Rust Monsters (Or: How I Learned to Love the Blacksmith)

How should Next handle the Rust Monster, or sundering, or any of the numerous amount of creatures that existed in previous editions that could corrode weapons and armor, or outright shatter them?

In 2e, a Rust Monster was a big deal. It was why you kept leather armor and a club around, or a bow and arrows, because you knew that the Fighter and Ranger engaging it in melee meant the end of your adventuring day, unless you saw a room a few halls back that had an old adventurer's corpse that hadn't be picked clean. The christmas tree effect was rare here, but it happened. And this is why. But there wasn't a way to fix them. When the rust monster ate your sword that was that. You gave it up and moved on, hoping to find a new one.

But in 3e, we got Sunder. The active ability to break weapons and armor as part of an attack. 3e was the worst offender of Christmas Trees. A player who had less than 3 weapons and at least a second set of magical armor was outgunned in a dungeon. An archer best have at least two bows and a handful of different arrow types to override his weaknesses, because someone, somewhere, could charge and sunder your weapon. Or your armor. Or maybe both if you're unlucky and they had Pounce. 3e also suffered the same way 2e did: sundered equipment was destroyed. With all of the various uses and skillsets, no one could ever use Craft: Blacksmith to fix a bloke's sword after a sunder attempt. Why?.

In 4e, this basically disappeared. Magic Items were too important (and somehow still devalued) to characters to just break them willy-nilly. Your sword was the most important part of your arsenal. Breaking it was just bad form. We stepped somewhere from "Weapons can be replaced!" to "Player equipment is too precious! Don't take it away!"

While I firmly believe that there are places for both styles, how do we utilitize this to our advantage and come to a middle ground? Perhaps something like Pathfinder's 'Broken' status, where sundering a weapon instead causes a penalty, instead of outright ruining a weapon into a million, impossible-to-fix pieces? Should sundering be in Next at all, core, module option or otherwise?
I'm not sure about sunder.  I think breaking a weapon shouldn't be easy and breaking a magic weapon should be super hard.   On the other hand, I love rust monsters.  2e style.

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Well, 4e doesn't forbid those things, it is just leaving them to the DM's story level. I mean a PC can use page 42 and do pretty much anything, so PCs sundering monster's weapons exists, and if the DM says "your sword broke" well, it broke. My guess would be the reason for doing that would be to create an interesting story element. Now, maybe some people want random breakage or something. It didn't really exist in AD&D, so I've never really missed it.

IME Rust Monsters were created and existed to delete items from PCs that had gotten too many. The 4e rust monster really had no reason to exist, and that kind of tells since it is basically a minor inconvenience. Now, maybe 5e will lack any sort of treasure acquisition guidelines (I'm not even sure they are a good idea really) and perhaps old rusty can lurk in the shadows somewhere and come rescue a few miscreant DMs again.

My thinking is 4e really tried to get away from the 'set gotcha' concept. I don't think the intent was ever to not have PCs fall into adverse situations. It seems to me more like it was intended to let the DM have more leeway in inventing them and encourage some real creativity there and make it a story driving mechanism. I never thought things like garden variety AD&D cursed items and broken equipment and stuff was all that creative in play. It could be FUN, but I don't think that fun is lost just because the DM has to be a bit more clever now or invent some stuff himself.
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To me the rust monster seemed like a patch for a system with a half-arsed sense of the value of magic items and systems for randomly generating them, oops I gave em a vorpal sword and a +4 armor too early, lets just take it away.

It certainly wasnt mythic or legendary shrug, sorry that is my opinion.
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How should Next handle the Rust Monster, or sundering, or any of the numerous amount of creatures that existed in previous editions that could corrode weapons and armor, or outright shatter them?



Omission.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
They should exist in Next, basically how they existed in 4e: with a big sidebar that says you should probably not use them in your game unless you know what you're doing.
Give armor and weaons a durability (in line with archers arrows, and mages reagents).*
Every time your are missed your armor take -1 to durability.  (Hiting hurt your weapon).
Rust monsters do extra durability damage to metal armor/weapons.**

Now, they won't just flat out destroy your stuff, but they will take an extra toll on certain resources.  And beating them with a wooden sword might not be such a bad idea.


