tied up doppleganger.

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My party as part of the scenario have to catch a doppleganger villain alive to.bring back for questioning. They have encountered and defeated the doppleganger and hog tied it. Now they face the final.boss but they may leave the doppleganger on its own while they fight. While they ate distracted could the doppleganger.assume the form of a gnoll and chew thru the ropes? It can only stay a medium size so it can't shrink small and slip thru the ropes but reading the description in.the monster manual it could take the shape.of any.humanoid. so it could take the shape.of a choker and slip.out with its tentacles limbs or take a form to chew thru the ropes?
Yes. If it's cool and likely to delight and drive your players to action rather than frustrate them, then the doppelganger can turn into a gnoll and chew through the ropes. Or change into a waify elven girl and slip out. Or whatever. Doppelgangers and other shapeshifters have a reputation for being masterful escape artists. It's kinda their thing.

If it's likely to annoy your players, then don't do it. Surprise them some other way.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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A doppleganger would definitely escape from mere ropes.

Or change into a waify elven girl and slip out. Or whatever.

Right. It's not like real-life escape artists change their size. Houdini would puff up his chest and flex his muscles when bound, and relax during the escape. A doppleganger could definitely do a much better version of that.

Raises interesting questions about how crime would be handled in a fantasy world.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

What level is the party?  How long has this party known about said doppelganger?  How likely is it that they would've done a better job preparing to take a doppelganger into custody?

It might be worth it to give the party a mulligan on this one.  Obviously ropes won't work, but if the party took the time to apprehend this villain then they shouldn't be punished for an oversight that their own characters probably wouldn't have made.  How 'bout an enchantment on the ropes that prevents him from shifting, or adjusts automatically to whatever form he assumes?

Maybe they could drug him.  I do that with magic users, rather than breaking his fingers, or whatever.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
What level is the party?  How long has this party known about said doppelganger?  How likely is it that they would've done a better job preparing to take a doppelganger into custody?

It might be worth it to give the party a mulligan on this one.  Obviously ropes won't work, but if the party took the time to apprehend this villain then they shouldn't be punished for an oversight that their own characters probably wouldn't have made.  How 'bout an enchantment on the ropes that prevents him from shifting, or adjusts automatically to whatever form he assumes?

Maybe they could drug him.  I do that with magic users, rather than breaking his fingers, or whatever.

It would be unfortunate for a group to see the creature's escape as a punishment, when it seems like such a classic scene. Shapechangers are such fun recurring villains. I guess I'm assuming that it just gets while the getting is good, instead of, say, showing up during the next battle to off someone, and they come back to find a loose pile of ropes.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

It really feels like a gotcha! moment - an honest oversight that professional adventurers probably wouldn't have made.  It's possible that the group wouldn't see it that way, and would just get up at the thought of recapturing the doppelganger, but I don't feel like I  know enough about the players to be sure.

On the surface, this seems like an example of a DM trying to beat the players, and opportunistically at that.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
I guess I'm assuming that it just gets while the getting is good, instead of, say, showing up during the next battle to off someone, and they come back to find a loose pile of ropes.



... it left a note behind that says, "The next time you see me, I'll have brilliant green eyes. But by the time you're close enough to notice, you'll already be dead."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

It really feels like a gotcha! moment - an honest oversight that professional adventurers probably wouldn't have made.  It's possible that the group wouldn't see it that way, and would just get up at the thought of recapturing the doppelganger, but I don't feel like I  know enough about the players to be sure.

On the surface, this seems like an example of a DM trying to beat the players, and opportunistically at that.

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. I was seeing it as the players having already won. The doppelganger escaped but was lucky not to be killed (especially since it and every other shapechanger the players encounter after that will be), but the players foiled his original goal, even if that was (as it sadly often is) just to killl the PCs.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

It really feels like a gotcha! moment - an honest oversight that professional adventurers probably wouldn't have made.  It's possible that the group wouldn't see it that way, and would just get up at the thought of recapturing the doppelganger, but I don't feel like I  know enough about the players to be sure.

