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The evolution of the rust monster

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Ah the rust monster. The bane of just about every fighter's existence, created from a plastic toy for the express purpose of ruining a party's equipment -- which, given the uniqueness of some magic items, is worse than a character dying. But it all started with a plastic toy. So which rust monster is the best? Let's find out!

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Rust Monster Toy
Rust Monster Toy Wizards of the Coast

Rust Monster Toy

In the beginning, there was a toy. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, explained in Dragon Magazine #346:

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--we were playing Chainmail Fantasy Supplement miniatures at a 1:1 scale, there was the figurine that looked rather like a lobster with a propeller on its tail.

"'As we assigned names and stats to these critters, bulette and owl bear, for instance, nothing fearsome came to mind regarding the one with the projecting feelers. Then inspiration struck me. It was a "rust monster," a thing whose touch turned ferrous metals to ferrous oxide, even magical steel armor or enchanted iron or steel weapons.

"The players soon learned to hit one with spells and arrows so as to slay it at a distance. When one appeared in the D&D game, usually in a dungeon setting, there was great haste to remove from its vicinity if there was no sure and quick means of destroying it at hand."

Today that miniature retails for twenty bucks on Ebay.

Rust Monster
Rust Monster Wizards of the Coast

Rust Monster

Wizards of the Coast came out with their own pre-painted plastic miniature as part of the Dangerous Delves line in 2009. The rust monster changed from a bizarre toy to a distinctly insectoid creature that was otherwise harmless until 4th Edition, when it gained a bite attack. 

You can purchase this miniature at Amazon.

Oxidation Beast
Oxidation Beast Michael Tresca

Oxidation Beast

Reaper released its own version of the rust monster, but out of apparent concern over rights to the name titled its version an Oxidation Beast. The Oxidation Beast looks like a cockroach with antennae and a tail. It has four legs, two furry antennae, protruding eyes, and a segmented tail that ends in the trademark "T" that is common to rust monsters everywhere. It used to be that rust monster tails were the real threat, but now it appears the tail and antennae are both dangerous to metal -- I painted the miniature appropriately.

You can purchase this miniature at Amazon.