*As an option.  If you don't like keeping track of that suff, then just ignore it.

** presumably, other monsters (oozes) can deal extra damage to wooden things, and to reagents.

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F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

But in 3e, we got Sunder. The active ability to break weapons and armor as part of an attack. 3e was the worst offender of Christmas Trees. A player who had less than 3 weapons and at least a second set of magical armor was outgunned in a dungeon.


What? I'm sorry, my unarmed swordsage was busy beating an ooze to a pulp. Did you say something?

Really, all that sundering/rust monsters were was another way to laugh at the fighter. That's all. Which is probably why they should go away.
I was never a fan of sundering or rust monsters, etc, for some of the reasons already posted. Rust monsters are probably considered too "iconic" to ever be removed entirely from D&D but honestly I'd be perfectly happy without them.
Rust Monster? Leave that in NetHack where it belongs.

(Ironically, even the NetHack devs thought that D&D rust monsters were too extreme. That's saying a lot).
Rust Monster? Leave that in NetHack where it belongs.

(Ironically, even the NetHack devs thought that D&D rust monsters were too extreme. That's saying a lot).



Had to look up NetHack.  It reminds me of Desktop Dungeons.  Which is a great timewaster, But I'd never actually play it if it was a game I expected to ever beat or win.  It's a game I expect to waste time on while I'm waiting for something else.  You're meant to lose.

And even then, I have yet to find a rust monster type thing in it.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
A rust monster is akin to the Oil/plastic eating microbes in Earth Maiden Arjuna. In some sense, it's a high level encounter that targets a type of substance commonly used or considered valuable and destroys it. This is really not much different from Moths or the Midas touch.

A crystal/gem eating monster could be just as bad. When you see a film about Aliens coming for a specific resource, such as gold or copper, it's the same theory. When the Enterprise is being devoured by nanites, it's the same theory.

A rust monster is an awful monster, but the concept isn't unique. Perhaps these parasitic resource eaters should be grouped together for quick reference?
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Had to look up NetHack.  It reminds me of Desktop Dungeons.  Which is a great timewaster, But I'd never actually play it if it was a game I expected to ever beat or win.  It's a game I expect to waste time on while I'm waiting for something else.  You're meant to lose.

And even then, I have yet to find a rust monster type thing in it.



Desktop Dungeons is a Rogue-like, just like NetHack. As in traditional Rogue-like fashion, you're expected to learn the game by getting brutalized mercilessly for the first 100 hours or so, likely much more; they're both very unforgiving games that can and will mock your ineptitude. Which is why I find it amusing that Rust Monsters in NetHack are much tamer than they are in D&D.


Had to look up NetHack.  It reminds me of Desktop Dungeons.  Which is a great timewaster, But I'd never actually play it if it was a game I expected to ever beat or win.  It's a game I expect to waste time on while I'm waiting for something else.  You're meant to lose.

And even then, I have yet to find a rust monster type thing in it.



Desktop Dungeons is a Rogue-like, just like NetHack. As in traditional Rogue-like fashion, you're expected to learn the game by getting brutalized mercilessly for the first 100 hours or so, likely much more; they're both very unforgiving games that can and will mock your ineptitude. Which is why I find it amusing that Rust Monsters in NetHack are much tamer than they are in D&D.



I think I have won a total of 2 dungeons in definitly over 100 hours of casual DD play.  I assume it's not skill but luck of the draw.  Or the success mechanics are so damn specific that one wrong move (known or unknown at the time) kills you.  Which is why I would only ever play those kinds of games very casually.  Like waiting for a web game to load, I can spend a minute and a half getting screwed by Desktop Dungeons.  I don't expect to win, I expect to lose.

My point, meandering as it is, is that I do expect to "win" (and by win I mean live) within D&D, and not be punished by the game.  Which perhaps is why I started with and much prefer 4th ed?  And why the Rust Monsters of 4th ed sound loads better than "ye olde days".

