So, I happened to be reading-up on the Gorgon, which is a monstrous bull-like creature covered in iron plates. From the Monster Manual:

Few creatures that encounter a gorgon live to tell about it. Its body is covered in iron plates, and its nostrils fume with green vapor.

However, the Monster Manual doesn't describe what the Gorgon looks like underneath, or what would happen if the Armor was removed or eaten by Rust Monsters:

The rust monster corrodes a nonmagical ferrous metal object it can see within 5 feet of it. If the object isn't being worn or carried, the touch destroys a 1-foot cube of it. If the object is being worn or carried by a creature, the creature can make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw to avoid the rust monster's touch. If the object touched is either metal armor or a metal shield being worn or carried, its takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers. Armor reduced to an AC of 10 or a shield that drops to a +0 bonus is destroyed. If the object touched is a held metal weapon, it rusts as described in the Rust Metal trait.

I looked around to see if this question had been asked before, and was suprised to find that it hadn't, so I am going to go ahead and ask it now:

What would happen if a Small Group of Rust Monsters attacked a Gorgon to feed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ "DM fills the gaps" isn't really a full answer, but that's what this feels like. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 4, 2018 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


No Corrosion

A Gorgon is a creature with Natural Armor and is not an object. Rust monsters only corrode objects. Being Natural Armor, it is not an object on top of their actual body, but a part of their body.

Organic Metal?

It's Horrific Structure is also described organically (emphasis mine):

A gorgon’s iron plates range from steely black to gleaming silver, but this natural armor in no way hinders its movement or mobility. The oils of its body lubricate the armor. A sick or inactive gorgon gathers rust like fungus or mange. When a rusty gorgon moves, its plates squeal as they rub together.

Even if you allowed for the Rust monster to affect the Gorgon's Natural Armor, it wouldn't do much besides reduce their ability to be sneaky.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeraphsWrath It's labeled "natural armor" like the hides and furs of other beasts (NautArch, feel free to add this to your answer if you wish) \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Apr 4, 2018 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeraphsWrath your skin covers you. Is it part of you? \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Apr 5, 2018 at 2:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fectin Depends: the Epidermis is dead Dermis cells, and gets "eaten" by things pretty regularly. And the same microorganisms that "eat" the Epidermis can also "eat" the Dermis, this is what causes skin infections and can cause lesions. The fact that, for some reason, Rust Monsters can't eat the natural armor of a Gorgon seems oddly limited, since that would be a rather obvious source of food for them and they are already attracted to it instinctively. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2018 at 3:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good RAW answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 5, 2018 at 4:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @John Iron Golems aren't part of this question, but they have an Immutable Form that makes them " immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form." Also, the Iron Golem is a CR16, it should absolutely wipe the floor with a CR 1/2 monster! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 5, 2018 at 14:01

What happens? The creation of some rust monster statues

You ask this question, and the answer involves two in-game issues:

What would happen if a Small Group of Rust Monsters attacked a Gorgon to feed?

  1. As @NautArch points out, the Gorgon is a creature, not an object, so the rust generation of the rust monsters won't do much besides annoy the Gorgon.

    The rust monster corrodes a nonmagical ferrous metal object it can see within 5 feet of it

    While annoyed, the Gorgon will likely use its breath weapon.

    Petrifying Breath (Recharge 5–6)
    The gorgon exhales petrifying gas in a 30-­‐foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a target begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained target must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends on the target. On a failure, the target is petrified until freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.

  2. Some of those Rust Monsters will miss their saves. Result? Rust Monster statues, which are perfect accompaniment to the garden gnomes in the gardens of the well-to-do adventurers and nobles, landed gentry, wizards, and those PC's and NPC's with a fondness for statuary among their flowering plants. (This leads one to wonder if garden gnome statues are also the result of certain creatures messing with Gorgons ...)

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    \$\begingroup\$ And then a mischievous caster visits your lawn, and plot happens. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2018 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, hey... and there's also an argument to be made that gorgon skin is magical. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Apr 5, 2018 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Is that similar to Crawford's tweet about "dragons are magical creatures, but dragon's breath isn't a magical attack" or something like that? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2018 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe? I'm more looking at the simulationist aspect (seeing as how this isn't a RAW question). The object armor vs natural armor argument matters for RAW, but doesn't mean much from a simulationist perspective. On the other hand, Rust Monster corrosion doesn't affect magical metals, and it's arguable that gorgon skin is in some way magical. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Apr 5, 2018 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Monstrosities per the MM page 7 seem to be inherently magical, or infused with magic/a curse ... something like that. It's not cut and dried. The skin is self lubricating due to something inherent in the gorgon ... unless it gets sick? (MM page 171). There's a lot of room for interpretation on that ... IMO a good thing. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2018 at 2:13

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