As many of you know, several Travancians traveled to Arkovnia during this feast weekend to assist with a few separate matters. (A full report of my team’s efforts will be documented separately for the Adventurer’s Guild.) At first it seemed these incidents were not connected, but it seems that they all stem from a rapidly growing doppelganger problem. Here's the knowledge I've been able to collect so far. (No formal research has been done yet, all of this is based on experience from the last 48 hours. Please feel free to tack on additional insights as we learn more.)
WHAT THEY ARE
- Doppelgangers are some sort of abberant creature. In their "raw" form, they appear to be faceless but otherwise humanoid shaped. More detail is needed.
- While assuming a form, they are physically indistinguishable from their victim, with all the victim's memories, skills, combat abilities, and (most concerning) magical powers. An autopsy of a doppelganger did not reveal any distinguishing features, though we only have one data point for this so far.
HOW THEY OPERATE
- These creatures put their victims into a deep sleep, more akin to a coma, before assuming their form. As far as we know, doppelgangers do not kill their victims, choosing instead to hide the original somewhere they won't be found and can stay asleep safely.
- They seem motivated to live "better versions" of their victims' lives.
- They seem to be able to recognize each other while assuming forms, but we don't know if they are actively working together. It's unclear at this point whether we're looking at an infestation of individual doppelgangers, or an invasion by a large group of them.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM
- Doppelgangers have all the memories of their victims, so asking them a question only the original would know doesn't seem like it would work, but more research is needed. People who know the victim very well seem to be able to tell that something is "off" about the doppelganger's mannerisms, but we have yet to establish a pattern.
- Shades (ghosts, etc) seem to be able to identify doppelgangers.
- A doppelganger was identified by going into its mind. (Anyone have a firsthand account of this?)
HOW TO DEFEAT THEM
- Since they have all the abilities of their victims, you can defeat a doppelganger the same way you'd defeat its victim. No extra abilities have been noted yet. The body is flesh and blood, just like the victim's.
- The original can only be woken once the doppelganger is killed. The sleep is much deeper than normal sleep and is more akin to a coma. We were able to wake two victims with smelling salts.
- A doppelganger that has assumed a form does not revert to its raw form after being killed, and the corpses appear to decay normally.
WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW
- Do not go anywhere alone. Exercise extra vigilance while traveling. If you can teleport, do it. If you can't, offer to walk your friends home. If you think you’re being watched or followed, don’t fight, run.
- As per Amhrán's missive, if you see "the faceless ones", don't look them in the eyes (or, rather, where the eyes should be) and don't let them touch you.
- If you find someone in a coma, immediately move their body to a secure location and alert your neighbors to search for their doppelganger.
- If you suspect someone is a doppelganger, do not attack them immediately. Find the victim's body first.
This is scary, Travance, but with cool heads and clear eyes we can figure this out.
Hi all, I've put up a separate post with updated information. Please refer to that from now on.
have we determined if skills and abilities that target aberrants hurt these doppelgängers significantly more?
example - Negative Energy Fortitude Paragon - Aberrant specialist or Favored Enemy from Ranger
For the sake of making the most informed decisions about this as you can, these creatures can't be reasoned with in a way that ends beneficially. Dopplegangers are aberrations, which, like Blight, Schisms, Hellions, and the others, are a mutation of the supernatural - they are, factually, cancerous to the natural state of those powers and this world. Permitting a kind of complacency to their presence only allows the poison of their being to seep further into the world and damaging it. Because they are aberrations, however, there is another course that can be taken. Myrinod is a place accessible by Exemplars within the Weave built to contain and breakdown the cancerous mutations of aberrations, and then return that power - restored from its corruption - back into the Weave.
I understand the desire to seek a resolution of equity with them, but these are creatures whose very essence of their creation is that of poison and corruption. Please be careful not to let them use your empathy to their advantage. In Service to the Crown, Aleister Demirosz, The Phoenix
Amhrán, I know there's a high chance doppelgangers are able to read all of these messages. I came to that conclusion after dealing with them in Arkovnia. But unless they figure out how to edit their own memories, my assessment at this point is that they can't do much to change the behaviors and weaknesses we have observed, and we benefit more from sharing this information with everyone.
If there's a fatal flaw, we need to know it. Secrets are of no use here. They probably already know anyway.
Can we meet up to discuss? You probably know where to find me.
P.S. If you're a doppelganger reading this, hello! Can we talk? What are you searching for? Let's figure this out together. We can reach a solution that doesn't involve taking lives away from people who already have them.
This may have been buried so I shall repeat it here on this posting. Our boards are protected. We can talk here safely to disseminate information to not only those who call themselves a hero but the commoners we protect as well. Using only word of mouth only leads to people mishearing and repeating the wrong information to others, and can be as easily heard by the doppelgangers if they overhear a conversation or someone tells them without knowing they are not who they are pretending to be.
-Dame Ebony Hale-MazoKisei
Now I know that dealing in secrets is something you don’t.
