ADOM Guidebook


Corruption

0.10.1 What is corruption?

Corruption is unavoidable in the Drakalor Chain for any PC who wants to make progress in the game. It is a background process that happens as a result of the chaos gate at the bottom of the Caverns of Chaos being open. Some locations remain free of corruption despite the gate being open, notably those near the surface of the Drakalor Chain. In order to get anything done, however, the PC must descend into corrupting areas. It is only a matter of time after that until the first corruption occurs. After ninety days of game time elapses, corruption rate doubles. After the gate is closed, background corruption ceases, which is nice if the PC wants to play tourist for a while. However, corruption can still be caused by artifacts that corrupt (section 0.10.2.4) as well as corrupting hits from monsters (section 0.10.2.3).

Note that the possible corruptions occur in random order (not the order listed on this page) which is decided at the beginning of the game. However, if one or more corruptions are removed, the RNG is reseeded and the corruptions will reoccur in a new random order.

The following is a complete list of corruptions along with some comments about their effects and workarounds:

A - You are surrounded by an unholy aura (Ch: -10, DV: +6).

This causes monsters to become afraid of the PC at more or less random times. In their frightened state, they will flee. A very nasty side effect is that shopkeepers become homicidally enraged at PCs that enter shops with this corruption, fearing that their customers will be frightened away.

B - You rage (DV: -9, +6 melee damage)!

Mediocre increase to damage in exchange for losing nine points of DV. Not a very good bargain, especially for low level characters, since this will make them easier to hit (and some monster hits cause further corruption).

C - Poison drips from your hands.

Some players hate this corruption more than any other. PCs with this corruption poison any monsters they engage in melee (a nice effect), turn any potion they touch into poison (very bad) and curse any food they touch (very bad). It can result in starvation quickly. The workaround is to wear thick gauntlets, which negate all of the above effects. Alchemistic gloves also can negate these effects when picking up potions or food items, but it is not guaranteed. However, alchemistic gloves never block the effects when drinking potions or eating food. Note that Poison Hands does not prevent the PC from 'U'sing herbs, 'A'pplying Alchemy or '!'dipping. Even when '!'dipping one potion into another, neither is turned into poison.

D - You have grown thorns (3d3 melee damage, Dx: -2, Ap: -3).

The extra melee damage occurs only when fighting unarmed. Useful for Monks and Beastfighters, Necromancers using Shadow Touch. Useless waste of 2 Dx points for all others.

E - Your close attunement to corrupted astral space allows teleportation.

Very, very nice if the PC has teleport control. Very, very annoying if the PC doesn't have teleport control.

F - You have grown a bulging cranium (Le: +6, Wi: +4, Ap: -6, PV: -4, To: -3).

Nice learning and willpower increases. PV goes down because the PC's inflated skull is thinner, making it easier to damage? Not good for looks or toughness either.

G - You are a living mana battery.

Another nominee for the most hated corruption. All wands the PC touches are drained of their charges. This does not destroy them; their final charge can still be wrenched from them, but extremely annoying nonetheless. There is no workaround. Some side benefits: 1) every time the PC drains a wand, power points are added to the PC's power score: blessed wands give +2, uncursed +1 and cursed 0 2) Spell costs are reduced to 80% of their normal cost - note that this is not cumulative with Darknight / Silvernight reductions, since costs cannot drop below 50% 3) Mana regeneration is increased.

H - You have grown horns (+3 melee damage, Ap: -4).

Melee damage in exchange for Appearance.

I - Your antennae explore the details of your environment (Ap: -4).

Kicks in quasirandomly to reveal a bit of the dungeon layout in the PC's immediate vicinity. Loss of Appearance.

J - Your skin is covered by tough scales (PV: +8, Dx: -6, Ap: -4).

Nice PV increase, nasty Dexterity decrease. More loss of Appearance.

K - You have grown a total of 12 eyes (Ap: -6, Pe: +6).

Nice Perception increase, still more loss of Appearance. Getting the idea? By the endgame, PCs tend to get ugly. ;-)

L - You exhale sulphur (Ch: -4).

This enables the PC to spit a corrosive acid much the same as a Drakeling's racial ability.

