Archon

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The Archon, A, is a powerful monster that appears in NetHack. Archons are the most powerful of the angelic beings, and have the second highest difficulty level of all randomly generated monsters after the arch-lich. They can attack four times per turn, including an active gaze attack that blinds and stuns you, and can cast spells as well.

Generation

Archons can be normally generated, but have such high difficulty that even for a level 30 player, they cannot appear before dungeon level 22. Since the Dungeons of Doom end around level 29 and Archons cannot be generated in Gehennom, most characters will not see one before finding the Amulet of Yendor. Once you have the Amulet, your effective dungeon level is at least 45, so Archons may be randomly generated from the Castle up. The random A generated on the second version of Medusa's Island can be an Archon, but the odds are quite low.[1]

Archons will always be peaceful for lawful characters of non-negative alignment.

If neither Demonbane nor Sunsword have yet been created, the first Archon to be normally generated will be given one of them;[2] they are also guaranteed a shield of reflection.

Strategy

Archons' guaranteeds shield will reflect any kind of spell up to a death ray, but Vorpal Blade can decapitate them. They are too large to be bisected by The Tsurugi of Muramasa. The best way to fight Archons, beyond possessing magic resistance, is to use a footrice corpse and blind yourself to protect against their gaze. Wearing the Eyes of the Overworld also prevents you from being stunned or blinded by this attack. Another option is to try avoiding them and keep moving, and can be aided by exploiting their inability to unlock doors can help. Some players consider peaceful Archons a significant advantage of being lawful.

Archonstorm

Main article: Archonstorm

Excessive use of genocide may lead to an "Archonstorm", a scenario in which overwhelming numbers of Archons begin to appear in the endgame in place of other high-level monsters that have been genocided. Neutral and chaotic players can keep the chances of such a scenario low by using genocide sparingly. Lawful humans will probably want to use moderation in using genocide as well, due to the −1 alignment penalty associated with it.

As pets

Archons are are exceedingly popular as pets due to their power; as pets cannot cast attack spells, the arch-lich is far less desirable due to its weak cold attack and complete lack of other physical attacks. The easiest way to get a pet Archon is to apply a blessed figurine of an Archon. It is possible for a high-level character to tame an Archon with a charm monster spell, but its high monster magic resistance all but ensures it will require a number of attempts. The Castle is the most promising place to farm for one with the create monster spell once your level is high enough, but Vlad's Tower might also do.

Pacifists in need of a powerful pet may use an early wish for a blessed figurine of an Archon. Though figurine generation ignores starting inventories as of NetHack 3.6.0, an Archon's powerful base stats will be more than enough for it to make use of whatever it is equipped with.

Archons are capable of wearing gloves, helms, boots, and shields, and will also pick up and use a variety of items. They are permanently fast after they cast haste self, hit hard overall, and will often use their blinding gaze against enemies; monsters cannot be stunned in the same way as the player. Additionally, a level 25 or higher Archon will always ignore conflict due to its combined level and monster magic resistance; a level 32 or higher Archon will also be immune to polymorph traps, but not level teleport traps.

Getting an Archon to drop their starting weapon can be difficult; applying a bullwhip towards them can strip them of their current weapon, allowing you to hand them another weapon or enchant their initial one before handing it back.

Variants

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, because the dungeon is much deeper, there is a higher probability you'll encounter them before the castle. Solars make even better pets.

Take into account that here you will need a +4 weapon to hit them. If you were planning to use firearms to bypass their reflection, you'll need +4 bullets.

dNetHack

Main article: Archon (dNetHack)

Archons in dNetHack are split into 7 varieties. The counterpart to the vanilla Archon is a Throne Archon. In addition, as the #loot command can now take items from pets, it's much easier to remove Sunsword or Demonbane from a pet. You can also use this to give them a different artifact or a non-artifact enchanted weapon, and take Sunsword for yourself.

Origin

Archon is Greek (ἄρχων arkhon) for "ruler" or "lord". It refers to ancient Greek "ruling gods".

Encyclopedia entry

Archons are the predominant inhabitants of the heavens.
However unusual their appearance, they are not generally
evil. They are beings at peace with themselves and their
surroundings.

References

  1. makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 1318
  2. makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 268: The game always tries to give overlord A's one of the two artifacts; if the chosen artifact has already been generated, it will be converted to a normal rustproof long sword. Thus, when one of the two artifacts has already been generated, the next Archon generated has a 50% chance of receiving the other.