Balrog

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Balrogs, &, are the most physically imposing of the non-unique major demons in NetHack. As in the Tolkien legendarium, it is armed with a bullwhip and broadsword, at the very least. Unlike all other major demons, balrogs are incapable of summoning other demons; they share this property with foocubi.

A balrog can technically steal your weapon with its bullwhip; however, due to the way monsters prioritize weapons, it will only wield the bullwhip if it somehow loses its broadsword.

As a pet

Having tremendous melee combat ability, a comfortably low AC, high magic resistance and a pair of valuable elemental resistances, a balrog is among the very best general-purpose pets you can get out of a polymorph trap. Once you outfit it with weapons and armor, a pet balrog makes for a lethal bodyguard; moreover, being strong, it excels at the more mundane tasks expected of pets, curse-testing and theft, all without the need for food - indeed, being inediate means a balrog will never become confused from hunger, and so there is no risk of it attacking you or any of your other pets no matter how long you enjoy each other's company. That it flies undeterred over traps and pools to crush your enemies is icing on the cake!

Perhaps its only shortcoming is that, as it is not a spellcaster, it cannot tend its own wounds between encounters. This places balrogs just beneath Archons and the like, but then, those super-pets are not obtainable through polymorph traps. It's also somewhat slow, and its high MR means it will tend to resist, say, a wand of speed monster.


Encyclopedia entry

... It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as
if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped
the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed
about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming
mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand
was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it
held a whip of many thongs.
'Ai, ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]


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