Pennarin's Illithid Project: Community Involvement


(pennarin) #1

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Some have asked, so here it is.

I started working on an athasian illithid project but got bugged down with an inability to come with an exotic, alien and athasian way of seeing them at the level of personnality, motivations, social life and societal structures.

I’m searching for new and great ideas on those subjects and I decided also to post what I have done already in the hope of getting the ideas geared in the right direction. I have rules for an athasian illithid character race, which is central to the project. Exposed in its fluff and abilities lies a good portrayal of the way I want illithids to be on Athas.

I’m also searching for great new alien names for classes, PrCs, family structures - if any - and others. Think of the uhrnius term for a dwarven leader…

Also a series of numbered questions below will help define the areas in which racial information needs to be fleshed-out if illithids are to be made a fully athasian race, not just a D&D port to DS.

Also below is a section dedicated to bridging the gap between Pennarin’s Illithids and Jihun-Nish’s Athilids, if at all possible.

Index (one post each):
Illithid character race
Fundamentals of athasian illithids
Exisitng rules for the project
Preliminary timeline of great events relating to illithids
Unanswered questions
Illithids/Athilids bridging effort

DISCLAIMER #1: I will update those posts as my brain will start functionning again. Especially the questions section and the fundamentals section.

DISCLAIMER #2: I wanted an illithid character race that wasn’t a master race but rather in par with the other Rebirth races. I didn’t want a 8+ HD creature, with instant-kill powers. I rather chose to make them of equal power to the strongest character races we have out there. The LA of +2 maybe wrong, I’m not an expert. To leave the potential to have illithids with powers similar to those of D&D mind flayers, I created a racial class called ‘illithid’. Any illithid can take levels in that class, just like taking levels in fighter. But instead of gaining class abilities, the class develops your racial abilities: better mind blast, better telepathy and other goodies. Its probably similar to playing a 8HD illithid from the get go, but I don’t like having extremely powerful innate abilities just being handed like that to a character race. ECL is there for that, but fluff-wise it sucks. That’s my opinion.

Originally posted by Pennarin:

ILLITHID
Illithids might be mistaken for humans with braided beards at a distance, due to their mouth tentacles. However, closer inspection reveals illithids to have gray, marble-like skin, moist and rubbery like that of an oasis’s amphibious creature. Four tentacles surround a round mouth filled with hundreds of obsidian-sharp teeth. A half-dozen small patches of body tentacles cover the illithid and help it smell, to compensate for the absence of a nose. Their eyes are striking, as they are entirely white. Illithids are called “mind flayers” by other races, and for a good reason―they nourish themselves by cracking open a creature’s head and siphoning out the brain inside. One major difference between illithids and most intelligent races of Athas is their asexual physiology. Illithids are genderless and possess no sexual characteristics or roles.
Personality: Illithids communicate among each other through a combination of telepathy, bitings and scratchings that express dominance and physical stances that convey mood and support telepatic exchanges. An important part of the stance as communication is the positionning and actions of the sensory and mouth tentacles. Sensory tentacles also serve to perceive the changing sent of an illithid as part of exchanges. These elements are disturbing and frightening to other races who only see aggressive illithids, dozens of writhing tentacles flailing around or poiting to or even touching other creatures. As creatures that function in utter silence, seeming to communicate without addressing each other and executing unfathomable activities, other races see illithids as alien. All the races that have heard of them fear them and those that have dealt with them despise them. Illithids are greeted with universal fear and loathing in their dealings with intelligent creatures, since their brain extraction and the nourishment they take from it are objects of horror to other creatures. Their reputation for enslaving intelligent creatures makes the latter flee even the rumored presence of a nearby illithid encampment. This tendency to enslave Rebirth races is more myth than fact; illithids rarely take slaves among them, preferring instead to produce their own specialized slave races from inferior beings they awaken to sentience, or avoid the need for them altogether by manifesting unseen constructs. As nocturnal creatures, illithids have ancestrally extended their activities underground, making communities of all sizes spring forth in the soft rock and dirt.
Physical Description: When encountered on the surface at night or anytime in their subterranean communities, illithids move naked. On the rare times they are encountered on the surface during the day they are always wearing a specialized skin graft or carapace symbiont that protects them from their heat vulnerability. Some rare naked illithids can be encountered during the day, members of the community brainwashed and exiled for murders or graver crimes.
Relations: Illithids look down upon other races, which are loath to trade with them from illithids’ reputation as slavers. Most illithids sincerely believe their race has embarked on a superior life path, and look at others as childlike or mere savages, still embracing the passions of beasts.
Alignments: Illithids tend toward law and evil. Living in biologically structured communities, illithids embrace the order that comes from the overmind’s gestalt. They pour their energies into psionics and the betterment of their species, focusing on constants like racial identity and personal achievement. Illithids concede no intrinsic valor to the laws of the other Rebirth races.
Illithid Lands: South of the Sea of Silt lies a plateau, the Hiriman highlands, that is surrounded by salt fields, the remnants of inland salty marshes. East of these lands is dromite territory, and to the west lies the vast Obsidian Plains of the undead. The south is blocked by the Red Peaks, a chain of jagged volcanic mountains that makes passage quasi impossible.
Religion: The elder brain is the center of an illithid’s spiritual life. They venerate them as the source of their life and its ultimate culmination. Although this veneration is not as strong as for the gods of old, illithids defer to the elder brain’s wishes on all things.
Psionics: Illithids are profoundly psionic beings, whose potential for mastery is amongst the highest of the Rebirth races. An illithid will undoubtedly take levels in a psionic class in its life or take illithid racial levels. Everyday life confronts them with problems that can be solved with hard labor or psionics, the latter they prefer out of love and respect for its power.
Magic: Their pride in their strong connection with the Unseen Way makes them disdain sorcery, which their society condones. A telltale ash circle will get the attention of illithids in a war party and make them converge on the unfortunate. The brains of those victims are considered subsistence food for their propensity to ‘taste’ bad.
Language: Illithids speak Common, but communicate telepathically with one another. Their own language, Qualith, is in written form only. Illithids dabbling in symbiont lore know ancient halfling from the rhulisti texts they decipher.
Names: As telepathic beings, illithids rarely use names. When forced to talk, they refer to one another using a combination of prefix and suffix that conveys a general description of an illithid’s personality.
Adventurers: Since the great events of recent memory, like the apparition of the Cerulean Storm and its spin-off storms, illithid society and its elder brains have decided it is time they try and get a level of control over the events that befalls them. Lone illithids are sent far and wide to try and understand the causes of these events. Amongst them are individuals trained in the ways of the desert and able to track down quarry. Missionary groups with malinarint among them are also deployed, staying in touch psionically with the community.

Illithid Racial Traits
● –2 Constitution, +4 Intelligence, +2 Charisma: Illithids are very intelligent and confident, but lack in resilience.
● Type: Aberration. Illithids are not subject to spells, powers or effects that affect only humanoids, such as charm person or dominate person.
● Size: Medium. As Medium creatures, illithids have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
● Illithid base land speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: Illithids can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Light Blindness (Ex): Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds an illithid for 1 round. In addition, illithids suffer a –1 circumstance penalty to all attacks rolls, saves, and checks while operating in bright light.
Heat Vulnerability (Ex): Abrupt exposure to heated air (as experienced on the surface during daylight hours) sickens an illithid for 1 round. In addition, illithids suffer a –1 circumstance penalty to all attacks rolls, saves, and checks while exposed to the hot air of the surface during the day.
Soft Skin: Illithids have a rubbery skin like that of amphibious creatures and take a –1 penalty to armor class.
Naturally Psionic: Illithids gain 3 bonus power points at 1st-level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.
Improved Grab (Ex): As in Monster Manual.
Natural Weapons: Tentacles. See Savage Species.
Extract (Ex): As in Monster Manual.
Mind Blast (Ps): A creature targeted by this psionic attack must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + ½ illithid’s character level + illithid’s Charisma modifier) or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level power. An illithid can muster such an attack only once per day.
Telepathy (Su): Illithids can communicate with one another telepathically if within 60 feet of each other.
● Automatic Language: Common and Qualith. All illithids are literate in Qualith. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). Most illithids have no access to languages spoken in the Seven Cities besides Common.
● Favored Class: Illithid.
● Racial Levels: Unlike most races, illithids can take a few levels in “illithid” as a class to develop their racial qualities more fully.
● Level Adjustment +2

When more than one illithid are in close proximity to each other, they gain access to abilities that stem from their interaction with the overmind or from a gestalt effect in their psionically active groups, in the latter case as long as every individual is at least 10 feet from another illithid, or unless stated otherwise:
Multitask (Su): Whenever part of an overmind (see below), the character can take more than a single mental action during his turn. Once per day, an illithid can spend a power point as a free action to gain a free standard action that the illithid can use to take any purely mental action. The mental action may be using a Knowledge, Psicraft, or other skill check requiring only mental cognition. The mental action could also be the manifestation of a psionic power; however, the illithid can only manifest a power with its extra mental action if the normal actions allowed the character during the round do not also involve manifesting a power.
Oracle (Su): Whenever part of an overmind (see below), an illithid is granted a daily precognitive edge. Essentially, the edge translates into a floating +2 insight bonus that the illithid can apply at any time either to an initiative roll, an attack roll, or a saving throw. In the case of an attack roll or saving throw, the illithid can elect to apply the bonus to the roll or save after he determines whether his unmodified roll misses. Only one precognitive edge may be applied by the illithid per day.
Overmind (Su): When within 5 miles of an illithid settlement hosting an elder brain, an illithid becomes part of the overmind and can tap into a racial network of knowledge and information. An illithid can spend one power point as a free action to gain a +2 bonus to any Knowledge or Psicraft check he makes. An illithid can still tap the network if part of a 30+ strong group with at least one malinarint in its midst. The range of this diminished overmind is half a mile. Malinarint are also their own overmind and can tap the network without being part of a group. When not part of an overmind, illithids suffer withdrawal on a permanent basis, suffering a –1 morale penalty to Knowledge and Psicraft checks, as well as to Will saves.
Power Resistance (Ex): Illithids gain power resistance from a gestalt effect in their psionically active group. The group starts with power resistance 5, and each individual adds another point with a limit equal to the highest-level illithid in the party. For example, a party of five would have power resistance 8: base power resistance of 5, + 5 (1 for each member) with a limit of 8 for the highest-level member of the party (an 8th-level character). A malinarint counts for 5, an elder brain for 20 and those numbers can bring the power resistance beyond the limit. A maximum of four malinarint can be counted in this way, any more are counted as normal illithids. When a group comprises an elder brain, malinarints part of the group are counted as normal illithids. This ability does not require illithids comprising the group to be part of an overmind.

