Monday, February 8, 2016

Ecology of the Displacer Beast

The following excerpts are from the journal of Jason Canderman, of the eight-man Canderman-Dodder Expedition, which was documenting the newly-discovered ruins of an ancient Hithan pyramid. This journal was found by a group of nine explorers (three of whom met their fate later by the same creatures described within). Based on the following excerpts, we recommend bringing a full regimen of prepared soldiers before the next expedition is attempted.
Juelay 18, 887 NE - On the ninth day since our expedition began, We have finally entered the Ssizeraal valley. The temperature is sweltering, and has been becoming so for the last three days. Ahead of us is the massive Ssizeraal Jungle, and beyond, new discoveries. We have seen no sign of any locals, either intelligent or not.
Juelay 21, 887 NE - The travel through the jungle for the last three days has been difficult to say the least. The air is oppressive and thick with humidity. Very little light makes it through the canopy above us. The bugs are terrible. Malik is sure that we are being swarmed by new species of gnats that are far more aggressive than those of our more temperate farmlands. Finley has warned us that the pack mule and spare horses all seem nervous, and I hear them whinnying far more than they did on the open paths leading to the jungle. We hope to soon find the ancient road we were told about.
Juelay 22, 887 NE - Just before sunset, we found the ancient, overgrown road that once connected two great Hithan cities of the past. We decided to set up camp in the slightly-clearer area. I saw with my own eyes the uneasiness of the pack animals - they seemed especially fearful of the old road itself.
Juelay 23, 887 NE - Traveling on the road, overgrown as it is, has provided far swifter travel than the first several days through the jungle. Though the canopy is still thick, light is able to reach the jungle floor, which seems to have a positive effect on both the humidity and the bugs. We are still several days out of the ruins we seek, but are optimistic. Guardsman Chaz mentioned he thought he heard a loud roar earlier in the day, such as that of a predatory animal, but no one else heard it.
Juelay 24, 887 NE - I am sad to write that tragedy has struck us today. Guardsman Jueg, youngest of our crew, has perished to an unknown beast. At just past noon today, Jueg left the path for personal reasons. As the minutes passed, we became worried. Finally, after nearly thirty minutes, and no response to our calling his named, Guardsmen Chaz and Dale entered the forest. Scant minutes later, they returned, carrying the body of Jueg. The back of his neck had been mauled by a maw of significant size, with piercings from teeth penetrating to the front of his throat. This had caused his death, and also his inability to scream. However, much more terrible and obvious, was the gaping wound on his chest. His heart had been viciously removed, leaving a large, bloody cavity. None of us had experience with any sort of predator that did this, and so sadly, the cause of death will forever remain a mystery. We buried Jueg off the path, speaking a few words to Shand, Patron of Safe Travels, and gathered his items to return to his family. We will sleep uneasy tonight.
Juelay 26, 887 NE - Another of our crew has died. Around midnight last night, Guardsman Dale, on duty, was killed by the same beast which took Jueg's life. We only discovered his body this morning. Just as with Jueg, his throat was horribly wounded, and his chest had been eaten on, with the heart gone. We are surely being stalked by a predator of such ferocity as we have before witnessed. For the rest of our expedition, both guardsmen will remain awake through the night, along with either myself, Malis, or Jenar. Finley will stay with the pack animals through the night, to make sure they are not terrified so much that they break their restraints.
Juelay 27, 887 NE - We are down another crew, this time Jenar, whom I have known for well over twenty years. Though we were not close, and over the years had vehement disagreements on our various scientific pursuits, his death was a tragic blow to me and our expedition. We are now fearful of our lives, though we have a bit more information now as to what fell beast plagues us. Jenar was awake while attacked and was able to let loose one scream, which Guardsmen Chat and Vic heard. They both spotted a large black beast, extremely fast, and both attacked, but were unable to wound it. They retrieved Jenar, who was still alive, and brought him back to camp. After waking the rest of us, Jenar eventually died in my arms. Even now, his blood is still on me, as I struggle to put pen to paper.
Juelay 29, 887 NE - Eighteen days after after our expedition started, and after the deaths of three of our comrades, we have arrived at the ruins. Though our hearts are weary and souls are heavy, we rejoice at the beauty before us. Three pyramids, mostly claimed by the vines of the jungle, but still obvious in their majesty, stand before us in a large clearing. My initial notes before we set up camp:
The pyramids appear to be aligned with the stars of Gozdare the Bard - specifically his lute. The smallest is to the the northeast of the clearing, and appears to be no more than a hundred feet tall. The next-smallest is on the southwest of the clearing, and is much larger, possibly close to three hundred feet tall. It clears the tallest trees around us. The central-most pyramid however is the largest, possibly over five hundred feet tall. If our estimates are true, this will be the largest Hithan pyramid found so far, though we will need to take more accurate measurements to be sure. This central pyramid has also best-withstood the ravages of time - being furthest from the trees, there are no vines pulling at the stones, and no roots to disrupt the ground. It is quite beautiful.
Stairs climb the center, and each of the four sides of the base are adorned with animals, some known, some not. There are griffons and rocs on the south face, salamanders and large bug-like creatures on the eastern face, frogs and octopi on the western face, and on the northern face, which is the side that greeted our arrival into the clearing, are gorillas and some sort of feline creature. Though the statues are mostly-eroded, these feline creatures are of a variety never before seen, with large spikes protruding from their shoulder blades. All-in-all, they are quite menacing looking, and the pack animals seem wary of the statues. Multiple times in the evening, as we were setting up camp, I also caught Chaz gazing upon the feline creature statues.
