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Mimics have been in the game since its beginning, and are are one of D&D’s most iconic monsters. They’re also notable for originating within D&D and “breaking out” to become a popular monster in other games and media.

The Lore

The image of a trasure chest growing teeth and eating the hapless adventurer trying to open it is a popular classic even within D&D’s own implied setting. Everyone knows it, and most think it’s a pretty funny joke. Everyone but those who have actually gone through this and survived the experience.

Mimics are highly intelligent creatures originating from the Far Realm. Despite their intelligence they don’t seem to be interested in friendly relations with other sapients, and are mostly interested in using their smarts to fool and eat them.

Fourth edition mimics also take over the “murderous alien shapeshifter” role from doppelgangers, which as we saw before are now mostly just people. You see, the classic chest mimic is actually a juvenile individual. As it matures, it gains the ability to absorb the memories of the people they devour and to take their shapes. These impersonator mimics infiltrate mortal society, moving around and taking different shapes as they feed. They reproduce by budding. Their spawn spend a time joined to the mass of their parent before setting out on their own as object mimics. In an emergency, the parent can reabsorb them for a quick burst of energy.

Mimics rarely seek out alliances, but they often enter a symbiotic relationship with inedible monsters like constructs or incorporeal undead. The mimic will lure victims to the other monster’s lair, and help with the fight so it can eat the bodies later.

The Numbers

Mimics are Medium Aberrant Magical Beasts. They have Resist Acid 5/tier, Darkvision, and Tremorsense 5. Their signature ability, of course, is Shapeshift.

The ability allows a mimic to switch between Ooze and Object forms. In Ooze form, it gains the standard Ooze ability to ignore all penalties for squeezing through small spaces. In object form, it can’t attack but gains Resist 10 to all damage and others must succeed at a Perception check to notice it’s a mimic. The DC varies with the individual.

Object Mimic

As mentioned above, this is a junevile of the species and the one PCs are most likely to meet first. It’s a Level 8 Lurker with 71 HP, Speed 5, and all standard traits listed above.

These mimics have an Ambush trait that gives them 2d6 bonus damage on all attacks against surprised victims. The creature has two attacks beyond its basic Slam. Crushing Tendrils do light physical damage, grab the target (with a -5 penalty to escape) and inflict ongoing 15 acid damage while the grab lasts. Ravening Maw (recharge 5+) does heavy physical damage and slows (save ends).

Either of these special attacks would make a good opener against a surprised victim, benefitting from combat advantage and from bonus Ambush damage. The Perception DC to pierce the mimic’s disguise is 24. They usually take forms that are enticing to their potential prey - a treasure chest is a classic for luring adventurers, but any other Medium object will do. Berry bushes, fancy statues, comfy chairs…

Impersonator Mimic

This is an older specimen that specializes in impersonating its victims and infiltrating mortal society. Unlike the monstrous doppelganger of editions past, impersonator mimics are more interested in food than in political power. Their main goal at any given time alternates between staying hidden and luring their next victim to an isolated spot. They can use psychic powers to help with those goals, in addition to their shapeshifting and mundane deception.

Impersonator Mimics are Level 16 Controllers with 160 HP. The impersonator’s Shapeshift ability allows them to take humanoid form in addition to the two standard ones. This form gives them a +4 bonus to Bluff and allows them to use all languages known by the last person they killed. The DC to pierce any of the impersonator’s disguises is 31.

Its attacks are the usual Slam, and a pair of psychic powers. Forcible Conversion (recharge 5+) is a non-damaging melee power that attacks Will dominates its target (save ends). Call to Harvest (minor action) is a non-damaging ranged power that also attacks Will. On a hit, it slides the target 4 squares and makes it grant combat advantage for a turn. Finally, as a free action, they can Absorb a mimic spawn that’s adjacent to them or occupying their space. This kills the spawn and gives them 1 Action Point. This does make it one of the few regular monsters with access to action points.

Note that only the object form forbids the mimic from attacking - they can use all of these abilities in humanoid form without having to shapeshift, and they can Absorb in any form.

Mimic Spawn

A very young mimic that hasn’t left the “care” of its parent yet. It can already shapeshift into objects, and it can also meld into its parent’s form for protection and increased stealth. This does make it susceptible to being re-absorbed.

Spawn are Level 16 Minion Lurkers, which make them suitable for hanging out with impersonator mimics. Not every impersonator will have spawn, but those who do will be a bit more dangerous.

The One With Master trait represents the spawn’s ability to merge with its parent. A merged spawn occupies the same space as the parent, cannot attack, and cannot be targeted or take damage. Up to four spawn can meld to a single impersonator. Their only attack is a Slam that does average damage for a minion of this level. The DC to pierce their object disguise is 31.

Final Impressions

You just gotta have mimics available in a D&D game. I don’t think I’ve ever used one, but I feel good just knowing that they exist. I guess it took the authors a long time to come up with cool mechanics for their shapeshifting, which is why it took a while for them to asppear appear in 4e.

The level mechanics make it seem that mimics start their lives pretty good at shapeshifting and get worse at it for a while before reaching their former level of skill, but that’s just a mechanical artifact. Levels can be adjusted freely - you could easily have lower-level spawn and higher level object mimics.