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The doppelganger has the following traits and actions:

Traits

  • Shapechanger: The doppelganger can use its action to Polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid it has seen, or back into its true form. Its Statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any Equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Actions

  • Multiattack: The doppelganger makes two Melee Attacks.

  • Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

If my adventuring party encounters a doppelganger who is shapechanged to look like, say, a sword-wielding human, how do I handle the doppelganger's actions in combat?

Possible Solution #1: Always use the slam attack.

The only attack listed in the doppelganger's stat block is the Slam. This seems like an effective attack, but if I were a player and I noticed that an orc attacked me by "slamming" my character instead of using its greataxe, I'd be suspicious that something fishy was going on. So another possible solution would be...

Possible Solution #2: Use the weapon typically used by the creature it is shapechanged into.

The doppelganger doesn't have a typical weapon attack in its stat block, which I assume is because most doppelgangers won't typically be equipped with weapons (in the way that orcs are generally equipped with greataxes and javelins). However, I also know that just because you shapechange doesn't mean you gain or lose any proficiencies, so I don't think it's safe to assume that a doppelganger can just use whatever weapon is typically used by whatever it's been shapechanged into. Moreover, unless the doppelganger uses an ammunition or finesse weapon, its attacks are going to be way less effective (since its Strength modifier is 0 and its Dexterity modifier is +4).

So which is it? Use the Slam for a more effective and suspicious attack or use the "disguise's" weapon for a less effective but non-suspicious attack?

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closed as too broad by David Coffron, Purple Monkey, KorvinStarmast, Luke, V2Blast Oct 16 '18 at 5:00

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ KSchank, I've made an edit to the title to hopefully bring it more inline with what you're asking in the body text as well as cut out the seemingly unnecessary text of the doppelganger's traits. If this edit has changed the meaning of your question please feel free to revert it or edit it further. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Oct 15 '18 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking what is better (which is either Too Broad or Opinion Based), or what options the doppelganger has? There are likely some situations where the Slam attack will be better and some where the weapon attack will be. What is your actual question? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 16 '18 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron I think that it's clear which is "better", since the Shapechanger trait clearly states that the doppelganger keeps its stats when shapechanged and assuming that you know how to calculate damage output. Additionally, I think that its attack options are pretty easy to figure out unless my understanding of the monster in question is way off. I'm wondering about how a doppelganger is intended to be played. I'm not asking for opinions—I'm asking for clarification on how this monster works. (And yes, I know it's always up to the DM.) \$\endgroup\$ – KSchank Oct 16 '18 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KSchank So you were just asking if it can do both? Then yes, that is the answer (feel free to answer your own question if you like). I thought you are asking what a doppelganger "would" or "should" do. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 16 '18 at 1:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KSchank asking how it's intended to be played is not an answerable question here. That would either be a designer-reason question which has been deemed off-topic or simply opinion-based because it would depend on how the DM wanted it to be played. Whether it can use a sword or whether it has to use its slam attack is an answerable question here, and as David has already mentioned, you're more than welcome to answer your own question. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Oct 16 '18 at 1:58
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A doppelganger can use a weapon if it wants (there aren't any rules that say it can't and it has hands), but it also can use Slam if it wants. So if the doppelganger wants to "blend in" while shapechanged, it can use a typical weapon (perhaps at the cost of higher damage output). If it cares more about damage output than successfully disguising itself, it might use Slam instead.

It has either option (Slam or a typical weapon) at its disposable and can choose which it would prefer to use to suit its needs and priorities.

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