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Old 07-11-2019, 04:08 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity [-5] is a mundane physical disadvantage. There is someone else who is frequently mistaken for you. Since this is a disadvantage, this will result in you getting caught up in things you don’t want to be involved with, learning things you don’t want to know, being a target for his enemies, and so on. It appeared in Compendium I for GURPS 3e.

If the person you’re mistaken for is, or becomes, an Enemy of yours, he may well be an Evil Twin. If all the members of your race look identical to outsiders, you don’t have this disadvantage, although you do have an interesting [0] feature, and likely Taboo Trait for appearance-related traits. My father and his brother were identical twins, and readily mistaken for each other, but they quite enjoyed the confusion, and it never did any harm, so it was presumably a [0] feature.

This disadvantage isn’t often mentioned in GURPS supplements. Bio-Tech uses it for people with transplanted faces and mass-produced clones, and offers surgery to duplicate someone else’s appearance. Monster Hunters makes it an option for biological creations, and Steampunk for mass-produced robots.

Mistaken Identity has shown up twice in games I was in. In the Elizabethan campaign, one PC had it, and was surprised when a harried-looking man marched up to him, said “Found you at last!” gave him a handful of papers and dashed off. They seemed to be a script for a play, so he went to The Theatre and found that everyone there recognised him as Will Kemp, the leading clown of the company. Since the kind of man who would later morris-dance from London to Norwich is clearly capable of deciding that pretending to be someone else is funny, his denials were rejected, and he found himself roped into rehearsals. His consistent failure to be funny was beginning to arouse doubts after several hours, when the real Will Kemp showed up, and the company let him go.

The other occasion was early in Infinite Cabal, when the characters were operating in a parallel very similar to their home world, but 25 years later. One of the PCs had Mistaken Identity, a Dependent and Weirdness Magnet. That world’s version of his Dependent recognised him, shocking her severely, since he’d died 27 years earlier. It was something that just had to happen, once I’d realised how the disadvantages implied it.

Has Mistaken Identity entertained in your games? If so, has it been bought off, as both the characters in my anecdotes did?
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:56 PM   #2
dcarson
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

In my GURPS Space 1889 campaign currently running on PC has it. She so far has had someone break into her room at night and threaten her for not passing on information to the air-pirates and been attacked by another woman for having an affair with her husband. She really wants to know who she is being confused with.
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:35 AM   #3
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

I don't believe I've ever used it; it feels as though it would be difficult to make consistently interesting, though I suppose in a large urban environment you could have quite a few people who make the error.

It's notable that this is one-way: "someone else is often mistaken for you" might cause its own set of problems for an adventurer.
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:40 AM   #4
Ultraviolet
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

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Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
I don't believe I've ever used it; it feels as though it would be difficult to make consistently interesting, though I suppose in a large urban environment you could have quite a few people who make the error.

It's notable that this is one-way: "someone else is often mistaken for you" might cause its own set of problems for an adventurer.
You mean like:
Whaddaya mean 'where's my cut?'. I gave it to you yesterday, down at the pub. You we're kind of confused, you were with some other frieds I don't know, and it's the only time I ever say you wearing a sweater vest.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:30 AM   #5
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
It's notable that this is one-way: "someone else is often mistaken for you" might cause its own set of problems for an adventurer.
I would run it as both*, the adventurer simply gets the short end of the relationship (since they have the disad).




* In fact the one time a PC took it, that's how I ran it. It was an IOU game though, so I'm not sure I'd count that as a 'use' of the disad as that game is rather 'silly' enough to support those sorts of antics.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:11 AM   #6
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity is one of those advantages I can see being very good for plot hooks and having stuff happen during downtime, but only if the GM remembers it exists. I can't remember a campaign where a character had it, so either no player i've played with picked it or none of my GMs remembered utilizing it.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:26 AM   #7
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Mistaken Identity is one of those advantages I can see being very good for plot hooks and having stuff happen during downtime, but only if the GM remembers it exists. I can't remember a campaign where a character had it, so either no player i've played with picked it or none of my GMs remembered utilizing it.
This is the kind of effect it would be legitimate for Weirdness Magnet to produce (another disad that needs the GM to remember and implement it). I regard that as very hard work for the GM… but I'll leave that until DotW gets there.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:17 AM   #8
Leynok
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Mistaken Identity

Been in one game where another player took it.
It was a horror survival game somewhat based on Betrayal in the House on the Hill, where we all played as highschoolers who for one reason or another went to a party at an abandoned mansion.
The Disadvantage manifested by having an NPC who was jealous of everything the PC had (in particular the attention of an NPC who liked them), and took steps to mimic them, which then caused misunderstandings. It was especially amusing since the PC and NPC had very different personalities.
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