Monster Manual A-Z: Displacer Beast

Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.

Displacer Beast

Displacer Beast

Aww, what a cute herd of cats! Why do they all have six legs and spiky tentacles? The Displacer Beast is by far one of my favorite monsters from the Monster Manual and has been for a while. Appearing as a large cat with six legs, tentacles, dark fur, and not really where it seems to be thanks to its ability to displace light, the Displacer Beast is an iconic monster as far as I’m concerned. Originating from the Feywild where they made bitter enemies with blink dogs, they have since crossed into the Material Plane where they continue to hunt for food and for sport, often playing with their prey. Occasionally Displacer Beasts may agree to serve as a pet or guard if they perceive it to be a good deal, otherwise they live and hunt alone or small packs where they ambush and attack any who wander into their territory.

Displacer Beasts are big cats, and have the toughness to match. While they’d be easy to hit normally, their displacement ability makes it hard to discern their actual location, meaning many strikes against them strike thin air, which also helps them avoid area attacks such as a fireball spell that might be misplaced. Once they close the distance, a Displacer Beast attacks not with their claws and teeth, but with the two spiky tentacles on their back, each one having good reach and dealing both bludgeoning and piercing damage for a double whammy.

The thing I love about Displacer Beasts and others like them is their versatility in a campaign. They can be as incidental as a random encounter along a trail, or a key guardian of treasure in a low level dungeon. They are smart and wise enough to be a cunning foe who outsmarts the party, or a wild and savage beast that decides to charge in headlong if they think they can win. Personally, I like the concepts of having them as pets to a villain in your game. Especially if there are many, and the party finds themselves facing one or two Displacer Beasts often, they will be able to take them down easier over time, but occasionally the displacement will screw with them and give your villain the edge they need to make a daring escape or gain the upper hand! And hey, there’s always the option of possibly releasing the beasts entirely and having them turn on or abandon the villain!

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