Illithid Levels
Illithids can take up to three levels in “illithid” at any time. Each level represents the illithid focusing on mental discipline and exploring racial qualities. Not all illithids take racial levels (or all three of them). Illithid levels stack with a manifester class level for purposes of determining manifester level for powers. If the illithid has two manifesting classes, the illithid levels add to the higher of the two class levels.
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points at 1st Character Level: (2 + Intelligence bonus) x 4
Skill Points at Higher Levels: 2 + Intelligence bonus
“Class” skills: Autohypnosis (Wis), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (psionics) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Psicraft (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Use Psionic Device (Cha).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Illithids with levels only in illithid (no actual class levels) are proficient in the use of all simple weapons but no armors or shields.
Innate Psi-Like Abilities: Use the illithid’s character level to determine the manifester level. DC is Charisma-based (DC 10 + power level + Cha modifier).
Psionically-Active Mucus (Su): The skin produces a coating of mucus with psionic properties that gives the illithid a +5 circumstance bonus to Escape Artist checks when not wearing armor or clothing. It also focuses its powers and psi-like abilities, increasing their DC by 1. The illithid must from now on wear a specialized form of protection (carapace symbiont, sunwise skin graft or psychoactive skin of the daywalker) on the surface during the day or see this ability become ineffective as the mucus dries out. When wearing a carapace symbiont or skin graft the illithid no longer receives his bonus to Escape Artist checks. The mucus renews itself after 24 hours in an indoor illithid structure or a suitably moist environment.

<br />Racial <br />Level BAB Fort Ref Will <br /> 1 +0 +0 +1 +2 <br /> 2 +1 +0 +1 +3<br /> 3 +2 +1 +2 +3
Racial Level/Special

  1. Innate psi-like abilities: at will―read thoughts, wall walker; mind blast 2/day (10 ft.-cone, 1d4 rounds, 2nd-level power); telepathy (100 ft.)
  2. Innate psi-like abilities: at will―psionic levitate, psionic suggestion; mind blast 3/day (30 ft.-cone, 2d4 rounds, 3rd-level power); telepathy (contact any creature with a language)
  3. Innate psi-like abilities: at will―conceal thoughts, psionic dominate; mind blast 4/day (60 ft.-cone, 3d4 rounds, 4th-level power); psionically-active mucus

Originally posted by Pennarin:

  1. Some history: Illithids lived in salt marshes, active during night times, and as such now have to live underground in closed environments due to the lack of water and humidity. Their city-nests are mostly underground, with some air-exchange parts sticking out of the ground, plus the entry.

  2. Champion: In the past, a Champion had been sent to destroy the illithids: Barien, Mind Flayer Dessicator.

  3. Reproduction: illithids are sterile (it wasn’t always so). Elder brains produce tadpoles through an orifice. They grow in the pool around the elder brain until they can be taken care of by an adult illithid. An elder brain has a reproductive cycle that allows it to produce youngs once in a while, in batches. Each elder brain can produce a certain, fixed amount of tadpoles each reproductive cycle, depending on its HD. Elder brains can choose to produce a tadpole that will mature into an illithid (or even a prestige illithid) or into a symbiont (life-shape); it also has a fixed amount of free XP per reproductive cycle to spend on their creation.

  4. Ceromorphosis: a speeded up, boosted process of maturation for a tadpole developped during the Cleansing Wars and currently pretty abandonned. Pick an intelligent humanoid, put a modified tadpole in it and it will mature in 1/3 the time and be more powerful (it gains the Ceromorph template).

  5. Overmind: All illithids within a certain distance of an elder brain, or in the presence of a malinarint (prestige illithid), are connected through an overmind. Many of their abilities come from such a connection, while some others come from simply puting enough illithids together, overmind or no overmind.
    The overmind re-enforces the illithid racial imperatives, allows the elder brains to perceive the ebb and flow of the race.

  6. Society: Illithids trade for salt, since they are made to drink salt water and need to salt the fresh waters collected from underground sources.

  7. Society: When an illithid endeavors to create a new psionic power and succeeds, it must confer knowledge of the power to an elder brain.

  8. Society: There are farming operations are set-up in underground and aboveground locations that raise pulp bees that produce a pasty substance and a nutritious fluid. The pasty substance is treated and made into a form of hardened paper and traded. It is later treated again to make it resistant to humidity. The nutritious fluid is harvested and fed to the tadpoles in their briny pools, until they mature and can nolonger eat it and must start ingesting brain matter.

  9. Society: Illithids write Qualith on polished chitin pieces using thick colored inks or on pressed paper sheets. The paper sheets that store knowledge are usually folded into origami shapes as an art form (the paper most be treated to resist the humidity of a subteranean community).

  10. Society: Small farming groups make monthly trips in the desert to collect liquid crystal from the bodies of crystal spiders, which they farm. The liquid crystal is traded and used in the making of psionic tattoos.

  11. Symbionts: Grafts are accessible to the general population on a need-to-have basis. As for cerebral and carapace symbionts, I leave it open to someone else’s imagination. Surface and roaming communities usually are too small to boast an elder brain and usually cannot produce or take care of symbionts more complex than grafts.

  12. Trade: Illithids do not use currency but achieve the same result using trade. Trade is made between individuals, creeds and communities, sometime with other Rebirth races, in the form of exchanged ideas, research material, new found powers or trade goods. Many calligraphy and origami artists have amassed favors and great ‘wealth’ in trading their craft to other illithids.

  13. Undeads: illithids have to deal wth the usual undeads from their own ranks, like any other races: dhaots, racked spirits and wraiths.

  14. Thralls: the term comes from the Cleansing Wars, a derogative, propaganda term developed by the troops to aleviate any remaining guilt in using other Rebirth races for ceromorphosis. After the wars the practice has been abandonned, but some slave taking still takes places. Those slaves are brain-washed and made into a warrior force. Most of those are Rebirth races or dromites from the eastern regions. Hard labor is still done by astral constructs, though.

  15. Dromites: I decided to include dromites (from the XPH) into the athasian sphere of alienness because dromites are too cool. They were so primitive and inward fighting that Rajaat never bothered to send a Champion: all dromites would drown in the coming Blue Age. The eastern dromites were taken as warriors during the Wars when the humans came from the west. Now some dromites have escaped and civilized their lands. Dromites are now making a gorrila war against their illithid neighbors.

  16. Astral Constructs: outside of the few thralls that exist, the brute strenght necessary for digging the underground towns and cities, erecting the aboveground installations, hauling things around…are all done by animals, if possible, or by astral constructs. As such, many illithids take levels in the Constructor PrC from the Mind’s Eye. Half the visible population in large cities is composed of constructs.

  17. Chitin Armor: communities too small to boast an elder brain, or roaming communities, cannot usually provide the trade necessary to obtain symbionts or to care for them. Without symbionts, these illithids are forced to live at night and to protect their bodies using alternative solutions. In these cases illithids use chitin to make armors. Contrarilly to the Rebirth races of the Seven Cities, illithids do not make chitin armor out of interlocking hexagonal bits of chitin but use giant insects’ carapaces, at varying stages of growth, to obtain fitting pieces. No cutting or shapping is involved. The result is the same as the chitin armor described in Chapter 6: Equipment, in the DS3 Core Document.

  18. Readjustment: an illithid is sent to readjustment (to receive a dose of a psionic power from an elder brain or a dedicated representative) whenever the following happens.

  • aura alteration: when a symbiont takes control over an illithid
  • mindwipe: when an illithid discover talents that makes him a renegade. The elder brain erases the illithid’s mind of the knowledge, if the illithid was prompt in reporting the offending abilities
  1. Items: Illithids use symbionts in conjunction with psionic items. Also, they have nearly no metal, but instead use crystal (use the rules in the XPH).

  2. City life: Illithid cities are called city-nests and smaller towns are called nests. They are not unlike modern many-leveled underground parkings. There are vertical passageways that link the levels, some have stairs, although most are huge tunnels in which illithids levitate or wallwalk. Astral constructs move around through small holes drilled in the walls and ceilings.

  3. Building techniques: The underground facilities have walls covered in organics, the product of special industrial-strenght symbionts. The go through tunnels like hug slugs, slowly spiraling in it and depositing this material that isolates the walls perfectly, keeping the moisture in. Humidity and driping water are constant in those installations. Seals to the outside keep in the moisture.

  4. Environmental effects on illithids: they need moisture. Always had. As the world changed and dried up they went underground, cloistering around water sources. If illithid skin makes contact with dried hot air or sunlight, it will dry up. All illithids on the surface need to wear specific psychoactive skins or skin grafts or carapace symbionts. They can go out at night with layers of clothing without problems.

Originally posted by Pennarin:

[SIZE=4]Classes[/SIZE]

Pennarin’s Note: Under ‘Warriors’ below is found ‘rangers’. I initially decided to use a magicless ranger - an earlier iteration from athas.org - for the illithids. But since I have no idea weither this is a feasible way of doing things for a project like this one, if you don’t like it simply remove it. I wanted a base class with tracking abilities and a magicless ranger was the one. A magical ranger would be unacceptable for illithids, they would fall in the ‘Exiles and Outcasts’ category.
I also included NytCrawlr’s psi-monk to the ‘Unseen Adepts’ section.

[SIZE=3]Warriors[/SIZE]
Fighters, brutes, rangers, rogues.

Warriors play an important role in illithid communities by serving in the defence of the nest. Aside from using tentacles, hand to hand combat is frowned upon by illithids―the extensive use of psionic powers by unseen adepts insures that. Most warriors will develop their ranged martial skills (rogues may take the Accurate Shot feat to increase their sneak attack range, see Skills), although warriors trained for close-quarter combat in the nest will hone their melee skills. Many such illithids will specialize in their own natural attacks.

[SIZE=3]Unseen Adepts[/SIZE]
Psi-monks, psions, psychic warriors, soulknives, wilders, erudites (Dragon Magazine #319).

The greatest calling of an illithid, the Way of the Unseen has many adepts in all walks of life. Most unseen adepts are evenly distributed among psions and erudites due to the high academic levels found amongst most large communities. Wilders are more present by far in smaller, subsistence communities, were the task of survival is so great extensive schooling is not an option. As those smaller communities grow toward one day having their own elder brain, their fraction of psions and erudites steadily increases.
Soulknives and psychic warriors hone their ranged martial skills to an art form, but unlike warriors, can hope to gain higher status in the community through dedication and personal achievement due to their use of psionics.

[SIZE=3]Loremasters[/SIZE]
Experts.

Illithids value knowledge and artistic talent nearly as much as they value psychic abilities, and the larger the community the more experts it can train and support. These illithids can reach great status in the community, rivalling that of the greatest unseen adepts.

[SIZE=3]Exiles and Outcasts[/SIZE]
Clerics, druids, wizards.

