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  • House of Hidden Hunger – Mimic Encounter for 5e

A legion of mimics has grown large enough to replace the house they had infested. They have already consumed the owner, his dog, and a group of local delinquents, but their hunger is far from sated.

Old Man Malden is a prickly and uninviting individual and he lives in a house to match. The crotchety old hunter retired years ago to live a quiet life with his dog on the edge of town. Age and relaxation did not mellow him. His aggressive defense of his property earned the annoyance of other townsfolk and the curiosity of their trouble-making children, much to Malden’s frustration. But most kept their distance, rarely speaking of him.

Perhaps the only curiosity was Malden’s relationship with the local butcher, though perhaps the term ‘relationship’ would be too complimentary. Malden had requested the off-cuts and scraps from the butcher. The cheery local agreed to deliver them in hopes that Malden might brighten from the connection. He did not. Still, the butcher delivered bags of bones and meat scraps to Malden’s yard every few afternoons, which disappeared by the next morning. Some thought to question the deliveries, which were far too large for Malden’s dog to consume, though none bothered to ask Malden himself. In truth, it is unlikely that they would have believed the answer; Malden’s basement was home to a collective of shapechangers that the man was feeding and studying.

As they often do, Malden’s fascination eventually got the better of him. He no longer emerged for the few chores of his yard or to walk his dog, whose barking also came to an end. Neighbors found this curious, though the continued deliveries and their disappearance each night seemed to prove that Malden had simply secluded himself further. The reality was that Malden’s pets had grown beyond his control. They had spread into the house’s foundations, joining with the building itself. Malden and his hound were their first victims. After that was a group of local teens, daring each other to venture into the house of Old Man Malden. That was several days ago, and their parents now look to hire anyone who might be able to find them.

This encounter and its many creatures are a creative way to use our new Modular Rooftop Assets: as tokens! Players won’t suspect the difference until it’s too late…

Old Man Malden’s House

From the outside, the house appears to be a regular farmstead of perhaps three rooms. A rickety wooden fence marks the perimeter with space for a back and front yard and the door is closed and windows are shut. The front gate is likewise latched, and a spot in the gravel next to it is stained, likely from where the butcher has been placing his deliveries.

The mimic, which is either a room or small house variant of the building mimic, encompasses the entire building and waits patiently for victims to enter. It will sit idle until one or more people make their way through the front door, which is unlocked. The door will then shut behind them and seal closed. A creature or party member within 5 feet of the door when it closes is able to make a DC 15 Dexterity check to quickly dive through.

If its victims do not seem suspicious, the mimic may instead wait until everyone has entered. The front door will close and seal on its own. The mimic will then allow them to explore, using any opportunity it can to separate the characters in different rooms before subjecting them to the acid damage of its Swallow action.

DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check…

There isn’t much to notice on the exterior of the house, though you do hear a creaking coming from its walls. The sound is faint, like steps on old stairs, yet there is no path or pattern to it and the air is not cold enough for the wood to be making a sound as it adjusts.

The sound of slight movement within the house’s walls is intended to put players on edge and support the possibility of a haunting or infestation, without giving away the mimic’s disguise.

DC 17 Intelligence (Investigation) check…

You crouch down and look closely, able to see the disturbed trail where the bags of meat would be pulled to the front door. Two things catch your attention. First, where the trail ends at the door, you notice that the stains on the doorstep continue a small way up the frame on either side. Looking around from there, you also see that both the grass and flowerbeds in the yard appear to have been well-kept in the past but now show signs of neglect.

The stains are from the mimic carelessly biting into the bag of meat and getting mess around its ‘mouth’. Malden also used to take care of his plants. His work is visible but they have been left to grow, which is evidence of his absence.

Battle Map Downloads

You can find the assets this encounter was designed for, as well as others for buildings and furniture, below…

Building and Fragile Mimics

The sounds of creaking and splintering boom from the walls and floors, which begin to violently contort. They shift, some breaking and others melting into a leathery flesh and producing rows of teeth and twitching eyes. The building, now exposing itself as a colossal creature, releases a guttural, quaking growl.

The building mimics are, as their name suggests, mimics that are imitating entire buildings or sections of a larger structure. They may be a legion of individual mimics working in tandem or a single monstrosity that has grown to an enormous size. Like their smaller brethren, they are ambush predators. They will rarely expose their form, instead choosing to wait for victims to enter before sealing possible exits and digesting the individual. While their size does grant them enhanced durability and additional combat options, it also prevents their ability to hide, especially after they have exposed themself.

Both the building mimics and fragile mimic are designed as size variants of the original mimic. The latter is simply a smaller and weaker version with the appropriate adjustments to its offense and defense, and little else. Their purpose is either as minions to the larger mimics, or as a way to scale the original down for lower-level parties.

The larger variants began with basic changes to their sizes, hit point values, armor class, and Strength and Constitution scores. Their Adhesive trait was then collapsed into the use of their Pseudopod action, which also gained increased reach and a pull, as their intention is to swallow targets. This uses their size to their advantage by eating targets and subjecting them to constant damage, based on the similar abilities of other creatures. Finally, to elevate these mimics to the status of ‘boss monsters’, they were given the ability to generate minions. This came in the form of animating the furniture within them into fragile mimics. The smaller monsters can engage anyone the building swallowed, or they can act as living, adhesive, hungry ammunition for the building’s ranged attack.

Scaling the mimics up further meant making subtle changes to progressively increase their deadliness. They were raised to gargantuan size, increasing their hit dice in the process, and also received resistance to non-magical weapons. Each stage also received a further +1 AC and +2 to their Strength score from the last, and an increase to the damage of their attacks and effectiveness of Animate Interior.

The largest two saw their fragile mimics replaced by regular mimics. They also received legendary actions that enable them to raise their AC much like a preemptive Parry, as well as to further harry and hurt creatures inside of them.

Stat Blocks for D&D 5e

Click to zoom in!

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

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