Of Displacer Beast and Quickdeath

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 23, 2017 - 8:50am
The Displacer Beast was inspired by A E. Van Vogt's sci f i story"Black Destoyer"  and later his story, "Voyage of the Space Beagle" from 1939 & 1950 respectively.

It entered the anals of fantasy gaming way back in AD&D days and has been a staple ever since. 

It seems to me that the quick death with it's tentacles is an adaption of the Displacer Beast back to sci Fi.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 23, 2017 - 9:11am
I only bring this up because I was musing on how to adapt the Displacer Beast to SF. Mentalism ability: teleport?

Then it occurred to me the ink cloud ability of the octopus- except it's effectively an inky smoke cloud. when hit in combat or when injured to 1/2 STA it emits a cloud of smoke and scurries away. It also has natural camoflage and staulks it's pretty attacking from ambush repeatedly untill it prevails in a combat. Perhaps it also has a healing ability such that it can restore damage x amount per hour. 

Explorers in the know, know that letting one of these escape is to be stalked and attacked reapeatedly for hours or days.

Description: not a puma or cat. Was tenatively leaning toward osakar evolutionary tree with characteristics of plant and animal. Bulbous body with four legs spaced equidistant around it's girth top of body opens like a flower or one of the eggs in Alien movie. Out of this opening is two tentacles with which it attacks and two eye stalks- low chance it can be surprised and it has a IM bonus. By immerseing in water or it's able to activate it's healing ability.
I'm not committed to this description if anyone has a better idea. 

Defensive cloud emits from "flower top" it begins with two doses of cloud and regenerates a dose every 4 or 5 hours. Cloud has same effects as smoke grenade. 


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 23, 2017 - 11:05am
Cool idea

Displacer Beast is a bone eater btw, I did some research on them for SF too... imagine finding dead NPCs with all their bones missing. I will see what I got in my files after work... 

I like your description.

"Zoinks!"

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 23, 2017 - 12:11pm
I'd rather not have it be a fantasy escape in SF. Need to run down a PDf of the Dragon with ecology of the D. B.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 23, 2017 - 6:03pm
Yeah I really like it being the animal plant idea you are suggesting, with the ink thing... and love the Oskar idea... that it clones like the Oskar do but maybe the cloning allows for variation on a few things? I yanked up my raw notes but the rough draft article is missing... probably gone in OS update. Frown

I dont know if any of this useful...

However I did recover notes I had it moving 22-23 meters, AT# 2, Osteovore, 

In my notes it started out with 6 legs and horned tentacles, tons of revisions have been done to it some sort of weird. First appeared in Greyhawk Supplement 

The original critter it is based on is called the Coeurl... appeared in the story "Black Destroyer", what it is eating in the bones is organically bound phosphorus. Highly Intelligent killer. In the story it pretends to be an animal, tenetacles ended in tentacled fingers, but in a second story The Voyage Of The Space Beagel the tentacles ended in suction cups and phosphurus was change to potassium. In the novel (2nd story) it is theorized they had been servents or pets of the original inhabitants of the planet.

So that is like 3 varients for whats on the end of the tenticles.


 "displacement ability, a form of illusion which causes it to appear to be a few feet away from where it actually is. This makes the creature hard to hit"

Could it be bending light some how? A sort of natural cloaking device and then projection of image of self elsewhere.



Dragon Magazine 109...  I will upload it to Magazine Stand...

I like your ideas on this better than a straight conversion.Smile
"Zoinks!"

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 24, 2017 - 7:58pm
You know one of the weirder versions had giant ones... that where smarter and could control the others... I am not fond of that idea for the fantasy beauty... but after watching The Great Wall (fun watch btw), and pondering a more Oskar version... some random thoughts.

The beasties in The Great Wall had some cool features and size differences, one was eyes on the front of their shoulders, with a great maw of teeth on their head and communicating through a sort of sound, magnetic, telepathy.... the whole time I was watching the movie I could not help but think Quick Deaths as the beasties killed the Chinese Army. But the twist was the hive social structure of these intelligent killer horde of alien beasties. Smaller scouts = workers & soldiers combined into one nasty, the Drones where big and frilled and protected The Queen, the queen was large but not bigger than the drones but with command abilities... drone Frills where explosive impact resistant, and deployed like shield walls to protect the queen. 

The Displacer Beast leaders, the big version could be something similar I suppose. Drones & Queens.

Other random thoughts

There is no reason the head has to be the mouth on the Oskar version, the stomach could open and be the mouth...

Stingers, porcupine type quills, or maybe lots of teathed suckers on tendrils

Maybe energy beams should not be effective against it too.

Just spit balling... as I love beasties. 



"Zoinks!"

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 24, 2017 - 8:21pm
An interesting concept that has turned up in recvent years is that trees communicate through their roots. transfering knowledge to each other and sharing nutrients.

