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Weapon skill reflects the character's familiarity with certain types of weapons, melee or missile, as well as shields. The weapon skill screen, accessible with Ctrl-"w", will display the character's weapon skills, including the benefits they provide and how many marks are needed to achieve the next weapon skill level. There are 16 levels, ranging from unskilled to Grand Mastery.

Wishing for "better marks" increases all weapon marks for melee and ranged weapons as well as shields. The higher the level, the more additional marks are required to level up. A wish typically provides enough to reach the next level. Past level nine, with average learning score of 20, at least two wishes are required to advance to level ten. The amount of marks received per wish depends on learning attribute - for learning score of 1, each wish seems to only add a couple hundred marks. For learning score of 99, it may well level up marks by three or four levels using a single wish, starting from skills level 1. It's possible to reach grand mastery in all categories using wishes alone but even with Le:99, it would take approximately 120 wishes, a feat not unheard of for archmages, but virtually impossible for any other character.

Increasing skill in using a certain type of equipment will grant the PC passive bonuses:

  • Melee weapon skills grant to-hit, extra damage and DV bonuses, as well as reducing the energy cost of performing an attack with weapons of the corresponding types;
  • Missile/ranged weapon skills grant to-hit and extra damage, as well as reducing the energy cost of shooting/throwing and increasing the maximum possible range of the attack;
  • Shield skill grants extra DV bonus.

Melee weapons Edit

Aside from type-specific bonus progression, melee weapon skills provide a reduction for attack energy cost:

Skill    0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
Cost  1000 980 960 940 920 895 870 845 820 790 760 730 700 665 630 595

Unarmed fighting Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3  +4  +6  +6  +9 +10 +10 +10 +12 +12
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +3  +4  +6  +6  +8 +10 +10 +12
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +5  +6  +8 +10 +12

Unarmed fighting is typically viable only for Monks, and is all but required for Beastfighters: these classes feature different base unarmed damage and to-hit values which progress with experience levels, whereas all other classes use 1d3 base damage (3d3 with the Thorns corruption). Certain items as well as high Strength and Dexterity will help to increase the efficiency of unarmed attacks, but this style of fighting is typically a rather poor choice. Necromancers who reach experience level 25 gain the Shadow Touch ability which will drain HP or PP from monsters on successful unarmed attacks, but this ability is somewhat situational unless the PC is well equipped and trained to use his/her fists effectively.

Daggers & Knives Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +4 +5  +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +11 +12
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0  0 +1 +1  +1  +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5

Daggers & Knives category consists of a somewhat extensive range of very light weapons which, however, deal below-average damage. Thanks to their low weight and slightly better to-hit rewards for weapon skills, daggers are commonly used as off-hand weapons for PCs specializing in two weapon combat. Unlike most other weapon types, daggers feature several highly specialized items that grant additional abilities, such as knives of endurance, which boost Toughness score and grant a source of regeneration while wielded; phase daggers, which penetrate through monsters' PV and are thus highly effective against heavily armored opponents (molochs, diamond golem, steel golems etc.); and finally bloody daggers, which have a high base critical rate and are thus comparable to slaying weapons.

Daggers also get a greater damage modifier from backstabbing than other types of weapons[1], thought to be a x5 damage modifiers for level 12+ Thieves and Assassins and x3 for other classes.

Artifact-wise, daggers feature the incredibly mediocre Cat's Claw—commonly considered to be one of the worst artifact weapons—and the quite powerful Serpent's Bite, which slays humanoids and poisons all living opponents. Finally, the game features a matched set of daggers, Sting and Needle, which are guaranteed but require the PC to be very far into the game already due to the difficulty of opponents which need to be dealt with (Srraxxarrakex and the assassin prince). Each of these daggers is mediocre on their own, but they become incredibly powerful when equipped together. This, however, will introduce increased energy cost penalties (due to two weapon combat); achieving high weapon skill with the Daggers & Knives category will help eliminate this problem to a certain degree.

Thieves and Assassins receive relatively powerful daggers (adamantium dagger of penetration and poisonous adamantium dagger respectively) as Heir gifts and will likely use them throughout the early- to mid-game (possibly later in Thieves' case), leading to a reasonably well-trained Daggers & Knives weapon skill.

