The GameSetWatch column '@Play' deals with the storied history of Rogue-like text adventures. This week, author John Harris discusses the many ways to die in Nethack
. From the article: "The lowly cockatrice is perhaps the most dangerous monster in the game. There are plenty of monsters with more hit points, who do more damage, who have special attacks, and are just bigger, but cockatrices instantly kill anyone who touches them with their bare skin, and are thus very likely to kill players unwise in their dealings with them. Even Death up on Astral Plane has to succeed in an attack against a player to deliver an instakill, but a cockatrice can kill by being attacked. If the player attempts to fight a cockatrice without a weapon or wearing gloves and hits, he turns to stone. If he attempts to pick up a dead one with his bare hands, that will also turn him to stone. (It can also be wielded, however. Applications for a wielded cockatrice corpse are left for you to imagine, but I will say that it can be, hm, useful.)"