For historical reasons and for pride in their own psionic affinities, illithids despise wizards. Members of the community that even show a modicum of sorcerous talent are sent to readjustment. Those that hide or do not report readily their newfound talent are expeditiously judged and exiled.
Affinity for the elements or the land is frowned upon nearly as much as sorcery, but judgment always leads to outcast status. They are condemned never to come in proximity of an overmind under pain of death. Any interference with nest activities results in a hunting party dispatched by the for the express purpose of the elimination of the offending outcast.
Those are the direct wishes of the elder brains.


Help on retrieving old topics of mine
(pennarin) #2

[SIZE=4]Prestige Classes[/SIZE]

Pennarin’s Note: Many of the PrCs below have names of creeds in them. I chose not to remove them so you would at least get a feeling of how illithids in DS deal witth these PrCs.

[SIZE=3]Complete Warrior[/SIZE]
- Master of the Unseen Hand (the psionic version does not yet exist): called Hand Cenobite by illithids.
Hand cenobites delight in crushing their foes with telekinetic force, disarming enemies with a single thought and flinging creatures and objects away.
Illithid wilders are the most common hand cenobites, expressing with telekinesis what is in their hearths. Some few have attained the same mastery based on an innate ability to use telekinesis, such as those with telekinetic psi-like abilities.
Because their abilities are suited to melee combat, hand cenobites are often found in the thick of the fighting, disarming opponents with telekinesis and using it to hurl them to the ground―or even high into the air.
- Mindspy (the psionic version does not yet exist): called Mindwalker by illithids.
Assassins and soulknives with access to detect thoughts as a power or psi-like ability often take levels in mindwalker to facilitate their attacks by reading the minds of their enemies.

[SIZE=3]Dungeon Master’s Guide[/SIZE]
- Assassin
Taken nearly exclusively by rogues, this class is a favorite of the Protector creed for infiltration missions. Most illithid assassins are solemn individuals who chose to protect it from outside threats.

[SIZE=3]Expanded Psionic’s Handbook [/SIZE]

- Elocator
Illithids who explore this path are nearly exclusively from the Protector creed. They use their abilities to sidestep enemy flanking maneuvers or phalanx formations, or to transport themselves directly in their midst.
- Metamind
Metaminds strive to unleash as much psionic power as they can muster. Adherents to this philosophy often develop more brain matter, increasing the size of their skull. Such an illithid is referred to as a “head”.
- Psion Uncarnate
Uncarnates strive for the dissolution of their substance, freeing their essence to unbound potential. Such illithids are the culmination of Thinker creed contemplation on the possibilities of the psyche. An uncarnate can be devastating in times of conflict, bridging its psyche between enemy creatures, disrupting their essence with each jump. Their increased immunity to weapons and power or spell effects also makes them terrible opponents. Uncarnates possess a special status in illithid communities, similar to that of the Crystal Proselyte.
- Thrallherd
Thrallherds are preeminently present amongst the Tamer creed, using their enhanced powers of domination to ensure the obedience of thralls. These creatures are usually elitist enthusiasts, believing that they express through control the true nature and purpose of the illithid race―domination.

[SIZE=3]Hyperconscious: Explorations in Psionics (Malhavoc Press)[/SIZE]

- Astral Dragoon: called Mindrider by illithids.
Mindriders are illithids that live and train on the outside, learning to control their thoughts, manifesting a unique unseen construct to ride on, a construct of pure thought.
Most mindriders are scouts of the community, continually patrolling the borders of illithid lands on their swift constructs. They are paid back the sacrifice they made when they steped away from the overmind by a deep respect from their peers whenever they stop at a community.
- Cerebral Rager
Cerebral ragers are those who feel strongly the fury within and have learned to harness it.
Some become ragers for the calm that stems from self-control―to learn to rage is to learn control. Others seek to unleash their fury to fuel their psionic abilities.
- Chakra Savant
A reminder of the mental prowess and the advances of the sciences of the mind that were achieved in the Green Age, chakra knowledge is the oldest psionic science known to the illithids, older than psionic tattoos. There are few adepts of this discipline, but those that remain hold great power.
- Crystal Proselyte
Illithids who take on this class are considered sacred by individuals of their race and are respected for the conviction of their beliefs, which are made material by the transformation of their flesh into crystal. Those of the proselytes that do not live outside of the community are activelly involved in crystalline research for their own sake. All are contemplative and calm to a high degree.
- Pattern Master
Psionic tattooing is a deeply ingrained part of illithids’ culture, of which the greatest adept is the pattern master. To them the aestethics of their craft blend with its utility. Creations of these masters of the art attain great power.
- Psychic Chirurgeon
Many amongst the Caretaker creed progress in this class so they can help in healing their community in times of need. The most talented of them serve as channelers for when new psionic powers are created and need to be communicated to the elder brain for safekeeping.
- Astral Zealot: called Unseen Zealot by illithids.
One of the great findings of the Thinker creed, unseen zealots are versatile manifesters able to deal with more situations than the usual combatant. They can duplicate themselves to deal with numerous foes, shroud themselves into ectopic suits to resist the environment and can ultimately even cheat death on occasion.

[SIZE=3]The Mind’s Eye on the WotC website[/SIZE]
- Arch Psion
Illithids who attain great mastery over the Way of the Unseen often take levels in this class, sharpening their mastery in over a half-dozen possible ways.
They most often become leaders and teachers for the community.
- Constructor

Constructors are those illithids who discover a preternatural affinity over unseen constructs. They can mold them into any shape and infuse them with great power. They work closely with elder brains to better serve the community.
- Psychic Weapon Master
Psychic warriors often take levels in this class to increase their weapon’s abilities.

[SIZE=3]Psionic’s Handbook messaging board on the WotC website[/SIZE]
- Skinwalker
Pennarin’s Note: here is an extract from the class. Since it was designed by a guy that can’t be reached anymore, I will limit myself to the three fluff chapters.

Every psion as heard of psychoactive skins. Some have even worn them. A skinwalker is a person who as developped a talent for manipulating his skins and brought the idea to the next level.
Illithids are the most common skinwalkers from the sheer concentration of psychoactive skins in their communities. In the Seven Cities, hermits are the most common skinwalkers after psionic academiy teachers.
Skinwalkers can be found anywhere. Some are loners, using their skins for personnal gain, while others seek employment or enlightment in the cities’s psionic academies. In illithid lands, skinwalkers are respected members of their community, often part of the Creative or Protector creeds.

[SIZE=4]Skills[/SIZE]

Craft (Int)
Special: To determine how much time it takes to make an item, find the item’s price or have the DM set the price for an item not listed. Put the price in bits for non-metal items. Unless you have the Crystalsmith feat, you suffer a –5 penalty to Craft checks made to create crystal items, and it takes 10 times longer to craft crystal items (put the price in ceramics for crystal items). 1 gp = 10 sp = 100 Cp = 1,000 bits.
A masterwork component costs 300 Cp. Its price is put in bits regardless of materials used (crystal or non-crystal).

Craft (calligraphy) (Int;Trained Only)
Writing Qualith is an art form that as evolved closely with the knowledge of origami. A widespread form of poetry is the haiku, inscribed almost exclusively with calligraphy. Great prestige can be had in owning origami works inscribed using delicate calligraphy, and status within the community can be achieve by the masters of the craft. Qualith can be written on two-dimensional surfaces without any knowledge of calligraphy using the simplified form of the language reserved for those surfaces, but that is never done when the medium is origami paper. Doing such a thing is considered bad taste. The greatest masters of this art can even create calligraphy with so great a precision they can achieve the feat blindfolded.

<br />Task Craft DC <br />Great Work 20 <br />Use calligraphy blindfolded 30
Craft (origami) (Int;Trained Only)
Paper-folding is an art for the illithid communities that can afford to trade for paper or that produce it. Pressed sheets made from paper harvested from pulp bee nests is the preferred writing medium amongst illithids. The paper is folded into complex abstract shapes and inscribed with bright colored ink. To properly read the context of the writings, one must unfold the origami in the correct sequence, and masters of the art know how to obtain multiple meanings by designing their creation so it can be unfolded in multiple ways. The unfolding sequences have become part of the grammar and are now integral to Qualith. All illithids are though to read Qualith in its many guises, but to use origami in writing Qualith one must have at least one rank in Craft (origami). There is a simpler form of Qualith used to write on two-dimensional surfaces. The greatest masters of this art can even create origami works blindfolded.

<br />Task Craft DC <br />Great Work 20 <br />Create origami blindfolded 30
Craft (tattooing) (Int;Trained Only)
Special: At least one rank in this skill is required to use the Scribe Tattoo feat, while 6 ranks are required to use the Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat, and other Item Creation feats require several ranks. For example, the Enduring Tattoo feat requires 6 ranks in Craft (tattooing) and the Permanent Tattoo feat requires 12 ranks.

[SIZE=4]Feats[/SIZE]

The feats Enduring Tattoo and Permanent Tattoo, from Hyperconscious: Explorations in Psionics (Malhavoc Press), are used by illithids, as well as the Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat and rules on “special” tattoos from the Mind’s Eye article “Getting Wired: The Art of Mastering Psionic Tattoos” found on the WotC website.
Also, most feats from Hyperconscious can be made availlable to illithids, at the DM’s discretion.
From Plot & Poison: A Guidebook to Drow (Green Ronin), the Savant Skill and Genius Skill feats are often taken by illithid loremasters (experts) to increase their mastery in specific fields of knowledge. Also, psions or illithids who do not take levels in “illithid”, “malinarint” or a psionic class, sometimes take the Use Psionic Device Item Focus and Use Psionic Device Application Focus feats to alllow them a fuller use of psionic items (these last two feats are presented in the book as magic feats instead of psionic feats).
Psychic warriors greatly increase their ranged combat abilities with the following archery feats from
[URL=http://www.hotkey.net.au/~eternalknight/feats.htm]Gryphon’s Book of 3rd Edition Feats[/URL], a compilation of feats from publications: Accurate Shot, Improved Reflex Shot, Reflex Shot and Shot Under Pressure. From the same source, illithids with levels in a psionic class can also take the Bend Power feat; brutes and cerebral ragers also have access to the Boiling Blood feat.

Crystalsmith [General]
You have learned how to work with crystal to full effect.
Benefit: You suffer no penalty to Craft checks when crafting items from crystal. Put the item’s price in silver pieces when calculating creation time.
Normal: You suffer a -5 penalty to Craft checks when crafting items from crystal. Put the item’s price in ceramic pieces when calculating creation time.