Clubs & Hammers Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4  +5  +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +11 +12
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0 +1 +1 +1  +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5  +6

Clubs & Hammers provide a basic set of weapons without any specialized items. Slightly different from other weapons, the damage die distribution for warhammers and large hammers can synergize well with certain weapon prefixes and/or suffixes but the lack of any items which are powerful on their own makes this weapon group somewhat underwhelming. Two NPCs in the game—Glod and Kherab—are, however, guaranteed to drop eternium warhammers.

Artifact-wise, ADOM provides two one-handed weapons: the overall (with the exception of Toughness bonus) mediocre Black Thumb and the respectable humanoid-slaying Skullcrusher. The hammer of the gods is the only two-handed artifact in this category and, while far from lacking in offensive power, it hurts defensive capabilities rather significantly.

Maces & Flails Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4  +5  +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +11 +12
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0 +1 +1 +1  +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5  +6

The Maces & Flails category is roughly comparable to Clubs & Hammers but features two powerful special weapons: the undead-slaying maces of disruption and the high-damage maces of destruction. Eternium flails have even better potential synergy with damage-increasing prefixes/suffixes.

Artifact-wise, Maces & Flails are represented by three one-handed weapons: the guaranteed Big Punch, which boasts high damage but is very heavy; the incredibly powerful Purifier which slays undead, constructs and demons, covering the majority of end-game monsters; and finally the Sceptre of Chaos which, unfortunately, is more of an accessory for an ordinary chaos god ending than a weapon due to the sheer number of negative features as well as the significant amount of trouble necessary to retrieve it.

Swords Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4  +5  +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +11 +12
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0 +1 +1 +1  +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5  +6

The Swords category is the most extensive in ADOM, boasting 6 types of base items (each having higher metal variations) as well as the highly acclaimed swords of sharpness. In practice, more base items yield more swords than other weapons and thus increase the chance to obtain powerful prefixes/suffixes. Some high-rank chaos followers (chaos knights and chaos warriors) have a high chance to drop eternium long swords and can be hunted indefinitely in the wilderness (as soon as the PC reaches experience level 25) if the player so desires. As of version 1.2.0, the chaos diplomat will reward the PC with a predefined eternium scimitar of mayhem for killing the ice queen (typical stats of 4d8+13), thus guaranteeing players a high-damage one-hander if they choose to complete the quest.

Artifact-wise, there are multiple possibilities for sword fighters: the aptly named Kinslayer, which provides respectable damage, minor defensive bonuses and humanoid slaying powers at the expense of being autocursing; the defense-oriented Trusted One, which grants various intrinsics and increases DV and PV considerably; the rapier of the needle, with its great Dexterity bonus and increased critical hit chance. Paladins who receive Justifier as a crowning gift (or happen to obtain it in some other way) become almost unstoppable thanks to artifact's hidden ability, while other classes will unfortunately find it seriously lacking in damage output. Thanks to this, it may generally be a reasonable plan to focus on sword-training for Paladins in hopes of getting their most treasured item. Finally, there are two guaranteed artifact swords which can be obtained very early on: Death's Sting, the reward for becoming the champion of the Arena, and the Sword of Nonnak, which is found on the lower level of the Dwarven Graveyard, buried with the remains of Griff Bloodax. Death's Sting is severely lacking in damage and does not provide any benefits aside from minor DV and PV increase and a boost to speed. The Sword of Nonnak is likewise underwhelming for extensive melee combat, but is useful for spellcasting classes and Mindcrafters thanks to its respectable Willpower bonus (as well as resistance to death rays, which is typically hard to obtain without sacrificing important item slots).

Axes Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4  +5  +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18
To-Damage Modifier  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +12 +14 +16
DV Modifier         0  0  0  0  0 +1 +1  +1  +2  +2  +3  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4

The Axes category provides few alternatives in common weapons for the mid- to late-game, with only battle axes made of higher metals. There are no special weapons, which means that the PC has to find a good prefixed/suffixed weapon to have high melee potential. In the early game, various axes serve relatively well with higher-than-average damage. Battleaxes and orcish battle axes may be obtained from (large) gnolls and hill orc sergeants, respectively. Clearing the vault on the 6th level of the Puppy Cave may leave the PC with a large number of battleaxes to choose from if it happens to contain a gnoll/hyena combination.

