Excerpts Archive | 11/8/2010
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Displacer Beast
Monster Vault Excerpts

My favorite story of a displacer beast concerns an old ranger of mine (Staab the Warforged) tracking a set of feline prints into a cave. It turned out to be from a displacer beast. When I asked the DM why my ranger wouldn’t have noticed that the tracks came from a 6-footed animal, he thought about it for a moment then calmly replied that the displacer beast had been holding its 2 hind legs in the air in order to confuse me.

I couldn’t argue with that answer.

The displacer beast returns, with a quick and easy mechanic to determine if his displacement works.

Displacer Beast

Seldom where they seem, displacer beasts mislead enemies by concealing their true location, which helps them evade the dangers of the Feywild where they live and hunt. They also prowl the forests and caverns of the natural world, where their glowing emerald eyes appear to change position constantly as they stare out from the darkness.

Displacer beasts look like enormous feline predators, but their barbed tentacles and powers of misdirection make them far deadlier. They quietly stalk their prey before bringing it down as quickly as possible in an ambush. The displacer beast’s cunning, stealth, and ferocity have earned it a reputation as one of the most well-known predators of the Feywild. The creature’s image is used in heraldry and literature to indicate a character or an organization that is elusive, tricky, or mysterious.

Some displacer beasts make their lairs behind dense foliage, in small caves, or within the boughs of massive trees. Others prowl from place to place, attacking prey where they can find it. Savvy explorers know to avoid locations where displacer beasts might dwell, but they also know that the creatures can spring out from anywhere. For any ordinary person or animal, a surprise attack by a displacer beast means a quick death. The beast’s speed is so great, and its attacks so fierce, that it can swiftly drop anyone who is not prepared and trained for battle.

Difficult to Pin Down: With their displacement ability and deft movement, displacer beasts can avoid most enemies, which means the creatures usually enter battle as the aggressors. They attack the weakest targets first, using their maneuverability to slip past tougher defenders.

When hunted, displacer beasts spring ambushes in thick forests or other places where they can quickly escape from enemies that prove too strong. If they’re outmatched or gravely wounded, the beasts nearly always try to retreat, unless starvation drives them to fight on in hopes of claiming a meal.

Intelligent Predators: Displacer beasts hold a comfortable spot near the top of the food chain. Their predatory skill is unmatched, and they possess strong instincts and far greater intelligence than most ordinary animals. Displacer beasts set ambushes, track their prey by following clues (not just scents), and lure enemies into traps and hazards when fighting in a dangerous area. They’re also capable of making relatively intricate plans. For example, they might remember which trade routes have seasonal traffic and return in the spring to plague travelers.

It’s rare to encounter more than two displacer beasts (usually a mated pair) at one time, but a beast might lead a pack of other wild predators. Because of their natural instinct to seek dominance within a pack, displacer beasts prefer to attack animals rather than humanoids.

Tough and Smart Pack Lords: Displacer beasts are rare as a species, and their pack lords number even fewer. These massive mutants have the same intelligence as ordinary people and sometimes lead groups of normal displacer beasts. Whereas standard beasts patrol large hunting grounds, pack lords terrorize entire regions. They maintain lairs that can handle their bulk, such as wide, moss-laden Feywild caverns or halls within crumbled ruins.

Prized as Guards and Pets: Displacer beasts will follow more intelligent creatures, but only if they gain some benefit from the arrangement. Most often, displacer beasts guard secluded rooms in a palace or accompany wealthy or influential humanoids. Occasionally, they are captured and paraded about as status symbols, especially by callow young eladrin nobles. A displacer beast might serve a master in exchange for regular meals of fresh meat or out of loyalty to a creature that saved its life or kept it from harm. Despite their willingness to be trained in these circumstances, displacer beasts are smart enough to realize when a situation changes, and they might turn against their masters if necessary to protect their own lives.

Displacer Beast
Level 9 Skirmisher
Large fey magical beast
XP 400
HP 97; Bloodied 48 Initiative +11
AC 23, Fortitude 21, Reflex 22, Will 20 Perception +12
Speed 12 Low-light vision
Traits
Displacement (illusion)
When a melee or a ranged attack hits the displacer beast, if the player rolled an odd number on the attack roll, the attack misses. If the player rolled an even number on the attack roll, the attack hits as normal, and the beast loses this trait until the start of its next turn.
Threatening Reach
The displacer beast can make opportunity attacks against enemies within 2 squares of it.
Standard Actions
Melee TentacleAt-Will
Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); +14 vs. ACM
Hit: 2d6 + 7 damage.
Melee BiteAt-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +14 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 + 6 damage.
Melee Cunning BlitzAt-Will
Effect: The displacer beast shifts up to half its speed. At any point during that movement, it uses tentacle once, or two times against different creatures.
Triggered Actions
Shifting TacticsAt-Will
Trigger: An attack misses the displacer beast.
Effect (Free Action): The displacer beast shifts 1 square.
Skills Stealth +14
Str 18 (+8)
Dex 20 (+9)
Wis 17 (+7)
Con17 (+7)
Int2 (+3)
Cha4 (+4)
Alignment unaligned
Languages

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