If a cold, fire, sleep, lightning, death, or disintegration ray hits a monster with reflection, it will have no effect and rebounds back in the direction it originated from. Reflection also protects against floating eyes' passive paralysis attack and Medusa's stoning gaze. If Medusa can see the monster that reflects her gaze, she turns to stone instead. Reflection does not protect against beams.
Reflection can be obtained extrinsically from the following items:
- Amulet of reflection
- Shield of reflection
- Silver dragon scales or silver dragon scale mail
- Wielding the Longbow of Diana, the Ranger quest artifact
- Wielding Dragonbane
The item must have the property of reflection, rather than merely being reflective; crystal plate mail and mirrors cannot grant reflection. The only way to obtain intrinsic reflection is to polymorph into a silver dragon.
The top level of Sokoban has a 50% chance of containing an uncursed amulet of reflection. In most versions of Medusa's Island, the statue of Perseus has a 75% chance of containing a cursed +0 shield of reflection; in the version that generates a titan, the chance is 25%.
Reflection is a high priority in the early game, and the preferred means of obtaining it are usually an amulet of reflection or silver dragon scale mail (SDSM). Players who get a wish from a magic lamp in the Gnomish Mines often use it for SDSM; dragon scale mail does not interfere with spellcasting, making it ideal for roles such as Wizards. A shield of reflection hinders spellcasting and prevents two-weapon combat and use of two-handed weapons, and is thus a preferred wish for roles who do not seek to use either skill, e.g. a Caveman.
Reflection is especially important because of high-damage wand and breath attacks. A black dragon's disintegration breath can kill you instantly, unless you have reflection or disintegration resistance. It is very hard to gain disintegration resistance without killing a black dragon first, so reflection is the best option.
Later in the game, reflection's protective use begins to be superseded as you obtain all elemental resistances and magic resistance. However, it is still an important property because it prevents inventory damage from attack wands and breath weapons. Without reflection, keeping wands and rings in open inventory is much more dangerous.
Staying out of monsters' line of fire is not as viable an alternative, because monsters can move and zap at the same time. However, in melee range, breath attacks are impossible and wand usage is much decreased, so movement tactics and an Elbereth cage can double for reflection in special circumstances.
A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:
"This doesn't list all reflection messages yet."
- But it reflects from your <foo>!
- A ray hitting you was reflected.
- For some reason you are not affected.
- As above, while you are blind.
- But it reflects from <monster>'s <foo>!
- A ray hitting a monster was reflected.
- It reflects from your <foo>!
- A lightning bolt from an angry god was reflected.
- For some reason you're unaffected.
- As above, while you are blind.
- <Monster>'s gaze is reflected by your <foo>.
- A reflectable gaze attack against you was reflected.
- Medusa doesn't seem to notice that her gaze was reflected.
- Medusa's reflected gaze attack had no effect because she can't see the reflection.
- The gaze is reflected away by <its> <foo>!
- A reflectable gaze attack against a monster was reflected.
Dragonbane's reflection property was added in NetHack 3.6.1.
SporkHack introduces a spellbook of reflection.
Nighthorn grants reflection when wielded.