ADOM Guidebook


Killing monsters

0.9.1 The significance of the first kill

Many new ADOM players are dismayed to find that they need to know what monster their PC killed first. By the time they find this out, they have forgotten, of course. Write it down, rename your PC to reflect your first kill, do anything necessary to remember that first kill. It is very important, especially if you are going to attempt an ultra ending.

0.9.1.1 The Courage skill

There is a description of the Courage skill in the ADOM manual. It is worthwhile to acquire it, although many players ignore it and have finished the game without it. The skill is obtained by finishing the Old Barbarian's quest: kill an additional score (20) of the monster your PC first killed. Note that the Old Barbarian will not give the quest to PCs who have chaotic alignment.

0.9.1.2 The Filk quest

The Filk quest is for very advanced players attempting an ultra ending. The quest objective is to find and kill the named quickling bard Filk. He can be found in the Infinite Dungeon on the level number corresponding to the number of first-kill monsters the PC has killed. This will of course be a minimum of 21 if the PC has acquired the Courage skill. It can also change during the quest if the PC kills additional first-kill monsters after being assigned the quest. See section 4.3.1.1 for more about the Filk quest.

0.9.1.3 Strategy for the first kill: where and what?

There are many schools of thought on what the first kill should be. If the PC wants to acquire the Courage skill quickly after being assigned the Old Barbarian's quest, the monsters should be readily available. If the PC also plans to do the Filk quest later in the game, the total number of first-killed monsters killed must be minimized in order to prevent a tedious and dangerous dive into the Infinite Dungeon. Some experienced players will ignore the Old Barbarian's quest for the Courage skill. This makes it very easy to complete the Filk quest, since if the player has chosen wisely the PC will have killed only one of the monsters in question. Some players choose to make the first kill in Lawenilothehl for this reason. Muggers, for instance, are found only in Lawenilothehl and the Assassins' Guild. Skriek, the ratling found in Lawenilothehl, is the only cloaked ratling in the game (although killing him means the PC can no longer buy keys from him, which can save the PC's life). Hotzenplotz, who is also located in Lawenilothehl, is the only crime lord in the game. He is not easy for an experience level one PC to kill, but it can be done with wizards who have a good offensive bolt spell (not Magic Missile), or hurthling archers who start the game with level five skill in thrown rocks. Hotzenplotz's guardians Grunge and Munge are likewise the only two half-orc bouncers in the game.

If the PC wants the Courage skill and wants to attempt an ultra ending, the following requirements must be met: the first kill must be a monster readily available after receiving the Old Barbarian's quest; it must also be uncommon in the various dungeons the PC will face so that the Filk quest does not get out of control. Entering the Small Cave at the start of the game and killing a rat, kobold or goblin as the first kill, for instance, makes it much more difficult to finish an ultra ending.

0.9.2 Cats - the significance of felines

There are three types of monsters that count as cats in ADOM: cave lions, cave tigers and wild cats.

The Cat Lord resides on D: 35 in the Caverns of Chaos. He rewards PCs who have avoided killing any cats with a powerful artifact ring. He will be hostile towards PCs that have killed cats and becomes more powerful with each cat killed.

Many players consider the Ring of the Master Cat to be the most powerful and desirable ring in the game. It grants +16 to Dexterity and +16 to speed. In addition it causes the PC to deliver considerably more critical hits with melee and missile weapons and grants the Fate Smiles intrinsic.

It is important to remember that even after receiving the ring, the PC must not kill any cats while wearing it, since it explodes in that circumstance. The ring does not explode if it is in the backpack or left on another level when a cat is killed after receiving the RotMC.

Make no mistake about it, the requirement to kill no cats for the entire game is a difficult one, causing many to refer to them as "those damn cats." The power of the ring makes it worthwhile to attempt to avoid killing them.

There are several ways to deal with cats. Teleportation is one, from a wand or spell. Either teleport the cat away, especially if the PC does not have teleport control, or teleport the PC. Potions of exchange thrown at a cat will turn it into another monster. Potions of raw chaos, available at any time once the PC has Moon Sickle, will turn cats into writhing masses of primal chaos when thrown at cats. Cats can be led over traps until they are killed or turned into a writhing mass of primal chaos. Luring a cat across an alarm trap causes other monsters to become hostile and attack the cat. Note that in newer versions of ADOM, the PC is charged with killing a cat if he creates or sets off a trap that kills a cat. Wands of destruction can be used to safely kill cats since monsters "destroyed" in this way do not appear in the kill list.

