An Uncontrollable Mask

Starling 12
2 min readMar 20, 2021

Idea: Shapeshifting Character

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/various

Pitch: There are several iconic shapeshifting characters. Characters who can warp their appearance to match that of others and slip into the role easier than a new coat. They often follow common tropes of deception, trickery, stealth, espionage, and similar underhanded personalities and means of attack. To use these techniques, they need more than just their transforming powers, but a fair amount of intelligence. They need to be able to tell believable lies, outwit others, and understand their enemies enough to impersonate them and integrate into their teams. With tricks like these, the shapeshifters always seem to be in control.

That could be changed. To add more chaos to this character who weaves disorder from the inside and to add some challenge to their power, what if they couldn’t control their power entirely? Rather than flickering between personas at will, they find themselves in different shapes, almost at random. This would mean they must repeatedly prove their identity to their allies, adapt to their situation when in enemy territory, and handle the confusion of total strangers who are puzzled as to where the person they were just talking to went.

Their changing doesn’t have to be completely random; perhaps they can only turn into people within a certain range. That would mean that if they wished to impersonate someone for a long period, they would need to stash that person near their location. Often, shapeshifting characters slide easily between whatever identities they need, but this one would have some extra hoops to jump through.

Of course, as tricky as shapeshifters are, they occasionally have inner turmoil because of their ability. They question their identity and true form, and sometimes become too tangled up in their own lies. This character would be even more likely to feel this way, as they have little to no control over their appearance. Is there anywhere they truly belong? What, in their world of lies, is real? And can they keep it all under control?

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