more effective with these, you need Archery for Eagle Eye, though), Good Shot, Keen Shot, Quick, Quick Shot, Lightning Shot (the last two increase your missile attacking speed; these talents are very powerful, though Lightning Shot also requires Archery), Basher, Powerful Strike, Mighty Strike (if and only if you find yourself using a weapon that weighs 100 stones or more primarily - if you do, very much recommended), Potent Aura, Strong Healer (if you find healing spells early, this might save your life), Hardy, Tough Skin, Iron Skin, Steel Skin, Mithril Skin (can be very helpful if you get them early on, later in the game probably a waste. Only dwarves can get Mithril Skin, so it's a bit more worthwhile for them).

Good stand-alone talents include Long-Lived, which can only be chosen in the beginning and increases your lifespan by 30 percent. For orcs and trolls especially, this might safe you from death at the hands of ghost aging attacks. Also potentially life-saving is Healthy, which can be chosen anytime and increases HP regeneration, though only slightly.

Of the talents that can only be gotten when you start out with your character, only Alert and Long-Lived are mentioned in the list above. In my opinion, the others aren't worth considering; Strong might be the best of the lot. The Heir talent, which requires three starting talents (Charming, Boon to the Family, and Heir itself) grants you a yellow leather armor of balance, which is essentially the same as the leather armor you're likely to start out with anyway (dwarves and orcs even get studded leather armor, which is superior). It gives shock resistance and draws your alignment towards neutral over time - two effects that may be useful in certain circumstances, but lumped together on a shitty armor are hardly of any use. The armor isn't worth wearing, and you can't even equip it in case you meet a lightning vortex because changing body armor takes so much time! For three talents, you can get Hardy, Tough Skin and Iron Skin instead, netting you two points of PV added to your starting armor AND three max HP! Much better, and there are talents even more useful than that! If you get Heir as a Druid, don't ever tell me about it. I'm losing too much hair as it is; I don't want to tear out more in despair over how stupid the people on this world can be.

The bottom line of all this? Well, since there is only one dedicated starting talent you need for the talent chains recommended above, there's no reason to worry about the number of starting talents at all. Trolls and orcs might be faced with the dilemma of choosing between Alert and Long-Lived. I'd take Alert anyway, but it's best to secure an extra talent by playing a Druid born in Candle or Falcon. Note that Long Stride and Quick are prime candidates for the very early game, because a speed of over 100 or higher movement speed will enable you to run from most monsters. You might think running is against your principles and something only cowards do. I'm not saying that running isn't cowardly, but I'll say this: Running means you don't die. The key to winning ADOM is to learn not to die. Running is a valuable method of achieving just that, and you'll do yourself a big favour if you remember this. As mentioned, Hardy and the extra PV talents are also something you should choose early on, because PV is quite a bit more valuable in the early to mid game than DV. The other talents tend to be useful well into the late game, and thus can be chosen anytime, maybe with the exception of Strong Healer, which isn't really worth much if you have potions of extra or ultra healing or the Heal spell for emergency healing purposes later in the game.

9. Spells
Seeing as this is the only spellcaster guide I'll likely ever write, I will try and give you my opinion on all the spells in the game. If that's too much detail for you, just scroll down! The spells will be divided into groups, and discussed in comparison to other spells in the group, if applicable. Spells that are considered "clerical" are noted with a (C). Since your Druid is a divine spellcaster, he will be able to increase in effectivity in these spells twice as fast as in the purely arcane spells.

a) Healing spells

Cure Light Wounds (C): The most basic of all the healing spells, and also the cheapest to cast. There are voices that say, quite reasonably so, that this is the most valuable healing spell you can have. This is due to the fact that it is the most common, the easiest to learn, and thus the one you can cast most often - which leads to higher effectivity ratings. Higher effectivity means a cheaper Cure Light Wounds healing more damage. Very high effectivity Cure Light Wounds oftentimes heals just as much damage as Cure Serious or even Critical Wounds, costing a third less PP! The effectiveness of this spell even at low levels is very respectable with the help of Strong Healer.

Cure Serious Wounds (C): More powerful than Cure Light Wounds. A bit rarer and harder to learn and more costly in PP. However, it's entirely possible, thanks to the randomness of ADOM, that you find lots of books of Cure Serious Wounds and no Cure Light Wounds - making Cure Serious Wounds the preferable spell. In the end, any healing spell will do wonders if you need it.

Cure Critical Wounds (C): More powerful than Cure Serious Wounds. Only marginally rarer than Cure Serious Wounds and more costly in PP. As has been said already, every one of the Healing spells is wonderful to have, all you need is one of them, the earlier the better.

Heal (C): The most powerful of all the healing spells. The rarest, and most expensive, and hardest to learn. This is a spell reserved for emergencies. For everyday healing, the other spells will do fine - you don't need to heal 150 HP in one go instead of 30 HP in five goes if there is no especially hard-hitting opponent near. For emergency healing, blessed potions of extra or ultra healing are more reliable, though, leaving this spell with hardly a job to do. Still, it's good to cover emergencies doubly or triply - you might contract poison hands in an untimely moment!

Cure Disease (C): The effect should be rather obvious. This is one of the many ways to cure diseases, and laughably easy to use. Pay the low spell cost, and your problems are solved. If you find this spell early, it can save your life. Other ways to cure diseases include the curaria mancox herb, preferably blessed potions of healing, extremely lucky First Aid rolls and divine favors (though you should be warned not to rely on that to work - the gods tend to heal HP instead of sickness if they can, and being sick takes away HP at the beginning of every round if you're not at 50% HP or below. They might heal your sickness, or they might heal your HP instead, which are brought down again, leaving you with no choice but to pray again... and again...). Having a high number of castings in this spell (or a respectable stash of curaria mancox) is one of the prerequisites for sickness stat training (which is an exploit I shall not explain here - down that path the dark side lurks).

Neutralize Poison (C): Neutralizes a certain amount of poison dependant on your spell effectivity. This spell has a weakness: If you're poisoned a lot, it won't heal you all the way, but usually (hopefully) enough to make you survive to the next round, where you can cast the spell again. In most situations, this spell will be able to deal with the poison, but personally I feel the next spell in this section is a bit more reliable.

Slow Poison (C): Heavily weakens *all* the poison in your body. After casting this spell, you usually take one point or two of poison damage, tops, and a few turns later you've gotten rid of the rest through natural healing. My experience tells me that this is the best way to get rid of poison. Blessed alraunia antidote or blessed potions of cure poison come close, but Slow Poison, especially if cast twice, removes any danger even the most potent poison may poise, er, pose.

b) Touch damage spells

Baptism of Fire (C): The only elemental touch damage spell. Affects everyone except those resistant or immune to fire. The damage is respectable, especially once this spell has been trained a lot. Which is easy, since it is among the cheapest spells in the Druid's arsenal, and very common and easy to learn. The fact that it only affects one opponent - the one standing right next to you - makes it the spell of choice if there's only one enemy to kill, or when you don't want to risk bolt spells bouncing around. Another advantage of Baptism of Fire is that it can't be shrugged off. Yet another advantage is that it destroys no items, not even those on the square that's hit. Sadly, there are no non-fire equivalents of this spell, meaning against fire resistant or immune enemies, you have to default back to bolt or ball spells.

Bless (C): This spell only hurts undead. If you hit anyone not undead, including yourself, with it, they will be blessed instead, which adds a bit of to-hit, damage, DV and PV (making Bless an enchantment as well). The guideline is simple. Use this on undead, yourself or companions. Barring an undead slaying weapon or another kind of powerful melee weapon, this is among the best ways to deal with undead. It has the advantage, compared to melee weapons, that you can cast it to full effect in coward mode. It has the disadvantage that it can be shrugged off, just like melee weapons can miss. High effectivity is a must if you want to use Bless on dangerous opponents. Thankfully, there is no shortage of standard issue undead to practice on, and you can - and there's no reason why you shouldn't - keep blessing yourself.

Dispel Undead (C): Closely related to Bless, of course, only that it doesn't double as a buff. I might be fooled, but I think it's a bit harder to learn than Bless, yet the damage is higher. All in all, both are about equal in the destroying undead department. It might be wise to specialize in either of them so you have maximum effectivity, because Destroy Undead can be shrugged off just like Bless.

Petrification (C): Strictly speaking, this is a touch spell that doesn't do damage, but turns enemies into stone. Which is essentially an instadeath, so it deserves to be listed here. This spell is hard to learn, and costs a shitload of PP to cast. As a rule of thumb, the more powerful the foe, the lower the chance of success. There are some dangerous opponents against which it has a very high chance of success, though. Generally, if it doesn't shrug off bolt spells, it won't be able to resist petrification. Killer bugs are a prime example of an opponent this spell works wonders against, as are all the small fry that you could kill by blowing your nose at them. A minor side bonus of successfully using this spell is the resulting statue, which you can kick down, sometimes yielding a magical wand, or wield as a melee weapon if you feel like adding a bit more badass to the Druid way of life. In the end, this spell is generally too unreliable for the PP it costs, so you won't use it much, if at all.

c) Enchantments (spells that affect people without causing damage to them)

Calm Monster (C): This spell only really comes into play in the early game. Usually, the best course of action if you encounter a hostile monster is to kill it for XP. You only might want to calm a hostile monster if you either can't or don't want to kill it. This mostly applies to cats or monsters that are too powerful for you to kill. For cats Calm Monster works wonders, though it might take some uses to calm the cat down, enabling you to make a run for it. Powerful monsters tend to laugh in your face and kill you anyway. Because cats are rarely hostile anyway to your Druid, this spell easily makes the top ten of being useless. It doesn't cost much PP, though, is rather common and easy to learn.

Holy Awe (C): May make the targetted monster panic and run away. As has been explained in the description for Calm Monster, you will want to kill monsters except for the two exceptions of cats and powerful monsters. Likewise, against cats this spell works well, against powerful monsters it has slim chances of success. At about the same level of uselessness as Calm Monster, and similarly easy to find, learn and cast.

Slow Monster: The first purely arcane spell in my list. It also happens to be one of the most useful of all the spells available to you. You can cast it on monsters to slow them to half their usual speed, meaning they will only act half the time in a battle, essentially halving their power. It has a chance of failure, though. You can also cast Slow Monster on yourself. This sounds like it is something only a retarded chimp would even consider doing. And it is - except if one knows that the experience a character receives in battle is dependent on his speed. The faster a character is, the less XP will he gain from killing his enemies. Why that is so is mysterious - I think it's related to the fact that if you move faster, you have more difficulties perceiving your surroundings or something like that. What matters is that this actually works the other way around - if you slow yourself using Slow Monster, and kill someone, you will get a great deal more XP. If you do this right before dealing the finishing blow on an enemy that would yield loads of XP, you will get awesome motherfucking assloads of XP. Is this an exploit? Possibly. Personally I'd say a trollish Druid would have every right to use this method; the others don't exactly need it. Popular monsters to kill while being slowed include the water dragon, Nuurag-Vaarn, greater molochs, or anything powerful you can deal with slowed. A bit rarer than Calm Monster or Holy Awe and a bit harder to learn, but still not a very demanding spell.

Veil of the Gods: Makes the target invisible. Works on you, works on enemies. Why you would use it on enemies is beyond me, so we're probably talking about you here. If you're invisible, you will not be found and hit by enemies you haven't attacked yourself, except if your enemies can see invisible. Which ones these are is something you might find out too late, but mostly you're safe. Killer bugs and greater claw bugs see invisible - beware. Enemies you haven't attacked that can't see you might try to move on your square, but instead of hitting you they will seem to search for someone or something, utterly incapable of finding you ever. However, if you attack them, they will instantly know how to find you - forever. Bottom line: If relying on invisibility in a dangerous place, choose your enemies carefully! About the same level of rarity as Slow Monster.

