Coeurl, a Displaced Beast

by mshrm

The classic D&D monster, the displacer beast, was loosely based on Coeurl, the alien creature from A. E. van Vogt’s short story, “Black Destroyer“. In the story, it called both itself and its race “coeurl”. As described by one of the characters of the story: “It looks like nothing else than a big cat, if you forget those tentacles sticking out from its shoulders, and make allowances for those monster forelegs.” Among other things, it could manipulate electromagnetic radiation and electricity.

The displacer beast is a feline monster, six-legged, with tentacles like a squid’s growing from its shoulders. It had the power to appear to be shifted — “displaced” — a few feet away from its actual location, making it harder to hit. It lost a couple of legs in the illustration for AD&D 2nd Edition, leading to many lame jokes about it being displaced by “two feet”. 😉 It has regained the legs since then, but seems to be getting thinner and more raggedy-looking as time goes on. Sad, really.

In honor of the classic monster, here’s my own homage to the classic alien.

Coeurlian Cats

This template can be added to any wild or domesticated feline.

DX +2 [20]; IQ +5 [100]; Per -5 [-25]; Will -3 [-15]; Basic Move +2

Traits: Damage Resistance 1 [5]; Extra Arms (2, Extra-flexible, Long +1) [50]; Charm perk and any one spell at IQ+6 [total 29 points]; buy off Cannot Speak [15] and No Fine Manipulators [30]; Uncontrollable Appetite (resist on 12 or less) [-15]

A coeurlian cat is more intelligent and agile than the base cat species. Its flesh is more dense, as well.  It has squid-like tentacles on each shoulder. When you apply the attribute modifiers to the felines in Campaigns, p456, they end up with IQ 9, Per 12, Will 13.

Coeurlian cats can speak, but rarely learn any humanoid language. They have their own language, common to all coerulian cats, regardless of base stock. It is rarely taught to members of other species. Learning it requires a Perk, “Trained By An Cat With Tentacles”. Only cat-folk and similar feline races can learn to speak it beyond Accented level. There is no written version, though hunting groups will sometimes leave marks for one another by scratching tree trunks, aligning small stones, and similar tricks; these are all a function of Survival skill. Coeurlian cats that hunt in groups often put points into Gesture, as well.

Each species of coeurlian cat can innately cast one spell. For coeurlian panthers, the spell is Blur, producing the Tembladera equivalent of the classic D&D monster. The spells of other species are left as an exercise for the GM and a surprise for the players.

Coeurlian cats aren’t just meat-eaters. They are imbued with an unholy hunger for the flesh of sentient humanoids. While they can live on the meat of dumb animals, they don’t much care for it and will always prefer humanoid meat.

While the template doesn’t require any particular mental Disadvantages, individual coeurlian cats are prone to Overconfidence, Sadism, and other unpleasant issues. They are as likely to work alone as they are to gather in groups, without regard for the base species’ habits. Individual coeurlian cats will either prefer the habitat of their base species, or they will prefer to live underground, either in natural caverns or man-made dungeons.