M - You look somewhat apish (St: +3, Le: -1, Wi: -1, Ch: -2, Ap: -3).

This corruption's effects reoccur periodically. Its effects are cumulative over time, so the PC keeps gaining Strength while losing Learning, Willpower, etc. The game notifies you when this is happening with the phrase "You suddenly remember your ancestors." Nice for fighter types, nasty for spellcasters.

N - Your corrupted tissue seems to heal much faster.

Another corruption causing cumulative effects. The PC heals faster, but the process leaves scars which reduce both Dexterity and Appearance by one point for each scar. Nasty over time.

O - Your feet have been transformed into hooves (+8 kicking damage, Dx: -6).

Nasty loss of Dexterity, especially since most PCs aren't kickers anyway.

P - You have become extremely thin and nimble (1/2 weight, DV: +6).

Very nice corruption, probably the best. Six points of DV with no downside. This is one of the corruptions needed to enter the quickling tree.

Q - Your muscles have stiffened slowing you down (base action cost: 1500 energy points; PV: +4, St: +2).

Very, very bad. Possibly the worst. Slows down all your movement by 1.5.

R - You have become very light (1/10 weight, St: -6, Dx: +4, To: -6, Ap: -6, +20 speed).

Bad Strength and Toughness losses in exchange for speed and Dexterity. And yes, more appearance loss. This is the other corruption needed to enter the quickling tree.

Becoming corrupted beyond this point turns the PC into a chaos creature and the game ends at that point. All those purple 'j's are probably former adventurers.

0.10.2 Gaining corruptions

The game keeps track of corruption with a numerical value which increments each time twenty turns pass in a corrupting zone. Note that there are 18 corruptions listed above. For each 1000 "points" of corruption, the PC gains one corruption. Simple arithmetic shows that 180 points equals 1% corruption and the PC gains a new corruption each time he passes a multiple of 1000/180 = 5.556%. This is a strict rule only up to 99% corruption. The 99% corruption level begins at 99 180 = 17820 corruption points, but the PC is given extra leeway at this point and does not transform into a chaos creature until the counter is over 19000 points.

0.10.2.1 Background corruption

As mentioned above, the PC must eventually enter areas where background corruption occurs. The following tables show the corruption points gained in various areas:

Corruption free areas
Area Corruption points added per 20 turns
Small Cave 0 before day 90
Unremarkable Dungeon 0
Dusty Dungeon lvls 1-2 0
Village Dungeon 0
Druid Dungeon 0
Puppy Cave 0
Caverns of Chaos lvls 1-9 0
Infinite Dungeon lvls 1-9 0
Wilderness 0
Gremlin Cave 0
Dwarven graveyard 0
Water dragon cave 0
Greater White Unicorn Glade 0
Terinyo 0
Lawenilothehl 0
High Mountain Village 0
Old Barbarian's Glade 0
Mad Minstrel's clearing 0

Corrupting areas (while the gate is open)
Area Corruption points added per 20 turns
Small Cave (after 90th day) Probably PC exp lvl-dependent
Caverns of Chaos
D: 10-19 1 (2)
DH1 4 (8)
DH2 10 (20)
D: 20-29 1* (2**)
D: 30-39 2 (4)
D: 40-44 4 (8)
D: 45-47 30 (40)
D: 48-50 30 (40)
UL: 1-6 10 (20)
MT 10 (20)
DL: 1-5 10 (20)
I: 10+ probably similar to CoC
The Pyramid
PY: 1-3 1 (2)
Tomb of the High Kings
UC:1-2 1 (2)
UCBT 1 (2)
Darkforge
NDC 1 (2)
DFG 1* (2**)
Assassin's Guild 1 (2)
Tower of Eternal Flames
FT 1-4 1 (2)
The Rift
RL1 (Bottom) 4 (8)
RL2 2 (4)
RL3 1* (2**)
RL4 1* (2**)
RL5 1* (2**)
RL6 1 (2)
RL7 1 (2)
RL8 1 (2)
RL9 (Top) 1 (2)
LIB 2 (4)
Minotaur Maze
AR 1 (2)
ML1 1* (2**)
ML2 1* (2**)
ML3 1* (2**)
ML4 1* (2**)
ML5 2 (4)
ML6 2 (4)
MC 2 (4)
Greater Black Unicorn Glade 4 (8)
The Quickling Tree 1* (2**)
Ancient Stone Circle unknown
Scintillating Cave unknown
SIL unknown

The figure in parentheses is after day 90. There is some inconsistency here, the figure after day 90 may be simply double in all cases.