Farsight (C): Cannot be targeted: You will instantly receive the benefits of this enchantment. Basically, it drastically enhances your line of sight. This is a very valuable spell in the right situations especially later on, when bolt spells and missile weapons have very far range that'd otherwise go virtually unused. Usually, you won't find enough Farsight books to cast it again and again to make it a "permanent" effect for the rest of the game, but you don't need to do that. Popular places to be farsighted include most greater vaults, elemental temples, and long corridors with powerful monsters at the other end, and especially the Mana Temple; firstly because longer sight range means a greater area of effect for your wands of trap detection, secondly so you can see the Archmage from the entrance. About as common as Veil of the Gods, and rather cheap for the late game, when it is worth the most.

Lordly Might: Like with Farsight, you are automatically the target of this spell. There are two approaches to this spell. The first one is to cast it and constantly recast it so you can carry around obscene amounts of equipment with you. Very effective, powerful, and convenient - as long as you take care to recast it once you're warned of the ending of the spell's duration. Which brings us to the second approach: Only to cast it when you need to, and in all other cases go without it. I'm a follower of the second approach, simply because I want to avoid the very embarassing death the PC dies if you forget to recast the spell while carrying around said obscene amounts of equipment. I use Lordly Might if I want to carry a whole lot of loot to sell to the next shop, or for all other temporary uses that could be imagined, with the emphasis on temporary. Carrying around useless junk is not something a smart adventurer should engage in, and the effect of Lordly Might easily creates the temptation to be sloppy. Which in turn can cost the lives of otherwise nigh-invincible characters. If you are a careful player, use Lordly Might however you want, but it should be clear that you need a respectable stock of castings of Lordly Might for it to last throughout your game. The book is a bit rarer than the ones mentioned above, and you need to be a pretty good learner to get good castings out of one book, but the spell isn't expensive to cast - if push comes to shove, the HP hit of casting it without any PP left is easily absorbed. Note that the durations of Lordly Might stack - you can cast it several times in a row to make it last longer. Of course, this makes it easier for you to accidentally hit away the warnings since it's less likely that you will be expecting them after such a long time...

d) Divinations (Spells that grant you information)

Know Alignment (C): Cast this spell on anyone you like to find out his, her or its alignment. You only need to know the alignment of a monster if you want to sacrifice it on a neutral or lawful altar; deities of both alignments hate it if you sacrifice coaligned creatures on their altars. Know Alignment helps you find out which monster you can sacrifice and which you can't. Apart from that, it's completely and utterly useless, especially since the alignment is dependant on creature type - know the alignment of one, and you know the alignment of all the others, for the rest of all your games. If you are fairly new to ADOM and still want to engage in hardcore monster sacrificing (which, let me advise you, really should be mutually exclusive), you probably need Know Alignment, but apart from that, no. At least it's one of the easiest spells to learn and costs almost nothing in PP.

Enlightenment (C): Identifies an item, revealing its basic statistics (like its name and the boni it gives to DV, PV, to-hit, damage, or stats), and enabling you to recognize this item if you stumble across it again later (most of the times, necklaces tend to be hard to recognize for some reason). This spell costs a lot to cast and is fairly hard to learn and hard to find, and it has only the effect of a cursed scroll of identify. If you have gathered a big bunch o' loot that needs to be identified, you're better off just using one of your blessed scrolls of identify instead of casting this spell over and over. If it's only a few items that need identifying, and using a scroll feels like a waste, cast Enlightenment.

Greater Enlightenment (C): Does not identify several items, it greater identifies *one* item. Greater identifying reveals all there is to know about one item, most importantly intrinsics like the various resistances and immunities, or whether the item dooms you or makes Fate smile upon you, and explanations of a magical effect that go beyond its name. You should greater identify all artifacts that you haven't seen before to learn their properties. I'm not sure whether Greater Enlightenment really does work as reliable as a blessed scroll of greater identify and reveal any magical property without fail; you might need to cast it several times on an item to really know all the properties. A very useful spell, especially once you've run out of the rare scroll of greater identify. You can also decide on simply looking up all the artifact statistics on the intarweb (*cough* Guidebook *cough*), in which case you need neither the scroll nor the spell, but that's a bit cheap, isn't it? Greater Identify is even more expensive to cast than Enlightenment, and very rare and quite hard to learn.

Revelation (C): Similar to Greater Enlightenment, but it doesn't reveal intrinsics of an item. Rather, it reveals all the magical intrinsics you possess, along with your HP and PP regeneration rates. In the early game, this isn't a very useful effect - you start out with zero intrinsics usually. The longer you play the game, however, and devour corpses and drink from pools and so on, the harder it is to keep track of the intrinsics you have gained at some point. Sure, you could write them all down on some sheet of paper, but it's always more reliable to just cast Revelation periodically, especially since there are corpses that give you an intrinsic only part of the time, like fire beetle corpses. Want to gamble on whether you actually got fire resistance from it or not when you meet a fire vortex? There you are. It isn't hard to learn or find, but expensive to cast, and it takes AGES to learn it. The time you spend reading a book of Revelation once is similar to the time you spend on reading ball spells or Greater Divine Touch or something along those lines!

Knowledge of the Ancients (C): Reveals part of the dungeon map. How much of the map is revealed is heavily influenced by the spell effectivity. The usefulness of this effect cannot be overstated, especially late in the game, and most especially in the Minotaur Maze. It's a bit hard to learn, expensive to cast and rare to find, which is a shame, as practice really helps a lot with this spell. If you must know the exact layout of a level instantly, use a blessed scroll of magic mapping instead. Scrolls of magic mapping should always be used blessed, especially if you have this spell.

e) Alterations (Spells that somehow manipulate objects)

Divine Key: Opens doors. Whether they are locked or trapped doesn't matter, they only need to be closed so they can be opened. Locks are unlocked, traps defused (thankfully). Very cheap to cast, very easy to find and learn. One of the most basic spells ever. Its usefulness is hindered by the fact that doors can be kicked down or opened with keys or wands of knocking. Especially later on, you may have more charges of wands of knocking than you will need. Not useless, but very unimportant.

Seal of the Spheres: Locks doors. This is a tad bit more useful than Divine Key. The only other ways to lock a closed door are either with the appropriate key or with the Pick Locks skill (which you probably won't bother to get). You will want to lock doors to keep whatever is behind them behind them. Many of the more brute monsters can smash doors, but the others will be utterly incapable to get through that door if it is locked. The Seal of the Spheres spell is the most reliable way to lock any door - you can run out of keys or just don't have the right key for the door, and Pick Locks has a chance of failure. One-hundred percent reliability is very important because you might want this spell to save your life one day! It's only slightly rarer and harder to learn than Divine Key.

Remove Curse (C): Uncurses a single item. It has the effect of an uncursed scroll of uncursing, which is okay, but of course inferior to the awesome power of the blessed scroll of uncursing. Still very nice to have if you really only want to uncurse a single item, and don't want to waste your scrolls of uncursing. It's about as hard to learn and find and expensive to cast as Enlightenment. This spell cannot remove a curse from yourself - you need divine support, a karmic creature corpse or a scroll of luck for that.

Ethereal Bridge: Teleports the target to somewhere on the dungeon level. It can only teleport living beings, though, whyever that is. One of the most important spells in the game, and a must in any spellcaster's repertoire. If you cast it on yourself, you are randomly teleported like any other target, except if you possess the teleport control intrinsic. This intrinsic can be gotten from a pool, by eating a blink dog corpse, or by wearing an amulet or ring of teleport control (certain artifacts might help, too). If you have teleport control, this spell becomes five times more useful, since you will be able to use it as a dedicated method of travel, not just an emergency measure. There are many uses to "on-demand" teleportation, especially if you know your way around the dungeons. There are secret locations that can only ever be visited by teleporting. Having learnt Ethereal Bridge provides one with the greatest stash of teleport spells, but you can also teleport (only yourself) with the help of scrolls of teleportation, or teleport yourself and others with the wand of teleportation (which is rare, but guaranteed to be found in one place), or generate a teleport trap with a wand of trap creation. You can recharge wands, so the Ethereal Bridge spell isn't a must - but is most certainly a should, especially if you happen to catch the nasty mana battery corruption. This spell is in the medium range of rarity and difficulty to learn and cast - you should keep the book for reading to the end later if you find it early. Read it nonetheless - an early-found Ethereal Bridge can save your ass so hard it's not even funny.

Divine Digger (C): Digs a tunnel through stone in one of the eight directions, or digs a pit or up a grave if you press 5. Its effect is the same as the wand of digging, only that the range of effect of the wand of digging is governed by its blessed/uncursed/cursed status, not your willpower. There aren't many cases where you need or would like to be able to dig, but in these cases, using Divine Digger is as good a method as any. It's useless for mining, just like the wand - mining has to be done with a pickaxe. This spell takes some time and is pretty hard to learn, and at about the rarity of Remove Curse or Enlightenment.

Earthquake (C): A spell of great effect, but restricted use. Earthquaking a level, apart from putting yourself in danger, mainly creates an assload of rocks and makes the dungeon level an open field. It also damages all the monsters that were hit by rocks by the earthquake, but rarely enough to kill them. Earthquake isn't really good for anything, especially if you don't need the rocks, which is the case for 99% of Druids worldwide. The only thing it has going for it is the fact that it usually enables you to get anywhere in the dungeon. If you lack other, less destructive sources of digging, Earthquake is an alternative - if the level isn't immune to earthquakes, of course. It's very hard to learn and expensive to cast, however, and I advise you not to be careless using it, if you use it at all.

Disarm Trap (C): Disarms a trap, making it vanish out of existence. You don't even need to see it - if you suspect there might be a trap in the square next to you, but have no way of finding out save stepping on it, you can cast Disarm Traps on the square and it will be disarmed (without yielding any message at all - if you use it on a non-trapped square, you get a message along the lines of "Nothing happens, the spell is wasted", so you will know when you were successful in disarming a trap by the lack of any response. Tricky, huh?). A useful spell in heavily-trapped areas, and very helpful in everyday adventuring especially when coupled with the Detect Traps skill. For door traps Divine Key works fine, though. This spell is one-hundred percent reliable and thus hugely superior to the Disarm Traps skill. On top of that, it's cheap, easy to learn, and not that hard to find.

f) Summonings (Spells that summon things into existence out of nowhere)

Light (C): Conjures bright light in a certain radius around the caster. This light removes darkness, be it from the source of a spell or natural, and damages gremlins. This is the cheapest spell in existence, and after a bit of effectivity costs maybe three or two points of PP. Apart from being the most efficient way to deal with gremlin infestations, it's simply useful if you want your dungeons non-dark. There are scrolls, wands and even an artifact to duplicate the effect, and constant light sources like torches or an amulet of light will be more useful against opponents that regularly cast Darkness in battle. So, all in all, very basic and not very important.

Darkness: Often underestimated and underused, many players call this the most useful non-damaging spell in the game. This is due to the fact that many opponents fight very poorly in the darkness - or not at all. Vortices, most importantly, will not explode in the darkness in most of the cases, even if you attack them they might stay calm until you kill them. Monsters will not be able to follow you out of the darkness easily, so you can cast Darkness, run out and hopefully leave behind the monster that is on your toes. Apart from enemies not being able to attack you, enemies also rarely will use spells or elemental attacks on you. In general, fighting in darkness has a lot of advantages that outweigh the disadvantage of not being able to see in most cases, at least if fighting in a confined, previously explored space. It's a cheap spell to cast, and very common. Dangerous opponents that Darkness effectively cripples include doppleganger kings, doppleganger kings and doppleganger kings.

Summon Monsters (C): Summons a number of monsters dependant on spell effectivity. This sounds cool until you realize that these monsters all behave like normal monsters - they want to beat the crap out of you, rob you or eat you. That also explains why it's rather cheap to cast and easy to learn. This spell may be useful very late in the game, when you want to have some meat shields so you aren't surrounded by as many of the really dangerous monsters, or at any point if you want to kill some monsters for XP without having to walk around to look for them.

