Dopplers (also called shifters, mimics, doubles, imitators, or pavrats) are shapeshifters who can take the form of anyone or any beast they have encountered, provided it has a similar body weight. They used to live in the plateau near modern-day Novigrad but moved to the city itself after it proved to offer more possibilities of survival.
In natural form they look quite hideous – like bald, long-nosed and yellow-eyed midgets with elongated limbs, tongues, and noses; somewhat resembling a figurine molded out of dough. They rarely remain so, however – they can change into any being who they know and who does not differ from their size. They can copy so precisely that apart from appearance they acquire physical features (like voice), skills, mindset, and characteristic behaviors. To do all this they don't need any previous insightful observation, they do it instinctively. They also can change fragments of their bodies into clothes or equipment, like a sword or lute.
Their abilities have some limitations, however: shapeshift is possible only if they do not touch silver, and any item created from their body would change into torn out flesh if it loses contact with the rest of a doppler.
Dopplers are exceptionally kind and gentle beings in general, for whom the ability of metamorphosis serves as compensation for lack of aggression, fangs and claws.
Before the First Landing dopplers used to inhabit a plateau and forests near the Pontar Delta. They spent time taking forms of wolves and other animals and join their packs or herds. During winters, they usually hibernated in windthrows.
All of that changed dramatically when the human settlers arrived, hunting dopplers like rabid dogs. Only a few survived and most of those began to move to newly-built Novigrad to live as humans and members of other more accepted races. Even that wasn't easy however – the mistrust of vexlings grew to such levels that some fanatical priests captured the hapless creatures and killed them in the most excruciating way: they would be encased in clay vessels and baked until they burst.
- Tellico Lunngrevink Letorte (also called Penstock or Dudu)
- Chappelle (real name unknown, took the form of Chappelle)
- Janne ("the Imp")
- Forst Bolin
- The Adonis
Dopplers are among the creatures that appear in The Witcher 3.
- Your package? Your brother picked it up. You know, you two're damn near identical... Hey! Where you running off to?!
– Hanne Kluger, postmaster
- Dopplers, also known as vexlings or changelings, are beings able to take on the form of any humanoid or animal they please. This transformation is no mere illusion able to be shattered with a simple spell, but an authentic and complete metamorphosis. This means no protective amulets or witcher medallions will signal a doppler's presence - they emanate the same aura as the being whose form they have assumed. This, combined with their incredible intellect and cunning, would make dopplers supreme assassins or thieves - had not nature endowed them with generous and timid spirits which make them avoid the shedding of blood at all costs.
When a doppler assumes the form of its attacker, it gains some of its skills. In the case of the doppler hunted by Geralt, he gains the ability to use the active shield mode for Quen, and can even use blasts of Igni. Additionally, the doppler's swordplay is nearly on par with that of the witcher, as he can parry and strike just as swiftly. Be patient when fighting the doppler. Do not attack when his active shield is clearly visible, as the resulting detonation can knock Geralt to the ground.
Focus on counter-attacks and parrying. A proper counter creates the best opportunity to land an attack or two of your own.
Yrden and Axii both provide openings to exploit against the doppler. Axii is slightly less useful in that a single strike breaks the effect on the doppler, while yrden can be used to effectively corral the monster and allow for multiple strikes to land. After defeating the doppler in Geralt's form, you are given a choice to spare it or finish the fight. If you choose the latter, the doppler drops the Geralt disguise and assumes the form it tried fleeing you with.
The fight actually becomes simpler, as the doppler loses the ability to use magic signs, and its swordplay is significantly less aggressive. Stay patient and remember your defense, exploit openings to the fullest, and you can win.
- See the GWENT standalone game version card: Doppler