* For each 60 turns, an additional point is added
** For each 60 turns, two additional points are added

Permanently corrupting areas
Area Corruption points added per 20 turns
Emperor Moloch's lair (last level of Scintillating Cave)Many
ChAoSMany

Note that a corrupting level can be made less so, or even completely noncorrupting, by reading scrolls of peace. These reduce the danger level, and thus the corruption rate of the current level. Bless the scrolls before reading them. The number of scrolls required depends on the level. If Dwarftown is generated on D: 10 or D: 11, for instance, reading two blessed scrolls of peace will probably stop corruption. On the other hand, if it is necessary to stop corruption on a particular level of the blue dragon caves, approximately nine scrolls of peace are required.

0.10.2.2 Corruption traps

Corruption traps are as common as any other trap in the dungeons. They cause a slight amount of corruption. They are purple when revealed.

0.10.2.3 Corrupting hits from monsters

Some monsters corrupt by hitting the PC in melee. Common ones include chaos brothers, chaos sisters and the grues found in the elemental temples. Appendix J contains a complete list.

0.10.2.4 Artifacts which corrupt

0.10.2.4.1 Moon Sickle

Moon Sickle is a unique artifact unlike any other in the game. It does not contain the essence of Chaos and Corruption and so does not corrupt merely by carrying it. Likewise, wielding it does not cause corruption. However, successfully hitting a monster with Moon Sickle adds 2d3 corruption points to the PC's corruption counter. Although it has no slaying powers, it is worth considering as a weapon against very difficult monsters for those PCs who have trained polearms, despite its corrupting nature. It has excellent base damage at 10d4+6 and polearms have decent to-hit and to-damage modifiers. Remember, however, that Moon Sickle is autocursing.

0.10.2.4.2 When carried

The following artifacts contain the essence of Chaos and Corruption and will corrupt the PC merely by carrying them:

The Black Tome of Alsophocus
The Amulet of Raw Steel
The Shield of Raw Steel
The Boots of Great Speed
The Sceptre of Chaos
The Medal of Chaos
The Crown of Chaos

Additional research will be required to quantitate the effects.

0.10.2.4.3 When used

All of the Chaos Orbs fall into this category, however, there is a great deal of difference in the amount of corruption caused by using the different Chaos Orbs. Stephen White has determined the precise amount of corruption caused:

Corruption caused by using the Chaos Orbs

Chaos Orb Corruption points added per use
Water 600
Fire 300
Air 500
Earth 300
Mana 5000

Note that if a PC is wearing the elemental gauntlets when the orbs are used, the above corruption points are halved.

0.10.2.5 Potions of raw chaos

Logically enough, if the PC drinks a potion of raw chaos it will cause corruption. They can also corrupt, however, if the PC tries to use them to polymorph an item by dipping it in the potion (section 0.14.4)

0.10.2.6 Tracts of chaos

Tracts of chaos are not well understood. They probably grant corruption at the expense of piety towards the PC's chaotic god, but this needs testing.

0.10.2.7 From pools

Drinking from pools may result in the message "You feel corrupted!" Self-explanatory.

0.10.2.8 From corpses

Some corpses will corrupt the PC if eaten. Obvious ones include the corpses of the Chaos Orb guardians. Others include Keethrax, Keriax and chaos animals.

0.10.2.9 Riurry - the Greater Black Unicorn quest

Riurry will reward the PC with 1 - 2 corruptions for killing the Greater White Unicorn Yrruir.

0.10.2.10 Being crowned a champion of chaos

Being crowned a champion of chaos will cause 2 - 3 immediate corruptions in addition to making further corruption faster.

