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A displacer beast, also known as a dirlagraun[1] or omlarcat,[2] was a predatory feline monstrous magical creature.[6]

You waved a wounded rothé before a hungry displacer beast!
— Old Menzoberranzan saying[21]

Description[]

Displacer beasts were large cat-like creatures, sometimes described as panther or puma-like with six legs and a pair of 5 feet (1.5 meters) long[9] tentacles sprouting from their shoulders. The tentacled ended in pads of sharp horny edges, brownish yellow in color.[8] They were covered in a pelt of blue-black fur. They were usually about 9 feet (2.7 meters) long and weighed as much as 500 pounds (230 kilograms), but the occasional mutant could be twice this size.[6] Female displacer beast were generally smaller in size, from 8 feet (2.4 meters) to 9 feet (2.7 meters) in length and weighting 450 pounds (200 kilograms).[7] It was believed that displacers could live up to a hundred years.[3]

In some breeds, they appeared thin as if emaciated.[6] The creatures had striking emerald-green eyes[20][8] that glowed with malevolence.[4] The green radiance continued even after the creature's demise.[7]

A bigger and stronger variety known as displacer beast pack lord existed in the Realms. These enormous ebony cats were larger than their kin.[19] These pack lords were a mutation of a regular displacer beast with slightly higher intelligence, on par with a human, allowing them to lead other displacer beasts.[18]

Umbral variety of displacer beasts existed but rarely was seen outside the Plane of Shadows.[17]

Abilities[]

A displacer beast and its prey.

Displacer beasts used their innate magic to bend light, making them appear to be between 1 foot (0.3 meters) to 3 feet (0.91 meters) from their actual positions.[6][22] The same ability made them resistant to all ranged attacks and excellent at hiding.[6] The light bending was created by molecular vibrations generated by the specialized type of nerves located only in the outer layers of the displacer beast’s' skin cells. The vibrations were too fine to be noticed by the naked eye but were enough to bend light and create an illusion of the beast's body. Sages believed that the ability was unconscious for the beasts, but they could direct the illusory image at will. Displacers could see each other's true location, despite the illusions, as was evident when observing displacer beasts interacting amongst themselves. [3]

The ability to displace could be nullified via the phase trap spell.[23] Spells like dispel magic did nothing against their displacement, however true seeing allowed the caster to see displacer beast's true position.[7] Among other defenses, displacer beasts were resistant to many magical effects and poisons.[3]

Displacer beasts were generally strong creatures and their barbed tentacles were hard enough to punch through pure steel armor.[24] They possessed the ability to see in the dark as far as 60 feet (18 meters).[4] Their jumping height was around 20 feet (6.1 meters) up and 25 feet (7.6 meters) forward. The length was doubled if running.[3]

The creatures were not very intelligent, but they were more so than animals and could even speak some Common.[6]

Behavior[]

Displacer beasts were not just hunters and predators, they were also killers. The creatures enjoyed the pursuit and killed prey for sport. A sated displacer beast was just as likely to hunt and kill an unwitting traveler as a starving one. Like many other great cats, displacer beasts could play with their pray, wiping it alive until the cat was ready to eat. Once the prey was slain, displacer beasts used their back tentacles to drag the carcass to a safe and remote spot to consume it.[4][7] Despite being evil creatures, displacer beasts never fought amongst themselves over food nor for dominance.[7]

The creatures were capable of lightning-fast movement using all six or just four hind limbs, resembling strange cat centaurs. Displacer beasts had a habit of sharpening their claws and tentacle barbs on stone, often marking their lairs with numerous claw abrasions.[3]

Combat[]

Displacers locked in a frenzied battle.

Masters of the hunt, displacer beasts, and their pack lord kin acted in a similar manner when in battle. They targeted spellcasters first, attempting to wound them with the barbed tentacles from afar while facing male opponents head-first. The beasts used their deadly claws and bites.[19] When able, displacer beasts used their speed and nimbleness who dash past melee combatants, always attacking weaker members of the group first.[18] However, if faced with overwhelming odds, displacer beasts tended to flee rather than fighting to the death.[19][18]

They were not above hunting and attacking in groups and were known to lure prey into an ambush.[4]

Ecology[]

Like many big cats, displacer beasts often were pack hunters, living in small groups called prides,[13] although they sometimes encountered alone. Displacer beasts preferred to hunted smaller creatures but were not picky eaters, consuming anything hey could kill. All other creatures were considered prey by the beasts.[6][9] Among intelligent prey, orcs, goblins, and humans were the most common.[7] Giant deer, boars, cattle, buffalo, bears, and blink dogs were displacers' favorite animal prey.[3]

Displacer beasts themselves were close to the top of the food chain in the areas they inhabited and had little to fear from other creatures, apart from local trolls and giants.[7]