Divine Favour (C): Creates an item. What kind of item? That depends on where you are. If you are deep down in a dangerous dungeon, it may create a very powerful item. It also may create a hat or brass bracers or something similarly useless, regardless of where you cast it. The PP cost is hefty, and the spell is rare and hard to learn. In the end, this spell does nothing what killing some more monsters wouldn't do as well - and you don't get XP for casting it! Good if you just want to cast some spells to train your mana, though.

Wish: This spell is not documented in the manual. Very suspicious, isn't it? What does it do? Simple - it grants you a wish. You'll be able to wish for almost any item you want, except for artifacts. You can also wish for stats, skills and even monsters. Wishes are the most awesome and helpful thing in the ADOM universe. Where's the catch? you may ask. Well, as you can imagine, the spellbook of Wish is very rare, but not impossible to find. Sadly, finding it is a lot easier than successfully reading it, which in turn is a lot easier than casting it without dying. Once you've found a spellbook, stuff yourself full of food and/or find a dungeon room of which the air is filled with a very rich flavor. Learn the spell. Then look at the PP cost and recollect your dropped jaw. How can anyone even survive casting Wish? Be assured that it takes a lot of effort to gather the HP and PP needed. You should also be aware that even if you do manage to cast wish without dying, doing so will take away 10 points from one of your stats. Bottom line? As long as you don't plan on creating an archmage, only ever consider going through the trouble of successfully casting wish if you need a certain item and absolutely fail to find it.

g) Straight line bolt spells (Bolt spells that fizzle if they hit a wall or door)

Hellish Flames (C): Casts a bolt of fire. This spell will burn enemies that aren't resistant or immune to fire or shrug off the bolt, cook corpses, destroy already cooked corpses and items vulnerable to fire (which are a lot). It is a solid and easy to learn bolt spell capable of dealing with most opponents, but the item destruction is considerable. It won't damage items that are still in the possession of a living monster, though, even if the monster is killed by it, so if there are no items you care about lying around, it's safe to use. Of course, Hellish Flames really shines if you meet a tension room or vault chock full of white dragons or frost giants. However, foes resistant to fire in turn are rather common. For any of the bolt spells, spell effectivity is very important, as they can all be shrugged off.

Nether Bolt (C): Casts a cone of ice. Marginally less damaging than Hellish Flames, but quite a bit more vital in my opinion, for several reasons: First, it has a much lower rate of item destruction - in fact, it only drenches scrolls and spellbooks and shatters potions, leaving all other items intact. Second, it can create an ice bridge if you cast it over a square of water next to you. Ice bridges can be destroyed by fire spells, and they break if you carry more than 2000 stones of weight with you, but they are a lot less of a hassle to create than bridges made of wood with the Bridge Building skill. Third, it is enormously helpful in the Tower of Eternal Flames, which is a dangerous place for any character. There are fewer monsters resistant to cold than to fire as well. Train it so it doesn't get shrugged off as often if you intend to use it as a major source of damage.

Acid Bolt (C): Does considerably more damage than Hellish Flames or Nether Bolt, but is also more expensive to cast. There are few opponents resistant to acid. For some opponents, acid is the only one of the four elemental spell types that can hurt them. This includes Nuurag-Vaarn and Yulgash, though they tend to shrug off Acid Bolts a lot anyway. This spell is rarer than the other elemental bolts and harder to learn, so it tends to become used less, and once Hellish Flames, Nether Bolt or Divine Wrath have been trained a bit, they deal as much damage while having a lower chance of being shrugged off. That's why Acid Bolt, despite its theoretical superiority over the other elemental bolts, gets fewer use. It destroys items just as much as Hellish Flames.

Web: Flies until the range ends or a wall is hit, like the other spells in this section. Instead of doing damage, it creates webs whereever it flew. If it hits an enemy, he has a high chance of shrugging off the web, but if he doesn't, he will instantly be entangled. The webs created with this spell cannot be shrugged off, however - they will stop anyone stepping in them for a random couple of rounds, giving you time to shoot at it with other spells. Just don't make it Hellish Flames, as that spell burns away webs. It's cheap to cast and rather common, and thanks to its popularity among adventurers dealing with dangerous adversaries that hit like a ton of bricks in melee, but carry no distance attack, it comes in a wand version, too.

h) Bouncing bolt spells (Bolt spells that bounce off walls)

All of these spells are tricky to use, and require a good eye and practice. They will fly as far as their Range is, and continue even after hitting a wall (the distance that remains to be crossed is reduced by one for every time the spell bounces off a wall). The best way to kill oneself is to let one of these spells fly straight against a wall. You should be aware of the range of your spells, and keep that much divided by two spaces distance to a wall if you want to cast the spell at it. Bouncing bolts can also hit enemies more than one time, so their volatile nature has its benefits!

Divine Wrath (C): Your starting spell as a Druid. It casts a bolt of lightning. Enemies resistant or immune to lightning are very rare, especially in the early game, and the spell packs enough punch to mess up all your opposition early on. It remains useful as a standard bolt spell on the level of Hellish Flames or Nether Bolt later in the game. There aren't many enemies especially vulnerable to Divine Wrath - but there is a very notable example: Steel golems. These can seriously lay waste to PCs below level 20 if you don't have means of effectively killing them, and Lightning Bolt is one of the best ways if you have trained it to decent effectivity. It destroys about the same items as Hellish Flames and Acid Bolt.

Minor Punishment: The best bolt spell there is, period. It does the least amount of damage, granted, but it also costs the least amount of PP, is the easiest to learn, causes zero destruction of items (!), and hurts any creature in the game with full power (!!). The latter two effects, as you may have deduced from the exclamation marks attributed to them, are made of win and awesome. It's a real shame this is an arcane spell; it makes it harder for the Druid to get it to high effectivity, where it can lay waste to greater molochs, ancient karmic dragons, simply everything. If there are no items around and the enemy can be hurt by one of the elemental spells, save your Minor Punishments for later. Just keep in mind that one thing: Minor Punishment kills everything - eventually.

Lesser Divine Touch (C): Shoots a ray that stuns enemies in its wake that don't shrug off the ray. Being stunned makes an enemy stagger around aimlessly, making them unable to use spells, missile attacks, or anything else that's not staggering and hitting people by accident. Very cool effect. Sadly, Lesser Divine Touch is next to useless in a pinch if it hasn't been trained. It isn't hard to train it - the books are rather common, and it's cheap to cast - but you have to invest some time in it.

Greater Divine Touch (C): Shoots a ray that instantly kills all that it hits, unless they shrug it off or are in some way resistant to it. It's very hard to hit powerful enemies with this, which is as it should be. It's also very hard to learn and costs an assload of PP to cast, which also is as it should be. This spell truly works wonders against killer bugs, though. Above all else, be enormously careful when using this spell. It bounces, so it can in theory hit you, and unless you are resistant do death rays, that means, well, death.

i) Ball spells

Major Punishment: A fire ball spell. The cheapest of the ball spells, and a nice thing to have. All the ball spells, sadly, are arcane, meaning you have a harder time training them to higher efficiency. The good news is that these spells cannot be shrugged off, so effectivity doesn't matter as much. While Baptism of Flame is for single opponents, and fire bolt for those who have lined up, Major Punishment is the spell when you are right in the middle of the action. It affects all the eight squares around you at least, and if you surpass certain Willpower thresholds, the area of effect increases! The first of these thresholds occurs at a willpower score of 32. You can definitely get there if you use the right tactics and equipment. To increase the area of effect further, much higher scores are required, necessitating pretty specialized and extreme tactics. For everyday purposes, the plain ball spell is pretty good, and the 32 willpower one is brutal. As has been mentioned, Major Punishment is fire. There are quite a number of fire resistant enemies especially further down in the dungeons. All undead and of course white dragons and wyrms, of course, make excellent targets. Beware of the item destruction, however - all squares in your area of effect will be affected. This is true for squares behind a wall or a door as well!

Freezing Fury: The ice ball spell. It's a bit more expensive than Major Punishment and a bit less brutal in damage, but still very impressive, and the perfect way to deal with fire creatures of all kinds. Having the Freezing Fury spell upon entrance into the Tower of Eternal Flames will help you tremendously, and every fire creature greater vault will succumb to your awesome power. This spell has less item destruction than other ball spells due to being an ice effect. Mostly, only scrolls, potions and books are affected by ice - valuable items, but at least it leaves the wands, girdles of giant strength and seven league boots alone.

Heavenly Fury: The lightning ball spell. More powerful than Major Punishment, costing more in PP, and very decent. Lightning resistant enemies are rarer than fire resistant ones. It does have the same level of item destruction. There are few noteworthy enemies especially vulnerable to lightning, though - the spell totally wastes steel golems, but apart from that it is of medium impact for a ball spell.

Rain of Sorrow: The acid ball spell. Damage wise, this is the most powerful spell in the game. And on top of that, acid is the rarest resistance, and most importantly, almost none of the really hard opponents resist it despite resisting the other three elements. There is also no one especially vulnerable to acid, but that is irrelevant due to its inherently extreme damage. It destroys items just like Major Punishment, but you shouldn't use it to clear masses of monsters like the other ball spells - keep your Rain of Sorrow castings for the likes of Yulgash, Nuurag-Vaarn or pretty much everything that proves a bit stroppy. It is said that not even an ElDeR cHaOs GoD can resist the sheer destructiveness of this spell.

Invoked Devastation: Another kind of fire ball spell. Instead of a standard Major Punishment, which affects the squares around you, it is hurled at the target of your choice, detonating upon reaching the goal or upon impact. This has the very cool effect that you can use it at a distance - emperor liches in particular are good opponents to have this spell to deal with. It has the slightly less cool effect that you can hit yourself with it. The other ball spells ignore the square you are standing on, but if you are in the radius of an Invoked Devastation hurled by you, you will take damage and item destruction. If you are resistant or even immune to fire and possess proper equipment to prevent your stuff from being damaged, you can ignore that and happily hurl your Invoked Devastations whereever you want. A special note for drakeling druids: This is the only way to hit yourself with a fire spell. You might want to keep this in mind should you be exposed to extreme cold. Apart from the Invoked Devastation spell, only alchemical blunders and fire crystals hurled by a sling to the square directly next to you are viable methods, at least if you don't want to rely on finding fire-based monsters to be attacked by. This spell does not come in versions for the other elements - you have to fall back on standard ball spells and bolt spells against the fire resistant.

This closes the section on spells. Is there still advice to give? Well, the bleeding obvious: Be economical with your castings, especially of the ball spells. As a Druid, you are not the best book learner around - you are very good, but you pale in comparison to the wizard. So keep your Rain of Sorrows around for the really critical cases. If you find especially many books of Rain of Sorrow, or wish for them (a smart move), you can afford to use some of your castings for training, but the highest efficiency ratings won't help much if you run out of your spells.

On a similar note, do not sell bolt spellbooks unless you positively swim in them. Read them all to death, and use them all to death (more specifically, to the death of your opposition). High effectivity, especially for bolt spells, helps so much it's not even funny. You can go the melee or missile route halfway effectively, but at your very heart, you're a spellcaster, even if your spellcasting related class powers suck donkey dick.

