So this question popped up in the world building SE yesterday asking how mimics move and someone answered with their recollection of a Dragon Article on "The Ecology of the Mimic" by Ed Greenwood. Part of the recollection stated that

Also, most people forget that D&D mimics are intelligent, and will usually try to con the players through fast-talking instead of attacking them.

My experience with mimics, both as a player and as a DM, are extremely limited (I think one in the ~10 years I've been playing). I just assumed that mimics ate adventurers, but now I'm picturing mimics to be a fast talking wise guy from the twenties trying to talk someone out of their bag of holding. What would a mimic try to con from adventurers if they don't eat their quarry?


1 Answer 1


There are different types of mimic.

According to The Ecology of the Mimic (Dragon #75):

The mimic is a curious (and dangerous) creature to most minds – but few know, or care to know, that there are actually several related species of mimic, divided into two groups: a larger, "killer" variety that is of lesser intelligence, attacking all nearby prey, and does not speak; and the more intelligentt, eloquent species which will often bargain for food ...

Hence according to this article, many mimics are of the well-known variety which simply disguise as a chest or other item and hope to kill and eat adventurers, but there is another sort, generally smaller and weaker, who will rather bargain for food or safety.

AD&D's Monster Manual describes it thusly:

There are two varieties of this creature, the large (9-10 dice), semi-intelligent carnivorous "killer mimic" and the slightly smaller, intelligent sort. While the former will attack anything which is nearby, the latter are generally friendly if offered food. ... The killer mimics do not speak, but the other breeds have their own language and can usually speak several other tongues such as common, orcish, etc. For consideration they will usually tell a party about what they have seen nearby.

D&D 3.5's Monster Manual (p. 186) concurs that a mimic will not always simply kill adventurers if it can get a better deal using threats or trickery:

A mimic often surprises an unsuspecting adventurer, lashing out with a heavy pseudopod. The creature does not necessarily fight to the death if it can succeed in extorting treasure or food from a party.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That makes a lot of sense now. I'm still going to incorporate some kind of mob boss who is also a mimic though. :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2018 at 14:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Obligatory link to one of the better mimic jokes on line \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2018 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have two experiences with Mimics as a GM. The first was a classic mimic-as-treasure-chest in the first room of a dungeon. The party didn't get closer than 15 to any treasure chest for the rest of the crawl, and missed out on lots of treasure as a result. The second was with a party fighting an evil wizard. The wizard's familiar was a mimic. The wizard's tower was an exceptionally large mimic. The entire 'structure' was stocked with all the creatures that look like objects (cloakers, lurkers-above, etc.). Two party members were eliminated before they realized what was going on. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2018 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Geez @TheoBrinkman, that's harsh! You and my DM probably would get along :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2018 at 17:13

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