When displacer beast mates raised their young, they lived separated from the rest of the pride. These great cats mated in the fall, bearing kittens in the spring. Each couple produced two to four kittens per litter. Newborn displacers came into the world with their eye open and their mouths filled with functional sharp teeth. Kittens were fed meat and mother's milk until the age of four months. The youth were small and looked like ordinary but six-legged domestic cats, lacking tentacles, with only small knobby growths in their place. Tentacles started sprouting around eight weeks into their lives and grew swiftly, an inch per day. Displacer kittens displayed playful behavior; however, it was completely gone by the time youths reached adulthood. The displacer beast youth were mature at the age of four months but continued to grow. After four months, the kittens were taught to hunt and kill by their parents. That period usually lasted for two months. Youths did not leave the family lair until their tentacles, and magical abilities were fully developed. Once developed and taught how to hunt, the family of displacer beasts went their own way.[7][3]

Habitats[]

A white-furred displacer beast attacking adventurers in Icewind Dale.

Displacer beasts who preferred forest hunting grounds laired in areas hidden by thick greenery and foliage or in hollowed-out massive trees, while those who inhabited plains and mountains claimed hidden caves as their homes.[18] Being highly territorial features, each lone cat and each pride had their own territory, and they attacked anything that threatened it.[7] Prey wan brought back into the lair to be devoured by the entire litter, which led to the displacer beast homes being littered with bones, horns, and gear of slain creatures.[7]

On the Prime Material plane, displacer beasts were known to hunt in deep forests such as the Dire Woods part of the High Forest in the Northwest Faerûn. One of the displacer beasts found there was twice as big as its kin and was strong enough to uproot a tree with its tentacles.[10] In the nation of Aglarond, the bests prowl in the depths the Yuirwood.[11]

Further south, the Channath Vale[25] and warm plains of Durpar, Estagund, and Var the Golden were displacer beasts' homelands.[15] Occasionally, wild displacer beasts were encountered in the High Meadows tundra region of the Endless Wastes.[14] The wilderness of Thar was another area inhabited by the beasts.[16]

The Alimir Mountains of Calimshan were home to several species of big cats, including a population of several prides of displacer beasts that arrived from the Omlarandin Mountains to the north.[13] The Thunder Peaks and the Tilver's Gap were rumored to have a hidden population of displacer beasts, whoever some claimed that wild feline attacks were simply mountain lions.[26] The Omlarandin Mountains in Erlkazar was home to one of the biggest populations of omlarcat–the local name given to the displacer beasts. However, unlike other beasts, omlarcats rarely gave trouble to the local humanoids, only becoming a danger in the fall during their mating season. During that time, groups of hunters and adventurers were sent into the mountains to cull the displacer beast numbers.[2]

Displacer beasts could be encountered in the Abyss, trained, kept, and used by the drow priestesses of Lolth on the Spider Queen's layer of the Demonweb Pits.[27]

Relationships[]

The beasts had a deep instinctual hatred of blink dogs. The creatures attacked each other on sight and fought to the death.[6][9] The nature of the antipathy was unknown; however, some sages claimed that this was due to them being of opposite moral dispositions. Others theorized that the antipathy comes from their abilities, blinking and displacement, creating neural feedback within the creatures, provoking feral hostility.[7]

Many humanoids trained them to act as guards or pets, such as members of the Unseelie Court and onis.[5] In Calimshan, some stables, such as the Drakhon Sabban, offered rare trained exotic mounts, such as displacer beasts, for purchase.[28]

Displacer beasts could be summoned via monster summoning V.[29][30]

Usages[]

Displacer beasts' hide was a valuable commodity, used to create highly sought-after enchanted items such as Kumakawa hide armors and cloaks of displacement.[31] Najjar's Cloak of Weaponry, an enchanted cloak from Calimshan, was crafted out of linen and tanned displacer beast hide.[32] A variation of drow piwafwi cloaks were made using the shimmering displacer beast hides..[33] Jump daggers' creation involved tempering the blades in blink dog or displacer beast blood.[34] Midnight's Moon, an artifact scythe, had its handle wrapped in the beast's hide.[35]

A piece of tanned displacer beast hide leather was a material component of the displacement spell.[36]

Displacer beasts' eyes glowed unsettling green after their death, so many thieves used them as strange luck charms, believing the eyes protected them from being spotted. This made the creatures' eyes a valuable commodity.[7]

Worshipers of Malar hunted displacer beasts, among other bests. The clerics fought displacer beasts, owlbear, and other large beasts with their bare hands, killing them and creating ceremonial headgear out of the prey's pelts and heads.[37]

History[]

Wemics of Shaar hunting down a displacer beast.