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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58419928 wrote:
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69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
How should Next handle the Rust Monster, or sundering, or any of the numerous amount of creatures that existed in previous editions that could corrode weapons and armor, or outright shatter them?



Omission.


It's a rare thing for me to find myself in total agreement with Salla.  Make a note of the date.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

As others have said, rustmonsters were basicly a way to remove items that were given to players via random charts that the DM deemed too much for the players to have. This is bad game design. There should be no reason to remove items that the players should not have, because those items should not be given in the first place.

However, as can be figured out from my screen name, I like rustmonsters. I have never liked their mechanics, though. The concept of them lightly brushing metel and instantly turning it to scrap is silly. It would solve everything by just saying it takes them about 15 minutes to fully dissolve a metal object and then eat it, but this was never really done because of a problem D&D has always had. Monsters with special diets or habits must be able to immediatly bring those things up in combat through use of a simple ability, because heaven forbid for something like that to be background material! Illithids eat brains? Players are too dumb to figure that out on their own, let's make them do it RIGHT IN THE HEAT OF COMBAT!

I think that rustmonsters can be implimented well as long as they don't hold to this silly idea that interesting features of a monster must be something that they can whip out in combat. As well, they should not solely effect those who use metal. The idea I walways had is that they are capable of temporarily degrading almost ANY material with a smack of their tendrils, but only use this on non-metal things for self defense. Although it WORKS on almost anything, they only actually eat metal, which takes them several minutes of focused degradation to turn into rust powder, which they then consume. The temporary damage to items they hit can be repaired with some basic maintainance as a short rest.

But of course, this requires a bit of understanding on the part of the players, which we OBVIOUSLY can't assume they have. Do this and some old fart will start saying "Whuuuuuu the rustmonster can hurt wood too, they made them able to eat wood!", or in an even worse case, "Rustmonsters can't destroy stuff in combat?!? how does they eats?!?!?"
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
As others have said, rustmonsters were basicly a way to remove items that were given to players via random charts that the DM deemed too much for the players to have. This is bad game design. There should be no reason to remove items that the players should not have, because those items should not be given in the first place.




No amount of design or rules is going to prevent the wayward DM from giving items to a player that they shouldn't have had. No amount of rules is going to prevent a DM from taking away items that the DM does not want the player to have. Should the "rust monster" be taken away the DM can do the following.
- Have the characters robbed
- Have the characters pick-pocketed
- Have the characters captured and their items confiscated
- Attack the players with a rust monster (or any manner of item-eating creature)
- Have players lose gear in a fire
- Item goes over cliff on a critical fumble
- Character is reduced to zero HP and the monsters make off with his stuff while he is making his death saving throws.
- Illithid dominates character and orders surrender of said items

The list goes on and on.

There is no reason why a monster that eats metal should be categorically removed from the game. Each monster is a unique tool for the DM to use at their discretion. There is an amount of horror the players experience after facing their first rust monster. Alternatively, the DM need never introduce a rustmonster into the game. It is unfair to remove options because someone's DM somewhere gave them a gauntlets of ogre power at level one and then used the rustmonster to remove the gauntlets from the player.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 



IMAGE(http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa279/LolaBonne/laughharder.png)
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


It's demands people make like this that make me fear what 5E is going to end up like.
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 








I think I <3 you more now.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Also, a note to people who demand rust monsers, there's better ways to challenge your players other than $@%#ing all over them.
I have a soft spot for the rust monster, I remember the plastic toy it was based on.
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


It's demands people make like this that make me fear what 5E is going to end up like.




There is nothing to fear at all, if you don't like it then simply don't use it.    Every edition of D&D has a rust monster.   5e will be no exception.  
 


As others have said, rustmonsters were basicly a way to remove items that were given to players via random charts that the DM deemed too much for the players to have. This is bad game design. There should be no reason to remove items that the players should not have, because those items should not be given in the first place.


You are freaken me out man... 

