ADOM is a roguelike RPG available for free download on the PC. Thomas Biskup began development of ADOM (then untitled) on July 12, 1994, while still a university student. He first posted the game online for public download in early 1996 with version 0.7.0. Development continued steadily and the game's popularity grew solely through word-of-mouth. In 1997, ADOM was at the zenith of its popularity, rising to #1 on the Worldcharts ranking of best free downloadable games, beating out other hit games of the time like Doom. Development of ADOM slowed in the years following, as Thomas moved on in life and had less and less time to afford his passion for game development. After the release of version 1.1.1 in 2002, Thomas put further development of ADOM on indefinite hiatus.
In July of 2012, Thomas launched a crowd-funding campaign to resurrect development of ADOM, giving the game one last chance to grow and reach its potential before development would be retired permanently. The campaign was successful, reaching 188% of its goal. Promised new features include:
- Tons of new content, such as new playable races and classes, new story and quests, new unique monsters, new legendary artifacts, new locations, new corruptions, etc.
- Improved presentation with tile support and a complete custom tileset, a new manual, audio and music, and UI enhancements
- Achievements and global leaderboards
- Countless bug fixes and balance tweaks
- Free release on platforms: Windows, Linux, MacOS, Amiga, NetBSD, FreeBSD; as well as a paid-for Steam-enhanced version
In ADOM, the player controls a single character whose configuration of race, class, etc. can be either randomly determined or specifiied by the player. Every character has a set of base stats that determined natural prowess and can be increased through various means during the game. Base stats include:
- Strength (St) - affects melee damage and accuracy, carrying weight, and more
- Learning (Le) - affects success chance of learning new spells, number of spell uses, and more
- Willpower (Wi) - affects number of power points, resistance to mind status effects, and more
- Dexterity (Dx) - affects missile damage and accuracy, success rate with many skills like lockpicking and pickpocketing, and more
- Toughness (To) - affects number of hitpoints, resistance to physical effects, and more
- Charisma (Ch) - affects favorability of reaction from NPCs of same gender, and more
- Appearance (Ap) - affects favorability of reaction from NPCs of opposite gender, and more
- Mana (Ma) - affects special forceful alterations of reality, and more
- Perception (Pe) - affects sight radius, and more
Characters also have a base speed, which normally starts at 100, and affects how quickly the character gets to take turns compared to other creatures (higher speed means acting more often). And characters have an alignment rating, which comprises a linear spectrum with nine possibilities that are derived from the alignments used in traditional Dungeons & Dragons. Alignment can be radically altered by starting race and class, as well as many types of actions taken while playing the game.
ADOM has a considerable learning curve due to its overall difficulty, which itself is determined in large part by the player's choice of race and class, and its interface: the keyboard. ADOM has 100 keyboard commands, although only a fraction of them are used regularly. Some of the more unusual ones include n to name yourself or another creature and E to clean your ears. It takes a little time to learn the basics like pressing > to descend a staircase or Z to cast spells, but soon enough they become second nature. Although the arrow keys can be used to move in the four cardinal directions, the numpad is preferable as it additionally offers the possibility of diagonal movement, which is a major advantage in ADOM's tactical and deadly combat.
Combat--the most common type of action in ADOM aside from simple movement--is handled just like movement: move into a space occupied by another creature to initiate a melee attack against it. There are many small exceptions to this,but they generally following common sense, such as a giving the player a prompt for confirmation before attacking a non-hostile creature.
Missile weapons and some spells can be fired at range.
Saving and Dying
In ADOM, the actions the player takes are always final and usually carry considerable consquences. The game may only be saved as part of exiting (by pressing S). ADOM keeps only one savegame file per character, so there is no saving and reloading to undo actions or decisions. If a player's character dies, that character's savegame file is deleted, and the character is permanently deceased and can no longer be played. Dead characters are enshrined in a local hall of fame, like a scoreboard, which assigns each character a score based on his or her lifetime accomplishments, and then ranks them. Factors such as experience level, quests completed, number of turns taken, and many others all contribute in various ways to this final score. Each character's cause of death is also recorded beside their entry in the hall of fame for the player to be reminded of how they brought each of their characters to an end.
Upon starting a new game of ADOM, the player gets to decide on some of the specifics of the character he or she wishes to play, while other details are randomly determined. The player may choose a race, a class, a gender, a name, answers to a random set of personal/moral questions to determine initial stat distribution, and his or her starting talents. The player also has the choice to leave each of these things except name to chance. Factors that are always randomly determined include birth star sign, auspicious birth events, eye and hair color, age, and biography.
|Human||Well rounded and versatile, humans do not have any exceptional strengths or weaknesses.|
|Troll||The toughest and strongest brutes around, trolls are dumber than blunt bricks, require gobs of food to keep up with their rapid metabolism, and only live to the age of 30, but no one can crush skulls like trolls can.|
|High Elf||Frail, though graceful, high elves are extremely deadly with long bows, and potent with arcane magic and other blades as well.|
|Grey Elf||Even more frail and beautiful than the high elf, yet even more powerful in spell-casting, the grey elf ought take care not to be killed by a stubbed toe at level 1, yet may grow to handily vanish a Chaos god by level 50.|
|Dark Elf||Despised by nearly all other races, dark elves are hardy, sinister combatants, who enjoy dark environments and sticking knives in peoples' ribs.|
|Dwarf||Experts at weaponsmithing, mining, and trapcraft, dwarves sport a hunger for gold almost as unquenchable as they are indefatigable.|
|Gnome||Slier and smaller than their dwarf cousins, gnomes usually prefer hit-and-run fighting using crossbows or magic.|
|Hurthling||Like the Hobbits of Tolkien lore, hurthlings are short-statured happy-go-lucky adventurers, who take pleasure in eating, homely amenities, and barefootedness.|
|Orc||Tall, rugged, and musclebound, orcs are bloodthirsty and vicious,potentially making for fearsome avatars for the forces of Chaos.|
|Drakeling||Scaly and lizard-like, drakelings can spit corrosive acid at foes and hurl drakish scurgari with devestating precision, but they are dangerously susceptible to extreme temperatures.|