by Wade Norton, Dragon #313

Perhaps the most numerous of the half-bloods described in "Strange Bedfellows (Dragon #313)", half-doppelgangers blend into and come to terms with their adoptive societies the easiest. Doppelgangers move in and out of cities, villages, or barbaric tribes with ease, and to help ensure and maintain their secret identities, they often engage in romances with the natives. It is not unusual for a single doppelganger, either deep undercover or simply fed up with its own scheming culture, to get lost among humanoids, losing its identity and permanently becoming a member of the township or clan with which it merged.

Offspring from a doppelganger and humanoid almost always remain within the humanoid society; doppelganger clans find the half-blood's abilities too limited to be of any use. The half-doppelganger is indistinguishable from others of its humanoid parentage until it reaches maturity. Indeed, an accidental change is often the half-doppelganger's first indication that something is amiss with its heritage.

Since the half-doppelganger's normal shape is that of its humanoid parent, it is easily able to blend in with humanoid societies. Once it learns to adapt to its alternate forms, it can use these forms to move about unnoticed. When a half-doppelganger changes form, its heritage is briefly visible as its skin turns gray in between forms. Even with their limited shapechanging abilities, half-doppelgangers still make excellent spies and assassins. Once able to care for itself, true doppelgangers might make contact with the half-doppelganger in hopes of gaining further allies within humanoid societies.

Creating a Half-Doppelganger

"Half-doppelganger" is an inherited template that can be added to any humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the "base creature") of Tiny to Large size.

A half-doppelganger uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type: The base creature's size does not change, but it gains the shapechanger subtype.

Armor Class: The base creature's natural armor bonus improves by +2.

Special Attacks: The base creature retains all its special attacks and gains the following special attacks.

Empathy (Sp): At will - empathy. Caster level equal to racial HD or 1st-level caster if the base creature lacks racial HD. Save DC equal to 11 + Charisma modifier.

Alternate forms (Su): Upon gaining maturity, the half-doppelganger learns to take three humanoid forms in addition to its own shape. These three forms may be that of any Medium or Small humanoid, but once a form is chosen, it permanently becomes one of the half-doppelganger's three alternate choices. For example, if a half-doppelganger learns to take the shape f a female halfling, male elf, and male orc, those three forms are his alternate forms, and he may not later choose the form of a female gnome.

This ability works like alter self as cast by a 9th level sorcerer, but the half-doppelganger can remain in the chosen form indefinitely. A half-doppelganger can assume a different form or return to its original form as a standard action. True seeing reveals the half-doppelganger's original form.

Special Qualities: The base creature retains all its special qualities and gains the following special qualities.

Immunities (Ex): Half-doppelgangers are immune to sleep and charm effects.

Abilities: Change from the base creature as follows: Wis +2.

Skills: Half-doppelgangers have a +2 racial bonus to Bluff and Disguise checks.

Feats: Half-doppelgangers receive Alertness as a bonus feat.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature.

Alignment: Often neutral.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +2.

Template Index