Graft Illithid Flesh [Item Creation]
You can create illithid symbionts and apply grafts to other living creatures or to yourself (see Illithid Symbionts).
Prerequisites: Illithid, Heal (10 ranks).
Benefit: You can apply illithid grafts to other living creatures or to yourself. If you are an elder brain you can also create grafts and all other symbionts. Creating a symbiont requires the expenditure of a set amount of XP. Where a tadpole should have been produced, a larval symbiont is created instead, taking 2 days to mature for every 100 XP of its cost. For every 500 XP of the symbiont’s cost (rounded up), the elder brain must sacrifice the production of another tadpole. Thus a single 1,000 XP symbiont would be produced in the stead of three tadpoles, and would require 20 days to reach maturity. The limit on the number of symbionts that can be produced at any given time is determined by the XP reserve of an elder brain as well as the remaining number of unrealized tadpoles for that particular elder brain’s current reproductive cycle (see Reproductive Cycle in Chapter 1: Society).

Psionic Tattoo Mastery [Metapsionic]
As the Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat, except as noted here.

Table 1-1: Psionic Tattoos

Power Level Base Days* Total Slots†<br />1 1 1 <br />2 1 1<br />3 1 1<br />4 2 3<br />5 3 5<br />6 4 7<br />7 5 9<br />8 6 11<br />9 7 13

  • Based on total cost when created at its lowest base level.
    † The total number of tattoo slots available for psionic tattoos is 20.

Sense the Unseen [General]
You have learned to perceive hidden displays.
Prerequisite: Wis 13
Benefit: When a psionic creature manifests a power or uses a psi-like ability in your presence, you perceive the display even if it was hidden by a successful Concentration check.
Normal: A manifester can hide the displays of the power he manifests, making you unable to identify the power by a Psicraft check.

[SIZE=4]Tattoos[/SIZE]

The Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat, as presented in the Mind’s Eye article “Getting Wired: The Art of Mastering Psionic Tattoos” found on the WotC website, offers the possibility of using a plethora of special tattoos with functions other than containning a power.
The advent of the Expanded Psionic Handbook requires a revision of the rules presented in the article. Also, a number of additions are made to the availlable tattoos. Bellow are the modifications and additions to the text of the article, which is not reprinted here in its entirety.

[SIZE=3]Special Tattoos[/SIZE]

These specialized tattoos are broken into three types: basic tattoos that are usually linked to psionic tattoos scribed with psionic powers, advanced tattoos that are very specialized, and overmind tattoos which exploit the link with the illithid overmind.

Pennarin’s Note: This is too complex and stretches the limit of the Code used by the boards engine to make tables. As such, the revisions are not posted here. But below are the special tattoos specific to illithids.

[SIZE=3]Overmind Tattoos[/SIZE]
These tattoos are unique in that, even though they are permanent, they only work while powered with the psychic energy of an elder brain’s overmind (but do not work for an overmind generated by a malinarint). Such tattoos will stop functioning if brought outside the radius of an elder brain’s overmind and will re-energize once back within its limits.

Network Focus: This tattoo increases by +2 the bonus for any single Knowledge or Psicraft checks made while tapping the racial network of knowledge and information accessible through the overmind. A different tattoo must be inscribed for each specific application of the Knowledge skill.

Sensory Connection: This tattoo produces the same effects as a psionic tattoo with the sense link power, except the tattoo as an unlimited duration effect and does not fade after use. You are limited to perceiving the senses of a creature with the appropriate sensory connection. For example, if you are trying to activate a sight sensory connection, you can only contact a creature within your sense link range that is wearing a sight sensory connection.

Overlink: This tattoo increases connectivity to the overmind, allowing a second use each day of the Multitask and Oracle supernatural abilities. A slave scribed with an overlink becomes connected to the overmind and makes its saving throws to throw off a power’s influence or control, such as psionic suggestion, with a –4 penalty as long as he is within the range of the overmind.

[SIZE=4]Psionic Power[/SIZE]

Sever the Tie
Psychokinesis
Level: Psion/Wilder 2
Display: Auditory, Material
Manifestation Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: Several undead creatures within a 10-ft.-radius burst
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will half
Power Resistance: Yes
Power Points: 3

You disrupt an undead creature’s tie to the Gray, damaging or destroying the creature. Your psychokinetic “scythe” deals 3d8 points of damage to all undead within the area. Undead that are brought to 0 hit points or below by use of the power fall limply and molder into dust (if corporeal), or slowly disperse (if incorporeal).
Augment: For every extra point you spend, the damage increases by 1d8.

[SIZE=4]Psionic Items[/SIZE]

[SIZE=3]Psionic Weapon Special Ability[/SIZE]
Cranial Burst: This potent and feared ability allows the weapon to cause the cranium of those it strikes to burst. Upon a roll of natural 20 (followed by a successful roll to confirm the critical hit), the weapon explodes the opponent’s head (if it has one). Some creatures, such as many aberrations and all oozes, have no head. Others, such as golems and undead creatures other than intelligent undead, are not affected by the lost of their heads. Most other creatures, however, die when their heads burst. The DM may have to make judgment calls about this weapon’s effect. A cranial burst weapon must be a piercing ranged weapon. Bows and crossbows so crafted bestow the cranial burst ability upon their ammunition.
Strong psychokinesis; ML 18th; Craft Psionic Arms and Armors, telekinetic force; Price +5 bonus.

[SIZE=3]Psychoactive Skins[/SIZE]
Many skins have been developed by the illithids over the ages that are not encountered in the Seven Cities.
Skin of the Daywalker: This psychoactive skin protects the wearer against heat and light as if in a cool and shaded indoor environment. It confers no special protection against heat- or light-based attacks or effects.
Faint psychometabolism; ML 2nd; Craft Universal Item, control light; Price 4,000 Cp; Weight 2 lb.

[SIZE=4]Illithid Symbionts[/SIZE]

Unknown to other Rebirth races of the Brown Age, illithids have perfected the art of developing new creatures to match their own specifications. Since the discovery of ancient Nature-Bender lore, the illithids have devoted most of their resources to developing symbionts: creatures that, although weak on their own, can enhance the abilities of a host. To illithids, symbionts are the epitome of a tool―beings that devote their entire existence to augmenting the abilities of their hosts. The creatures must gain their own sustenance from the illithid’s body, a trade-off their hosts are more than willing to make. There are three types of symbionts to date: carapace and cerebral symbionts, and the far simpler grafts, which are not intelligent.
Symbionts are not magic items, but in game terms they function very much like magic items. An elder brain with the Graft Illithid Flesh feat can create and apply the whole range of symbionts, while any other character with this feat can only apply grafts.
Even though they are not magic items, symbionts still count against the treasure value of the creature with the symbiont, which means that creatures with symbionts are still appropriate challenges for their normal Challenge Rating, but have reduced treasure. Symbionts other than grafts increase the Challenge Rating of the host creature (see individual descriptions).

Pennarin’s Note: Due to legal issues, I cannot reproduce here the section I wrote on symbionts since 9 parts out of 10 comes directly from Dragon Magazine #308, Fiend Folio and Underdark. The rules and wording of the text has been modified to match athasian circumstances. All mentions of magic have been removed and replaced by psionics. I have been considering adding the daelkyr’s symbionts, from the Eberron Campaign Setting, as illithid symbionts. The cerebral symbionts and grafts have been heavily modified and their abilities no longer correspond to their equivalents in the publications.

Carapace Symbionts

Backwatcher Carapace
Fastbreak Carapace
Hardy Carapace
Silent Carapace
Slippery Carapace
Strongarm Carapace

Cerebral Symbionts

Shrieker
Mnemonicus

Grafts

Antennae
Ectopic
Brainmate
Sinew
Sunwise Skin (see below)
Wriggler

Sunwise Skin
This skin graft is a translucent membrane that, once applied to the body surface, moulds itself to the contours of the body. It protects the wearer against heat and light as if in a cool and shaded indoor environment. It confers no special protection against heat- or light-based attacks or effects.

Cost: 160 XP

[SIZE=3]Creating Symbionts[/SIZE]
First determine the base price in Cp a magic or psionic item with the symbiont’s abilities would cost. To produce the symbiont, the elder brain must spend 1/25 of the base price in XP. For every 500 XP of the symbiont’s cost (rounded up), the elder brain must sacrifice the production of an additional tadpole beyond the one that is to be transformed into the symbiont. At the beginning of the elder brain’s reproductive cycle, where a tadpole should have been produced a larval symbiont is created instead, taking 2 days to mature for every 100 XP of its cost. The limit on the number of symbionts that can be produced at any given time is determined by the XP reserve of an elder brain as well as the remaining number of unrealized tadpoles for that particular elder brain’s current reproductive cycle.


(pennarin) #3

[SIZE=4]Prestige Races[/SIZE]

MALINARINT
Cost: Producing a malinarint with the Sculpt Flesh ability costs 2,000 XP to an elder brain.

Malinarint are a superior kind of illithid, one produced by the will of an elder brain and nourished by its substance. Malinarints during their tadpole stage suckle at the elder brain’s body, absorbing its knowledge and some of its brain matter.
Personality: A malinarint is the next highest authority after the elder brain and the concord of elders. Their word is law, obeyed by all and that can only be put in question or reversed by a member of the concord. They are trusted and respected by all since they are directly accountable to the elder brain.
Physical Description: Mature malinarints have a bigger skull and brain mass, bulging out the back and sides of the head and pulsating lightly. They appear wise beyond their years, constantly in contact with the vast archive of knowledge that is the overmind.
Alignments: Malinarints are always lawful and evil. Their constant contact with the elder brain ensures their loyalty and gives them a singular bent toward the protection of their race, at any cost.

Malinarint Racial Traits
As per the illithid, with the following changes and additions:
● +2 to a single mental ability score.
Open Minded: Receives the Open Minded feat for free, but must apply the skill points to a Knowledge skill.
Personal Overmind (Su): A malinarint produces a psychic field half a mile in radius that links illithid minds together, creating an overmind in 30+ strong groups. The malinarint can tap his own overmind, even if not part of a group, to gain the benefits of the Oracle and Overmind illithid supernatural abilities (see Illithid).
● Illithid Blood: For all effects related to race, a malinarint is considered an illithid and can take levels in “illithid”.
● Favored Class: Malinarint.
● Racial Levels: Like illithids, malinarints can take a few levels in “malinarint” as a class to develop their racial qualities more fully.
● Level Adjustment +3

When part of a group, a malinarint can make use of the following illithid abilities:
Multitask (Su): See Illithid.
Power Resistance (Ex): See Illithid.

Malinarint Levels
Malinarints can take up to three levels in “malinarint” at any time. Each level represents the malinarint focusing on mental discipline and exploring racial qualities. Most malinarints take at least one racial level. Malinarint levels stack with a manifester class level for purposes of determining manifester level for powers. If the malinarint has two manifesting classes, the malinarint levels add to the higher of the two class levels.
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points at 1st Character Level: (2 + Intelligence bonus) x 4
Skill Points at Higher Levels: 2 + Intelligence bonus
“Class” skills: Autohypnosis (Wis), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (psionics) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Psicraft (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Use Psionic Device (Cha).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Malinarints with levels only in illithid or malinarint (no actual class levels) are proficient in the use of all simple weapons but no armors or shields.
Racial Authority (Ex):
Pennarin’s Note: I had something for this similar to a templar’s Secular Authority, but am no longer sure that is the right way to go, considering the personnality, motivations, social life and societal structures of illithids are still undevelopped.

