There are many species of monsters which stalk the lands of The Star-Runner Chronicles world. Some were created by the gods during the Great Cosmic Remodel, but others are the product of the effects of magic on inanimate objects. Join us this week as we discuss the most famous of these…the mimic!
Mimic Fast Facts
Creature Type: Inorganic
Elemental Type: Depends on the material the original container was made of.
Elemental Weakness: Depends on the material the original container was made of.
Size: Depends on the size of the original container.
Weight: Depends on the weight of the original container and its contents.
Strength: Moderate to High
Habitat: Treasure Vaults, Caves, Villainous Hide-outs, Warehouses, etc.
Diet: Unwitting Treasure Hunters
Subspecies: Man-Eating Treasure Chest, Grabs-You-Bag, Barrel-O-Laughs, Un-Present, Cookie Ja-Aaarg!, and many more.
Most Applicable Tropes: Chest Monster, Nightmare Fuel, Paranoia Fuel
Anyone from our world who has played at least one or two RPG’s in their lifetime has come across some form of booby-trapped chest or another. Among the most infamous is the creature type known most commonly as the mimic. These creatures exist in the world of The Star-Runner Chronicles too. However, it’s not just treasure chests that one should be wary of in these parts.
Appearance and Anatomy
Mimics are created in two ways. First is the accidental method, where a vessel (a treasure chest, sack, vase, basket, etc.) holds a magical object for fifty years or more without the object ever being removed. In this method, the vessel begins to absorb magic from the object in question and eventually comes to life as a malicious creature which will attack anyone who attempts to get at its contents.
The second is the enchantment method. In this method, a vessel (usually already filled with valuables) is deliberately infused with powerful magic in order to bring it to life. This is done as a security measure—usually to protect the contents of the vessel from thieves, but just as often to provide a dangerous distraction for would-be thieves or invaders.
Because of the circumstances of their creation mimics come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from tiny porcelain jewelry boxes to enormous steel shipping crates. Unfailingly, once enchanted, these containers suddenly become many times more durable than they were before along with being considerably more aggressive. That porcelain jewelry box, for instance, will suddenly become as tough as cast iron and a steel strongbox will become as impenetrable as adamant battle armor.
Luckily, they at least retain the elemental weakness of the substance that they were originally made of, meaning that a mimic that was once an ordinary wooden crate can still be harmed by fire. It may take a few shots to do it in, but it’ll die eventually. Also, ranged weapons with enough power behind them (shotguns, bazookas, grenades, etc.) and sufficiently durable melee weapons wielded by a strong fighter can do a great deal of damage to a mimic as well. Again, it will probably take a lot of hits, though.
All mimics develop toothy mouths with freakishly big tongues from what was the opening of the original vessel and creepy “googly” eyes upon transformation. Some even develop tentacles, claws, or arms from things like straps, handles, or drawstrings as well. These features are usually camouflaged with magic until someone attempts to open the vessel, at which point they suddenly appear and scare the living crap out of the would-be treasure hunter.
Once defeated, a mimic reverts to being a normal container and shatters or tears to pieces, leaving behind its contents to be scooped up by the victor. This can make battling one of these creatures either extremely rewarding, or a total let-down if the enchantment was placed on an empty container.
Mimics do not actually need to eat. They can go centuries, even millennia without a meal because the only thing which actually sustains them is the magic which brought them to life in the first place. However, they do enjoy eating the people who attempt to get at the goodies inside. No one knows what happens to the bodies, though, as no evidence of even the recently devoured appears after the creature is defeated and cracked open—no bones, no belongings, not a single thread of clothing.
Many theories have been floated around about why this is. Some say that the victim is simply dissolved by magical means. Others suggest that the victim’s body and belongings are absorbed into the mimic’s body…with their soul possibly being trapped in the monster vessel until it is finally defeated. Whatever the case may be, the idea of being eaten by a mimic is a universally disturbing one.
Mimics are not very physically active monsters. Instead, they lay in wait camouflaged as normal containers until someone comes along to open them up. It is then, and only then, that the creature reveals its true nature and attacks.
Most mimics attack by slapping their victims with their enormous tongues and biting them with their razor sharp teeth. Some have limbs adapted from pieces of the original container which are used to grab, slash, strangle, and constrict their opponents as well. Leaping at a target is also a popular mode of attack, and some even possess disorienting magic, spells which can weaken armor, or spells which reduce the potency of attack or defensive spells. The ones which do possess magic have a nasty habit of spamming it incessantly unless one is lucky enough to lodge an anti-magic bullet in the creature or attach a spell tag inscribed with a binding spell to it. Needless to say, those things can be really, really annoying to fight.
That’s it for this week, folks! Join us next week for a history of the city of Avalonia! Until then, be sure to check out The Star-Runner Chronicles on Amazon.com (print and ebook editions available, coming to Smashwords in August!), peep in on my tweets on Twitter, learn about me at a glance on Pintrest, pop in on my Fanworks Spot, or just archive binge around here for a bit (if you liked this piece, make sure to check out my three-parter on werewolves or any of the articles under the “Magic” or “Monster Manual” categories). Also, mark your calendars for June 17th-21st, because Wolfie Star-Runner Plays with Hellfire will be free to own on Kindle for the first and last time!
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