NOTE: The Archer Guide has been revised. You'll notice a couple of sections have been added, others expanded. Especially the Weapon choice section has been renamed Weapons and should actually be called Equipment now. Will do it right the next time (Barbarian guide is already in progress!)
Let us begin with one of the easier classes to play, which is, coincidentally, the first in the alphabetical list of all classes: the Archer.
I. Manual Information - The most basic stuff, reprinted in place of an introduction.
II. Starting up the archer - All there is to consider when deciding which kind of archer to play.
III. Playing style - What you should try to do with your archer over the course of the game.
IV. Weapons - What kind of weapons you should and shouldn't use, and why. Also, a couple of hints regarding ammunition gatherage.
V. Archer vs. Boss - Hints on how to beat your most dangerous opponents throughout the game.
I. Manual information
Archers are deadly shots. Although the name of their class seems to imply this, not all of them prefer to use bows. The race of an archer has great influence on their preferred missile weapon. Archers are expert fighters in missile combat, rarely missing their targets and trained to hit the vital spots of their opponents. In close combat, archers are less formidable, although they are still dangerous.
Archers are trained in the following skills: Alertness, Archery, Climbing, Concentration, Dodge, Fletchery, Listening, and Stealth.
At higher levels archers are the most deadly marksmen in all Ancardia. At level 6 a missile attack takes up but 800 energy points. At level 12 the range for their missile attacks is doubled. At level 18 they are a lot more productive when applying fletchery. At level 25 missile attacks cost but 600 energy points. At level 32 they become able to completely dodge enemy missiles. At level 40 missiles attacks have a 20% chance to penetrate armor and at level 50 they are able to hit several targets with one missile.
II. Starting up the archer
Concerning starsigns, the guidebook gives a couple of good hints. Archers benefit greatly from the Raven starsign since they can hit and run a lot easier with it; it also has the nice effect that you become resistant to doppleganger confusion ("harder to trick by deceptions"). Candle is always nice for classes without Healing (it allows for regenerating at a decent speed); you can afford going Herbalism much easier with the Candle starsign. The other starsigns don't offer much to the archer. Sword and Dragon are somewhat useful for faster weapon skill gainage (though Sword only increases melee weapons skills, so Dragon is probably more useful). Unicorn, as always, is nice for ultimate aspirers. Falcon adds a not really useful skill (works nice for buffing up the skill page of high elven archers, though). Book is useful for elven or gnomish archers because it improves upon their latent spellcasting abilities later on. The other casting starsigns aren't that spectacular, though all of them do offer some minor advantage.
Worthy of attention is the "a falling star killed the village elder" part of your history. It decreases the number of marks you need to advance in your missile weapon skills.
2. General starting equipment
All archers start out with a missile weapon and ammo OR a stack of throwing weapons. All (except trolls) wear [0,0] equipment that can occasionally add to starting PV, all have a very basic type of melee weapon on them, all start with a fletchery set and an iron ration, replaced by a spider bread for dark elves, and some with a torch and fire-making equipment.
3. Race-specific starting equipment and race evaluation
Skills added: Swimming, Food Preservation
Notable starting equipment: Leather armor, Longbow, about 50 arrows
Pros: Good missile weapon with lots of starting ammo
Cons: PV of 2 on starting equipment leaves archer somewhat frail, only mediocre dexterity, rather short lifespan
Verdict: Okay choice, but definitely outclassed by other races.
Skills added: Athletics, Bridge Building, Food Preservation, Gemology, Mining
Notable starting equipment: Thick furs, heavy club, 5-10 throwing clubs
Pros: Quite sturdy thanks to high regeneration rate, toughness and strength, Athletics skill is pretty powerful, Gemology and Mining at least useful
Cons: Horrible archer weapons at start, only mediocre dexterity, troll experience and troll metabolism, very short lifespan
Verdict: Pretty bad choice, suffers from all the disadvantages of trolls while not making much use of their advantages, does not start out with ranged weapons worth using.
c) High Elf:
Skills added: Literacy.
Notable starting equipment: Elven chain mail, Longbow, about 50 arrows
Pros: Excellent starting equipment (elven chain mail more than makes up for low toughness), very high dexterity, long lifespan
Cons: Almost no skillset additions
Verdict: IMHO the best choice; with 20/5 DV/PV right off the bat and plenty of ammo you're all set up for a relatively easy early game; excellent missile damage thanks to high dexterity and longbow.
d) Gray Elf:
For the most part, see High Elf
Verdict: Very good, not as good as high elves due to slightly lower regeneration rate, strength, toughness and dexterity. They do have an even longer lifespan - but high elves are already so good it's hardly relevant.
e) Dark Elf:
Skills added: Find Weakness.
Notable starting equipment: Elven chain mail, Hand Crossbow, up to 20 tiny quarrels
Pros: Elven chain mail, very high dexterity, Find Weakness skill, long lifespan
Cons: Not a lot ammo to work with at the beginning, bad starting missile weapon, slowest regeneration rate of all races
Verdict: Very good, but have to find a bow or crossbow with respective ammo quick; if they manage that, they're better than high elves due to Find Weakness skill. Still, early game is somwhat harder.
Skills added: Detect Traps, Metallurgy, Mining, Smithing
Notable starting equipment: Chain mail, Heavy boots, Heavy crossbow, 40-50 quarrels
Pros: Detect Traps, very decent starting equipment, sturdy due to high toughness and PV, other skills are useful too, long lifespan
Cons: Rather low dexterity
Verdict: Decent; can survive the early game comfortably with PV of 6 or better, high toughness and lots of ammo; are somewhat held back by low dexterity, though.
Skills added: Gemology, Mining, Pick pockets, Ventriloquism
Notable starting equipment: Leather armor, Gnomish boots, Light crossbow, about 30 quarrels
Pros: A couple of pretty useful skills, easier training in crossbows, long lifespan
Cons: Low PV on starting equipment, overall only average equipment
Verdict: Okay choice; the crossbow bonus is nice, but isn't enough to completely offset the disadvantages.
Skills added: Cooking, Food Preservation, Gardening
Notable starting equipment: cursed ring, sling, about 20 rocks, cooking set
Pros: Very high dexterity, level 4 thrown rocks skill, easier training in slings and thrown rocks
Cons: Zero PV on starting equipment, skills are convenient, but useless in battle
Verdict: Pretty good, not as spectular as the guidebook would have you believe, though; the low PV makes early game a bit difficult if you don't manage to kill anything with your wicked rocks; slings and thrown rocks aren't the best weapons for an archer overall, making the high bonus to weapon skill marks less valuable as it may seem.
Skills added: Backstabbing, Find Weakness, Metallurgy, Mining
Notable starting equipment: Studded leather armor, Light crossbow, about 15 quarrels
Pros: Nice skillset addition, especially Find Weakness, quite sturdy thanks to decent toughness and strength
Cons: Not much starting ammo, low dexterity, short lifespan
Verdict: A bit better than okay choice; Find Weakness is very nice to have, yet low starting ammo and low dexterity are turnoffs
Skills added: Food Preservation, Music, Swimming
Notable starting equipment: About twenty drakish scurgari
Pros: Unique racial ability, relatively high regeneration rate
Cons: No armor, low dexterity, scurgari are rather rare to find, rather short lifespan
Verdict: Probably the worst class for an archer; Alertness, a major selling point of drakelings, is already included in the archer skillset; except for a pretty uselessly low Music skill, humans get the same skillset additions plus halfway decent starting equipment; like dark elves and trolls, drakelings have to look for other ranged weapons right off the bat while not being able to withstand prolonged melee (even with their natural regeneration rate, which is higher than that of other non-troll races); the breathing attack is pretty pointless since as an archer you should have better distance attacks available and in the beginning, when you need it most, you can't use it that heavily due to food problems.
All in all, high elves and dark elves are contenders for the best archer race, though I prefer high elves. Gray elves are High elves light. After these Hurthlings and dwarves are the next best races, followed by orcs, then humans and gnomes, after that trolls and on the last place drakelings.
l) Making it a little more complicated.
Now, the above was based on the assumption that you want the character with the highest chances of winning overall. I firmly believe elven archers do just that. They give you very good equipment and their skills are supported by very high dexterity, making them archery powerhouses right from the start, killing machines capable of taking down even the out-of-depth monsters the RNG has so much fun placing you between even at very early levels. And yet, it cannot be denied that they also have the smallest skillsets of all the archers. A high elven archer and a human archer have a couple of differences at the beginning - elven chain mail versus leather armor, dexterity of 25 versus 15, 50% higher Dodge skill value... And no skill versus Food Preservation and Swimming skills. And I say "no skill" because the Literacy skill high elves get both humans and high elves would get anyway due to their high Learning scores. Now, give the human better armor, a couple dozens of (uncursed) mosses of mareilon, and a bit of time to increase the Dodge skill. Then, give the high elf the Swimming skill, because it costs nothing more than a couple potions of carrot juice to get if you know how. And what do you get? A human with the Food Preservation skill and a high elf without it. Now, you may not deem the Food Preservation skill very valuable. Remember, however, that it increases your chances to get corpses from monsters. Corpses, besides from being free food, can occasionally increase stats. And the occasions become much more numerous if you have the Food Preservation skill. Personally, I don't consider it too much of a loss... But look at, say, orcs. Compare them to a high elven archer. Besides being smelly and clumsy, they have Find Weakness, Backstabbing, Mining and Metallurgy. Now, Metallurgy is useless, and Backstabbing can be obtained within the game. That still means orcs get Find Weakness and Mining and high elves don't. The orc even has the advantage of getting Mining over the dark elf. In other words: If versatility, the number and quality of skills, would decide who is the best archer, high elves would actually make last instead of tied first place. Second last place is for hurthlings because, let's be frank, their skills suck except for Food Preservation. Then humans, then drakelings, then dwarves (for Detect Traps alone), dark elves (because Find Weakness is just that awesome), gnomes (because their skills are really useful at times), trolls (Because Athletics is teh awesome and Food Preservation and Gemology are pretty nice), and orcs taking the king spot just because they get Find Weakness PLUS Mining.
