D&D 5E How to build for multiple personalities?


The challenge: How would you reflect a character with multiple personalities, in their D&D build? This could be due to Dissociative Identity Disorder due to past trauma; possession by some kind of external force (benign, hostile, alien, or anywhere in between) that can't break free; or even some kind of arcane binding of multiple individual souls within a single body. The specific backstory isn't important; what is important is the fact that multiple personalities exist, that may or may not share memories, and almost certainly have different motivations.

The various personalities may shift organically or suddenly, perhaps based on roleplay or combat situations (take any damage, and you roll on your "Alters" table to see what you get). But my question is more about the build; how would you mechanically create such a character? Would you stay within a single class, or multiclass? Which options would you choose, to make someone that could use a single character's skillset in wildly different ways?

My initial thoughts are to go with a class setup that has a lot of skill options (likely Bard or Rogue, possibly both), and a mix of different combat capabilities. Each personality comes at any given situation in their own way, using whatever talents they see fit to employ at the time. An arcane trickster, for example, could represent a well-meaning coward who always seeks to escape danger (emphasizing stealth and archery), a mercenary who's do anything for the right price (banking on social skils & agility); a arcane scholar seeking magical knowledge through any reasonable means (who focuses on intellectual skills & magic); and a enigmatic figure, both jovial and merciless, whose sole mission is to kill a certain someone (performance, stealth, and sneak attacks).

What other builds do you suppose would allow that kind of unusual versatility?

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From the point they get the subclass a Phantom Rogue gets to choose a skill proficiency every day. That seems a prime dip for someone with multiple personalities.

Beyond that I would say be a Druid, so that you can pick an entirely different set of spells every day. Cleric also works on this front, but domain spells mean a bit more continuity. In theory Wizard can work even better for this (with more spell options, and by Tasha's rules even the ability to change out cantrips) but it will take a few levels to have enough spells.

If I wanted a character that could really change up playstyle I'd probably go for a deep multiclass or else be a martial Bard as the most versatile characters (though that martial bard potential to be at least a solid backup in any party role generally requires focusing on just some of those roles to shine at anything).

For race the obvious choice is Changeling.


The challenge: How would you reflect a character with multiple personalities, in their D&D build?
Once again... HM4e Players Handbook, pg 98, "Quirk Descriptions (Personality): Multiple Personality Disorder". Also, IF YOU ARE A CERTIFIED HACKMASTER GM!!!, suggestions on how to run it (GMG pg 68).

Do that.

For those poor souls who don't yet know the perfection of Hackmaster 4th Edition (that means the first one produced, not the latest version), MPD works like this: The Player has at least 1 extra personality, as rolled on the Extra Personality Table. This can range from "Young member of the opposite sex", to "Noble", to "Elf", to "Assassin"...or, on roll of 81-100, two Extra personalities (which can be rolled multiple times for a veritable smorgasbord of personality types).

Now, that is for Hackmaster, and 5e is not quite up to the same standard, but taking the same level of passion for screwi...er... enhancing the Players roleplaying experience... I'd take the advice of Gary Jackson and Jo-Jo Zeke and require the Player to have a separate PC sheet for each personality (I think I read this in a Hackjournal article). Stats would remain the same up until the point where a separate personality gains a level that grants and ASI; then Stats can vary from personality to personality. Other than stats, each personality would be, effectively, a 'separate and unique individual' (HP's, class, 'age', 'sex', etc...). The ORIGINAL PC race/class/age, etc would remain the same, obviously, but the personality wouldn't see itself that way. For example, a burly human male fighter with 17 Str might have a personality of an elven female thief with 'average female elf strength'...but that wouldn't make it actually true; 'she' would still be a burly man with 17 strength, but act as if a dainty female elf. (e.g., the old saying of "Facts don't care...facts are facts").

Of course, as that elven female thief gained levels and puts ASI into Dex, it might go from 10 to 14...but when she pops back into the original burly man fighter, his Dex would be 10, not 14.

Oh, and yeah, in case it wasn't obvious, completely separate XP totals.


Paul L. Ming

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