Gargoyles are somewhat uncommon, and will begin appearing around the middle of the dungeon; gargoyles can also hatch from eggs laid by other gargoyles and winged gargoyles. Despite this, gargoyles cannot grow up into winged gargoyles.
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.
The gargoyle is introduced in NetHack 3.2.0.
A gargoyle is a semi-decorative figure carved from stone, primarily seen in architecture; while often associated with medieval and Gothic architecture, 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 represented the gurgling sound of water. Gargoyles are specifically employed in order to divide the flow of rainwater and directing it water away from the sides of a buildin: 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.
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); the beast 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.
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.
_Gargoyles_, written by Stephen and Elinor Karpf ]