IV. Equipment

1. Melee weapons
Does a Druid need a good melee weapon? In the most cases, the answer is yes. The problem with Druids is that they have to pay rather high PP costs for their spells, especially compared to priests and wizards, and that they start with very low Literacy for a spellcaster. In the early game, you simply can't spellcast your way through your opposition like a wizard can pull it off.
Even later on, a good melee weapon is still important. It should always but in very few cases be a one-handed one so you can wear a shield with it. A good choice to specialize in is the spear, because they are one-handed members of the polearm weapon class, which gives the second highest DV bonus for weapon skill levels, second only to staves - and these don't allow shields to be worn. You can find good spears very early if you let orc scorchers throw theirs at you (don't worry - they aim like idiots). The orcish spear deals two more damage than the standard spear trap spear and will be the best spear you will likely have until you find higher metal spears. The trouble with spears is their low damage especially later on - if you don't find something like an eternium spear of devastation, you'll be at the low end of the spectrum compared to stuff like maces of destruction or swords of sharpness. The spear/shield combo is still the prime numero uno choice for pure spellcasters, as they can make excellent use of DV, but do not care one iota about melee damage. This is worth considering if your plans for your Druid in the later game go that way.
Quite obviously, there is another route you can take: damage-dealing. However, lacking one-handed melee weapons worth anything as crowning gift artifacts, you will have to find your damage-dealing capabilities in-game. The only really hefty weapon guaranteed to be found is the lead-filled mace "Big Punch", an artifact you will receive as reward if you defeat the greater daemon in Dwarftown for the last Thrundarr quest. It does weigh an awful lot, but it deals loads of damage - and its high weight makes it compatible with the Basher talents. Apart from Big Punch, you pretty much have to rely on randomly finding (or getting precrowned with) the more powerful one-handed artifact weapons, like Executor, Skullcrusher or Serpent's Bite. A mace of destruction, being the most damaging non-artifact weapon and Basher-compatible, works surprisingly well with a high weapon skill, though.
There are two-handed weapons out there so powerful you might even consider sacrificing the shield. Purifier, one of your crowning gifts, may be such a one. It slays demons and undead, making it very useful against many opponents you will meet, but you should keep Big Punch because it deals higher damage than Purifier against the enemies it doesn't slay while being one-handed. The rune-covered trident, a two-handed polearm you will be rewarded with if you tell Blup where his mommy is, slays demons and undead as well, has high damage dealing capacities as well as polearm DV and good intrinsics, and especially if you're born in Raven is worth a look. Even for non-Ravens it's definitely not a bad idea to just use spear/shield until level 36 is reached, then switch to the newly arrived rune-covered trident and waste demons and undead with it. A randomly found eternium two-handed sword of penetration or devastation is also definitely worth a try - many dream of finding such a gem.
Anyway, for the most part, this can be summarized as follows: Wear the best damn shield you can find, and either concentrate on damage or having the best spear - unless you find a really, really kickass two-handed weapon.
There's one thing you should be careful of: Cursed melee weapons. These have several severe disadvantages. Firstly, they only deal half damage to undead and demons. Secondly, you can't unequip them, which means you can't unequip gauntlets, which in turn means you can't unequip rings. That's four slots of equipment blocked off from change right there. It gets real bad if your melee weapon gets rusted, broken or corroded, however. In the worst case, you might get stuck essentially unable to do any significant damage in melee, having to resort to kicking! If that happens, it might be best to look for a way of removing the curse as soon as possible.

2. Missile weapons
Missile weapons are there to fill the very few gaps your spells or melee weapons leave open... at least that's one way of looking at it. The approach I've adopted early in my ADOM career, which I've never strayed from ever since, is to pick up every bundle of arrows and quarrels I can find, and regularly use bows and crossbows to become trained in both. The reason for that is slaying ammo. Bows and crossbows have the greatest amount of slaying ammunition availabe for them period. Supported by a decent weapon skill, the right slaying ammo oftentimes turns out to be one of the, if not the most efficient way to deal with many of the most powerful opponents - even more efficient than almost any spell that is not Rain of Sorrow. The presence of a bundle of 10 arrows of humanoid slaying and a sufficient weapon skill and a bow can make the difference between life and death if you venture into areas you aren't quite ready for. I can only implore you: Do not miss out on the power of the bow and crossbow. The other missile weapon classes you can easily do without - they have their merits and with high weapon skills can also do loads of damage, but ultimately bows and crossbows are the best choice.
About using missile weapons: Their obvious advantage is that you can use them at a distance. Usually, there are no opponents next to you when you shoot a missile, and very few shoot missiles themselves. You can really improve on your success using missile attacks by switching to berserk every time you fire, but can't be hit by anyone, or at least anyone noteworthy. Extra to-hit, extra damage, quicker demise to your foe.

3. Armor
Well, this should be obvious. Wear the goddamn best armor you can get your hands on. If you think it's worth it (it probably is), use Smithing to make your armor awemor, as in "awesome armor" (Yesss, groaaaaan at the hideous pun, har har har).
What is the best armor? Well, that's the more difficult question. There are two armor ratings: DV and PV. DV influences how easy you are to hit; the higher, the less you will be hit. PV, on the other hand, does not help you getting hit less, but it lessens the damage you take if you are hit. In the early game, you have low HP scores and rather low healing capabalities, and you most probably lack means of effective healing. This means getting hurt frequently will endanger your life over time. To avoid that, PV is very important. Early on, monsters deal relatively low damage, and PV reduces that damage significantly. A PV of zero in the early game necessitates very careful play. A PV of three or four, which most Druids start out with, is okay. PV of five is the threshold where I consider myself rather safe in the upper levels of the early game dungeons. A PV of 10 is pretty safe, and should be more than enough to complete the Yrrigs quest successfully. A PV of 12 or 13 is what I want to have at least before I enter the Caverns of Chaos dungeon. A PV of 15 keeps you alive till Dwarftown and probably further along. A PV of 20 is where you can consider yourself reasonably protected for the midgame. From then on, PV slowly starts to become less important - Monsters tend to overcome that value seldomly, but those who do overcome it tend to have the capability to deal critical hits. Critical hits deal double damage, which means the higher the base damage of the monster, the more dangerous their critical hits become, because the extra damage granted by the critical gets greater. A PV of 4 in the early game had no trouble absorbing a rat critical hit of four damage instead of 2, but with PV 25, a monster with 30 base damage will deal hefty 35 damage to you with a critical. Add the fact that many dangerous monsters also have multiple attacks, corrupting or poisonous hits, and you might notice that not getting hit would be preferable to having your armor absorb only half the damage in total. That's where your DV comes in. With high DV, you are hit much less often, and you are much more able to tolerate the few criticals you have to sustain since you will get the chance to heal up again.
Most armor parts primarily grant PV. Body armor tends to sacrifice DV for PV. In the beginning of the game, a few points of DV are worth sacrificing if it means having more PV. Later on, that's not going to be as true anymore. Thankfully, higher metal body armor comes with higher PV *and* lower DV penalties.
Very important for your DV, as probably has been mentioned before, is the shield. Not only do shields have pretty high DV rates, topping at 20 for the artifact shield Protector, with 16 being the value of a very well-made eternium or crystal tower shield, the shield weapon skill grants additional DV for consistent training, two per level! Your ability to train the shield skill is dependant on your shield DV value, by the way; for every point of DV on the shield, you can train one level in the shield skill. A small shield [+2, +0] will let you train your shield skill to level 2, while a shield with 15 DV is needed if you are to reach Grand Mastery eventually. Being a grandmaster doesn't offer special perks, though, aside from the ludicrous DV bonus. Note that even if your shield skill is higher than two, you can still only get four extra DV if you wear only the aforementioned small shield - yes, even if you are a grandmaster!
An interesting path to take is the wearing of two shields. This can be worth it if you have collected enough spell knowledge to last you through the game, and if you keep some missile weapons in your backhand should you run out of PP. You should, however, remember that you will only get the shield skill bonus once if you wear two shields, which means that the second, the one with the lower DV, will only add that DV and its PV to your armor ratings. The best second shield you can wear, even if your primary shield is Protector, is the aforementioned exceptionally well made 16 DV eternium or crystal tower shield. This is equal to the DV bonus level 12 of the polearm weapon skill would get you, meaning that level 13 in polearms is better than any kind of second shield (except maybe a very persistingly smithed eternium tower shield). Level 11 of the polearm weapon skill gives 14 DV, which is more than even a normal eternium or crystal tower shield would get you. True, polearms do not offer PV, but it's worth remembering that the highest DV values are achieved by being exceptionally skilled in polearms while wearing a spear and an excellent shield.

4. The best of the best
There is an awful lot of equipment, magical or not, in the game. Some of it is crap, some of it is harmful, some of it is useful, and some of it is absolutely awesome. I will tell you about some things to look for in the game, and give you information for each slot how you should proceed in the game to improve it.
One thing you should always keep in mind is the fact that everything you find can be either blessed, uncursed or cursed. Cursed equipment, as you probably have already found out, cannot be directly or willfully unequipped. That means that you should handle things you don't know the status of with great care. The general rule is: Only equip items if you consider the potential benefit (Never wear anything of unknown status if the probability that it is better than what you had is very low) worth the risk of it being cursed, and remove the risk of it being cursed by determining whether it is beforehand.
You can find out the status of an item in several ways. The most simple one is dropping the item, or several items, on an altar of your alignment. The second most simple one is reading a blessed scroll of identify - it will not only identify all your items, be they equipped or not, but also reveal the status of all these items. Apart from these two methods, you can only do two things: Learn Detect Item Status, be it from a potion or scroll of education or through a wish (not recommended), or ensure that an item has a certain status by dipping it in holy or unholy water, or reading a scroll of uncursing over it. Remember that after reading a blessed scroll of uncursing, all the items you wore at the time of reading are guaranteed to be non-cursed.
Of course, that leaves the auto-cursing (autos, aute, auton = greek for "self") items inside the equation... There's a limited amount of these, and I will be careful to warn you of them.
I will not mention any of the artifacts that contain the essence of chaos and corruption, simply because while they can be very powerful, the fact that merely carrying them corrupts you makes them highly undesirable in my eyes. If you're willing to take the corruption, they are usually among the best choices available.

a) Rings
There is a wide assortment of rings to choose from, and you would do well to keep a collection of rings in your pack so you can change the ones you wear according to the situation at hand. Arguably the best two rings in the game are artifact rings: The Ring of the Master Cat and the Ring of Immunity. The former grants exceptional dexterity, armor and speed boni along with very useful intrinsics, the latter makes you immune to all elements. There are cases where you might ditch the Ring of Immunity for something else because you already have all or most of the immunities or sufficient resistance, though. In any case, your choice of rings depends on your playing style. Rings of slaying are a prime choice if you plan on using melee or missile weapons and don't mind giving them some extra punch. Rings of regeneration are excellent tools for your average dungeon crawl, since they heal you up wonderfully while you go looking for more trouble. Rings of mental stability serve a double purpose: Granting confusion resistance against some opponents, and increasing your Learning score for reading books. You can consider yourself very lucky if you find a ring of mental stability with a Learning score of +4. Rings of speed are nice, obviously, for the five extra speed and the armor bonus. The Ring of the High Kings, despite being critical (or at least very, very helpful) to passing the eternal guardian, grant resistance to every one of the four elements, and can be considered a "light" version of the ring of immunity that is much more readily available. Lacking it, you can fall back to rings of (element) resistance in case you meet a vortex of the corresponding type. Rings of teleport control are useful if you have neither teleport control nor "teleporting" as an intrinsic, and they are useless if you have teleport control - but they are extremely useful, almost critical, in case you have the "teleporting" intrinsic, but not teleport control; a state known as "teleportitis". There are artifacts that grant teleport control, and there is also an amulet of teleport control - but if you have teleportitis, you need to get control, and the ring is one way to achieve that. A ring of invisibility makes you invisible, a rather useful effect especially when fighting masses of monsters, but there are other ways to get it that do not require a ring slot, or an equipment slot at all for that matter. A blessed ring of ice protects your worn equipment from burning most of the time. This can be helpful, even critical in the Tower of Eternal Flames, but as a spellcaster, you do not depend on them as much as, for instance, an archer would, and you might need a ring slot free for the Ring of the High Kings, and another to obtain confusion resistance. As a spellcaster, I certainly wouldn't wish for rings of ice - I'd make do with higher metal equipment.
Other rings you should take a look at are the ring of damage (blessed, and always on the right hand, gives as much bonus to melee damage as the ring of slaying, but none to missile damage), the ring of the clear mind (confusion resistance without Learning bonus), the ring of searching (okay as a dungeon crawling tool in combination with a very high Detect Traps skill) and the ring of see invisible (the only item besides certain artifacts, including one that is rather easy to get, that grants this particular ability) and rings of the fish (one blessed or two of any status grant immunity to drowning damage).
When handling unidentified rings, watch out for rings of the fish (to a lesser extent), for rings of weakness and rings of doom. Rings of the fish autocurse, rings of doom curse you, doom you, actually have high negative DV and PV and autocurse, and rings of weakness autocurse and reduce your strength to 1. The ring of weakness is the most dangerous if accidentally equipped because it will kill you unless you carry pretty few equipment. All of these rings require the use of Remove Curse, holy water, a scroll of uncursing or divine help to get rid of. This is not to say they are useless - rings of the fish have already been mentioned, being doomed attracts more monsters to kill or sacrifice, and rings of weakness actually help you get stronger, because while you are wearing one, your current strength stays very low, even if your unmodified strength increases. This means that you can use giant corpses, which can be farmed in the wilderness and work very well for weak characters even if their weakness is only magically induced, to continually increase your strength - until it reaches 99, if you like. Then you can unequip the ring of weakness and suddenly you're Heracles. If you like it especially cheap, you can then drink a potion of exchange so you can train on strength even more, rinse and repeat, until all stats are at 99. Congratulations, you've broken the game!

