The Gremlin Cave is a dungeon in the south-west corner of the Drakalor Chain. As the name implies, it is infested with gremlins and has several special features thematically and practically useful for its inhabitants.
The Gremlin Cave is always generated completely dark, as gremlins do not like light. Light sources, including torches, amulets of light, wands of light, scrolls of light, crystals of light and the Light spell, all function normally.
Only gremlins seem to be generated in the Gremlin Cave. These monsters are naturally able to see in the dark and are damaged by intensive light — using methods to permanently remove darkness will hurt all gremlins in the effective area. The Light spell is particularly destructive in this respect..
Similar to the second level of the Assassins' Guild, the Gremlin Cave is generated with a significant number of traps; the vast majority of them are water traps. If a gremlin is hit by a gush of water it will multiply (that is, a number of new gremlins are generated around the trap). If the player doesn't exercise caution, the situation can quickly deteriorate to the point where gremlins are appearing faster than the PC can dispatch them and block him/her from leaving the dungeon. As gremlins are generated progressively (albeit slowly) more powerful the more of them are killed (a common mechanic in ADOM) a trip to the Gremlin Cave can become one-way for the PC.
The Gremlin Cave is always generated with several guaranteed items in it:
- artifact phial of Caladriel — a magical potion which can be used as a tool to generate light using PP and a primary target of most trips to the dungeon; it is also often retrieved to serve as ratling fodder;
- climbing set;
- numerous fluff balls.
The phial is always generated in the room furthest from the entrance to the cave and can be reached easily with controlled teleportation. The climbing set is placed randomly and can be quickly picked up by a gremlin which significantly reduces the chances to retrieve it without killing hordes of these monsters. Zapping a wand of item detection or reading a scroll of item detection immediately upon arriving is generally a good idea, especially if controlled teleportation is available. Using it the PC will be able to avoid any battles (unless (s)he get unlucky with initial gremlin generation) and claim all necessary items with just three teleports (one for the phial, one for the climbing set and the last one to return to the staircase).
Fluff balls are relatively rare items which will spawn gremlins if in contact with water. Picking them up and carrying around the Gremlin Cave without a waterproof blanket can easily make things worse if the PC is hit by a water trap.
Altars can be generated in the Gremlin Cave, although gremlins that come into existence through water multiplication are considered summoned and therefore cannot be sacrificed.
The following tools can be of great help in the Gremlin Cave:
- Any light sources;
- Means of teleportation (preferably controlled) — to avoid/escape hordes of gremlins;
- Means of digging (pickaxes or wands of digging) — to avoid/escape hordes of gremlins;
- Waterproof blanket to avoid item damage from water traps;
- Disarm Trap spell or Disarm traps skill.
The following advice can be followed to avoid getting trapped (or to handle bad situations) in the Gremlin Cave:
- Large rooms with water traps and gremlins should be avoided as it is extremely difficult to progress through them.
- If the PC is trapped in such a room (or anywhere on the level), it is crucial to keep moving immediately as an opening it available. Gremlins are very weak in combat (at least for a while) and slowly moving at the cost of getting surrounded is preferable to increasing the kill count while standing in place.
- Blocking the water trap by reaching and standing on it is a very effective tactic (unless there is another trap nearby) to stop multiplication in the PC's close vicinity.
- Gremlins can't get past locked doors which makes an excellent tactic of blocking paths and/or water traps.
- Traps of other types can be generated in the Gremlin Cave artificially by the PC (through the use of wands of trap creation. Alarm traps will cause monster infighting and shift a portion of gremlins from the PC. Fireball traps will serve as a perfect crowd control mechanism (if the PC has fire resistance) but will disappear after being triggered several times. Light traps will constantly damage gremlins which walk into them.
Scumming the Gremlin Cave
In version 1.1.1 of ADOM the Gremlin Cave was a natural environment for a setup called a gremlin bomb — the PC with a companion will stay in one place and repeatedly use Pick pockets skill on gremlins whereas his/her companion will ensure the constant stream of new gremlins to steal from by dispatching already cleaned ones. This way, gremlins do not get more experienced (as the PC is not the one who does the killing) and a great number of items are generated in a safe and fast in real time (but not turn-wise) fashion. As pick-pocketing only produces items weighing less than 10 stones, only a specific set of items are obtained — mostly gold, potions, scrolls, amulets and rings. If the DL of the Gremlin Cave is slightly boosted by scrolls of danger, powerful items such as rings of djinni summoning — the primary target of the whole endeavor — can be generated.
As of version 1.2.0 gremlins can no longer be pick-pocketed removing the possibility of employing the gremlin bomb strategy.