The beasts were thought to have originated from the Feywild,[5] where they were trained by the Unseelie court for hunting purposes. Eventually, the displacer beasts broke free of the fey's control and roamed, causing chaos wherever they went. After they left captivity, the Unseelie court sent out blink dogs to track and drive the beasts out of the Feywild and into the Prime Material plane.[4]

Another theory posited that displacer beasts had their origin in Bhaal, the Lord of Murder, who brought forth the first displacer beast, Shantu, using a corrupted moonwell on the island of Gwynneth in the Moonshae Isles.[12]

Circa the 13th century DR, a Cormyrean evoker named Tym penned a famed collection of folios collectively known as Tym's Monstrous Book. The A Miscellany of Magical Monsters folio of the book recorded the wizard's extensive research of the displacer beast and many other magical beasts.[38]

In the mid-14th century DR, a human adventurer Derry Brandondale came across a female blink dog in the wild. The dog was being attacked by two fierce displacer bests as it defended her newborn young. Derry could not help but defend the pups. Subsequently, both displacer beasts were slain but at the coast of the mother blink dog's life. Unwilling to let the newborns die, Derry raised them as his own. The adventure led the man to retire from the life of danger and pursue his passion as the proprietor of The Friendly Familiar pet shop of Raven's Bluff.[39]

In the mid-to-late-14th century DR, Havureela the Mystical of Bezantur in Thay kept a pet displacer beast who guarded her shop of magical charms and trinkets. She acquired the beast in the younger adventuring days and felt fiercely protective of its mistress. The creature was ready to shred anyone who entered Havureela the Mystical's store without her explicit permission.[40]

Circa the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR, locals of the Tilver's Gap in the northern part of the Thunder Peaks witnessed green-eyed six-legged panthers. Wild cat attacks surged in the area, even inspiring a bandit band to adopt an image of a displacer beast as their symbol. The presence of the creatures was considered a rumor by some, while others wondered where the beasts came from. They were known to roam lands between the Moonsea Ride and the Northride. Many speculated that the beasts were unleashed on the Gap for a specific nefarious reason. An unknown party surely caused fear and havoc in the region, disturbing the wildlife. Inhabitants of Tilverton reported strange late-night lights appearing in the area at night, accompanying the prowling creatures with a sense of almost palpable forbidding.[20][41]

Circa the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, a mysterious killer adorned in a cloak of displacer beast hide terrorized the city of Waterdeep to the chagrin of the Watch.[42] The killer was Huntmistress Dhusarra el Abhuk a vampire follower of Malar.[43]

In the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, a powerful displacer beast pack lord made a lair in the Sewers of Mulmaster of the Moonsea region. That year, a slave girl named Lyetta fled from her Zhentarim masters and found shelter in the sewers; however, she became trapped by the hungry feline creature and was resigned to her fate of being by the beast's claws or of hunger and exposure.[44]

As the calamity of the Spellplague ravaged the Realms, starting with the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR, the disaster affected the Feywild. The fey creatures fell into alignment with the material world and poured through weakened barriers between planes. Displacer beasts of Feywild were among those fey.[45]

In the late 15th century DR, a mounted head of a displacer beast was displayed in one of the dining rooms of the Elfsong Tavern in the city of Baldur's Gate. The room was aptly named the Displacer Beast Room.[46]

Notable Displacer Beasts[]

Wyllow and her displacer beast Crissann.

  • Crissann, the companion of elf druid Wyllow, named after a human mercenary wizard she had befriended many years before 1492 DR. Halaster Blackcloak, the Mad Mage of Undermountain turned her against Wyllow and she was forced to kill the mercenary.[47]
  • Shantu the displacer beast was one of the three children of Bhaal created by him in mockery of the Earthmother's Children of the Moonshae. Shantu was responsible for the death of the hero named Daryth of Calimshan in 1345 DR.[48]

Appendix[]

See Also[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
Ruins of AdventureCity of GoldSleep of AgesExpedition to the Demonweb PitsWhat's Up in Down­shadowVault of the DracolichDead in ThayWaterdeep: Dragon HeistWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad MageIcewind Dale: Rime of the FrostmaidenThe Wild Beyond the Witchlight
Referenced only
Training GroundUndermountain: The Lost LevelShadowdale: The Scouring of the LandSons of GruumshGhosts of Dragonspear CastleOut of the AbyssBaldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Novels
DarkwellMasqueradesThe Sword Never SleepsCharon's ClawArchmageTimeless
Referenced only
HomelandSiege of DarknessThe Ring of WinterProphet of MoonshaeCanticleRoad of the PatriarchAscendancy of the LastGorlist's DragonRise of the KingFire in the BloodStarlight Enclave
Video Games
Curse of the Azure BondsEye of the BeholderNeverwinter Nights (AOL game)Gateway to the Savage FrontierBaldur's Gate: Dark AllianceDungeons & Dragons: Eye of the BeholderNeverwinter (Sharandar)Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
Referenced only
Neverwinter Nights: Darkness over Daggerford
Board Games
Faerûn Under Siege
Card Games
AD&D Trading CardsSpellfire: Master the Magic
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Through Twilight BoughsWhen the Lights Went Out in Candlekeep

Gallery[]

References[]

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