Scumming techniques are certain repeatable actions or tactics providing players with unusual in-game benefits, usually exploiting a bug or simply quirks of the game design that might not have been intended to be used this way, or to this extent. They vary from commonly employed practices like the ID stairhop to the abuse of piety overflow, which is frequently looked down upon since it involves heavily exploiting a programming oversight.
Note that the amount of scorn you will receive for using these strategies is inversely proportional to your newness to the game and the desperateness and difficulty of your situation in game when you decided to use one of these techniques; and directly proportional to how much you tend to brag about your successes. As a newbie, don't shy away from using these techniques in order to make it easier for you to gather more experience and become more skilled in the game in general. Many of these are perfectly fine elements of the game, and only those who are bored otherwise will set themselves the restriction not to use them (and sometimes fail to understand that not everyone shares their viewpoint). The most important rule of all is to have fun.
Many scumming tactics present in ADOM v. 1.1.1 were fixed in v. 1.2.0, either due to RFEs focusing on balancing the game or because they stem from bugs that would be fixed during development anyway.
This refers to using backups of the savegames to continue playing a particular character after he has died. This is universally regarded as not in keeping with the tradition of roguelike games, which expect you to succeed without dying at all, and thus a victory achieved after save scumming is not regarded as a true victory. Many will find this method necessary in order to reduce frustration during the very steep learning curve, or as an alternative playstyle (though not one that could be regarded as keeping with the spirit of the game).
The Steam release of ADOM introduced a 'Story mode' in advanced options, which allows the player to restore character from backup in case of death. Story mode does not produce score or generate achievements.
Involves creating lots of easy to kill gremlins and using them to get easy loot, be it by killing them, or by pickpocketing and then killing them, or having a pet kill them for you (and pickpocketing them for good measure). It's not workable for XP since gremlins give few to begin with, and though they grow more experienced, XP gain is reduced the more often you kill a monster.
Continuously going up and down stairs between two certain Infinite Dungeon levels. One could also explore them instead, but stairhopping exposes a maximum of floor tiles per turn. Loot created inside the room is picked up, and accumulates over time. Requires some patience, but is very safe in general, much safer than trying to find the respective loot in-game. Refraining from this technique - or, indeed, from entering the ID at all - will make the early game considerably more challenging.
1.2.0 status: Items are no longer generated on the floor on stair rooms in the ID.
Abusing integer overflow to turn a large negative piety into a huge positive and milk your god for goodies. This is considered to be a quite cheap and unnatural bug exploit by most ADOM players, but some legitimate Hall of Fame entries used it. It should be kept in mind that if there was an opportunity in game to achieve integer overflow of experience, it would most certainly defeat the purpose of almost the entire game; this "only" defeats the purpose of the sub-game of dealing with divine forces and provides virtually unlimited prayers, with all their benefits.
1.2.0 status: Several exploitable problems stemming from integer overflow have been fixed.
Dragon gold doubling Edit
Dragons which pick up gold dropped twice that amount in addition to their own gold upon death. Due to its exponential nature, this could easily be used to create truly game-breaking amounts of gold, which are commonly spent on getting piety for precrownings or to pay for Garth's training. There is a bit of risk involved, since many types of dragons can destroy entire heaps of gold with their breath attacks, and dragons are relatively rare in the early game and cannot double more than once. Even if the player wants to avoid this effect, it's not always possible to keep dragons from picking up gold in tension rooms or vaults.
1.2.0 status: Dragons no longer replicate gold.
Stat lowering Edit
Intentional lowering of stats by controlled sickness and/or starvation to train stats beyond the common limit of certain methods, such as herbs. Requires some cautiousness. Is not considered to be heavily game-breaking, it only squeezes out a bit more extra stats from a very safe stat training method, and opens up the possibility of being ridiculed for dying of starvation in this manner (even sickness can be deadly, but players will usually have it removed before that happens).
1.2.0 status: Stat training uses base stats instead of current stats, limiting the effectiveness of these measures.
Mostly considered to be to game breaking - once it gets going, the player has basically unlimited wishes at his disposal, which makes the rest of the game about as easy as it can be. The fact that 19 rings can be dipped at once, and a wish for potions of exchange usually returns three potions, contribute to the effectiveness of this method. Even 19 wishes, as gained from one successful dip, are more than enough to increase the character's power to game-breaking levels. To gain enough potions of exchange and a stack of 19 identical rings gremlin bombs are frequently employed.
1.2.0 status: Dipping a stack of items in a potion of exchange now transforms each item individually — making it harder to get such large stacks of the same item; moreover, wish engines were ultimately disabled when a measure was put in place so that potions of exchange could only ever produce one RoDS per game.
Easily abused; combined with some potions of exchange and plenty of food and time, all stats can be increased to 99. Very game-breaking - the player can only die to severe cases of carelessness afterwards.
1.2.0 status: Same as stat lowering, being essentially a subset of it.
Self education Edit
Writing lots of scrolls of education and using them to raise/get some skills. Under certain not really known conditions, scrolls can be created without any stat drains, but losing a few points of Mana is not unexpected, even with a blessed scroll and writing set. Not that scummy since it does require magical writing sets, rather rare tools, and really good skills are not easy to get.
Usually entails staying on cavernous levels with high monster generation to kill lots of monsters, gaining experience, items and weapon skill marks in process. Not very scummy since it is not entirely risk- and hassle-free, depending on the location where you perform it. More dangerous locations will yield greater returns, so for a challenge, choose a place where you will be faced with monsters that actually give a fight. Since you will naturally meet monsters and kill them while pursuing your regular goals, such as the overarching quests or exploring dungeons, you often don't have to specifically grind at all.
Repeatedly buying out all of the items from a shop so that a shopkeeper will produce more items. Can be combined with kick robbing occasionally. Provides a challenge in that obviously you have to get the gold somewhere; of course, gold is not exactly an issue if you use other scumming techniques such as dragon gold doubling.
1.2.0 status: Not affected in principle, but means of easily obtaining large amounts of gold were reduced in effectivity.
Opening a hole in a store corner wall that allows the PC to kick items out of a shop from outside, without enraging the shopkeeper.
1.2.0 status: Fixed.
Some monsters always, eventually, throw/shoot things at a character which they would not ordinarily drop if they were killed instantly. Allowing them to attack you will ensure you get these items. A common method to stock up on arrows or quarrels, or obtain an orcish spear as early in the game as possible.
Used to gain more items from monsters, as after a certain point about 99% of the creatures you will encounter are weak enough that you can easily afford spending another turn on a Pick pockets attempt. Everything that weighs 10 stones or less can be pickpocketed from any applicable creature, and items pickpocketed will not in any way lower the amount of items you gain from killing—in other words, you will find easily double the (below 10s) items in total, and thus be much more powerful than another player who did not pickpocket at all by sheer availability of resources. There are no good reasons to not pickpocket other than that it involves pressing additional buttons (at least two), while most small fry are usually killed in one or two hits. Due to the heavy increase in total loot, this is a habit some find worthy of picking up and others can't stomach. The difference is considerable, but nothing which will decide over life and death; a non-pickpocket will probably simply find himself grinding more often than the pickpocket.
1.2.0 status: The skill's effectiveness was reduced.
One of ways to scum for items is to bring the banshee into the Animated Forest. High rates of tree spawning combined with area instakill effect leaves many items rather quickly, although there is the danger of the banshee gaining levels and becoming rather dangerous in melee too.
1.2.0 status: Plants are now immune to the banshee's wail. Clever or lucky players can still turn their pets loose on the trees. Killer bugs appear to be best for this.