Sunday, July 25, 2021

OSR: Mimics

This post is partially inspired by this very excellent post from a Blasted, Cratered Land.  

artist unknown

Number Appearing: 1d4 per room
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Mimics have glands in their body that can be of some value to alchemists, and Mimic eggs are a delicacy in some parts of the world.  The most valuable part of the Mimic is their flesh, however, as it's tasty, especially when steamed and served with butter.

Mimic Tells

1- Breathing softly.
2- Bulging at the seams, still a bit full.
3- Droppings in surroundings, hard pellets like an owl.
4- Strong stench, smells of death and meat.
5- Holes underneath for limbs.
6- Making the wrong sounds, making the rumbling sound of thunder instead of a car engine.
7- Mirrored/illegible writing.
8- Moving parts don't move.
9- Part of another form.
10- Ridges for eyes/Eyes on the ridges.
11- Air is slightly warmer than it should.
12- Wound leaking ichor/Strange spills near it.

The lion's share of the work for this table comes from Velixraptor

Mimics are believed by some to be related to crustaceans, a particular species of cave crab that when gifted magic by the Crab King, used that power to give themselves the ability to shapeshift.  Others believe that Mimics are the work of the Folk as part of some sort of devilish prank, or a Magi who refused to let anyone have his treasures and sought to punish anyone who sought them without his permission.  Regardless of their origins, Mimics are horrible creatures that are the bane of explorers, archeologists, Sages and most especially adventurers. 

Mimics disguise themselves as some otherwise common item and when prey comes close, they reveal huge jaws and snap shut around the creature, usually killing the poor fool.  Alternatively, they may ensnare smaller prey in tentacles and flee, carrying their wriggling prize in their sticky fronds.

However, despite their clever strategies, Mimics are not actually intelligent.  They are beasts, though tricksy ones, unable to truly understand what they are doing.  All they know is that certain objects attract prey, so they pretend to be those things.  They are good at, well, mimicry, and can imitate human voices as well as other sounds.  They can disguise themselves as humanoids, but they can never quite get the details right, so a Mimic disguised as a humanoid would look mostly normal, but might have a few small details off, such as discoloration on parts of the body, a few too many or too few fingers and a face that just seems, off, in some way you can't quite put your finger on.  The proportions just aren't right.

Mimics usually mimic items they find in a room.  If a Mimic sneaks into a dining room, they might disguise themselves as a spare chair in the corner or move a chair to the corner or the pantry and replace the chair.  Or a Mimic might find a treasure chest, move that chest to another room and then take the place of that chest.  If you find a piece of furniture in an odd place, that's a good sign there is a Mimic nearby.  Additionally, some Mimic have realized that this is obvious, so sometimes they just take the form of that moved furniture and leave themselves in odd places.

When a Mimic is alone in a room with another Mimic, they will sometimes mimic each other.  So you can end up with a room full of absolutely identical chairs or desks covering the entire floor plan. 

Mimics like damp, cool places and choose such places for their homes.  They love caves and caverns, especially near slow-flowing water.  For this reason they also like cellars, catacombs and sewers and can easily spread into such areas.  Mimics tend to live in colonies of several hundred members and are almost never solitary, so if you find one Mimic, all Adventurers know to expect more.

from Kill Six Billion Demons

HD 1d3+1
AR 3 [When Transformed]/ 1 [When Attacking] (both are natural armor)
Atk Bite (1d8+1 + grapple) or Tentacles (1d4/1d4 + grapple)
Mor 13
Saves (7+HD) or less

Sticky: Mimics can adhere to surfaces such as walls and ceilings with ease.  When not hiding, they can slink along these.  Additionally, if a creature is successfully attacked by a Mimic and that Mimic damages the creature, the Mimic can automatically grapple the creature.  The Mimic can release anything stuck to it as an action.

