Please don't bring the Rust Monster and other "gotcha" monsters back in 5th Edition.

Okay, so what's everyones feelings on Rust Monsters and their like? In the base game how deadly should they be and how quickly should they be capable of ruining a PC's day?

Edit: I'm sorry for the hostile wording of my original post. I'd had a hard day at work and had let it sneak into the topics I created. It wasn't my intention to start an edition war or anything like that but to open up discussion on an often volatile subject - Rust Monsters, and other such "gotcha" effects. If I could edit out the topic title I would.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
It's fine to bring them back.  It's just a question of what % of monsters are "gotcha monsters."  Ideally, the gotcha mechanics will be customization options like we have in the playtest bestiary.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Don't like them? Don't use them. Let the rest of us have our rust monsters.

Honestly, so many threads here amount to "I don't like this, so it shouldn't be available to anyone."
Don't like them? Don't use them. Let the rest of us have our rust monsters.

Honestly, so many threads here amount to "I don't like this, so it shouldn't be available to anyone."


Pretty much.  This is just the flip side of the coin we see in the "Tyranny of Fun" thread and the hate that popped up in the Dragonborn thread.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I was a HUGE fan of rust monsters throughout the AD&D days. My players found many of them over the years...and not a single one of them ever lost a piece of equipment to one. Their purpose, to me as a DM, was not to punish players...it was to make them think they were in a bad situation. The creativity they exhibited to try and get around a rust monster was amazing.

The rust monster (again, to me) was no different than a door with six doorknobs on it. The players immediately decide to themselves that at least one (if not all of them except one) of those doorknobs was either poisoned, would explode, or otherwise do something else horrible to them if they turned it. They'd spend tons of time talking about the door, poking the door, testing the door, and whatever else they could come up with, even though whichever one they decided to turn would be the correct one. Roleplay flourished. Creativity flourished. The PCs were never in any legitimate danger, but as long as the players thought they were, they pulled out all of the stops in regards to RP and in-game interaction.

Good DMs do not screw over the players, but he does impose a certain level of tension. Creatures such as the rust monster are great for this. Unfortunately, they are easy to abuse. While I have no doubt that the rust monster will show up in 5E (along with mimics, piercers, and other such candidates), if they don't for some reason, they'll be in my games.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft

Honestly, so many threads here amount to "I don't like this, so it shouldn't be available to anyone."



This, many times over.
Short, to the point, and 100% correct.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Yeah sorry. I was wrong and lost my temper. Include them but don't go overboard like in earlier editions.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
"Gotcha" anything is bad, or we wouldn't call it "gotcha."

Rust monsters can be fun.  I especially liked the 4e rust monsters where they could make your items degrade temporarily or they could gobble up your items permanently but you had a chance to get all the residuum back - so the real inconvenience was having to recreate your items.  So they were bad, but there was no "save or die" problem.  Kind of like the rest of 4e - you could have a really bad day but you could always get your own back in the end if you lived.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

The thing people forget about is that bad DMs don't need specific rules, mechanics, monsters, or whatever in order to be bad DMs.  But it is hard to blame bad DMs, and so easy to blame the game.

Rust monsters aren't bad.  They can be an interesting challenge that forces the party to come up with a new way of dealing with a fight.  The fighter and paladin can't be in the front line, for example.  But when used poorly (such as having the rust monster surprise the party and destroy the fighter's gear before anyone has a chance to act), it becomes bad DMing.  But again, this has nothing to do with the rust monster.  As the DM, you can do anything.  "You open the door?  Ok, make a fortitude save.  20?  You die."  Etc.

It is a sad truth that many of us have experienced bad DMs.  And yet we keep playing (hopefully now with good DMs!) because the game is great fun.  So rather than try to kick out the things the bad DMs used, try to come up with fun ways to use them.
So yeah include them, but maybe there should be a dial that tones back or tones up the deadliness of their gotcha powers?

Like in super deadly games the Rust Monsters a holy terror that will destroy your plate mail armor faster than the jaws of life would to your car, and then you have the light mode where it's much like the 4E version where yeah he can om nom your stuff, but you can easily get it back by killing him. 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
"Sleepy McNap the Dwarf was steadily advancing into the cold, dark dungeon when he fell into a pit trap and got his loot destroyed by a nefarious rust monster!"

said no quality work of fantasy ever. 


