The Tool Cupboard (TC) is the most usefully unique item in the game, located under the construction tab in the
F1 Console, and available to be crafted by all players as a default blueprint. To truly describe the importance of the Tool Cupboard, players first need to understand its base function and how that translates to every other part of base ownership and loot retention.
Base building is a primary part of gameplay in RUST, so players may have a single (or multiple) locations to operate out of and progress. While building large and extravagant structures to protect your loot is great, there is an overlying ruleset that players are forced to adhere to applied by the Tool Cupboard called upkeep and decay (see our starter base builds for ideas if you’re just starting out.) If you think of the structure of a bank, the building itself, complete with doors and locks, would be the base you construct, but the vault would be your tool cupboard.
Upkeep is a numerical representation of resources required to ‘upkeep’ or maintain a building of connected foundations over a specified period of time. So long as the estimated 24-hour cost of upkeep is stored within the Tool Cupboard, the structure will continue to offer its default protections unless interrupted by an outside influence (such as a Rocket).
These costs are based on the material types present on and within your base and features added, such as doors and windows. Those costs are further compounded depending on how large the building itself is. For a more in-depth look at this taxation, visit our Upkeep Guide.
While within the ‘Building Privilege’ range of your TC, a series of green boxes will appear above the players’ health bar area. One will display Building Privilege, and the other will display Upkeep Time – with a numerical value in hours listed afterward, or simply Building Decaying in a big red box. You’ve probably been raided if you log on and don’t have either show up.
Decay is the consequence of insufficient upkeep, with the structure of connected foundations gradually breaking down in health points (or ‘decaying’) over time as a result of lack of ‘upkeep.’ This decay will begin at the edges of the structure, with those pieces furthest from the Tool Cupboard suffering the largest health hits first, gradually working their way progressively faster back towards the TC.
If your base is raided and your (hopefully locked and properly stocked) Tool Cupboard is destroyed, there is a failsafe in place that will absorb 24 hours’ worth of protective material directly from the broken TC and keep the building from decaying for that length of time.
Should you have only had a fraction of that upkeep available at the time of breaking (say 8 hours), then those materials will be absorbed, and that amount of time will have to lapse before decay begins. Never forget to lock your Tool Cupboard. It is the best 100 metal or wood that you will ever spend.
The tool cupboard should be the most guarded part of your base. So with the expectation of upkeep with the consequence of decay, TCs offer players exclusive privileges within the confines of the base and its immediate perimeter. Persons cannot place entities without building privilege.
Enemies storming your base can’t put down barricades or sleeping bags within a certain range (roughly 9 square foundations) of the furthest connected foundation of your tool cupboard. Base defenses such as the Shotgun Trap or Flame Turret directly function off of building privilege, firing at those not authorized to the TC and not shooting at those that are. Likewise, for placement, only those authorized may pick up entities like removable windows and Furnaces.