On the surface, this seems like an example of a DM trying to beat the players, and opportunistically at that.



This is a perfect opportunity for a Monster Knowledge check. Have every PC make one (I believe it would be a Nature check, if I remember the doppelganger's type correctly).  Probably not very difficult ... if someone succeeds, just tell them 'You realize that this isn't going to work ... he can just turn into (form, form, other form) and wriggle free.'
Agree with Lolabonne. If I need to make a checks, asking for the party's highest Arcana / Perception / (whatever Skill) and then making a Roll in front of them. Exactly why I'm rolling, they don't know, but if I roll low and later something happens, they'll realise what the roll is about and it doesn't seem like the DM just pulled a fast one over them, just because well, the DM can! If the Players keep getting that vibe "Well, because the DM can!", that makes Players feel cheated and that playing is pointless.

Sometimes I don't bother to set a DC, but I ask for a Skill just because I can, and it can link up with the later event. The roll is simply a Saving Throw (modified or otherwise). Regardless, it creates the impression that as the DM, you've given them a "Chance". That makes a big difference in managing Player expectations, since they might quickly just get to the "screw it, let's kill everyone we capture, after interrogating them."

RPing the captured Creatures themselves is also helpful for variety. For example, its a big difference if every enemy just spits in their faces and awaits death, while others plead for their lives, and still others reason with them, offer his services in return for not being killed.

I actually have a villain who told them to turn him in for a reward in return for not killing him. They spared him, until they found the Wanted List, which showed him as "Wanted Dead or Alive". Whereupon they beheaded him and turned in his head.
It does serve his purpose though. His head being turned in is sufficient, with his Faction having spies among the Constables will be aware of his "Capture" and retrieve his Head. From there, he can easily be Raised from the Dead.

In this particular case, the Doppleganger might have (I guess its already done, but just as an idea) seem to have a fear of something eg an irrational fear of  drowning, but is in fact able to turn himself into a water-breathing race. So the Party (what with the usually sadistic Players I get) kill him by tossing him into the river tied with a stone, but he easily escapes and returns in future.  ( For those who have read "Brer Rabbit" before, there are a few stories where he is captured and uses a similar concept to escape. )

In any case, either of the above 2 is sufficient to let the Players have a 'damn, I knew it!' moment when they see the enemy is gone. Its like something that niggles the back of your mind, and its later its like, crap, I knew it was weird he's so scared of water...

I am Blue/White

In this particular case, the Doppleganger might have (I guess its already done, but just as an idea) seem to have a fear of something (say drowning) but is able to turn himself into a water-breathing race. So they try to kill him by tossing him into the river tied with a stone, but he easily escapes and returns in future.  ( For those who have read "Brer Rabbit" before, there are a few stories where he is captured and uses a similar concept to escape. )


Evil Overlord Item #221 I see :P
Cool, where's the list? I can always do with more Villain ideas

I am Blue/White

Maybe if the doppelganger escapes it steals something from the camp that the players have to get back?  That way, they have just that little extra incentive to hate the doppelganger and they might fool themselves into getting excited about tracking him down.

Instead of just being beat for overlooking something, the players might actually think this was a deliberate challenge and get up for it like everything else.

Sweeten the deal a little.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
Maybe if the doppelganger escapes it steals something from the camp that the players have to get back?  That way, they have just that little extra incentive to hate the doppelganger and they might fool themselves into getting excited about tracking him down.

Instead of just being beat for overlooking something, the players might actually think this was a deliberate challenge and get up for it like everything else.

Sweeten the deal a little.

