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Whats the lore regarding the shapeshifter monsters ?

Is there source material of this in some D&D book ?

I mean in Baldurs Gate this guys are sentient enough to run that commerce house, but they are also under CandleKeep, who are these guys ? Who spawned them ?


  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,688
    Doppelgangers are pretty well established in D&D. They're not something just made up for this game.

    In the BG1 story, they come in from two sources.
    At Durlag's Tower, they're under the command of illithids, who are never directly seen. Durlag bothered them by digging too deep, they sent doppelgangers to impersonate him and his family, the project collapsed under paranoia and infighting, Durlag and his family died, and that leads to the dungeon as we know it. Some of the doppelgangers are still around recapitulating their old scripts, but they're just leftovers.
    In the main plot, Sarevok recruits them. How? We don't know. All we know is that they're working toward his plan. Impersonte traders in other groups to undermine them and prop up the Iron Throne. Impersonate a negotiator working for the city so that those negotiations don't cause any trouble. Impersonate various folk in Candlekeep to set up the murder of Rieltar, adapt that plan to frame the protagonists. Impersonate nobles to create a "threat" against the dukes, justifying war.

    As they're used in this game, doppelgangers can do the physical transformation essentially flawlessly but have very little flexibility in social situations. Throw them off script even a little, and they get frustrated and reveal themselves. In their true form, they're hostile to humanoids in general.
    How much this all lines up with the tabletop version? I don't know.

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 2,646
    Isn't there a lore attack against Candlekeep, though, too? I recall hearing something like this, so the doppelgangers in Candlekeep aren't necessarily placed by
    although it would also fit the story.
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 617
    edited March 19
    In tabletop D&D the philosophies of the doppelganger race have changed with the various versions and editions - sometimes neutral, sometimes thoroughly evil but generally alien, deceptive and prone to create confusion in other races, owing to their abilities. They often worked alone as spies and assassins.

    On the whole BG and BG2 reflect what you'd expect, although it seems strange that illithids would use them as their minions. It's probably just convenience, as illithids weren't in the Infinity Engine until BG2 came out, so the developers used doppelgangers as the antagonists instead for TOTSC.
  • BardsSuck_BardsSuck_ Member Posts: 133
    I initially assumed Sarevok had nothing to do with the doppelgangers below Candlekeep, since that part was sealed/secret ??

    Of course Sarevok was as cunning in his book studies, as in physical martial arts so he maybe knew about the sealed area....for sure would make sense... that whole area below candlekeep is so weird, i feel theres some secret meaning to it.

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,320
    edited March 25
    Doppelgangers are a D&D race/monster that have been around since the very early days, yes. In earlier editions their lore wasn't very well fleshed-out and they were often depicted as some alien, aberration-style race similar to illithids and beholders. Despite that, they were usually found in the service of evil mages, so the explanation was that these mages either compelled them into servitude with magic, or bought their services with treasure.

    Starting in 3rd Ed onwards however, doppelgangers started to get more background and start to become more of a distinct race unto themselves as opposed to just a monster with a stat-block. Their communities are often described as "clans", with each doppelganger clan usually attaching themselves to a particular city or region, into which they'd infiltrate themselves. Depending on the attitude of the clan's matriarch (a bit of a misnomer since doppelgangers as a shapechanging race don't really have genders), the clan could either infiltrate peacefully into a society (with individual doppelgangers adopting unique roles that they choose themselves), or they could do so maliciously, with older doppelgangers killing and replacing high-ranked or wealthy members of society and then bringing in more members of their clan to replace other well-positioned individuals. Different doppelganger clans generally do not interact with each other, as too many of them in one place tends to draw unwanted scrutiny from law enforcement and clerical organizations. Some clans do indeed sell out their services as spies and assassins, which further contributes to their unsavory reputation among humanoid societies.

    Lone doppelgangers are usually either drifters who didn't quite fit in with their clan, or have been cast out for some reason or another. Since doppelgangers do not need others of their kind to reproduce (they can mate with any other humanoid race. The offspring is always a doppelganger that resembles a normal child of the non-doppelganger parent. When it reaches puberty it develops its shapechanging powers and can assume its true form), they can even form their own clan given enough time and opportunity. A rare few even adopt the adventurer lifestyle, although they typically do not reveal their true nature even to their adventuring companions.
  • BardsSuck_BardsSuck_ Member Posts: 133
    Great read, thanks, I always thought they were a simbolism for jews.
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