However, as can be figured out from my screen name, I like rustmonsters. I have never liked their mechanics, though. The concept of them lightly brushing metel and instantly turning it to scrap is silly. It would solve everything by just saying it takes them about 15 minutes to fully dissolve a metal object and then eat it, but this was never really done because of a problem D&D has always had. Monsters with special diets or habits must be able to immediatly bring those things up in combat through use of a simple ability, because heaven forbid for something like that to be background material! Illithids eat brains? Players are too dumb to figure that out on their own, let's make them do it RIGHT IN THE HEAT OF COMBAT!

I think that rustmonsters can be implimented well as long as they don't hold to this silly idea that interesting features of a monster must be something that they can whip out in combat. As well, they should not solely effect those who use metal. The idea I walways had is that they are capable of temporarily degrading almost ANY material with a smack of their tendrils, but only use this on non-metal things for self defense. Although it WORKS on almost anything, they only actually eat metal, which takes them several minutes of focused degradation to turn into rust powder, which they then consume. The temporary damage to items they hit can be repaired with some basic maintainance as a short rest.

But of course, this requires a bit of understanding on the part of the players, which we OBVIOUSLY can't assume they have. Do this and some old fart will start saying "Whuuuuuu the rustmonster can hurt wood too, they made them able to eat wood!", or in an even worse case, "Rustmonsters can't destroy stuff in combat?!? how does they eats?!?!?"


Sigh... yes wow, I never liked rustmonsters and I still agree with you... 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


It's demands people make like this that make me fear what 5E is going to end up like.




There is nothing to fear at all, if you don't like it then simply don't use it.    Every edition of D&D has a rust monster.   5e will be no exception.  
 



As long as it's in a module and not in a core monser book.
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


It's demands people make like this that make me fear what 5E is going to end up like.




There is nothing to fear at all, if you don't like it then simply don't use it.    Every edition of D&D has a rust monster.   5e will be no exception.  
 



As long as it's in a module and not in a core monser book.


Why can't it be both?

The MM1 should have monsters in it of all shapes and sizes, but those who are most likely to cause problems should be in their own section, or at least given proper disclaimers.

Educate the GM properly, and they can decide what style of monster fits the campaign. The problems happen when you have no proper information on "how to use this monster (carefully)", or, even worse you have advice like the 3.5 medusa "have absolutely no warning that they're going to fight the medusa, and have her approach them, in disguise, before throwing off her disguise to petrify them all at once" 
Rust monsters are a classic monster that MUST remain in the game.   If the system doesn't support them then the system is broken.


 


It's demands people make like this that make me fear what 5E is going to end up like.




There is nothing to fear at all, if you don't like it then simply don't use it.    Every edition of D&D has a rust monster.   5e will be no exception.  
 



As long as it's in a module and not in a core monser book.


Why can't it be both?

The MM1 should have monsters in it of all shapes and sizes, but those who are most likely to cause problems should be in their own section, or at least given proper disclaimers.

Educate the GM properly, and they can decide what style of monster fits the campaign. The problems happen when you have no proper information on "how to use this monster (carefully)", or, even worse you have advice like the 3.5 medusa "have absolutely no warning that they're going to fight the medusa, and have her approach them, in disguise, before throwing off her disguise to petrify them all at once" 



That I could deal with.
No amount of design or rules is going to prevent the wayward DM from giving items to a player that they shouldn't have had. No amount of rules is going to prevent a DM from taking away items that the DM does not want the player to have.



That's rather defeatist. "Why even bother trying". Is this what we're telling the designers? Is this what we are expecting from them?

With proper guidelines as well as guidance (from the actual books, not this "You need to be taught how to DM" stuff) you can make it that it is solely the decision of a well-informed and understanding DM that puts items into the adventure that are "innappropriate" for the party to have. No, nothing is stopping a DM from giving stuff the rules have informed them they shouldn't, and no, nothing is stopping them from "fixing" their mistake through some contrive means. But they shouldn't be able to say "The book didn't tell me!"
 
Should the "rust monster" be taken away the DM can do the following.
- Have the characters robbed
- Have the characters pick-pocketed
- Have the characters captured and their items confiscated
- Attack the players with a rust monster (or any manner of item-eating creature)
- Have players lose gear in a fire
- Item goes over cliff on a critical fumble
- Character is reduced to zero HP and the monsters make off with his stuff while he is making his death saving throws.
- Illithid dominates character and orders surrender of said items
The list goes on and on.



