The rust monster is a fictional monster from the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
For some adventurers, the rust monster is an aberration that represents an object of fear greater even than the fiercest of dragons. For while every adventurer knows that he must occasionally service and keep his weapons, gear, and armor in good repair after a melee, the threat posed by a rust monster to a hero's valuables is truly dire as it can instantly cause any metal to rust away.
Careful adventurers are advised to consider carrying a simple wooden cudgel—and perhaps a suit of leather armor—to dispatch these menaces. Either that or a few metal trinkets to throw at the rust monster to, with some luck, distract it.
The hide of a rust monster varies in color from a yellowish tan underside to a rust-red upper back. Its prehensile
antennae can rust
metals on contact.
The typical rust monster measures 5 feet long and 3 feet high, weighing 200 pounds.
Rust monsters dwell only in dark, subterranean places such as caverns and underground structures. They are not disposed to groups; often a lair comprises one or two rust monsters, with a five-percent chance of encountering a single offspring, which acts as a half-strength rust monster with a full-strength appetite.
Rust monsters help in removing metallic junk and clutter from underground fastnesses. In fact, it is not unusual to find a rust monster and a carrion crawler
working in a symbiotic
relationship, with the latter eating the organic
litter and the former consuming the metal cast-offs.
These creatures have been known to range the length and breadth of an underground complex, searching for supplies of metal. Though it will eat raw ore, a rust monster always prefers the refined, forged metal (just as a human would prefer fresh, filtered water over swamp water).
A rust monster can smell a metal object from up to 90 feet away. When it detects one, it dashes toward the source and attempts to strike it with its antennae. The creature is relentless, chasing characters over long distances if they still possess intact metal objects but usually ceasing its attacks to devour a freshly rusted meal. The creature targets the largest metal object available, striking first at armor, then at shields and smaller items. It prefers ferrous metals (steel or iron) over precious metals (such as gold or silver) but will devour the latter if given the opportunity.
The rust monster's appearance is based on a plastic toy that was sold in toy stores during the 1970s and 1980s in cheap bags of plastic monsters and dinosaurs. Gary Gygax
wrote about the inspiration for the rust monster:
- When I picked up a bag of plastic monsters made in Hong Kong at the local dime store to add to the sand table array ... there was the figurine that looked rather like a lobster with a propeller on its tail ... nothing very fearsome came to mind ... Then inspiration struck me. It was a "rust monster." —Gary Gygax
Use in popular culture
A rust monster appears as a pet in the Futurama
episode "I Second That Emotion
". Although it is not mentioned by name, the presence of rust on its robot owner's body indicates that it is based on the Dungeons & Dragons
monster. This is confirmed in the audio commentory for that episode on the DVD release.
In strip #415 of The Order of the Stick, Xykon's crystal ball shows a rust monster chasing a paladin.