Is the Doppelganger overpowered?

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Example [Not my Real Information so thoughs Hackers, dont even try]

You don't even have your email listed...

As for the examples from real life (password protection): Of course. If DnD were realistic, (or even simulationist) there'd be tons of things that would be changed. However, it's not.

Even if it were at all realistic: Back in medieval times, (approximately what DnD is based off of) when they actually believed in magic, witches, shapechanges, and all of that stuff, did they have elaborate password protection type things? No. Why? Because really, what can you do if a powerful entity wants to do something to you? They're using powers that you can't possibly understand. And beyond that, if they really want to take over, why would their powers have such a limitation? Why do their DnD counterparts know any better? Powers shrouded in mystery are just that. Just because we're in the Information Age, where you can access most information readily doesn't mean that DnD should be (or is) the same.
You don't even have your email listed...

doesn't stop them from looking at my acount and finding it there.
As for the examples from real life (password protection): Of course. If DnD were realistic, (or even simulationist) there'd be tons of things that would be changed. However, it's not.

Even if it were at all realistic: Back in medieval times, (approximately what DnD is based off of) when they actually believed in magic, witches, shapechanges, and all of that stuff, did they have elaborate password protection type things? No. Why? Because really, what can you do if a powerful entity wants to do something to you? They're using powers that you can't possibly understand. And beyond that, if they really want to take over, why would their powers have such a limitation? Why do their DnD counterparts know any better? Powers shrouded in mystery are just that. Just because we're in the Information Age, where you can access most information readily doesn't mean that DnD should be (or is) the same.

Honostly, if it were like back then, most characters whould have been accussed of being witchs, burned at the stake, and all that good stuff. And all the BBEG whould have to do is accuse you of being a witch, and then they'ed torcher you untill you confess to the acusistion, you you'ed die from it. Another thing, I am sure there wasn't secreat traps/dungeons back then that still worked. Face it, no one ever really wins if you compair DnD to Real life during any time period that it seemed possable to be in.
Honostly, if it were like back then, most characters whould have been accussed of being witchs, burned at the stake, and all that good stuff. And all the BBEG whould have to do is accuse you of being a witch, and then they'ed torcher you untill you confess to the acusistion, you you'ed die from it. Another thing, I am sure there wasn't secreat traps/dungeons back then that still worked. Face it, no one ever really wins if you compair DnD to Real life during any time period that it seemed possable to be in.

Um..... yeah. That's kind of what I said in response to you comparing it to real life... That's why I said even if it were like real life. But it mostly is supposed to be medieval-based, as far as I know. It does try (and generally fail) to simulate real life in certain aspects. This particular aspect is not one of them.

edit: page references
The world of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game is a place of magic and monsters, of brave warriors and
spectacular adventures. It begins with a basis of medieval fantasy and then adds the creatures, places, and powers that make the D&D world unique.

Do you want the game to maintain a sense of medieval fantasy

(maintain indicates that it already is, and requires change to be otherwise.)
A swashbuckling theme is slightly anachronistic for
the medieval setting of the D&D game,

Um..... yeah. That's kind of what I said in response to you comparing it to real life... That's why I said even if it were like real life.

Oh, ok so there is a bit of a misunderstanding here then. I posted after tsuyoshikentsu saying he wants a real life example and saying that if you act like DnD was real, you'ed be sent to the nut house. Then Lokathor came with a real world example and I just added on to that.

Sorry about that. ^^;;
Why do their DnD counterparts know any better? Powers shrouded in mystery are just that.

Because powers really aren't that mysterious in D&D? "Replace the King" is a level-N skill challenge, where N is probably somewhere in the paragon tier (though it depends on the king).
No problem Renizar.

DemonLord57, As to "they didn't do that in medieval times", look into Shibboleth and Notable Shibboleths. Just near the top of the page I note pass phrases used in 1302, the 1200s, 1312, and 1515 to 1519. And all 4 of those initial examples were also in European countries, the basis of most "medieval" type settings.

People have been trying to defeat disguise for as long as disguise has existed. If there's a whole species that can disguise itself at will, then places that need to be secure will definitely take appropriate precautions, or they'll be much more likely to get themselves killed off sooner than normal. It's like a kind of evolution.
Because powers really aren't that mysterious in D&D? "Replace the King" is a level-N skill challenge, where N is probably somewhere in the paragon tier (though it depends on the king).

