Knowledge is power, but for a Mind Flayer, knowledge is also a seasoning that will make your brain even more delicious. Learn about them at your own risk.
Alright let’s talk Mind Flayers. In 5th Edition, they’re positioned as the scions of a once-great empire that spanned the cosmos, aeons before the gods of the “present day” in D&D. These alien creatures are masters of the mind, but their empire fell when their psionic experiments rose up against them and overthrew them, with the working-class seizing property from those that had it and scattering the parasitic upper class to the void. Which I guess makes the Githzerai and Githyanki socialists? Either way, the Mind Flayers have some hidden secrets that even aboleths, who remember basically everything, don’t remember.
In the video above, Adam Lee, a writer at Wizards of the Coast and one of the chief people behind the upcoming Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, talks about the lore of the Mind Flayers. These creatures represent an alien threat. They’re parasites that colonize an area secretly, taking people over from the inside out. Someone might be infested with an intellect devourer, or they might be the thrall of a Mind Flayer, and they make an insidious threat because Mind Flayers can do so much through proxies.
They lend themselves well to adventuring structures, because a Mind Flayer can hide behind minions and thralls and allies as you work your way more and more towards the true threat at the heart of everything. And with their powerful psionic abilities, they might outclass the party, they may leave, or they might be slain only to send a psionic message back to the Elder Brain, lurking somewhere. They’re a monster that keeps on giving, which is why they’re such an iconic part of D&D.
Illithids feature heavily in the depictions of Baldur’s Gate 3, the upcoming PC game sequel to Descent into Avernus, arriving in waves as their nautiloid ships descend on Baldur’s Gate. How will you fare against them? Find out in Baldur’s Gate 3.