The Metalmaster

Written by Jonathan Wojcik

   The Metalmaster or "sword slug" was first introduced in an issue of Dragon magazine, an incredibly odd concept that would have felt right at home had it been in the original Monster Manual or Fiend Folio. Resembling a gigantic, razor-toothed slug, the Metalmaster is so named for the powerful magnetic field it can control with such precision that it may levitate and hurl metal around its body, not unlike a famous Marvel Comics villain. It's the very last thing you expect from a gastropod, and it gets even better from there, as the Metalmaster also has the power to imitate speech, but lacks the intelligence to understand the meaning and context of what it's saying. It just knows that if it keeps repeating people-noises, tasty, tasty people might sometimes come within range of its flying shrapnel.

   TSR would reprint the sword slug in one of the Monstrous Compendiums with this fairly cool Diterlizzi design. I love that jagged mouth that seems like it would open so large, and its flatworm-like shape is pretty neat. This piece might have been a little more striking with some metal objects actually hovering around it or stuck to it, however.

   I was actually fairly surprised that this monster made it to 3rd edition; it just feels like the sort of light hearted, surreal concept Wizards of the Coast likes to leave behind in favor of more "serious" monsters, so I have to say this pleased me to no end, and may in fact be my favorite design. It's just so excellently sluggy, and quite scary with razor-sharp metal chunks clinging to it.

   I enjoy the notion of some mysterious voice in the forest mindlessly repeating snippets of meaningless dialog - remarking again and again on entirely the wrong weather, perhaps, or commenting on the unusual size of some long-gone hedgehog - until some unfortunate adventurer just can't resist investigating and gets whacked in the face with an airborne dagger or frying pan hurled by a gigantic, flesh-eating mollusk. These are the sort of situations fantasy games exist for.



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