b) Amulets
This has to come right after the rings section because it bears similarities to it.
The most useful, and potentially crucially important, amulets are the amulet of free action, the amulet of death ray resistance, the amulet of petrification resistance and, to some extent, the amulet of life saving. The former three because they are the only items safe for some artifacts (and for death rays, apparently the bracers of resistance) that grant the rare to obtain resistances to paralyzation, death rays and petrification, all very deadly effects. You can be lucky and survive being paralyzed, but both death rays and petrification gas are lethal if they hit you. Petrification might be perceived less important than the other two because the only monster that can petrify you - the gorgon - appears very rarely and its breath hits you very rarely if you have decent DV, yet I ask of you: Would you really want to risk the chance - even if it is 1 to 1000 - of an instadeath every time you meet one? You need an amulet of petrification resistance at least for your pack, right next to your amulet of free action, to be equipped when fighting against the more numerous paralyzing monsters, and the amulet of death ray resistance, to be equipped against powerful spellcasters wielding the mighty Death Ray spell.
So much for the resistance trio. The amulet of life saving really has the effect it advertises with its name (except if it is cursed - it does revive you, but with only 1 HP left, which will seldom be enough to really save your life), not only on you, but also on certain dying sages. Of course, a normal RPG player would never waste his powerful amulet of life saving on some creepy old dude lying about blocking an entire stairway with his frail stature. That's why the Creator just gave him six of the most powerful and desirable scroll ever, the scroll of chaos resistance, only to be given to you if you save his life (apparently, if you don't save him, he doesn't give you the scrolls just to be a jerk). "Okay", you might think, "but getting one's life saved has got to be better than getting any number or kind of scroll, right?" Well, no. To gain the benefit of an amulet of life saving, it has to be worn. Not only does it occupy that slot all the time, it can be destroyed far more easily than you'd feel comfortable with. And it doesn't save you from all kinds of death - for instance, not from being turned into a writhing mass of primal chaos. And even if your blessed amulet of life-saving revives you with full health, it places you right where you've been a second before, getting killed.
It must be pointed out that there is an amulet towering above the first four. I leave it out of all these considerations because it pwns the other artifacts so hard it's not even funny, and because it is a rare to find artifact: Preserver. It grants paralyzation and poison resistance, grants luck, adds 4 PV and DV, seven points of willpower and REGENERATION. You might have to ditch it in rare occasions for the amulet of death ray resistance, but for all purposes, this is the subject of your wet amulet dreams.
Another item worthy of consideration is the amulet of rapid healing, if it is blessed, because it grants a near equivalent of the regeneration ability of Preserver, and the amulet of teleport control for the same reasons as the ring mentioned above.
The rest of the amulets do not have rather impressive effects. The black torc has some neat properties, but they are not worth being cursed (as in bad luck, not cursing of item) by it. The ankh increases your luck, makes you lucky and Fate smile upon you, but is otherwise weak. The Aylas Holy Scarf has excellent armor boni, but is exceptionally rare. The amulet of light deserves a special mention because it is very useful against enemies that use Darkness as part of their strategy. The amulet of order is a useful tool to manipulate your alignment to the lawful direction, giving you full control over it if you have enough patience (to modify your alignment in the other direction, simply lure innocent townsfolk out of Terinyo and brutally murder them in some lonely forest, or just go kill some beggars in the outlaw village). All the other amulets offer some benefit as well you might find superior to the ones above.
When handling unidentified rings, you should be aware of the existence of the amulet of hunger, an autocursing amulet that increases your food consumption; if you can't get rid of it and are short on food, this might spell your doom. Also keep in mind that the useful amulet of light is always a glass amulet.

c) Helmets
There are helmets made of any of the standard four metals and a couple of "special" helmets with special effects. Generally, you should simply wear the helmet with the highest armor rating. The magical effects are few and far between, but can help a lot in the right situations. The helm of mental stability adds Learning stat points (four at the most) and confusion resistance - it's basically a ring of mental stability you can wear on the head. Since it grants confusion resistance just like the ring, it's very useful against enemies using confusion, because confusion resistance can stack, and the more slots you have it available for the better. The helm of water breathing will make every body of water completely harmless if worn. The helmet of teleportation will make you randomly teleport - it is the only magical item that can do that (apart from an artifact cloak you are extremely unlikely, as in literally one in a billion, to get as a Druid), and you can unequip it if you want to read books, making it infinitely preferable to having the intrinsic naturally or through a corruption. The helm of leadership is mainly useless, as is the diadem of beauty, but you can at least wear them when shopping to increase the respective shopping attribute. The artifact crown of leadership has nice armor, but the extra Charisma is not an issue. In the end, the best choice for headgear is probably one of the various crowns. There are three that grant immunities to the elements of fire, ice and lightning, respectively, and there is one that grants the awesome regeneration attribute. If you find they lack armor value, invest some time in smithing sessions - the helm of mental stability can't be smithed, though. An eternium cap is still a good choice, even unsmithed.
Artifact helms you may find include the crown of leadership, yielding an enormous, but in the end useless, boost to charisma, and granting an okay DV and PV for the endgame, and the crown of science, which gives a very nice Learning bonus. Because it dooms and autocurses, use it sparingly - I find it useful when I want to read books, or shortly before leveling up in case I need more skill advances, but I don't use it for the Tower of Eternal Flames because of the dooming.
When handling unidentified helmets, simply keep in mind that any helmet may be cursed. In the early game, still wear any kind of helmet that will give you extra PV (anything but hoods, hats, silver helmets, iron crowns or leather caps), because that's what's important early on. Even if the thing is cursed, you have the extra PV, helping you survive at least until you can uncurse the helmet and exchange it for a better one.

d) Body armor
Let's begin with the available artifacts. There are two that can be randomly found, one of which you can also be crowned with, making it worth a closer look. Nature's Companion offers okay, but not overwhelming armor stats, but has several powerful effects: Two elemental immunities, the valuable fire immunity and shock immunity, which is nice until level 40, obsolete after that, as well as fifteen points of extra speed. This is an excellent armor, to be sure, and in my opinion, there is only one artifact armor that can compete with it: The robes of resistance. Instead of two immunities, it grants three resistances, to fire, shock and acid, but it has better armor ratings and grants a toughness bonus. Personally, I'd say the three resistances aren't much worse than the immunities, but 15 speed is better than the extra PV and toughness offered by the robes, so I'd go with Nature's Companion in any case.
Should neither of these two become available to you, there is still the ancient mummy wrapping, the artifact armor you can obtain by killing Rehetep. Its main appeal is the assortment of useful intrinsics, including see invisible and death ray resistance as well as immunity to ice attacks. Its armor rating is pretty mediocre, however, so while you should always keep it in your pack in case you need one of its magical effects, it shouldn't be your main armor for the rest of the game.
The wet dream of every seeker of good armor is to get the magical suffix "of life" on a halfway decent armor. An additional 20% of HP is enormous. Failing that, the armor of choice usually is either an eternium plate mail or one of the four kinds of dragon scale mail. An early found red one will help a lot in the Tower of Eternal Flames.
Until you get there, you will of course go through various suits of armor, with the tendency going towards steady improvement. Starting from your leather armor with usually 2 PV, you will probably soon upgrade to studded leather, and then maybe find chain mail, after that mails of higher metals, and then the ancient mummy wrapping. If you have high effectivity Lightning Bolt(optional), not too shabby HP, some means of item detection or map revealing, and the teleport spell, you can risk a visit to Darkforge, taking a look at the suits of armor stashed there in one of the treasure rooms. More often than not, you will find your first dragon scale mail there.

e) Girdles
The best girdle in the game is the platinum girdle True Strength. Now that you've heard of it, you might as well forget it, as it is near impossible to obtain. You must enter D:50, crowned lawful, without ever having committed a chaotic act, regardless of how minor. Only then will you be granted this most badass girdle evar (and it kills you if you have committed a chaotic act if you wear it).
Now let's get serious, because there is no way in hell you will get this girdle, unless you are such a badass player that you don't need to read this guide anyway. The best girdle you can actually get is the girdle of giant strength, because it adds twelve or more points of strength. A buttload of extra damage, a buttload of extra carrying capacity - both are tremendously useful. If you can't get the girdle of giant strength, or you prefer to wear fireproof items that still assist you in battle, go for an eternium girdle, or any kind of the metal girdles, which are excellent pieces of armor to use Smithing with.
The girdle of carrying, in its blessed state, is also very useful especially found early to alleviate the problems with carrying capacity you will usually encounter. The girdle of greed, in its blessed state, will be of tremendous usefulness in the casino, to carry your obscene amounts of golds so you can buy items with them in the gift shoppe. It can be abused in connection with the Porter talents and billions of gold to increase your carrying capacity far beyond anything you could muster even with 99 strength. All the carrying capacity-increasing girdles, including the girdle of giant strength, have one prime weakness: They can be easily destroyed, or in the case of the girdles of carrying and greed, cursed by hags, making you die a death of being crushed by tons of luggage. I usually refuse to rely on the latter two for this reason, and I even am careful with girdles of giant strength so having one destroyed won't kill me. Most of the times, I stick with one of the metal girdles, which can be smithed up to your liking.
Handle unidentified girdles, especially the magical ones, with great care. A cursed girdle of weight is annoying as hell, a cursed girdle of carrying can be deadly! On top of that, all cursed girdles will make it impossible to change your body armor, so don't even try to equip unidentified leather girdles.

f) Gauntlets
Ironfist, if found, are probably the best choice: Indestructible gauntlets granting quasi-permanent seven extra points of strength! Apart from that, the elemental gauntlets are very useful for their resistances, and because they are an artifact as well. Being an artifact is a good property for gauntlets because not only the gauntlets themselves are protected from destruction this way, the rings under it cannot be destroyed by anything but the wrath of a deity. The only things I'd prefer to the elemental gauntlets unmsmithed are gauntlets of strength with an especially high strength bonus, or extremely obscene gloves of smiting. Smithed gauntlets (gauntlets of strength, normal gauntlets and dragon-hide gauntlets can be smithed) can of be course be so much more powerful than the elemental gauntlets that the resistances the latter offer pale in comparison.
Be on the lookout for gauntlets of peace, autocursing gauntlets that heavily penalize your melee and missile to-hit, in exchange for 3 DV and PV. They autocurse, are indistinguishable from normal gauntlets unidentified, and their bonus is generally not worth it. Cursed gauntlets also make you unable to equip or unequip rings.

