Author Topic: Dopplegangers  (Read 1694 times)

Offline Tedronai

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Dopplegangers
« on: February 15, 2013, 08:07:32 AM »
To get a better handle on a character I'm working on, I've decided to try to stat out his heritage, ie. the doppleganger as a supernatural species.


The doppleganger is a supernatural creature known to temporarily assume the identity of mortals in order to carry out its nefarious ends with impunity.  They are the quintessential identity thieves.  While some monsters might kill, eat, or otherwise assault a mortal to 'steal' their identity, the doppleganger is far more insidious.  A few casual words with one is often enough for it to create a passable disguise.  Much more, and they'll begin to accomodate your various identifying mannerisms and even learned skills into their disguise, until even your most intimate acquaintances won't be able to tell the difference.
Dopplegangers are almost universally evil, frequently murderous, and predominantly of greater-than-human-average intelligence, though they vary from one individual to another as with any species.
They are almost never encountered in groups, but when they are, they are typically mate-pairs, and far more likely to resort to lethal forms of amusement.

Musts:
True Shapeshifting (with compels when necessary to forbid non-humanoid forms, but leaving the skill-shifting intact)
Modular Abilities: typical building block powers, creature features as appropriate (possibly Limitation to force the assumed powers to be suited to the assumed form)
Supernatural Sense granting the ability to see things for what they are (safer, but less potent version of the Sight)
some mind-reading capability; possibly Telepathy from the custom powers list, possibly just another Supernatural Sense

Minimum Refresh Cost: (9 or higher, depending on the telepathy option)
Options: additional Form Points; building block powers independent of Modular Abilities (and thus independant of the assumed form); Telepathy upgrades (if using that custome power)


Rejected powers:
Mimic Abilities: the incredibly circumstance-dependent potency of this power, combined with its unsuitable built-in Limitation make it less than ideal
Mimic Form: a similar built-in Limitation renders this similarly unsuitable
The Sight: I like to keep this potent ability reserved for Practitioners and 'higher beings' such as various angels with the ability to 'judge the worth of one's soul', but monstrous species spending most of their lives in forms other than their own, particularly in a world where other monstrous species might be doing the same, are bound to develop some sort of similar capability

Ideas?  Comments?  Suggestions?
Even Chaotic Neutral individuals have to apologize sometimes. But at least we don't have to mean it.
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Offline Taran

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 12:58:15 PM »
My impression of dopplegangers is they relied heavily on their ability to read thoughts.

They spend time getting to know their victims, then they replace them.  Since they know so much of the victims' thoughts and desires, it's easy to "play the role".  Also, they read others thoughts and use others expectations of how the victim would act.  They use others assumptions to continue playing the role well.

I never liked mimic form.  The bonus to look like someone else is nice, but the same effects can be acheived with a stunt and a properly placed maneuver or declaration.

Mimic abilities on the other hand, may be suitable if you base it, instead of on brains/flesh - as per YS description - but base it on the dopplegangers telepathy or supernatural sense powers.
I don't like this powers ability to "steal" powers.  It should just mimic them.

Knowing the a persons nature, or high-concept - WHO they are might be enough to steal their identity.

I also wonder about some kind of incite effect.  Doing mental damage to them to Steal their thoughts and memories....

So maybe just modular abilities to represent the dopplegangers regular ability to be flexible, but some kind of requirement based on telepathy or incite effect or Supernatural sense assessment to be able "mimic" a specific person. Which basically means, you've got the information available to set up your skills and powers identicle to your victim. 

Personally, I like the idea of some kind of mental/social contest between the doppleganger and the victim  Before the doppleganger can take on the victims identity.  I think the doppleganger can always LOOK like the victim, just not ACT appropriately until something more intimate happens between them.

EDIT:  I also see the supernatural sense/mind reading/incite power as something based on Empathy.  So a very potent form of the empathy skill enabling the character to assess multiple aspects quickly as well as read surface thoughts.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 04:35:06 AM by Taran »

Offline Deadmanwalking

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 01:25:25 PM »
It really depends on what version of Dopplegangers you're going with. The D&D version wouldn't even have full Modular Abilities or True Shapeshifting, just Mimic Form, Inhuman Strength, Claws, weak telepathy, and maybe a weakened version of one or two points of Modular stuff that can only take Creature Features.

Some other versions would get almost anything. The version you've got looks fine if that's what you want them to have.

Offline Taran

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 04:48:22 AM »
So thinking about it some more - and this isn't a perfect idea, but I'm trying to throw things out to see what sticks.

