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The Mimic: Beware Of Touching The Chests Of Strangers
Like a timeshare bait and switch, The Mimic is the classic D&D monster that poses as something spectacularly wonderful, but leads to many payments, er … pains.
It’s an original D&D Monster Manual creature without apparent direct roots from mythology (shapeshifters aside) and is considered an old school icon of role-playing games.
A living trap, it can change into any stone/wood form to attract unwary adventurers, most usually taking the appearance of a treasure chest, which when touched will proceed to:
Instantly glue the unwary soul to itself at the point of contact
Begin to pummel said stickied soul with a freshly formed “pseudopod” arm
All the while trying to chomp you with rapidly revealed rows of razor teeth
These guys were for real! There’s a reason Rob Bricken labelled them as one of “The 12 Most Obnoxious Dungeons & Dragons Monsters”!
Apparently, Gary Gygax (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons) wanted to always keep the players in his group on their toes and not let them get too lazy & complacent about even mundane actions in his campaigns. Everything in the dungeon should be a threat!
Speaking of . . . you HAVE to watch this hilarious Inception-style video by Seth Skorkowsky. It’s about a group of D&D players who imagine a flashback scenario of how The Mimic came to be through Gary’s point of view!
Background: In real life, Gary had a big falling out with D&D co-creator, Dave Arneson - the “Dave” alluded to in the video.
Like many other creatures, The Mimic got some ecology lovin’ by Ed Greenwood in the annals of Dragon magazine #75 (1983), which fleshed out its sensory-spot vision, movement & shapeshifting details, and its foreign language skills (yes, some could talk!)
“‘Pseudopod’, eh?’ Let me at ‘em! I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me mimics”
(🤭 Sorry, I couldn’t resist)
For other Classic D&D Monster fun, make sure to check out these 2 recent Rediscovered Realms newsletters:
Over the years and editions of D&D since then, The Mimic has gone through various incarnations of its biology/ecology/culture, which you can read about in this cool article: https://www.belloflostsouls.net/2019/06/rpg-monsters-its-a-mimics-life-for-me.html
Although typically formed as a chest, Mimics are also known to pose as doors, stonework, or even entire rooms!
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(Featuring artwork from Clyde Caldwell & Luke Eidenschink!)
Because of their sensitivity to sunlight, original Mimics would find dark places to dwell, “where the sun never reaches” . . . but also where unwary prey would come to pay a visit. Could anything be more terrifying than this?!
I guess if you were to encounter any treasure chest, door, archway, or pretty much damn near anything inorganic-looking while spelunking, the best advice I can offer is to send in the Ensign first.
For gamers who want to learn the most about gaming strategy & tactics of modern mimics and their many subtypes, this fan put together a really great resource, “The Mimic Book of Mimics”
Of course, like all other things D&D, there is merchandising! Here are a few Mimic items I thought were pretty cool:
Ah, Mimics, those seductive sticky chests that everyone wants to get their hands on . . . I’d better rewind there.
Actually, it’s probably best if I just stop.
In Other News:
A BIG adventurer’s-arm-embrace-welcome to our newest Rediscovered Realms subscribers from our friends over at The Glatisant substack by! (Welcome to all of our other recent members too!)
Do you like Monsters? Wild West? Then make sure to check out the latest 2-volume anthology Kickstarter by- “Monster Fight at the O.K. Corral”!
Lyn also curates one of my favorite substacks you definitely need to see:
Well, that wraps up another weekly edition of Rediscovered Realms. Thank you for joining me on this latest quest for old school fantasy fun. I’d like to leave you with a quote I’ve been pondering recently about living your truest self:
“Yield not one inch to all the forces which conspire to make you an echo” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be not an echo, my friends, but breathe deep and roar loudly, driving those bullying forces to flee. Be the source of thunder that refuses to shrink back - that creates mighty echoes of greatness to reverberate down through the ages.
(And please, for the love of Pete, when dungeon delving, wear quick-release gloves if you’re going to touch any strangers’ treasure chests)
Until next time,
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