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View Full Version : Have I written myself into a plot hole?



valadil
2010-01-24, 07:39 PM
My players, stay out! You're only ruining it for yourselves.


Alright. I've got a doppleganger who killed a noble and took over his position. The PCs will at some point meet up with doppleganger and recognize him as the noble they used to hang out with. I'm not sure how they'll feel about him by that point, but he won't have a clue who they are and they'll be confused by this.

I'm not sure what to do at this point that doesn't give away the plot. Specifically I'm not sure how the doppleganger can deflect it. Here are the options I've come up with:

A) "I never met you, that must have been an imposter. Perhaps you met a doppleganger?" I don't think any self respecting doppleganger would bring this up as a possibility. He doesn't want to get the PCs thinking dopplegangers are an option, even if he's pinning it on someone else.

B) "I never met you, that must have been my brother." Slightly better. But it's well known that the noble has no brothers. Cousin would probably work better than brother. I have other reasons for not wanting to bring the noble's siblings or other family into the scene here.

C) "I have no idea what you're talking about and do not have time for your wild stories. I am a busy man. Leave." Doesn't actually solve the problem, just removes the PCs for a while.

D) "Oh yeah, of course I remember you guys. Wait, I owe you how much money?" Wouldn't hold up to any scrutiny. And I trust my players to scrutinize.

Anyway, I don't like any of these options. I could provide more details, but I'm omitting them because I'm trying to focus on the doppleganger's viewpoint, which is far from omniscient. None of the lies I've come up with work long term. At best he could leave the scene and either flee the country or get reinforcements and shank the PCs. I'd like something that will send them on their way and leave him with the noble position he's worked so hard to obtain.

Any ideas?

Kylarra
2010-01-24, 07:48 PM
Doppelganger has detect thoughts at will, so you can have him improvise based on what you think their expected reactions would be, and have him ask leading questions for anything that they require more detailed responses for.

Rhiannon87
2010-01-24, 07:52 PM
Is just having him play along an option? Put together a build with a wicked high bluff, diplomacy, and sense motive, and have him act like he knows what's going on, at least a little. "Ah, yes, right, I remember you now! I've been so busy lately, our agreement slipped my mind-- refresh my memory, would you?"

Of course, if the nobleman and the PCs are supposed to be really good friends, this doesn't work at all, but if it's a more distant relationship, he can probably fake it until he has enough information. It's like when you see someone in the street and they recognize you, but you have no idea who they are, so you just play along and ask vague questions until they mention their name or their job or something that reminds you of who this person is. Except he won't remember who they are in this scenario, he'll just get enough information to fake it.

Additionally, would the dead nobleman have any notes or records on the PCs? If so, the doppleganger can look at those and get some information on them.

Lunawarrior0
2010-01-24, 07:52 PM
Did the Nobel keep any sort of journal? If so then he probably wrote down the fact that he interacted with the PCs. This wouldn't give him complete knowledge of who they are, but between a journal reading and some detecting of thoughts he could possibly improvise something that might fool the PCs.

You still might want to give the PCs a sense motive roll to see if the guy is lying about anything. (like actually being a noble)

Ach ninja

valadil
2010-01-24, 07:54 PM
Doppelganger has detect thoughts at will, so you can have him improvise based on what you think their expected reactions would be, and have him ask leading questions for anything that they require more detailed responses for.

That I was not aware of. May I ask what book that's in? I probably should have specified the game is 4th ed, but it didn't occur to me that there might be mechanically differences that matter.

Dyllan
2010-01-24, 07:54 PM
Depends a lot on how and where they're going to meet up. You can arrange that as the DM, fairly well. Make sure it's a situation where they're announced, along with their business. If their business doesn't give enough information for the doppleganger to fake it, then have him refuse to see them.

Does he actually owe them money? Not something that the doppleganger would know, but one of the noble's assistants probably is paid to keep track of things like that, and could remind him. If he's worried, he can make it obvious that he's avoiding them, and make them think it's for some other reason.

Or better yet, make them wait, and then detect thoughts while they're waiting... pick their brains from the next room until he's comfortable talking to him. He's in a position of power. He should use that power. Actually, he should be doing that every time someone comes to see him.

arguskos
2010-01-24, 07:57 PM
1. Why are we spoilering this? If valadil's players really want to ruin their game, their loss.