g) Bracers
The best bracers are the bracers of war, bar none. Lacking those, you have to make do with what you can get, of course. The best bracers, at least in my opinion, are the bracers of regeneration, which do exactly what they say they do. The next best bracers are probably either the bracers of toughness or the bracers of resistance. The latter are a potential source of death ray resistance, leaving your amulet slot free to include some of the better amulets against enemies using death rays. Bracers of speed offer a minor bonus, but are probably still superiour to bracers of protection or defense (in the early game, the bracers of protection might be a bit better). All bracers except brass bracers, bracers of toughness and the bracers of war can be smithed.

h) Boots
Blessed seven league boots halve your movement speed, enabling you to outrun almost anything except quicklings, and are extremely valuable assets in the game of strategy that is ADOM. Use scrolls of defense and protection on them. You can do that by equipping only the boots to make sure they are affected instead of other pieces of armor (Just ignore how ridiculous you must look to the passers-by). If you are so much faster than your opponents, you can, provided the space, fire missiles and spells indefinitely without getting hit once. If you don't have the seven leagues, or don't want to wear them for some unfathomable reason, the next best thing are probably boots of speed - unless you are an awesome smith and want to wear [+9, +9] eternium, adamantium, mithril or iron boots. Be wary of cursed seven league boots - only equip boots weighing 30 stones if you have holy water or at least means of removing the curse. Also, do not equip boots weighing 40 stones without a way of curse removal, because they are bound to be the boots of the slow shuffle, autocursing boots with a 20 speed penalty. They CAN be useful if you want to reduce your speed so you can get more XP, but you don't want to get stuck with them.

i) Cloaks
Cloaks of invisibility are useful, but you might prefer the spell because it doesn't increase your food consumption as much. Cloaks of defense or protection are good for all the other cases. Cloaks in general are so easily destroyed that I don't usually pay much attention to them. If you feel like it, you can use scrolls of defense and protection to improve your favorite cloak, but then you're really asking for it.

j) Tools
Keep in mind that many of the items that can be worn in the tool slot will give you the benefits of the item. For instance, the chaos orbs can be worn in the tool slot to give you ten extra stat points depending on their type. The most interesting are the water orb and the fire orb. The water orb gives 10 willpower, which is great to help push you over the 32 willpower threshold that increases the AoE of your ball spells. It's also great to help you achieve even higher thresholds, and thus even more enormous ball spells. By the time you have to use it to open up the way to the chaos gate, you should be able to achieve 32 willpower without it. The fire orb gives 10 extra points of strength, which will help you carry a lot more without Lordly Might - you should prepare yourself for having to give it up on D:48, though. In contrast to the other three orbs, these two can be found early enough to really help. The mana orb, which gives ten extra mana (yeah, I love pointing out the obvious - how else would I be able to write this much inane drivel?) is cool as well, but that late in the game you usually have enough PP or means of PP replenishment, and you don't get much opportunity to enjoy the bonus before you have to get rid of the orb anyway on D:48.
Other items that can be worn in the tool slot include Hammerhead, which gives some extra toughness this way (less than the earth orb, though) and is in general an excellent tool. Off the top of my head, I'd say there are no other items that can be worn in the tool slot which give extra boni. But you can wear Whirlwind, the artifact sling you can be crowned with, in the missile weapon slot to get fire resistance.

5. Crowning gifts

a) Black Thumb
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
"heavy cudgel" weighing 50 stones, Clubs and hammers, one-handed
+1 to hit, 5d3+4 damage, -2 DV, +3 Toughness
Slays plants and grants sleep resistance

The heavy cudgel Black Thumb is not at all heavy for the purposes of Basher, and is arguably one of the shittiest artifacts in the game. Damage-wise, it is better than the hammers made of adamantium, but loses hard to eternium hammers. And the few magical properties it has do nothing to alleviate that. Three extra toughness is merely okay, but sleep resistance is as good as completely useless, and the ability to slay plants comes to effect so ridiculously rarely you can just as well ignore it.

b) Nature's Companion
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
"fine leather armor" weighing 120 stones
+2 DV, +8 PV, +15 speed, +2 to hit
Grants immunity to fire and shock

You might recognize this armor from my section on body armor above, where I concluded that this is arguably the best artifact body armor you can get. The reasons for that are the exceptional speed bonus and the useful immunities contained within. Unless you find something along the lines of empowered red dragon scale mail of life, you'll love this crowning gift. It can be frustrating to get crowned with one of the immunities it would give anyway, however, and starting from level 40, you will get immunity to shock anyway.

c) Nature's Friend
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
"intricate wooden shield" weighing 80 stones
+6 DV, +3 PV
Grants resistance to fire, poison, cold, acid, shock

This artifact sounds okay, except that it fails in the most crucial aspect for a shield: DV rating. 6 is shamefully low compared to the awesome shields you can get even rather early. Shields serve the prime purpose of providing DV support for your Druid, and you need good DV on your shield so the shield skill can get you even more. The rest is decoration. Sure, the resistances are nice to have, but can be gotten through other means easily enough. Depending on how early you do get crowned, you might use this for a while, but I'd ditch it for a shield with 9 or even 8 DV anytime. Keep it in case you want to wear two shields and can use the resistances.

d) Purifier
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
"rune-covered heavy mace" weighing 200 stones, Maces and flails, two-handed
+5 to hit, 4d5+5 damage, -4 DV, +1 PV, +3 Willpower
Slays undead, constructs and demons, grants luck

An interesting artifact because of its slaying powers. Its two-handedness is a weakness, though. Also, against anyone not undead, a construct or a demon it deals less damage than the one-handed mace of destruction, not to mention Big Punch, which can be easily gotten in the last Thrundarr quest! It's also highly inferior to the rune-covered trident, so Raven-born Druids will probably flip it the bird if they get crowned with it. You should really only use this against the opponents it slays, and stick to one-handed maces and flails plus shield against anyone else to train the skill. The willpower bonus and the granted luck are only a minor bonus.

e) Staff of the Wanderer
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
weighs 40 stones, Staves, two-handed
+2 to hit, 3d8+2 damage, +6 DV, +3 PV, +6 Toughness
Grants immunity to shock and resistance to fire and sleep

What can I say? Staves in general are an unsatisfying weapon class because they are neither powerful nor allow you to wear a shield. It tries, oh it tries to make up for it with its weapon skill bonus to DV, but it utterly fails in that regard because the combination of polearm and shield totally kicks the crap out of it. And so we have the staff of the Wanderer, the typical staff. It's mediocre in damage, it's mediocre in defense, and even the immunity to shock and the extra toughness hardly make up for that. I can't imagine a case where you would ditch a spear and shield for this unless if for roleplaying.

f) Whirlwind
1 in 7 for high and gray elves and dwarves, 1 in 6 for everyone else
"rune-covered sling" weighing 3 stones, Slings
+12 to hit, +12 to damage
Grants resistance to fire

One of the less impressive artifacts. If you are well versed in using slings, it will come in handy, because high weapon skill plus Whirlwind will let you do great damage even with simple rocks. However, you're a spellcaster, your weapon skill will not get as great so fast if you're not a hurthling, and you should train for the slaying ammunition you will get for the bow and crossbow instead. For hurthlings, it's still an interesting option because of their bonus in training slings.

g) Sun's Messenger
1 in 7 for high and gray elves
"elven long bow" weighing 30 stones, Bows
+15 to hit, +15 to damage
Slays undead

An excellent crowning gift. With this and halfway decent weapon skill, you can lay waste on powerful undead, and with the right slaying ammo you can devastate all enemies in the game. The damage bonus is unrivalled by any bow that is not an artifact. High and gray elves should train in bows under any circumstance just in case they luck out and get crowned with this!

h) Hammerhead
1 in 7 for dwarves
"pick axe" weighing 90 stones, Axes, one-handed
+2 to hit, 2d10+4 damage, +2 DV, +2 PV, +3 Toughness
Grants resistance to fire and stunning

As a melee weapon, this is okay, better than an eternium battle axe even, but it doesn't provide the ludicrous armor boni of the polearm weapon class, for instance, and all in all is simply not something to get excited about. It really shines in its use as a tool, because it is indestructible, enabling you to mine as much as you want without worrying about replacing or repairing your pickaxes.

5. Things to wish for
Well, I already mentioned a lot of very desirable items to have, but here are the items I generally consider if I find myself in the lucky situation of actually having a wish to spare. In general, you should keep in mind that you are rarely restricted to wish for single items. Instead, always wish for them in plural. You might end up with four incarnations of the item you desired! If I use the singular in the following phrases, that means that you will only get one item no matter what because it's considered too powerful.

- "amulet of life saving", the item with which you can save Khelavaster and receive six scrolls of chaos resistance as a reward
- "scrolls of chaos resistance", which gets you usually three
- "pairs of seven league boots", which give you excellent mobility, the extra boots should be kept as spares - you'll probably need them
- "girdle of giant strength", for its unrivalled strength bonus, but can be destroyed rather easily
- "spellbooks of Rain of Sorrow", because it is the most powerful spell you can get and several books will last you through all the dangerous enemies plus excessive practice
- "[color of choice] dragon scale mails", to get excellent armor plus an immunity of your choice
- "Find Weakness", to get a useful melee fighting skill
- "Alchemy", if you can train it to 100 and check out the recipe for potions of gain attributes
- "wands of destruction", to make D:50 easier
- "potions of quickling blood", yummy yummy speed
- "potions of youth", if you play a race with a short lifespan and don't want to rely on Alchemy to give you a workable recipe
- "scrolls of education", to get some random extra skills
- "magical writing sets", if you have already seen scrolls of education and really want to get as many skills as possible, plus you might succeed in scribing a scroll of chaos resistance with it

Needless to say, if you are aiming for an ultra ending, you might have to wish for some of the rare items you need to collect. But if that were the case, you wouldn't need to read some shitty guide aimed at semi-beginners, right?

