Post by Ralph Glatt
Isn't using doppelgangers a kind of "prick" thing to do? Killing off a
character who has been in the group for long time, and then killing off the
rest of the party one at a time? Incidentally, I can't do something like that
anyway, because the two people I game with run three characters each. Killing
one might tip off the players and mess up that part of the adventure.
The premise of your question is incorrect.
Dopplegangers don't want to kill off the rest of the party, they just want to
replace someone and live a life of luxury or to reproduce. I had one do the
latter and the guy never caught on to the doppleganger's flirtations and how
it somehow was doing everything the way he liked it in bed.
This is based on an excellent article in Dragon Magazine #80 by Fraser Sherman
There were no guards at the door, which was as he wished it; no one must know
that the captive had not been slain with its partner. Looking unusually
nervous, Nyssan, Baron of Ker, swung open the door and stepped into the room,
closing the door tightly behind him.
The chamber . a hastily cleared storeroom . held two figures besides the Baron
Alam Arijah, wizard, alchemist, and scholar, bowed low at the entrance of his
master. Beside him, bound to its chair by a net of interwoven crimson threads,
was a grotesque parody of a human figure, grey and pulpy; its blood-red eyes
stared at Nyssan with open malice from out of its warty face. And then, almost
in an instant, it changed . . . .
Good greeting, my lord.. Nyssan froze in mid-stride, stunned to see his own
image staring mockingly up at him. .Alam, would you release me? I.d like to
meet this man who resembles me so much..
Silence!. Anger replaced shock as Nyssan's gauntlet smashed across the
creature's face; up to the throat, twin to his own, he thrust a dagger.
.Resume your own form, doppleganger . immediately!.
As you will. . . .. The doppleganger's voice became more sibilant, less human,
as it changed back. Nyssan sheathed the dagger, studying the creature grimly.
He and Alam had found it with its companion as one of them prepared to replace
the castle chaplain, and after a bitter struggle the baron overcame them.
Their soft-looking bodies were surprisingly tough, and in battle they seemed
able to anticipate his every move, dodging his attacks easily, then striking
through his defenses with unbelievably punishing blows. And, Nyssan's
determination to take one of them alive hadn't made the fight any easier.
Can it break free, Alam?.
Not from the Blood-Red Chain. Even if it duplicated my form, the Chain would
spoil any spells it might draw from my mind.. The wizard looked down at the
prisoner in fascination. .If I could only duplicate its ESP powers . they.re
far beyond anything, magical or mental, that humans possess, operating almost
constantly without conscious effort. But then, their brains are structured
quite differently from ours . they can.t be charmed at all, you know..
Yes, I know.. Alam had explained their powers before, as the baron now
recalled: how a doppleganger could not only probe surface thoughts and
knowledge but also tap things lying just below the surface, like knowledge of
your own identity, and use what it learned and its polymorphing power
to replace the victim. After that, it would draw constantly on the minds of
its victim.s friends, learning what they expected of its new form and changing
its behavior accordingly. Some said that even made them more believable than
the originals. Then, Nyssan broke off his reflections as he realized his
wizard was saying something more.
. . . and after seeing them fight, I believe they use their ESP in combat,
sensing your planned attacks and your weakest points . it.s this knowledge,
not simply their strength, that makes their blows so damaging..
Nyssan nodded curtly. .Yes, that.s interesting, I grant you . but it.s not
what I asked you to learn. Have you found what I sought?.
Ah, yes, my lord!. Alam.s eyes were shining. .I have made a discovery. This is
the first time we know of that one has been dissected, because that rubbery
flesh of theirs turns rock-hard once they have been dead for a time, making it
impossible to cut them open without hacking them to pieces. But thanks to a
necromantic preservative spell I cast..
Alam!. The baron interrupted, the wizard jumped, and Nyssan forced himself
to restrain his temper. .I don.t care how you did it . what have you found?.
It is not the knowledge you sought, my lord, but it is remarkable nonetheless.
Mylord, the doppleganger is human!.
What?. The baron stared at the creature, which was glaring at Alam with
renewed contempt. .That . . . thing? Human?.
My dissection of the one we slew leaves no doubt. There are several strange
anomalies. the brain structure, for example . but their internal organs are
basically those of a man. Perhaps it was some wizard.s experiment that mutated
them, perhaps not, though magic in the blood would explain why they are so
resistant to spells. But I have no doubt that their ancestors were men. Oh,
when I present this discovery, that fool Wegtha.s theories will be..
Enough, Alam!. The wizard jumped again, and Nyssan struggled to stay calm.
.I am overjoyed with your discovery, my friend, but . you say you learned
nothing of what I wanted to know?.
Nothing.. Alam.s jubilation dimmed..It refuses to speak, and cannot be
charmed. I am sorry, baron..
Do not be . yet. It.s my turn, now.. He reached out and grasped the
doppleganger's chin, forcing it to look up at him, but it jerked away angrily.
.Unhand me, human!.
Human? You heard Alam . we.re both human!.
