• Justin Handlin

Dungeons & Dragons Monster Tactics: Displacer Beast


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Seldom where they seem, displacer beasts mislead enemies by concealing their true location by displacing light, which helps them evade danger. Aside from the Feywild, 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 their dark hiding places.

-Volothamp Geddarm-


Displacer beasts look like enormous panthers, but their barbed tentacles and illusions 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.


A surprise attack by a displacer beast means a quick death for most. 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.


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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 arc 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 Core 5e Features

Displacement. The displacer beast projects a magical illusion that makes it appear to be standing near its actual location, causing attack rolls against it to have disadvantage. If it is hit by an attack, this trait is disrupted until the end of its next turn. This trait is also disrupted while the displacer beast is incapacitated or has a speed of 0.


Displacement is arguably the displacers beasts greatest asset. Imposing disadvantage on nearly every attack increases its survivability significantly. Now, this often leads DMs into tossing them into combat and allowing them to get surrounded by their enemy. But, the displacer beast is smarter than this. Just because it can't be easily attacked, doesn't mean it will allow itself to be surrounded. Instead, it would more likely use its long 10 foot reach tentacles to keep its distance and reduce the number of attacks it takes. This also allows it to easily get in and out of combat without the risk of taking on melee attacks. Additionally, its high speed works well with its long reach when it comes to grappling a foe, and dashing away with them. This strategy is enough to allow the displacer beast to push the battle into one on one if it so chooses. Especially if it secretly spirits away a character in the back of the lineup without anyone noticing.


Avoidance. If the displacer beast is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.


The displacer beast's ability to turn successful saves into zero damage is a huge benefit that the displacer beast can take advantage of. For a beast-like creature, they are surprisingly intelligent. This comes clear in its ability to develop pretty complex tactics around its strengths. In this case, the displacer beast has no problem ambushing enemies in hazardous terrain, as it is well aware of its ability to avoid threats. So when designing encounters with a displacer beast, utilizing hazardous terrains such as acid pools or slippery ice can be used to its advantage.


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Character Concept Varin “The Emerald Archer” Diamonddew

Description: Varin’s wields a large emerald colored longbow and twin leaf-like bladed shortswords. His long black hair pinned up in a bun and held together with two interwoven thin wooden daggers. His hide armor is embossed with leaf artistry that looks akin to dragon scales.


Personality: While he is a compassionate leader who maintains a cheerful disposition, he frequently stares into the distance, listening, expecting at any moment to hear signs of approaching foes.


History: Varin’s ancestral forest burned to the ground decades ago. He grew up in desolate wastelands on the fringe of a large human city, unable to quite fit in.


Motivation: He carries with him a black arrowhead that he found after his forest burned to the ground. He believes that his home burning down wasn't an accident. The arrowhead is his only evidence to finding the one responsible.


Monster Variant Sorcerer, Initiate

Origin: Satyr

Lost Features: Skills, Ram, Shortsword,Shortbow


New Features

Empowered Spell (2/Day). When the sorcerer rolls damage for its firebolt or scorching ray, it can reroll up to 2 damage dice. It must use the new result.


Twinned Spell (2/Day). When the sorcerer casts its firebolt, it can target a second creature in range with the same firebolt.


Wild Magic Surge (1/Turn). When the sorcerer rolls a d20. On a result of 5 or lower, the sorcerer rolls on the Wild Magic Surge Table (PHB). If the effect is a spell, it is too wild to be affected by Empowered Spell or Twinned Spell, and if it normally requires concentration, it doesn’t; the spell lasts for its full duration.


Actions:

Fire Bolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +5 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn’t being worn or carried.


Scorching Beam (Recharge 6). Ranged Spell Attack: +5 to hit, range 120 ft. The sorcerer creates three beams of fire and hurls them at targets within range. It can hulr them at one target or several targets. It makes a ranged spell attack for each ray. On a hit, the target takes 1d4 fire damage.


Reactions:

Weakened Shield (Recharge 5-6). When the sorcerer is hit by an attack or targeted by a magic missile spell it can use its reaction to create an invisible barrier of magical force to protect itself. Until the start of the sorcerer's next turn, it has a +3 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack, and it takes no damage from magic missile.