No, but if memory serves me, Dragons of a Summer Flame featured the Daemon Warriors of Chaos -- any weapon that struck one (or killed one, can't quite recall) would be destroyed, making them VERY threatening foes: you either had to kill them some way that didn't involve striking them normally, or deal with the fact that you would be thereafter disarmed.  Not as terrifying on a story level as the Shadow Wights, but a decent use of an item destruction ("Gotcha") monster in a work of fantasy that isn't criminally bad.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

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"Sleepy McNap the Dwarf was steadily advancing into the cold, dark dungeon when he fell into a pit trap and got his loot destroyed by a nefarious rust monster!"

Legend of Zelda disagrees


Just remember: anything a DM uses to "gotcha" players, is quickly employed by players to "gotcha" the entire damn campaign.
Don't like them? Don't use them. Let the rest of us have our rust monsters.

Honestly, so many threads here amount to "I don't like this, so it shouldn't be available to anyone."



I couldn't agree more with this. It's pretty easy to just not use a monster you don't like. I, however, love rust monsters. Even playing against them!

Yeah sorry. I was wrong and lost my temper. Include them but don't go overboard like in earlier editions.


You might want to edit that into the OP.  It might reduce the problems that seem almost guaranteed to pop up.  Maybe.  A little.

Oh, who am i kidding?

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Best use of rust monsters in a game I have ever heard of.

the party crosses a chasm on a bridge They notice the casm is filled with rust monsters...the party figures we may as well not go down there and fight them right now we have other pressing matters in here and these things aren't going anywhere.  If we really feel the need we can come back and kill them later...the next room they get to is filled with iron golems...they pull the iron golems back to the rust monster casm and then push them in.  Can't remember if the party even killed the rust monsters but if they did they simply sent the fighter in to kill them with a staff or bare fisted...rust monsters aren't hard to beat they just have an ability that makes them seem more fearsome.



Pretty much.  This is just the flip side of the coin we see in the "Tyranny of Fun" thread and the hate that popped up in the Dragonborn thread.



Well Tyranny of fun is different because it's about design philosphy and overall balance, which can't be easily fixed with a module or by omission.

It's simialr to how it's almost impossible to nerf combat healing in 4E without screwing up all the balance of the game.

Pretty much.  This is just the flip side of the coin we see in the "Tyranny of Fun" thread and the hate that popped up in the Dragonborn thread.



Well Tyranny of fun is different because it's about design philosphy and overall balance, which can't be easily fixed with a module or by omission.



A design philosophy that you have yet to prove actually exists.  I asked the following in the ToF thread.  Although I asked it of another poster, perhaps you would be good enough to answer it (in the ToF thread please; there's no reason to co-opt this one).

How do you distinguish between a change that occurs "because ToF" and one that was made to make the game more enjoyable?  Does every change that makes the game more enjoyable constitute ToF?  Even if it actually improves the mechanics of the game?  And, if not, then how do you precisely define the standard by which you judge whether a fun-increasing change is brought about by ToF or genuine improvement?

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Monsters are pretty much the ultimate in automatic modularity. That said, monsters like the rust monster are also a good spot for sidebar optional powers or modifications.

My ideal rust monster would probably work on a three-strikes rule - if the monster repeatedly hits a magical item the item is destroyed, and when it's destroyed, it's detroyed. The first hits corrode and tarnish the item, making it clear that something awful is happening to it, but don't do damage that can't be cleaned up. It might be a two-strikes rule if the monsters in Next remain as incredibly flimsy as they currently are, since nothing in D&D Next ever gets more than two turns, much less something with a dangerous power. My ideal rust monster might look a lot different from someone else's though.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.

Honestly, so many threads here amount to "I don't like this, so it shouldn't be available to anyone."



This, many times over.
Short, to the point, and 100% correct.



I second your seconding.
The thing people forget about is that bad DMs don't need specific rules, mechanics, monsters, or whatever in order to be bad DMs.  But it is hard to blame bad DMs, and so easy to blame the game.