Juelay 30, 887 NE - On the eve of Agaus, we have been attacked again. Luckily no one was wounded tonight, and for the first time, beneath the nearly-full moon of Juelay's final night, we all finally caught glimpse of the beast which has been stalking us. It is a large black feline creature, which is likely what the northern-face statues are modeled after, but instead of spikes on its shoulder blades, long writhing tentacles protrude. It is, quite simply, the most horrific creature I have ever seen in my life, and it is quite menacing. Chaz and Vic were able to fend off the beast. Chaz even swears he struck the beast clear in the neck, but his sword went straight through as though it wasn't even there! We are very much on edge, but now that we know more of the best, we feel more confident. Our fires burn bright throughout the night.
We have studied the ruins even more, and based on some hieroglyphics we have been able to find around the base of the central pyramid, we are quite certain that these ancient Hithans likely worshiped - or at least revered - the animals to which they built totems. This is astounding to us, as all our previous knowledge of the Hithans has led us to believe they were actually worshipers of The Fold.
I and Malik climbed the stairs of the central pyramid today. Again, we have not made concise measurements, but based on the five hundred fourteen steps, each of which are almost a feet steep, we are quite certain our first guesses about the size of the pyramid were very close to correct.
Atop the pyramid is what appears to be an altar, and it is stained with what can be nothing other than blood. Beside the altar, on each side, is a smaller statue of several of the animals that surround the base of the pyramid - the feline creature faces the altar's south side, the frog its west, the roc its south, and the bug-like creatures its east. Though obviously a sacrificial altar, there appear to be no nicks in the stone to suggest that blades were used in the ceremonies.
Agaus 2, 887 NE - Again we have been attacked by the strange beast, and our knowledge of it increases and becomes harder to understand at the same time. Malik, who has had some study of the Arts, was able to loose a spread of magical bolts upon the beast. He swears they hit, and that in fact, those magical bolts are incapable of missing, but I clearly saw the bolts strike thin air two feet to the right of the beast as it approached the camp. Either way, it screamed in pain and retreated, but I was sure I saw it look back with such a look of menace that no natural animal can attain - this was the look of a thinking, rational creature, and it struck me with such fear that it is now four hours later and I cannot sleep.
In the study of the pyramids, our work has been cut short both of the last two days, as powerful thunderstorms have swept through the region. Several of our horses broke free and we had to chase them down, all while being fearful of being attacked by the stalking beast.
Agaus 4, 887 NE - We are leaving this wretched place. Tonight, just after the final darkness of night had settled upon us, we were attacked. This time not one, not two, but three of the terrifying creatures attacked us from three sides, as though they were organizing a three-front attack. Malik was able to let loose another burst of magical power which wounded one of the beasts, causing it to flee, but was quickly mauled from behind by a second. Meanwhile, Vic and Chaz were able to fend off the third, but not before Chaz was critically wounded. Malik perished soon after the creatures were chased off, and Chaz may not be long for this world - he is missing an eye, which was bloodily removed from his head by one strike of the beast's tentacles. He also has a terrible bite wound on his hip. Vic, Finley, and I sit huddled together, with four fires around us, and the animals to our back. Chaz babbles incoherently about invisible teeth. We could not even risk burying Malik. His body is covered and rotting just outside the fires. May the gods have mercy on me for saying this, but if the beasts come back, hopefully they will be distracted by his flesh and will leave us be. We leave tomorrow.
Agaus 6, 887 NE - The last two days were a nightmare. As we began traveling north to leave this place, we realized almost immediately we were being hunted. Multiple times throughout yesterday, we could see the slinking forms of black felines in the jungle to our right and left. The first attack killed several of our horses, including the one which carried Chaz's limp form. To our shame, we fled further up the path, leaving him on the ground. Our only comfort as we ran from his limp form on the ground was that, in his delirium, he likely would not realize what was happening to him. We stumbled along the ancient roadway for almost an hour when, to our horror, we saw several of the beasts awaiting us on the path before us. They just stood there as we scrambled to a stop, trying to hold the horses steady. They watched us as we backed away from them, and then began slowly moving down the path toward us. We saw them leave the path behind us eventually and tried to turn around north again to escape the jungle. No sooner had we turned the horses around than five of the horrible beasts appeared on the path to our north, blocking passage. They moved toward us again and we fled back south, the direction from which we had just come. They were herding us! We passed the remains of Chaz and two horses without looking, seeing only a bloody mess. It took us two hours to reach the pyramids again, and we quickly set up camp with our backs to the base, not knowing what to do. I am certain I will not sleep tonight.
Agaus 7, 887 NE - This is my last will and testimony. If one should eventually find this journal, please read the words within carefully, and leave this ungodly place. Throughout the day today, we have been attacked multiple times, but never lethally, save for one instance. At noon, Finley, in terror, took to horse and galloped toward the jungle's edge. Three of the beasts caught him and his screams still resonate in my ears. These creatures, now attacking us in broad daylight, are herding us up the pyramid, though we know not why. Vic and I now sit halfway up the stairs of the pyramid, between the base and that fearful altar, and watch the cat-like creatures prowling below us. There are almost a dozen of them now, an obvious pack, and we can see features now we could not before - such as their six legs, and that the tentacles seem to have teeth on them, and that though they are the color of panthers, they are closer in size to full-grown tigers. Vic has fired arrows at them over the course of the day, and I can now swear that the arrows are hitting the creatures as I see them, yet still moving straight through them, as though they are not truly there. They keep slowly coming higher up the steps, and we keep retreating. It will not be long before we are at the altar. I have sharpened my knife - if I must die, I will die cleanly.