2. Actually, option 1 is totally takable. Perhaps he directs them elsewhere with his claims of dopplegangers, against a rival in the same city even. That helps his position, and fits into the games dopplegangers play amongst themselves quite well.

valadil
2010-01-24, 07:59 PM
Is just having him play along an option? Put together a build with a wicked high bluff, diplomacy, and sense motive, and have him act like he knows what's going on, at least a little. "Ah, yes, right, I remember you now! I've been so busy lately, our agreement slipped my mind-- refresh my memory, would you?"

Of course, if the nobleman and the PCs are supposed to be really good friends, this doesn't work at all, but if it's a more distant relationship, he can probably fake it until he has enough information. It's like when you see someone in the street and they recognize you, but you have no idea who they are, so you just play along and ask vague questions until they mention their name or their job or something that reminds you of who this person is. Except he won't remember who they are in this scenario, he'll just get enough information to fake it.

Additionally, would the dead nobleman have any notes or records on the PCs? If so, the doppleganger can look at those and get some information on them.

and


Did the Nobel keep any sort of journal? If so then he probably wrote down the fact that he interacted with the PCs. This wouldn't give him complete knowledge of who they are, but between a journal reading and some detecting of thoughts he could possibly improvise something that might fool the PCs.

You still might want to give the PCs a sense motive roll to see if the guy is lying about anything. (like actually being a noble)

Ach ninja

Absolutely no chance whatsoever of a journal.

The PCs haven't known the guy for a terribly long time but they'll have specific questions. He's the one that initially hired them for the first mission and then ditched the PCs and got them stuck in debt. They'll probably still be bitter about that and I just don't see the doppleganger throwing money at them to make them go away.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:02 PM
Depends a lot on how and where they're going to meet up. You can arrange that as the DM, fairly well. Make sure it's a situation where they're announced, along with their business. If their business doesn't give enough information for the doppleganger to fake it, then have him refuse to see them.

Does he actually owe them money? Not something that the doppleganger would know, but one of the noble's assistants probably is paid to keep track of things like that, and could remind him. If he's worried, he can make it obvious that he's avoiding them, and make them think it's for some other reason.

Or better yet, make them wait, and then detect thoughts while they're waiting... pick their brains from the next room until he's comfortable talking to him. He's in a position of power. He should use that power. Actually, he should be doing that every time someone comes to see him.


That's a good point that I hadn't considered. I expected them to bump into him and schedule a meeting or start shouting at him in public. If he schedules a meeting, even if he doesn't really know who they are he can have them investigated first.

He won't actually know about the money due to more complications I haven't yet outlined.

I like the detect thoughts idea while they're in the waiting room. Whether or not doppleganger's get that for free in 4e, he should find some way of doing it.

Magnor Criol
2010-01-24, 08:03 PM
That I was not aware of. May I ask what book that's in? I probably should have specified the game is 4th ed, but it didn't occur to me that there might be mechanically differences that matter.

The 3.5 doppelganger (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/doppelganger.htm) has detect thoughts continuously as a Su ability; I have no idea about the 4ed version, though.

Seems like something he'd like to have anyhow, though. Perhaps even if the 4ed version doesn't have it innately, the doppelganger has had some sort of magic item crafted that grants it to him? It'd be an extremely practical investment if he's into the impersonate-a-life business, for situations exactly like this.

What's the doppelganger's temperament like? Is he an evil machinator, who took the noble's life and position to set nefarious plans in motion? Did he take the noble's life just so he could live the rich life? Or is he actually a fairly decent guy who's impersonating the dead noble for less ignoble ends? That could make a big difference in how he'd deal with inquisitive PCs.

...why are we spoilering still? If the players wandered into this thread and decide to read, they're going to read regardless of the spoiler tags. =p

-e- Avast! Ninja'd times three! Blarg, for I am dead'd.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:06 PM
1. Why are we spoilering this? If valadil's players really want to ruin their game, their loss.