Actually, you can scratch that whole thing I just did, because the skillset (and thus the race) you should choose depends on your own playing style and personal preferance. If you like the Food Preservation skill, Humans, hurthlings, trolls and drakelings are the thing for you. If you like Find Weakness (and I see no reason why you couldn't), you'll want to play an orc or dark elf. If you love Detect Traps, a dwarf is the obvious choice. And the gnome is nice for Ventriloquism... The list goes on and on. Check the section for skills later on for a closer evaluation.
III. Playing style
1. Archers in general
Archers, as has been aptly described in the manual, are best when using their ranged weapons. They can attack faster and deal more damage that way than any other class can. Apart from that, they're not the worst melee fighters, and they can make effective use of minor spellcasting because of their Concentration skill, though they have to build up on their Literacy first. You can use a melee weapon to fight most of the opponents you meet, but once you face a really dangerous opponent, it's your ranged weapon you have to fall back on. It's important not to neglect your ranged weapon skills - even though you can beat most opponents with melee weapons to save ammo, with a lower skill you deal less damage when you really need every point you can get.
Generally, when exploring more dangerous dungeons, it is important to gauge your position carefully, to know which opponents you should keep a distance from. Keeping a distance, anyway, is the most imporant skill you should learn when playing archers. Every meter between you and your dangerous opponent is a resource to be valued. Speed is important. Every skill, talent or class power that decreases energy point consumption for actions like attacking and moving is important. If your opponent ever reaches you and you can't get away, though, keep on using your ranged weapon - because, in the end, it will still deal the most damage.
Archers in general have a rather easy time playing (If there is such a thing as an easy time in ADOM). Dopplegangers are a nuisance, though. Normal ones fall in melee (careful with hurthlings, they have no armor at the beginning and low strength; drakelings can at least use the breathing attack), by the time doppleganger lords appear they fall in melee as well or to a wand, but doppleganger kings are pretty damn dangerous (fortunately, by the time you meet them they should be easily avoided or dispatched with spells).
3. Skills to obtain
A disadvantage of playing archers is the lack of either the Healing or Herbalism skill. Healing is, in my opinion, the better choice, so you should take the Village Dungeon quest by talking to Rynt before Guth'Alak. If you feel like heavily exploiting Herbalism, though, you could also pick the Keethrax quest by talking to Guth'Alak first and gather lots of spenseweed to replace Healing. Just know that once you get the Keethrax quest, you can't get Healing except through lucking out with a potion or scroll of education. Note that while Keethrax has the black torc, a pretty useless artifact, Yrrigs has a hatchet - number one on your tool wishlist if you're an archer. Also, herbs aren't actually plenty - if you're unlucky, you won't find any until you reach the Big Room inside the Caverns of Chaos (You'll know it when you see it)!
There are plenty of skills than can be learnt by talking to right people in the Drakalor chain. The old barbarian teaches you the Courage skill under several conditions: First, to get the quest, you have to slay 500 monsters of any kind. The quest demands that you kill twenty (He doesn't say twenty, but you came to this guide to get accurate information, right?) more of the monster you first slew. It's good to know what monster that was. I have a knack for forgetting that; and I'm pretty sure I should get rid of that if I ever want to complete an ultimate ending. I usually get the quest when I head east towards the CoC and stop by his clearing, and I usually have slain the monsters he demanded when I return to tackle the graveyard. Courage increases your to-hit and DV when attacked by more than one opponent. To be exact, it lowers the penalties that usually take effect if you are surrounded. Usually you shouldn't let that happen at all, but sometimes it's near impossible to avoid - and in these cases, Courage is VERY nice to have.
Another important source of skills is Bart, the grizzled gladiator who hangs around in the Dwarftown inn. If you become champion of the arena and obtain the golden gladius as a reward and talk to Bart, he will reminisce about his sad past and afterwards ask if he can get the gladius in exchange for training. Bart's training consists of some minor weapon skill training in all the melee weapon skills - pretty pointless for an archer - and, most importantly, of teaching the skills Backstabbing, Tactics and Two weapon combat. Except for orcish archers, all three of these skills are new. Especially the Tactics skill is well worth giving up the gladius, a pretty decent sword for the early game. The other two only come into play in rare occasions - though the latter is pretty much a prerequisite to fighting with two weapons in any way effective. Tactics increases the positive effects and lowers the negative effect of the different stances on the tactics scale. With Tactics, your berserking becomes a lot more powerful, your cowardice a lot more cowardly, and everything else also gets better. Tactics is useless if you stay in Normal mode, however - but skilled players don't stay in normal mode when they battle; usually, anyway.
There are, of course, more skills available, some from pretty surprising sources. First, Yergius teaches all the thieves skills to you. Pick Pockets is trivial to get, but the others can only be obtained by becoming a member of the thieves guild. To become a member, you have to use the Pick Pockets skill about twenty-five times successfully. I think being nonlawful is also a prerequisite. Once you're in, you can have Yergius teach you all the other Thieves skills: Detect traps, Disarm traps and Pick locks. (And Stealth - but you have that already.) Disarm traps is of limited use, because you can avoid traps you have detected pretty easily with decent Dexterity and Perception, and Pick locks is even worse, since doors that late in the game are usually opened with keys, and even with Pick locks, you still need thieves tools to open doors. I needn't mention that they drop next to never randomly, and you have to be level 13 to enter the pyramid to get the only guaranteed in the game. At that point, you should have wands of knocking anyway or simply kick down the doors you don't have keys for. The Detect traps skill, however, is very useful, and covered in a later section. Dwarves already have it and can easily afford not becoming a member of the thieves guild.
There's not much left. Blup, the baby water dragon, loves carrot juice. If you give enough of it to him (blessed works better), he will teach you how to swim. For those that can't already swim (all but humans and drakelings) this is a godsend. You can also get the Law skill from Tywat Pare if you kill both Kranach and Hotzenplotz for him, but that skill is pretty useless. Usually common sense tells you what is a chaotic act and what is not, and the Law skill only kicks in after you've already done what you did.
More obscurely, if you find dark sage corpses lying around while illiterate, bless one to guarantee that it works and gulp it down. Bang, Literacy skill without potion of Literacy. Veeery nice, especially when you got a near-impossible first Thrundarr quest.
And finally, having been born unter the sign of Falcon grants you the Survival skill - of low importance, but can save your life when you run out of food in the wilderness.
4. Archer battle tactics
A technique an archer should remember and use often is berserking archery. It's simple, really - as long as your opponents are still away, they can't hit you. So you ignore the DV loss of berserk tactics and get a good deal of extra to-hit and damage that should help dispatching enemies before they can touch you. Not the tactic to use when you encounter a titan or another monster with a powerful missile attack, though. Know thine Enemy! (And know the use of the Tactics settings! It's a bit much for most newbies, but it really helps to remember that you can switch to coward when you need to drink a potion in the middle of a mob attacking you...)
Another very useful technique is hit and run. The archer class powers together with certain talents and weapon skills decrease the time you need for a missile attack tremendously. This means that you can attack an opponent next to you and still move; with the help of Long Stride, the Speed talents or even the low HP coward movement bonus, you can then fall back until there is a square between you yet again. Shoot, repeat until opponent is dead. If you do it right, you can minimize the times you are hit even to zero (provided you have the space and aren't stopped by other monsters!). In this case, combine the two tactics to form this basic principle of Archery in ADOM:
If they can't hit you, go berserk!
5. About class powers
The king and queen of the archer class powers come at level 6 and 25: The reduction of the energy points needed for a missile attack, which basically shortens the timespan your archer has to wait until he can do something again after using a missile attack. Add Lightning Shot. Add weapon skill energy point boni. You will end up with an energy cost so low you can basically shoot several times before an opposing monster can even land a hit on you; especially if your speed is high. This is an enormous advantage and the reason why archers are so much better at using missile weapons than any other class.
If the level 6 and 25 archer class powers are the king and queen, the level 18 power would be the crown prince. Archers are not only masters at missile attacks, they are the most proficient users of the Fletchery skill. Their class power enables them to create near infinite stocks of arrows and quarrels. Ammo created by the Fletchery skill, like randomly dropped ammo, has the chance of being assigned magical prefixes and suffixes. Since you get stacks of over 100 arrows or quarrels with a single use of a fletchery set with the help of the class power, there is a chance of getting 100, say, penetrating arrows of slaying any time you use the talent. Even without that much luck, you still get enough ammo to allow you to use arrows or quarrels exclusively, which works wonders in training your missile weapon skills, eventually reaching Grand Mastery! You should collect any fletchery set you can find and keep all of them until you hit level 18. Then, start chopping logs and go fletching! Do not use wooden sticks. They are loser fletching material and do not deserve your attention. I will mention again that a hatchet is very high on your list of desirable tools to find, since your only source of logs without it is the Animated Forest. They are rare, but Yrrigs always has one and will give it to you either willingly or unwillingly. Get it!
I kind of glossed over the level 12 class power that doubles your missile attack ranges completely, sorry if you're confused. Simply put, that one simply isn't necessary. Your ranges are fine without the class power thanks to the Archery skill and missile weapon skills; they will end up being greater than the map is wide! (Though you'll be grateful for this class power if you want to throw huge rocks or stuff like that...)
The level 32 class power... I will point out that there aren't really that many enemies of note for a level 32 character that actually shoot missiles. Basically, I can only think of earth elementals, titans and greater titans. Against these? Well, the class power can save your ass. Considering you should have plenty of giant slaying ammo at this point, though, it's not as spectacular. After level 25, all archers pretty much become death incarnate anyway (if played right).