False Appearance: Using their shapeshifting abilities, Mimics can disguise themselves as an object of the same size.  These disguises are not perfect- see 'Mimic tells' below.  Any close inspection is almost certain to reveal a Mimic's presence, but getting close to a Mimic is a good way to get your head bitten off.  If looking for a Mimic without touching or getting within biting range, have the Mimic roll a COG/Deception check and compare that to the person's COG check.  If you roll higher than the Mimic, you can see through it's disguise.  If the Mimic wins, you won't recognize it is a Mimic until you get closer or until it bites you, whatever comes first.

Clamping Jaws: If a creature is grappled by a Mimic, that Mimic can do 1d6 damage a round as a free action.  This damage ignores armor unless the creature is covered head-to-toe in armor or is protected all over it's body.  While it is using this ability, the Mimic can move but can't attack or grapple any other creature.

Mimicry: Mimics can mimic sounds they hear like parrots.  They can imitate human voices, the scrape of metal on leather, the crackle of flames or almost any other sound they might regularly hear.  You can tell the sound a Mimic is producing is actually made by something else by passing a Saving Throw or a DC 13 COG check, if you're actually listening for the source of the fake sounds.  Mimics use these sounds to lure creatures in and to make their disguises more believable. 

Shapeshifting: Mimics can alter their shape, growing and retracting appendages as necessary and can take on many forms, including different false appearances.  If turning into a treasure chest didn't get you, the Mimic can run away and disguise itself as something else. 

- Ambush a creature
- If it doesn't immediately die, grapple it and run away with the body
- Chew on that creature until it is dead
- Feast

Mimic Encounters:


1- On a rotting dock, there is a pristine and seemingly untouched boat.  Once you get out into open water, the boat reveals itself to be a Mimic.  It will try to drown you, then eat your water-logged corpses.
2- There is a door in this room.  When you open it, it leads to a blank wall.  The door is a Mimic which then tries to eat you.
3- There's a treasure chest in this room, with a runner (long narrow rug) leading up to it.  The treasure chest is empty, except for a pile of teeth and chewed on bones.  The Mimic is diguised as the rug.
4- A room with several treasure chests heaped among loose piles of gold and other valuables.  One of the treasure chests is a Mimic, the rest are normal.
5- A painting with curtains on either side of it, so it can hide the painting.  The painting is actually a Mimic and is covering an open window or arrow slit.  The Mimic will grab someone,  who is looking at it, gag them and drag them through the window, then use it's tentacles to close the curtains behind them.
6- The mattress on that four-poster bed?  Actually a Mimic.  Hopefully you're not tired.  The actual mattress is stuffed in a closet somewhere.
7- The players find a table and chairs set up in a strange place, such as in a cave.  Half of the chairs are Mimics, the others were brought here for authenticity's sake.  The table is also a large Mimic.   
8- The giant stuffed monster head on the wall?  Actually a Mimic, the real one is hidden behind the hedge in the garden.
9- The couch in the parlor?  It's perfectly normal.  The pair of overstuffed wingtip chairs across from it?  Mimics, both of them.  When the chair Mimic grab someone, they run in different directions. 
10- A degraded dining room, soiled by years of exposure to the elements.  The only thing that still glitters faintly is the chandelier.  This is not because gold doesn't tarnish, but because it is a Mimic.
11- The players find an abandoned shrine with an altar stained with fresh blood, as if someone just used it.  That's because the altar is a Mimic and the blood is what's left of the last person who came in here.  One of the smaller statues lining the walls is also a Mimic, which will ambush the players if they try to leave or get some distance from the altar. 
12- The players find a bag of food hanging from a tree by a rope.  This is a common tactic by travelers to avoid attracting bears.  Unfortunately, there's no food, as the bag and rope is a Mimic.  The Mimic drags the person who it grabs up into the trees and if they resist, throws them to the forest floor.  Repeat as necessary.       

Special Types of Mimics:

artist unknown


Mimics, like lobsters, don't age.  Furthermore, as long as they can eat, they can grow.  So if a Mimic can get enough prey and isn't eat, they can grow enormously large.  Giant Mimics hide in plain sight, like their smaller cousins, but choose similarly large disguises.