Once, perhaps, but not now, Does a butcher claim kinship with the cattle he
Nyssan grabbed its chin again, hard. Listen, my haughty friend, I stabbed one
of you to death yesterday and I won.t hesitate to repeat the feat if you cross
me!. He let his hand drop. .But if we reach an accommodation, you will live.
You may even profit. So, bargain with your .cattle. or die..
The doppleganger stared at its captor for nearly a minute; whatever it saw
seemed to give it an answer. .Very well . . . human. What do you want?.
Reasons, doppler . I want reasons! Why did you seek to impersonate my
chaplain? Why do your kind always take the shape of men, or elves, or gnomes,
or dwarves? What do you want?.
We want what is ours!. The force of the reply made Nyssan back up a step. .I
chose your chaplain . his life was to be mine! His wealth, his fine robes, his
women . had you not interfered, they would belong to me!.
So that.s all it is. You prey upon our lives, usurp them for your own.
For what else were we made? Your foolish wizard amuses me, babbling of
magic and experiments. It was the gods who chose us to bear these powers! We
are the select, the exalted . your lives are ours by right. Your only purpose
is to serve us, to build up your lives and then surrender them to us..
I see. . . ..
Nyssan was about to say more, but Alam spoke up, his eyes alive with
Wait a moment, doppler . oh, don.t you have a name?.
Not for such as you,. spat back the creature.
Doesn.t matter. But what you said .about his women ..
Alam! This is hardly the time!. scolded the baron.
My lord, you don.t understand. One of the anomalies I found was the absence of
any reproductive organs, either on the dead specimen or this one. This has to
You.re quite clever, wizard.. This time, the hissing voice was slightly less
No, we cannot reproduce except in your form. That is the other function of
your species . to tend our young as birds tend to a cuckoo. We look completely
human when we are born, though some of our organs do not function the same as
yours. We grow, unsuspected, among you until maturity. Then comes the change,
and with it our minds are filled with awareness of what we are..
Alam was almost ecstatic over this new revelation, but then he paused,
suddenly thoughtful. Flushing, he turned back to the baron. .Forgive me, my
lord; I digress from your goal again..
Oh no, no, Alam, anything but!. Nyssan almost quivered with excitement as he
grabbed the sorcerer.s arm. .It.s perfect! Everything I could have hoped for..
Nyssan, I do not understand..
You will, old friend, you will.. Nyssan beamed down at the doppleganger; he
was no longer nervous at all. .Doppler, tell me, how would you like for me to
give you your birthright? Luxury beyond your wildest dreams . gold, furs,
servants, as much as you desire. If you choose, I can procure it all..
The doppleganger said nothing, but Nyssan looked into its eyes and smiled at
what he saw. .Let me explain. On the morrow, Lohirin of Fearchor Keep comes
to speak with me. His master, Duke Thysal, has made outrageous, impossible
demands to me, claiming that half my lands belong to his dukedom by ancient
right. Worse, the upstart has friends, powerful friends in the capital,
friends who have the king.s ear..
Nyssan.s face was a study in gloating triumph as he drew the dagger again .
and this time placed it in the doppler.s doughy, grey hand as a symbol of the
baron.s trust and confidence that this strange new ally would find the bargain
attractive. .Lohirin of Fearchor is the Duke.s trusted friend. the only man
living who can enter his presence armed. Do you understand now what it is I
want you to do?.
Since the doppleganger.s armor class and
attack damage are partially derived from its
ESP abilities, it will suffer against an ESPproof
opponent, such as a monk, or a character
with the psionic discipline of mind bar.
Against such foes, its armor class will equal
leather armor (AC 8), and it will do only 1-
6 points of damage per attack.
A doppleganger.s ESP abilities are considerably
different from the ESP spell or the
psionic power of the same name. A doppleganger
can continuously monitor the surface
thoughts of any one character at a
time, but can also probe more deeply into
the character.s mind, becoming aware of
deeply hidden facts about the character.s
life, nature, and habits. This furthers the
illusion that the doppleganger actually
whoever it is imitating, and adds to its
Dopplegangers have never been known to
sleep; they appear biologically incapable of
it, though in their altered forms they will,
course, pretend to be asleep when such of
action is appropriate, and/or when it will
prevent them from being discovered for what
Though dopplegangers can form their
bodies into the appearance of clothing,
equipment, weapons, etc., they generally
avoid doing this because of the obvious
problems they would have if asked to drop.
something they appeared to be holding or
wearing. Often they simply borrow materials
from the body of whomever they are
imitating and wear or carry those.
Though listed as being neutral in alignment,
dopplegangers might be more correctly
viewed as neutral evil, or at least
neutral with evil tendencies. They show
little respect or concern for humanity and
allied races, except when doing so benefits
them. They are not prone to go out of their
way to promote wickedness, however, and
can act in a helpful manner . . . again,
when it suits them.
Dems & the media want Trump to be more like Obama, but then he'd
have to audit liberals & wire tap reporters' phones.