I don't understand why you're making this list. I understand that there are various ways that the DM can remove items from the player that they never should have had, most deliciously contrived or frustrating. My point is that they should all, barring special cases like the loss of a MacGuffin that leads to the next adventure, be completely unneeded, because there should be guidelines in the book that explain the game well enough that those sorts of errors must be made by a well informed DM who decided to do it on purpose. Which, again, usually means that they won't want to take the item away.

There is no reason why a monster that eats metal should be categorically removed from the game.



My god, the thing I knew would happen eventually ended up happened RIGHT AFTER MY POST!

A monster that eats metal DOES NOT need to insantly vaporize and eat metal in the heat of combat. That is not the same thing as saying "The monster does not eat metal ever". Do you see how that works? Cause I mentioned it. In fact, I never said that I want "[rustmonsters] catagorically removed from the game". I said I wanted them in. In a slightly revised form that uses better design.

Each monster is a unique tool for the DM to use at their discretion.



But the use of the "tool" of the rustmonster in previous editions was a waste disposal unit for the DM's failure. Using it to remove items that the DM should not have put in in the first place (or through random charts) is no better than snatching the player's sheet, saying "What Holy Avenger?", and furiously erasing it. If the party somehow defeated it before it fulfilled its intended purpose, they can just throw another one, or use any of the other lovely contrived reasons you gave above. It's almost lie a built-in way for the DM to pretend that they were planning this all along, a rules-endorsed Get-Out-of-Responsibility-for-Your-Mistakes Free Card. A thin facade the hide something that will be inevitable anyway. Of course it wasn't always the fault of the DM, really. It was mostly caused by how poor the guidelines, if any, older editions gave you were, not to meantion how they were loathe to actually explain WHY anything is like it is. Even the rustmonster didn't have a sidebar in previous editions saying "This creature is nothing except a hoover for your accidents".

There is an amount of horror the players experience after facing their first rust monster.



No there isn't. Losing your items instantly to some goofy little bug that is otherwise defenseless when you had no real way of knowing what was going to happen isn't horifying. It's frustrating and stupid. Your first thought wouldn't be "Oh the HORROR!", it would be "What the HELL man!". I really don't understand how advocates of old editions consistantly mistake frustration for some sort of awe-inspired fear.

Alternatively, the DM need never introduce a rustmonster into the game. It is unfair to remove options because someone's DM somewhere gave them a gauntlets of ogre power at level one and then used the rustmonster to remove the gauntlets from the player.



You know, sometimes the reason people think something in the game should be changed is not "It screwed my character over personally!". Sometimes it's because it is bad design.

To recap for you, it's bad design to have a "tool" in the book to remove DM errors caused by poor guidelines, because they should instead just PRINT BETTER GUIDELINES, making the use of these frustrating and obnoxious "tools" unneeded. And you know what? It's not just bad because it's bad design. It's bad because they are turning a good concept, a monster that can degrade things with the lash of a tendril, and turned it into nothing more than a walking plot-device. The rustmonster of old is USELESS. It's totally defenseless other than the rusting ability, having only a pathetic bite attack that always misses anyway. They aren't a threat. They are, as you said, a tool, some grimey hammer used by fumbling DMs to smash the dents out of their campaigns. And that is an absolutly dissappointing use of a cool monster. It's this giant armoured insect thing with two lashing tendrils and an ax-like tail! How do you degrade that down to "All it does is molest the DM's boo-boos away"?? Make the tendrils warp wood! Make the tendrils scorch flesh! Give it a tail-slash that it uses against flanking attackers! Give it heavy defenses, make it a tank! Give it things that the players will ACTUALLY dread! "Oh &*%$ it's a RUSTMONSTER! MY SKIIIIIIIIIN!!!"The possibilities are endless!

