We round out our Monster Vault
previews with the one monster that can take on the form of any other monster… well, not exactly, but the doppelganger can almost certainly take the form of anyone in your party. As you’ll see from its powers, you do not want to stand next to a doppleganger.
Infiltrators, spies, and impersonators, doppelgangers are humanoid shapeshifters that take on the appearances of other humanoids. They are cunning opponents that lure in their victims or throw off pursuit with misdirection and disguise.
Few creatures spread fear, suspicion, and deceit better than doppelgangers do. Found in every land, with no true homeland of their own, doppelgangers transform their bodies to blend in with other races. They are much like humans in that they display a wide variety of personalities and dispositions. Doppelgangers as a whole are few in number, but when living among other races, they congregate in small groups. Three disguised doppelgangers might live together in a dwarven stronghold city, outwardly appearing to be stalwart dwarves while secretly plotting to bring down the city’s defenses. Their knowledge of many cultures and their ability to manipulate others allow doppelgangers to walk about freely with little fear of detection.
Sowers of Paranoia: Unscrupulous people know that hiring a doppelganger (if they could afford to do so) is the surest way to slip an agent into the ranks of their enemies. With the ability to look like anyone, a doppelganger can launch an attack in one guise, duck around the corner and assume another appearance, and evade pursuit by looking like a dumbfounded bystander.
With the right disguise, a doppelganger can stroll past sentries, coax secret information out of confidants, or walk out of a noble’s manor carrying looted treasure in plain sight. Doppelgangers can get closer to an enemy than any other type of assassin can, taking on the visage of a trusted ally before planting a knife in an unsuspecting back. Capturing a doppelganger can prove calamitous to a community, immediately casting suspicion on everyone—after all, if there could be one doppelganger, there might be more. As a result, some doppelgangers spend months or years infiltrating a town for the express purpose of revealing their deception when the time is right, then throwing suspicion onto others and letting the community destroy itself.
Dedicated Impersonators: When a doppelganger assumes another form, it can stay in that shape for prolonged periods of time. A doppelganger might spend weeks, months, or years in the guise of an eladrin wizard or a human soldier, maintaining the deception around the clock to keep from being discovered.
Some doppelgangers find this effort stressful and revert to their natural forms when they believe that no one is looking. Still, their ability to hold a form over time allows doppelgangers to live among other races, developing relationships with neighbors and becoming a part of the community without raising suspicion. The farmer from down the road, the baker’s wife, or a distant relative come to visit could be a doppelganger despite having been familiar to a person for years. A few particularly savvy doppelgangers have risen to great power by infiltrating other races, with ruinous results for those creatures.
Wielders of Many Powers: Doppelgangers use magic and other supernatural powers just as members of other races do, though often with more guile and finesse. Doppelgangers prefer magic that complements their natural shapeshifting ability and helps them infiltrate other groups; for example, they favor illusion magic, since it allows them to create distractions that can redirect suspicion. A few doppelgangers turn to the darker powers granted by shadow magic, augmenting their skill at blending in by adding the ability to vanish from sight. Some doppelgangers master psionic magic and can detect the surface thoughts of others, allowing them to assuage suspicions by providing the right answers to any questions put to them.
Level 11 Lurker
Medium natural humanoid (shapechanger)
HP 90; Bloodied 45 Initiative +15
AC 25, Fortitude 21, Reflex 25, Will 23 Perception +6
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +16 vs. AC
Hit: 2d4 + 6 damage.
Effect: Melee 1 (one Medium creature). The doppelganger takes on the form of the target and alters its clothing and gear to match those of the target. Until the end of the doppelganger’s next turn, the target is immobilized and takes 6d8 extra damage from the doppelganger’s dagger power. See also replica switch.
Effect: The doppelganger alters its physical form to appear as a Medium humanoid until it uses change shape again or until it drops to 0 hit points. To assume a specific individual’s form, the doppelganger must have seen that individual. Other creatures can make a DC 32 Insight check to discern that the form is a disguise.
Requirement: The doppelganger must be adjacent to an enemy affected by its perfect replica.
Trigger: A melee or ranged attack from an enemy unaffected by the doppelganger’s perfect replica targets the doppelganger.
Effect (Opportunity Action): The doppelganger and the enemy affected by its perfect replica swap places, and the triggering attack instead targets the enemy affected by the doppelganger’s perfect replica.
Skills Bluff +14, Insight +11, Stealth +16
Str 12 (+6)
Dex 22 (+11)
Wis 13 (+6)