This needs to be part of the PHB and DMG. Exactly these two sentences.
I asked the following in the ToF thread.  Although I asked it of another poster, perhaps you would be good enough to answer it (in the ToF thread please; there's no reason to co-opt this one).



Done.

These monsters are an archaic part of the game and from an age where DM's felt the need to humiliate players in order to feel better about their system-supported DM entitlement.

And Next is clearly trying very hard to harken back to those days.

Really, though, you're being (a little) harsh.  Classic D&D had lots of very cool, but not always that carefully explained, magic items, and DMs were often tempted to give out a few too many, or one that was more than a bit too powerful, and regret the decision later.  Various 'gotchyas' like the rust monster, let them un-do such mistakes.

5e does not consider magic items in level progression or encounter balance, so it could be quite easy for a DM to find himself in the  position of needing to remove items to restore some semblance of balance to his campaign.  Thus, he'll need rust monsters, disenchanters, Mordenkainen's Disjunction and so forth.



 

 

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..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Good DMs do not screw over the players, but he does impose a certain level of tension. Creatures such as the rust monster are great for this. Unfortunately, they are easy to abuse. While I have no doubt that the rust monster will show up in 5E (along with mimics, piercers, and other such candidates), if they don't for some reason, they'll be in my games.




Maybe the rust monster was a bad example here. While I doubt that the devs will really bring them back, there WERE a few things in earlier editions that were just plain unfair: for example, that worm that lived in doors, waiting to insta-kill anyone who pressed their ear against the surface?
"Ha! Rock beats scissors!" "Darn it! Rock is overpowered! I'm not playing this again until the next edition is released!" "C'mon, just one more." "Oh, all right..." "Wait, what is that?" "Its 'Dynamite' from the expanded rules." "Just because you can afford to buy every supplement that comes out..." "Hey, it's completely balanced! You're just a bad DM for not accommodating it."
Show
RPGs are getting more popular, and whenever something gets more popular, it inevitably changes, usually becoming more palatable to the masses. Nintendo is the perfect example. In the old days their games coined the term "Nintendo hard" to extend play time, but they knew their fans were dedicated enough to play anyway. Now they mostly make stuff a five year old can master. That's not necessarily bad, though. Most of those old Nintendo games were infuriating. Likewise, a lot of old RPGs were too complex and irritating for the average person to really get into. Rules light systems are going to get more popular as more people enter the hobby, simply because the new people aren't bound by nostalgia, and would rather play something easy and fun than something that takes a huge amount of effort to learn.
Maybe the rust monster was a bad example here. While I doubt that the devs will really bring them back, there WERE a few things in earlier editions that were just plain unfair: for example, that worm that lived in doors, waiting to insta-kill anyone who pressed their ear against the surface?

Molds. They were pretty unfair, though there was a right way to DM them and if the players were paying attention they'd know that the rotted, yellowed door would probably kill them if they opened it or otherwise disturbed it without fire.

These monsters are an archaic part of the game and from an age where DM's felt the need to humiliate players in order to feel better about their system-supported DM entitlement.

And Next is clearly trying very hard to harken back to those days.

Really, though, you're being (a little) harsh.  Classic D&D had lots of very cool, but not always that carefully explained, magic items, and DMs were often tempted to give out a few too many, or one that was more than a bit too powerful, and regret the decision later.  Various 'gotchyas' like the rust monster, let them un-do such mistakes.

5e does not consider magic items in level progression or encounter balance, so it could be quite easy for a DM to find himself in the  position of needing to remove items to restore some semblance of balance to his campaign.  Thus, he'll need rust monsters, disenchanters, Mordenkainen's Disjunction and so forth.

Wouldn't simply talking with your players be a better sollution to the problem? It is not as if you can setup the situation so that you are guaranteed to hit the item you want to remove, and the harder you try the more contrived the situation will bne...