V. Monster Bash

1. The early times: Monsters to watch out for
Well, the usual suspects? There are some early game monsters that always pose a danger, regardless of the class you play. Mimics are certainly among them. They can paralyze you for a long time, usually enough for them or other monsters nearby to kill you unless you are well armored. Ghuls have the same ability, but it kicks in rather rarely since they have to successfully hurt you and with halfway decent PV that doesn't happen often. Still, don't let yourself get surrounded by ghuls. When trapped by a necromancer early on, it's important for your chance of survival that you kill the ghuls first if possible, and let yourself be surrounded by zombies and skeletons instead. Also, be careful when fighting floating eyes and gelatinous cubes. They can paralyze you if you hit or kill them with a melee weapon or in unarmed combat. You should use a missile weapon or (if missile weapon not present) a spell to kill them, especially if there are other monsters nearby. Be extremely careful of "Hurumph!"s and Dorn Beasts, as attacking them even once paralyzes you for such a long time you can usually only watch your character get mauled. Fuck paralyzation. (Love it when it's in a wand and you can shoot people with it, though!)
Other monsters that are a pain in the ass... Gray oozes and ochre jellys are pretty hard for a very early game PC, and they corrode your melee weapon, making them prime targets for your Divine Wrath spell. Spiders and other poisonous monsters (though spiders will only be hostile if summoned - which will happen a lot) are dangerous until you manage to get a spider (any'll do) corpse or giant centipede corpse. Eat it to get poison resistance, probably the most important early game resistance if you want to survive. Of course, the Slow Poison or Neutralize Poison spells also help a lot in that regard.
Some monsters, for instance corpse fiends or rats, may make you sick upon touch. If that happens, don't panic. First think. Do you have some means of Curing Disease? Like, for example, a spell of that name? No? Um, ever found herbs? Perchance, some curaria mancox, because these just happen to be helpful in such an unfortunate case? No? Well... You did choose the Yrrigs quest, right? So you could try to stumble and crawl your way through the dungeons so you can let yourself be healed by Jharod? No? And you're sure you can't find some herbs in time? The Unremarkable Dungeon below the Small Cave or the Big Room in the Caverns of Chaos could be a possibility... No? Um, maybe you have some sort of healing potion in your pack? Tried to drink it? Did it work? No? Hm. Tried praying to your gods? You did, and the ground keeps rumbling without it ever working even once? Okay... Well, at least you have the healing skill and somewhat okay HP, so you will be able to outlive the sickness, right? Unless some of the more dangerous monsters catch you, that is... Best of luck, this or next time!
Dangerous monsters that may catch you by surprise early on include vortices and ogre magi. Vortices are the capital Vs floating about in dungeon levels whose only means of attack is to explode. Needless to say, that explosion does damage. Lots of it. Vortices exist in the four main elements of the game. Fire vortices are the first ones to appear usually. They deal about 40 to 50 points of fire damage (I'm calculating from memory, so don't rely on the numbers, though recent estimations seem to indicate I'm erring on the side of caution. Beware of experienced vortices, however, because they can deal quite a pile of more damage - the issue of how vortices can even BECOME experienced is one for another time), usually killing most PCs with low to medium hitpoints. Trolls that have reached level four or five are on the safe side. Any PC that has managed to obtain a source of fire resistance will be able to take the attack, too. But what to do if you have neither the HP or the resistance to survive a fire vortex? Destroy it! The best solution for that: Use a frost bolt on it. Frost Bolts are provided by the Nether Bolt spell or by a wand of cold. Fire vortices don't have a lot of hit points and are vulnerable to ice, meaning one hit with a frost bolt will destroy them without them going off. The same method can be employed against ice vortices, only you require some sort of fire spell. Hellish Flames (Fire Bolt) is pretty common. If you're feeling especially adventurous, Baptism of Fire works too, but you better be sure it does the trick (It will - in about 99% of the cases)! If you don't have spells that counter the vortices' element, any other spell works too, but you'll probably have to hit them successfully two or three times. If you notice the vortex early enough, that's fine. Note that lightning and acid vortices, which appear a lot later and are also a lot more dangerous damage-wise, cannot be as easily dispatched because they have no elemental weakness; prepare to use several bolt spells on them, and try to be resistant to those elements! If you meet a vortex, lack the resistance or HP to survive it and any spell to defeat it in time, cast Darkness. If you don't have Darkness, or any kind of darkness source, switch to berserk, shoot missiles at it until it is next to you, then hit him with your melee attack (or your missile attack, whichever is more damaging) and hope for the best...
Ogre magi sport a combination which can be outright deadly for an early game PC: Invisibility and frost bolt spells. Ogre magi will usually cast invisibility instantly, meaning you may not notice them until they start hitting you with frost bolts. The frost bolts will hit you for about 15 damage if you aren't resistant to cold, meaning one won't kill you, but three or four of them, depending on your HP count, could. The trouble is making them stop, because you have to find them first. If you don't have the ability to see invisible, you will have to guess where they are. Be grateful to whatever god you worship if you encounter an ogre magus in a hallway, because that makes hitting the bastard easy. If you're in a room, it gets infinitely more difficult. The only clue you have are the frost bolts. Check carefully from where they come, and approach that place. Once you're certain you can land a hit on the ogre magus, go all-out berserk and hit him with anything you've got. Since ogre magi are ogres, they aren't pushovers in melee, so you need to show them no mercy! Alternatively, if you noticed the frost bolt flew a straight line before hitting you, you can reverse the roles by shooting off a bolt spell yourself! Just be careful of bouncing spells like Divine Wrath. You don't want them to bounce straight back and hit you. You do want them to bounce back and hit the ogre magus twice without hitting you, if that's possible.
Dark sages are in the same category as ogre magi because of their pretty dangerous shock spell attack, and they arrive a lot earlier. Don't waste time running up to them if you can help it - blast the motherfucker with your spells before he does the same to you!
Let's see, what more advice is there to give... Bah, you'll figure out most of the stuff yourself. In the end, you must figure out a lot yourself. Be careful of monsters that corrupt you or drain your stats. Be careful of monsters with special attacks, like Dorn Beasts (near permanent paralysis unless wearing a source of paralyzation resistance if you attack them in melee) or gorgons (whose breath can turn you to stone unless you have a source of petrification resistance! Always switch to coward mode around these, as DV seems to increase your chance to evade the petrification breath!). Remember that orb guardians and other special enemies tend to be more on the "dangerous" side of the spectrum. Remember that if all else fails, you can always try to run away, or ask people on the ADOM forum for help (if your pride allows you to do that, of course!).

2. Denying monsters a fair fight: Special Strategies, Or: Cheap Little Tricks (tm)

a) Lurking within the dark, the brave hero strikes the unsuspecting foe from behind...

The Darkness spell is one that I tend to under-use, though I hope that I have ceased to underestimate it. (You should take solace in the thought that even I regularly fail to follow quite some of the hints I've given, and despite that managed to win this game ten times as of today.) As has been mentioned in the skill description for it, there are many opponents that are unable to fight in the dark. The best teacher for the correct use of the Darkness spell, at least if you want to stay on ADOM Guides, is gut. In his Wizard's Guide you will be able to read closer instructions on using the spell to your advantage. Darkness works extra awesomely once you have the Backstabbing skill, so much is obvious. Remember the minstrel's song? "Brave Sir Robin backstabbed him, bravely bravely backstabbed him... When it looked like he would lose the fight, he valiantly turned off the light, when danger showed its ugly neck, he bravely stabbed it in the back... Bravely bravely, bravely bravely, bravely bravely, bravely brave, bravely bravely braaaaave Sir Robin..."

b) Woe is me, for I have been stripped of my eyesight! Oh woe oh woe oh woe...

The potion of blindness can turn the tide of the most crucial battles in the game. Regardless of how vicious your foe is, how much he is positively brimming of arcane power, or rocks the earth with every step of his towering clawed hooves, absolutely no one in ADOM is immune to the awesome power of this little flask. All you have to do is throw it in the face of your enemy. He will then start crying like a little girl, screaming "Not the face, not the face", and will be unable to do anything but stagger and flail aimlessly at anything nearby. This is an excellent method to incapacitate any enemies that cast spells or use any kind of annoying special attacks. I can't spell out in words how tremendously valuable this effect is against the likes of Nuurag-Vaarn or the Ancient Chaos Wyrm. It does make them a little bit tricky to aim at with bolt spells, but you can't have everything, eh?
Note that a cursed potion of invisibility has the same effect as a potion of blindness, even if you throw it! You can find them randomly or use unholy water to produce one, if need be.

c) Who am I again, and what's up with those two strange guys wearing the spear and the shield?

The potion of confusion is yet another excellent tool, on the same level of importance as the potion of blindness... because it has the same effect. Confusing AND blinding an opponent has no effect other than if he stops being blind, he's still confused and the other way around. Might be helpful, too.

d) By all that is unholy and chaotic, where are all these fucking spider webs coming from?!

Any enemy, regardless of power, is unable to get through spider webs easily. Whether that enemy is a rat or a greater moloch makes no difference in how many turns are wasted going through the web (in fact, the greater moloch is slower, so he will take longer). Making them go through some webs before they can reach you will buy lots of valuable time spent on missile attacks and spells that do not burn webs, like Nether Bolt or Minor Punishment.

e) Huh... That green ray he keeps shooting at me looks sort of stran-

The wand of paralyzation is one of the best wands in the game, as it is the only way to paralyze an enemy. Paralyzed enemies are absolutely helpless for as long as they are paralyzed. Especially for enemies that are otherwise dangerous or undesirable to melee, this can be very useful in case you have to actually melee them (as a spellcaster, you might think you shouldn't have to resort to that usually, but for the purposes of special monster strategy, ball spells ARE melee). The awesomeness of this strategy is somewhat diminished by the fact that the paralyzation ray can be shrugged off rather easily. Still, no enemy shrugs off bolts all the time, and all you have to do to use the wand effectively is to put yourself in a position where you can waste a couple of turns trying to hit your enemy successfully with it. Since the bolt is not stopped by other monsters inbetween you and the enemy to be paralyzed, this is easy to do - you can use your druid class power to create an animal meat shield, or a scroll of familiar summoning, or the Summon Monsters spell, or a wand of monster creation, or any kind of figurine, or simply one of the already existing enemies, cunningly lured in front of you, flailing at you with a laughable attack while blocking up the way for the dangerous monstrosity patiently waiting for its turn (monsters can be so DUMB in ADOM). Once you succeed at paralyzing your monster of choice, simply get rid of the meat shield and start smacking the helpless foe with your awesome melee weapon.

f) Ugh... I don't feel so good...

Your enemies, just like you, don't react well to poison and sickness. The good news is, there are means to afflict them with both. To sicken an enemy, throw a potion of sickness at him (what, you didn't think you were supposed to drink it, did you?). Reportedly, that lowers his max HP, so it's best to do that in the beginning of a fight. To poison him, you can either throw a potion of poison, zap a wand of poison (the poison ray can be shrugged off, though), or hurt him with a weapon or missile that is poisoned, either thanks to being the emerald dagger Serpent's Bite, having the magical prefix "poisonous", being wielded by someone with the poisoned hands corruption, or having been dipped in a potion of poison. Poison will slowly whittle away at the HP of your enemy. If you poison him enough, it will help tremendously in killing him, leading to the satisfying phenomenon of "off-screen XP" that tells you you succeeded even as your opponent employed the old run away tactic.

3. A section on bosses?
Okay, I was considering leaving this out because what the hell I did this two times already, but I managed to enlist the help of Killmaster, the high elven fighteress, who apparently even slaughtered her own parents for giving her that name. Quite spooky, but she knows her thing. Before you read on - do you really, really, really want to? I mean, isn't it much more satisfying to have figured out the way to kill the most dangerous foes in the game yourself? What? Yeah, I guess you're right, Killmaster... It IS quite a bit more satisfying to not have your character's... ass raped... at the hands of these... motherfucking... bastards. Ahem. Well then, read on, but don't say I didn't warn you! Killmaster, they're all yours...

a) Yrrigs
What? You're asking me about ways to kill Yrrigs? Have you gone bonkers? First of all, he is easy to kill with any sort of your fancy Druid spellcasting. Second, are you unable to muster the brainpower required to grasp there is some sort of healer and some sort of rather sick person in the same dungeon? Don't you think that maybe it would be a sort of good idea to somehow get these people together instead of just killing one of them off?

b) Keethrax
So, you chose the Keethrax quest. Quite bold of you! The black druid has quite a variety of attacks for an enemy appearing this early. Many dive down to the bottom of the Druid Dungeon to create him, then leave him be until much later in the game. Ha! I say. Pussies, the lot of them. He isn't even that dangerous. Okay, I guess it might not be that bad an idea to be resistant to fire if you want to fight him. He uses those fancy-pants special fire attacks that're so all the rage among liches and skeletal kings. He also casts darkness. Makes him a bit harder to find, but if he's in a hallway, don't give a shit. And he can shoot sling bullets. Ooh, do you see me shaking in my boots? Thought so. And stop checking out my legs, you perverted bastard. Anyway, your wussy Druid magic won't faze him, unless you use Minor Punishment or Acid Bolt. How I know this? Hey, you think you can gather experience enough to reach level 50 of the fighter class and not know all kinds of useless garbage? In any case, be about level 9 when you fight him, and you should have passed the 10 PV threshold just to be sure.