Constant Contact (Su): A permanent mindlink effect is established between the malinarint and its creator elder brain.
Talented: If the malinarint takes the Overchannel feat, he is considered to have the Talented feat.
Innate Psi-Like Abilities: Use the malinarint’s character level to determine the manifester level.

<br />Racial<br />Level BAB Fort Ref Will <br /> 1 +0 +0 +1 +2 <br /> 2 +1 +0 +1 +3<br /> 3 +2 +1 +2 +3
Racial Level/Special

  1. Racial authority, constant contact
  2. Talented
  3. Innate psi-like abilities: at will―clairvoyant sense, 3/day―metaconcert

[SIZE=4]Templates[/SIZE]

The process by which illithids reproduce is controlled by the elder brain and as such, can be modified to produce variant forms. Since malinarints must suckle at the elder brain’s body all through maturation, they cannot be implanted into a host body so as to gain the ceromorph template. But it can be chosen as the tadpole that will absorb the psychic energy of an energized pool, granting them the trigrammaton template.

[SIZE=3]Ceromorph[/SIZE]

Ceromorphosis produces stronger, superior illithids, with psychic abilities above and beyond normal illithids. They also have supreme control over their mind blast. The process of ceromorphosis is described under Reproductive Cycle.

The
Ceromorph Template

“Ceromorph” is a template that can be added to any illithid or prestige illithid tadpole (hereafter referred to as the “base creature”). The ceromorph uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Hit Dice: +1 hit point per HD.
Special Attacks: A ceromorph retains all the special attacks of the base creature and also gains the following.
Innate Psi-Like Abilities (Su): At will―concealing amorphea, mental disruption, thought shield; 3/day―body adjustment, body purification, telekinetic thrust. DC is Charisma-based (DC 10 + power level + Cha modifier). At 4 HD, the ceromorph gains the Empower Psi-Like Ability feat that it must apply to a psi-like ability it already possesses, and at 8 HD the Quicken Psi-Like Ability feat.
Mind Blast (Su): The ceromorph can use its mind blast racial ability at will.
Special Qualities: A ceromorph has all the special qualities of the base creature and in addition gains the following.
Tough Skin: A ceromorph’s skin is sturdier and dryer, eliminating their racial –1 penalty to armor class.
Abilities: A ceromorph gains +2 to Strength and Dexterity.
Climate/Terrain: Same as the base creature.
Organization: Same as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.
Alignment: Same as the base creature.
Advancement: By character class.
Level Adjustment: Same as base creature +3.

[SIZE=3]Trigrammaton[/SIZE]
Trigrammatons are the result of elder brain tampering. If an elder brain protects a single tadpole from its Sacrificial Powerleech ability, and reinserts it afterward in the energized pool, the tadpole will absorb the psychic energy of the pool for the length of time until the next reproductive cycle. So much energy absorbed by the growing tadpole transforms it into a creature that interacts strongly with the energies of the netherworld.

The
Trigrammaton Template

“Trigrammaton” is a template that can be added to an illithid or prestige illithid tadpole (hereafter referred to as the “base creature”). The trigrammaton uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. A trigrammaton no longer feeds on brains but on minds (see bellow).
Hit Dice: Maximum hit points per HD.
Blindsight (Ex): A trigrammaton is effectively blind, but can “see” by using psychic energy to ascertain objects and creatures within 120 feet.
Ectopic Flesh (Ex): The trigrammaton’s flesh is partly ectopic, acting as a cognizane crystal 17.
Special Attacks: A trigrammaton retains all the special attacks of the base creature and also gains the following.
Mind-Eating Tendrils (Su): Eyes are the windows to the mind—and they are also the conduits by which a trigrammaton feeds. Any creature that comes within 30 feet of a trigrammaton with open eyes must beware the prehensile hair-like tendrils from the creature’s eyes—they dart forward, piercing the eyes of their victims to find the brain beneath, then leaving behind a mindless husk. Any creature within reach must make a Reflex save (DC 13) each round to avoid the darting tendrils. On a failed save, the tendrils slip in and out in only moments. A potential victim makes its saving throw at the beginning of its turn each round—the tendrils act independently and automatically. On its turn, a trigrammaton can actively target a single individual within reach as well. Those who fail their saves are treated in all ways as if under the effect of a feeblemind spell. As with gaze attacks, opponents can avoid the tendrils by attempting to avert their eyes, or by wearing a blindfold (see gaze attacks as described in the Monster Manual). A trigrammaton must be able to see its victim with its blindsight in order to use its mind-eating tendrils.
Special Qualities: A trigrammaton has all the special qualities of the base creature and in addition gains the following.
Power Resistance (Su): Its ectopic flesh gives it PR 10 + the trigrammaton’s HD.
Tri-Partitioned Mind (Ex): A trigrammaton is truly three minds in one. Not unlike a manifester under the effect of the schism power, a trigrammaton can make one full-round action, and two standard actions that it can use to take any purely mental action. The mental action may be using a Knowledge, Psicraft, or other skill check requiring only mental cognition. The mental action could also be the manifestation of a psionic power. The tri-partitioned mind has a single pool of power points and powers, although each separate mind can maintain or expend focus separately. Each focus can only affect the action of that particular mind. A trigrammaton manifesting the schism power can only do so with one of its minds. At the DM’s discretion, whenever a mindscape forms that involves a trigrammaton, other creatures perceive it as a three-headed creature. For more details on mindscapes see Hyperconscious: Explorations in Psionics (Malhavoc Press).
Psionic Affinity: Malinarints receive a +10% bonus on XP gained while advancing in a psionic class.
Abilities: A trigrammaton gains +4 to Intelligence and Charisma.
Climate/Terrain: Same as the base creature.
Organization: Same as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +5.
Alignment: Same as the base creature.
Advancement: By character class.
Level Adjustment: Same as base creature +4.

[SIZE=4]Monsters[/SIZE]

[SIZE=3]Elder Brain[/SIZE]

Large Aberration

Hit Dice: 26d8+367 (484 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 10 ft (2 squares), fly 30 ft. (good) (6 squares), swim 30 ft (6 squares).
Armor Class: 30 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +20 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 29
Base Attack/Grapple: +19/+24
Attack: Tendril +20 melee (1d6+1 plus extract)
Full Attack: 4 tendrils +20 melee (1d6+1 plus extract)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Extract, improved grab, mind blast, psionics
Special Qualities: Blindsight 240 ft., damage reduction 15/dwarven steel, manifest ectopic shape, overmind, power resistance 34, regeneration 10, resistance to cold 10 and fire 10, sacrificial powerleech, sculpt flesh, telepathic awareness
Saves: Fort +24 Ref +11 Will +24
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 13, Con 38, Int 28, Wis 25, Cha 26
Skills: Bluff +36, Concentration +42, ??? +32, Diplomacy +41, Intimidate +41, Knowledge (history) +38, Knowledge (psionics) +38, Knowledge (symbionts) +38, Listen +36, Psicraft +41, Sense Motive +36, Spot +36
Feats: Alertness, Graft Illithid Flesh (B), Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Quicken Psi-Like Ability (psionic dominate), Quicken Psi-Like Ability (psionic suggestion), ???, Toughness, Weapon Focus (tendril)
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 25
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always lawful evil
Advancement: 27-38 HD (Large); 39-56 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

From Underdark p.85:
Here lies a great, fibrous mass of fused brain tissue, covered in writhing tendrils. It pulsates and glows like an ember, releasing visible flares of psychic power.

An elder brain is the ultimate stage of the illithid life cycle. A being of extraordinary intellect, the elder brain serves as the center of any illithid city, guiding its host community toward fulfilling its dreams.
An elder brain spends most of its existence floating within the depths of a briny pool in a protected chamber or cavern at the heart of an illithid city-nest. Its visible psychic energy is a side effect of the power that allows it to remain active long after the bodily death of the individual illithids whose brains compose its form.
An elder brain can telepathically speak with any creature within 350 feet that has a language (see Telepathic Awareness, below).

Combat
An elder brain uses its quickened psi-like abilities in the same round that it makes melee attacks with its tendrils, if possible. It usually begins a combat against foes with a mind blast.
As creatures of epic level, elder brains can more easily pay large XP costs than most creatures on Athas. Consider that an elder brain has a safe cushion of around 10,000 XP it can use every reproductive cycle for producing symbionts or prestige illithids.

Blindsight (Ex): An elder brain has no visual organs but can “see” by using psychic energy to ascertain objects and creatures within 240 feet.

Extract (Ex): An elder brain that begins its turn with a tendril attached to an opponent and makes a successful grapple check automatically extracts the opponent’s brain, instantly killing that creature. This ability is useless against constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, and undead. Extraction is not instantly fatal to foes with multiple heads.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an elder brain must hit a Small to Gargantuan creature with its tendril attack. If it gets a hold, it sinks the tendril into the opponent’s head and can try to extract in the next round. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple check or Escape Artist check, but the elder brain gets a +2 circumstance bonus for the deep attachment, and the opponent takes 1d6 from ripping the tendril free.

Mind Blast (Ps): This psionic attack is a cone 60 feet long. Anyone caught in this cone must succeed on a DC 31 Will save or be stunned for 3d4 rounds. An elder brain can use this ability once every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based. This ability is the equivalent of a 4th-level power.

Overmind (Su): An elder brain produces a psychic field 5 miles in radius that links illithid minds together, creating an overmind. The overmind is a distributed network of knowledge and information. When first created, an elder brain transfers bits of its vast knowledge through the overmind to every illithid brain within its range, which they can later access through their own Overmind supernatural ability.

Psi-Like Abilities (Ps): At will―psionic dominate (affects up to 7 creatures)* (DC 28), psionic suggestion (affects up to 9 creatures)* (DC 20), greater psionic teleport, read thoughts (DC 20), telekinetic thrust (total weight of 625 lb.)* (DC 21). Manifester level 20th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

  • Includes augmentations for the elder brain’s manifester level.

