View Full Version : DM Help surprise player doppelganger reveal

2019-05-30, 11:54 AM
So one of my players is playing as an 11 year old girl assassination rogue. I pulled the rug out from under them tonight with a bit reveal they the child of a doppelganger (never knew their father, raised by human mother, monster manual etc etc...)

Been building this up for about 10 session with the big reveal leaving everyone's jaws on the ground when they saw the kid all blue and alien looking. They only had a glimpse. She was commanded by the party paladin to climb into a magic fountain that reveals true forms, and she changed back once out of the water since she's not reached age of maturity. Good roleplay session all round, the players all took the ball and ran with it (not bad for a group who stab first and ask what the question was 5min later).

Anyway. Doppelganger maturity? The character's age is 11 in game. How many years should it be before she undergoes her change from "human" to full doppelganger? I'm already playing about with latent telepathic sensitivity (can't actively read minds, but is hearing thoughts being directed towards her by everyone's favourite underused SKT side baddie).

2019-05-30, 12:05 PM
What game and edition is that?

2019-05-30, 12:08 PM
What game and edition is that?

ah, sorry.
D&D 5e, Forgotten Realms setting.

2019-05-30, 12:16 PM
Well, according to this here: https://www.dndbeyond.com/races/622-doppelganger

It's at the same age as their parent race.

2019-06-01, 12:34 AM
Was really homing for a more concrete answer on what would constitute as 'maturity' age-wise when considering a transition into doppleganger morphology.

For humans it is a little bit of a tricky notion as there are a few different factors completing at different times (lets keep this in terms of 'on average' because otherwise it'll be too broad to pin down).

Would it be maturity in terms of reproductive capacity (early-mid teens), external physical development (mid-late teens), or total complete development (brain development is complete; late teens-early 20's).

For example, dopplegangers have the ability to read minds. Would that be an indication that their brain maturing would be the trigger for their transition?
Or maybe it's solely driven by having the appropriate size/body mass and the transition occurs in late teens?
And then there's the more squicky topic of them becoming fecund and the transition age is then around 13?

2019-06-01, 01:02 AM
Unfortunately for you, all the rules say is that humans reach adulthood in their late teens and that doppelgangers reach maturity at the same age as their parent race.

All these questions that you're asking are very interesting if you want to explore the theme of maturity, but since there aren't any more specific rules, it's something you'll have to come up with on your own.

2019-06-01, 02:01 AM
This isn't a rules question though, it's a lore/story question. If it was simply about a 'the rules say' I wouldn't post a thread looking for opinions and insights from the community. Having read the entry in the Monster Manual on doppledangers and the entry for humans in the Player's Handbook, it seemed enough of a grey area that it would be worth fishing for ideas from the community.

So in terms of lore and story; what makes more sense for when the transition would happen? What would make for a more interesting choice? What nuances around 'maturity' should or should not be relevant?

Not all questions posted here have exact by-the-numbers answers in the books.

Xuc Xac
2019-06-01, 03:47 AM
So in terms of lore and story; what makes more sense for when the transition would happen? What would make for a more interesting choice? What nuances around 'maturity' should or should not be relevant?

Based on human developmental milestones, she can change shape intentionally in her late teens. Around the age of 21 when her skeleton stops growing, she has total control of her physical form and can imitate specific people. Around age 25, her brain is fully matured and she can actively control her telepathic abilities.

2019-06-01, 07:54 AM
Ah, so instead of treating it as an all at once metamorphosis, it's a collection of partial changes onset at different times, collectively built up into the standard doppelganger package.

2019-06-01, 11:23 AM
Did the player know they were playing a doppelgänger the whole time? If not, is the player ok with the idea?

2019-06-01, 11:54 AM
They didn't know, but had requested me to put in content to allow them to disguise self and uncover hidden secrets and such pretty early on. Granted they were expecting magic items, but since the reveal they have really leaned into the roleplay regarding this revelation around their character (which is pretty huge considering they usually try to resolve most social encounters in the story by stabbing), so they at least find this turn in the story engaging.

We have not had a chance for a one-on-one discussion about it yet, but I plan to before next session about how they want to progress the character.
All my players hung around as a pack nerding out over the game after the session while I packed up, which I usually have only one or two there so I can usually have my secret DM-to-Player conversations, so we were robbed of what would have been their time to go over their perspective in private. But unless they are just putting on a brave face, they seem to be on board with it.