The Doppelganger is a particularly unnerving D&D monster, not because of its direct combat power but because of its ability to look like anyone. Adventures involving them tend to be the urban, intrigue-filled kind where you never know who’s on your side and who’s been secretly replaced by a monster.

Eberron was the first setting to give that ability to a playable character race! As a Changeling, you get to enjoy the ability to look like anyone… and to be the target of a lot of prejudice from people who assume you’re secretly replacing innocent victims, even if you’re the most saintly of paladins. With the racial template in this article, you get to do those things in either version of the Dungeon Fantasy game.


Copyright 2009 WotC

Racial Cost: 25 points

Changelings are humanoids capable of altering their appearance at will. The story of their origin varies depending on who you ask. Some say “Changeling” is just a more polite way to call a Doppelganger. Some say the Changelings are the offspring of a human and a true Doppelganger, who is much more dangerous. The truth depends on which edition of D&D you’re stealing from.

A changeling’s basic appearance is that of a slender, pale-skinned, androgynous humanoid with large sunken eyes and an almost non-existent nose. They can quickly change to look like any humanoid of similar size and mass.

Changelings have no society of their own, and tend to live among humans. Their abilities tend to give rise to lots of terrible stories about, well, Doppelgangers, so most assume a “secret identity” in order to live peaceful lives. Some have several, in order to have a backup in case one of their covers is blown… and those who get too paranoid end up lending truth to those terrible stories.

In times of changeling-fueled intrigue, gnomes and halflings are prized as counter-intelligence agents. Members of both races tend to be quite crafty themselves, and can’t be replaced by changelings due to their small size.

Advantages: Changeling Shapeshifting {20}; Charisma 1 {5}; Night Vision 5 {5}.

Disadvantages: Terrible Secret {-5}.

Special Changeling Traits

Changeling Shapeshifting1

By concentrating for 10 seconds, you can assume the form of any humanoid with the same Size Modifier as you (0). Your weight remains the same and you don’t gain any abilities with game effects posessed by that type of humanoid (but see below). You do, however, retain your other racial advantages. Your clothing and possessions don’t change with you.

The Appearance and Honest Face advantages work differently for you. Instead of applying to your natural form, they allow you to assume humanoid forms that possess these advantages. In the case of Appearance, consider the level you pay for to be the maximum you can transform into. You can also take on less good-looking forms for no extra cost. You can’t take Appearance as a disadvantage, but changing into uglier forms doesn’t cost extra (or give you points!).

This power is of obvious use in Disguise attempts. When using this skill, you never require any tool more elaborate than a change of clothes, and need at most 5 minutes of preparation instead of the 30 required by others. You also never suffer penalties for race-crossing or trying to disguise yourself as someone “very different”. Copying the appearance of a specific person always requires a Disguise roll.

Terrible Secret2

“Civilized” society considers you a monster, but you are usually able to hide your true nature. The GM rolls 3d every time you go to town or start a session there. On a 6 or less, your cover is blown and you suffer the effects of Social Stigma (Savage) - including another immediate 3d roll to see if you’re kicked out of town! This lasts until you can re-establish your cover. How you can do that is up to the GM. It could range from a few skill rolls to a full adventure!

Optional Traits

Changelings can always buy the Disguise and Acting skills even if those aren’t part of their professional template. Even honest changelings often need these skills to escape persecution.

Changeling Characters

Any of these could be a changeling!

Changelings often become delvers - it’s the only line of work where they don’t look much weirder than their colleagues. They do particularly well as Bards and Thieves! Even on the pure dungeon-crawling campaigns assumed by the default Dungeon Fantasy setup, their shape-changing ability can eliminate some reaction penalties from humanoid monsters if the character has time to prepare for the encounter (“You can trust me, I’m an orc too.”). They could also infiltrate a group of such monsters and gather precious information about the enemy. In campaigns with more social interaction or even intrigue, their utility skyrockets.

Changeling names tend to be short, unisex affairs: Qin, Kell, Tan, and so on. Most go by a pseudonym when in their cover identities, and some just are just given names from the society where they grew up from the start. Most changelings tend to think of themselves as being whatever gender matches their current form, though some do have a stronger preference for a single identity.

  1. GURPS Stats: This is Morph (Cosmetic -50%; Mass Conservation -20%; Retains Shape -20%). The maximum cost reduction from limitations is -80%, so it costs 20 points. 

  2. GURPS Stats: This is a -5 point Secret that converts into Social Stigma (Savage) when revealed. Since your cover can be re-established, the disadvantage doesn’t change in value while the Secret is out.