You might know or have heard of the Mimic. In most cases, you may have seen or read a Meme about a creature that can shape-shift and has the need to eat you? These creatures, according to the Monster Manual are medium-sized monsters with a neutral leaning and ability to shape-shift into an inanimate object (Chair, Table, Rock or Chest) of their choice, generally stone or wood. These creatures have immunity against acid and being prone,  Dark Vision and a +5 to stealth checks. In all cases, the mimic has a glue type substance that it uses to attach itself to its environment and to grapple unsuspecting prey.
This is just a Small Part of the story of the mimic. Here we will look at some of the things you may not know about the strange and potentially dangerous creature.

The beginning: first edition

In First Edition, the Mimic is given a much more detailed description and spec then in the later editions. Firstly, the book goes into detail about the look and colour of the mimic – being that the skin is grey in colour with the looks and feels very much like stone. The mimic is also able to change its skin into a wood-like texture, giving it the well-known appearance of a treasure chest.

With first and second edition monster manuals, there seem to be at least two types of mimics: the “common” and the “Killer” Mimic. The killer Mimic is generally larger, is unable to speak or communicate and will generally attack anything that comes near it. This is the type that is generally depicted when looking for mimics in the Monster Manual.

The common mimic, on the other hand, is somewhat smaller and is able to communicate in basic Common and will even bargain with the player for food in exchange for information, for example, things it has seen or heard. Be careful! Being a neutral creature it will still decide whether you’re worth attacking if you’re weak enough as at the end of the day you are still food, so tread lightly how you approach and deal with the Mimic.

Second edition

Second Edition adds to the backstory of the Mimic and goes into a little bit more detail on the creation of these creatures. According to the Monster Manual, Mimics were originally created by a group of wizards who intended to protect themselves and their treasure from Treasure hunters by allowing their items to protect themselves – thus was born the Mimic. It is also said that the smaller Common Mimic that is able to communicate,  are able to communicate with other Common Mimics by using a bastardisation of the original language spoken by their wizard creators.

Other types of mimics

Metal Mimic:

In the Monster Collection “Creatures Catalogue 3” there is a mention of a Metal Mimic. These are generally seen as more powerful compared to the ordinary Mimic as these creatures are not only able to imitate the look and feel of metal in both its raw form and its finished polished state, but also stone and wood. This allows the “Metal Mimic” the ability to look like weapons and Fine Jewellery as well as the standard furniture or chest. This gives the adventurer much more to worry about when approaching that much-wanted loot at the end of a dungeon.

Metal Mimics differ slightly from the ordinary Mimic in that the larger Mimic is the intelligent one and is able to communicate and bargain with the player whereas the smaller mimic will attack on sight which would make a shiny sword that little bit more dangerous for the player who thinks he’s getting a great loot item.

Space Mimic:

Yes, that’s right, there is a space Mimic. Made by wizards that needed help on long  journeys and eventually discarded due to them being unreliable. Mentioned in the Spelljammer Handbook, these Mimics reside in Wildspace. A Space Mimics skin resembles the “space” around them – being pitch black with some speaks of lights and are about the same size of the Common Mimic.

What makes these Mimics different is that they have the ability to cast magic and will actively seek magic spells and food equally- If you are a magic type and a vulnerable, then I have some bad news for you.

Greater Mimics:

As the name suggests – it is the larger variant on the common Mimic. Found only in the setting’s Undermountain, these creatures grow to the size of whole rooms or tombs. They are of higher intelligence than the common Mimic – being able to change both the structure and colour of individual parts of its body. This allows the Mimic to create multiple doors and furniture inside the “room”(itself), waiting for the entire party to wonder/lured in before using it glue the grapple the players inside. Some Greater Mimics have the ability to create an illusion of animals/creatures inside the room and talk through them to the players.

Discrepancies and concerns/Questions

These are just things that I have found that do not gel or make “logical” sense. I appreciate that First addition and 5th are very different and all the Editions have changed the Mimic slightly – but bear with me here.


The description of the Mimic says that it has a Glue that is used to adhere itself to surfaces and other items to itself? Being a Medium creature,  your weight according to the Manual = 60 lb – 500lb(225kg) 5th Edition says that you have an escape DC of 13. Now considering this glue is able to hold up to 500lb, I would say you would need to be a lot stronger to get out of that grapple? Don’t you think?


Bearing in mind the glue – and the fact they are able to disguise themselves as rock, arches or rocky walls. Why not just fall on your prey – the 500lb weight will kill most players? But I guess this makes for a less exciting adventure for the party.

Final Thoughts

The intelligent and Greater mimics can make for a very interesting and challaging adventure – From a DM’s point of veiw, there are many ways that this encounter can play out. Full out battle is the obvious options, but even this allows for various options – if either side is too hurt to carry on, a discusion/barganing can start – allowing for a more varying campaign.

The Mimic can become a mission giver? Or a valuable information giver to the party? Have you every had a ran in with a Mimic? Was it attack on site or did you get a chance to talk? Let us know below.

Categories: D&D Guides

Richard Eccles

General Geek with a taste for everything geeky, everything from D&D to Board Games. I'm a Technical Manager to pay the bills - so spend far too much time in front of a screen.


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