Monday, June 3, 2013

Rust Monster

The scariest monster an adventurer will ever face.

(Druid from the 1984 D&D Companion Rules: “Hey, I don’t use metal weapons or armor, so I should be fine—”  *The entire rest of the party punches that guy in the face*)

The scariest monster a real adventurer will ever face.

(Hey, before I go on, I have questions for you guys, so make sure to keep reading through the end.)

If you’re looking for nitty-gritty on the rust monster’s biology, James L. Sutter has you covered in Dungeon Denizens Revisited.  (He’s also got a nasty variant called the rust lord that gets draw minerals directly from a creature’s blood.  That’s not a bad idea to steal even for normal rust monsters—see below.)  As he notes, ideally rust monsters should be a logical part of your world, not a way for you to punish characters or go after specific magic items (even if you regret handing them out in the first place).  For instance, I love that Golarion’s Hold of Belkzen’s earthquakes are due to rust monsters eating away at the foundations—such a nice way of breathing new life into a classic monster without a single stat change!

In that spirit, here are three adventure seeds that try to avoid the usual dungeon or pets-of-the-mad-druid encounters:

Troublemakers, union rabble-rousers, and adventurers caught in the Mine of Seven Nights find themselves thrown into separate oubliettes, each containing a rust monster.  Eventually the monsters will get hungry enough to attack, hoping to lap up the prisoners’ iron-rich blood.  Most inmates go mad long before that due to the horror of sharing space with such a loathsome arthropod.  There is good news, though—handling the monsters has left all the guards’ weapons in shoddy condition, making the jailors far easier to overpower.

Rustov Niclaus—“Rusty Nickels” to his friends—is a safecracker with a unique set of tools: specifically, a quartet of reduced rust monsters.  His skills are much in demand in the criminal underworld.  His head may be, too—the Vedimeer family hasn’t forgiven him for the time one of his insectile friends ruined the objet d’art he was supposed to be securing for them.

When a rust monster infestation is discovered on Delver’s Rock soon after their voidship docks, a party of off-world adventurers takes the blame.  Now the clock is ticking, as they must root out the rust monsters and follow the trail back to the real culprit before the asteroid base’s integrity is compromised…and before the law catches up to them.

Dungeon Denizens Revisited 52–57 & Pathfinder Bestiary 238

Here’s one final nasty thought: Time travel doesn’t just mean going back to the Age of Dinosaurs.  Next time your PCs go back in time, send them to the Age of Insects…and have rust monsters waiting to greet them…

Hi guys!  Here’s the deal.  Tomorrow…which is in only minutes…we start the letter S.  That’s like whoa.  And I’d love to celebrate by learning a little bit about you all.  Feel free to leave me a comment/Ask/email (dailybestiary [at] gmail [dot] com; spelled that way to avoid spam spiders) with a little bit about you.

What do I want to know?  The classic A/S/L certainly qualifies, or how long you’ve been playing Pathfinder, D&D, Vampire, or any other system.  How you found this blog.  Favorite monster.  Favorite character class (or your own favorite character).  Favorite campaign setting.  Favorite issue of Dragon or Dungeon Magazines.  Favorite fantasy series I should try to read.  Whatever!  Answer any or all.

Oh, and I seriously just want to know because I am curious.  No, I am not going to email you (except maybe to say thanks).  No, I am not going to give away/sell your contact info to anyone.  No, I am not planning a Kickstarter any time in the foreseeable or even the unforeseeable future, at least not related to this blog.  I am simply curious about you, the person who reads my blog every day (or for the first time today!).  So…tell me something!

Again: dailybestiary [at] gmail [dot] com

PS: Too late to post music today—I’ll do it properly tomorrow, promise!


  1. By the way, there's an interesting idea about Rust Monsters that they didn't put into Pathfinder, thanks to the fickle mistress of copyright.

    Essentially they are larval Rust Dragons, at least if the profile of said Dragon from Planescape is taken as canon, able to reproduce but unable to metamorphose without access to their home plane of Acheron. It's very much analogous to real-life animals like the Axolotl which is also in a permanent juvenile stage.

    By the way, you forgot to mention my comment on the Revanant's use in 4e (Which also uses the old "Shade" creature-type as a PC race in the same book as the Revanant) under the Roc entry, so if you could do that, I'd be most happy.

    1. Haven't forgotten you A.A.! Real life has just been A Thing of late. A mailbox wrap-up post is coming ASAP.

  2. I'm very much a rookie at Pathfinder, as I've only played three games of tabletop before in my life (none of which got very very far). One was straight D&D 3.5, another was that but with Pathfindery classes, and the most recent was a Pathfinder game that lasted for exactly one night and had myself as the DM. Too little combat and an in-character rift caused by a water-purification sponge, ugh. I'm still doggedly learning about the game in my spare time, though.

    I found this blog by way of searching for more sites like Dungeons and Drawings, and my finding it coincided with the cementation of my preference for Pathfinder over D&D. I visit it pretty much every weekday and really enjoy the creativity and insight you express here.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Water purification sponge? I think we need to hear more.

      I've now got 2.5 Pathfinder campaigns under my belt. It's odd (as I've mentioned before) that I've spent more time behind the table playing Vampire than anything else...(which definitely shows itself in my reluctance to default to the dungeon and some of my low-combat, high-theme ideas). But my head has been wrapped up in fantasy role-playing forever...

  3. The basics of it were that the party's high-stealth kobold cleric stole their alchemist's sponge. The alchemist took it a bit more personally than was advisable and ended up throwing a (fire!) bomb at the kobold while he was in a river.

    They also beat up a kappa with magic, used a hedgehog to steal one gold piece from a dragon, and tried to make Survival checks for free food every ten seconds. Goofballs, the lot of them.