2. Actually, option 1 is totally takable. Perhaps he directs them elsewhere with his claims of dopplegangers, against a rival in the same city even. That helps his position, and fits into the games dopplegangers play amongst themselves quite well.

1. At this point there's no reason. The top of the page is spoilered. If they scroll they're probably going to click the unspoil buttons as well.

2. I'm still hesitant. I feel like if they hear the word doppleganger, they'll assume there's one floating around somewhere. If they come back from the diversion with no doppleganger in hand, I think they'll turn back around and question the guy who gave them the misinformation. I could go with this, but only if there's a good diversion to send them on.

storybookknight
2010-01-24, 08:09 PM
Don't most people who owe other people money pretend not to know their debtors?

Anyways, you have two options.

1) Have the doppelganger act out of the ordinary, and be prepared for characters to spot it (or not). In particular with PBP gaming, unless you point out that someone is acting uncharacteristically, most players won't get it. But if you do choose this option, consider what to do if they figure it out. What is the evil overlord's backup plan? The prudent world conqueror always has one. Perhaps the dopplegangers control the courts and direct witch hunts away from themselves, employing the PCs.

2) Have the doppelganger not act out of the ordinary. Maybe he spent a few months observing the noble as a servant in his house, maybe he reads minds - the point is, the players are unlikely to call you on 'why did we not notice that this consummate master shapeshifter was not the person he appeared to be?' The answer being, he's a freakin' doppleganger, b**#*! . He does what he wants!

If the plot requires that the players not be able to guess right now, don't give them the chance. It's as simple as that.

arguskos
2010-01-24, 08:09 PM
1. At this point there's no reason. The top of the page is spoilered. If they scroll they're probably going to click the unspoil buttons as well.

2. I'm still hesitant. I feel like if they hear the word doppleganger, they'll assume there's one floating around somewhere. If they come back from the diversion with no doppleganger in hand, I think they'll turn back around and question the guy who gave them the misinformation. I could go with this, but only if there's a good diversion to send them on.
Make there be one! Make there be a rival doppleganger to this one be trying to undermine the "noble"'s position. When they take out that one, the "noble" assures them everything is alright.

Behind the camera, the real deal is that this doppleganger hurt the other one's schemes some time ago, and now the injured party is out to ruin the "noble" doppleganger's current plan. It's a political struggle betwixt two dopplegangers!

Magnor Criol
2010-01-24, 08:09 PM
2. I'm still hesitant. I feel like if they hear the word doppleganger, they'll assume there's one floating around somewhere. If they come back from the diversion with no doppleganger in hand, I think they'll turn back around and question the guy who gave them the misinformation. I could go with this, but only if there's a good diversion to send them on.

I agree that a good doppelganger wouldn't even bring up the possibility of a doppelganger, even if he's pointing them somewhere else to look for one. Why even set the notion in their head? It'd be safer to try and throw them off track some other way. That's just one more little fence in the way of them discovering the truth. Plus, it's probably a violation of some sort of unspoken doppelganger code somewhere. :smalltongue:

Besides...the very first thing I think I'd ask when provided an answer like that is simply "How do we know that you're not the doppelganger and the one we met was the real one?" And that's obviously not something the doppelganger wants to be asked to prove.

Raum
2010-01-24, 08:10 PM
Given noble bloodlines and the prevalence of children born out of wedlock, one of the more believable options might be to claim that one of them (either the doppleganger or the former noble) is the illegitimate sibling of the other. Bonus points if the doppleganger can set up a 'revenge' job against his supposed sibling and leave the PCs in the cold again! :smallbiggrin:

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:10 PM
Seems like something he'd like to have anyhow, though. Perhaps even if the 4ed version doesn't have it innately, the doppelganger has had some sort of magic item crafted that grants it to him? It'd be an extremely practical investment if he's into the impersonate-a-life business, for situations exactly like this.

What's the doppelganger's temperament like? Is he an evil machinator, who took the noble's life and position to set nefarious plans in motion? Did he take the noble's life just so he could live the rich life? Or is he actually a fairly decent guy who's impersonating the dead noble for less ignoble ends? That could make a big difference in how he'd deal with inquisitive PCs.

Agreed. I see no reason why he wouldn't have a stack of detect throught ritual scrolls sitting next to him at all times.

