the mimic is fatally flawed

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i think i might have identified a fatal flaw in the design of the mimic.

traditional, a mimic's tactic is to

i) assume the form of an object,
ii) wait for an enemy to draw near, and then
iii) surprise that enemy with an attack.

the mimic has a power called shapeshift, which allows the mimic to assume the form of an object (step i above).  while in object form, a mimic is immobilized and cannot attack.  the problem is that shapeshifting into or out of object form is a minor action.

the rules for a surprise round read, in part, as follows:

Limited Action: If you get to act in the surprise round, you can take a standard action, a move action, or a minor action. You can also take free actions, but you can’t spend action points. After every nonsurprised combatant has acted, the surprise round ends, and you can act normally in subsequent rounds.

so, how does the mimic surprise its enemy with an attack (step iii above)?  technically, it cannot.  according to the rules as written, the mimic burns through its surprise round with the minor action of shapeshifting to its natural form (a standard action, a move action, or a minor action).  it would not get to attack its enemy until after the surprise round.  i do not think that this is what the designers intended.

how can this mistake be corrected?  well, in a surprise round, the mimic can also take free actions.  if shapeshift were changed to a free action or, more limited, if the mimic shapeshifting back to its natural form were a free action, then the mimic could both shift and attack during the surprise round.

EDIT:  further discussion

let's say an orc is hiding when the adventurers enter a room and the adventurers do not perceive the orc.  the orc could charge a character.  such charge would be deemed the surprise round.

although a charge is a standard action and shapeshift is a minor action, nonetheless, i see these as essentially equivalent here:  each is the action that makes the characters aware of the presence of an enemy.  therefore, i do not think that the mimic would be entitled to burn a minor action by shapeshifting, which the adventurers would notice, and then get a surprise round to attack.

If the mimic gains surprise, the DM might well decide that the surprise round begins after it has used Shapeshift to revert to its ooze form. When someone is hiding behind a door, you probably wouldn't rule that opening the door consumes that creature's one surprise round action either, after all.

Not that making it a free action for the mimic to assume its ooze form would be terribly game-breaking, of course.

I say they should instead allow it to make a melee basic attack as part of it's transformation (and to avoid the DM spamming minor attacks, it should only be possible to do the melee basic attack during a surprise round).
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