0.10.3 Removing corruptions

There will be a time when your PC wants to remove one or more corruptions. Some corruptions are very troublesome and worth getting rid of immediately. Later in the game, removing corruptions may be necessary simply to extend the life of the PC. Whatever the reason, a thorough knowledge of how to remove corruptions should be part of every experienced player's repertoire. There are several ways of doing this as outlined below. Corruption removal items are among the most precious in the game. They should always be blessed unless the PC is trying to specifically remove only one corruption that is impossible to deal with (poison hands can be impossible to deal with without thick gauntlets) while preserving others (for instance one needed to enter the quickling tree).

0.10.3.1 Potions of cure corruption

Potions of cure corruption are exactly what the name implies - they remove corruption, approximately 0.75 corruptions for each blessed potion of cure corruption the PC drinks. A potion of cure corruption is also a quest object for Gaab'Baay.

Beware of cursed potions of cure corruption. They cause corruption rather than curing it.

Magnus Malm has done some research on potions of cure corruption:

Potions of cure corruption
Status Ten trials: corruption points added or removed Min Ave Max
Cursed +147 +139 +151 +147 +168 +138 +147 +122 +150 +162 +138 +147 +168
Uncursed -298 -298 -283 -258 -296 -291 -279 -275 -304 -279 -258 -286 -304
Blessed -695 -733 -735 -795 -734 -812 -826 -841 -804 -716 -695 -769 -841

0.10.3.1.1 Obtaining potions of cure corruption from Guth'Alak

Potions of cure corruption can be obtained from the druid Guth'Alak in Terinyo. He will reward a non-chaotic PC with a potion of cure corruption for delivering a greater chaos creature's or highly corrupted creature's corpse to him. Examples are the corpses of Chaos Orb guardians, Keriax and Keethrax. Black unicorn corpses and greater black unicorn corpses also work. If the PC is chaotic, it is a good idea to sell a chaos creature's corpse to Munxip for safekeeping, then buy it back at a later time when the PC is non-chaotic. It can then be traded to Guth'Alak for a potion of cure corruption.

0.10.3.2 Scrolls of chaos resistance

Blessed scrolls of chaos resistance remove about 1.5 corruptions per reading. There are several places where scrolls of chaos resistance can be obtained: The only absolutely guaranteed location is the hidden room in the High Mountain Village. This will always contain one scroll of chaos resistance, although beware - it is always cursed. Khelavaster will give six scrolls of chaos resistance to a PC that manages to save him. The dwarven mystic in Dwarftown usually gives four blessed scrolls of chaos resistance to neutral PCs. Finally, the Mad Minstrel will reward a PC who brings him the Weird Tome with five cursed scrolls of chaos resistance.

Beware of cursed scrolls of chaos resistance. They cause corruption rather than curing it.

Magnus Malm has done some research on scrolls of chaos resistance:

Scrolls of chaos resistance
Status Ten trials: corruption points added or removed Min Ave Max
Cursed +293 +286 +301 +304 +324 +304 +311 +307 +284 +299 +284 +301 +324
Uncursed-595 -567 -539 -565 -618 -514 -562 -552 -500 -533 -500 -555 -618
Blessed -1649-1512-1458-1561-1415-1542-1561-1279-1507-1652-1415-1544-1652

Note that these numbers are to a first approximation double those of potions of cure corruption. Thus cursed SoCRs are twice as bad as cursed PoCCs, while blessed SoCRs are twice as good as blessed PoCCs. The implications should be obvious: never drink or read any cursed corruption removal item, and bless SoCRs in any but a dire emergency.

0.10.3.3 Tracts of order

Reading a tract of order amounts to an appeal to the lawful god for corruption removal. This is not free and uses up piety. Do not try this with a PC who does not have a very good relationship with his lawful god. In any case, the amount of corruption removed appears to be small. Tracts of order are most useful to get rid of an annoying corruption as soon as it occurs, thus reseeding the RNG and hopefully avoiding it the next time a PC receives a corruption.

0.10.3.4 Yrruir - the Greater White Unicorn quest

Yrruir will remove all corruption once as a reward for the PC killing the Greater Black Unicorn - Riurry. It is wise to wait to use this cleansing until it is absolutely necessary. If the PC is doing a normal ending, this should ideally be the last thing the PC does before leaving the Drakalor Chain to insure a corruption-free ending, which leads to better scores and a happier future history for the PC when the game is finished.


Updated April 1st, 2010