Definitely an evil machinator. He doesn't have too many overly circuitous long term plots in motion. The noble he killed was a political enemy for all intents and purposes, so he's trying to shift things in his own favor.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:14 PM
Make there be one! Make there be a rival doppleganger to this one be trying to undermine the "noble"'s position. When they take out that one, the "noble" assures them everything is alright.

Behind the camera, the real deal is that this doppleganger hurt the other one's schemes some time ago, and now the injured party is out to ruin the "noble" doppleganger's current plan. It's a political struggle betwixt two dopplegangers!

That was one of my first reactions. I'm semi-opposed to it because I'm afraid of saturating the game with dopplegangers - one of the PCs is a doppleganger too. I'm already approaching the point where the PCs will just assume everyone is a shape shifter.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:17 PM
Given noble bloodlines and the prevalence of children born out of wedlock, one of the more believable options might be to claim that one of them (either the doppleganger or the former noble) is the illegitimate sibling of the other. Bonus points if the doppleganger can set up a 'revenge' job against his supposed sibling and leave the PCs in the cold again! :smallbiggrin:

Hmm. That's a good upgrade to option B. It successfully explains why nobody ever heard of the sibling and lets the doppleganger hire the PCs to take out one of his rivals.

arguskos
2010-01-24, 08:19 PM
That was one of my first reactions. I'm semi-opposed to it because I'm afraid of saturating the game with dopplegangers - one of the PCs is a doppleganger too. I'm already approaching the point where the PCs will just assume everyone is a shape shifter.
...oh. Well, yes, a player being a doppleganger makes politics a bit less appetizing. Didn't know that, so yeah, probably not a great plan.

Sinon
2010-01-24, 08:22 PM
Re: detect thoughts
Depends on the edition. 3rd, yes. 4th, no.

How would any nobleman react when the PCs come in claiming to have been wronged and want money?
He certainly wouldn't go, "Dur - dur - dur who are you? Doh! I bet the guy I'm pretending to be had met you."

Really, how stupid is your doppelganger? This is a creature that takes over peoplesí lives: they kill them and then pretend to be them.

Itís what they do.

Unless it forgot that the guy it replaced had probably met some people prior to his untimely demise, a doppelganger is not going to make a mistake like this.

They are used to being in situations where they only know half the story or less. Theyíre going to recover, quickly. No matter what edition, theyíve got bonuses to Bluff and good charismas.

And it works because no one sees a guy and immediately thinks it is a phony.

The PCs are going to ask, Why did you screw us? Where's our money?
They aren't going to quiz you about how you screwed them and how much. They assume you know. As long as you're vague, they'll keep thinking it.

Your doppelganger either punts his past actions off as a mistake. (Poor advice, sacrifices had to be made, so sorry, whatever)
And he wonít ask how much he owes or say the wrong amount. He proposes a new offer and sees how you react (High, maybe appeased, too low, probably insulted. Now I know.)

Or it calls the guards and has these traitors arrested.

Either way, he doesn't play 20 questions.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:26 PM
...oh. Well, yes, a player being a doppleganger makes politics a bit less appetizing. Didn't know that, so yeah, probably not a great plan.

True. My bad for not mentioning that initially. I didn't want to let out all my cards in case the PCs do read this. And I didn't want to mention it because the noble definitely isn't aware of this.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:33 PM
Re: detect thoughts
How would any nobleman react when the PCs come in claiming to have been wronged and want money?

Really, how stupid is your doppelganger? This is a creature that takes over peoplesí lives: they kill them and then pretend to be them.

Unless it forgot that the guy it replaced had probably met some people prior to his untimely demise, a doppelganger is not going to make a mistake like this.

The PCs are going to ask, Why did you screw us? Where's our money?
They aren't going to quiz you about how you screwed them and how much. They assume you know. As long as you're vague, they'll keep thinking it.

Or it calls the guards and has these traitors arrested.


Awesome points you bring up. This is why I'm asking here - I'm having trouble getting into the doppleganger mindset.