The level 40 class power is rather useful against late game high-PV monsters (Ancient Stone Beast! Grrr...), which are otherwise a nuisance or even dangerous (eternium golems, anyone?). You should have penetrating ammo handy at level 40, but in case you haven't, you'll love this class power. Even if only one out of five shots ignores PV, this still means a considerable kick in the butt that could ease your trouble winning against eternium golems. And against any other opponent, a 20% chance to ignore their physical armor translates to a 20% chance to cause a bit to quite a lot more damage, which is nothing to scoff at.
Compared to other level 50 class powers, the archer one is rather weak - on the other hand, your first three class powers are teh awesome already. Being able to shoot more than one monster at once is convenient for dealing with crowds, but nothing more. Now, if you have an artifact missile - True Aim or Thunderstroke - then you could smite a lot of monsters with one of these, I'll admit...
6. Talent choice
Regarding talents, all the archery talents (except the rather useless Far Shot and the maybe not quite as, but still useless Strong Thrower) are pretty much musts. This includes the following: Alert (starting talent), Good Shot, Keen Shot, Eagle-Eyed, Quick, Quick Shot, Lightning Shot, three affinites (if you take my advice, these are Bows, Crossbows, and whatever strikes your fancy), Missile Weapon Master (For which I have chosen Alert, Keen Shot and the three affinities beforehand).
I listed eleven talents. On your way to Level 50, if you get one starting talent, you get 17 talents total, so you're left with six. I would add the other two Speed talents Very Quick and Greased Lightning. Since you've already chosen Alert as a starting talent, I'd add Miser and Treasure Hunter, because the latter is awesome (Some say that you can just kill more monsters to get the treasure, but why should I do that when I can actually advance in the game instead?). Two talents left? It's up to you. Porter and Master Packager are useful for carrying around your missile arsenal, Long Stride can help in a ton of situations especially early in the game. Strong Thrower is probably not bad if you plan on using throwing weapons extensively (though why you would do that is beyond me). Also tempting are the DV-increasing talents (Careful, Shield Fighter and so on). With extra starting talents, you can even get Beast of Burden. To get the bookcasting talents, however, you have to sacrifice some of the talents above (Missile Weapon Master and the affinities, preferably). Depends on your opinion about bookcasting; my archers usually use spells rarely if ever, and when you're not in the middle of a battle you don't care all that much whether you spend 3000 energy points on a bookcasted Invisibility or 1000. And for the middles of battles, there's still wands and scrolls. Your main damage dealing comes from arrows and quarrels, not spells. Narcolepcy (thanks again) has pointed me towards Natural Berserker, a talent requiring Aggressive as a prerequisite, which increases to-hit and damage by two each while fighting in berserk mode. However, when you're already in berserk mode, those two extra points aren't as spectacular as they would seem: You've already got enormous to-hit and damage when you berserk. Personally, I think you'd be better off if you spent the two talents required for Natural Berserker elsewhere. Nonetheless, it's worth mentioning. For details regarding talents I didn't cover, you're better off checking them out in the guidebook. Now a last one.
If you get three starting talents, you can choose Charming, Boon to the Family, and finally Heir. The archer heir gift is a bundle of 40 winged quarrels of hunting. These are normal quarrels except that they fly twice as far and increase the chance that the monster hit drops a course. If you ask me, this is most definitely not worth giving up Missile Weapon Master and Treasure Hunter, for which you'd need a starting talent spent on Alert as prerequisite. I would only consider getting Heir if you somehow got four starting talents (And even then, I'd rather enjoy the luxury of being able to take Long Stride AND all the carrying capacity talents, or DV talents, or Long-lived...). Theoretically, four starting talents are possible with a Candle-born gnomish archer with high mana, or a Candle-born elf with decent mana/Candle-born hurthling with low mana that also gets lucky (There is a one out of seven chance to obtain an extra talent for any character; you get it if, after character creation, your stats are dividable by seven.). The maximum is five (Candle- or Falcon-born gnomish archer with high mana who also gets lucky).
7. Mad Archer skillz
As an archer, you don't have that many skills, but the ones you have aren't bad. Since you don't have many skills, you won't have much trouble deciding which to increase and which not. Sometimes you'll even find yourself with more skill advances than you can even use wisely (Especially with elves due to their small skillset and high Learning). Enjoy that Luxury - or better, obtain more skills to increase.
Alertness is a skill that you may not actively notice often, but everytime your character manages to avoid a trap he or she didn't even see... your alertness is what probably spared you a lot of trouble. Later on in the game traps become more of a nuisance than a threat (though it still sucks if an acid trap destroys valuable equipment), but the other feature of alertness will become more important - the chance to evade spells and certain creature attacks like water breathing or the like. This can really save your ass against powerful opponents like dragons, wyrms, Nuurag-Vaarn... The list goes on and on. So, be thankful for the alertness skill, and be nice to it. Sadly, it is rather hard to increase, so you should turn your attention to other skills once it has approached around the fifties, only occasionally increasing it as the levels drop by. (On very high levels, you even get extra DV points out of this skill, though.)
There is not much to be said about this skill. It increases range, damage and to-hit of ranged attacks (awesome). Aside from that, possessing it gives you a chance to hit opponents even in the "red" range (not that awesome, because you usually don't have problems with missile range as an archer). This is a top-priority skill, and on top of that, easy to increase. You will (and should) have this at 100 very soon.
This skill isn't really that useful. Climbing out of pits isn't a main part of your adventuring career, to say the least. Climbing around mountains with a higher skill in this may be easier, but then again there is little need to play around in the mountains. Climbing must, however, be maxed if you plan on going down the Rift. As an archer, the Rift - and the Library contained therein - is hardly a necessary visit. If you feel reckless, however, don't let me stop you, and spend a few skill advances and especially training on this skill so you don't have to wait forever for it to reach 100. But at least have Stealth at 100 by that time as well...
Next up is Concentration. While not as useful at archery in this regard, it does improve on your to-hit and maybe even damage, apart from the better-known - and more noticable - effect of increasing your power point regeneration rate. Later on, when you start casting spells (you will if you are an elf or gnome, you probably won't as much if you're a troll), having this skill is a great help. Early on you have neither spellbooks nor decent Literacy (*if* you even have it - as an orc or troll, you probably won't); so Concentration is of low priority.
Now, Dodge. It adds to your DV, the higher the skill the more DV you get out of it. DV, in case you spent your earlier ADOM career living under a rock, increases your chances not to be hit by enemy attacks. Do you want to be hit by enemy attacks? Surely not. So do you want high DV? Of course you do. What do you do to get yourself high DV? Why, yes, increase the Dodge skill. The help from the Dodge skill is most valuable early on, so don't hesitate to make use of your skill increases on it on every one of your early levels.
f) First Aid
Hm, First Aid. It's not an archer skill per se, but now that you have it you want to know what to do with it, right? First Aid can be 'a'pplied to heal part of recently sustained wounds. Very recently. We're talking about four rounds, tops. Now, whatever caused that wound is very likely to still be around by that time, and rather than applying this skill (especially with its chance of failure) you should be attacking that opponent! If the battle is over, though, it won't hurt to use this skill in case you can still save some of your precious hitpoints. The problem with this skill is that it is much more useful in higher skill levels, but at the same time the First Aid skill in general is only a great helper in the early game - in the later game, you can use spenseweed, drink potions, or wait for a few rounds until your wounds are healed by your godly regeneration rate granted upon you by the Healing skill. First Aid also helps against poisoning and sickness (again, this is most useful early on). Everytime you're damaged by those conditions - either by "poison coursing through your veins" or being "wracked by feverish fits", you can use First Aid, regaining some or all hit points, sometimes even healing the poisoning or sickness. It's a slim chance, but it can save your butt. My advice is either to put your points into this skill as early as possible or leave it as it is.
I already explained a bit about it. Now, your class power kicks in at level 18. By that time you want it at 100, no discussion about it. How you increase it before, however, is up to you. If you think you won't be using Fletchery before level 18, wait for a bit and increase other skills more instead. If you do want to use Fletchery earlier, you should arrange for it to be at 100 by then. Fletchery isn't hard to train for archers. Together with Archery, it is one of your earliest 100s. The point is, if you won't be using it for quite a time, you should divert your skill advances to maxing Dodge, Alertness or Archery or other skills you fancy more important.
What a loser skill. You can always try haggling with shopkeepers over price. But waste precious skill advances just so you can save a couple o' coins? Hell no.
Another skill you don't even notice is there, probably because everyone has it. Do not waste skill advances on this. I won't elaborate on the uses it may have, but simply point out that this skill increases itself wonderfully without your support. It starts out at forties, sixties even if you're an elf, and as you don't need it at certain values for anything, why waste the effort?
Last skill on the standard archer list. Now, I'm not clear on its use. Even with a 100 stealth skill, you can't sneak around like you're invisible or something, though it might just give you the occasional opportunity of positioning yourself better before a prolonged battle, or extra chances to avoid overpowering encounters - though how tangible that effect is, I can't say. Like Listening, Stealth tends to itself. Unlike listening, increasing it to 100 is a requirement if you want to get a certain artifact, as is having 100 in climbing. Don't use your early skill advances, but if you find yourself without a decent skill to train later on, why not add it to Stealth (and Climbing) to get yourself a nice treat?
8. Mad Non-Archer skillz.
Now that I have talked at length about standard archer skills, I will now elaborate on the other skills that can be obtained by playing certain races, to help you in your choice.
