ADOM

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ADOM
Major Roguelike
Developer Thomas Biskup
Theme Fantasy
Influences Hack
Released 1994
Updated Oct 20th, 2002 (1.1.1)
Licensing freeware (postcardware), Closed Source
P. Language C
Platforms Amiga, Linux, Mac, Msdos, OS/2, Windows
Interface ASCII, Keyboard
Game Length Long to very long
Official site of ADOM

ADOM (which is short for Ancient Domains of Mystery) was released by Thomas Biskup in 1994. Its main features are its detailed storyline and its undisclosed source code, both of which are unusual in the roguelike world.

Contents

Description

Storyline

The game is set in the world of Ancardia, an original creation by Thomas Biskup. The objective is to find the source of chaos and disorder that is arising in the world, and stop it if you can. The game is much more plot driven than many other roguelike games, with many beings in the game assigning you quests, giving you advice and helping you on your way. There are a few compulsory quests, but the majority of quests and tasks in the game are optional. There are also multiple possible endings to the game.

The character starts at the top right corner of the wilderness map, and encounters the village of Terinyo as the first stopping point (if he follows the road). One can get food, quests and shelter here before proceeding to the dungeons of the game.

Dungeons

ADOM is classed as a 'hack game rather than a 'band game, mainly due to the semi-persistent levels present in most of the dungeons. When the player enters a new level, the layout for that level is then used for the rest of the game. If the player leaves a level, and then returns, he/she will find the level exactly as it was left. There is one exception to this - the Infinite Dungeon, which generates a new level every time stairs are used. However, many of the more interesting game features, such as altars, vaults and shops are never generated in the Infinite Dungeon.

All dungeon levels are either the same size as the screen or smaller, so no scrolling is required.

The main dungeon of the game is the Caverns of Chaos, a 50-level deep dungeon, with a few key special levels located there, including the main town of the game - Dwarftown. There are several smaller dungeons too, most of them being part of a quest in some way.

Classes and races

ADOM has ten playable races, and twenty playable classes. Any combination of the two is possible, though some combinations are not recommended.

Races - Humans, Trolls, High Elves, Gray Elves, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Hurthlings, Orcs and Drakelings.

Classes - Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Thief, Assassin, Wizard, Priest, Bard, Monk, Healer, Weaponsmith, Archer, Merchant, Farmer, Mindcrafter, Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Elementalist, Beastfighter.

All classes are able to use magic and all classes are able to use any item they should choose, but will receive appropriate bonuses/penalties to their abilities. Wizards and Priests will obviously learn magic far more easily than the fighting classes. However, the fighting classes will gain weapon skills far more easily. Races and classes may also have their own special abilities.

In the most recent version, players receive one or more talents at birth (depending on race, class, horoscope, mana and luck), and have to choose a further talent every three levels. These talents give pluses to stats, skills and grant other abilities.

Spells

ADOM features a large number of spells ranging from useful Light to mighty Wish. Spells can belong to arcane or clerical schools or both. Casters have a harder time learning and improving the effectiveness of magic from the other school.

ADOM treats most ball spells in a unique way. Each ball is centered on the player character but does not harm him.

Other notable features

  • Separated weapon skills for different kinds of weapons with diverse gains
  • Disease as long-term condition
  • Deities
  • Background corruption in dungeons, leading to mostly negative traits building up over the course of the game

Versions and platforms

ADOM is currently at version 1.1.1 and freely available for Windows, DOS, Linux and OS/2.

Source code

Unlike most roguelike games, the source code of ADOM is not freely available, though many guesses, deductions and experiments have allowed the players to deduce the majority of the game's workings.

In the past a couple of folks were very insensitive about my notions regarding ADOM variants and argued "If the game is available without costs I can do with the sources whatever I like". Those folks are... well... socially retarded would be too nice as a description. Let's just assume that those people really made me wonder about what I'm doing here. They really should try to create something in the scope of ADOM only once in their lives and then they might understand. Anyways, those folks annoyed the hell out of me and I've decided that I'm not going to release the sources for ADOM. - Thomas Biskup, taken from ADOM's readme

Resources

There are several sites dealing with ADOM information:

  • The official website can be found at ADOM. Also contains official forums and Thomas Biskup's blog.
  • Andy William's Guidebook (containing spoilers, detailed information, and much more) is located at The ADOM guidebook.
  • The ADOM newsgroup is another great source for information or getting a question answered. It is recommended you use a better news client, but you can access the newsgroup through Google Groups.
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