Psionic Powers: An elder brain manifests powers as a 20th-level psion. The save DCs are Intelligence-based. Most elder brains are seers or telepaths.
Typical Psion (seer) Powers Known (PP 433, base save DC 19 + power level): 1st―detect psionics, disable, ecto protection, entangling ectoplasm, sense link; 2nd―biofeedback, clairvoyant sense, forced sense link, psionic identify; 3rd―dismiss ectoplasm, dispel psionics, mental barrier, fate link; 4th―incarnate, intellect fortress, mindwipe, psychic reformation, remote viewing, wall of ectoplasm; 5th―clairtangent hand, ectoplasmic shambler, psionic true seeing, psychic crush; 6th―aura alteration, mass cloud mind, psionic contingency, psionic disintegrate; 7th―fate of one, insanity, psionic moment of prescience, ultrablast; 8th―bend reality, hypercognition, psionic mind blank, recall death; 9th―apopsi, metafaculty, reality revision.
Since elder brains are hundreds if not thousands of years old, they have amassed a huge amount of psionic lore from illithid research done over the years. At the DM’s discretion, give an additional 10 to 20 powers, different for each elder brain, imparted through psychic chirurgery. For the oldest elder brains, there can be as much as 50 supplementary powers. Most of these powers are unique creations known only to illithid communities.

Regeneration (Ex): An elder brain takes normal damage from sonic- and acid-based attacks.

Sacrificial Powerleech (Su): Once every reproductive cycle, an elder brain can will the realized tadpoles that share his briny pool to relinquish their spark of psychic energy, dying in the process. Each tadpole contributes a single power point and the ensuing flood of energy permeates the melange of brine, encephalic fluid and nutrients that fills the pool, persisting for the time of a reproductive cycle or until a creature touching the melange accesses the energy. All tadpoles bathing in the pool are affected without discrimination.

Sculpt Flesh (Ex): An elder brain can produce superior tadpoles that will mature into more powerful forms of illithids. The process is a taxing one, requiring the expenditure of a set amount of XP, each type of tadpole having its own cost (see Prestige Races). For every 1,000 XP of the tadpole’s cost (rounded up), the elder brain must sacrifice the production of another tadpole. Thus a single 8,000 XP tadpole would be produced in the stead of eight tadpoles.

Manifest Ectopic Shape (Su): An elder brain can exude a shape from itself made of psychic energy. Flares of psychic power surround the elder brain as a bead of psychic energy buds from its aura. The ectopic shape is made of ectoplasm that the elder brain can shape to suit tasks. The manifestation lasts until dismissed, but the elder brain can never have more than three ectopic shapes active at a given time. The ectopic shapes can be sculpted to perform tasks other than agression (the elder brain has access to the Constructor’s utility construct class ability; see the Mind’s Eye article “Constructor”). At any time the elder brain can choose to manifest sleeker, sturdier ectopic shapes to protect the nest, and must dismiss existing shapes to do so. Manifesting a shape, or all three, is a standard action. Dismissing them is a move action. This ability works like a manifestation of the astral construct power, as a 20th-level manifester.

Telepathic Awareness (Su): Within a radius of 350 feet, the elder brain detects all creatures whose minds are not shielded with an effect such as mind blank, even through solid rock. Within this same range, it can communicate with any creature that has a language.

[SIZE=3]Puppeteer, Catcher[/SIZE]

Tiny Magical Beast (Psionic)

Hit Dice: 1d10+1 (6 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 5 ft (1 squares), fly 30 ft. (perfect) (4 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+2 size, +4 Dex), touch 16, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-8
Attack: Bite +7 melee (1d4-3 plus poison)
Full Attack: Bite +7 melee (1d4-3 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 2 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison
Special Qualities: Blindsight, Enthrall, Hide Mind, Host Protection, Telepathy
Saves: Fort +3 Ref +6 Will +3
Abilities: Str 5, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 14
Skills: Hide +13, Listen +7, Sense Motive +6, Spot +7
Feats: Virulent PoisonB, Weapon Finesse (bite)
Environment: Desert
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually lawful evil
Advancement:
Level Adjustment:

This one foot long creature looks like a small cloud ray with dangling tendrils on its underbelly.

A catcher puppeteer is a specially bred subspecies of puppeteer able to fly to find hosts. They also possess a paralyzing poison bite that helps them subdue their victim. They are trained by illithids to hunt by night or day for possible thralls and can discern between psionic and nonpsionic creatures. They are trained to return to the illithid nest with the thrall.

Combat
The puppeteer will try and charm a creature into picking it up and attaching it to himself so it can use its enthrall ability. If unsuccessful, it will attack using its poison bite to try and paralyze its victim. It possesses the same abilities as a puppeteer (see Expanded Psionic Handbook) with the following addition.

Poison (Ex): Those taking damage from the catcher puppeteer’s bite attack must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or be paralysed for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Originally posted by Pennarin:

[SIZE=3]Free Year/Event[/SIZE]

-13,920Illithids settle the salt-water marshes south of the Sunrise Sea. They lay eggs in the water and feed the tadpoles masticated food while adults hunt at night.

-12,895With their increasing mastery of psionics comes domestication of insect colonies that can produce food for the tadpoles, freeing the adult population for other activities.

-12,885Illithid psions discover on the Hiriman highlands a Nature-Bender retreat from the Blue Age.

-12,884When those studying the base do not report back, a group is sent to investigate.They find the brains of their comrades absorbed into a rhulisti construct, which is now imprinted with the illithid’s intelligence and personality. Illithids bow to the great intelligence and wisdom of the construct and make it their greatest leader, the Orekam.

-12,801The Orekam makes great strides in the Way of the Unseen and starts deciphering the lore contained in the retreat, written in the ancient halfling language. An illithid civilization rises up from the marshes and highlands.

-12,698The Orekam creates the first elder brains, inspired from its own structure and budding from its substance, as a means to produce life-shapes. The experiment is a success.

-12,315Trading roads are constructed through the marshes, opening economic ties with the rising powers of the Green Age, leading to fruitful cultural exchanges. Illithids emigrate to the centers of Green Age civilization.

-11,154Start of the height of illithid civilization; will end with the advent of Barien.

-10,912An enormous earthquake rocks the land as fire and ash can be seen rising north in the Sunrise Sea. Parts of the highlands collapse and the Nature-Bender retreat, the anchor point for the Orekam, is lost.

-3,542Cleansing Wars begin. Barien starts his war on illithids everywhere.

-3,535The sea begins turning to silt, rain makes itself increasingly scarcer and the marshes are drying up. Illithids begin a massive construction project and exodus to subterranean nests cloistered around sources of water.

-3,306Barien’s war machine reaches the former marshland’s area.

-3,301Elder brains devise ceremorphosis as a mean to bring tadpoles faster to maturity to increase soldier numbers. Over the years all other Rebirth races in the region become known as thralls as illithids enslave all that do not flee and capture enemy soldiers to obtain living bodies for ceremorphosis. A vast program of enslavement is carried on the neighboring savage dromite clans, whose members make formidable psionic warriors.

-2,310The Sea of Silt expands and swallows part of the ancestral lands.

-2,012Illithids are slowly but surly losing the war. In an attempt to find a weapon that could decimate their enemies, the greatest elder brains delve into the Nature-Bender memories the Orekam left them. They accidentally unleash a terrible plague-weapon that spreads far before dying off, but not before rendering sterile all intelligent creatures in the region.

-2,011In the chaos and confusion that ensues the plague, Barien pierces the front’s defenses and makes his way to the greatest city-nest, Oshul. In desperation the elder brains of Oshul make a last attempt at salvation: they pool all the illithid’s minds of their city-nest together and connect them to their own, forming a hive mind. Their combined psionic might decimate Barien’s army and mortally wounds the champion. With his last breath Barien curses the illithids with powerful sorcery. The curse makes its way through the hive mind to all its components who waste away in the ensuing days.

-2,010With half of what remained of the race annihilated, the remaining illithids and elder brains relocate to farther areas. Of the nests that existed, only a handful remain and their oldest and greatest cities are gone. A few dromite thralls escape to their lands and spread civilization to their race.

-2,002The end of the Cleansing Wars.

-1,990In the ensuing years, the surviving elder brains devise a mean to procreate again by creating new tadpole-producing elder brains. The old elder brains divide their own gray matter amongst the new, imparting knowledge. The populations of the other Rebirth races in the area slowly dwindle to nothing after a few decades as their members grow old and die without progeny.

-1,923The illithid race rises from the ashes of destruction. With the help of the elder brains the illithids try to recreate their pre-war society, but much knowledge as been lost. Illithids will never again be as great as they were. Over the hundreds of years that follow, they maintain isolation from the other Rebirth races even as their feelings of hate fade away.

-1,752Dromite clans become united castes that initiate savage gorilla warfare to protect their borders from further illithid intrusions.

-1,737Illithids build fortified camps on the border between illithid and dromite lands from which they lunch punitive strikes and collect dromite thralls.

[…]

Originally posted by Pennarin:

  1. Is Barien dead or still alive, borgized by the illithids into servitude?

  2. Was the current form of illithids - tentacled and capable of eating brains - always so or was it life-shape tampering on the part of elder brains, or even wearing lifeshaped tentacles for so many thousands of years those have now become part of the illithid’s natural make-up?

  3. What exactly is their diet? I have it young tadpoles eat masticated food from their parents (or pulp bee honey) until a certain age when they have to switch to brain food. Does it have to be intelligent brains or not? Will animals do?

  4. Illithis now live eclusively on the Illithid Ancestal Lands. It wasn’t always so. Basically, those Lands are a new region to explore, not unlike the Dead Lands. In the past, illithids explored and lived amongst the Rebirth races during the Green Age in small numbers. They probably traded favors for money, wich in turn they exchanged for animals they could extract the brains from for sustenance. Maybe I should add that they can also live on PPs given by someone else? (i.e. one brain a week and 10 PPs per day, expanded from themselves or someone else)

  5. What are and were the racial motivations and imperatives of illithids? World domination, psionic perfection, empire building…
    D&D illithids want to bloth out the sun. Definately not DS, IMO, but with a good fluff explanation for it it could still work.

  6. Do Elder Brains totally run illithid society? Are there “concords of elders” and “creeds”? Something else? (yes! yes!)

  7. I have it the Orekam had been running the DS equivalent to a eugenic program on the illithids, making them more powerful, reinforcing their psionic nature (the racial levels are a result of such pushing of the envelope). The elder brains have been contiuning on the project. Such efforts have resulted in malinarints and trigrammatons. What should such a program entail for the illithids themselves and their society? Maybe the ability to live partially off of consumming PPs comes from that program…


(pennarin) #4

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Waiting for input.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

Haven’t read it all yet, but I really don’t like the whole racial Illithid class level thing.

Too contrived for my tastes, much like most of the SS progression stuff.

Don’t like the fact that they are dumbed down quite a bit either, kinda like you are making them a mutated human or something with an LA.

Let me get the whole picture though, I’m sure I’m missing something…damn calls.

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Well, you know my opinion.

I find SS too contrived as well. I thought I had made it flowing and unimpeded with racial levels…especially only 3.

