Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weird Machine: Rust Apparatus

Rare tomes, censored scrolls and a number of outre and often banned journals tell of the Rust Apparatus, a transplanar mechanism that certain spells and rites can call forth, should the caster be so determined to risk their own destruction. The Rust Apparatus is a Weird Machine of which many have heard tall tales and wild speculation, but few have ever truly encountered one. This is very probably for the best.

Terrible Things Come In Small Packages
When first summoned, the Rust Apparatus can fit in the palm of the caster's hand and weighs (1d4) pounds. It hums softly and will only become active with an infusion of (4d6) hit points. These hit points can come from any source designated by the caster, so long as the victim is in direct contact with the machine. For as long as the summoner can lift it, the machine can be wielded as a melee weapon (+2 to hit, 2d6 damage, Target must make Save or suffer corrosion of all metals on their person. Magic items/armor/weapons gain a 10% chance per plus of enchantment to escape the corrosion effect unscathed.)

The Rust Apparatus gains 1 permanent Hit Die for every 50 hit points infused into it. With each Hit Die it gains, the machine will gain (1d100) pounds and the caster will need to make a Save or the machine will anchor itself immediately, becoming immovably anchored.

An Inexorable Process of Corrosion
Once anchored, the Rust Apparatus requires 1d4 hours to fully warm-up and begin to do the work it was designed to do.

Once fully activated, the Rust Apparatus begins to emanate a fluctuating, rippling field of energy that causes everything caught within its area of effect to quickly oxidize, decay and corrode. Every hour spent within the area of effect of this weird machine requires a Save to be made, or else all metal objects are degraded, rusted and pitted so as to be weakened, diminished by -1 if they are magical, and eventually rendered inert and useless as they crumble into flakes of rust.

Silver will tarnish and eventually crumble into a black grit. Copper will quickly crack and decay into a fine powder. Bronze will turn sickly milky-green and then go black right before it collapses into junk. All metal corrodes under this machine's terrible field of influence. Even the iron in one's blood (1d4 damage per hour within the area of effect). But gold is immune. Only gold remains proof against the effects of this weird machine.

The Rust Apparatus extends its area of effect in 10 foot increments radiating out from its center at a rate of 10 feet per hit point infusion. Each hit point infusion requires 10d10 hit points being sacrificed to the machine. It will continue to function for one hour for each infusion. After 4 hours without receiving another infusion, the machine will go dormant and in another 1d4 hours it will transition to another plane or stratum of existence.

Known Rust Apparatus Activations
Only the most foolhardy or supposedly clever spell-caster would dare to call upon the Rust Apparatus, but as with all such things, there is always someone, somewhere, who thinks that they can control such powerful forces or make use of them in their petty schemes.

So far there are three definite instances of an encounter with a Rust Apparatus that have been recorded. One was allowed to run amok until it destroyed an entire planet, reducing it into a scabrous belt of dust, rust and debris encircling a lonely star long abandoned by all living things. There are dark rumors to the effect that this particular Rust Apparatus might have somehow changed in the course of completely destroying the world it was anchored upon, that it may have awakened into a strange form of sentience and that the vast swath of corroded particulate matter it now occupies might be developing into some weird sort of rust-based ecosystem or possibly a single, genesistrine-like orbital organism.

Another was presumed destroyed, at a terrible cost, by a band of heroes who eventually all turned upon one another as they conspired to keep the weird machine that they had captured and somehow disabled as a sort of memento or potential trump card that they could possibly fall back upon if things went against them. And things most certainly did go against them as they bickered among themselves, assassinating the weaker members of their once-secret cadre and playing an ever escalating game of brinksmanship that centered on whomever had knowledge, possession or control over the device that they had once fought alongside one another to defeat all those years ago.

The third device was removed from the world of Adrigar and sealed within a stasis sphere locked away within a secret place known only to the Mechanosmashers of Lyraxis Vela.

Concerning the Removal or Elimination of a Rust Apparatus
The Rust Apparatus has no mind, no emotions, no soul and no scruples. It is a machine and it does one thing and it does that really well, if someone provides it with the power necessary to carry out its destructive purpose. Anyone seeking to drive off the Rust Apparatus could attempt to use Holy Word, but the machine won't budge unless the caster attempting to banish it has at least twice as many hit points as the machine. Even then it gets a Save.

Banishing an anchored Rust Apparatus is an intensely difficult matter and has never been successfully accomplished from what records remain of previous encounters. There is encrypted and incomplete evidence of a possible fourth instance of a Rust Appararatus that was shunted away from the world to which it was originally summoned by the use of a particularly potent version of a Uchronic Displacement spell, but most recognized authorities discount this as either a bit of wishful thinking or an outright fabrication.

It is conjectured that the most effective means of destroying one of these infernal devices might take the form of restricting or eliminating their access to oxygen, as they are designed to be massive oxidizers.

One could also attempt to seal a Rust Apparatus within a stasis sphere or paratemporal bubble, but that would not destroy the machine, and allowing it to remain suspended indefinitely is a bit like like a deferred death sentence for an entire world.

Rust Apparatus Details
Primary Reference: The Red Scroll of K'thoodrim
Prescribed Geometric Figure: Reversible Trapezoid of D'nahl
Requirements: 1) One pound of rust salvaged from a corroded Wall of Iron spell not cast by summoner, 2) One dram of ichor from a Ferric Blob, 3) Summoner must personally cast Molten Iron Mass before attempting the summons.
Cost to Summon: Minimum of 100 hit points.
Chance of Success: (1d4)% per hit point sacrificed.
Failure/Backlash: Everything within a 20' radius of the would-be summoner is instantly corroded to minute flakes of rust and dust. Caster must make Save at -2 or be completely disintegrated. Making the Save means that the caster is transformed into a living mass of rust and is now a servitor to the Rust Apparatus.

(It is alleged that the Corrodim and possibly the Scabrous Shades of Milgao may in fact be a form of transformed servitor to the Rust Apparatus, but this is unconfirmed and purely unsubstantiated speculation.)

Spell: Summon Weird Machine
Weird Machines Overview & Index


  1. I love this. It's a great immediate problem, with a very big idea behind it.

  2. You had me at "Genesistrine." Charles Fort is awesome.

    The fact that I'm a big fan of horrible, planet-eating threats like grey goo or summoning Azathoth also helps.

  3. @Porky: Glad you like it--this is a fun dilemma to let the Player Characters attempt to resolve. It can go really, really bad quite easily, but with a slight bit of effort, it could all be avoided...if someone would just step-up and be a hero...

    @S.P.: The Genesistrine features prominently in our Kalaramar Drifts. We're big fans of Charles Fort as well. We have some more tables based on Fort's works coming along in the queue. The Zurians also have connections to the Genesistrine and Super Sargasso Seas that will get revealed soon. We dealt with grey goo over at Riskail, but will have another version of it coming down the road shortly, as it indeed makes for a wonderfully destructive Weird Machine to have running amok. You could see Azathoth as a bit of a Weird Machine that was allowed to run wild for untold millennia, possibly...

  4. It would be good to get a Summon Weird Machine spell or two in SAS. I don't think there is one in the pdf.

    1. We do have the spell on-hand, so it could happen...


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