All of which we as players know, but does the King know he is a level-N skill challenge?

No problem Renizar.

DemonLord57, As to "they didn't do that in medieval times", look into Shibboleth and Notable Shibboleths. Just near the top of the page I note pass phrases used in 1302, the 1200s, 1312, and 1515 to 1519. And all 4 of those initial examples were also in European countries, the basis of most "medieval" type settings.

People have been trying to defeat disguise for as long as disguise has existed. If there's a whole species that can disguise itself at will, then places that need to be secure will definitely take appropriate precautions, or they'll be much more likely to get themselves killed off sooner than normal. It's like a kind of evolution.

I do have to admit, I didn't know about those.

However, this is not only magical, but uncommon. (I think, that's why I asked the question about how common they were) It's mystical and mysterious.
Read the beginning of their entry:
THE CONSUMMATE SHAPECHANGER, a doppelganger can bring entire kingdoms to ruin through duplicity and subterfuge without ever drawing a sword.

And beyond that, again, I was speaking from a standpoint that assumed that it was realistic in a way. They incorporated multiple aspects of reality into the game, but this was not one of them. Incorporating it because a PC can do it is simply trying to 'balance' against the player, not because of reality. (the fact that it could be realistic helps a bit, but that's not the intent of the rule)

If it were realistic, and they were known about, then there'd be a ton more security measures then there are. Honestly, if such a race existed, you would need so many security measures just for daily life, or you'd find your entire kingdom being run by doppelgangers. This would be mentioned. A lot. Either that or there'd be Doppelgangers in all sorts of high-ranking positions around the world. The race would probably be attacked on sight, simply for their ridiculously dangerous ability. There are inherent problems with assuming it's realistic, so we go by what they give us.
Not really. You can believe in the Illuminati, or you can just ignore those who do and go on with your life. Either doppelgangers really are in charge or they're not, but 95 to 99% of the world population consists of either subsistence farmers or nomads, so it doesn't make a huge difference. Most people probably never travel more than one town away from their birthplace.

On the other hand, if you actually do work in the security/protection business (in one of the few large cities), you'll either already have ways of revealing minor tricks like this first level power, or you won't be high enough up the food chain for it to matter in the long run. Long run here meaning "in 100 years, people probably won't ever talk about you".
All of which we as players know, but does the King know he is a level-N skill challenge?

The king knows "hey, there's people who would find it way useful to grab/kill/replace/whatever me. I should do something to make sure that doesn't happen".

The most obvious category of defenses is mystical. Given we have a fantasy setting, a king may well have supernatural powers related to him being king, which will be rather difficult to replicate. Even if he doesn't, things like enchanted signet rings would be fairly easy to make and tricky to replicate.
Read the beginning of their entry:

That translates as "NPCs are permitted to cheat". Also, it's far more likely that the doppelganger replaces some advisor or other less noticeable person; it's almost as effective and far less likely to get caught.
That translates as "NPCs are permitted to cheat".

I don't see why NPCs should be able to when you can't other than for some non-realistic reason such as 'well, the heroes are supposed to have a challenge.' If that's what you argue for, then admit it. Don't say that it's because it's actually realistic to do it, because that's not why you're doing it; it's because you want to nerf the PC. (to make it more challenging, I would hope...)

Also, it's far more likely that the doppelganger replaces some advisor or other less noticeable person; it's almost as effective and far less likely to get caught.

Yes, I discussed this (didn't directly spell it out, though) in my little 'well, if it were realistic, it'd be much different than what it tells you' thing.
I dont really see a problem with it. Like people said, it has really limited uses in a full party, which is what the core books are assuming you have. As for impersonating the King, royalty and the like always have something to prove that they are of royal blood, whether it be a birthmark, a seal, information that only they could possibly know, etc.

To impersonate them effectively you'd first need to find out what is they use to prove that they are who they say they are, and how you can get a hold of it. If its a pendant, a seal, or some other item then you'd need to be able to steal it. If it were a unique birthmark you'd need to see that so you could copy it too. A second problem is the clothes. Kings and such usually have some sort of royal regalia, and since your clothes dont change when you use change shape, you'll need to find a pair of the Kings vestments, or forge a pair thats good enough to pass as the real thing. I doubt anyones going to believe that you're the real King when you're dressed as a commoner.