Personally the rust monster that is announced is never an issue. It was easy to deal with. It is the new DM that runs the risk of using them as a gotcha quite easily. So they do require a 'be aware' section ;)

The most fun use I have seen is when the PCs used a rust monster (which they could summon once, but not control directly) to escape from a prison cell and disable the prison guards. They themselves had been stripped, so why not use that rustmonster to remove the bars and dangerous weapons?

Rust monsters were pretty lame. "Gotcha" type monsters and traps need to be eliminated from Next.
5e does not consider magic items in level progression or encounter balance, so it could be quite easy for a DM to find himself in the  position of needing to remove items to restore some semblance of balance to his campaign.  Thus, he'll need rust monsters, disenchanters, Mordenkainen's Disjunction and so forth.

Wouldn't simply talking with your players be a better sollution to the problem?

It would be a more rational solution to the problem, but it would be 'breaking verisimilitude,' rather like having players give you a magic item wish list did.  Not salting the game with broken items just because they're 'cool' or 'classic' would also be a solution.  Neither of these solutions are in line with that 'classic D&D feel' that 5e is striving for, though.  Rust Monsters are.  


Someone also mentioned ear seakers.  There's another good example of the style of game design and DMing in classic D&D.  D&D tried to emulate a genre.  In that genre, a character might wisely listen at a door, and hear something that moves the plot along.  When there's nothing that moves the plot along, /he doesn't listen at the door/ (or maybe he does, but off-screen).  It's a matter of storytelling.  Characters in fiction don't listen at every door, it's boring.  One a player figures out that he can sometimes gain a benefit by listening at a door, he listens at every door.  It gets boring.  Rather than change the mechanic so the check is only made when it matters, the classic D&D solution is to introduce a risk to listening at doors too often.  

There are many examples.  Cursed magic items, for instance.  Rather than present a list of balanced magic items that don't break the game, put in some cursed items that look just like the game-breaking ones. 

That's what the 'gotchyas' are all about, goosing the risk side of the players' risk/reward calculations.

 

 

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5e does not consider magic items in level progression or encounter balance, so it could be quite easy for a DM to find himself in the  position of needing to remove items to restore some semblance of balance to his campaign.  Thus, he'll need rust monsters, disenchanters, Mordenkainen's Disjunction and so forth.

Wouldn't simply talking with your players be a better sollution to the problem?

It would be a more rational solution to the problem, but it would be 'breaking verisimilitude,' rather like having players give you a magic item wish list did.  Not salting the game with broken items just because they're 'cool' or 'classic' would also be a solution.  Neither of these solutions are in line with that 'classic D&D feel' that 5e is striving for, though.  Rust Monsters are.  

As long as I'm not making it obvious, my players tend to respond a lot better to losing equipment as a result of an in game occurance than through some process of negotiation. There are lots of ways of taking gear away, rust monsters going won't stop gear from being lost.

I quite like the rust monster and other creatures like them, but they're a challenge to DM. I think maybe some kind of colour code might be useful next to the options that are listed next to a mob. Green = smallest reprocussions, amber = lasting reprocussions but nothing permanent or character changing, red = lasting reprocussions that change the character in some way.


The rust monster ability would be red (permanent destruction of the item in question). The green version might be a disadvantage when attacking it with metal weapons and the amber version might be hitting the rust monster imposes disadvantage on all uses of that item until they can get it repaired.

I quite like the rust monster and other creatures like them, but they're a challenge to DM. I think maybe some kind of colour code might be useful next to the options that are listed next to a mob. Green = smallest reprocussions, amber = lasting reprocussions but nothing permanent or character changing, red = lasting reprocussions that change the character in some way.

The rust monster ability would be red (permanent destruction of the item in question). The green version might be a disadvantage when attacking it with metal weapons and the amber version might be hitting the rust monster imposes disadvantage on all uses of that item until they can get it repaired.


More "crystal clear guidance," yeah.  This brings up another point - character development.  In classic D&D, character development is much more in the hands of the DM than the player.  Finding a potent or quixotic magic item could completely change your character.  A fighter with a hammer of thunderbolts is very different from a fighter with Wings of Flying is very different from one with a Helm of Underwater Action.  Give an item, change the character, take the item away, change it back.  It wasn't strange for DMs to put environmental 'magic' in dungeons that permanently changed them, too.  The old magic pool - drinking from it might act like a random potion, or turn your skin purple, or change your sex...  All under at whim of the DM (and his dice).  In modern D&D, the trend was for character development to be more and more in the hands of the player.  3e characters could be customized and tweaked into complex 'builds,' including custom-made/bought items.  In 4e, builds were toned down a little, and items items were toned down a lot, but players could even put appropriate-to-concept magic items on a 'wish list.'  