Introduction

Displacer beasts are a magical monstrosity from the Feywild. It is said that at one time, they preyed only in the fey courts, but as many an explorer and adventurer have learned (to their own detriment, usually), these monsters are alive and active in the prime material plane. While many regard them as simply animals (thus "neutral" in alignment), the truth is, most harbor an intelligence and maliciousness not available to natural beasts of the world. They are a truly deadly predator, not to be taken lightly.

Physiological Observations

Physically, displacer beasts have an almost uncanny resemblance to panthers. However, the appearance is mostly superficial, and their more alien features are quickly apparent to even the most casual observer.
Feline in structure, the beast can grow up to eleven feet in length, rivaling the largest tigers in size. Unlike tigers, they are much sleeker, tending to weigh at the most up to 650 pounds. They have dark black fur, much like the panther they resemble, but their fur has a gloss to it not found in natural wildlife. It is thought that this is a leftover from their heritage as a fey-related creature, as it typically would not help with camouflage at night to have a sheen to one's fur. Finally, their heads can be up to two feet wide, with a maw that contains two-inch-long incisors. The creature's jaws are so powerful that they have been known to crush their victim's skulls in one bite.
From here, the displacer beast's unnatural heritage takes over. The most obvious aspect of the monster are the two tentacles that protrude from the shoulder blades. These tentacles can grow up to seven feet long on a full-grown adult, and end it a pad covered with spiky growths resembling sharp, pointed teeth. The tentacles are able to be moved and maneuvered by the displacer beast as though they are fully-functioning limbs.
Instead of four legs, the displacer beast has an extra pair of legs immediately behind the front, giving the creature a total of six legs. Scholars are unsure of the evolutionary purpose of these legs, unless simply to make the beasts even more deadly than they already would have been otherwise.
Finally, the creature's claim to fame and namesake, is its ability to appear anywhere from several inches to several feet from where it actually stands. Observers have reported seeing someone striking the monster dead in the eyes, only to then be swatted and attacked seemingly by something invisible to the side. The nature of this natural displacement is unknown, though it is likely to be a remnant from the mystical nature of the Feywild.1 This ability is in constant effect - it does not disappear if the animal is asleep or unconscious, though if it is killed, the effect ends. Many a hunter or warrior has been awfully disconcerted to finally slay the stalking beast, only to have it's corpse transport to a few feet to the right or left.
Displacer beasts can run extraordinarily fast, far outpacing cats of similar size (other than the cheetah), as well as other animals with more than four legs. They can also jump amazing distances - up to twenty feet horizontally, and over ten feet straight up from a standing still position - several feet more in either direction if they have a running start.
As kittens, displacer beasts have no tentacles - rather, they have two bony protrusions on their shoulder blades. Over the course of the first three years of the displacer beasts' life, the spikes will elongate and grow outward, with skin covering them. The protrusions will soften and become more flexible over time, and by the third year, when the beast is in adolescence (and about half the size it will eventually grow to), the protrusions will resemble rudimentary tentacles - they will often be just a few feet long, and not very flexible yet. By the fifth year, pads have formed at the end of the tentacles, which are now up to six feet long, and spikes are just beginning to grow from them. By the seventh year, most displacer beasts are fully grown, tentacles and all.4
Displacer beasts lifespan on the prime material plane is around thirty years. In the Feywild, they can live for hundreds of years.

Social & Behavioral Observations

Displacer beasts are extremely aggressive predators, and similar to most cats, they seem to enjoy toying with their prey. Some reports have indicated people being stalked for multiple days in a row, often with the displacer beast making an appearance just at the edge of the potential victim's vision. It is said that once a displacer beast chooses a victim, it will not stop stalking until either the victim or the monster is dead.2