As for escaping or using it during battle, you again run into the problem of having to change clothes. If you run away and change shape, and they catch sight of you in a different form wearing the exact same thing the person they're looking for is, I think they'll be a bit suspicious. As for turning into an enemy, if one of their targets disappears then another "comrade" they've never seen before pops up in the exact same garments as their enemies, I think they too will start to question your identity.
Well yeah Doppelgangers are great, and their at-will is awesome.
BUT did any of you actually realized that the doppelganger can only change his FORM and not his GEAR?

So yeah +20 is absolutely awesome...if you happen to be a transformist...
Otherwise it's really really situational and absolutely doesn't let you escape that easily. What good will it do for a Doppel to transform itself into someone else to escape a fight if he's still wearing the same clothes?

Now I agree, with a full preparation, it's great.

Just find a way to not get noticed buying the exact same clothes as the King before you impersonate him. Oh, and you'd better get him out of sight, unless you feel comfortable enough to stand a confrontation and make everybody actually think you are the real King

EDIT: Damned Shinkirou how could I NOT see your post??
Well yeah Doppelgangers are great, and their at-will is awesome.
BUT did any of you actually realized that the doppelganger can only change his FORM and not his GEAR?

So yeah +20 is absolutely awesome...if you happen to be a transformist...
Otherwise it's really really situational and absolutely doesn't let you escape that easily. What good will it do for a Doppel to transform itself into someone else to escape a fight if he's still wearing the same clothes?

Now I agree, with a full preparation, it's great.

Just find a way to not get noticed buying the exact same clothes as the King before you impersonate him. Oh, and you'd better get him out of sight, unless you feel comfortable enough to stand a confrontation and make everybody actually think you are the real King

EDIT: Damned Shinkirou how could I NOT see your post??

Because I made a successful stealth check. ;)
Because I made a successful stealth check. ;)

Not without total concealment or Superior cover you didn't.
I don't know if someone said this already, I skimmed but may have missed it.

The MM races may be overpowered compared to PHB races, the reason for this is right in that section of the monster manual Note that these traits and powers are more in line with monster powers than with player character powers.

I shake my head when people power builds with monster races. Yes (some of) the monster races are more powerful than PHB races, and I'd advise DMs to disallow most monster races without careful consideration unless they are running monty-haul or otherwise don't care about PC balance.
Not without total concealment or Superior cover you didn't.

Not exactly, booloo was not im combat and destracted, so Shinkirou could have seccesfully made a stealth check ageisnts Booloo's passive perseption.
Not without total concealment or Superior cover you didn't.

He didn't have a clear line of sight when I made my check and was distracted by the other posts.

I don't know if someone said this already, I skimmed but may have missed it.

The MM races may be overpowered compared to PHB races, the reason for this is right in that section of the monster manual Note that these traits and powers are more in line with monster powers than with player character powers.

I shake my head when people power builds with monster races. Yes (some of) the monster races are more powerful than PHB races, and I'd advise DMs to disallow most monster races without careful consideration unless they are running monty-haul or otherwise don't care about PC balance.

There's nothing really wrong with them if you do it right, and there's no good reason to not allow them purely because of their traits. Some traits are more powerful than others in certain situation. This applies to the PhB PC races too. Just because the MM PC racial traits aren't weaker than all of the PhB ones in every situation doesn't make them any more overpowered than anything shown in the PhB.
Hrm... I've been tossing around the idea of a magic armor called "Shapeshifter's Wardrobe" (Cloth, grants a bonus to bluff checks equal to enhancement bonus, at-will: minor action: wearer can alter the appearance), but this thread is making me second guess.
Lol, well you could always increase the level. It would be nice to shapeshift and not have to worry about your armor/clothes brakeing/tearing. Maybe you could make it so it increases the defence and AC, and when the creature that is wareing it changes shape, it also changes shape to make it so it doesn't brake. [Like going from 5'2" to 5'9" could brake cloth and stretch leather.]
I don't see why NPCs should be able to when you can't other than for some non-realistic reason such as 'well, the heroes are supposed to have a challenge.' If that's what you argue for, then admit it.

That is why NPCs can do it. However, I consider the way I would treat the PC doing it to be the realistic option -- it's cinematic that the NPC can succeed, not that the PC has trouble.
That is why NPCs can do it. However, I consider the way I would treat the PC doing it to be the realistic option -- it's cinematic that the NPC can succeed, not that the PC has trouble.