But some people just want it to be the DM's vaccum.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
 It's this giant armoured insect thing with two lashing tendrils and an ax-like tail! How do you degrade that down to "All it does is molest the DM's boo-boos away"?? Make the tendrils warp wood! Make the tendrils scorch flesh! Give it a tail-slash that it uses against flanking attackers! Give it heavy defenses, make it a tank! Give it things that the players will ACTUALLY dread! "Oh &*%$ it's a RUSTMONSTER! MY SKIIIIIIIIIN!!!"The possibilities are endless!


*claps*

A rustmonster that kills you because it wants your armor is so much cooler, and scarier, than a rustmonster that runs at you, suicidally, melts your armour and then dies. 
The odd thing is - I never resented Rust monsters (or oozes - same difference) when we played AD&D.   And I don't recall anyone else seeing them as DM's malign intent made manifest either.  Sure - we hated them.    Not as much as we did level draining creatures - but we in no way saw it as the DM screwing the player - it was just an example of the world being a dangerous place.  When I think of Rust Monsters, my first thought is of the old cartoon sketch in Dragon Magazine (I'd link it but I'm not sure of the copyright issues - but if you search google images for rust monster you'll find it) showing a fighter in plate leaping into the arms of the magic-user to get away from the rust monster.

And the irony is - back in those days magic was far less common than it was in any of the later editions.  So it wasn't as much the fear of losing magic as it was the fear of losing gear in general. 

I'm not entirely sure why that is.  I can come up with several explanations - and since they all get into trying to guess people's thought processes I don't know which is really the case.

1)  "Back in the day" since magic was rare, most of what the rust monster actually ate was not magical.   (And yes, this tends to invalidate the "its a trick for DMs to screw playes with powerful magic items" theory).

2) "Back in the day" magic was not something players had any real control over - it came, it went, and it was not part of the character's "build".  If you found a magical sword and had always used axes - you probably started using Swords because the odds of finding a magical axe was pretty slim - and because the game mechanics didn't provide many ways to customize your character to your gear.  Thus if you later lost the Sword, it likely wasn't a big part of the character's core concept and you would not have spent mulitple feats to capitalize on using that sword.

3)  "Back in the day" there were many more ways of losing items.   It was a given that both finding and losing items was something that happened regularly.  The DM giveth and the DM taketh away.  Looking through the AD&D MM, there are many other creatures that dissolved or ate items:  Ankheg* (acid), Black Puddings (metal), Beholder* (Disintigrate), Chimera* (fire breath), Dragon* (most breath weapons), Gray Ooze, Green Slime, Hell Hounds* (breath weapon), Hydra* (Pyrohydra breath weapon), Rust Monster (note: This was a quick skim - I likely missed some).  Note:  Items must also make a save when subjected to a "crushing blow" (e.g. an attack from a giant or ogre).  This can be interpreted to mean that armor and shields might require saves when attacked by giants, ogres (and any of several equally large and strong creatures).  This is not spelled out and likely was not applied consistantly if at all.  If you used this interpretation, that included the number of potential armor breaking creatures considerably.  And, of course, this doesn't count the several creatures who are quite capable of stealing the character's items - such as the Leprechaun or those capable of casting spells such as fireball or cone of cold.  Or those creatures which swallowed the characters whole.



Over time, each edition has reduced the number of creatures and attacks which threatened items and, where threatened, made items less and less likely to be ruined.

The result of this is that there is a distinction between some of those who played under these old rules and newer players.  It is not (as some have claimed) a distinction between DMs and Players - rather most of those who have been playing since the 70s and 80s are not DMs (and most DMs are also players anyway).

The distinction is in how you see items; it is a change in player expectations.  Are items something the players earn and once earned are theirs forever or are items a physical manifestation of luck - you find them, you use them for awhile, and then they are gone; Easy come, easy go; The DM giveth, etc? It is one of items as serendipty or items as entitlement.

And yes, a large part of this is trust in the DM.  Something that also seems to have gone by the wayside in the last thirty years.  The players have to trust the DM to play fair and to trust that the DM will giveth as much as the DM taketh.   