- Have a set list of powers that the character can choose from for its modular abilities when it's not assuming someone elses form.  This can be its true form, which will probably have some flexibility to it.

-Assume you have a power based on a skill that lets you glean aspects and/or reads minds.

1.  Any aspects gleaned can be carried with you to tag 1/scene when it specifically involves acting/looking like your victim.
      By doing this, the more aspects you know about the victim the better you can pretend to be like them because you have more tags.

2. Either using the number of aspects learned or using some kind of contested skill where the shifts of success determine the potency.

For each shift of success or aspect known, you can learn one or more "meta" knowledge of the victim: Skill pyramid, Powers, stunts.

Once you learn one or more of these, you can use them to reconfigure your modular abilities and you can use your shapeshifting to re-organize your skills to more accurately reflect your victim.  So this would allow you to use your modular abilities for powers/stunts outside your True Form set.

Just ideas that can maybe be refined.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 05:01:32 AM by Taran »

Offline Tedronai

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2013, 08:25:46 AM »
I like the idea of a 'true form' list; I had been struggling with what that should look like, though

point 1 could get VERY punchy, and that makes me worried (7 free tags per scene, anyone?)

point 2 sounds like the foundation of a specialised Limitation-variant
Even Chaotic Neutral individuals have to apologize sometimes. But at least we don't have to mean it.
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Offline Taran

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2013, 12:32:25 PM »
Regarding point 1.

The tags could be limited to power bonus.  So if it's based on empathy and you have a great empathy, then you only get 4 tags.  Not all tags may be applicable to the current form.  You may have 2 tags to mimic John and 2 to mimic Sue.

But that becomes bookkeeping. Bleh.

Offline Tedronai

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 01:06:58 PM »
If we assume that the doppleganger has Telepathy (as defined in the Custom Power Master List), it doesn't take all that long to uncover all seven aspects of a character with less Discipline than you have Empathy (or Discipline, as the power allows use of either interchangeably).  That's how I arrived at the 7 tags/scene.  That's per form.
7 tags per scene as John.  7 more (or rather, refreshing) if you switch to Sue part way through the scene.
Even if we were to limit the number of free tags to their Empathy, well, that's already likely to be at or near the peak of their skill pyramid, so we can reasonably assume that it'd be AT LEAST 4, and likely higher if they have the option.  I don't see 4 or 5 free tags per scene as all that much of an improvement over 7.
If we don't assume access to the Telepathy power, that just means the doppleganger requires a bit more effort before they achieve the lasting power gains of one tag per scene per aspect.  The power they gain from it, though, doesn't change, and the effort is still a one-time expenditure for lasting gain.
It'd be like allowing casual rituals to grant permanent access to powers without spending refresh.  Sure, you can make the ritual take longer, or demand more shifts of complexity, with either option reducing the 'casual-ness' of the availability, but that doesn't actually solve the problem, it just makes it less common.

I guess the real question, though, is how much refresh one free tag per scene is worth, and in what fashion that value scales (as powers almost never scale linearly with readily comparable powers of differing costs).  After that, the only remaining question is one of the value of the Limitation requiring the discovery of the Aspect to be so tagged in order to gain access to that renewing tag.
Even Chaotic Neutral individuals have to apologize sometimes. But at least we don't have to mean it.
Slough

Offline Taran

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Re: Dopplegangers
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 02:20:24 PM »
Well, I'd kind of seen it as the reverse of RCV vemom(specifically this one as it mentions the free tag/session) or incite emotion.  You're causing a consequence that you can use to invoke or tag in later scenes.  Except in reverse.  Instead of tagging them to use against the victim you're tagging them to improve your disguise.  It's kind of why I'd thought an incite effect would work.  Like doing a maneuver to say the victim is "projecting his thoughts"  or even trying to put a similar consequence.

How would a mundane attempt to disguise yourself as someone else work?  Assuming You know a few aspects of the person you're playing.  Do you get those as free tags, or do you have to declare them that you know them before you tag them.

Anyways, maybe aspects aren't the way to go, but I figured it made the most sense since knowing a persons aspects is alike knowing them which makes it easier to play the part.

As far as pricing it, I'm not really good at that.  Assessing aspects and tagging them for free can already be done without powers.  I guess the power lies in taking those assessments and carrying them over to the next scene...although skills like burglary and investigation allow that anyways.  Assessments don't let you do it over and over again, every scene, though.