Maybe its because I’m one of the few who owns a copy of Arcana Unearthed: A Variant Player’s Handbook (Malhavoc Press). After the 12th racial class following a race, you get to see the point and the potential.

The new version of that book, Arcana Evolved, has epic racial progressions for every race. I’m eager to see those.

As for being dumbed down, if you mean they don’t have a +8 to Int, well that’s intentionnal. The rhulisti did what they did without a +8 or even a +2, so…
I find it great for D&D, but that much brain power is a little off for DS. +4 to Int is enough IMO. That makes them powerful manifesters anyway. Plus ‘illithid’ levels stack with a manifester class level for purposes of determining manifester level for powers.

Anyway, of course they’re meant to be different form D&D mind flayers, how much is up to the community to decide. I pointed where I thought I wanted it to go, what with overminds and gestalt abilities.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

[quote]Maybe its because I’m one of the few who owns a copy of Arcana Unearthed: A Variant Player’s Handbook (Malhavoc Press). After the 12th racial class following a race, you get to see the point and the potential.

The new version of that book, Arcana Unearthed Evolved, has epic racial progressions for every race. I’m eager to see those.[/quote]
Guess I need to take a look at that book then, always thought it was more SS sillyness, sounds like it’s something totally different at this point.

[quote]As for being dumbed down, if you mean they don’t have a +8 to Int, well that’s intentionnal. The rhulisti did what they did without a +8 or even a +2, so…
I find it great for D&D, but that much brain power is a little off for DS. +4 to Int is enough IMO. That makes them powerful manifesters anyway. Plus ‘illithid’ levels stack with a manifester class level for purposes of determining manifester level for powers.[/quote]
Nah, dumb-downed in the sense that they are nothing but mutated humans, something the Illithiad from 2e more or less did for their history, and it wasn’t something I really liked all that much and especially don’t like for DS Illithids.

However, I read through all the history and such (skipped the PrCs and Feats) and noticed that they weren’t that at all, so nice job there.

Especially like the nature bender and life shapped influence that is part of their society.

I still would like to see them have some psionic capability like they have in the MM and the XPH, other than some PPs and the ability to get more psionic power if they take their racial class.

Other than that I like most of the fluff stuff I see.

Originally posted by jihun-nish:

Why do you think the Dromites are what they are today when in the past they weren’t worth a Champion??

Just a thought since I’m not sure what yoiu did with their history.(Dromites’s)

Does it make sence??

Of course there is still the mystery of when did he went to the Kano swamps during the cleansing wars to come back later: or did he started his war against the Illithids in the K" swamps??

Thoughts??

Originally posted by Pennarin:

He starts his war against all illithids, but he needs to physically move himself and his army to a local to eradicate them.
The Hiriman highlands, and the swamps surrounding it, are the farthest lands occupied by illithids, so the last to be touched. They are also the ancestral lands. The Kano swamps (where are they again?) would have been dealt with before the illithid lands.

[quote]Why do you think the Dromites are what they are today when in the past they weren’t worth a Champion??

Just a thought since I’m not sure what yoiu did with their history.(Dromites’s)[/quote]
There’s half a dozen, intelligent critters, even some who are humanoid and using tools, in th DSMCs. Yet none of them have a Champion for them. Like the giths for example. The mental discipline of army life, and the illithids exploiting the psionic potential of the dromites to its fullest, are reasons why deserters managed to change their society back home.

(If you haven’t guessed already, the dromites are pretty much the same as the race of gnomes the drow enslaved. Although in FR the drow transformed them, made them better, I have it the change in dromites is purely psychological in nature. Their conscription/enslavement was, litteraly, and eye opener.)

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

Except most of those are mutations that happened after or during the Cleansing Wars I think.

Originally posted by dracochapel:

The original 15 (or more) Champions that Rajaat created were probably assigned to the ‘successful’ races of the Rebirth. Those ones that had developed advanced societies (say elf, dwarf) or that had become numerous (goblins, tari).
After the major threats were destroyed then they would be re-assigned to get rid of the mutations/monsters/lesser threats. I would think as the Champions were successful in eliminating their races they were reassigned. Wyan may have been successful and then sent out to eliminate Gith and Belgoi. Dromites may have just been low on Rajaat’s list of priorities.

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Draco pretty much has it. :smiley:

Originally posted by Kamelion:

Pennarin,

This is great work. Well thought-out and developed. Definitely one to get knocked into shape and posted. Nice one!

I am a fan of SS, so I might have handled the illithid race itself differently and broken out a 15-level monster-class progression. However, I also like your AU approach as well (it’s an awesome piece of work, Nyt ,but wait for Arcana Evovled in Feb instead). A base illithid race, with paragon classes and racial prestige classes is also a very cool way to reproduce the MM illithid. It was neat to see the prestige race as well - I really like that rules-set. And your treatment of skills and feats is well-fleshed out too - a great read.

I do think that your LA for the illithid base race is on the low side, though. I would go for +3 or even +4. The weaknesses do off-set some of the bonuses but +2 seems just a bit too low to me. YMMV, I guess .

Cool templates, too. You haven’t listed a level adjustment for either of those, though. I’d suggest +3 for the ceromorph and +4 or +5 for the trigrammatron. Although, those are just first guesses. (Edit: You might wanna make a note about save DCs for the templates psi-like powers and state what ability score they would be based on.)

Good work, too, on incorporating feats, classes etc from other sources. Everybody likes to rip and plug from other settings and it’s really useful to see all the hard hunting work already done :D.

Yeah, really impressed by this. Have some more ckies…

Originally posted by Sysane:

I have no issue with illithids being on Athas, but I wouldn’t think of them being native. Githianki came from the outer planes to Athas. It could be rationalized that they were there to spy/destory illithids that fled to Athas after their great revolt. The flayers could have found sanctuary in the Hiriman highlands that you detailed.

You could also rationalize that the slightly more primitive illithids you have presented were hit by the same mind bomb that left the Githianki near mindless but effected on a lesser extent.

Just my two bits.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

[quote]I have no issue with illithids being on Athas, but I wouldn’t think of them being native. Githianki came from the outer planes to Athas. It could be rationalized that they were there to spy/destory illithids that fled to Athas after their great revolt. The flayers could have found sanctuary in the Hiriman highlands that you detailed.

You could also rationalize that the slightly more primitive illithids you have presented were hit by the same mind bomb that left the Githianki near mindless but effected on a lesser extent.[/quote]
I’m debating going this way with them myself, but I’m a bit torn between that and having a full-fledged psionic race just like the one in the MM but with some differences.

Originally posted by Sysane:

I have them on the other side of the Sea of Silt IMC. They keep pretty much to themselves. Slowly plotting against the peoples of the Sundered Regions (what I call the other side of the silt sea). I have them as pretty straight forward illithids from the MM though. Some are a bit tougher due to having muls and half-giants to pick from for their illithid tadpoles and Ceromorphosis. Very few half-giants sized flayers are spawned this way due to the low survival rate with such an uncommon host.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

Should be templates at that point then, something I’ve been exploring as well since I like that part of the Illithid which they described very well in the 2e Illithiad.

Originally posted by xlorepdarkhelm_dup:

There is a template that exists for that, the Half-Illithid, if I remember, either in the MM2 or Fiend Folio.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

FF I think, and thanks, forgot about that.

Originally posted by the_people_dup:

Goooooooooooooooo Pennarin!

Originally posted by Sysane:

Good point. I’ll have to take a look at MM2 and/or FF for that template.

Originally posted by greyorm:

Illithids on Athas is a cool idea. Good work on it so far, Pennarin.

You’d asked for some way to make them weird and alien…well, long ago, I considered that if they did exist, they were like some sort of soldier-warriors for an Aboleth menance lurking in vast caverns beneath the northern parts of Athas.

This Athasian “Underdark” would be located beneath a lifeless, barren wasteland stretching along the equatorial ring. This would be the main reason the illithid were not hunted during the Cleansing War and thus survived it: Rajaat had no clue they (or anything else) was there.

What are the Aboleth? Evil lifeshaped creations run rampant, or perhaps experiments of the nature-benders, perhaps even the nature-benders themselves, evolved and mutated after eons of terrible experimentation and life-shaping as they hid from persecution in the deepest caverns and black seas found below the world’s surface in that sole region – simply, a perfect place for them to hide.

The Athasian “Underdark” would not have drow or derro or anything, though, just weird stuff – escaped or rejected life-shaped creations – likely insectoid things, like umber hulks – sightless cavern drakes, non-humanoid elemental creatures, vicious crystal constructs, slimes, jellies, molds, and other terrors I haven’t thought of.

However, the regions ruled by the Aboleth would be slowly expanding southwards through centuries-long exploration and expansion. Suppose the Great Earthquake was not the result of the Messenger striking Athas, but the result of the Aboleth expansion finally weakening the crust of the surface enough that a massive collapse occured.

As well, consider the whole “illithids want to destroy the sun” plot common in most other fiction about the creatures. Hey, works for me here, too. The Aboleth are steadily working towards the complete dimming of the world’s sun.

What if…they are responsible for the Pristine Tower? What if the Aboleth are a race surviving from the Blue Age? And they seek the destruction of the sun because it is hateful to them…the Brown Tide? Them. Rajaat’s dreams of magic and the Blue Age? Them. The arrival of the gith on Athas, and the subsequent psionic bomb? Them…Psionic minions are more useful, and make better hosts for the illithid larva.

Not directly responsible, but lurking in the shadows, nuding and whispering, kidnapping, brainwashing, devouring. A world of dark seas beneath a burnt-out ember.

Suppose the Silt Horrors are servants of theirs as well, or escaped mutations from the begining of the Cleansing Wars, when they found their seas turning to dust.

Anyways, that’s my two cents (the toddler isn’t letting me type anything else! She’s stealing the mouse!).

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

[quote]You’d asked for some way to make them weird and alien…well, long ago, I considered that if they did exist, they were like some sort of soldier-warriors for an Aboleth menance lurking in vast caverns beneath the northern parts of Athas.

bigohhugeSNIP[/quote]
Not sure what is scarier, the fact that you came up with that, or the fact that I really like it.

:smiley:

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Ok, I thought of something alien.

