Titan

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The titan is a powerful monster that appears in NetHack. It is capable of flight, spellcasting, and can throw boulders like its close cousins, the giants. Titans will actively pick up magical items alongside other objects, and cannot be genocided.

Generation

In addition to occurring very rarely via random generation, the second variant of Medusa's Island always generates a titan in the entrance hall where the upstair is located. While even rarer, it is also possible for a titan to randomly generate within the quest branch for Cave(wo)men and Valkyries.

Titans are most likely to generate as peaceful for lawful characters, and are a valid form for polymorph traps. They have a 50% chance of starting with a boulder.

Strategy

Titans are among the more difficult monsters that can be encountered in the deepest parts of the dungeon - the titan on Medusa's Island in particular is one of two significant obstacles on the average dig for victory, with the other being the general presence of minotaurs. Their tendency to be peaceful towards lawful characters is considered a notable advantage compared to other alignments.

Titans are alarmingly fast at 18 speed and possess a good AC of -3, and while by no means the most physically damaging among giant humanoids, titans make for tricky fights, especially due to the summon nasties monster spell. Magic resistance can help protect against the other spells in a titan's arsenal, though while titans also respect Elbereth, many of the nasties they can summon - minotaurs, elf-lords, Elvenkings, captains, and couatls - do not. With gloves and good to-hit, cockatrice corpses can easily render titans a non-issue, and they are conveniently among the nasties that a titan can summon.

Taming and cancelling titans are possible counters, though both are risky due to their high magic resistance of 70. For casters with a sufficiently high experience level, the spell of cancellation may be a preferable option to the wand - though roles capable of the required skill level in matter spells should invest in alternate and more direct options, such as the Wizard's magic missile. Putting them to sleep is similarly risky, though success means having a few free turns to inflict the necessary damage without fear of magical retaliation; a wielded potion of sleeping is a good choice for this.

One way to avoid randomly-generated titans is to keep your experience level low. For example, assuming a character at XL 14, titans are only randomly generated starting at depths of 26 - the Dungeons of Doom can terminate on dungeon level 25 at highest and DL 29 at the lowest, and titans cannot appear in Gehennom, leaving the window of generation quite narrow. However, they can still be randomly generated in the Castle, on Medusa's Island, via polymorph, or during the ascension run.

As pets

Titans are superb fighters and pet candidates, due to the combination of flight, spellcasting, a decent melee attack, excellent speed and solid defenses. Their natural AC easily compensates for an inability to wear body armor, especially once you give them a well-enchanted weapon and other pieces of armor - their size also makes them immune to engulfing, which is especially handy for preventing an untimely instadeath by digestion.

Titans are obtainable from polymorph traps and rival balrogs as the best monsters that can be made pets this way. Unlike balrogs, they are not inediate, but a well-kitted titan can easily keep themselves fed - even so, be wary if a pet titan becomes confused from hunger.

History

The titan was introduced in NetHack 3.0.0.

Variants

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, titans can be genocided.

dNetHack

In dNetHack, titans are primordials, and can appear as the ruler of a throne room (which functions rather differently in this variant); a titan's throne room audience will include many giants among them.

Encyclopedia entry

Gaea, mother earth, arose from the Chaos and gave birth to
Uranus, heaven, who became her consort. Uranus hated all
their children, because he feared they might challenge his
own authority. Those children, the Titans, the Gigantes,
and the Cyclops, were banished to the nether world. Their
enraged mother eventually released the youngest titan,
Chronos (time), and encouraged him to castrate his father and
rule in his place. Later, he too was challenged by his own
son, Zeus, and he and his fellow titans were ousted from
Mount Olympus.

[ Greek Mythology, by Richard Patrick ]