The pyrolisk, c, is a monster in NetHack. It is closely related to the cockatrice, and is the only member of the cockatrice monster class to lack any stoning-related properties or any form of dangerous touch.
The pyrolisk attacks using a special fiery gaze attack: if you meet the pyrolisk's gaze, you take 2d6 damage unless you have fire resistance, and any potions, scrolls, and spellbooks in your inventory may be destroyed; armor is not affected. If either you or the pyrolisk are blind, the gaze has no effect; interestingly, the gaze attacks can work even if you are invisible, even though the pyrolisk cannot natuarally see invisible and it is still possible for them to miss.
Pyrolisks can be rendered completely harmless by blinding yourself, usually wearing a blindfold or towel, allowing you to dispatch them with ease. If you notice a pyrolisk in the area and have no means to blind yourself, stash your potions, scrolls and spellbooks in a sack or other container; if all else fails, drop them on the ground and be sure not to step too far away in case other monsters are nearby.
As a pet, the pyrolisk is generally not worthwhile, but its gaze attack does have the unique property of not provoking counterattacks or wake up sleeping monsters; it will also not attack peaceful monsters with the gaze unless it is confused or under conflict.
The pyrolisk's name is a contraction of pyr (Greek word πῦρ "fire") and basilisk, a mythical snake-like monster closely related to the cockatrice. Pyrolisks come from Dungeons & Dragons, where they are depicted as very similar in physical appearance to the cockatrice, with a rooster-like body, a reptilian tail and bat wings; pyrolisks have red tail feathers distinct from those of cockatrices.
At first glance around the corner, I thought it was another
cockatrice. I had encountered the wretched creatures two or
three times since leaving the open area. I quickly ducked my
head back and considered what to do next. My heart had begun
to thump audibly as I patted my pack to make sure I still had
the dead lizards at close reach. A check of my attire showed
no obvious holes or damage. I had to keep moving. One deep
breath, and a count of three, two, one, and around the corner
I bolted. But it was no cockatrice! I felt a sudden intense
searing of the skin around my face, and flames began to leap
from my pack. I tossed it to the ground, and quickly retreated
back, around that corner, desperately striving to get out of