You only get it as a troll, and, boy, is it a useful skill. It adds to your speed. This alone would make it as valuable as Dodge. Yet it gets better: The Athletics skill increases your chances to get stat increases! Strength, toughness and dexterity (and less spectacularly, appearance) are affected by Athletics. You want this skill at 100 for the speed bonus anyway, but you want it there ASAP to make the most of the occasional stat increases, as they will occur with levelups. This also means that trollish archers, who almost never get more than three skill advances, will have trouble deciding on their favoured skills for advancing: Athletics, Dodge, Archery, or Alertness? The situation is eased by starsigns that add skill advances, like Falcon or Candle. In any case, a wonderful skill to have, and unobtainable in-game except with a wish or a scroll or potion of education, so if you absolutely want to have this skill and can handle the negative sides of playing trolls, go ahead with my blessing!
Next up is Backstabbing, a specialty of orcs. This skill adds damage if you manage to catch an opponent off-guard - either if he didn't see you (either because you're so stealthy or because it is dark) or didn't think you would backstab him (i. e. he was neutral to you). The skill doesn't always work, though; its chance to hit also is dependant on the skill level. The major catch of Backstabbing is that it is only usable with melee weapons. You're an archer. Your strategy is not to sneak up behind enemies to plunge sharp metal into their backs. Your strategy is to stay as far away as possible, aim, hit and kill. Backstabbing doesn't enter into this. So, actually, this skill is mainly useless, with few exceptions. Sometimes you need to use a phase dagger or a slaying melee weapon to deal with something dangerous, and in that case, well, you need every point of extra damage on the first hit you can get. Backstabbing is lovely for fighting water dragons in the dark, for instance. However, these uses of Backstabbing appear rather late in the game - and this late in the game, Backstabbing is available to any class through Bart's training, so don't choose an orc just to get this skill (though orcs are a wonderful choice because of another skill). Regarding skill increases, Backstabbing isn't particularly hard to train, but you shouldn't make it a high priority. Still, high advance dice are rarely a waste to use, right?
c) Bridge Building
Sigh. Okay, you already have the hatchet because you're a smart archer. You've spend hours of game time and plenty of food to chop a log. Now you don't use it for fletchery, but instead put it in the side pocket of your backpack (Isn't it hilarious that ADOM has weight, but not space restrictions?). Then chop a couple more logs. Now, climb down your favorite dungeon and find a river. You try to build a bridge segment. You fail, wood gone. Try again. Fail, wood gone. Try again, it worked! Now on to the next segment. But wait, you're out of logs? Chopping time again! Repeat to slowly increase your Bridge Building skill to a level with which you don't actually need to carry around ten times as many logs as you want to build bridge segments. Oh, screw this shit. Swimming is so much easier. Making ice bridges is so much easier. Teleporting is so much easier. There is one level in the game where you need either Bridge Building or several frost bolt spells, granted - but which one of these is the greater hassle? Wands of cold are so much easier to find than the time and patience to collect enough logs and Bridge Building skill points to build that particular bridge. This skill is pretty terrible. Don't, for the love of God, play trolls just to get it (the argument for playing trolls is Athletics, not Bridge Building). If you choose the carpenter quest, you get it anyway as a side reward for doing the quest (though I can only pity you if you ever need to use it).
Now that's something every adventurer needs! Nothing like opening a good hurthling gourmet restaurant in the deepest depths of the darkest most dreadful and dangerous dungeon. Sarcasm aside, this skill isn't that bad. In case you haven't noticed, this skill enables you to cook stuff. Cooking stuff improves the nutritious value of corpses and raw meat or fish meat, lowers their weight slightly, and keeps them from rotting, at least for a certain time. This has several uses. For one, you can keep stat-increasing corpses around for a longer time in case you are too bloated to eat them all at once (although there are other ways to get those corpses all down your throat... There is a certain herb perfect for the bulimics among you). Also, there are some who like it if you bring corpses to them. Specifically, a certain druid rewards you for bringing him corpses of very powerful chaotic beings. If they're cooked, you've actually got a decent chance to get the corpses all the way to him. Still, all in all, it's a skill of low usefulness. But why not use it when you have it? Aside from being a hurthling, you can't obtain this skill for your archer except with a wish or a scroll or potion of education. If you do get it, you'll notice your hurthling starts out with a decent value already. Increasing it is probably kind of a waste of good skill advance points, but if you want to minimize the risk of ruining a chaos corpse you want to deliver later, go ahead.
e) Detect Traps
This dwarven skill is really good, as it is the only way to find traps without actually walking into them or using a wand of trap detection. It is not a passive skill, though. Detect Traps is applied every time you 's'earch your surroundings. Of course, you don't walk around always searching your surroundings - unless you wear a ring of searching, something to consider if you have this skill - so you won't be able to find just every trap. If you have this skill, however, you should make it a habit to use it on every door. Doors have a much higher chance of being trapped compared to the dungeon floor, and sometimes even trying to open a door to see if it is locked may spring a trap. A higher skill level works better, but even a Detect Traps skill of 1 gives you the ability to find any trap - it's just that you have to spend a long time searching. If you want to use this skill with a ring of searching, you should have a high skill value because you don't make more than one searching check per turn with the ring. Since the skill is obtainable in-game theoretically (Yergius provides training in certain skills to members of his thieves guild), playing a dwarf for this skill is not as good an idea as it seems to be. However, it's the early game where you should be especially afraid of stepping into traps - they can potentially kill low-level characters - so the choice is yours.
f) Find Weakness
This skill is made of win and awesome. Simply put, this skill increases your chance to score critical hits, which cause double damage. The higher you climb in levels, the higher your damage becomes, and the greater is the additional damage your criticals will deal, to a devastating effect. Simply put, with this skill you will do a lot more damage overall. You'll want this at 100 more sooner than later. Find Weakness is obtainable only with a scroll or potion of education or through a wish. If you want to play an orc or dark elf to get it, don't hesitate - it sure is worth it.
g) Food Preservation
This skill is shared by humans, drakelings, hurthlings and trolls, all of which get other non-archer skills as well. Food Preservation by itself isn't a bad skill. It slows down the decomposition rate of the corpses you carry around - both the cooked and uncooked ones - and, more importantly, increases the chance of monsters you kill actually leaving behind a usable corpse. There are quite a few monsters you will want to eat corpses of: giants, quicklings, blink dogs, dark sages (if illiterate), giant slugs, just to name a couple of the most desirable. How much you want this skill depends on how much you are ready to exploit it, obviously. Increase levels as you see fit - higher levels are only "needed" per se if you are preparing to engage a horde of monsters you want to eat the corpses of, like giant warbands or something. When deciding which race to play that has this skill, do check out the other skills. For the others, Food Preservation is unobtainable without a wish or scroll/potion of education.
Well, they can't all be winners, right? Let's keep this short. Only hurthlings get this skill. It is used to plant seeds, either herb seeds or plant seeds. Plant seeds produce trees - Rather useless, though it can keep you from returning the surface to chop trees. Herb seeds can grow to herbs, and this is indeed nice. However, you will find only about four to five herb seeds in a single game, if you're lucky. Do you really want to invest a lot of skill points just to be able to plant a couple of herbs when you can essentially achieve the same with a decent stack of holy water? I know I don't. If you do choose hurthlings, you probably won't because of this skill. Gardening is obtainable through Guth'Alak, but only if you already have Herbalism to begin with, since he will teach that skill first. And archers don't have herbalism. If you do have this skill, try to have it at a high value before trying to plant herb seeds.
Yet another useful skill, though not as spectacular as Find Weakness or Athletics. Gnomes and trolls are trained in this skill. With it, they can identify gems better - there is a good chance that they will be able to discern the worthless pieces of glass from the actual jewelry. However, the really impressive effect is that a character with this skill will actually be able to find out gems from the rubble of destroyed walls. It doesn't even matter whether he mines the walls himself or lets a monster do it - he will be able to find gems afterwards, while characters without Gemology won't. Now, remember that there aren't only valuable gems and worthless pieces of glass - there are also crystals. Some heal, some make light and darkness, some even produce fireballs, and some are crystals of knowledge. These can, if blessed, increase Learning - sometimes by one, sometimes even by two points. Now imagine being able to mine a potentially infinite number of these and you can increase your learning score well into the twenties! This is especially nice for trolls, who suffer from a low Learning score anyway, but it is also very nice for gnomes. Since this skill is yet again unobtainable by means other than scrolls/potions of education or wishes, it is somewhat worthwhile choosing a troll or gnome for this skill (Especially since they've got other skills to offer). Start mining away once you hit a sufficiently high skill level.
This is the only non-archer skill the high and gray elven races grant, though any other race also gets this skill if they have a decent Learning score (ten). Now, make no mistake about it - it is a tremendously useful skill, simply because not having means you can't read. No books, no scrolls. No reading books is bad enough as it effectively takes away your hopes of becoming a spellcaster worth anything. No reading scrolls, however, is a horrible handicap to endure - being illiterate for a whole game truly is a great challenge - and challenge games are for those that have already won, not for those still trying. Concerning scrolls, the value of the Literacy skill does not have any effect except on the scroll of literacy check, but that one is more of a joke item. The skill level does come into play when it comes to reading books. While reading spellbooks may be very difficult early on, it becomes more feasible the more levels you increase and the better your Literacy skill becomes. Simply put, invest points if you feel you can afford it in order to achieve spellcasting abilities. There is no need to play high elves or gray elves to get this skill. Not only is the chance high you'll get it anyway with humans or gnomes, you can also get the skill from an artifact potion Thrundarr has (but will only give out to the illiterate) as well as from corpses of certain opponents who were really good at reading when they were alive - spellcasters spring to mind. Dark ones.