Displacer beasts have several typical manners of attack. The first method the monsters use in combat is usually striking at their opponents with the reach of their tentacles, thus staying out of the range of most weapons. The tentacles can strike with extreme precision, with the jagged spines leaving devastating, often fatal wounds. If this does not finish off the prey, then the creatures will often next move in and attack with their massive claws. Much like other large feline predators, they will often jump onto the back of the victim, raking with their back claws while holding on with the front. Unlike those other feline predators, and to the misfortune of their victims, the displacer beasts have that extra pair of front legs, giving it even more attacks to incapacitate their prey.
Finally, often as a final death blow, the beasts have been known to bite the victim's chest with their massive jaws. As though they are aware of where the prey's lifeblood comes from, they will eat the heart of their victim, sometimes in one fell bite.3 Dead bodies which have not been completely consumed will often be found with their heart, and most surrounding organs, missing, having been eaten by the creature.
Very few who have seen a displacer beast have lived to tell, but those who have all seem to agree that the monsters display almost no sign of fear. They also seem to display malice at their victims, especially those who evade them. Survivors often awaken terrified in the night, screaming of seeing those feline, malevolent eyes staring them down. More hardy folk, such as adventurers and explorers, confirm this - most who have survived tell the same story, that as the beast fled to safety, it would often look back and stare at its would-be prey, as though calculating.
In regards to their associations with other species, what little is known is shared here.
Firstly, displacer beasts and blink dogs have such an incorrigible and known hatred for each other that they will attack each other on site with no regard to their safety.4 Pound for pound, displacer beasts are much stronger and more terrifying that blink dogs, but blink dogs are a bit smarter, and will often attack with its full pack, giving it the upper hand. Scholars debate where this hatred comes from - it does not likely extend from the typical dog vs cat mentality, since by nature, cats and dogs do not actually hate each other (despite what many a pet owner says otherwise). The most prevalent theory is that the two creatures' abilities (blink and displacement) are so similar in their mystical nature, that their auras upset the other. Both species can sense when the other is around, even when outside the range of hearing or smelling (and even when hearing and smelling are magically blocked).
They have similar (though not as ferocious) disposition toward other magical animals as well, such as pegasi, unicorns, and winter wolves. None of them inspire the displacer beast's fury like the blink dog, but the beast will go out of its way to specifically target those other species.
Toward most other animals, and even humanoids, displacer beasts display a predatory air mostly, though again, if they are bested by their prey, that nature starts turning to hatred and fury. With one exception, displacer beasts are not scared of humanoids - they consider an elf, human, or gnome just as much fair play as they do boar, buffalo, or elk.
Rakshasas are something different. This is possibly the one creature in the multiverse that displacer beasts not only show respect for, but possibly fear. No matter how large a pack, no scholars have seen, or even heard of, displacer beasts attacking rakshasas, and some myths and legends even place the beasts in the company of the tiger-men, often as pets or guardians.
Some other species have been known to capture displacer beasts to use as guardians, though the beast will spend all its days in captivity planning its escape and eventual evisceration of its captors. It is very rare that a pack of displacer beasts can be caught by surprise by any amount of hunters, but solo beasts have been overcome by large groups of hunters. In particular, lizardfolk seem to like capturing the creatures, possibly simply due to their close proximity in jungle and rain forest ecosystems. Large bands and tribes of orcs, hobgoblins, and other powerful goblinkind have been reported to have captive displacer beasts, but these situations are much more rare.
Finally, they seem to have no specific ill will toward other large predatory cats, and are not known to hunt them. This could be that the predatory cat's natural instincts are too refined for the displacer beast to stalk, so it is not worth the trouble, or it may even be some sort of lingering byproduct of the species' evolutionary history.

