An alter ego arises when a sliver of a creature’s personality breaks free and coalesces into an independent being. An alter ego is almost always formed by accident rather than by design, and usually comes into being during a moment of trauma, disorientation, or sudden incapacitation. In many cases, the progenitor isn’t aware that the alter ego was created, particularly if the new creature hides or flees rather than confronting its progenitor immediately.
An alter ego’s body is made not of flesh and blood, but of solidified ectoplasm that looks, smells, and feels like its progenitor’s body. Because ectoplasm is less dense than bone or carapace, an alter ego weighs less and is more nimble than its progenitor. Although an alter ego appears similar to its progenitor, it speaks in a flat monotone and its eyes stare blankly out of a numb, expressionless face.
Observers find an alter ego’s behavior and expressions doll-like and off-putting. A creature familiar with the progenitor can identify the alter ego as a duplicate with a successful Perception check (opposed by the alter ego’s Disguise check) or with a successful DC 20 Sense Motive check. As an alter ego looks very similar to its progenitor, it can easily engender confusion or cause harm to its progenitor’s reputation. If the alter ego of a famous paladin is spotted fleeing from danger, for example, witnesses might call the paladin’s courage into question. Rumors of uncharacteristic actions might be the progenitor’s first indication that an alter ego is at large.
An alter ego’s psyche is both more limited and more focused than the mind of its progenitor. Although the alter ego has all of the progenitor’s memories and abilities at the time of its creation (including any prepared spells), its personality revolves around a single facet of its progenitor’s psyche that drives the alter ego’s actions. This facet is often a personality aspect that the progenitor prefers to keep hidden but that leapt to the fore during the event that caused the alter ego’s creation. For example, a cleric who secretly grapples with doubt might spawn a staunchly atheist alter ego, or an alchemist who occasionally swindles an adventurer or traveler to keep up with the rent on her shop might engender an openly and unrepentantly greedy alter ego. Stories abound of murderous alter egos, but in truth only a rare few alter egos have facets that provoke extreme activities such as munificence or violence. Alter egos are generally dispassionate in their actions and neutral in alignment; the greatest danger most pose is to their progenitors’ reputations and peace of mind.
An alter ego’s mind fixates on its sole purpose, and it is rarely idle. It actively and even obsessively pursues short-term goals based on its dominating facet. For example, an alter ego that came into being when its progenitor was disgraced might seek out and humiliate those who witnessed the event, while one with a murderous facet that formed during a botched getaway might engage in a string of massacres. Because these intentions spring from a limited aspect of the progenitor’s personality, an alter ego’s schemes often conflict with the progenitor’s overall goals.
For example, the progenitor of the vengeful alter ego might wish to forget the event that created it ever happened, while the alter ego’s actions revive gossip about the unfortunate occurrence; if the murderous alter ego sprang from a progenitor who was a methodical, disciplined assassin, the alter ego’s reckless killing spree is likely to interfere with the assassin’s well-laid plans.
Regardless of the alter ego’s personality facet and how it was created, it loathes its progenitor. In some cases, the alter ego might merely find its progenitor to be abrasive.
Most alter egos do not initially plan to kill their progenitors, but the idea may come to them while in their progenitors’ presences, spurred by their instinctual hatred, and alter egos spawned from self-loathing or suicide attempts may actively plot to ruin or assassinate their progenitors. Despite this revulsion, an alter ego continually receives mental flashes of its progenitor’s location and is debilitated when its progenitor is more than a mile away. When in its progenitor’s immediate presence, an alter ego cannot help but recognize its progenitor and overhear snatches of the progenitor’s surface thoughts. If the progenitor is dead, the alter ego gains considerable freedom to pursue its activities—a realization some alter egos come to over many days, weeks, or years— and that realization drives such alter egos to eventually murder their progenitors, or else plot to replace them and keep their wayward originals somewhere quiet and peaceful.
Certain psychic or magic items (such as a mirror of opposition) can create a copy of a creature. The alter ego template works well for generating such a creature and is particularly appropriate for a copy of a psychic spellcaster or another psychically sensitive individual. Depending on the effect that created the copy, it may be either a duplicate or an opposite. Unlike standard alter egos, duplicates usually have the same alignment as their progenitors, while opposites have the diametrically opposite alignment.
An alter ego is an artificial creature. It has no need to breathe, eat, or sleep, and rarely takes the time to do so unless it is actively masquerading as a living creature.
It is identical in size to its progenitor, but weighs only two-thirds as much.
Creating an Alter Ego
“Alter ego” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal creature that has an Int score of 3 or higher (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An alter ego uses all of the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature.
Alignment: Usually neutral.
Armor Class: Though it appears identical to its progenitor, an alter ego is formed from a solidified ectoplasm that is more yielding than flesh. Reduce the creature’s natural armor bonus by 2 (minimum +0).
Hit Dice: Change all the creature’s racial Hit Dice to d10s. All Hit Dice derived from class levels remain unchanged. As a construct, an alter ego doesn’t have a Constitution score, but as a construct it gains bonus hit points based on its size.
Defensive Abilities: An alter ego gains fast healing 1 (or fast healing 3 if it has 11 Hit Dice or more), DR 5/adamantine (or DR 10/adamantine if it has 11 Hit Dice or more), and the standard construct immunities and traits.
Attacks: An alter ego retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. It also gains a slam attack that deals damage based on the alter ego’s size, but as if it were one size category larger than its actual size.
Ability Scores: Dex +4. As a construct, an alter ego has no Constitution score; treat it as having a Constitution score of 10 when determining hit points, save DCs, and other statistics that rely on a Constitution score.
Feats: An alter ego gains Toughness as a bonus feat.
Special Qualities: An alter ego gains the following special qualities.
Progenitor Dependence (Su)
An alter ego is nauseated whenever it is more than 1 mile from the original creature of which it is a copy, so long as the original creature is alive.
Replicated Gear (Su)
An alter ego has a copy of each item of clothing and equipment (including any magic items other than single- or limited-use items such as wands, scrolls, and potions) that was in its progenitor’s possession at the moment when the alter ego was created. This equipment is fabricated of ectoplasm held in place by the alter ego’s mental energy. This equipment operates as normal for the alter ego. One round after leaving the alter ego’s possession (or 1 round after the alter ego is destroyed), this fabricated equipment dissolves into a thin, silvery mucus.
Sense Progenitor (Su)
An alter ego creature knows the direction and distance to the original creature of which it is a copy. This sense can be blocked by any effect that blocks scrying. An alter ego has detect thoughts and true seeing against its progenitor in effect at all times (CL 20th); these abilities cannot be dispelled.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.