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.
Ice Queen item duplication Edit
When transitioning to a new area in the Ice Queen Domain for the first time, auto-pickup will trigger at the (x, y) location the PC just entered, but on the previous screen. This will add items to your inventory, but doesn't actually remove the items from the ground, resulting in item duplication. Very abusable, as this allows getting 16 (or 256 with the use of wand of destruction) copies of any items in your inventory.
1.2.0 status: Introduced in p21, fixed in r73.
Teleportitis robbing Edit
If teleportitis causes the PC to be teleported out of a shop with unpaid items in their inventory, you have one turn to drop these items and avoid the wrath of the shopkeeper. Once dropped, they lose their price tags and may be freely picked up. As abusable as kick-robbing, but with different setup requirements.
1.2.0 status: Introduced in r65, still working as of r94.
Free actions from "Act reasonably" Edit
The "Act reasonably" command (Enter key by default), allows choosing one of many contextual actions. Most actions that are supposed to take a turn do not take a turn when they are chosen in this manner. This means that kicking, missile attacks, wands, and spells may be used without monsters having a chance to retaliate. Shops may be freely robbed with swapping or teleportation in a manner similar to teleportitis robbing.
1.2.0 status: Introduced in r64, fixed in r73.
Waldenbrook can be raised to an incredibly high level by selling him Sis, and then sacrificed to reach level 50.
1.2.0 status: Introduced in p23, fixed in r89.
Picking up infinite stacks Edit
At least as of 1.0.0, it was possible to pick up more objects from the ground that were lying there, thus generating potentially infinite numbers of the same object, perhaps for selling or sacrificing. This could be done simply by trying to pick up a stack of objects that weighed so much that the game would ask how many you wanted to pick up, and then entering a number greater than the actual number of objects in the stack. Some relatively good objects to do this with included large rations (easy to obtain in heavy enough stacks), plant seeds (easy to obtain in general with Survival) and gold (valuable before the Casino). In spite of the theoretically infinite potential, this was tedious and ineffective in practice. It was also surprisingly dangerous, because during multiple repetitions, it was easy to accidentally enter a too large number and be crushed under the weight of the objects picked up. This method was obviously a case of exploiting a pure bug and thus would presumably be frowned upon.
1.2.0 status: Long since fixed.
Room effect stair-hopping Edit
Using stairs no longer takes a turn, but room effects still trigger immediately on ascent/descent. A PC with 20 Appearance can hop between ID 1 and 2, periodically wiping their face, until they obtain 1 Strength, 99 Appearance, 99 Charisma, and 99 Learning. The high scores can then be moved to more useful attribute via potion of exchange. The damage from shattering mirrors rooms is generally counteracted by the healing effect of the ancient bones room.
1.2.0 status: Introduces in r92, still working as of r94.
Ultra Healing Engine Edit
Characters (particularly spellcasters) who choose the Save Yrrigs quest can scum blessed potion of ultra healing rewards from Jharod using a few key items of equipment. The necessary gear includes a wand of trap creation, a spellbook of any healing spell, and a spellbook of Summon Monster. Invisibility is extremely helpful; ventriloquism can occasionally be useful.
The engine is created by choosing a room reasonably near to Jharod and creating traps until either an alarm trap or a light trap is created. Corruption and fireball traps are best removed; spear, acid, pit, and arrow traps should be left in place. Once the key trap is created, the character can now begin book-casting Summon Monsters. (A wand of monster creation can technically be used for this as well, but as it creates one monster at a time and requires recharging, it's not very effective.)
When a summoned monster is injured by a trap, the character should book-cast a healing spell on it, then go to Jharod to collect a blessed potion of ultra healing. She can now return to the trapped room and repeat. Damage-inflicting traps like spear and arrow traps will eventually run out of ammunition, but light and alarm traps do not appear to run out of charges. Alarm traps cause monsters to attack each other, and light traps can cause blind, staggering monsters to accidentally hit each other and start fights, thus guaranteeing a ready supply of injured monsters to heal. Troves of fifty or more potions are easily possible, as are extremely high hit point totals derived from drinking the potions.
A recent experiment in v.1.2.0 failed to produce an alarm trap through twenty zaps of a wand of trap creation. It's not clear whether this is a coincidence or a deliberate attempt to reduce scumming tactics.