Ecological Observations

Within the prime material plane, though displacer beasts can be found in almost any region and climate, they favor humid forest areas, such as jungles and rain forests. These biospheres are likely the most attractive simply due to the prey within, but it could also be they still retain deep, past links to their jaguar and leopard "cousins." However, they may appear anywhere in the world, and have been known to adapt to different biospheres - brown and tan displacer beasts (colored like a lion) have been spotted in the desert (though rarely), and there are even rumors of white displacer beasts in arctic regions.
Displacer beasts need to eat anywhere from ten to twelve pounds of food per day, though like other hunting cats, they can go for a week or so without eating, then gorge themselves on a meal of anywhere from a 100 to 125 pounds. Their preferred prey in their natural habitat are any large animals such as boars, large deer, and other large mammals. However, they are just as happy to prey on humanoids, smaller mammals, and even certain larger lizards and reptiles that have enough mass to sustain them. Once a displacer beast has killed its prey, it will usually start its meal with the heart, and then move onto the head, and other internal organs.

Intra-Species Observations

Displacer beasts are more often than not pack animals.7 They roam, hunt, sleep, and live in small packs, with anywhere from five to eight adults. If there is not a pack lord (see Variants), then usually the strongest male in the pack will become an alpha.
Displacer beasts tend to be fiercely loyal to their pack, but are highly competitive of territory if they come across other beasts not in their own pack. Two displacer beasts from different packs (or two solo beasts) will size each other up and likely fight if one encroaches on the others' territory.
The mating ritual between a female and male displacer beast could be confused by the outside observer as an intense fight. Often, two or three males will approach a female in heat. Those males will strike each other with their tentacles, leaving gaping wounds on each other. It is not uncommon for one of the creatures to succumb to the wounds and die during the process. Eventually, only one male will be left standing - the others having either perished or fled to lick recuperate. This one will then approach the female. The two will circle each other with their tentacles flailing wildly. After as little as several minutes, or as long as a few hours, the two will launch themselves at each other, wrestling viciously. Their tentacles will strike at each other, but during this part of the ritual, rarely is blood drawn. Rather, for the only time in a displacer beast's adult life, the spikes on the tentacles will withdraw slightly. The two will eventually entangle their tentacles around each other and the male will mount the female.
During pregnancy, the male often stay close by the female, and will guard her ferociously. Other males in the pack will be protective of a pregnant female, but the male mate will attack literally anything that comes close to the female, including other displacer beasts.
Pregnancy lasts around a hundred days, and then the female will give birth to three to six kittens. At this time, the male mate will often leave the pack permanently, though the rest of the males will continue protecting the mother during the first few months. The kittens grow rapidly, and the mother will be training them to hunt on their own by their sixth month.

Historical and Cultural Significance

There are many primitive cultures across the world that worship displacer beasts, and other similar magical monstrosities. Some prehistoric cultures (those dating back to before writing) even have legends that the displacer beasts came from the sky 5 - these cultures look upon the beasts as a form of totem, and praise (and fear) them in equal measures. More intelligent displacer beasts may use these cultures for a time, as they will provide plenty of fresh meat for the beasts, but they will soon become weary of being given food - after all, they would much prefer to hunt.
More modern legends have displacer beasts in them as the guardians of evil deities - it is said that Bhaal has a pet displacer beast named Fade, whom he sends out to do his bidding when needed.
It is also likely that displacer beasts are the actual start of many rumors and ghost stories across the world that involve spectral panthers.

