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Solsword

the Doppelganger's trap

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out of all the puzzles ive thought to put a party through this one is my favorite. i haven't used this in any campaign yet (as of now, the map i have created for the scenario is only partially finished)

now then, this particular situation takes place in a maze which holds a great treasure (as brought to the ears of the people by the doppelgangers to their ears via whispered conversations and legends originally spread by the doppelgangers themselves)

as the legend goes, there is a hidden maze/dungeon that to get to a treasure of a legendary mage/king or some other unknown figure lost to time. (this treasure can be fictitious, real, or changed to suit the specific players in a campaign, however, due to the fact that adventures are lured into the maze as the doppelgangers every so often find a group of them and estimate the location, leaving out the fact that it is inhabited and a trap, there will be a decent amount of treasure regardless)

NOW, ON TO THE SCENARIO!
right upon entering the maze, the goal of the DM is to separate the PCs. to do so traps and illusions work nicely, however i find the use of weighted pressure-plates with a weight requirement the easiest way as an option given to the PCs is to leave equipment equivalent to the weight of a small halfling or gnome (as to not exclude any possible PCs from being seperated by the plates). this gives the PCs the option to fight without much needed equipment or to split up and wonder alone.

after the party is seperated, that is when the trap is sprung. as you may of guessed, the doppelgangers show up disguised as one of the PCs. there are obvious flaws to where this can go wrong as they have never met the one they are impersonating, however each wears a ring of telepathy (item i believe i made up or saw somewhere that allows each person wearing the ring to contact a person that is known to be wearing another similar ring as long as they are on the same plane of existence) having so, the doppelgangers communicate and copy the players reactions

(ie, PC1, PC2 and PC3 all meet DG1, DG2 and DG3 each alone and respective to the numbers. PC1 meets DG2 disguised as PC2 Pc2 meets DG1 disguised as PC3 and PC3 meets DG3 disguised as PC1.) this inside information adds to the disguise check of each doppelganger by an ammount determined by the DM)

after the individual players travel with one doppelganger, they meet up with another and this continues until most of the "party" meets together with one original member in each group. if more then one group meets together, there is not much you can do, however the PCs involved in the fight will be severely outnumbered. and fighting should be confusing to the PCs (as there is more then one of their original party in the same area)

after all the players band together and travel to the center of the maze, there is a final guardian which is more determined by the level of the party (a favorite of mine is normally golems) after the fight, there is a teleportation circle or another form of transport (moving floor that acts as an elevator (ect.) that takes the PCs down to the storeroom where the treasure is held. inside the treasure room is a teleportation circle that leads outside (as for the fact that the pressure-plate doors are sealed and are only accessible to open on one side of the door)

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  1. Ascy's Avatar
    Sounds like a great idea for a little paranoia-fuel!
    Although i have to ask; how do you keep up the mystery when the players themselves know that those guys are doppelgangers (on the meta-level, because they are not controlled by the respective players of the chars)?

    Looking forward to reading more ideas!
    Updated 10-31-2011 at 01:07 PM by Ascy
  2. Pyromaster13's Avatar
    A good idea the DMG mentions for doppleganger situations is simply just to replace only one character with a doppleganger (easily done with a well placed trap, either a wall falls down and separates them or a pit), and you get one of your better players to roleplay the doppleganger as the secret assasin/spy until the party discovers the secret.

    The fun part is that once they find the 'real' character you can fudge a funny storyline such as 'after escaping from the rope bindings Smith attempted to find his party, but without his messenger stone he eventually wandered into the nearest city where he befriended another adventuring party comprised of a hedge wizard, a drow, and an ogre and got commisioned to clear the vampires from the hidden tower underneath the city, only to fight through 2 large stone dragons and a lvl 15 lich wizard and saved the Ley lines across the land.'

    From the fake story you can then award the player bonus items and exp for doing a wonderful job of staying in character (or out of character if you will) throughout the switchout.
  3. Solsword's Avatar
    as for this particular situation (since the doppelganger group has a direct link) i imagined they would do something along the lines of mimicking the reaction and language of the actual player (who is talking to a disguised doppelganger) so as a DM i would ask a PC's action and repeat it to the other player. at first the players would this this odd and be on their toes but atleast the danger wouldnt be 100% clear as to why. thats my take on it actually, more/less why i havent implemented it in a campaign of mine yet.