I'm also not entirely sure how the players will react to seeing the guy. They may want their money. They may be glad to reunite (although this isn't likely). They may wonder why he's still alive (did I mention they saw him die elsewhere?). If they go with money, I agree that he should initially go with it but balk when he finds out how much they want. Not sure how they'll react at this point, but I can probably plan better as we get closer to the event.

Lord Bingo
2010-01-24, 08:37 PM
I don't really think you have that big a problem.

You said that their association with the nobleman was loose and that he basically screwed them over before: The heroes cannot be expecting a warm welcome and an invitation to the castle!
As such the only way the heroes are going to get any chance of meeting him is if they run into him by chance. He will probably not move around without an escort and that escort is probably going to react to the heroes claims and accusations as they would react to any other lowborn knave who insults their master.

Your nobleman, even if he was not an impostor, would probably also be on the defensive when the heroes show up in his neck of the woods, especially if he does not have the money he purportedly owes them. Furthermore he is a Lord and his word carries far more weight than that of some rag tag "heroes", so he might simply dismiss them/their claim.

As mentioned before your doppleganger has high charisma and bluff, and one must expect that he observed his victim well in advance before disposing of him and taking his place, so he should be able to keep his cool around them.

Question: are the heroes supposed to discover the doppleganger at a later date?
-if so, it might be good that they wonder why the nobleman treats them the way he does, especially if the did (for some reason) expect an invite to the castle...

Kaun
2010-01-24, 08:48 PM
Really, how stupid is your doppelganger? This is a creature that takes over peoplesí lives: they kill them and then pretend to be them.

Itís what they do.



+1 to this.

When it comes down to it he dosent even need the aid of magic to get this done.

Make sure his Diplomacy, Bluff and especialy Insite skils are pumped up as they should be and then make use of one of the most non magical magics of the art of conversation Uncomfortable silences!.

Most people hate uncomfortable silences and will blert out tons of usefull blather just to fill them.
Couple that to answering the pc's questions with a question of his own and he will know more then he needs to in no time flat.

Magic is a cruch and if you use it to solve every situation you may aswell just DM fiat your way though everything.

Its so much better when you let your players get them selves into trouble only to realise what they have done later on. If you use magic every time then your players will just go "ow well he used magic, what can you do!"

I used a doppelganger in my game not long back and made use of those tricks and even got so cocky that i was giving massive hints in the flavour text with things like "[Insert name here] is not the man you once new" and my players just thought i ment he was tiered and stressed rather then happy go lucky like when they first met.

Using tricks and the players own stupidity is so much more fun in the long run then resorting to magic.

Sinon
2010-01-24, 08:51 PM
Awasking here esome points you bring up. This is why I'm - I'm having trouble getting into the doppelganger mindset.
It's funny, after I posted that, it occurred to me why I don't.

I'm a twin. People have been confused about who I was my whole life.

By a weird coincidence, I moved to a town right about the same time he moved away from that town. For like five years people would talk to me like they knew me and I'd have to nod, smile and listen while trying to figure out:
Have we met and I forgot?
Do you think I'm my brother?
Or are you just some wacko who strikes up conversations with random strangers? (I am like a magnet for these people.)

You can't ask because if you are supposed to know, oops. Awkward.

Anyway, that's what I'd think a doppelganger would do: listen, be vague, play along while trying to get some information. This should actually be a lot of fun to roleplay.

As far as the already saw him die: itís a world with raise dead spells/rituals and gods you can visit. Not insurmountable.

valadil
2010-01-24, 08:54 PM
I don't really think you have that big a problem.

Question: are the heroes supposed to discover the doppleganger at a later date?
-if so, it might be good that they wonder why the nobleman treats them the way he does, especially if the did (for some reason) expect an invite to the castle...

You're probably right. I don't have that big of a problem, but I still think the doppleganger does.

As far as the PCs are aware, the noble is already dead. I think they'll be shocked and want an immediate explanation. They won't have time to wonder if they'll get a warm welcome.

Answer: Preferably yes. If they can figure it out on their own I'd let the plot go quicker. But I'd like them to be confused for a few weeks before finding the answer.

--

What I'm thinking right now is that he'll balk. Anything he can to be rid of them. He might ask how much he's owed, but explain that it'll take weeks to pull together that kind of GP. When the PCs leave, he'll shift into the form of his rival and enlist his rival's goons to jump the PCs. (At this point things get confusing because I haven't given NPCs names. Sorry about that.) The excuse for rival's goons to attack the PCs is that the PCs were just seen plotting with noble - obviously they're up to something that will hurt rival. If the PCs die, he's successfully eliminated them. If they succeed they'll assume rival tried to kill them and follow that trail.

BenTheJester
2010-01-24, 08:54 PM
Why did he take his place if he's not gonna recognize anybody?

valadil
2010-01-24, 09:02 PM
I'm a twin. People have been confused about who I was my whole life.


Well, you've stumbled upon the other part of the plot I didn't mention. Back to spoilers, just in case the PCs found the thread, made it this far, and suddenly had a change of heart about spoilers.


So the noble I mentioned is actually a set of twins. They abused this for years to win at politics - they could essentially be in two places at once all the time.

A doppleganger saw a successful politician and wanted that spot. He tried his usual stab and shift trick. Then had an unexpected confrontation with the twin. The twin (assuming his brother turned on him) fled and met up with the PCs. But before he could get them in on this plot he died.

(So yes, the doppleganger has a clue that there's another him out there. He probably won't figure out what's up on his own. My current plan for explaining this is that he wasn't the one who originally murdered the noble, but he was in on that plan. When he bumped into the noble, he assumed that his partner (who was supposed to be responsible for the murder) had failed to kill the guy in time, but got around to it later.)

valadil
2010-01-24, 09:03 PM
Why did he take his place if he's not gonna recognize anybody?

There are other people he can recognize. Just not the PCs.

Lord Bingo
2010-01-24, 09:10 PM
As far as the PCs are aware, the noble is already dead. I think they'll be shocked and want an immediate explanation. They won't have time to wonder if they'll get a warm welcome.

They might rightly be shocked and want an explanation, but the doppleganger is in no way required to defend himself against their accusations!
Who's the public going to believe? Unless the heroes can present irrefutable proof of their claim the lord is very clearly alive!

The way you put it, the heroes SHOULD wonder wtf is going on and the doppleganger SHOULD try to have them killed if they are a threat to his cover, but that is not exactly going to relieve tension, is it? Obviously the heroes need not know that it is the nobleman who is trying to kill them. The fact that he banishes them from his fief needs not have anything to do with a bunch of highway bandits attacking them -heroes are, after all, used to people wanting to kill them.

Still, your heroes are probably going to want to investigate this and I think you should let them. If not, the whole doppleganger twist is needless anyway. Why not let them ask around to discover that something has changed in the lords behavior. He has become more reclusive, perhaps a bit paranoid. Access to him might have become more restricted than it used to be, etc. Once the heroes are sure that he is an impostor, let them infiltrate the castle and catch him in the act.
If a rival doppleganger needs be part of the equation let him pose as someone willing to help the heroes.

Roupe
2010-01-24, 11:57 PM
Well it bottles down if this is intended to be a short encounter, or a long time one.

The NPC could play it cool, and should intrested in gaining the players trust. So that it gets even more witnesses that all is well.

Its much harder to discover something -if it isnt hostile.
Even more so if its genuinly helpfull. It could even give the players leads and well paid tasks.

"you seem puzzeled over something.. well would you belive it.... It so happens that..."
... puts blame hangover, instructions, stress or politics

if that doesnt do the trick

It could claim that it is a legitamete body double /body guard that is keeping up apperances & holding the fort because of various reasons. like health, security, public safty or investigation.


The vengefull ghost of the original friend is more shocking, if the player dont initally belive it -since they recently were helped by their friend.. therefore its strange that he has been dead a long time"

jiriku
2010-01-25, 12:14 AM
Wow, you're going to have so much fun with this one.


Doppelganger mentality: your disguise cannot stand up to close inspection by strangers who are intimately familiar with the original. Therefore, do not be inspected closely.

Three forms of misdirection:

1) Distraction. The doppelganger meets the PCs with two or three other NPCs, preferably NPCs who are a) ignorant of his true nature, b) like to talk a lot, and c) have something interesting to say. Attention will naturally focus on these other NPCs for at least part of the encounter, allowing the doppelganger to fade into the background and observe his marks to learn more about them.

2) In a hurry. Keep the encounter short. He's got a meeting, he's got somewhere to be. "Yes, I can talk. But will you walk with me? I'm running late." "What is it? Make it quick, I have another appointment in five minutes?" "Speak quickly. The fate of the kingdom is at stake here!" The less time you spend talking, the less opportunity you have to say the wrong thing. Once the doppelganger feels more comfortable in his knowledge of the PCs, he can be freer in the time he spends with them.

3) Go on the offensive. People tend not to question authority figures, and when attacked they tend to justify themselves rather than scrutinize their attackers. When he meets them, he'll give them a scowl, and begin, "I'm upset with you. "Why?" The scowl deepens. "Why do you THINK I would be upset with you?" Now the players are thinking, uh oh, what did we do to piss this guy off? They're caught off-balance and they're examining their own actions instead of the doppelganger's actions.

Dimers
2010-01-25, 02:28 AM
3) Go on the offensive. [/B]People tend not to question authority figures, and when attacked they tend to justify themselves rather than scrutinize their attackers. When he meets them, he'll give them a scowl, and begin, "I'm upset with you. "Why?" The scowl deepens. "Why do you THINK I would be upset with you?" Now the players are thinking, uh oh, what did we do to piss this guy off? They're caught off-balance and they're examining their own actions instead of the doppelganger's actions.

That's what I was going to say. They approach him and his face just looks cold and impassive, like he doesn't even acknowledge their existence. They say something directly to him, and he just HMPH!s and tries to break off, as if disgusted to be spending time with them at all, and maybe getting a little angry (while reading their minds, if possible). They start claiming debts or offering snide insults, and he responds, "After what you did? You think I owe you anything at all?!" He won't offer them any response but indignance, and suddenly they'll think either they're being framed by someone else or they did something vile inadvertently. Then while they're looking for clues as to how they pissed him off, he'll spend the same time using magic or spies to determine who they all are and how he can use their newly-generated confusion to OWN them.

Can't get into the doppelganger mindset to RP this scenario? Try acting like a stereotypical "offended girlfriend" ... putting the PCs in the role of the befuddled boyfriend.

Does this post make me look tl;dr?

dsmiles
2010-01-25, 03:47 AM
Doppelganger has detect thoughts at will, so you can have him improvise based on what you think their expected reactions would be, and have him ask leading questions for anything that they require more detailed responses for.

This +1. Doppelgangers are devious, and this is how I would play it.

Moak
2010-01-25, 04:48 AM
a)The players know about the twin-question?
b)The doppelganger knows about the death of the twin?

If a=NO and b=YES is simple:

Make the EvilOne tell'em that it was a sobstitute that imprisoned him and yadayada so he actually NEVER met them.

A man of honor like him! He would have paid is debt! He has always been a man who always walked on a righteous path! :P

Lord Bingo
2010-01-25, 04:53 AM
I think these last couple of ideas are very good. I'm starting to consider bringing a doppleganger into my game too:smallbiggrin:

Besides what has already been mentioned you might consider using the fact that Dopplegangers are naturally vulnerable to people who are intimate with the subject they are impersonating as avenues of investigation the players could undertake.
If I was this doppleganger I'd find some subtle way of getting rid of the people closest to "me", either by imprisoning them (my wife, children, loyal henchmen and comrades in arms, the butler, the dog, etc.) under some pretense or having them simply disappear. I would then setup a system where by people who claimed to know me would have to justify, to my Gestapo-like security, why I should see them, so I would have a way of drilling them about their relationship with me. I might even take on another persona to do this.

This would inevitably lead to one or more of the lords former close associates going into hiding before they themselves go missing and put a damper on the spirits of the surrounding villages. No one wants to be accused of plotting against their lord and suffer the consequences. Also the heroes will be able to talk to common people who have taken notice of the lords strange behavior to establish a timeline and a course of events.
The heroes also need to research a way to enter the castle. I think it should have a secret passage in the dungeons that the doppleganger does not know about -Oblivion style, that the heroes might learn about when they track down some former friend of the lord who is now on the run.