And finally - one other reason I think that things have changed is the result of a shift in perception from  "The world is what it is, it's a great big sandbox - and if I don't want to fight that rust monster I'll just go the other way" to "The DM is telling a story and all encounters are there for a reason - if there is a rust monster in that cave, it means we are expected to go kill it."  In the former case - the rust monster is, and the players can ignore it if they don't want to take the chance - and a smart party has already sent their (non-metallic armor wearing) rogue ahead to scout it out and found it - and possibly stolen whatever non-metallic loot it might have had.  In the latter case - the players may not be able to ignore the rust monster or may risk derailing the DM's precious plot if they do.  And this does  change how the players perceive the DMs intent.


And finally, all of this ignore the real reason why rust monsters are interesting and deserve a place in the game:  They force the players to think outside the box to defeat them.  If the party uses typical tactics and simply charges in - they are going to lose a lot of gear.  The rust monster rewards the smart party that scouts out the area and comes up with a plan to defeat the rust monster that does not allow the monster the opportunity to get at them or their gear in the first place.  This might mean magic (although AD&D Vancian casters didn't waste their spells lightly), this might mean finding some metal they can spare and luring the rust monster into a trap or ambush, this might mean any of a number of approaches.  The idea is that it is a creature which is not difficult to kill, but which requires thought to deal with rather than simple hacking and slashing.

Carl

*If the character is attacked by a breath weapon, his or her items must also make a saving throw.  In 2nd Edition, it was clarified that this is only the case if the character failed their save; if the character made their save their items were safe. 

Am I the only person who thinks the solution to 'I accidentally gave a PC a broken item' is to talk to the player and say, roughly, "I'm sorry, I made a mistake, that item is detrimental to the campaign, it's really messing things up.  Let's work together to see if we can't find something more appropriate that you like"?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
@CarlT

Great post, I agree %100.   Like death, the loss of magical items was just part of the game then.     

My opinion is that losing a magical item or two shouldn't make someone cry or get angry. It's just a game, and D&D is a game in which there really are no winners or losers.


 It's this giant armoured insect thing with two lashing tendrils and an ax-like tail! How do you degrade that down to "All it does is molest the DM's boo-boos away"?? Make the tendrils warp wood! Make the tendrils scorch flesh! Give it a tail-slash that it uses against flanking attackers! Give it heavy defenses, make it a tank! Give it things that the players will ACTUALLY dread! "Oh &*%$ it's a RUSTMONSTER! MY SKIIIIIIIIIN!!!"The possibilities are endless!

Holy ****, I want to fight that monster now....

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

When I think of Rust Monsters, my first thought is of the old cartoon sketch in Dragon Magazine (I'd link it but I'm not sure of the copyright issues - but if you search google images for rust monster you'll find it) showing a fighter in plate leaping into the arms of the magic-user to get away from the rust monster.

This is the one I remember.

IMAGE(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2Po6_EzxteY/TbDwJu26_fI/AAAAAAAAAXk/oSEbmSiNUk0/s1600/Rust+Monster.jpg)

Man that fighter looks pissed.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

How should Next handle the Rust Monster, or sundering, or any of the numerous amount of creatures that existed in previous editions that could corrode weapons and armor, or outright shatter them?


They should be in the sample dungeon released with the phb/dmg/mm combo pack. Terrible Nights of Rust in Saltmarsh.

But in 3e, we got Sunder. The active ability to break weapons and armor as part of an attack. 3e was the worst offender of Christmas Trees. A player who had less than 3 weapons and at least a second set of magical armor was outgunned in a dungeon. An archer best have at least two bows and a handful of different arrow types to override his weaknesses, because someone, somewhere, could charge and sunder your weapon. Or your armor. Or maybe both if you're unlucky and they had Pounce. 3e also suffered the same way 2e did: sundered equipment was destroyed. With all of the various uses and skillsets, no one could ever use Craft: Blacksmith to fix a bloke's sword after a sunder attempt. Why?.


First off, we ran 3rd edition RAW and are currently running PF RAW, and it's very rare that I give out items or let people buy them, and they haven't had any of these problems you're mentioning. If you lose an item, you just suck it up until you get a replacement. Thgius is the way it's always been.