Variants

Occasionally, due to a fluke in the dark magics that sustain a displacer beast's life, a beast will grow much larger and stronger than the typical specimen. These Displacer Beast Pack Lords can reach a full twenty feet in length (with tentacles over fifteen feet), and are always the undisputed ruler of any packs that form around them.6
Though there would be no change to their stats, arctic and desert variants exist. The arctic displacer beast has a bluish-white coat, and its tentacles look less like long whips, and more line multi-segmented bones. The desert displacer beast, varying between brown and tan, looks like a large puma, with tentacles that look like thick, knotted ropes.

DM's Toolkit

Displacer beasts should be used carefully. They are a very dangerous creature, and even though they are not very high CR, their nature, and the mysteries of their origin, can make them a great opponent for PCs. They can make for a very unique encounter.
First and foremost, they are not likely to be the final boss in an adventure. Though they are much more intelligent than regular cats, they are not smart enough to plan strategies and create long-term menaces. At the end of the day, they are just extraordinarily intelligent and ferocious hunting animals, and should be used as such. Encountering one (or a pack) in the wild is a completely suitable way of using them.
To make things more interesting though, having displacer beasts be the pet or guardian of more rational NPCs would make for a more memorable encounter. A lizardfolk shaman that releases the displacer beast on the PCs while attacking with magic from the back could be a deadly and unique encounter.
For strategy, displacer beasts will almost always attack with reach first, using their tentacles. On any creature that can actually fight back (such as PCs, other displacer beasts, or stronger NPCs), it will attempt to use its tentacles as long as possible, wearing down the victim. When it must resort to its claws and jaws, it will be at a point where it is going all in. If the beast thinks it doesn't have much of a chance, it will likely flee (though it will stalk the victim afterward, looking for a weakness).
Though it is unusual for a single displacer beast to attack a group of armed combatants, if they are particularly hungry, or feeling the combatants may be in a weakened state, they may do so. A pack of displacer beasts has no qualms about attacking multiple potential victims.
Displacer beasts have powerful claw and bite attacks, however these were left out of the Monster Manual. Using slightly modified tiger stats (to account for the displacer beast's higher strength), here are some attack options using claws and bite:
  • Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.
  • Claw Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Notes Appendix

1 : Scholars visiting the Feywild, as well as tales coming from beings within, have reported seeing monsters similar to the displacer beast which only have the typical four legs. On the prime material plane, however, there are no reports of four-legged displacer beasts. Evolutionarily, what this means is unknown, and the scholars willing to study and debate it all have very different thoughts as to the why.
2 : While this is a common bit of hearsay in regions where displacer beasts are active, there appears to be no evidence that this is actually the case. In fact, anecdotal evidence seems to support the opposite - that because displacer beasts are so smart, they will know when they have been bested, and will flee from opponents who have proven to be too strong.
3 : Author's Note: The whole eating of the heart thing is actually not something commonly referred to in Monstrous Manuals, and even the original Dragon #109 "Ecology of..." article. However, the very first time I ever heard of the displacer beast was in the original Moonshae Isle Forgotten Realms books (some of the oldest written), and the displacer beast in those books inspired the heart-eating aspect of this article. I think it adds a nice, scary touch to them.
4 : Blink dogs will also attack a humanoid wearing a cloak of displacement, and displacer beasts will likewise attack wizards that are using the blink spell.
5 : Author's Note: This is just my way of relating the displacer beasts to the sci-fi creature that supposedly inspired them back in the 80's, the coerl.
6 : This is not a natural abnormalism, such as abyssal gigantism - this is a completely random magical aberration. There is no way to take a more standard displacer beast and get it to grow to these sizes.
7 : There are debates on what (if any) collective noun should be used when talking about a pack of displacer beasts. Some of the favorites are: "A Fading of displacer beasts," "A Vision of displacer beasts," "An Opaqueness of displacer beasts," and my personal favorite, "A Vanishing of displacer beasts."

This post is also posted to the "Ecology Project!" on the DnDBehindTheScreen subreddit.

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