Displacer beast

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The displacer beast is a feline monster new to SLASH'EM and included in dNethack. Every time you attempt to attack it in melee, you have a chance (around 1/2) of merely displacing like a pet. Using F to force an attack will not move you (or the displacer beast) and will give the message "You attack thin air" if you would have displaced it.

Strategy

Displacer beasts can pose a real problem in combat. Not only do they have the displacement property, which renders around half your melee attacks harmless, they also have a very low armor class and many hit points. In addition, they do a fair amount of physical damage. Luckily, they are not fast, and a player with speed should be able to outrun them. This is particularly advisable if there are other monsters around, for displacing them uses a movement, possibly allowing the displacer beast and any other monsters around a free chance to attack.

Amusingly, in SLASH'EM you can displace a displacer beast into water or lava, killing it instantly ("The displacer beast drowns" and "The displacer beast burns to a crisp", respectively). In dNethack displacer beasts have flying, and so are not affected by these squares.

Mythology

The displacer beast, in D&D, is a monster that projects a displaced image a few feet from where it actually stands. It is the source mythology for the displacement provided by the cloak of displacement.