And allowing someone to fix a busted sword doesn't have to be codified with hard-and-fast DCs.

In 4e, this basically disappeared. Magic Items were too important (and somehow still devalued) to characters to just break them willy-nilly. Your sword was the most important part of your arsenal. Breaking it was just bad form. We stepped somewhere from "Weapons can be replaced!" to "Player equipment is too precious! Don't take it away!"


Yeh, it's kinda bizarre.

While I firmly believe that there are places for both styles, how do we utilitize this to our advantage and come to a middle ground? Perhaps something like Pathfinder's 'Broken' status, where sundering a weapon instead causes a penalty, instead of outright ruining a weapon into a million, impossible-to-fix pieces? Should sundering be in Next at all, core, module option or otherwise?


Sundering and rust monsters both belong in D&D. In core. If people don't want to use them, that's their choice.

Here is reality, read and understand: Rangers aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Fighters aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Casters aren't "god mode" or overpowered, in any edition. The tarrasque isn't broken. And you aren't voicing your opinion by claiming otherwise, you're just being a pain. Now, stop complaining.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

The problem is that 4e requires that you have all your magical items and armor. If you are forced to go out fighting in your loincoth,  then the balance kiddies will argue that the situation creates an unfair imbalance between the classes. The sacred mechanics and character balance requires that bad things don't happen to your equipment and don't put you as such a disadvantage. Furthermore, you might send one of the players into a temper tantrum and he might feel that his character is now useless because he lost his full plate and great sword.

On a side note, I recently read a post from a D&D Next play tester who said that when they entered the caves of chaos the 4e gamers were unprepared. They had to run back to town and stock up on 10 poles, iron spikes, and other mundane equipment. What this means is that the game is now back to its original form and no longer assumes that your character can handle every situation without any ingenuity or preparation on the players part.    




Let's all agree that DMs who use monsters (or anything else) to strip characters down is a bad thing.  

Ok now that that is taken care of...

Put a tag called - Gritty or Dangerous or something on some monsters.  One group will know - we don't like those types of monsters.   The rest of us can use them.  

Monsters are a module unto themselves.  Many monsters in the MM are creatures I'm sure I've never used.  So they got moduled out in 1e.  Classes are the same way.   It's the other stuff besides the naturally modular stuff that we need to worry about.   Skill systems for example need modules.

I enjoy a gritty game...I want the following...
1.  I don't want players not caring about downsides when adventuring.
2.  Death should be painful and not common.  Regular stupidity though can increase it's occurance.
3.  Other bad things like level draining, ability drain, and item loss should be possible and not common.

I think the 4e (and 3e honestly) theory that bad things happening permanently in game to characters is bad fun.  Without the threat of bad things, the good things become unfun.   Now that is my own opinion about fun of course.



 

My Blog which includes my Hobby Award Winning articles.


@CarlT

Great post, I agree %100.   Like death, the loss of magical items was just part of the game then.     

My opinion is that losing a magical item or two shouldn't make someone cry or get angry. It's just a game, and D&D is a game in which there really are no winners or losers.




I think you misunderstand.   it's not about winning or loosing.  it's how you play the game.  if you come across a creature, have no idea what it is, and just die (or win), due to dice, or a specific item or sequence, it's not fun.  if you got a clue long enough ahead of time to actually do something (i.e. the room is filled with rust, there's a wooden chest that looks fairly new, but it's hinges, and even it's nails are rusted) that's not an issue,

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

On a side note, I recently read a post from a D&D Next play tester who said that when they entered the caves of chaos the 4e gamers were unprepared.   They had to run back to town and stock up on 10 poles, iron spikes, and other mundane equipment.    What this means is that the game is now back to its original form and no longer assumes that your character can handle every situation without any ingenuity or preparation on the players part.    


Yep, we went back to being peasant heroes instead of heroic adventurers.


That's what knowledge checks are for. 

Dungeoneering checks actually, but unless the rust monster gets a serious upgrade to be a believable threat and not a pointless plot device, there's no point since I'll likely never see one used in-game.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

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