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The kraken, ;, is the most difficult sea monster in NetHack. Like the lesser giant eel and electric eel, it possesses the instadeath drowning attack.

Kraken are sometimes a target of reverse genocide, as they are worth a high amount of experience points (even more than the Riders and below only that of some of the demon princes) and are not as dangerous outside water.

Encyclopedia entry

Out from the water a long sinous tentacle
had crawled; it was pale-green and luminous
and wet. Its fingered end had a hold of Frodo's
foot, and was dragging him into the water.
Sam on his knees was now slashing at it with
a knife. The arm let go of Frodo, and Sam
pulled him away, crying out for help.
Twenty other arms came rippling out. The
dark water boiled, and there was a hideous stench.

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


UnNetHack reassigns the Fellowship of the Ring excerpt to the Watcher in the Water, a unique monster inspired directly by that passage, and gives the kraken a new encyclopedia entry:

"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."

[ The Kraken, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson ]