View Full Version : Multiple Personalities

2007-09-18, 11:18 AM
Can you have a character who has multiple personalities which fight for dominance? If so, can they have different class levels? Anyone ever tried?

2007-09-18, 11:26 AM
I did it with a Mage in White Wolf for a while and once in Deadlands: Hell on Earth, but never with D&D rules.

Jack Mann
2007-09-18, 11:31 AM
1) Yes. It's your character. You can do what you want, provided the DM lets you.
2) If your DM says they can.
3) Yes, it has been done before, though I can't think of any situation in which it turned out particularly well.

I would do a fair amount of research on disassociative identity disorder before actually trying to play such a character, if I were you.

2007-09-18, 11:34 AM
There's a couple different ways to do this. One of the easiest is a Gestalt game, where you level in two classes simultaneously, because then each side of the personality can match up with a class. However, I believe doing that encourages bad roleplaying.

The thing is, your personality doesn't actually need to have that much to do with your class. If I tell someone I'm creating a character who's a kleptomaniac, they'll probably guess he's got levels in Rogue. However, I could just as easily build a compulsive thief as a barbarian (thug), fighter (he got kicked out of the army for it), sorcerror (illusions to be sneaky), or bard (distracts people with his music while he cuts their purse).

My recommendation for playing a character with multiple personalities is to pick a class you like and stick to it, or multiclass between two or three classes that at least have some degree of synergy (e.g. rogue+fighter). Write down a short description of each of your character's personalities and determine a method for choosing how and when he switches. For example, he might be friendly and innocent most of the time, but become a sneaky thief whenever he sees gems, or a pious crusader only on sundays. For even more fun, when playing a session, roll a d4 or d6 every half hour or hour to determine what personality you will be for that time period. The most important thing, though, is to NOT tell the other players that you have multiple personalities. The test of your roleplaying skill is whether you can make the personalities distinct enough that the other players suspect multiple personalities rather than just inconsistent characterization.

2007-09-18, 11:34 AM
There are a few issues:

1) Are the Ability scores (mental / physical ) shared between personalities or does one only hve partial access to one (i.e. Weak willed personality with less Wisdom) ?

2) If they have different classes (Levels), how is the HP issue resolved ? Having a L6 fighter and L6 mage in the same body makes for a huge difference in HPs.

3) How are feats and skills determined ? Is it a complete list for each personality?

2007-09-18, 11:38 AM
Play a Synad from the Complete Psionics. They have three minds. Besides the normal one i have a complete optimist who will probably make you want to kill him, and a really chaotic one that doesn't give a damn about what he does. I just started playing him though and no situations have come up where it would be really funny for one of the other personalities to come, but their time will come :smallamused:

2007-09-18, 02:50 PM
The Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium rules as well as d20 rules) RPG has the best information I've read in a RP book about having a character with Dissociative Identity Disorder (and a myriad of other disorders).

2007-09-18, 02:58 PM
I would do a fair amount of research on disassociative identity disorder before actually trying to play such a character, if I were you. I really, very, strongly, heavily recommend the same thing. It will not only add a degree of believability to your roleplaying, but it will give you an idea of how such a character can be built...plus, if you game with any psych geeks, it'll make them less inclined to clobber you with a DSM.

2007-09-18, 03:01 PM
I've had a player try it with a Prince of Persia type PC. Although it didn't cause many mechanical issues, the roleplaying and effect on the party was generally bad.

The stereotype of MPD is that you have a good side and an evil side. This usually leads to party conflict (as the party either expects you to be good, or evil, but rarely both). You could theoretically have two personalities of the same or similar alignments, but D&D just doesn't lend itself to a ton of roleplaying nuance for a lot of groups.

Obviously though, it depends on your group. The idea is not inherently a bad one.

2007-09-18, 03:06 PM
The Chameleon prestige class (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20041210b&page=1) could work well for this.

2007-09-18, 03:11 PM
I'd recommend research as well. One of the basics I remember from last I learned of it (back in my highschool years, 20-some ago), was that it was almost never two personalities. In fact, they range from three to a hundred ...

2007-09-18, 03:18 PM
Whatever you do, please, for the love of Pelor, don't refer to your character as "schizophrenic" (unless, of course, the poor bastard has both schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder). In fact, don't use any psychological terms at all: Blame it on a good old-fashioned fantasy staple like two souls in the same body.

Dark Knight Renee
2007-09-18, 04:41 PM
I've had a few characters with multiple personalities, but three of the four were of the "two souls in the same body" variety, and were both generally aware and contributing at the same time, once they figured the other mind existed.

The fourth such character actually does have a mental problem rather than simply sharing his head with somebody else. I wouldn't say his case fits with the dissociative identity disorder entirely, but it's very close for the most part.

I've never had bad experience with it besides the extra work that goes into it, but then again, my group is very good about roleplaying and we rarely end up with problems due to inter-party strife (not to say it isn't there). That said, the character does have the good side/evil side thing going. The in-game (not background, actually in game) events leading up to it pretty much dictated nature of the condition, and for the most part the evil personality doesn't get friend and foe mixed up.

Can't say much for differing mechanics, other than that it's potentially abusable if the player has control of the switching. Three of the four multi-personality characters I've played or had in my games weren't in any sort of class system, and since both were usually aware and contributing at the same time there wouldn't be much difference, even if the two minds contributed different abilities. The actual DID character's alternate personality has essentially the same skills as the main one, so there was no need for differing mechanics. The drastically different attitude is the only real difference.

What Mewtarthio and tainsouvra said. I may not be enough of a psych geek to clobber you with a DSM, but if someone really fumbles something like this one one of my games, I might hit them with a modem instead :smalltongue:

2007-09-18, 04:46 PM
I had a character, he was a LG plly, and his "brother" was a CG pally. I had the same stats and features/feats for each, except his sword was silver, that could change holy/unholy on command, but the good guy didn't know it.

anytime the character made a will save, I rolled another will save versus my level + # i faled or passed the originl save by. If I failed, the character would turn into his "brother". He was never played, but I wanted to sooo bad :smallsmile: .

2007-09-18, 09:05 PM
How about a game where two different players play the alter egos of the same PC? I theorized a campaign with two different players playing each other's nemesis. Mixed from Fight Club and Metal Gear Solid, hard boiled detective action meets James Bond, which climaxes in a mental battle between alter egos for the control of the body.

Of course, I never TRIED running it. But it could've been fun.

2007-09-18, 09:26 PM
I'd recommend research as well. One of the basics I remember from last I learned of it (back in my highschool years, 20-some ago), was that it was almost never two personalities. In fact, they range from three to a hundred ...

I aggree and recomend eight, and open the Dmg to the on hundred random traits and pick a few for each personality. Then follow the intelligent magic item rules... kind of, and assign each personality a ego score. I'd then grab a d8 and roll it whenever a certain time elasped, if the number matched the presiding personality nothing happened. Otherwise personality switch occured.

2007-09-18, 09:45 PM
Closest I ever came to this was in a Vampire: the Masquerade game. My vampire thought being turned had given him holy powers - a real crusader type - so of course he never fed. He just got hungrier and hungrier - which he attributed to a whole bunch of things - until eventually, he would frenzy and eat a whole lot of people, wake up, and start the whole process over again.

I had a blast playing him, but in the end I had to kill a party member - though V:tM is okay with that more than DnD - who wouldn't leave my Malkavian to his delusions. Funny story, that. I still giggle whenever I think of it. But it might not be a good idea, objectively speaking.

2007-09-18, 09:51 PM
Someone had an avatar that was an Ettin Wiz-Barian once. Also, I suggest looking up rules for Fiendish Possession.

Human Paragon 3
2007-09-18, 10:10 PM
The Chamelian idea sounds awesome... like, he has differant personalities with different skills, and his friends know that. So one day it might be "Well, Sam, we need the Earl today, I think we're going to see some heavy combat." "OH, Earl??? I'd rather die than spend another day with him, can't we just have Tommy the Priest instead? He's so nice!"

Kurald Galain
2007-09-19, 04:54 AM
How about the Clanbook Malkavian from Vampire: the Masquerade? It has some interesting info on insanities. Several Malkavs have multiple personalities.

Black Hand
2007-09-19, 06:55 AM
Can you have a character who has multiple personalities which fight for dominance? If so, can they have different class levels? Anyone ever tried?

Indeedy I did. In fact the 'Multiple Personalities' in the character were 3 PC's. It was a fun experience (even for them) as it added an extra challenge, and they did eventually clear up their problem.

:smallconfused: They brought it on themselves though, having botched an Efreeties wish while trapped in the Abyss (which doesn't handle Alteration magic that well to begin with) One of them had the "Bright" Idea of wishing that they all shared the same dominant physical abilities (player hoping that each of them would get the best str, dex, con etc...He did get his wish, but they were all put into a twisted body, and only 1 could be at the drivers seat at a time. :smallbiggrin:

Dark Knight Renee
2007-09-19, 07:12 AM
:smallbiggrin: That's great.

F.H. Zebedee
2007-09-20, 01:08 AM
I did something similar, in one of my games. I had a character with two personalities (though almost more akin to severe bipolar disorder), one of which was cautious, reserved, and more defense/battlefield control focused, while the other would charge with reckless abandon, just SHREDDING opponents with no regard for anything except the damage he dealt. I built both into the character (A fighter). I just played it differently and used different options for each side. (Side 1: Lots of total defense/Combat Expertise and Trip/Disarm attempts. Side 2: Lots of Charge/Grapple/Improvised weaponry)

Neither one was TOO effective, but it was fairly average powered for the campaign.