I still don't see how the players were "beaten," unless it was the doppleganger's goal to be captured and escape. At the very least they've delayed it and possibly caused it to miss an opportunity entirely. Even if all the PCs had to do was defeat it in combat, most DMs would already have given them the XP for it. I can imagine that they're hoping to get information out of their prisoner, but if they're leaving him to do something else then the information doesn't seem crucial as much as "nice to have." Even if it's an enemy that can't plausibly escape on its own, maybe it has a spell or an item or an ally or is just desperate and inventive. Did the PCs scour the area for every possible sharp object the prisoner might use to release itself?

I don't think the DM always needs to be looking for ways captured characters can escape, and I certainly wouldn't want to make my players annoyingly paranoid to the point at which they will always kill prisoners, or always run down an escape-prevention checklist. But it's okay for a slippery character like a doppelganger to escape if not at least watched.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

If the goal of the players was to apprehend the doppelganger, and hold him in custody, for whatever reason, and he escapes, then they've failed.  And if he escapes because of a petty oversight, then they've failed arbitrarily - simple as that.  Odds are, if you tell your players that they've returned from the encounter to find a pile of unbroked ropes that the doppelganger just shifted out of, that they're gonna feel like that is pretty lame.

My point is that if he's made off with a valuable item, something that they've aquired through they're current adventure, then it looks a lot more like a challenge rather than a gotcha moment.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
Cool, where's the list? I can always do with more Villain ideas


www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

Right there
If the goal of the players was to apprehend the doppelganger, and hold him in custody, for whatever reason, and he escapes, then they've failed.  And if he escapes because of a petty oversight, then they've failed arbitrarily - simple as that.  Odds are, if you tell your players that they've returned from the encounter to find a pile of unbroked ropes that the doppelganger just shifted out of, that they're gonna feel like that is pretty lame.

Not necessarily. I would fine that pretty cool, as it's right out of the kinds of movies and action stories I want D&D to emulate. ("The End....?")

It's not a petty oversight. It's a tricky bit of information that would have been deliberately hidden from them. If the DM really wanted this doppelganger to escape and the doppleganger had the personality trait or history or backstory that he's never been captured, or something like that, then the DM could have put in other things, unrelated to any knowledge check the players could even make, that would facilitate the escape.

But if their goal was to capture the doppelganger, why did they leave him to fight some other fight? If they had two goals, then they clearly decided one was more important. Even if a prisoner isn't a doppelganger, it shouldn't be too much of a "gotcha" to leave it by itself and then come back to find it has escaped. At best, in this situation, it seems like an opportunity goal, or a secondary goal, that won't be too disappointing to lose.

My point is that if he's made off with a valuable item, something that they've aquired through they're current adventure, then it looks a lot more like a challenge rather than a gotcha moment.

I see your point, but why wouldn't they find that far more lame, as it adds insult to injury? If their goal was to catch the doppelganger, and he escaped, isn't their goal still to capture the doppelganger? Why add to that and tick off the players in the process. Taking their items is a tried and true way to hork off players.

How about this: The doppelganger escapes, but actually helps them out somehow in their current battle. There might be lots of reasons for this: the doppelganger actually hates the boss; he's hoping this will make him "even" with the PCs and they'll leave him be; the doppelganger needs the PCs alive in order to take their places later when they've become important, etc. The upshot should be (might be) that the doppleganger still escapes (which is highly plausible and cool) but the players are less hurt about it.

By the way, if you're dealing with players who dig on immersion, they might be disappointed that the doppelganger didn't escape. They might be expecting it, but playing dumb because they feel their characters wouldn't know the potential of the creature's abilities. (That's another thing cool movies are full of: characters doing unexpected things with their abilities.) Even if they're not, I would think it would be pretty cool for the PCs to come back, find it gone, examine the rope and be told that it looks like the ropes were chewed by animal teeth and by the way from the inside. A headsmack moment? Sure. But a cool way to establish an interesting fact about shapechanger capabilities.

(Actually, it's also a good basis for an argument, because changing shape - at least in 4e - doesn't generally give a creature new abilities is didn't have in its other form.)

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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