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[5e] WOW! Displacer Beasts really ARE BEASTS in D&D!!!

GreyLord

Adventurer
I've put Displacer beast in play in other editions but this is the first time I've actually put them in play in 5e. The party is 3rd level and basically was steamrolling over other CR 3 creatures (for example, they massacred a Manticore) so I didn't expect this to be as much trouble as it was. I decided since solo CR3 creatures were being slaughtered I'd add another Displacer beast and thus they'd have to fight two of them.

Instead of an even fight, it came down to a final roll where they killed the Displacer Beast. Only one character was left standing (A Tiefling Warlock that had stood back until finally everyone else was dead and the last heavily injured beast came at him). It is almost, or basically a TPK (one PC left with around 5 HP) from that one encounter.

The thing that really tossed everyone and made it far more difficult was the Disadvantage to hit the creature automatically, and how it automatically saves against spells (well, takes half damage automatically, and if it saves, no damage). It made it hard for them to hit the creature and to land damage. It has a LOT of hitpoints as well, so not being able to damage it as well means that they were hardpressed. They probably needed to try a different approach (charm the monster or something if they could have) or to have found a way to run away.

I didn't expect such a total disaster (it was supposed to be more of a random encounter while they were travelling to their main objective) that it turned out to be. Just thought I'd write out here my surprise at how dangerous they are for 3rd level characters. Thus far one of the more deadly CR 3 creatures I've put them against.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
One thing I only noticed recently is that diplacer beasts lose their Displacement property until the end of their next turn whenever they are hit by an attack, become incapacitated or their speed is 0.

But yeah, 2 displacer beasts at 85 HP each vs a 3rd level party (i.e. generally only 1 attack each per action) is a death sentence unless they roll really well.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
How big was your group?

2 CR 3s is a potentially deadly encounter for a 3rd level group - the displacer breasts advantages really amp that up.

The problem, of course, is that CRs are really tenuous and difficult to gauge. You don't know an encounter is too difficult until too late.

One way to mitigate, make sure most encounters can be run from (not as easy as it sounds in 5e) and that the players know flight is an option.

But hey, at least your players now know you're not coddling them!
 
Did the party have any saving throw cantrips or anyone who can spam magic missile? The first time I threw them at players, they found out that the displacement stopped when they did damage, so they had a mage spam magic missile (it still used up a form and a half for the moon druid before they took it down). Grappling and restraining spells also work against them.

But yes, they are just plain brutal to low level characters.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I had a similar situation in a campaign that I ran a few years back. I was trying to gauge the upper bounds of what the party could handle. When it looked like a TPK was imminent, I had a high-level monk (who I'd previously established in my notes as dwelling in that area) step in and finish off the remaining displacer beast.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
How big was your group?

2 CR 3s is a potentially deadly encounter for a 3rd level group - the displacer breasts advantages really amp that up.

The problem, of course, is that CRs are really tenuous and difficult to gauge. You don't know an encounter is too difficult until too late.

One way to mitigate, make sure most encounters can be run from (not as easy as it sounds in 5e) and that the players know flight is an option.

But hey, at least your players now know you're not coddling them!
The group was slightly larger than the standard with 5 players./PCs

Did the party have any saving throw cantrips or anyone who can spam magic missile? The first time I threw them at players, they found out that the displacement stopped when they did damage, so they had a mage spam magic missile (it still used up a form and a half for the moon druid before they took it down). Grappling and restraining spells also work against them.

But yes, they are just plain brutal to low level characters.
I didn't make it outright deadly, or so I thought so they had a wilderness encounter. The displacer beast took two rounds to get to them before it actually hit them, but the only one that had Magic Missile was the Fighter (Eldritch Knight). The Warlock was typically using Eldritch Blast. The Fighter did cast Magic Missile the two round at the beginning of the fight, and this helped with the Ranger getting some solid hits in (the others...rolled poorly...but that happens), but once the Displacer Beast reached them it started to turn sour...and then there was the second one that struck from the rear (pack tactics). IT was then that the battle really started to take a turn for the worst. At that point they had whittled down the first DB to about half of it's HP so it looked like they might steamroll the encounter over again without taking too much damage...but it turned around rapidly at that point.
 

ad_hoc

Explorer
1 CR 3 creature, a manticore in this case, is an easy encounter for a party of 5 level 3 characters.

An easy encounter doesn't tax their resources or put them in serious peril. They may lose a few hit points.

2 CR 3 creatures, 2 displacer beasts, is a deadly encounter for a party of 5 level 3 characters.

A deadly encounter can be lethal for one or more party members and the party risks defeat.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
1 CR 3 creature, a manticore in this case, is an easy encounter for a party of 5 level 3 characters.

An easy encounter doesn't tax their resources or put them in serious peril. They may lose a few hit points.

2 CR 3 creatures, 2 displacer beasts, is a deadly encounter for a party of 5 level 3 characters.

A deadly encounter can be lethal for one or more party members and the party risks defeat.
Sounds like things are working like they are supposed too!
 
We're you playing them right? If you remember to remove their displacement after being hit then a party should adapt pretty quickly. People hold action until the mage hits with an auto-hit spell or the player with the best chance to hit attacks.

Wondering since forgetting that one aspect of displacement probably changes then from CR3 to CR5 or CR6.
 

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