 

 

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I like variety in monsters, as Arithezoo said - 'They can be an interesting challenge that forces the party to come up with a new way of dealing with a fight.'

just like beholders, slimes, oozes and fungus, you can't just charge in weapons/spells blazing. You have to think about what you are doing.

sure sometimes its good to just charge in and carve up the orks and take their shinies, but sometimes a curve ball is good too.

yes they can be over used, so they should be balanced with other more regular encounters

on the other hand, they are often underplayed in how they affect the area, for example a rust monster might be harrassing the local silver mine, affecting trade etc. a gelatenous cube might have started cleaning the sewers, but soon its gibbering around the foreign quarter and a visiting noble goes missing...

you could also tie in other monsters, eg a mimic's presence could attract dopplegangers, so the the party have to find it and deal with it before things get far worse, or mimics could evolve into dopplegangers, so this way it becomes an ongoing plot or nemesis instead of just a neat one off encounter.

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.

These monsters are an archaic part of the game and from an age where DM's felt the need to humiliate players in order to feel better about their system-supported DM entitlement.



DMs don't need rust monsters to humiliate players! There's really nothing stopping a bad DM from humiliating his players.

The DM's the boss at the table, regardless of the system and no matter how many locks you put in the game system to prevent it. If the DM crosses the line, he's going to run out of players quickly.
    

Please just don't bring them back. They aren't fun to play against, they aren't fun to play WITH, and they don't add anything to the story.



They're both fun to play against and to play with. It adds a little excitement to the combat. They're puzzles. Your casters summon creatures to use as meat shields while the heavily armored hide behind the casters to shoot arrows. It creates tention and tention is good for immersion.

**** happens both in real life and in adventuring parties.

And seriously, how many DM do you know that use Mord's disjunction, rust monsters or black puddings at the PCs without some kind of plan? You're right, as random monsters, they're just a nuisance. But you can use them to weaken the PCs, make a little part of the adventure more challenging, and the reward is usually an upgraded version of that gear you just destroyed. Of course the PCs then expect it so you sometimes wait for a session or two beforing giving it back just to get them a little worried.  

I think toying with your players emotions is part of your job as a DM. Make them laugh, worried, scared, feel accomplished, etc...
   

"Sleepy McNap the Dwarf was steadily advancing into the cold, dark dungeon when he fell into a pit trap and got his loot destroyed by a nefarious rust monster!"



That DM could just as easily have sent a group of high level bandits to rob the players of their belongings. There's nothing wrong with robbing the PCs if you're not doing it to be a dick.
You know I gotta say, the ease of returning from the dead and lack of "save or die" type of effects, though it sounded fine to me at the beginning of 4e, really makes me not have as much investment in my character as I did in 3e.  If there really is no downside risk of failure (a -2?) then you can do pretty much anything and get away with it.  There is no threat that makes you share your character's sense of danger.  Of course my fighter would be scared to face a lichking, but I as the player know that, meh, he will probably be fine.  As long as save or die type conditions are used appropriately to heighten tension and not abused to simply kill PCs by DM fiat, there is nothing wrong with them.  Same thing with the rust monster - oh and they are a reason for everyone to carry a bow

The DM's the boss at the table, regardless of the system and no matter how many locks you put in the game system to prevent it. If the DM crosses the line, he's going to run out of players quickly.
    

That's mostly true.  But, it's also a matter of degree.  If DMs are hard to find, say because the system is really rather hard to DM, the players will put up with more. If the /system/ seems to be screwing the players over ("Hey, I rolled a rust monster on the random encounter table and I just ran it as written..."), the DM can get away with it a little more.  If the system is so bad that the DM needs to 'fix' it for the game to not totally suck, then the players might cut him little more slack when he 'goofs' - frequently.  