Eventually the heroes can do some heroic stuff when they save those that has been wrongfully imprisoned, so they can feel good about themselves. Looting the castle is probably not going to sit well with anyone, so you should have some way of rewarding them

Dagren
2010-01-25, 06:34 AM
That I was not aware of. May I ask what book that's in? I probably should have specified the game is 4th ed, but it didn't occur to me that there might be mechanically differences that matter.I would have suggested making it a Greater Doppleganger, but I don't know if those even exist in 4e.

Anyway, making your noble suddenly all withdrawn etc. might raise some warning flags, if you don't mind that, that's cool, but I would expect a doppleganger to want to avoid that if possible, so another possibility is to have him play his noble somewhat extroverted. Have him go to parties and such, to get to know a lot of the noble's peers. That way, he should be able to operate pretty well without becoming a recluse, which tend to draw suspicion on themselves in fantasy. If the players attend balls and such, and run into him that way, just have him pretend to be drunk, that should get him out of talking to them without giving himself away. I don't know if this would fit with the style of your campaign, but it's just a thought.

Jayabalard
2010-01-25, 07:31 AM
How is the noble's situation with the PC's any different than anything else he's doing to impersonate the Noble? I mean, I'd think that he has to fool all kinds of people who know the noble that he doesn't really know, all the time.

Totally Guy
2010-01-25, 07:42 AM
Make you you have some kind of preparation for if the dopplegangers ploy does go wrong.

If the players do spot a ligitimate way of foiling the plan you have to let it ride and face the consequences. And don't think that there's noting interesting in that direction, I'm sure there is if you look for it now rather than on the fly during your session.

valadil
2010-01-25, 09:17 AM
Wow, you're going to have so much fun with this one.

Damn right!


Three forms of misdirection:
1) Distraction.
2) In a hurry.
3) Go on the offensive.

1 and 2 I'd thought of. 3 never would have occurred to me.



a)The players know about the twin-question?
b)The doppelganger knows about the death of the twin?

No to both. The players do not know that there was a twin situation. The only people who know that are the two twins (and their parents who are dead, and the priest who birthed them who isn't dead but was sent away.)


If the players attend balls and such, and run into him that way, just have him pretend to be drunk, that should get him out of talking to them without giving himself away. I don't know if this would fit with the style of your campaign, but it's just a thought.

Oh yeah, that's the correct style. I was planning on having this plot culminate at a ball. No reason why it can't start that way too.


How is the noble's situation with the PC's any different than anything else he's doing to impersonate the Noble? I mean, I'd think that he has to fool all kinds of people who know the noble that he doesn't really know, all the time.

It's only different because it's with the PCs and I can't tell them "you believe the shady noble, leave him alone." Also they're going to be confronting him with something he hasn't planned for. I'd expect a doppleganger to have a quite a few contingencies memorized and rehearsed, but none that apply to this. Which is all the more reason why delay, investigate, and then addressing the PCs is the way to do things.

Grushvak
2010-01-25, 11:35 AM
I'm playing a changeling in a campaign and the trick is to never expose yourself to scrutiny. Never make it look like you can't remember someone. When you're in a tight spot, nonverbal answers always work. Just a nod, a pensive stare, a laugh. If they think you're acting weird, just say you're distracted and now is probably not the best moment.

You've probably been in a similar situation in real life. Someone in a group recognizes you or remembers you from a party / high school / whatever. Play it off smoothly.

[EDIT] Don't forget to give the doppelganger the Second Impression and Assume Quirk skill tricks.

Roll bluff to recover a disguise after someone saw through it, and never give people you interact with a familiarity bonus to their spot or sense motive check. You could impersonate a man's wife and he'd never even know.

Jayabalard
2010-01-25, 11:48 AM
It's only different because it's with the PCs and I can't tell them "you believe the shady noble, leave him alone." Sure you can, you just don't say that. If you want to make it based on sense motive (or whatever), roll the dice ahead of time for the PCs. If they don't succeed then just play the doppleganger exactly as you would if he were the noble; in this case, the doppleganger has managed to learn enough about the PC's and improv answers that were good enough to fool them. If they succeed then play the doppleganger as awkward in some way to give hints as to his nature.