Giant Mimic Encounters:


1- That cave you just entered, itt's actually a Giant Mimic pretending to be a small hill.  This hill wasn't here yesterday, but only someone familiar with the terrain might realize that. 
2- You're adrift at sea, either because there's no wind for the sails or your boat sank and you're clinging to the wreckage.  Then you see another boat approaching.  You're saved!  Only as it approaches, you see the bow of the boat open into a mouth with thousands of teeth and realize that drowning might not be so bad after all.
3- The house that appeared at the edge of town?  A Giant Mimic.  Inside all the furniture is soft, warm and squishy and the only thing that flows out of the pipes is acid.  The doors then lock and you are trapped inside. 
4- The circus is in town, or at least, it was.  They left up the big tent, but there's no staff, animals nor any people in the neighboring village.  What happened to all of them?  The big tent, is, of course, a Giant Mimic. 
5- Was the lake always that color?  Fishermen are disappearing, along with the fish.  No one knows why.  People are blaming demons, the Gods, necromancers and Witches.  If the players investigate, they will find that the bottom of the lake seems strangely still, and if they hop out of their boat, they will find that about five feet below the surface of the water they will run into blubbery, squishy flesh.  A Giant Mimic is lurking right under the water, using it's shapeshifting abilities to resemble the lake bottom and make "Fish" swim around beneath you.
6- A tower suddenly appeared at the edge of town and the people are getting ready for a witch-hunt or screaming about Demons.  The Lord Mayor requests you go investigate.  Sadly, it's nothing as easy to deal with as an Evil Magi, but is instead a Giant Mimic who has stretched himself into a long, slender shape.

Note that you can't fight a Giant Mimic with swords.  That's like pricking the inside of a human's mouth with a needle.  It hurts, but it sure as hell isn't going to kill them.  The only way to kill a Giant Mimic is to get something as large as it, such as a Dragon, Giant or Roc, to pick a fight with it.  If that's impossible, go inside it, find it's vital organs (usually disguised as some kind of special room) and destroy them.  If you don't want to go inside a Giant Mimic, try fire, and lots of it.

Giant Mimics fight people inside their bodies by producing tentacles and mouths from the walls and ceilings, weaponizing the "furniture" inside of them and by spraying their digestive fluids on you.

by himeshaga


Plaster Mimics are mimics that employ a very unusual strategy.  They grapple and restrain their prey as normal, but do not immediately kill it.  Instead, they keep the creatures they capture inside themselves and leech off their mana, instead of eating them.  But then, when attacked, Plaster Mimics shove the creatures trapped inside them to the surface, causing part of the creature's body, usually the head or torso to emerge from the Mimic's shapeshifting flesh.  This tactic is used to dissuade attackers and cause them to hesitate.  Then the Plaster Mimic attacks that creature and hopefully adds it to the collection. 

Plaster Mimics that successfully pursue this strategy sometimes resemble walls of living creatures, heads pressed tight against strange bodies, limbs entangled and intertwined with others of their kind, a wall of bodies and faces.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 1d4+1.

Sucking Flesh: If a Plaster Mimic grapples a creature, it can on it's turn force that creature into a STR contest.  If the Plaster Mimic wins, it sucks the creature into it's mass.  There the creature is restrained and cannot move.  The Mimic can also shove the creature's head into it's flesh as an action, cutting off it's air to prevent it from resisting.  Creatures restrained by the Plaster Mimic need to succeed a DC 20 STR check to break free, and they make all STR checks with disadvantage.  Creatures trying to pull them out need only succeed on a DC 17 STR check.

Human Shield: If a Plaster Mimic is threatened, it can expose a creature it has trapped inside it's body.  The creature attacking may then abort it's attack or roll 1d6+X, where X is the number of people trapped inside the Plaster Mimic.  If the creature rolls a number equal or under to the Plaster Mimic's HD, the Plaster Mimic takes damage.  If the creature rolls higher than the Plaster's Mimic, one of the creatures trapped inside it takes damage.  This only applies to attacks that could be defended against like this.  Magical effects, unless targeted at a specific creature (such as with a Saving Throw) affect all creatures trapped within the Plaster Mimic.