There are, indeed, pathological DMs out there, and pathological players, for that matter.  Both do their thing more easily in the context of a bad system than a good one.  A good system doesn't stop them, but they'er easier to spot, and there's less impetus to put up with them...



 

 

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The DM's the boss at the table, regardless of the system and no matter how many locks you put in the game system to prevent it. If the DM crosses the line, he's going to run out of players quickly.
    

That's mostly true.  But, it's also a matter of degree.  If DMs are hard to find, say because the system is really rather hard to DM, the players will put up with more. If the /system/ seems to be screwing the players over ("Hey, I rolled a rust monster on the random encounter table and I just ran it as written..."), the DM can get away with it a little more.  If the system is so bad that the DM needs to 'fix' it for the game to not totally suck, then the players might cut him little more slack when he 'goofs' - frequently.  

There are, indeed, pathological DMs out there, and pathological players, for that matter.  Both do their thing more easily in the context of a bad system than a good one.  A good system doesn't stop them, but they'er easier to spot, and there's less impetus to put up with them...

But these are all forces out of the designers' control. No amount of rules will ever stop bad DMs from being bad or change the supply and demand forces that enable bad DMing. Taken with the fact that the definition of "good" and "bad" change from person to person and you've got a nigh impossible task. All you can really do is keep things simple and provide options - which is what they appear to be trying to do.


The DM's the boss at the table, regardless of the system and no matter how many locks you put in the game system to prevent it. If the DM crosses the line, he's going to run out of players quickly.
    

That's mostly true.  But, it's also a matter of degree.  If DMs are hard to find, say because the system is really rather hard to DM, the players will put up with more. If the /system/ seems to be screwing the players over ("Hey, I rolled a rust monster on the random encounter table and I just ran it as written..."), the DM can get away with it a little more.  If the system is so bad that the DM needs to 'fix' it for the game to not totally suck, then the players might cut him little more slack when he 'goofs' - frequently.  

There are, indeed, pathological DMs out there, and pathological players, for that matter.  Both do their thing more easily in the context of a bad system than a good one.  A good system doesn't stop them, but they'er easier to spot, and there's less impetus to put up with them...

But these are all forces out of the designers' control. No amount of rules will ever stop bad DMs from being bad or change the supply and demand forces that enable bad DMing.

Well, actually some qualities of a game will change the supply/demand factors for DMs.  If a game is easy to run, more people will be willing & able to run it.  When the bad DM says "you don't like the way I run this game, /you/ one run," one of his players will say "OK,' and better campaign will be launched.  

Likewise, if a game seems to be going badly, you might wonder if its because the game's so bad, or because the DM's being a jerk.  If the game's really kinda bad, you cut the DM some slack.  If the game's pretty decent, and the DM needs to change and twist it around to be a jerk, you might not be so forgiving.  

Taken with the fact that the definition of "good" and "bad" change from person to person

Meh.  There are good games and bad games.  You can plead subjectivity or relativism all you want, if there were no good or bad, there'd be nothing to discuss.  Balance is better than imbalance, clarity is better than incoherence, consistent is better than arbitrary, evocative is better than bland, etc.  There are many dimensions along which the quality of a game might be judged, and sure, many are qualitative.  At most, their relative importance varies with taste...




 

 

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Well, actually some qualities of a game will change the supply/demand factors for DMs.  If a game is easy to run, more people will be willing & able to run it.  When the bad DM says "you don't like the way I run this game, /you/ one run," one of his players will say "OK,' and better campaign will be launched.  

Yeah the DM prep time does help, but if a game is fun people will be interested in running it. The thing I've noticed when folks start DMing after playing is they start to understand why the decisions are made the way they're made. They don't necessarily rule the way I would but they immediately back off DMs unless it's really important 'cause the develop an appreciation for the position and how hard it is to juggle everyone's taste and make it into a game. I bet you could say similar things about DMs who never play, but I've never met one.

Likewise, if a game seems to be going badly, you might wonder if its because the game's so bad, or because the DM's being a jerk.  If the game's really kinda bad, you cut the DM some slack.  If the game's pretty decent, and the DM needs to change and twist it around to be a jerk, you might not be so forgiving.  