c) Hotzenplotz
Well, if you're not poison resistant, you better not mess with this guy mano a mano. Even if you are, count yourself lucky you're one of those spellcasting pussies who can sling spells from afar without letting their opponent reach them, because he is so much more of a pussy he uses extremely potent poisons even resistance won't help much against. His two henchmen are a lot less of a trouble. Just blast them too, for good measure. Important here, aside from the efficient means of dealing distance damage, is at least okay speed. Try to be unburdenened and non-satiated, or have the Quick talents, so you can keep a distance from Hotzenplotz in any case.

d) Rehetep
Oh gods, that creepy old geezer... Man, did I ever beat the shit out of him. He does not have any special attacks. In fact, he's so much of a wuss I really wonder how so many people apparently got robbed of their skin by him. But like every giant pussy, he has a bunch of henchmen at his side. Just don't let your guard down, and be prepared for everything. Being invisible is something you spellcasting types are good at, so why not? Say what you will about the guy, but he does have a talent for nasty surprises. Not a bad idea to be level 16 or even 17 when you meet him, and have decent equipment. (Editor's note: The wand of fireballs you can get in one of the Thrundarr quests should ideally be gotten before you get to the Pyramid. Mummies are vulnerable to fire.).

e) Griff
Hey, respect for the guy, all I can say. Those rockhuggers built that hugeass tomb just for him, after all! And now that he has been raised from the dead, he continues to beat the living shit out of the living, or the living out of the living shit so only the shit remains - depends on how you want to look at it. Well, you better get pumped and be just as extreme in melee as him. He doesn't have special attacks or something - just good and honest brute force. But since you're not an awesome fighter like me, you can whip out your teleport wand or cast an Ethereal Bridge spell, teleport your cowardly ass behind him and pour holy water on his grave. You still get the XP, so why not?

f) Nonnak
So, you know how the word necromancer begins the same as the word necrophiliac? Think about it. Heh heh. Made you throw up a little there, right? This creepy old dude loves to cast frost bolts. If you are immune thanks to wearing the other creepy old dude's ancient mummy wrapping (let me just say: EWWWW), you can let him do this, grin at him and attack him with missiles or spells or whatever you want. Watch out if he decides to beat you with his walking stick instead - he knows where it hurts. If you've got any kind of muscle and some grasp of melee, however, you should be able to kick his ass into next week (Editor's note: If a level 50 fighter talks about "some grasp of melee", you should know that you need to be pretty good. 40 DV/ 18 PV or something along those lines is a good idea.). Or, you know, use spells like a giant pussy. Might be smart to deduce that if he is immune to any element, it's probably ice.

g) Snake from Beyond
Now we're getting where the money is. That fiend is a real pain. Okay, it poisons and corrupts you in melee - bad. It shrugs off spells a lot - worse. It's not immune to fire, so Invoked Devastation is effective, and neither is it to other ball spells except for Freezing Fury, at least I believe so. But without the water orb your willpower is maybe not yet 32, so ball spells would have to be cast in melee range. Not good. There are no slaying arrows compatible with the thing. Remember the cheap little tricks Silfir, that absolute drooling idiot dream of a man (Editor's note: There, much better!), taught you in the last section, especially the one about webs. You have to be fast to use it to your advantage though - you can only web so many squares as are still between you and the Snake. A wand of paralyzation is excellent here. Something above 20 PV, but most importantly good DV, like above 50 on normal, really helps not to get your ass kicked too much.

h) Skeletal King
How that guy managed to lock himself in a lonely room in the middle of a pond full of bloodthirsty chaos piranhas is really beyond me. Anyway, after you've made your bridge to his small chamber, be it made of ice or wood, just let him out and get away from that lake as quickly as possible. Be resistant to fire. If you go into melee, I will respect the fact that you apparently grew some balls (or the equivalent of that in case you're one of the members of the superior gender), but don't think it's going to be easy. He can hit pretty hard and is hard to kill himself. Undead slaying ammo is how the smart guys do it. Spells don't work too well, but I guess Rain of Sorrow will still waste him good enough. Oh, and should he confuse you with his mind tricks (be resistant to confusion to avoid that), just clean your ears. Trust me, it's a lot better than staggering around and taking a little swim.

i) Ancient Chaos Wyrm
Hoo boy. That's going to be exciting. First, reread the section on the awesome little tricks. I called them cheap before, but isn't it a lot more cheap to hide your bastard orb guardian ass at the top of an entire Tower on goddamned FIRE? And to shoot energy bolts that take away 120 HP with one hit and cannot be resisted ALL THE FUCKING TIME? And to try and confuse your enemy ALL THE SAME FUCKING TIME? Potions of blindness, wands of paralyzation and all that - they're self-defense, I say! Nether Bolts and Acid Bolts are pretty effective on him if you have some degree of effectivity, and so are Rain of Sorrow and Freezing Fury. The spells are perfect to use AFTER you got rid of those pesky special attacks with the aforementioned little tricks. It's a good idea to be high on HP, 200 or more, preferably at least 250, when fighting him, so you don't get utterly slaughtered the second it gets a clear shot at you. Why it breathes fire sometimes is completely beyond me - if you're still alive after walking through an entire Tower full of fire, it should be obvious that you're immune or highly resistant. I should mention the bastard is vulnerable to dragon slaying ammo, but unless you're using a blessed ring of ice, that's not going to help you much.

j) Cat Lord
Well, just talk to him and get the awesome ring. What do you mean, he is beating the crap out of you and you can't even see him? You're a Druid, right? What? You managed to kill a cat? AS A DRUID?! Well, then just die. Seriously. If you're this incompetent, I don't want you near any kind of chaos gate. Let the adventurers with some brain cells left handle this.
Okay, okay, so you could do nothing about it and it was an accident. Get up already, and for Corellius' sake, stop slobbering all over my boots. Now, listen up. The bastard is a bit over-sensitive about his beloved cat brethren, but he is one hell of a fighter. I'd not want to fight him with at least some blessed extra healing potions, and that's saying something. He's also invisible usually if he fights, which is easily countered by the appropriate ring or the all-purpose mummy wrapping of the creepy old geezer. Again, little tricks help. Confusion, blindness, especially webbing hallways and paralyzing. Get him on a level that allows teleportation so you have more freedom in setting up your webbed deathtraps. He shrugs off spells and paralyzation like he doesn't even give a shit, but keep trying, it will work eventually. He gets more dangerous the more cats you have killed, but since you only accidentally killed one, that shouldn't be - what? You accidentally killed EIGHTY-THREE? Okay, then damn WELL make sure he doesn't get into melee range unless you have lots of blessed extra healing and emergency teleportation. Or better yet, DIE IN A FIRE. I mean, if you're this stupid, you can't even be sentient.

k) Yulgash
He's a pussy. I mean, a real pussy. His spells only tickle you, and his melee attack doesn't deserve even being called an attack; it's more like spastic movement that appears to hit you. Just go in there, keep the important items out of the electrical item destruction inside the temple, clear out the right outside, open the thing up, and get to him someway. I wouldn't let him survive long, because as much of a pussy he is, he's good at summoning monsters, and sometimes he summons monsters that are not pussies.

l) Ancient Stone Beast
How can an enemy that is essentially nothing but a bunch of rock hit so light? I mean, compared to your powers at this stage in the game, this is the equivalent of what? A goblin slavemaster very early on? Anyway, for all the monsters in that temple one thing's for sure: High PV is a bitch to get through. Unless you have a penetrating weapon or a phase dagger, your best bet is probably spells. Acid works, not sure about the rest. Same's true for the Ancient Stone Beast in any case, only more so, because it has the highest PV and assloads of HP. Rain of Sorrow it, if you can. Fighting it with a non-penetrating weapon takes fucking forever, so try other ways. If you have good missile weapon skills, construct slaying ammunition is effective.

m) Nuurag-Vaarn
The last of the orb guardians, and the biggest pain in the ass of them all. He casts all sorts of annoying and dangerous spells (including death rays, time to whip out that amulet you've hopefully been saving, or those bracers of resistance, or the Mummy Wrapping of the Creepy Old Geezer). He confuses you just like the wyrm, so confusion resistance is likewise in order. He also casts Darkness, so a torch might be nice. He is surrounded by magebane and magedoom eyes, which I don't care one iota about, but for you it's either no spellcasting or casting spells out of HP until you've taken out the eyes. That can take a whole lot of time because the chaos wizards keep spamming you with chaos creatures once you even set one foot inside the temple. Use every single cheap trick you have at your disposal on the archmage once you reach him (it's more likely he reaches you, though). Blinding or confusing is important so you can go into melee range without getting your stats sucked out of you, and stay out of melee range without getting your ass shock attacked like there is no tomorrow. Kill him with humanoid slaying ammo, an awesome humanoid slaying or otherwise damaging melee weapon, or with Rain of Sorrow, once he is incapacitated. I should mention that despite being the most powerful chaos being this side of the chaos gate, he has a strange mental illness: If faced with a simple door made out of fucking WOOD, all he can do is go "Hurrh durrh durrh" and stand in front of it scratching his head even as you Rain of Sorrow him to death from behind the door, which, in the end, makes him a giant pussy after all.

n) D:50
The final challenge. This room is chock full of chaos creatures, but the most dangerous ones are probably the balors (trolls and orcs should keep clear of the ghost lords as well, though). The bad thing is, to close the chaos gate permanently, you have get rid of either the balors or the levers once you activated them. With wands of destruction, the latter can be achieved, making the whole endeavour much easier. In any case, the best thing to do is to dig corridors along the upper and lower boundary of the level until you reach the rooms containing the levers. If your way is blocked, you have managed to be the unlucky guy who gets stuck with an undiggable left half of D:50, which can randomly happen in any game. That essentially means nothing except you have to batter and splash your way through the room full of writhing masses of primal chaos before you can reach the lever rooms. That's the point where even I would rather be a spellcaster, what with bolt and ball spells taking them out by the dozens. Being able to on-demand teleport and possessing wands of destruction is the least messy method: Clear both lever rooms, turn a lever, destroy it, teleport the FUCK away to the next lever room, turn the lever, destroy it, teleport to the stairs, go up. Now, that was the pussy method. Real heroes, like me, want to beat the shit out of those balor bastards, and the best way to fight them one after another is to handle both levers, teleport away, hit away the annoying message, teleport back. Kick ass, rinse and repeat. Balor asses are easily kicked with Rain of Sorrow, and I think Freezing Fury might work too. Minor Punishment will work in any case, especially if there are some balors lining up in a hallway. Who says bloodthirsty demons can't be courteous? Okay, they're probably just really, really dumb. Demon-slaying melee weapons are an excellent asset on D:50, because the balors really are pretty much the only really dangerous things on there. Everything I've said about balors is true for Fistanarius, the greater balor, as well. Just be a bit more careful around him, because he hits harder. It might be prudent to minimize the balor-fighting if your corruption status is bad and you've run out of scrolls of chaos resistance. Well, hope that helped. Now, Silfir, you lazy bum, where's the drink you promised me? Hey, where'd he go? Aaaargh... I'm going to fucking rip out his SPINE and stick it up where the sun doesn't shine!

VI. Closing words

Pant, pant, wheeze... Did I lose her? Ahem. Thanks to you for reading what is probably my last guide for quite some time! Thanks and apologies to Killmaster for her invaluable assistance, though in hindsight I should have paid more attention to the prices in that tavern beforehand. I mean, don't these people realize that even one gold coin is actually a fortune for real worlders like me? Sigh. Special thanks go to gut, because after hearing I was working on a Guide to Being a Druid, he sent me the stuff he already had collected for such a guide. Even though I didn't end up quoting any of it, it certainly was food for thought, and some ideas probably found their way into this document after I unscrupulously made them my own. Apart from that, well, thanks go to all the guys, male or female, in the ADOM Hall of Fame forum or the official forum who somehow influenced what I accomplished, even if I can't tell for the life of me how now. Oh, and thanks to Monty Python, for without their movies I would not have been able to make up that crappy song you may have noticed...