Perseus

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Perseus is the name given to a historic statue of a knight found on Medusa's Island. He is named for the Greek mythological figure that beheaded and killing Medusa, using his polished shield to view her reflection and avoid meeting her gaze directly.

Generation

The statue of Perseus appears in all versions of Medusa's domain, with his location dependent on the version and tied to the down stairs location. Two versions of the isle will have the statue occupy the same tile as both Medusa and the down stair; the other two have three (or four) eligible squares for Medusa and the down stair to appear on, and his statue will appear on one of the remaining squares.

The statue of Perseus has a chance of containing the following items, with an independent chance for each:[1][2][3][4]

  • A 75% chance of a cursed +0 shield of reflection; in the second version, the chance is instead 25%
  • A 25% chance of a +0 pair of levitation boots; in the second version, the chance is instead 75%
  • A 50% chance of a blessed +2 scimitar
  • A 50% chance of a sack

Casting stone to flesh on his statue will revive him as a named player monster, much like any other statue. As with any historic statue, an Archeologist breaking on will suffer a −1 alignment penalty.

Strategy

Perseus's statue is often broken by those seeking a source of reflection after killing Medusa if they manage to make it to her domain without one. He can also potentially provide a source of levitation, either for later points of the game or to be able to actually cross Medusa's island (e.g. after digging past). The raven-filled variant of Medusa's island is likely to have the statue on a different island from Medusa herself, making it much less ideal for those seeking levitation and lacking most other means of crossing.

The usual strategies for facing Medusa without reflection apply in any event; be sure to have your means of reflection and/or blinding actually readied and equipped, or you may well end up like Perseus.

Origin

The items found in the statue each reflect some of the actual tools the mythological Perseus was gifted for the task of killing Medusa: Zeus gave him a set of winged sandals and an adamantine harpe (a sword with a sickle or scythe in the blade, hence the scimitar); the polished shield was a gift from Athena that would allow him to safely view Medusa; and the Hesperides gave him a knapsack with which to safely contain Medusa's head as well. Said sack would later serve as the inspiration for the Wallet of Perseus in SLASH'EM.

Encyclopedia entry

Perseus shares his encyclopedia entry with Medusa.

Medusa, one of the three Gorgons or Graeae, is the only one
of her sisters to have assumed mortal form and inhabited the
dungeon world.
 
When Perseus was grown up Polydectes sent him to attempt the
conquest of Medusa, a terrible monster who had laid waste the
country. She was once a beautiful maiden whose hair was her
chief glory, but as she dared to vie in beauty with Minerva,
the goddess deprived her of her charms and changed her
beautiful ringlets into hissing serpents. She became a cruel
monster of so frightful an aspect that no living thing could
behold her without being turned into stone. All around the
cavern where she dwelt might be seen the stony figures of men
and animals which had chanced to catch a glimpse of her and
had been petrified with the sight. Perseus, favoured by
Minerva and Mercury, the former of whom lent him her shield
and the latter his winged shoes, approached Medusa while she
slept and taking care not to look directly at her, but guided
by her image reflected in the bright shield which he bore, he
cut off her head and gave it to Minerva, who fixed it in the
middle of her Aegis.

[ Bulfinch's Mythology, by Thomas Bulfinch ]

References

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It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

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