Umm I dunno about that. The game would have to be pretty bad to make it the obvious problem, but as a player I'm pretty passive and usually just happy to have someone run a game for me.

At most, their relative importance varies with taste...

Precisely my point. What one perceives as balanced on one end will be perceived as imbalanced on another. The rulers and methodology you use to come to a conclusion over quality of a game is also highly subjective. Some look no further than the math. Others the look and feel. Some care about math across pillars, others from class to class, others from specific groupings.

There's about a million different ways to slice the pie and we all want it sliced our way. But you're right about one thing: the more consistent you are about always taking the same slice, the easier it us for people to understand where you're coming from and probably the game will be better for it.

At most, their relative importance varies with taste...

Precisely my point. What one perceives as balanced on one end will be perceived as imbalanced on another.

Balance is a matter of degree, and perfect balance at best something you can work towards rather than something you can reach.  Whether you find one game 'balanced' or 'imbalanced' a better-balanced game is still better balanced (or less imbalanced).  You might say 'hot or cold is subjective,' the native New Yorker in Februrary find 35 degrees warm, the native californian in july find 70 degrees cool. 70 degrees remains warmer than 35 though, and both will agree on that.  

The rulers and methodology you use to come to a conclusion over quality of a game is also highly subjective. Some look no further than the math. Others the look and feel. Some care about math across pillars, others from class to class, others from specific groupings.

We're splitting hairs, at this point.  Yes, some measures are quantitative and others qualitative, and there are many potential measures.  Any one comparison, though, is not subjective.  Whether you love balance or don't much care about it, some games are better balanced than others.  Whether you throw a book across the room when you find a vague rule, or just shrug and keep reading, some rules are clearer than others.

 

 

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But it also means that it's more about player response. I think it's pretty clear that the community is really diverse and will have a variety of responses. You're never going to please everyone and how a game is perceived has a lot more to do with how it's treated than what it actually is.



but back to the topic, I think we absolutely should have rust monsters and other crazy creatures out there because they're a dial just like many others and some people like creatures that players automatically want to avoid because it leads to interesting gameplay. The fact that the consequences are real and lasting is what makes players treat them differently, and to some that's a really good thing. I also think we should be able to dial it back, and I think we need some really clear guidance about how game changing a given power is.

As long as I'm not making it obvious, my players tend to respond a lot better to losing equipment as a result of an in game occurance than through some process of negotiation. There are lots of ways of taking gear away, rust monsters going won't stop gear from being lost.

Even when discussing it with players, you would solve it through actual play. It is just really challenging in a game to get rid of one specific item without it being obvious.

As for raise dead and the threat of death, the real irony is that in RAW 3e dying was actually a benefit. Sure, you lost a level, but you did not loose nearly enough treasure to compensate for it so it got you ahead of the gold curve. So in the end it was a lot of paperwork with little real benefit. I doubt it is the ease of raise dead that makes 4e threat feels stale. I think that is more likely due to the fact it is simply a LOT harder to actually die in 4e.

I do agree with poster on the level drain thread. Isn't it saying something about the hit point system if people only fear level drainers and ruster monsters more then other traditional powerhouses like dragons?

(Personally I don't mind weird monsters that much since I can simply decide not to use it. I do think there needs to be a warning signal for new DMs so that they do not accidentally create a problem by incorrectly using the monsters.)

Rust Monsters and other jerk monsters are okay. As long as they come with a warning label that describes to inexperienced or poor DMs how not to use them.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

These monsters are an archaic part of the game and from an age where DM's felt the need to humiliate players in order to feel better about their system-supported DM entitlement.

Please just don't bring them back. They aren't fun to play against, they aren't fun to play WITH, and they don't add anything to the story.

"Sleepy McNap the Dwarf was steadily advancing into the cold, dark dungeon when he fell into a pit trap and got his loot destroyed by a nefarious rust monster!"

said no quality work of fantasy ever. 



I concur.
That said, they will be back, because 5e is the grognard edition.  Fortunately, we can simply choose not to use them.