This is an orc specialty, but not one that scores many points on the usefulness scale. It enables you to identify pieces of ore - which is pretty pointless as they should be easily recognized by their weight. You can also 'a'pply it to find out the metal your items are made of. Only useful if you want to smith or find out whether an item of yours is susceptible to rust. Yet again, it isn't hard to figure that out even without this skill, and the knowledge isn't all that important anyway. Metallurgy isn't the reason you want to play an orc, that's for sure. I don't even think you should actually use skill advances on it - do it only if you've really got no other, more useful skill to increase. Metallurgy is unobtainable during the game. (Except for wishes and education stuff - you know the drill)
A nice skill, though not terribly important. Trolls, orcs, dwarves and gnomes start out with it. Being knowledgeable in Mining means you can mine faster than those who don't have the slightest clue about what they're doing. In-game, this means that the Mining skill decreases the time you need to dig through stone with a pickaxe. Also, with this skill, pickaxes won't break on you that easily since you know how to use them. Now, how much you'll want this skill depends on how much you want to dig - and since there is both a spell and a wand that can do the digging for you, it isn't that important. Not to mention that you can always dig even without this skill if the need arises. Fast digging may be a way out of tough situations, but even with a high mining skill digging will take some time. Fast digging is, however, useful in combination with the Gemology skill: Trolls and gnomes have that. This skill is yet another skill you have to either wish for or get through a potion or scroll of education. If you want this skill, you'll still have to decide which one of the four races that get it to play, though. Spend points in Mining preferably after you've spent points in the more useful skills.
Only drakelings start out with basic musical knowledge, god knows why. Music is an ambivalent skill. On the one side, animal companions can be very helpful. On the other side, the skill is useless unless you've got it at values at least over 70 or something. Drakelings start out at a single digit number and without an instrument, however, and when animal companions would be most useful they simply don't have the abilities to tame them. Now, at a high level, when your Music is finally maxed, there are still dangerous animals you'd rather have tamed on your side than opposing you, namely killer bugs. A tamed killer bug is a big help. However: You are not a bard. This means that you run the risk of companions turning on you - and you absolutely do NOT want to be surprise attacked by a killer bug. Nobody in-game will teach you this skill, either start with it, wish for it or luck out with a scroll or potion of education. This skill is the only incentive for choosing a drakeling over a human skill-wise (though there is still the Acid Breath to consider), and I don't feel it compensates for the crappiness of drakeling starting equipment compared to humans'.
n) Pick Pockets
This skill is a specialty of gnomes. Even though I don't particularly like this skill, I'm forced to admit that it is pretty powerful. The reason for that is that you don't steal the items the monsters have on them per se - instead every time you steal something with it a new item is generated. The only restriction is that this item can never weigh more than 10 stones. Do you know that this means? Gold and gems are possible. Any amulet, ring, potion, scroll or wand is possible. This includes artifact amulets and rings. Yes, it is entirely possible to get Preserver this way, or the ring of immunity. And even if you don't have this much luck, you'll still get a couple of very nice potions, scrolls and wands. Or an amulet of life saving. Or a ring of regeneration. Or... You catch my drift. The reason I don't like this skill anyway is that it's tedious to use. You have to 'a'pply Pick Pockets on monsters. To make the best use of this skill, you have to use it on *any* monster that has pockets, at least those that you can afford wasting a turn against - and these get of course more and more plenty as the game goes on and you grow more powerful. In the end, it's a question of playing style. Some use it religiously and love it; build your own opinion on this skill. I shall not forget, though, that having it and using it with success a certain number of times is a prerequisite to become a member of the thieves guild. Only members of the thieves guild can buy training from Yergius and obtain skills like Detect traps, Disarm traps, Pick locks. It is pretty damn useless on low skill levels, though, and it takes some investment to increase it and get proper success. Note that while this skill may be a minor early game helper, you shouldn't play gnomes just to get it, but let yourself become trained by Yergius. Since all you have to do to get this skill is be nonlawful when you meet up with him, this should be possible even on level 1. (If you're lawful, simply eat a baby or something to become neutral - or be a good roleplayer and don't even think about using it!)
Like Pick Pockets, some people swear by this skill. Only dwarves start out with it. Sadly, you can't just 'a'pply Smithing and be done with it, otherwise it would be more awesome than words could describe. First, you need an anvil, a hammer and a forge. Anvils are very rare to find - sometimes you won't have a choice but to either kill Kherab or Glod to get one. Forges aren't particularly plenty either. Like pools, herbs or shops, they can appear on any level of a randomly generated dungeon. You can also rent a forge from Glod (a bit tricky, but surprisingly nonchaotic is teleporting Glod out of his smithy and afterwards luring him off Dwarftown - after that, you can use his forge freely) or use one of the many forges in Darkforge. The problem is smithing takes time, and you don't want to hang around in corrupting (and otherwise dangerous) areas like Darkforge too much. The hammer, finally, is the easiest thing to find during the game. Large hammers and warhammers (maybe even huge iron hammers) work, regardless of metal.
But even only with these three things and the skill, all you can do is remove rust from your items. You need ingots of the right metal to improve an item through smithing. Ingots itself can be randomly found, but the safer way to obtain them is to make them yourself, again with the Smithing skill. Since you are only an archer, not a weaponsmith, you can only make ingots out of pieces of ore. There are four different kinds of ore, and four different kinds of ingots. So how much you can improve an item is, in the end, directly dependant on how long you keep digging up walls to obtain the ore. Smithing takes time and work, but a [+0,+1] metal cap can potentially become a [+7,+7] metal cap or something eventually. Feel the power of this skill? Invest time and skill points in it and obtain the proper tools, and you just may have the key to winning the game comfortably in your hands. It isn't necessary do play dwarves to get this skill. It can be taught by Glod, the smith of Dwarftown, to anybody for a substantial, but not quite unaffordable amount of money. A dwarven archer could use the skill before reaching Dwarftown, but it is very unlikely that he manages to get the equipment needed before Dwarftown. So even though Smithing is very useful, I wouldn't play dwarves just for it. The smithing skill directly influences anything you want to do with it: Transforming ore into ingots, success in improving the items. So I would try to get it as high as possible before starting serious smithing sessions.
Another general hint: If you want to make the best use of Smithing, you should be prepared to also make the best use of all the ore. Due to the rarity of eternium, you don't want to equip all-eternium equipment and enhance it. Some parts of your equipment should be iron, some mithril, some adamantium and some eternium. That way you don't have to throw away perfectly good ore. Dragon scale mail, for instance, is considered to be made of adamantium. So instead of wearing eternium plate mail, wear dragon scale mail and use your eternium to improve your eternium tower shield or something. Bracers in general are usually iron-made. Crowns of regeneration are iron-made and, if smithed up, a lot better than eternium caps. And if you already wear all of this stuff plus eternium tower shields and eternium boots, you should actually wear a mithril girdle instead of an eternium girdle just so you can do something with your mithril ore. (Actually, you'll probably want to wear girdles of giant strength and seven league boots the most... for these you can't use Smithing, so you should keep your scrolls of defense and protection around for them.)
A skill that is difficult to replace for those that don't start out with it, in this case any but humans and drakelings. Simply put, if your character can't swim, he really, really shouldn't try. In situations where the only way to escape from overwhelming opposition is across a body of water (one of the dungeon rivers, for instance), not knowing how to swim means death. The importance of this skill is greatest early on in the game, but it doesn't become obsolete by any means. For instance, movement speed in the Water Dragon Cave is directly influenced by the skill level in Swimming. Also, it's always better (and easier) to be able to cross rivers without wasting ice or teleportation spells (or, god forbid, investing in the Bridge Building skill - I pity anyone who has to build bridges because he can't swim). Lastly, ask yourself: How ridiculous is it if you can best ancient dragons in combat, but quiver in fear before a simple river? Invest skill advances in it until you feel safe traversing bodies of water. Having the skill at 100 is not necessary in most cases, but then, every point can prevent the "You are drowning!" message and thus save your life in a tough spot. While you should have this skill, luckily it's not necessary to play a human or drakeling to obtain it. Blup, the baby water dragon, can teach it to you, but only if you're nice to him. I heard he likes carrot juice... Of course, carrot juice may be common, but you won't always have the luck to find enough of it early on, and while your character is stuck without Swimming... Let's just say that, in any case, drakelings and humans have one thing less to worry about.
Finally, the last skill in this extensive list, yet another gnomish specialty. This skill can confuse anyone you use it on. He or she will then stagger around aimlessly like any confused opponent. Since there are no confusion spells, the only way aside from mindcraft to confuse opponents is with this skill. A nice (but very chaotic) treat is that this skill can be used to "aggro" certain opponents inside a town without making all the others hostile. To them, it will seem that the victim of your Ventriloquism skill attacked you first, and they will even try to protect you. That's not the only use of the skill: You'll always benefit from very powerful opponents being confused. You spend a turn confusing them, they spend the next four turns or so recovering from confusion. I'm counting a couple hits more for you, though it's fewer if the opponent hits you by accident. Regarding skill points: If you want to use this skill effectively at all, you'll have to invest in it, as its chances of success are pretty low at low skill levels. If this skill strikes your fancy, you'll probably love playing a gnome, because there is no other way aside of wishes, scrolls or potions of education to get it. (Nice fact: Ventriloquism is even usable while confused, so you can use it to confuse the dopplegangers that confused you and kill them! Thanks to Narcolepcy for this piece of information.)
r) Acid Breath
No, I'm not finished. Yes, wallow in despair as I add, in a revised version of this guide, another entry in the non-archer skill section that is not actually a skill, but a special ability only drakelings have! I've decided to include it because it deserves the same special attention as the skills when you choose your race. If you play a drakeling, you can press "m", then choose the direction with the well-known number prompt (with the 5 missing, as you can't attack yourself) and then spit a glob of acid in that direction. This glob of acid deals more damage with each level, and flies until it has used up all its damage, i. e. when it can't kill the first thing it hits, it will stop, but if it deals enough damage, the leftover acid hits the opponent after that. The Acid Breath has a very limited range, though. An exceptional property of this special attack is that it doesn't consume power points like spells would, but nutrition. It's like the food you eat serves as fuel. If you're low on food, you should be careful about using the Acid Breath.