Illithids are innately predatorial, and their society is not unlike that of an intelligent bird of prey: opinions are shared telepathically but also through dominance stances. They bite each other and other nasty things like that. They dart nastily at each other, continually affirming their dominance. (Oh and btw, don’t think of illithids as humans with tentacles but as literal aliens, with joints in the wrong places and such. Also they don’t wear clothing at all, so they’re either naked and freaky, or carapaced with a full-body lifeshape and freakier)

In the Green Age, when they made contact with the main civilization, they found themselves plagued with an inability to communicate. So a few years later started appearing lone illithids accompanied by an intermediary, a kind of translator. This guy was an unfortunate human or other who got snatched and transformed into an half-illithid, in a process similar to what the yuan-ti use to make their quasi-yuan-ti slaves.
Those intermediaries are telepathic but can easily talk their native tongue and look partially illithid. They barely remember their former lives. They would be induced telepathically to express what the illithid wants, insuring there is no dominance play or biting or any such thing involved that might confuse the other party or convey the wrong impression. Any contact between a member of another race and an illithid is made through these intermediaries. (If you’ve ever seen the first few seasons of ST:TNG, you’ll remember that guy who was deaf, speechless and telepathic and needed two translators with him)

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

I vaguely remember him. Do you know the character’s name?

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Looking at my trusted collector’s TV Guide Star Trek: 30 Years :smiley: I can see he’s called Mediator Riva. The actor really is deaf and also originated the story line. He’s in Season 2 episode 5, Loud as a Whisper.

Originally posted by darthcestual:

Great post Penn, clearly alot of effort went into it. I also really like greyorm’s ideas too. The Illithids in my DS setting were the standard D&D lot, but they came to Athas for a reason. They were at war with some mystery baddie, like on a cosmic scale war. They needed to improve their stance in the fight. So, what is the 1 thing in abundance on Athas as compared to other D&D settings? Psionics,…or for the Illithids, psionic brains. The psionic brains here are a super-food for the Mind Flayers. So, they started doing “alien abductions” in the night, conducting “cross-pollenating” breeding programs to increase the number of psionic potentials born, then consuming them in grand harvests of cities in the night. “What happened to Greywater’s Tap? The entire town vanished overnight!” I had included a subspecies of Illithid that was specialized in jamming psionics, to make certain their “cattle” could be take without incident. The Olitharid had black eyes and short, stubby tentacles. They couldn’t feed themselves, and relied on fellow Illithids to feed them,(so they wouldn’t turn on their brothers).

Awsome post guys!

Originally posted by Pennarin:

DarthCestual makes me think that more prestige races and templates need to be done: I have a warrior developed for the Cleansing Wars, the cermorph; a demi-god-like illithid, the trigrammaton; and a leader type, the malinarint.

Many more could be developped.

Also, seeing the movie AVP (Nyt, Mach, ) I thought some of the scenes fit very well the athasian illithids. Also there’s DarthCestual’s comment of “consuming them in grand harvests of cities in the night”.

As such, what if the evil of the illithids is not unlike the halfling’s evil, a categorization of the way they act, not the way they feel? They could get out of their cities periodically, scourging the countryside in a kind of blood revel, like intelligent ants who need to expand and send forth millions of warriors to kill and eat everything everywhere before retreating and creating new nests.

Although they’re intelligent and barely sociable in a way the other races understand, the illithids are not ‘EVIL evil’ but rather obey strong instincts, including eating brains and occasionnal brain fests. They could also kill anything that isn’t illithid or absorbed within the illithid way of life: plants, people, creatures. Pulp bees are domesticated and so are left alone. Illithid lands could be huge watelands were only the things that the illithids need and want would live and grow.

This would explain why illithids were not really present amongst the Green Age civilizations, but rather limiting themselves to southeastern lands. No one is crazy enough to cross their borders, and the only way to make contact with them is to hunt down a voyaging illithid and his intermediary, or to go to small half-illithid outposts outside of their frontiers to get yourself escorted in with the equivalent of a white flag.

Originally posted by dracochapel:

How about the Illithids just don’t get the concept of other creatures been intelligent? They are aware of the other races, and notice cities, caravans, the annoying sounds they make between each other - but they just cant comprehend the idea of these races been as intelligent.
So the Illithids (like the well used analogy of humans and ants) act as they want, without any regard for any other races, which they consider are no different from animals. At best the other races are regarded as pets/cattle, sure the family dog is cute, and got some tricks - but if he gets rabies its shotgun time.
They dont have human ideals of greed, love and honour(not that a lot of that is present on Athas), and act for the good of the hive - their position in the ‘hive’ dictating their actions. So the Super-Illithids arent megalomaniacal, they act for the good of the hive, just on a more powerful level than normal illithids.
Maybe they are also like the Kreen, with a well defined hierarchy that they can move up/down with successful/failed challenges? This would probably only cover leadership of a coven, since there are built in plateaus of power with the prestige classes, and elder brains.

The illithids eat brains for food, any gain of knowledge from this consumption is regarded as Illithid intuition/learning and not related to eating the brains of a human/elf/dwarf. This might also cover why some illithid become mages/clerics etc. They eat the brain of a preserver or a fire cleric, and gain knowledge, effectively multiclassing. Other illithids dont know why, since they dont realise its possible to gain knowledge from animals. I’d also think they can eat the brains of anything, its something in brains that they get nourishment from. To illithids the brain of a sparrow is the same as of a human, just different size.

Also to add conflict between the Illithids (rather than having them all unified), i thought maybe some of the hives have decided a single elder brain is too risky. These (newer) hives have split the Elder Brains (willingly of course, it is the Brain’s idea) into ‘commander’ illithids - like the white daleks :smiley:
These illithids lose some of the benefits of the elder brains, but gain more immediate benefits from the close presence of the commander illithids, making them more capable away from their hives. Each of these commanders is a lesser brain, giving the hive greater survivability. The older, traditional Brains reject this idea and battles have broken out between the factions. The younger hives are consistently successful against the old illithids away from the hives, but when they get near the Elder Brains the superior mind of the Elder Brains wins out. This leads to stalemate.

Originally posted by nytcrawlr:

[quote]How about the Illithids just don’t get the concept of other creatures been intelligent? They are aware of the other races, and notice cities, caravans, the annoying sounds they make between each other - but they just cant comprehend the idea of these races been as intelligent.
So the Illithids (like the well used analogy of humans and ants) act as they want, without any regard for any other races, which they consider are no different from animals. At best the other races are regarded as pets/cattle, sure the family dog is cute, and got some tricks - but if he gets rabies its shotgun time.[/quote]
You mean kinda like the kreen are with all other intelligent life?

:wink:

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Ok Nyt, I might reconsider.

I just had a look at the new Villichi in ToA, and it has psi-like abilities, upgradable power resistance, more than good stats, all with an LA of +2.

I could redesign the illithid so that the character race has the powers it normally would get by taking levels in its racial class, using the villichi as a guide. Considering the other abilities coming from the gestalt effect, the overmind and the natural attacks, I might up it up to LA +3 or +4.

Also, I could thus remake the racial abilities it gets from taking levels in its racial class.

Any suggestions?

Originally posted by jaanos:

Hey Pennarin, great work. My two bobs:

Illithids and Athasian dolphins should be natural enimies (if there are bodies of water in thier homeland, of course)

Also, someone else wrote up a thing on ‘alithids’ which was kinda a unique take on the whole illithid thing - something worth looking at.

Originally posted by jihun-nish:

[quote]Hey Pennarin, great work. My two bobs:

Illithids and Athasian dolphins should be natural enimies (if there are bodies of water in thier homeland, of course)

Also, someone else wrote up a thing on ‘alithids’ which was kinda a unique take on the whole illithid thing - something worth looking at.[/quote]
That would be me and they are called the Athilids: they live in the Keno Swamp situated between the Koshack mountains and the Jagged Cliffs all linked together by the Great River. I was simply inspired when I saw the Half-illithid template in the Fiend Folio.(Of course their history is not the same. You can read all about it here includingthe very short paragraph concerning Barien the Champion.

As for the Illithids vs Dolphin! Well, could you elaborate on this.

Originally posted by jaanos:

I think it’d be awesome if the Alithids were included in the whole illithid-write up, as forgotten cousins of the illithid civilization based on the other side of the sea of silt.

Now onto the dolphins… see, i had this concept that Athasian dolphins are exceptionally psionic - even for athasian creatures - and that thier brains are somehow even more potent (even for an unusally psionic athasian creature) as food for illitids - kind of like Werewolf blood to vampires in Vampire the Masquerade. So, in little lakes and sea’s on the continent / land mass dominated by the illithids on the other side of the sea of slit, they hunt the athasian dolphins as treasured prey and prized food… except the dolphins have evolved really, really, nasty defence mechanisms (part of which is not contacting thier less evolved breathern in the “last” sea). It’s an endless cycle, the illithids try and hunt them as a coming-of-age-ceremoney for powerful illithid families, the dolphins, in repsobse, kill many of these illithids (and some more) as they struggle to retain thier own civilization against the illithids…

[quote]That would be me and they are called the Athilids: they live in the Keno Swamp situated between the Koshack mountains and the Jagged Cliffs all linked together by the Great River. I was simply inspired when I saw the Half-illithid template in the Fiend Folio.(Of course their history is not the same. You can read all about it here includingthe very short paragraph concerning Barien the Champion.

As for the Illithids vs Dolphin! Well, could you elaborate on this.[/quote]

Originally posted by Pennarin:

Heh heh!
Illithids have secret masters, the athasian aboleths!
The athasian dolphins, on the other end, have been oposing the aboleths in their bid for world domination since way before the rhulisti became sentient…

:pile:

Originally posted by Torack:

Uhm…this will be my first post on these boards, so, like, y’know…don’t hold me responsible or anything.

I’ve partially read the Illithid project thingamajig and the rest of the thread and there were parts I liked and parts I didn’t like. I’d like to list them, if ya’ll don’t mind.

  • Why do the Illithids have to live underground? Part of the beauty, as I understood it, of the Dark Sun campaign was that it took the races to a whole new level. Why not leave them above ground?

  • I really liked the suggestion of having a conflict with the overmind or elder brain thing. It could be a reason for illithids to venture out on there own and explore the world.

  • I don’t get why they would need a champion to exterminate them. Under the assumption that they aren’t numerous and thus have remained out of the history annals, they really wouldn’t need one. Like someone claimed: Only the successfull or numerous creatures were assigned champions. If the Illithids never grew in great numbers and never got to be successfull they wouldn’t need a champion…right?

  • I really liked the idea of their behaviour being dictated by their emotions rather then intelligence. Also the not understanding they aren’t the only intelligent race would be a very nice touch. Let them have an occassional brainfest or something similar every once in awhile. It just spices things up. IMO.

  • I also like the ideas for all these sub-races to help them out. Though they would definetly require some fine-tuning.

Eah…if someone could answer these questions, I guess that is what you’d call them right?

Keep up the work.

Originally posted by jaanos:

Exactly. Makes the ‘cute’ dolphins take on another mask… kinda like that simpson episode…

[quote]Heh heh!
Illithids have secret masters, the athasian aboleths!
The athasian dolphins, on the other end, have been oposing the aboleths in their bid for world domination since way before the rhulisti became sentient…

:pile:[/quote]

Originally posted by Pennarin:

“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish !”


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