Plaster Mimic Encounters:


1- In a dungeon, the party comes upon a wall with a small hole in it, just the right size for someone to crawl through on their belly.  The wall is actually false, once someone is halfway through, the Plaster Mimic traps them halfway through it's body and then attacks the rest of the party.  If threatened, it runs away, with the creature inside it still trapped inside.
2- A Plaster Mimic has snuck on board a ship and disguised itself as a barrel with an open lid.  When people go to look inside it, it slurps them up and with legs still hanging out of it's toothy maw, it goes in pursuit of other prey, growing larger as it does. 
3- A Plaster Mimic has invaded a castle and gobbled up the Princess, who is currently being held inside it.  The Mimic is running around, eating anyone it can who is vulnerable and spending the rest of the time hiding.  Find it before it gobbles up the entire staff and is covered in a living armor that cannot be easily pierced.

by Dmitry Skolzki

Parasitic Mimics: 

Parasitic Mimics, like Plaster Mimics, target one particular creature at a time.  But instead of using that creature as a human shield and collecting as many victims as it can, Parasitic Mimics are more selective and vicious in their hunting.  What they do is target a specific creature and latch on, merging with that creature and forcing it to find food for them.  Should a host be unable to do so, the Mimic gradually devours the creature piece by piece until the host finally dies.  This usually provides adequate incentive.  The host eats the creature in the end anyway.

Parasitic Mimic Encounters:


1- A pair of centaurs ride up to the party.  Only then the Centaur's humanoid upper halves fall off, their abdomens a half-digested slurry.  Where the humanoid torso and the horse part of the body meant there is instead huge toothy maws dripping with saliva and acidic digestive fluids.  These parasites will gobble up a humanoid's lower half and slowly digest it, while trapping the top half above it by keeping the host alive.  Should the host attempt to betray it, it floods the lower area with digestive fluid and lets the humanoid die in agony.
2- A bandit, unlike all of his fellows, is wearing a suit of armor covering most of his bodies.  When he is killed, you find that the flesh underneath the armor is badly corroded by acid and there appear to have been fleshy tendrils that pierced his flesh.  The Suit of Armor is a Parasitic Mimic and will attempt to forcibly bond with another creature, slowly melting it with acid and extending tendrils into that creature's chest cavity to encircle the vital organs.  Should the Mimic become threatened it will crush the organs and slay the host.  In the meantime, it can draw nutrients from the host's blood stream. 
3- The party sees some kind of powerful monster.  But instead of killing them, it begs them for help, claiming it is being attacked even as it speaks.  If they choose to fight it, once it is in danger of dying, a Mimic detaches from it's body to reveal a horrible, sucking wound.  The Mimic was plugging that wound, but now that it has left, the creature is certain to die.  If it is left alone, the Mimic will return and eat the corpse.
4- The party is engaged in an overwise normal battle near a source of water, in a cave, or in a bog.  If one of them gets seriously injured, the Parasitic Mimic lurking nearby will swoop in, plug the wound and squeeze itself inside the creature.  This will prevent further HP loss but prevent it from being regained either.  The Mimic will begin parasitizing that creature, using the wound to hold that creature hostage.

Statblock Changes:

Probing Tentacles: A Parasitic Mimic inserts tentacles into a host.  These intertwine with the host's innards.  Should the Mimic wish, it can do 1d8 CON damage to the creature at any time, or if the creature is equal or less HD than the Mimic, force an immediate save vs death.  Creatures at 0 CON must immediately save or die.

by DudeMcWhy on Instagram

Number Appearing: 1, 50% of being accompanied by 1d4 Mimics
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: Lingua Franca plus 1d6 profane languages
Treasure: Askiliths generally hoard trasures and minor magical items as payment for their services.  They usually do not use these things, as they interfere with their control over the Mimic's flesh.  As such, they simply collect them and store them in nearby hiding places. 

Mimics aren't intelligent, they're beasts.  That's why they can't replicate writing that well and can only mimic sounds we make instead of speaking.  So when the toothy treasure chest starts talking to you, that will be your first indication that something weird is going on. 