The Acid Breath is not something you should continually use, simply because its power scales up by level and is not dependent on how often you use it. As long as you use the Acid Breath, you don't train weapon skills, and frankly, missile weapons are a lot more powerful overall than the Acid Breath. Dopplegangers are NOT immune to the Acid Breath, though, so drakelings actually have few problems with them.
Sometimes, when you get into situations where you absolutely *have* to eat something (curaria or alraunia spring to mind) but are bloated, you actually want to get rid of your absorbed nutrients ASAP. Stomacemptia doesn't work because you would have to eat that as well. The only solution? Being a drakeling and using the Acid Breath attack. So, to recap, it has two uses: Killing monsters and lowering satiation value while bloated when required. The first one can be covered in all but few cases by your missile weapons (and later on, wands fulfill the role of the breath attack just as fine), but the second one is hard to get. Luckily, you don't have to waste skill advances on this, as it isn't a skill (duh). Even though the Acid Breath is a drakeling racial ability, other characters can actually obtain it themselves, or at least a variation of it: There is a corruption that makes you exhale sulphur, which you can use just the same way you can use the Acid Breath. If you're far enough in the game to become corrupted, the corruption is probably only useful for the nutrient-lowering, though. A last bit of advice: If you play a drakeling archer, go to Terinyo and spend every goshdarned coin you have on large rations (of course, only so many you can carry), because you should have the Acid Breath ready to fill in against the more dangerous opponents until you find decent ammo and armor.
1. Short version
This section is for those who don't want to look for my recommendations in the stuff below:
Missile weapon: Bow *and* crossbow (switch regularly to get decent weapon skills in both)
Melee: Shield and either Spear or whatever you find that does decent damage (but the shield is pretty much a given)
Note that this is IMHO the best choice for all races, even hurthlings (Sling bonus?). Read below for why I think it is.
2. Arrows and quarrels
The description says that race has a great influence on the preferred missile weapon. This is true to a certain level, since every race starts out with different ranged weapons. However, the definite best missile weapons (and very much worth switching to!) in the game are the bow and the crossbow. This is mainly because of the quality of the ammo you find: Arrows and quarrels come in all the higher metals and, most importantly, as "slaying" ammo. "Slaying" ammo (example: "arrows of dragon slaying") can be tremendously useful in defeating some very powerful enemies you will have to face. Slaying arrows and quarrels are pretty frequently found as random drops. An archer should pick up any stack of arrows and quarrels he stumbles across just for the chance that it is slaying ammo. (Note that all slaying quarrels are shown as brown instead of grey and weigh twice as much, so if you find a stack of brown missiles, walk onto it and notice it's quarrels and weighs 4s each, pick up those babies!)
That alone would be sufficient reason to make bows and crossbows choice number one. Add the fact that you can make only arrows and quarrels with Fletchery. That should settle the case, right?
Humans, high elves, gray elves, dwarves, gnomes and orcs start out with either bows or crossbows and use arrows or quarrels. Dark elves start out with a hand crossbow and use tiny quarrels, which is not exactly what you want, but at least trains the crossbow skill. Hurthlings, drakelings and trolls have to find bows, crossbows and sufficient ammo to switch to on their own, which makes playing them a tad bit harder.
3. Arrows or quarrels?
You heard me say that the best weapons are the bow and the crossbow. Now you'll probably ask which one to pick. My advice is to train both. You will not achieve as high values in weapon skill, but this is offset by the fact that you will be able to use both slaying arrows and quarrels effectively - since slaying ammo is what will really win your battles. Another advantage of the bow and the crossbow is the possibility of getting Sun's Messenger and The Far Slayer as crowning gifts - unless you get one of them, both classes should be trained equally. In general it's like this: arrows are more plenty, but quarrels deal more raw damage.
4. Slings and rocks
Now, a word about the sling, because there is also an artifact sling as a crowning gift. The sling has the advantage that there is a virtually endless supply of rocks for it. Yet, as an archer, you've got enormous skill as a fletcher, and should always be able to produce enough arrows and quarrels for your needs. Also, the rock is a rather weak missile - it doesn't do anything but deal 1d4 damage, which is hardly improved by any sling that isn't Whirlwind. Though it does come in a lot of variations (the best being (+3, 1d4+3), it cannot have magical properties like "of slaying" and "of penetration", which is possible for arrows and quarrels. There are sling bullets, granted - but the catch is that you can't produce them through fletchery. The few you find aren't a lot to work with, especially since they are smashed frequently. Also, while there is a wide range of monsters arrows and quarrels can "slay", there's only sling bullets of demon slaying. That's not bad, but still, no construct, humanoid, undead or dragon slaying means there's a fair number of opponents you have trouble damaging with sling bullets. Also, you can't throw sling bullets, which is a major disadvantage for hurthlings relying on their thrown rocks skill.
Another factor is the weight. Rocks are 2.5 times as heavy as arrows and quarrels. Usually you don't have enough carrying capacity to carry around a decent stock of arrows, quarrels AND rocks. So my advice is sticking with the first two, except maybe if you actually found the artifact sling Whirlwind and are a hurthling, in which case I would probably still keep around bows and crossbows at a somewhat decent level solely to exploit the slaying ammo, because as I said - besides sling bullets of demon slaying (or sling bullets of slaying) there is no slaying power on a sling bullet.
5. Other ranged weapons
Let's talk a bit about other ranged weapons. There is the hand crossbow that uses tiny quarrels. Picking up tiny quarrels is not as important as picking up normal-type quarrels because they cannot be quarrels of -monster- slaying. (They certainly can be magical "of slaying" quarrels, but so can any missile or throwing weapon except rocks) Also, tiny quarrels do less damage than normal quarrels (still more than arrows, though). At least they increase the crossbow skill, which makes them useful for training against small fry. The other weapon skills, however, are not really worth it under normal circumstances. All the throwing weapon skills suffer from two weaknesses: First, you don't find much (Except for rocks), from which stems second: The melee weapons (For instance, crude knives) you can use instead of throwing weapons (Throwing daggers) have the problem that the game treats them as melee weapons (duh). The result: No automatic restocking with them once you run out of actual throwing weapons. You'd have to waste a turn equipping your stack of throwable melee weapons, say, crude knives. You can't always afford to waste a turn. All this makes it hard to train in throwing weapon skills, worsened by the fact that there are so many different throwing weapon skills, and so few throwing weapons for each skill. Add to this the unavailability of "slaying" throwing weapons (Again except for the magical "of slaying" attribute), and the tragedy is perfect.
The story is a bit different for "returning" weapons. Though they do not deal much damage, they help in training a throwing weapon skill tremendously. A boomerang (or scurgar of returning) is probably the best returning weapon there is, since scurgari can come in higher metals and in the "of death" variety. Spears of returning are wonderful in training up the throwing spears weapon skill to prepare for the arrival of the rune-covered trident, which is especially useful for wasting balors on D:50 if supported by a decent weapon skill. Curved throwing clubs and daggers of returning are nice toys, but in the end not really that useful due to the rarity of decent throwing weapons for these classes (In case of the thrown rocks and clubs class, utter unavailability).
6. Melee weapons
Regarding melee weapons, you should definitely pick a shield for this class. The reason for that is that archers deal the most damage with their ranged weapon of choice, so the higher damage of a two-handed weapon is rather useless, while the DV gain of a shield is very useful. In your free hand, you can wear a one-handed melee weapon of your choice. You won't always be using ranged weapons due to ammo limitations (although Fletchery could change that), that's why training in a certain melee weapon skill is a good idea. Which melee weapon skill to train depends on the one-handed melee weapons you find (or hope to find). Swords are good in case you find a sword of sharpness, daggers in case you find a phase dagger, or anything else if you find a -weapon- of penetration - and who knows what kind of artifact you'll stumble upon? If you prefer extra DV over weapon damage, you can use a spear or go crazy entirely and use a second shield (after having obtained crazily high ammo stacks, of course).
Depending on your race, you start the game with low to average amounts of ammunition. Of course, the one you start out with is not enough for the rest of the game: You must find more. As with any item, ammunition can be randomly dropped by any monster. Especially in the early game, though, you can't rely very well on that. When you notice you run out of precious ammunition, it's time for desperate measures!
First, there is a certain kind of trap that shoots arrows: It has a white-colored trap symbol (The spear trap has the same, be careful). If you're desperate, you can activate that trap on purpose with Strg-t, hoping that you can use the arrows it shoots at you afterwards. You'll take damage, of course (unless you've got high PV), and you accumulate arrows very slowly that way.
The main source of arrows and quarrels is the Fletchery skill. Normally, you wait until you have the skill at a decent level and use your fletchery set on logs. Yet, you can also make ammo out of wooden sticks. Again, do that only when you've positively run out of ammo, because fletchery sets don't grow on trees. The gain is yet again low - usually you get very few arrows or quarrels from a wooden stick.
Rocks can be accumulated by digging through walls or triggering stone block traps, if you're feeling desperate. Even if you don't have a pickaxe, you can go to PC:2 and let the ants dig through the walls, producing plenty of rocks. Also a good source of rocks: Collapsing tension rooms.
Finally, one of most practical alternative sources of ammo are monsters. Not only can they randomly drop ammo just like other items; there are some monsters that have high chances of dropping certain kinds of ammo. An example is the goblin rockthrower: He will often drop rocks for you to use. A list of the ones that are sort of relevant in the early game:
Barbarians: Found in the wilderness, so you can hunt them down if you can spare the game time. They're quite tough in the beginning, but become manageable - if you haven't run out of ammo, that is. Fire arrows and can drop very decent stacks. They also tend to drop short bows, their leaders even longbows.
