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In ADOM, some dungeon levels have herb bushes growing in patterns that occasionally change. These patterns obey the rules of the game of life, except that herbs are constrained to grow only on open floor spaces, and sometimes herb bushes can be destroyed between generations but other game activity. It is also possible to plant new herb bushes, but so difficult that most players never manage to do so.

In addition, there are several types of herb bushes; the type of bush is determined solely by the location, similar to the types of traps, but the herb type map is simpler; each horizontal row on the screen produces one type of herb bush; the types cycle in a sequence down the screen. Each type of bush produces two different but related types of herbs, one considered good and one considered bad.

Players with better Herbalism skill will tend to pick more of the good types of herbs and more uncursed and blessed ones, and successfully identifying the herb bush with the Herbalism skill also helps in this manner. Players without any Herbalism skill will always pick cursed herbs, though it is still possible for them to pick some of the good types of herbs.

There's some skill in farming herbs in order to maintain long-lasting bushes:

  • Use herbalism to identify bushes. You can always pick from a strong bush or one that is full of blossoms without destroying it; at worst you'll degrade it one level. Picking from a withered bush may destroy it.
  • Learn to analyze the behavior of the life patterns and selectively prune out bushes by picking them to death in order to establish stable or oscillatory shapes.
  • The 2x2 square block is the most stable isolated shape, since overpicking one bush accidentally does not kill the whole formation, but since it only occupies 2 rows, you get only 4 different types of herbs. Other formations may be more prone to destruction but provide a wider variety of herbs.
  • Each time a generation occurs, surviving bushes which are adjacent to exactly 3 other bushes grow stronger, up to a maximum of full of blossoms. This is another good reason to farm in square blocks; they regenerate well. However, the time between generations is long enough that you'll have to do a bit of other stuff (or have a lot of blocks to farm) once you've got a bush down to withered, before it gets a chance to grow back.
  • Beware of the elements! Fire is especially harmful to herb bushes.
Here is a list of the types of beneficial herbs which exist in ADOM, arranged roughly in order of utility (the order is subjective and mostly based on my experience of playing High Elven Druids).

  1. Morgia root. This herb can be eaten to train your Willpower and Toughness up to 25, which is very useful (high Toughness means high maximum hit points, high Willpower helps with spellcasting and confusion resistance).
  2. Moss of mareilon. This herb can be squeezed to train your Dexterity up to 25, which increases your speed and helps with dodging attacks. I rate it slightly below morgia root because High Elves seem to have good Dexterity to start with, and anyone can get their Dexterity to 99 by eating the corpses in the Bug Temple (this will no longer be possible in version 1.0.1).
  3. Stomafillia. This herb has a high food value. Cursed stomafillia only satiates slightly, but uncursed stomafillia makes you satiated and blessed stomafillia makes you bloated. Since being bloated slows you down and prevents you from eating useful corpses, I prefer to use cooked lizards as my main food source. However, blessed stomafillia herbs make very good sacrifices if you sacrifice lots at once, and you may obtain a large pile of them before you have large quantities of gold. Note that stomafillia has an evil twin, the stomacemptia herb, which makes you hungrier.
  4. Spenseweed. This herb can be rubbed on the skin to heal your wounds. Obviously, this is very handy in the early game. It becomes less important later on - you will always need healing, but healing spells weigh nothing and cannot be destroyed, and the more powerful ones have a greater healing effect than herbs. Fighter types may rate the healing herbs higher than I do.
  5. Pepper petal. This is another healing herb, which must be eaten to work. Since it has an evil twin (burb roots, which are acidic) and cannot be eaten when bloated, it is inferior to spenseweed.
  6. Curaria mancox. This herb cures sickness when eaten. Sickness doesn't happen that often, especially if you try to kill monsters which have sickness attacks from afar, but when it happens it is a serious problem. Almost all your stats are reduced, you hardly heal at all, and you could even die from it. If you know the Cure Disease spell, it eliminates the need for curaria mancox. Curaria mancox has an evil twin, the devil's rose, which causes sickness.
  7. Alraunia antidote. This herb cures poisoning when eaten. I rate it below curaria mancox because potions of cure poison are fairly common and there are two spells (Slow Poison and Neutralise Poison) which can be used to fight poisoning. Also, poison wears off naturally over time (faster if you are poison resistant) - sickness eventually wears off too, but seems to take much longer. Alraunia antidote has an evil twin, the demon daisy, which causes poisoning.

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