Mike Mearls Decides He Values Hookers’ Lives After All

Here on Geek Related, I dish out the shame when it’s due but also the props when they are due.  In D&D 4e, the “kid-proofed” version of the Rust Monster prompted me to write the ever-popular article Mike Mearls Strangles Realism In D&D Like It’s An Unruly Hooker. Go read it to find out why.

But today in Forbes, there’s a preview of the new fifth edition rust monster.  And you’ll be happy to know it’s 100% hooker safe.

MONSTER-MANUAL-Rust-Monster-1471x1940Well, OK, maybe 90% hooker safe.  In earlier editions, if the weapon rusted, bam, that was it.  Your +5 Holy Avenger is so much brown dust. Here you get the progressive -1’s before it’s destroyed.  So it’s definitely nerfed from some other incarnations of the Rust Monster. But that’s still a far sight better than 4e’s “oh, you can always just get it back afterwards” approach. I imagine there will be some way to fix a rusted weapon – there’s not a spell for it yet, but I imagine the second level make whole spell will return eventually. But that’s fair enough.

I’m not quite done with digesting 5e yet, but it’s clear the game has at least come back into the general design space we expect from Dungeons & Dragons.  So let me clearly say “Thanks, Mike Mearls!” I, and I think I speak for a good batch of other gamers here, appreciate that you could see that a good portion of the critique of 4e wasn’t just “grognards that hate change” or “trolling for kicks on the Internet” but was the thoughts of real gamers who honestly wanted to help improve the game. Well done, and thanks for listening.

[Edit: Well, I missed the fact it was “nonmagical weapons” only.  5 shots to get rid of nonmagical only is still pretty crappy and nerfed.  It’s not as psychotically anti-simulation as the 4e version but – sorry Mike, demoted to “beating” (still better than “strangling”).]

14 responses to “Mike Mearls Decides He Values Hookers’ Lives After All

  1. The big question I have is this: will 5e bring back the gamers that 4e alienated? Or are they likely to stay with Pathfinder?

    Obviously no one has the answer to this, but it’s the one I’m most anxious to see.

    • Yeah, gamers I know are somewhat in wait and see mode. The core rules seem fine, and simpler than Pathfinder. Their initial adventure offering is poor and… it is WotC. There’s a lot of question about followthrough (especially given the extensive staggering of the initial books…). I’m working on my reviews, but I think the general attitude amongst my extended circle is “Interesting… Let’s see what they make of it.”

      • I wonder if Pathfinder players, if not Paizo as a whole, are looking at 5e and going “OK, this we can houserule… this we don’t need… ooh! An elegant solution! We can add that without too much trouble…”

        How long until Pathfinder 2e comes out? 😉

        • Yeah. Or maybe Pathfinder will decide to be the “AD&D” to the “D&D.” We Pathfinder players aren’t overwhelmed by the complexity – quite yet. However, the fiddliness is beginning to wear on us. In the new Advanced Class Guide there’s a class with an ability that does some damage. But then the damage dice explode. But then they only can explode a number of times equal to your DEX modifier. Good way to waste page count on a 1 in 1000 thing guys… The flavor, the game world, and the adventures are still hooking us though, and so far there’s no sign D&D is going to return to the 1e/BECMI heyday of adventures (with rare exceptions their adventure support from 2e-4e has been slow and craptacular).

          • Well yes and no– when Dungeon was still a paper magazine (before Paizo, and under Paizo), I’d argue their adventure support was incredible. Three solid (if short-ish) adventures every quarter for $25/yr? I call that pretty dang impressive. 🙂 There’s never been a value in tabletop gaming to match that, and I was very sad to see it go. The Pathfinder releases, even the good ones, don’t give you the same bang for the buck.


      • Hoping for a decent OGL or even easygoing licensing here; as much as I’ve enjoyed Pathfinder for the past six(?) years, I’d love to see Paizo writing 5e adventures.

        Granted, that’s not been WotC’s style, but they’re working with Wolfgang Baur, so clearly they see the value of farming things out.


  2. 5e rust monsters only effect non magical ferrous metal. Your holy avenger is safe. This makes it a low level nuisance beast not something a GM uses to terrify high level fighters.

    • Oh. Dang it! Doesn’t affect magical weapons? OK, so that is still obnoxiously nerfed. OK, down to 50% hooker safe.

      • OTOH, there seem to be fewer magic items floating around, and honestly a little handwaving could change that bit. I suspect it’s mainly there to answer questions like “Why doesn’t Frodo just give the ring to a rust monster?”

        -The Gneech

        • The one ring is clearly not ferrous! I think the mechanics of the slow degrade do your weapons and armour and the risk of them being destroyed is the important thing. An advanced Rust Monster that also rusts magical metal is an easy add on.

          • Yeah, with the progressive -1’s it’s more than nerfed enough to just say “that works on magical stuff too.” You get a couple -1’s, you need to get a make whole sometime when you’re in town. Easy peasy.

            (I still do prefer for it to be good by default and not by house rule however.)

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever used (or fought) a rust monster. Or digester or astral filtcher, or any f the other “Ah ha gotcha you dirty player, I’m gonna take your stuff” monsters… never really been a fan of them…

    And I’m still not convinced that the 4e complaints weren’t primarily that people (not just grognards) don’t like change. Not that they didn’t have legitimate complaints as well.

  4. While I think 5E’s take is better balanced/implemented, I’m not sure how it’s less nerfed than 4E’s rust monster. Even disregarding the inability to affect magic items, 4E’s rust monster can destroy any rusting item (even if it only has a -1 from rusting), while 5E’s rust monster can only add another -1 to the tally. I’d take having to use a Make Whole or similar spell over a near guaranteed loss of an item any day.

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