Encounter Gromblekin’s Arena (Extraordinary Expeditions)

Gromblekin is a hobgoblin warlord who runs only the most entertaining colosseum fights in all the realms. Their arena is known far and wide and attracts tourists from other lands.Unfortunately, it is also a front for a great deal of crime ranging from drug trafficking, purchasing of slave fighters, and rigged matches for the purposes of gambling and profiteering.


Recently the old Lord who governed the entertainment district passed away due to old age and his son, a half-elf noble, Lord Merton Vercernicus has taken over his holdings. Young Merton does not turn a blind eye to these criminal activities as his father once did. After publicly threatening to crack down on the illegal gambling in the district as a way to try and force compliance from Gromblekin, Lord Merton has been kidnapped. His family received an anonymous note written on a stained gladiator timetable that drew a rough map of the hypogeum under the arena marking MV in a particular cell.


The Lord’s family are looking for an unknown party to infiltrate the Arena and retrieve the new master of the Vercernicus holdings before he meets a grizzly end. Any evidence that can be accrued that leads to a clear conviction of the Hobgoblin and their crimes is an additional goal, but the priority is getting the lord back to safety


Magic Item Sub-zero Gloves

Wondrous item, rarity (requires attunement)

The icy blue and black gloves are chill to the touch. Embossed on the back is an arcane Ise glyph. While wearing these gloves you gain the following benefits using your spell spell save DC and spell attack bonus.

You have resistance to cold damage.


You gain a +1 bonus to your spell save DC and your spell attack roll when you cast a spell that deals cold damage.


You can cast the ray of frost cantrip and the speed reduction is reduced by an additional 5 feet.


As an action, you release a blast of ice cold wind from the gloves that can freeze the ground. The blast covers a 10-foot square area centered on the point you choose within 30 feet of you. The area becomes coated in slippery ice and is difficult terrain. When a creature moves onto or on the slippery area for the first time on a turn, it must succeed on a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone. This feature cannot be used again until you finish a short or long rest.


Dungeon Master Tip DnD Combat Simulator

This powerful tool will change how you build encounters in Dungeons and Dragons. Gone are the days of calculating the difficulty of an encounter with just XP and CR ratings. www.dndcombat.com has a fantastic browser-based program for running dozens of DnD5e combat scenarios in just seconds. You select monsters, party class makeup, magic items and spells. Then select the monsters of the encounter or create your own. Then, with a click of a button the program, with AI built-in, will run the combat scenario a few dozen times. This takes just seconds. When it’s finished, it reports the success rate of the party in a percentage. It’s that easy. Far more accurate than the clunky XP calculator.


To take it a step further, it even breaks down the simulation turn by turn. You can now see the abilities, features and spells used during the battles. This allows you to see which monsters are the most dangerous, with powers that affect combat the most, and most importantly. Figure out where everything fell apart. DnD Combat Simulator is currently a new program and is still in development. But damn if it isn’t amazing. I can’t wait to see where it goes.


Player Tip Roleplaying an Elf

Elves are a people of deeply felt but short-lived passions. They are easily moved to delighted laughter, blinding wrath, or mournful tears. They are often joyful, tempestuous, wild and extremely friendly. Many other races see elves as flighty or impetuous, but they never shirk their responsibilities and commitments. The extended life of an elf often means serious concerns to many others, and are often difficult for them to take seriously. Often, because they’ve seen it all before.


Nature and all its bounty are revered by elves. Their connection to nature often leads them to refusing to destroy or even harm anything of nature, not even to help themselves. Because of this, they often have a deity consisting of fruits, nuts and vegetables. They even refuse to harm trees, instead choosing to grow their homes by molding and shaping the natural world around them without harm.


Elves are loyal and merry friends. They love simple pleasures—dancing, singing, footraces, and contests of balance and skill—and rarely see a reason to tie themselves down to dull or disagreeable tasks. Despite how unpleasant war can be, a threat to their homes, families, or friends can make elves grimly serious and

prompt them to take up arms.


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