PCs that are near Dwarftown can bring cats to Dwarftown and have the Priest, for instance, kill them. This is probably a bit dangerous, since bringing hostile monsters into Dwarftown repeatedly may eventually result in some of the inhabitants becoming hostile. It should also be possible for PCs near the Banshee's level to bring cats to her level and have her wail kill them. Additional monsters that can be used include vortices. Lure a cat close enough to one and allow it to explode. Be familiar with vortices before trying this.

Companions can kill cats for you. Cave lions and wild cats can be tamed with rat and/or giant rat (but not chaos rat) corpses, if you have enough of them. Cave tigers can eventually be tamed with pieces of fresh and/or raw meat, but it requires five or more pieces. If the PC can become invisible, and has not attacked the cat in question, it can simply be walked away from. Cats can be confused with the Ventriloquism skill. While they are confused, run away. Cats can probably be confused or blinded by throwing potions of confusion or blindness at them. Again the run away tactic would be used.

0.9.3 Karmic beings

Karmic monsters come in three main varieties: karmic lizards, karmic dragons and ancient karmic dragons. They can be identified by the fact that they change color with each turn. Be very careful if the PC encounters a lizard with the 'w'alk command. It may allow the PC to wind up right next to the lizard, in which case you may not have time to notice the color change. Karmics demand caution because attacking them in melee causes the PC to lose the Fate Smiles intrinsic, then the Lucky intrinsic followed by cursing then dooming if the PC continues. This is not a 100% guaranteed effect. PCs can kill karmics in one hit and not suffer the consequences. However, it happens so often that karmics should not be engaged in melee if it is possible to avoid it. Killing them with magic, missiles, mindcraft or companions is the way to dispatch them. The changing color of karmics reflects the nature of karmic dragons. They breathe not one element, like ordinary dragons, but have all the breath attacks available, varying from turn to turn depending on their color. This also means that they are immune to all elemental magical attacks. Unfortunately karmic dragon scale mail is not available in the game. ;-) They are vulnerable to dragon slaying ammo.

There are such things as karmic wyrms. There is one guaranteed in the game. Thankfully, he is not initially hostile. Another being shares the cursing/dooming property of karmics: Filk, the quickling bard.

Karmic beings will occasionally leave corpses when killed. Eating the corpse of a karmic being will, in order, remove the doomed intrinsic if present, remove the cursed intrinsic if present, grant the Lucky intrinsic if not present and grant the Fate Smiles intrinsic if not present. Remember all or any of these intrinsics can be present simultaneously. Thus a PC that is doomed and Lucky would lose the doomed intrinsic and retain the Lucky intrinsic after eating a karmic corpse. The same is true for a PC that has the cursed and doomed intrinsics - the PC would lose the doomed intrinsic but not the cursed intrinsic and would not gain either the Lucky or Fate Smiles intrinsics.

0.9.4 Dragons

The various dragons have particular vulnerabilities noted in Appendix J. They have a unique characteristic when killed: a dragon that has picked up gold pieces will drop twice as many when killed, in addition to whatever gold and other treasure it may have been carrying. This is probably a bug and can obviously be used to multiply the PC's gold potentially indefinitely once he is buff enough to dispatch dragons. Note that the amount of gold in a single stack is limited to a 32-bit integer (2^31 - 1 or 2,147,483,647). Generating larger stacks will cause errors.

0.9.5 Strategies for dealing with particularly annoying monsters

Suggestions for more annoying monsters are welcome. No uniques, though - they are dealt with in the section pertaining to their location.

This section is about annoying monsters. Not necessarily very dangerous or life-threatening, just monsters that are your personal pet peeve with some attack or characteristic that infuriates you.