Black hurthlings: Rare, but weak, fortunately. Fire tiny quarrels and can drop very small stacks of these. They also drop hand crossbows.
Dark elven archer: Rare and not total pushovers. Fire tiny quarrels and can drop very small stacks of these. They also drop hand crossbows.
Gargoyles and Margoyles: Rare, pretty sturdy and can hit a low-level PC quite hard. If you eat their corpses, you get a small amount of rocks.
Goblin rockthrowers: Common and weak. Fire rocks and can drop small stacks. They also drop slings frequently.
Kobolds: Common and weak - if they're not large. Fire arrows and can drop stacks. They also tend to drop short bows.
Ogres: Quite rare, and formidable opponents for low-level PCs. Fire rocks and can drop small stacks. They also drop slings frequently.
Pixie archers: Rare and weak. Fire tiny quarrels and can drop small stacks.
Quicklings: Rare, fast, how well you fare against them depends on your luck hitting them. Fire tiny quarrels. Because they are so fast, they can actually fire a lot of them.
Raiders: Rare, not that tough. Fire arrows and can drop decent stacks. They also tend to drop short bows and longbows.
Ratling archers: Rare, not very tough. Fire quarrels and can drop decent stacks. Also a possible source of light crossbows.
Because you have to kill these monsters somehow, it's best not to let your last missiles go out before gathering more. Generally, keep an eye on your ammunition status and if you drop below, say, 20 ammo left, take measures to obtain more.
As the game progresses, the ammunition situation changes dramatically. Sooner or later, if you religiously pick up any stack of quarrels and arrows you find just as I told you, you'll find yourself with tons of ammunition in your backpack. Now you've got another problem: Weight. Arrows and quarrels may weigh only 2 stones each, but once you have enough of them, they can really drag you down, especially since you want to carry other stuff as well (good ADOM players usually pick up every single potion, scroll and wand they find, just for the chance they need them someday...). Walking around strained or even very strained for a prolonged period of time will lead to dexterity loss. While that is somewhat less of a problem if you've got mosses of mareilon to repair the damage, it's still something to be avoided. Here is a couple of pieces of advice:
- When you know you've got enough ammunition anyway, start picking out and dropping those that have no magical properties and are on small stacks, for instance your single cursed arrow (-2, 1d6-1) and your bundle of 2 blessed arrows (+1, 1d6-2) and so on. Small or even single stacks are very impractical because if you use them, you have to reload much sooner, and reloading costs a turn. It is a lot better to have 50 arrows in one stack than having to fire 50 single arrows one after another... Of course, since these useless stacks are small, you won't be getting a lot out of it unless you extend the limit of how small a stack can be to remain in your backpack. If you like gradually increase the size of the stacks you remove until your weight is tolerable once more. Just don't drop slaying or higher metal ammo (at least not eternium or adamantium), as these will come in useful for their high damage. Depending on your preferences, you might like to have arrows/quarrels of thunder or darkness, too.
- If you know you won't be using rocks, then don't take them with you. They're too heavy. The same goes for throwing clubs. Even throwing daggers and scurgari weigh a bit too much for them to hang around in your backpack unused in great stacks. Make sure you only carry lots of ammunition for weapon types you'll be using. A boomerang here, a curved throwing club there is not gonna hurt, but having a heap of 4 throwing clubs (+0, 1d8) [120s] or a heap of 32 rocks (+0, 1d4) [160s] simply is a waste of precious space.
- The same goes for tiny quarrels. If you've got enough normal quarrels, you don't have any need for the tiny ones. Drop them and your hand crossbows. (An exception could be made for tiny quarrels of slaying.)
- An archer benefits greatly from the talents Porter, Master Packager and Beast of Burden because these allow him to take larger amounts of ammo with him. Archers also love girdles of carrying and want decent strength.
- It is only good sense to have some spare missile weapons, but don't overdo it. You'll never need more than three missile weapons of the same type, and even three is pretty paranoid. One spare bow and one spare crossbow is usually enough, except if you're about to enter an area with high rates of item destruction, like the Tower of Eternal Flames, the Air Temple or the Blue Dragon Caves. Also, the need for spare weapons disappears completely once you get your hands on an artifact missile weapon.
- Generally, if I feel uncomfortable getting rid of an item, I tend to keep it. You can survive pretty well being strained the whole game, you'll just never be super-dextrous - with mosses of mareilon, however, you can always get back to mid-twenties.
8. General equipment
Archers love the same stuff everyone else loves. They love PV to survive enemy attacks. They love DV to avoid being hit. They especially love Speed, though, because being able to outrun opponents can often be the difference between victory and defeat. For the same reason, seven league boots are an archer favorite. Archers usually have trouble carrying all the stuff they want, so you should wear a girdle of carrying, or better, a girdle of giant strength. Regeneration items, like bracers or crowns of regeneration, are wonderful for any character. You should, in any case, take care not to wear too much equipment that lowers archery to-hit, especially not early on. A plate mail just isn't the thing for you.
9. Items to wish for
This is not the order in which you should wish for things, but serves rather as a pool of ideas in case you've got a wish and don't know what to do with it; it should be noted, however, that the first possible wish listed *is* a very good investment. The exact phrase you should use is in "". Note that when it comes to items, it's always a good idea to wish for them in plural: In most cases, you actually get more than one. When I didn't put the item in plural, it's because you only get one either way.
- "amulet of life saving". For Khelly, because he rewards you with six scrolls of chaos resistance and is essential to the ultra endings.
- "Find Weakness" skill if you don't have it already.
- "arrows/quarrels of -foo- slaying" if you lack any before a fight. Sometimes the random number generator just loves to keep his humanoid slaying ammo to itself. The following types of slaying ammo exist and can be wished for: dragon, demon, humanoid, giant, jelly, construct, undead.
- "potions of quickling blood", just to increase speed some more, though instead you should wish for
- "Athletics", if you're not too advanced in levels already (or already have it).
- "pairs of seven league boots". With this item, archers can potentially beat any opponent provided they have the space, since they'll be able to outrun ANYTHING except quicklings. Prime candidate for a wish after Khelly has been saved.
- "rings of ice", so you may fare better in the Tower of Eternal Flames - a very nasty place otherwise.
- "scrolls of chaos resistance", because they are always nice to have.
- "wands of destruction" to finish the game.
- Ultra ending stuff, if you're feeling ambitious. Check the guidebook for what you need.
- "girdle of giant strength" to solve all your carrying problems - that is, until the next eye of destruction/annihilator.
- "phase daggers" to deal with high-PV monsters, though you should likely have penetrating arrows and weapons.
- "emperor moloch", if you have lots (and I mean LOTS, because this wish creates like 25 of them) of demon slaying ammo, yet your trollish archer still doesn't seem to get any decent XP. Penetration weapons also work against them, but you're asking for trouble if you melee thes guys. Also, when doing this wish, beware of greater molochs picking up hulking armors and wearing them. Due to a bug, they become super-fast all of a sudden if they do that and can easily destroy you.
- "books of Strength of Atlas", provided you have decent Literacy and Learning, to solve your carrying problems indefinitely.
- "Herbalism" if you chose Healing earlier, though at the stage where you get the most wishes you don't need it that much.
- "Alchemy", but only if you've got time left to train it to 100 and check the recipe for potions of gain attributes.
- "scrolls of education" if you want a chance to get several skills, but that's just gambling. Note: You should wish for
- "magical writing sets" if you've already seen scrolls of education or of chaos resistance and want to make more.
- Powerful armor, like "-color- dragon scale mails" or "eternium plate mails". Note that you have to specify the kind of dragon scale mail, it is not possible to wish for dragon scale mails and get one of every type. The following colors are possible: blue which grants shock immunity, white for cold immunity, black for acid immunity, and red to get fire immunity. There are no "karmic dragon scale mails", sadly.
10. Archer crowning gifts
Yeah, I know you don't actually benefit that much from knowing this information. There is no way to affect the choice of the random number generator anyway. But I think it's nice to know what to expect from your crowning. And since almost every archer far in the game will be stuck with one of these at some point, why not give them a little bit of attention?
a) boots of the divine messenger
+3/+3 DV/PV, increases Dexterity by 5, grants death ray resistance, paralyzation resistance and teleport control
I've never actually gotten this artifact before. It offers a couple of very useful magical properties. The DV/PV is rather low compared to what you can get with smithed up equipment, but pretty nice otherwise. The added dexterity is a very nice bonus. Death ray resistance, paralyzation resistance and teleport control are intrinsics every PC needs, as each of them can be invaluable when dealing with certain situations. Having Boots of the Divine Messenger on, I'd imagine, removes a couple of headaches you have regarding endgame equipment (especially the paralyzation resistance, because even the most powerful characters can be utterly destroyed by greater mimics without it). While all of the resistances and teleport control can be obtained in other ways (most famously trough the respective amulets or, in case of teleport control, rings or blink dog corpses), it would be nice to keep the amulet slot available for wearing amulets of rapid healing or the ankh. I'd consider this a lucky crowning gift, the only disadvantage of the Boots of the Divine Messenger as a crowning gift is the fact that the non-artifact seven league boots are already so useful to an archer. A luxury problem, I know.
b) The Far Slayer
Adds +18 to crossbow to-hit and damage
I have gotten this artifact before, though not as an archer crowning gift. Should you find it randomly, you can recognize it through its weight: It's the only heavy crossbow that weighs 350s. Simply put, it's the best crossbow in the game. It surpasses even the best heavy crossbow of accuracy by lengths. With this artifact, your quarrels become mighty quarrels o' kill. If you get this artifact, do not hesitate to specialize in crossbows more, and most importantly, use your fletchery sets on quarrels. With several hundreds of quarrels, the Far Slayer and Mastery (eventually Grand Mastery) in Crossbows you almost don't need slaying ammo anymore to be able to kill absolutely anything. With slaying ammo... Let's just say that this artifact also removes headaches, simply because you don't have to worry anymore whether you'll be able to compete in the endgame. Far Slayer is one of the best crowning gifts you can get as an archer, and having it is a reason to celebrate. And by celebrate I mean kill monsters to take their loot.
