Experience is one of the base concepts of ADOM and the majority of other role-playing games identifying various statistics and powers of the PC. In a typical fashion, the PC gets progressively more powerful as his/her experience grows. Again, in a traditional way, PC's experience is represented by a single integer number and there are 49 threshold values standing for experience levels — only reaching the next value (or simply the next level) will actually improve the PC's stats and may grant extra powers. The exact amount of experience a PC has gained can be seen next to the character's level in ASCII mode.
As mentioned before, experience levels are threshold values which, upon reaching, trigger a number of events. The maximum level which can be reached in ADOM is 50, although special "fake" level-ups may occur after.
Experience level values
The magnitude of experience level values is governed by a great number of factors. First of all, the progression (the amount of experience that needs to be accumulated in order to go from level X to level X+1) itself is non-linear. Typically, the first several levels may be reached very fast which significantly improves the chances of early-game survival. The overall magnitude of levels is majorly based on the PCs' Race and Class. Gnomes, Hurthlings and Humans level up the fastest. Trolls gain levels very slowly, Mist Elves level up slowly (but not as slowly as trolls), and all other races seem to gain levels at around the same rate.
When the PC reaches his/her next level the following things happen:
- PC's Attributes or their potentials are increased/decreased based on natural training;
- PC's HP and PP maximum scores increase;
- The PC gets very minor but permanent to-hit and to-damage bonuses;
- The player is given a choice to increase his skills according to their advancement die. The number of increases is one per every 5 points Learning is above 10 (+ various minor modifiers like star sign or some class powers) with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 20.
- PC's standard class powers and extra abilities are activated if the PC reached a corresponding level.
- Starting with version 1.1.0 talents are unlocked if the level reached is divisible by three.
Aside from standard class powers a number of special abilities are level-dependent. These abilities include the following:
- Drakelings' acid spit;
- Monks' and Beastfighters' unarmed weapon skill to-hit and damage. Monks are also able to 'k'ick down walls as soon as they reach level 13.
- Merchants' coin throwing attack;
- Necromancers get access to new types of slaves as they progress;
- Mindcrafters get access to new Mindcraft powers as they progress and the PP cost of all powers gradually lowers.
Unlocking quests and locations
Availability of certain quests and locations depends on PCs level.
There are several ways in ADOM to receive experience:
- Killing monsters;
- Offering peace to monsters;
- Finishing quests;
- Successfully using the Disarm traps skill.
The last way is very rarely used and gives almost non-existent gains compared to the amounts of experience necessary to reach levels (less than 100 xp for each trap). The amount of experience is based on the skill level and gets lower as the skill progresses. It should be noted that failure to disarm the trap may set it off (the consequences are obviously based on the trap type).
Killing monsters is the most straightforward way to improve the PC in ADOM. The amount of experience gained from a kill is mainly based on the type of the monster and is later modified by a number of factors. The distribution among different types of monsters is more or less dependent on their respective threat levels. The distribution is heavily biased towards unique boss monsters (like orb guardians) which leads to the fact that a significant amount of the PC's overall experience comes from killing these monsters. The following factors serve as modifiers for base experience for a monster:
- Monster level;
- The speed difference between the PC and the monster at the time of killing;
- Monster visibility state;
- Number of monsters of the type already killed.
Aside from the monster level, all these modifiers are multiplying:
- If the PC's speed and the monster's speed are equal at the time of killing, the modifier is 1. If the PC is twice as slow as the monster, (s)he will receive double experience from the kill. If the PC is twice as fast as the monster, (s)he will receive only half of the experience;
- If the monster is invisible and the PC cannot see through invisibility, the experience gains are doubled. Note that due to a bug in version 1.1.1, invisible monsters always gave double experience even if the PC was actually able to see them;
- For each 30 monsters of one type, the experience gains for a kill is halved. This modifier is stacking, so killing a monster will net only a quarter of the experience if the PC had already killed 60 of these monsters.
- If the monster was sacrificed on an altar, the experience gains are divided by 20.
Tips and tricks
Since the speed and visibility bonuses are applied only at the time of killing and not during the fight, it is possible to abuse this fact for cheap experience. Using Slow Monster spell on the PC, equipping boots of the slow shuffle, casting Invisibility on the monster, or throwing a potion of invisibility at it right before making a killing blow are valid techniques to increase experience gains. These techniques should not be used carelessly, as in some cases making a killing hit is not guaranteed, and the monster can panic and run away or decide to fight to the death in a blind rage, with direct and often dire consequences for slowed PC's.
If a monster panics and starts to run away from the PC, it is possible to catch it up and 'C'hat to it. Sometimes the option to offer peace will present itself for the player. Successfully offering peace will make the monster neutral towards the PC (normally permanently, unless the PC angers the monster again) and grants experience points. Killing the monster afterwards will not provide any experience whatsoever.
Offering peace is a lawful action and will slightly improve the PC's alignment.
At the moment, there is little data on the experience gains in comparison to the amount received for killing the monster, which monsters can be offered peace, and which conditions may affect the process.