Early game:

claw bugs - Since claw bugs always ignore PV (luckily, they never damage armor) and there are almost no wearable items substantially increasing DV at this point in the game, fighting them in true berserker mode - wearing nothing and switching tactics to berserker (see section 0.14.11) might be worthwhile. In this mode, there are good bonuses to to-hit and to-damage values - usually enough to take them out in one hit. Of course, this is not necessary once the PC has some missiles and/or spells to take them out. Note that claw bugs are immune to mindcraft as are all insects. They are very fragile and pose a threat only due to their numerous (8 per turn!) armor-punching attacks.

ghuls - They are only dangerous because of their paralyzation ability. Otherwise easy to kill. PCs with halfway decent DV or PV should not have a problem.

jellies - Jellies can be troublesome due to several of their attacks - sickness, acid, poison, paralyzation, etc. Gray oozes and ochre jellies will corrode weapons made of iron, mithril and adamantium or damage the PC with their acidic attacks when fighting unarmed. Gloves will be immediately destroyed. Mithril and adamantium weapons are more resistant to corrosion, but it will happen eventually - do not attempt to clear a jelly pit in melee with weapons made of iron (especially), mithril or adamantium. This can be problematic for a low level PC. Spells or missiles are preferable, but if a low level PC must melee these critters, stone weapons are a good choice since they do not corrode. Alternatively, the PC can wield a si and bash the jelly with it. As an artifact, the si cannot be damaged. PCs that are acid resistant will take no damage unarmed.

Gelatinous cubes can be particularly annoying because of their ability to destroy items that are lying on the ground. Losing that waterproof blanket in the SMC to one of these ugly blobs is extremely frustrating. Easily killed with missiles, spells and mindcraft (!?).

One of the nastier jellies is the stone ooze. The paralysis attack of these can be very, very nasty for PC's who have no means of paralyzation resistance (such as an amulet of free action). Attack them from a distance or run away.

Midgame:

dopplegangers - These are frustrating because they deflect missiles and cause confusion. Doppleganger lords are somewhat more dangerous. Doppleganger kings are exceptionally dangerous even for very experienced PCs: they reflect the nature of the PC exactly in terms of DV and PV and may inflict substantially more damage than the PC is capable of dealing. Their speed is also nearly identical to the PC's although movement cost and hitpoints are not copied. Normal dopplegangers are easily killed with spells or mindcraft. All dopplegangers share an inherent weakness: they are helpless in the dark. If the PC can create Darkness, from the spell, the scroll or the crystal, dopplegangers are easily killed in melee.

Dorn beasts - Annoying because of their constant paralysis attack. An amulet of free action will solve this problem. Less well known is the tactic of attacking them in darkness or while blind. A recent report suggests attacking them with missiles. Their paralysis attack does not seem to engage when using missile weapons.

mimics - These annoying creatures can appear in a shop when the player is least expecting it (although they do not seem to show up in Terinyo or Lawenilothehl, thankfully, they do appear in the HMV shop - a warning for players that elect to descend through the UD to start the game). By the time the PC encounters them, they can generally be killed; they are simply surprising and startling. One is almost guaranteed in Waldenbrook's shop. As with dopplegangers, attacking in Darkness is effective. Note that tension rooms full of mimics, master mimics and mimic hiveminds are much more dangerous than a single mimic in a shop.

rust monsters - These beasts will rust the PC's vulnerable armor and weapons. Extremely annoying, since all they have to do is touch the PC and a perfectly functioning sword of sharpness or phase dagger can be reduced to a useless hunk of metal. They can be pacified by throwing metal items at them. Quarrels are a good choice if the PC has some expendable ones. Their brethren, large rust monsters and giant rust monsters, unfortunately can not be pacified in this way.

Late game:

emperor lichs - Emperor lichs are trouble. An exception to the general rule in this section, these annoying monsters are quite capable of killing a PC quickly. They cast Death Ray, so resistance is essential. They see invisible, are stat drainers and are summoners. A group of emperor lichs, such as those found in greater undead vaults, is a challenge even for level 50 PCs who have won the game. They are vulnerable to high effectivity fire spells. Improved Fireball with effectivity +20 or more and willpower 48 or greater is a spellcaster PC's friend against emperor lichs.

molochs - Molochs, and their larger brethren Greater Molochs, are a significant threat. Their melee attack can be for 100 HP or significantly more in the case of GMs. They fall into the annoying category because it is possible to run away from them with any PC that has halfway decent speed. They typically have a speed in the 60-70 range.

0.9.6 Weapon status - blessed, uncursed, cursed

The damage inflicted on an opponent that falls into the demon or undead category is dependent on the weapon's blessed vs uncursed vs cursed status. The formulas are as follows:

For blessed weapons, inflicted damage = (normal damage 1.5) - PV
For uncursed weapons, inflicted damage = (normal damage 1.0) - PV
For cursed weapons, inflicted damage = (normal damage 0.5) - PV

Cursed weapons also seem to be more prone to breakage. Blessed weapons seem to be less prone to breakage.


Updated September 26th, 2009