c) Sun's Messenger
Adds +15 to bow to-hit and damage and slays undead
Have gotten this before, again not as an archer crowning gift. If you're an elf, you've got slightly higher chances to get this. It's easily recognizable by being called an elven longbow, though its weight is the same as a normal longbow. This artifact is more or less Far Slayer for arrows. The difference in to-hit and damage is more than made up by the undead slaying property. So what if you are slightly less likely to hit other opponents and deal slightly less damage compared to the Far Slayer? Being able to one-shot the more wussy undead (most importantly, ghost lords) and quickly defeat all the others more than makes up for that. With this artifact longbow, you can spout laughter and mocking at these pesky emperor liches! Well, until they defeat you anyway that is. What I said about The Far Slayer still holds true otherwise. If you get Sun's Messenger as a crowning gift, specialize in arrows and switch to arrow-making exclusively. On a side note, you can choose to sell your arrows and quarrels of undead slaying in the nearest general store. You won't be needing 'em anymore.
d) True Aim
+10 to-hit, deals 15d5 damage
This silvery arrows (only one in the game) weighing the usual 2s is one of the crowning gifts you'll get if the random number generator hates you. Apart from its higher damage, this is regular ammo. It does not have slaying powers, higher critical chance nor does it even make a funny noise when it hits a monster or something else remotely interesting. It simply deals 15d5 instead of 1d6 extra damage (and is a bit more likely to hit than other arrows). 15d5. That's 15-75 damage. An eternium arrows deals, on average, 10-20 damage. That is quite a bit lower, granted. But now consider what I told you about the importance of slaying ammo. For the dangerous opponents, you shouldn't use eternium arrows or True Aim: you should have suitable slaying ammo ready, they're the biggest stick in your arsenal, not True Aim. And while it deals a fair bit of damage, if it's used and the opponent still lives (and he will unless he's a goblin or something), you have to use other arrows anyway. Sun's Messenger is so much more useful than True Aim it's not even funny, since it adds its damage to ANY arrow you shoot, including SLAYING ammo. If you get stuck with this shitty artifact, feel free to scream obscenities or whatever helps you cool down (I know it helped me). Just remember that life goes on, even if your crowning sucks. And at least you got an immunity, right?
+8 to-hit, deals 20d4+8 damage
Remember what I said about the silvery arrow? This obsidian quarrel may be of an entirely different color, but it sucks just like that for the same reasons. Thunderstroke deals 28-88 damage, which is quite a bit more than True Aim. Still a great deal better than the 12-32 of an eternium quarrel, but still no slaying powers, still only one-time usable in a given fight, still no funny noises. Due to the opposite appearance compared to True Aim, you may vary on the kinds of obscenities you scream if you get stuck with this garbage. (Maybe shout "Unholy piece of shit" instead of "Holy piece of shit"...)
+12 to sling to-hit and damage, grants resistance to fire
This sling is easily noticed by the fact that it is covered in runes for some reason. Like Sun's Messenger and Far Slayer, it's the best missile weapon for its class you can ever hope to find. Unlike Sun's Messenger and Far Slayer, having it is no reason to specialize in slings, as I've explained in length in another section above. Also, the to-hit and damage bonus is not that spectacular compared to Sun's Messenger and Far Slayer, considering crossbows and longbows of accuracy can scale almost all the way up to +12 to-hit as well. If you're a hurthling archer and have somehow ended up using rocks until your crowning, you'll be glad to know that you can actually keep up the rockslinging until the end of the game and both success and Grand Mastery are almost guaranteed. The fire resistance is only of minor interest, but may be somewhat nice if you lack a fire resistance source for the ToEF and can't have your favorite missile weapon equipped all the time anyway. This crowning isn't as bad as the artifact missiles, but mostly it's also no reason to jump around in circles. Chances are good you stuff this in your backpack, keep on using bows and crossbows and forget about it.
V. Archer vs. Boss
Remember for all of these that blessed ammunition is a lot more useful than uncursed or especially cursed against most enemies - so do invest a fair bit of holy water!
Keethrax: Any type of ammo should work due to sheer archer damage. Humanoid slaying is almost instakill. Remember to take a light source with you, though, since Keethrax uses Darkness spells and you can't fire in the dark. Also, you should be resistant to fire so his magic barrages don't hurt you too much, and remember that he shoots missiles - berserking is risky.
Hotzenplotz: Berserking archery to start off, humanoid slaying is instakill. When he manages to catch up to you, your best bet is to switch to coward mode and shoot off a couple of wands. That, or simply be faster (105 speed is good, 110 is better; remember to be unburdened and normally satiated, also remember that if you have lower than one third of your HP left, your walking speed increases if you switch to coward. Some ways to become fast: Choosing the Raven starsign, having high dexterity and/or Athletics, choosing Quick talents or Long Stride, wearing speed- or movement-enhancing equipment) in some way so you can gain some ground on him again. You DO NOT WANT to be hit by Hotzenplotz too often - his poison attack is strong enough to kill even the poison resistant once he gets a few hits in.
Rehetep: Undead slaying ammo is the best way, together with fire spells. Rehetep is less of a problem in general, his servants can mean loads of trouble. Be prepared, optimally level 16 or even 17 (the pyramid closes for characters of a level higher than 16, but as long as you're in, you're free to gain as many levels as you want), preferably have as many different kinds of slaying ammo as possible to cover the widest base of opponents possible, be invisible, have the fireball wand Thrundarr gives to you.
Nonnak: Humanoid slaying ammo, berserking archery. Be immune to ice and keep him at a distance, and you should be able to ace this fight.
Griff: Undead slaying ammo (though I love teleporting behind him and pouring holy water on his grave - you still get XP as if you defeated him!)
Snake from Beyond: No slaying ammo will fit, I'm afraid, except universal slaying ammo. The Snake can be beaten with normal ammo, too, but you'll take some beating as well. Clear out the area, have high speed so you can use hit and run tactics. Berserking archery helps if you can afford it.
Skeletal King: Undead slaying ammo. Confusion resistance.
Ancient Chaos Wyrm: Dragon slaying ammo. Only pack it out shortly before encountering the wyrm, or have a ring of ice handy, because you DO NOT WANT your dragon slaying ammo to burn before the ACW is dead - you have almost no other chance of beating that beast. Nasty is the fact that your bows and crossbows are also vulnerable to the fire. Archers need rings of ice. Also have potions of extra healing, since that shock attack hurts like hell and if you have a clear shot at the ACW, he gets a clear shot too. If you do have a clear shot, be invisible so you can afford to go berserk even with monsters nearby. It is possible to one-shot the wyrm with high weapon skill, blessed slaying ammo plus decent bow or crossbow and berserk tactics!
Cat Lord: Humanoid slaying ammo. Also lots of potions of extra healing because that thing is trouble. No hit and run for you since he is so fast, and berserk mode is out of the question because of the same reason. Paralyzing him works wonders, because if he can't move, he can't hit you, and if your archer can't be hit, it's time for berserking! (Paralyzing is useful against any opponent, but hard to come by since it is only in wands - depending on how many cats you killed, the cat lord is going to be one of the best choices to use your wands of paralyzation on!) Note that the Ring of the Master Cat is an extremely useful artifact for archers, so you should avoid to kill cats.
Master Summoner: Humanoid slaying ammo. First lure the Master Summoner into the hallway you dug, then get a bit of distance between him and you (By this time your speed should be halfway decent) and use berserking archery. With that and slaying ammo, he should be down in two hits, tops. You should drop valuable equipment you won't need in the fight on another level, and the stuff you will need somewhere outside the area where items are destroyed. Especially your slaying ammo should not be brought inside. Pick it up once you have left the item destruction area with Yulgash behind you, equip it, use it! And don't bother exploring the whole temple and killing every monster. It ain't worth the item destruction.
Ancient Stone Beast: I hope you saved all that penetration ammo or found a penetrating weapon or phase dagger, 'cause you won't beat this monster through normal means. Best to deal with its earthen goons first. Lure the Ancient Stone Beast to another level so you can fight it one-on-one. Got no penetration? Then either retreat and find some or go crazy with berserking hit and run and hope for lucky damage rolls and criticals. This is IMHO the biggest pain in the ass for archer characters. Not because it is so dangerous - for a monster this late in the game, it doesn't hit that hard - but because it is so annoyingly hard to kill. If you've reached level 40, your class power is going to come in very handy.
Chaos Archmage: Humanoid slaying ammo. Notice the pattern? Humanoid slaying is among the most useful types of slaying. Against the Chaos Archmage, remember the death ray resistance, the confusion resistance and the light source under all circumstances! (Just fought against him without confusion resistance. It's doable, but the stat decreases you get while wasting turns staggering around are horrible.)
Use your slaying ammo for the most dangerous enemies, like demon slaying against balors, dragon slaying against ancient dragons and wyrms (and Sraxxarrakex), giant slaying against giant kings and titans, jelly slaying against death oozes, undead slaying against emperor liches and lich kings. And an ultimate archer ending definitely includes finding a nice stack of humanoid slaying ammo and blessing it...
Because I forgot the first time, I want to thank all the guys at the ADOM forum for their being tremendously nice and fun people to chat, discuss, and generally be with, my friends for generally kicking ass, my girlfriend for kicking the most ass (and for actually trying to play ADOM, if only to humour me), and Soirana, Nightmare, Narcolepcy, Hendar23, Giant Frog, Battle bunny and Mewto for their suggestions. If you others want to get special mentions too, why not point out some flaws of this guide to me? ;)