Not to be confused with the Chaos Archmage
Archmage is a title the ADOM community has bestowed on any character who can repeatedly bookcast the Wish spell indefinitely. The obstacles to this form of ultimate arcane power are quite extreme. The PC does not need to be a Wizard or even a spellcaster to become an archmage, but it is very difficult otherwise.
Finding the spellbook
The spellbook of Wish is the rarest spellbook in the game, but it is not impossible to find. Wizards and Necromancers are guaranteed to have one generated in the Library. Other classes will find a lot of spellbooks there as well, one of which can turn out to be a spellbook of Wish. In most cases, other classes will have to resort to scumming methods, such as restocking shops, or slaughtering the Animated Forest.
Reading the spellbook
Wish is by far the hardest spellbook in the game to read. Again, it is beneficial to be a Wizard or other spellcasting class; non-spellcasters will need significantly higher Learning. The Literacy and Concentration skills should be maximized prior to attempting to read the spellbook. Reading in a shelves of books room is also helpful.
The wish spellbook takes 3,003 turns to read successfully. Provided that the PC doesn't have anything increasing their hunger rate (being a troll, encumbrance, equipped artifacts, equipped invisibility-granting items, or the Thin and nimble corruption) there is barely enough time to read the spellbook at bloated and not die of starvation.
A blessed stomafilia herb should allow reading the book safely, as will items that can increase satiation at bloated, such as scrolls of satiation, potions of toughness, potions of potential toughness, Staff of nourishment, and the Cornucopia.
Alternatively, the spellbook can be read in a rich flavor room, which prevents satiation from going down.
Learning Wish without the spellbook
Certain race/class combinations (e.g. troll Mindcrafter) may be unable to learn Wish from the spellbook, or may want to avoid the risk of the spellbook being destroyed on an unsuccessful read. Wish knowledge can instead be obtained from the Bard level 18 power, mushrooms of the inner light, wands of wonder, potions of wonder, and the staff of wonder. The grind-able methods of increasing spell knowledge (potions and wands) grant a low amount of knowledge, so the PP cost of Wish may end up being higher.
Casting the spell
Wish costs 3000 PP if at least 100 points of spell knowledge are available. This can be reduced to 1500 by being lawful on Silvernight. Note that the cost of Wish is not discounted for chaotic characters on Darknight.
- A room that says "The atmosphere of this room makes your skin tingle!" can be used to lower the spell cost by 20%. Although the cost cannot be lowered below 1500, this can be helpful for PCs with less than 100 spell knowledge.
- The mana battery corruption also reduces spell costs by 20%. Again, this is useful for PCs with less than 100 spell knowledge.
- The Wizard/Priest class powers that lower spell cost do not affect the Wish spell.
However, for an archmage, casting the spell is not enough; casting will lower spell knowledge, and the book will not provide infinite knowledge. As spellbooks of wish cannot themselves be wished for, the player will be unable to replenish these castings unless they find another spellbook. To attain truly infinite wishes, the player must bookcast the wish; bookcasting does not reduce spell knowledge and will never use up or damage the book. The bad news is that bookcasting triples PP cost. The good news is that the Great Book Caster talent will reduce this penalty to a mere 50% increase. "Magically charged" rooms can further reduce the cost of bookcasting by 25%. PCs can pay for some of this cost with HP (1 HP pays for 2 PP), although this incurs a potentially lethal satiation cost.
Successfully casting the wish spell reduces a random Attribute by 10 points, which will gradually reduce bonus HP and PP. The PC must have enough base HP and PP to bookcast Wish with all Attributes at a base score of 1. If this condition is met, the player is an Archmage, as at this point there is nothing that can keep them from bookcasting wish over and over; any limiting factors can be overcome with wishes.
Increasing base HP
Base HP can be increased by drinking blessed healing potions, namely potions of ultra healing, potions of extra healing, and potions of healing. These can be generated in large numbers with various scumming techniques. Jharod is also a bottomless source of potions of ultra healing, provided the player has a means of healing monsters that have not been attacked by the PC (healing spells or class powers). A limitless supply of injured monsters can be created by bringing a fluff ball to the Water Dragon Cave. As Jharod's regeneration will keep him from drowning, he can be safely lured underwater.
The "of life" armor suffix increases max HP by 20%.
Items that provide Toughness bonuses are very useful, as they will increase HP even when natural Toughness is reduced to 1. These include bracers of toughness, knife of endurance, Chaos Orb of Elemental Earth, Rolf's Companion, and a few non-guaranteed artifacts.
Increasing base PP
PCs afflicted with the mana battery corruption will drain any wand they touch of its charges. This yields PP; 1 for an uncursed wand, 2 for a blessed one (number of charges above 0 is irrelevant). A level 32 Wizard can recharge any wand once. Wands can be generated in large numbers with various scumming techniques. Non-artifact magic staves can also be used, and are even renewable. The PC can leave a pile of undesirable magic staves on the ground and pick them up once they're fully recharged.
The "of power" armor suffix increases max PP by 20%.
Items that increase Mana are very useful, as they will increase PP even when natural Mana is reduced to 1. These include staff of the magi, pendant of mana, Trident of the Red Rooster, Crown of Chaos, Chaos Orb of Elemental Mana, and Staff of the archmagi.
Necromancer death abuse
Resurrecting with the level 50 Necromancer class power is supposed to halve maximum HP and Toughness. However, it functions oddly in ways that make gaining archmage status quite easy. After a certain number of deaths, the HP divisor overflows, resulting in the character having normal HP from then on (actually an HP increase for Mist Elves). The Toughness halving sets base Toughness to half of the old modified Toughness score. This can actually result in a Toughness increase if there is a large positive modifier. With a modifier of +50 from a combination of +Toughness items and boost toughness potions, modified Toughness will eventually reach 99.
On Silvernight with the bookcasting talents in the bookcasting discount room, the character should have enough maximum HP to cast Wish successfully without any special grinding. Each Wish will kill the character by starvation, replenishing HP and Toughness. Initial wishes can be spent on speed to extend the duration of Silvernight, potions of boost toughness to maintain Toughness at 99, and potions of water and potions of ultra healing to increase maximum HP sufficiently to cast Wish without needing Silvernight, the discount room, or any temporary boosts.
Continual PP restoration
Characters casting from PP will run into the problem of needing to wait for PP to regenerate. One method is to use the Orb of Mana to fully restore PP, and then wish for scrolls of corruption removal to undo the corruption. This has the added benefit that each use of the Orb will increase maximum PP. Once maximum PP is sufficiently high (or cannot be increased any further), wishes for crystals of power and potions of water can be used to restore PP. Some wishes for speed should be thrown in to extend the duration of Silvernight.
Being an Archmage
Obviously, ultimate arcane power has nice perks. The player can wish for unlimited amulets of life saving, keeping them safe from most deaths (level 50 necromancers with toughness-boosting gear don't even need these). Aging and corruption deaths can be staved off with potions of longevity and scrolls of corruption removal. See Archmage wishes for more ideas.