This creature can sink its finger/toes into the soil and tap roots of other plants in the forest and draw nutrients for its healing ability. It has two modes: slow and fast- slow doesn't harm the plant/tree analog that its tapping and fast drains/kills the tree analog. it also communicates through the forest web of roots. and can control plants maybe? or other versions of itself?

I'm not fond of the idea of a plant bending light. rather I would prefer that it be just real good camo ability.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 25, 2017 - 4:49am
Love it yes the whole plant communication healing thing, I also like the Ink idea better... I was more musing if DB were doing that in D&D.

I think they use some sort of fungi network for the RL trees to communicate... what if they can create such networks... 



"Zoinks!"

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 25, 2017 - 6:39am
Question what do you mean by ink? 

What if it's an ink cloud that acts like a dye pack in money from the bank? It marks the PCs and give a IM bonus to anything they encounter as well as preventing anything they encounter from being surprised. Ink marks plus smell give away their presence. Need to wash with soap and solvent or let it wear off in few days. Anyone have soap and solvent on their equipment list? No? Too bad. 

Use this creature to stalk and harrass the PCs - if they camp for night it uses root network to get less intelligent mobile plants to move toward the camp- early morning hijinks ensue. And harrassing attacks. As it tries to wear them down and cull out one individual as prey.

Edit: of course this means detailing the environment and some potential plant hazards 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 25, 2017 - 4:21pm
I like it, poor PCs camping will never be the same again. 

"Zoinks!"

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 26, 2017 - 8:15am
Ecology of the Displacer Beast can be found here:

https://annarchive.com/files/Drmg109.pdf
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 26, 2017 - 8:58am
Suggested Sats:

Meduim Carnivore or it could be ruled technically an omnivore because of its ability to rapidly drain a plant of the tree size for its rapid healing.

Number appearing: 1(2-4* normally solitary but if in stalk mode it may use its root network communication ability to summon aid from others of its species)

Movement: Slow (Fast) - capable of brief burst of fast movement when employing its ink cloud ability and attempting to escape combat.

IM/RS: 6/55 (I used the standard numbers from the medium carnivore off of page 36 in AD)

Stamina: 100 (the range is 20-120. I dont want the STA so low that a well armed party can kill it outright in one combat round so I went with 100 arbitrarily)

Attack: 55 (chose the standard)

Damage: 2d10 (the range is 1-3d10)

Special defenses:
Dispersed Body Structure: many forms of attack will pass through  its body only causing 1/2 damage: laser's, bullets and gyro-jet ammo and recoiless rifle.
Note Electro stunners, sonic weapons, needler weapons and melee weapons do full damage.

Ink Cloud: When wounded to 1/2 STA or the moment it is hit with a high damage attack of 8d10 or 40 pts its ink cloud activates automatically. Note this automatic feature means that even if the creature is killed outright its ink cloud still activates and those with in the area of effect still suffer the consequences of the ink cloud. The creature makes a RS check when the ink cloud activates and if successful moves at fast speed immediately under cover of the ink cloud to near by cover. It will have fast speed and initiative for 3 turns and use this to put distance between itself and the PCs so that it can heal.

The ink cloud is 20 meters in diameter, lasts 3 combat rounds and effectively acts as a smoke grenade in most respects including the STA check or -10 penalty to all activity, counts as soft cover, it does not spread but rather covers a 20 meter diameter immediately.

All characters caught in the area of effect are splattered with glowing neon purple ink much like ink from an  exploding dye pack in an old school money bundle. The ink has a nauseating smell and those that fail their STA and incure a -10 activity penalty suffer this for 1d5 hours anyone not splattered with the ink but attempting to work in close quarters with someone who was splattered during the first five hours after the attack must make a STA check and suffers -5 activity penalty for as long as they are near the victim (15 meters) or until 1d5 hours elapses. A smell and the glowing neon purple ink will wear off but it lingers for 3 days. the effects during the three days is that the character so splattered or parties containing the character so splattered will never surprise an opponent and they suffer a -3 Im on the first day, -2 IM on the second day, and -1 IM on the third day.

Other abilities:
Tap Root networks and communicate
Tap root networks and draw nutrients for sustenance and healing.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 26, 2017 - 9:08am
Its brief burst of speed are due to what has been labled Osdrenaline. a chemical compound that floods its system and causes enhanced speed and reaction times. Corporations have been studying it to develop a new combat drug for use with the the med-inject progit or a similar med inject implant device.

If a corporation is successful the projected effects of this combat drug will be +1m/turn walking speed increase, +5m/turn running speed increase, +15 RS and a coresponding IM incease for 3 turns.

Until the drug is developed and tested any possible side effects are merely conjectural.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
May 26, 2017 - 12:30pm
Looks great.
"Zoinks!"