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.