Artifact-wise, the Axes category offers a choice of three weapons ranging from good to excellent. Rolf's Companion is guaranteed to lawful characters from the dwarven mystic and can be complemented with Rolf's Saviour (possible reward for Thrundarr's 4th quest) for extra combat damage (players need to be sure to equip the shield in the right hand and the axe in the left). It lacks slaying powers but provides a great defensive boost without sacrificing too much offense. Hammerhead packs a punch comparable to eternium quality weaponry while granting minor DV/PV increase and a boost to Toughness; it also doubles as an unbreakable pickaxe, which will be of great use to players who are planning to do a lot of smithing. Finally, Executor is one of the best one-handed weapons in the game despite granting the Cursed intrinsic, combining high damage, passive Strength and speed bonuses and excellent slaying powers targeting humanoids and demons all into one weapon.

Whips Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6  +8 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20 +22 +24
To-Damage Modifier  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3  +4  +5  +7  +9 +11 +13 +15 +17 +19
DV Modifier         0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6  +7  +8  +9 +10 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15

Despite significantly increased weapon skill bonuses, whips are very rarely used due to a number of factors which boil down to the following one: focusing on this category is very unreliable. Early on, only whips and scourges can be found and these weapons boast close-to-zero combat capabilities. More powerful whips are very rare and incredibly vulnerable to item destruction on account of being made of leather. On average, their primary function is to fix the PC's alignment—and sadly, the efficiency of this technique is not affected by weapon skill.

Polearms Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6  +7  +8  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2 +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +11 +12
DV Modifier         0  0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5  +6  +8 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20 +22

The Polearms category is the primary focus among weapon skills for many players despite lacking powerful specialized weapons, generally thanks to one significant reason: skill DV bonus. A one-handed spear-and-shield combination provides incredible defensive capabilities and offense efficiency is typically only a matter of finding a good suffix/prefix for an eternium spear. Moreover, all two-handed polearms share the weapon skill with their one-handed counterparts, making a strategy of raising the weapon skill with a spear-and-shield combination and switching to halberds for higher damage output perfectly viable. Another early-game factor for polearms' popularity is the ease of obtaining orcish spears (by milking orc scorchers), which generally out-damage starting equipment on top of the higher weapon skill bonuses.

Artifact-wise, one-handed spears do not transition to the late game very well due to lacking desirable slaying powers. Both scorched spear and Bugbiter feature higher than eternium-quality damage, but grant rather useless intrinsics and slay plants and insects respectively—and both of these monster type varieties are very limited in ADOM.

Two-handed artifact polearms feature a wide variety of weapons: the somewhat mediocre Long Sting and Soaker (which are, however, good as one-shot missiles); the guaranteed but very rarely-used Moon Sickle (mostly due to corruption issues); the very powerful rune-covered trident which can be normally obtained only at experience level 36 unless the PC was born under the sign of Raven (in which case it becomes almost a game-breaking quality item). Finally, the legendary Trident of the Red Rooster, a tremendously powerful endgame weapon also benefits from this weapon skill, though it requires a combination of early planning and a bit of luck to acquire.

Twohanded weapons Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +4 +5  +6  +7  +8 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20
To-Damage Modifier  0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +6 +8  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +21 +25 +30
DV Modifier         0  0  0 +1 +1 +1 +2  +2  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5  +6  +8

Twohanded weapons are focused on dealing as much damage as possible while sacrificing the defensive capabilities of the PC. Thankfully, the weapons provided are very efficient for this strategy and, as of version 1.2.0, benefit more significantly from the PC's Strength than one-handed weaponry. Two-handed swords are quite powerful on their own and become absurdly efficient with the necessary prefixes/suffixes. For more defensive-oriented players, swords of parrying are an interesting choice, packing respectable damage and keeping a certain level of DV.

