Earlier in the week, I spoke glowingly about what a great gift to the old school community the D20 SRD is and I mean that. Of course, the SRD's not a perfect document; there are some oddities in its contents. Many classic AD&D monsters, like the mind flayer, the beholder, and the carrion crawler, were omitted and, while that's annoying, it's also understandable, since these are all original to the game.
Also among the monsters the SRD did not include was the displacer beast, pictured to the right in an illustration by Dave Trampier. Though it could be argued that the displacer beast is strongly associated with Dungeons & Dragons, it certainly cannot be argued that it is original to it. As any science fiction fan worthy of the name could tell you, the "displacer beast" is just a rip-off of the coeurl, which first appeared in A.E. van Vogt's 1939 short story "Black Destroyer" and later incorporated into the 1950 fix-up novel, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, which is where I first encountered the creature.
Because the SRD lacks a displacer beast, retro-clone publishers have had to make up their own versions, like Labyrinth Lord's phase tiger, to fill the void. Amusingly (but unsurprisingly), Paizo decided to circumvent the whole problem by going straight to the source and getting permission to include the coeurl itself in Part 4 their Legacy of Fire adventure path. There's a note of thanks to the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency, which represents the Van Vogt Estate, as well as explicit mentions of the stories in which the coeurl appeared, in that volume of Pathfinder.
Even though I have less than zero interest in playing the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, when I hear about stuff like this, it's hard not to admire the guys and gals at Paizo. They not only know but honor the literary heritage of Dungeons & Dragons. Their love for pulp fantasy and science fiction is palpable. Would that it were more widespread.