Displacer beast

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Displacer beast
200px
First appearanceSupplement I - Greyhawk (1975)
Based onthe Coeurl
Information
TypeMagical beast
AlignmentLawful Evil

A displacer beast is a fictional evil feline creature created for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game in 1975; it has subsequently been included in every edition of the game to the present day.

Description[edit]

A displacer beast is a magical six-legged panther-like feline with a pair of tentacles growing from its shoulders; the beast has an innate "displacement" ability, causing it appear to be several feet away from its actual location.

Publication history[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The displacer beast was created for Dungeons & Dragons, first introduced in the game's supplement, Greyhawk (1975), as "a puma-like creature with six legs and a pair of tentacles which grow from its shoulders."[1] The concept of the creature was borrowed from A. E. van Vogt's 1939 science fiction story "Black Destroyer", which described a feline-like creature called a coeurl.[2]:71 Van Vogt later incorporated the coeurl into the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950).[3]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The displacer beast appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as a vaguely puma-like beast that always appears to be three feet away from its actual position.[4] David M. Ewalt, in his book Of Dice and Men, discussed several monsters appearing in the original Monster Manual, describing displacer beasts as looking like "pumas with thorn-covered tentacles growing out of their shoulders".[5]

The displacer beast was detailed in Dragon #109 (May 1986), in the "Ecology of the Displacer Beast".[6]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the displacer beast, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977),[7] and Expert Set (1981 & 1983),[8][9] and was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[10] the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).[11]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The displacer beast appears in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[12] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[13]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 & 3.5 editions (2000–2007)[edit]

The displacer beast appears in the 3rd edition Monster Manual(2000)[14] and then in the 3.5 edition Monster Manual (2003). This edition also described the displacer beast pack lord. For this edition, Wizards of the Coast considered the displacer beast to be an original product of D&D and was therefore categorized as a "Product Identity"; as such it was not released under its Open Game License.[15]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2013)[edit]

The displacer beast appears in the 4th edition Monster Manual (2008), and again a description is included for the displacer beast packlord.[16]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014)[edit]

The displacer beast appears in the 5th edition Monster Manual(2014).

Reception[edit]

Rob Bricken from io9 named the displacer beast as the 2nd most memorable D&D monster.[17]

Other marketing: D&D Miniatures[edit]

  • Harbinger set #41 (2003)
  • War of the Dragon Queen set #29 (2006) (Displacer Beast Pack Lord)
  • Unhallowed set #37 (2007) (Displacer Beast Manhunter)

References[edit]

  1. Gygax, Gary and Robert J. Kuntz. Supplement I: Greyhawk (TSR, 1975)
  2. Witwer, Michael; Newman, Kyle; Witwer, Sam (2018). Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9780399580949. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. DRAGON Monster Ecologies. Paizo Publishing. 2007. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  5. Ewalt, David M. (2013). Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. Scribner. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-4516-4052-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Mickelson, Bill. "Ecology of the Displacer Beast." Dragon Magazine #109 (TSR, 1986)
  7. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  8. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Dave Cook. Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (TSR, 1981)
  9. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 2: Expert Rules (TSR, 1983)
  10. Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  11. Slavicsek, Bill. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (TSR, 1999)
  12. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  13. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1994)
  14. Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  15. "Frequently Asked Questions". D20srd.org. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  16. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  17. Bricken, Rob (September 16, 2013). "The 10 Most Memorable Dungeons & Dragons Monsters". io9. Retrieved January 20, 2016.


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