So... it's cinematic when PCs DON'T get to do something awesome, but NPCs do?

Lord, remind me not to play your games.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
So... it's cinematic when PCs DON'T get to do something awesome, but NPCs do?

It's cinematic when NPCs get to do something awesome. It's cinematic with PCs get to do something awesome. The key question for allowing something cinematic is "does it make for an interesting story".

As a PC, "replace the king" is only an interesting plot if it's hard. For an NPC, whatever effort he might have had to go through to replace the king is pretty much uninteresting, all that matters is that the king suddenly an inexplicably wants all the PCs heads on spears (or whatever other strange objective the king acquires) and the PCs have to figure out what's going on. Thus, the NPC does not need to go through significant effort (or, at least, significant on-screen effort), whereas the PC does.
As a PC, "replace the king" is only an interesting plot if it's hard.

In general, how interesting a plot is is entirely dependent on a person's point of view.
In general, how interesting a plot is is entirely dependent on a person's point of view.

True. Okay, lemme put it another way: anything substantially useful to the PCs will take some work to accomplish. Thus, you can only trivially replace the king if it is useless for you to do so.
True. Okay, lemme put it another way: anything substantially useful to the PCs will take some work to accomplish. Thus, you can only trivially replace the king if it is useless for you to do so.

So in that case, why play D&D? Why have characters be good at things if they're going to have to work equally hard at anything regardless?

Just play free-form.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
So in that case, why play D&D? Why have characters be good at things if they're going to have to work equally hard at anything regardless?

They don't. It's only the doppelganger special power that makes it practical to even try this stunt. However, D&D is not about "I get free stuff".
As a PC, "replace the king" is only an interesting plot if it's hard.

I'm not sure I agree. Not everything has to be a challenge for the PC's even if it does help them. It may be an easy task for the doppelganger PC to impersonate the king, which may help advance the plot or succeed on a mission, but it seems simple enough to make that simple success lead to the next part in the mission/adventure, which can be appropriately difficult.

I don't know. Suppose the king is adverse to hostage negotiations or something and is refusing to meet with the adversaries. But keeping the hostage alive is integral to the plot. The PC's propose to impersonate the king and make sure the negotiations go well. It may be pretty simple to impersonate the king in general (the doppelganger race makes that pretty certain), but it will be a challenge to intercept and detain the king, as well as proceed with the actual negotiations and ensure the survival of the hostage. That the doppelganger easily impersonates the king doesn't make the rest of the mission trivial.

Or imagine the PC's trying to get to the bottom of a plot to start a major war between two nations. Impersonating the king may allow the PC's to delay an act of war while they try to snuff out the people behind the conspiracy. Again, masquerading as the king may be easy, but keeping the nation stable while on the brink of war may not be.

Those are rough examples off the top of my head, but the point is simply that the DM still has the ability to make challenges appropriate. The doppelganger has more options because of his ability to impersonate people, but the DM can still make those options challenging if need be.
It obviously depends on what you want to do while impersonating the king. If you're impersonating the king to empty the treasury and take it away, the impersonation is going to be substantially more difficult to pull off than if you're impersonating the king in order to get shelter at a remote village.
It obviously depends on what you want to do while impersonating the king. If you're impersonating the king to empty the treasury and take it away, the impersonation is going to be substantially more difficult to pull off than if you're impersonating the king in order to get shelter at a remote village.

That's just a bad idea. Thats like asking to get ganked.
Well, emptying out the treasury is a bit suspicious. But if you impersonate someone in the castle that may have access to the treasury, and then someone that can appoint people to various positions throughout the castle, it is possible for the PC's to gather the information they need and pull off a modern day heist.

It would be trivial to impersonate any of those people with a doppelganger's at-will ability and a +20 bonus to his Bluff check. But scouting out around the treasury and appointing your allies into various positions so that they can get close to the treasury as well will probably involve skill challenges, bribes, and the like.

I just don't think that impersonating someone extremely well means you are free to do as you like. It's just a part of the solution. Even with finding shelter in the village you may have to deal with those that want to hold you for ransom, don't particularly like you as their monarch, or are too afraid to shelter you. These can all involve challenges that aren't made any easier just because the PC can impersonate the king (or anyone) very well.
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