Gargoyle

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The gargoyle, g, is a thick-skinned humanoid monster that appears in NetHack. It is one of the few monsters immune to stoning that is neither acidic nor itself capable of stoning.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit 071d79dc, temporary stoning resistance can be granted by eating gargoyle corpses. You get the message You feel less concerned about becoming petrified. when you gain temporary stoning resistance and You no longer feel secure from petrification. when the temporary resistance expires.

Generation

Gargoyles are somewhat uncommon, and will begin appearing around the middle of the dungeon. They can also hatch from 7677 of eggs laid by other gargoyles and winged gargoyles.[1] Gargoyles cannot grow up into winged gargoyles, however.

Strategy

A gargoyle can hit fairly hard with its bite and two claw attacks, and has a natural AC of -4, which may result in death for adventurers who fail to take it seriously. They are somewhat slow at 10 speed, however, and have absolutely no magic resistance, making them very vulnerable to wands and spells.

As a pet and polyself form, gargoyles are somewhat decent - they are strong, breathless and inediate, their immunity to stoning makes dispatching cockatrices easy, and they are capable of wearing all armor.

History

The gargoyle first appears in SLASH 6, and is introduced to vanilla NetHack in NetHack 3.2.0.

Origin

A gargoyle is a semi-decorative figure carved from stone and primarily associated with medieval and Gothic architecture, though the concept of animal-shaped water diversions existed centuries prior. The term originates from the French "gargouille", which in English roughly means "throat" or "gullet"; its root is the Latin "gar" ("to swallow"), which represents the gurgling sound of water. Gargoyles are specifically employed in order to divide the flow of rainwater and direct it away from the sides of a building - a trough is cut in the back of a gargoyle, and the rainwater typically exits through the open mouth, preventing it from eroding the mortar between masonry walls; such gargoyles are typically given elongated forms to achieve the desired distance from the wall, and may optionally be given wings as well.

Mythical gargoyles are directly based on the carved stone figures, and have been conceived as animated statues or living statue-like being similar to golems; some works depict them as beings of demonic affinity, e.g. the 1972 television film Gargoyles that provides their encyclopedia entry, or else vessels for demonic possession, as in the popular 1984 movie Ghostbusters. The concept of the gargoyle as a guardian partly derives from the French legend of a dragon-like monster called Gargouille (or Goji), which was subdued or captured by Romanus of Rouen with the aid of either a crucifix or a condemned man that acted as the sole volunteer. The monster is led back to Rouen and burned, with its head and neck preserved due to being tempered by the fire breath; the head was mounted on the walls of the newly built church as a ward for protection and scaring off evil spirits.

Variants

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, gargoyles are the only "stony" monsters immune to the rays from a wand of digging or the spell of dig, unlike other stony monsters such as the closely-related statue gargoyle.

Doppelgangers that reach experience level 6 can reliably #youpoly into gargoyles to take advantage of their innate strength and stoning resistance. Tamed gargoyles have a chance to turn traitor unless you have more HP than them.

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, chatting to a tame gargoyle will cause it to ask "if you've seen Elisa Maza"; this is a reference to the popular Disney animated series Gargoyles.

dNetHack

In dNetHack, gargoyles can appear among the court of a vampire lord-ruled throne room.

Encyclopedia entry

And so it came to pass that while Man ruled on Earth, the gargoyles waited, lurking, hidden from the light. Reborn every 600 years in Man's reckoning of time, the gargoyles joined battle against Man to gain dominion over the Earth.
 
In each coming, the gargoyles were nearly destroyed by Men who flourished in greater numbers. Now it has been so many hundreds of years that it seems the ancient statues and paintings of gargoyles are just products of Man's imagination. In this year, with Man's thoughts turned toward the many ills he has brought among himself, Man has forgotten his most ancient adversary, the gargoyles.

[ Excerpt from the opening narration to the movie
        _Gargoyles_, written by Stephen and Elinor Karpf ]

References