But our best option would be to keep the enemy uninformed.
Spreading our truths by word of mouth only for the time being. Keep them blind.
Public boards are accessible by the enemy as well.
Remember they are everywhere, and no I’m not just being manic.
And keep a close watch of those around you, look after those who can’t.
Correct you are, the copies think themselves better than the originals.
These creatures are nearly perfect copies. Are they? Not quite.
If they weren’t so fatally flawed, like a wet fused bomb.
But that information is too valuable to put on paper, far too valuable.
Remember, look everywhere for the patterns of irregularities, clad in mystery.
What is hidden shall be revealed, have open eyes, open minds, and let nothing go awry, See the lies.
Notes from Ser Blue Kestrel and Julia Marcain's interrogation of a doppelganger who had assumed the form of Dr. Evander Crios:
- The doppelganger, nicknamed "Evilander", was identified using psionic magic. By looking into his mind, Kestrel and Julia found memories of Evilander enacting a plan to trap Kestrel, having the thought at the time that "she would make a good other one."
- They also found memories of the doppelganger thinking to himself about how much better he was than his victim. This adds to the theory that doppelgangers want to lead "better versions" of their victims' lives, and indicates they have personality traits of their own, separate from the traits they're imitating.
It's encouraging that we can use psionics to read a doppelganger's thoughts and determine their intentions, but until we know more, I'd caution against needless psychic interrogation. If someone is suspected of being a doppelganger, finding the sleeping original should be the primary focus, with psionics used as a way to confirm evidence already found.
Twice before have dopplegangers found their way into Travance en mass, like you are describing. And both times, I had been copied, so permit me to attempt answering some of these questions based on my experiences. 1. The first time they showed up was somewhere around 16 years ago. I distinctly remember the moment of my own capture and replacement. They would pick people off using either familiar faces or any means to get someone alone. They did not need much time to do so. And as far as I could tell, travelled in pairs, luring people away so one could change form to replace the new victim. The second time, more around 10 years ago, there was one in particular who assumed the form of several of us in just one battle. As the battle raged on, it changed form several times between 4 of us, mimicking all the abilities we were capable of - except for those of our aligned powers, if I remember correctly. 2. I do not have this answer, but to my knowledge, Dopplegangers are Arkanites, a type of magical aberration like Oozes, but I have not had enough time to study this for confirmation.
3. At once, I am unsure, but I have been replaced with a doppleganger twice, so a body can at least be replaced again, even if they have been rescued from a previous.
4. This one I don't have a conclusive experience on. In one case I needed to be awakened, in another, I awoke on my own. It may just be dependent on how the store or hide the bodies.
5. This I don't know, and is an interesting question to ask. 6. This I don't know, and is also an interesting question to ask. 7. In the first instance, all the bodies were being kept in one nearby location. The second, I don't know what happened. 8. As stated earlier, one of the dopplegangers the town faced was capable of changing its form several times in one battle. The transitions were short as the stories told. 9. I believe the copies are exact. The only differences I believe were that the dopplegangers couldn't, for example, call on a paladin's divine flame, or summon an exemplar's vestige. But that was only one instance in which I experienced that, and is not enough for conclusive baseline fact. 10. In both instances I experienced, The victims were asleep. 11. The one quirk that they had to try and mask in previous was their durability and weaknesses. For example, A blow that may kill a common farmer may not be as devastating to a doppelganger, but in order to preserve the masquerade, they must act as if it was and fake their injuries. The same would then follow within any weaknesses that a doppleganger may have. I hope all this information helps you. In Service to the Crown, Aleister Demirosz, the Phoenix
*A smaller piece of paper is tacked onto the bottom. Text in bold seems to have been added on later.*
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW (a running list)
1. Have beings of this nature showed up before? If so, what can we learn from prior experience? Sort of. Mutation
2. How do doppelgangers reproduce? How have there come to be so many in Kormyre? Don't know
3. Is it possible for multiple doppelgangers to copy the same person? Probably not at the same time
4. What happens if you kill a doppelganger and don't promptly wake up the original? BAD
5. Does anything happen to the doppelganger if the original dies? Don't know. Let's not find out
6. Can doppelgangers copy non-humanoids or immortal humanoids? Demons, yes. Constructs, no. Need independent sentience
7. Does the doppelganger have to stay within a certain distance of its victim? Inconclusive
8. Can doppelgangers assume more than one form in their lifetime? If so, how often can they change form? Do they have to revert to their raw form before assuming a new one? They get one form. No turning back.
9. Are the copies exact, or can the doppelganger modify features? Cannot modify anything
10. Do we know for sure that the victim has to stay asleep? Do we have any evidence of the victim and doppelganger being awake at the same time? Pretty sure they need to stay asleep
11. Do doppelgangers have individual personalities in their raw form? Could their personality affect the way they behave while assuming a form? Inconclusive. They want to be better than their victims. One just wanted to be in a band. Maybe they were kidding.