Askiliths are what happens when a lesser Spirit possesses a Mimic and finds it likes it here.  Askiliths have all the abilities of a normal Mimic, shapeshifting, sticky flesh, mimicry, but they also have a couple of their own.  Additionally, because they are intelligent, they can use a Mimic's abilities far more effectively than a normal Mimic.

Askiliths are cruel creatures, mostly dominated by the base desires of their Mimic hosts.  They are still primarily concerned with food, mating and safety, but they also have the diabolic desires of an evil spirit as well.  Askiliths will extort small villages for bribes, in exchange for not poisoning the water or bringing plague upon them.  These are usually bluffs, as Askiliths do not usually possess great magic power and could not do these things, even if they wished to.  But if a village will not comply with their demands, an Askilith can sneak into a couple houses and eat a few people, just to prove it's serious.  After a few families lose a member to a shapeshifting monster that could be disguised as your mattress or firewood box, people usually comply. 

Askiliths usually want large quantities of liquor; rare foods from civilization such as weddding cake, noodles and pickled pigs feet; or nubile virgins to toy with.  They also sometimes want people to humiliate themselves for their amusement.

But the greatest power that Askiliths have, one that they exploit to their best interest, is the power to open doorways.  Their name, Askilith, comes from an ancient word "Ascili", which means "Door".  Askiliths can open portals to other universes.  For this reason, they are sometimes sought out by Sages and Magi seeking to travel to other universes, or they approach those stranded in other worlds and extort them for passage back to their world.  They are also known to help criminals escape justice by opening doorways to faraway worlds, allowing even the worst villains to escape prosecution.

Another activity the Askiliths are known for of a similar vein is where an Askilith promises to take a creature to a specific place and then instead opens a portal to some horrible place, such as the Darkness between the Stars, a volcanic caldera or some hellish world, taking their reward and leaving their hapless clients to die.  This never fails to amuse them.

Statblock Changes:

Askiliths stat as Mimics, with the following changes-

HD: 1d4+2

Uncanny Valley: Askiliths can take the form of people or animals with their shapeshifting, but like when Mimics do the same, there's something just not quite right about them.  A successful saving throw or succeeding on a DC 10 COG check can show that whatever this is, it is not what it seems.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the person who succeeds recognizes it as an Askilith or even a Mimic, but they know something is up with that person or animal.

Open the Way: Askiliths can, as an action, open a portal to another universe.  While this portal is open, the Askilith exists on both sides of the portal.  The Askilith can close this portal as an action.

Acid Glob: Instead of making a Bite or Tentacle attack, an Askilith can make a projectile attack, spitting a glob of acid at any creature within 30'.  This acid does 2d6 damage, save for half, or save to take no damage if you have a shield.  It dissolves armor and shields.  It also does 1d6 acid damage each round until the creature covered by it dilutes it with water or neutralizes it with a base.  Alternatively, just take off whatever is covered with acid.  The Askilith can spit acid once every 1d4 rounds.  

Askilith Encounters:


1- An Askilith approaches the players and tells them it has knowledge of the lost hoard of a slain Dragon.  If the players agree to provide some service for it and then give it a cut of the treasure later, the Askilith will open a portal for them.  The Askilith, once paid, opens a portal to some horrible cave network in another world and strands them there. 
2- The players are hired by a Sage who has heard about Askiliths and wants the party to find him one.  He has heard there is a nearby ruin infested with Mimics and thinks that might be a good place to start looking.  He promises them a really big paycheck for this.
3- As above, but the Sage knows where the Askilith is, and it's in the middle of a colony of Mimics, who have the same relationship with the Askilith as sheep do to a shepherd.  Guide the Sage safely to the Askilith and don't get eaten by the furniture along the way. 
4- An evil creature is using an Askilith as part of it's diabolical scheme.  Go kill it to ruin that unsavory individual's plan.  Alternatively, you may be able to just bribe it, as Askiliths are known for being greedy and disloyal.
by DudeMcWhy on Instagram

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