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Magic Missile/Minor Punishment
School Arcane
Type Damage
Range Bolt
Base cost 8
Equivalent item wand of magic missiles

Magic Missile is an offensive arcane bolt spell in ADOM. It allows the caster to fire a ray of energy in a specified direction, damaging every creature (that doesn't evade or resist) in its path.

Magic Missile is a bouncing bolt spell, thus sharing the following features:

  • The spell travels in a straight line in one of the 8 possible directions.
  • Magic Missile damage decreases slightly as it travels.
  • Monsters are able to shrug off the bolt, completely avoiding damage.
  • Magic Missile will disappear as soon as it hits a door.
  • Magic Missile will bounce off a wall in the opposite direction if it was travelling perpendicular to this wall (or hits a corner) or will turn by 90 degrees if it was travelling diagonally. See section below for more information.
  • Damaging monsters with a bolt spell while invisible will not betray the PC's position to them.

Magic Missile is less powerful than all bolt spells especially for starting PCs. Nevertheless, it is often a bolt spell of choice for a lot of players (as well as one of the most popular causes of death for high-level characters — see below why) due to a number of reasons:

  • Nothing in ADOM is resistant/immune to Magic Missile since it does not deal elemental damage. It can only be shrugged off.
  • Magic Missile does not destroy items on the floor.
  • Magic Missile is a bouncing bolt spell which allows the player to deal more damage than normally with one casting. This feature along with zero item destruction make the spell a perfect choice for clearing large rooms full of enemies (especially effective for vaults).
  • Finally, Magic Missile is slightly cheaper than other bolt spells.

StatsEdit

Damage

Magic Missile damage is dependent on the PC's level (L) and proficiency (P) with the spell. As mentioned above, it slightly loses in firepower as it travels further from the caster (r stands for the amount of remaining travel points — it starts equal to the spell radius and decreases by 1 point per each tile). The exact formula for the spell damage looks the following way:

{max[2, (L + P) / 3]}d4 + r

Radius

Magic Missile radius depends on the PC's Willpower score (W) and level (L). The exact formula looks the following way:

W / 4 + L / 4 + 2

Example

In the example situation a level 6 Wizard with 15 Willpower casts a + 2 Magic Missile directly to the east. According to the formulae above, the effective spell damage will be 2d4 + r and spell radius will be equal to 6.

r=6543210
#########
#.......######
#.@.g...od...#
#.......####.#
#########

The goblin ('g') will receive 2d4 + 4 points of damage, the orc (monster) ('o') will receive 2d4 points of damage, while the rabid dog ('d') will not be affected, as the bolt will disappear right before it.

Extra

Bouncing

Bolt bouncing in ADOM works in an identical way to real light reflection, although all environmental properties in the game are extremely simplified. Walls in ADOM appear to be perfect reflective surfaces and spell rays travel in a such a way that they can only hit walls either at 45 or 90 degrees angle.

Each time a bolt bounces off a wall, it will use up 1 point of effective range.

In case a bolt hits a wall in a perpendicular fashion (at 90 degrees), it will change its direction to the opposite of which it was travelling:

Bolt radius is 6:
  (1)           (2)           (3)
#######       #######       #######
#.....#       #.....#       #.....#
#.@---#    => #.@...#    => #.@.--#
#.....#       #.....#       #.....#
#######       #######       #######
1) Bolt travels in the eastern direction for 3 tiles until it reaches the wall.
2) 1 range point is used for bouncing.
3) Bolt travels in the opposite direction for (6 - 3 - 1 = 2) remaining tiles.

In case a bolt hits a wall while moving diagonally, it will change its direction by 90 degrees.

Bolt radius is 6:
  (1)            (2)            (3)
########       ########       ########
#@.....#       #@.....#       #@..../#
#.\....#   =>  #......#    => #..../.#
#..\...#       #......#       #.../..#
########       ########       ########

1) Bolt travels in the south-eastern direction for 2 tiles until it reaches the wall.
2) 1 range point is used for bouncing.
3) Bolt turns by 90 and continues moving for (6 - 2 - 1 = 3) tiles in the north-eastern direction.

When a bolt hits a room corner (inner or outer), it will bounce in the opposite direction, just as if hit a wall in a perpendicular fashion.

Bolt radius is 4, inner corner:
  (1)            (2)            (3)
########       ########       ########
#...@..#       #...@..#       #...@..#
#....\.#   =>  #......#    => #......#
#.....\#       #......#       #.....\#
########       ########       ########
1) Bolt travels in the north-eastern direction for 2 tiles until it reaches the corner.
2) 1 range point is used for bouncing.
3) Bolt travels in the opposite direction for the remaining range points (4 - 2 - 1 = 1).
Bolt radius is 4, outer corner:
  (1)            (2)            (3)
#######       #######        #######
#...@.#       #...@.#        #...@.#
#####\##   => #####.##    => #####.##
    #.\.          #...           #.\.
    #..#          #..#           #..#
    #..#          #..#           #..#
1) Bolt travels in the north-eastern direction for 2 tiles until it reaches the corner.
2) 1 range point is used for bouncing.
3) Bolt travels in the opposite direction for the remaining range points (4 - 2 - 1 = 1).

Cause of death

The number of YASDs (Yet Another Stupid Deaths) related to a PC killing himself/herself with Magic Missile is very high. The death normally is caused by a typo while selecting casting direction, which leads to Magic Missile bouncing multiple times hitting the character instead of the player's designated targets. The main effectiveness of Magic Missile (no source of resistance or immunity against its attacks) works for the PC in the exact same way with terrible consequences.


Some information taken with permission from Andy Williams' Guidebook.

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