Artifact-wise, ADOM offers a wide range of weapons for players who are ready to turn their PCs into glass cannons. The heavy-weight and high- damage Death's Blade is great at taking on death ray-wielding enemies; Grod provides high damage improved by its innate increased critical chance (as well as giant-slaying powers); Vanquisher's modest base damage (only in comparison with other high-quality two-handers) is alleviated by slaying powers that work on every type of monster in the game except animals, plants and insects. Guaranteed and buffed as of version 1.2.0, the axe of the minotaur emperor is comparable to the Trident of the Red Rooster and twin daggers Sting and Needle in terms of raw damage; its only downside is the necessity of traversing the Minotaur Maze to actually obtain it. Added as of version 1.2.0, Foeslammer (exclusive to Chaos Knights) features high damage, increased critical hit chance and a situationally powerful terror effect.

Staves Edit

                    0  1  2  3  4  5  6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6  +7  +8  +9 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20
To-Damage Modifier  0  0  0  0 +1 +1 +2  +2  +3  +3  +5  +6  +6  +7  +8 +10
DV Modifier         0 +1 +2 +3 +5 +7 +9 +11 +14 +17 +20 +23 +26 +30 +35 +40

Staves are a class of weapons more or less opposite to two-handers in terms of combat strategies. They offer a very powerful defensive boost but meagre to-damage bonus, making them—as intende—a spellcaster-oriented weapon group. This is further accentuated by a variety of useful bonuses that several unique staves have to offer: the powerful speed boost of quicksilver quarterstaves; the PP-boosting Mana bonus of the staves of the magi; and the spell damage/range-boosting Willpower bonus of the staves of power. There are nevertheless several combat-oriented staves, such as staves of smiting and eternium-shod quarterstaves (with powerful suffixes/prefixes).

Despite the obvious defensive advantages, a common opinion (backed by actual numbers) is that staves are worse than a onehander-and-shield combinations. Things are further worsened for the staves category by the fact that only base quarterstaves have higher metal variations—thus, a good weapon can be lost to item destruction.

Artifact-wise, ADOM offers a choice of three staves: the staff of the Wanderer, with good defensive capabilities and relatively high (compared to all other staves) damage output, which also features some intrinsics and a Toughness bonus; the mediocre staff of the archmagi, with almost non-existent damage output but high Mana bonus (generally not that powerful even for spellcasters); finally, as of version 1.2.0, mist elven characters have a chance to receive the staff of Creation, which provides fire immunity and a stellar Willpower bonus, which greatly increases offensive magic potential.

Shields Edit

Weapon skill in shields provides a DV bonus equal to double the skill level. A player can only gain a bonus from said skill equal to twice the DV value of the shield, regardless of the actual skill level (e.g. a [+3, +1] wooden shield will only grant 6 (3*2) DV, even with Grand Mastery). Furthermore, a shield's flat DV bonus determines up to which level it can train the skill—a [+9, +4] medium crystal shield can only increase it up to level 9, no matter how much it is used.

More details about shield use can be found on the corresponding page.

Ranged weapons Edit

ADOM features the following ranged/missile weapon categories:

  • Slings
  • Bows
  • Crossbows
  • Thrown axes & hammers
  • Thrown daggers
  • Thrown rocks & clubs
  • Thrown spears
  • Boomerangs & Scurgari

Each of these categories can be trained, like melee weapon skills. However, there is no difference in weapon skill progression between them:

                    0  1  2  3  4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15
To-Hit Modifier     0 +2 +4 +6 +8 +10 +12 +14 +16 +18 +20 +22 +24 +26 +28 +30
To-Damage Modifier  0 +1 +3 +4 +6  +7  +9 +10 +12 +13 +15 +16 +18 +19 +21 +22
Range Modifier      0  0  0 +1 +1  +1  +2  +2  +2  +3  +3  +3  +4  +4  +4  +5

Missile weapon skills yield a +2 to hit and +1 to damage for every skill level and an additional +1 to damage for skill levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14. Missile weapon skills have no effect on the character's DV but, instead, the range of missiles is increased by +1 for every 3 skill levels. Somewhat unexpectedly, the same bonuses also apply to throwing shields; it will not only train the shield skill, but also benefit from it like below and regarding energy cost, with the exception of missile range.