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D&D: So How DO You Flay A Mind Anyway

3 Minute Read
Apr 14 2021

How does one flay a mind? What makes for the Illest Lithid? Here are five things you should know about mind flayers.

It’s not easy to flay a mind, but if you’re one of the Illithid then you’ve got plenty of tools at your disposal to unleash stored up psionic potential and blow some minds, both metaphorically and literally. Today we’re breaking down a few different types of Mind Flayers and how to use them, so without further adieu: five ways to flay a mind.


Look the Illithid is a classic for a reason. They’ve been around since 1st Edition as one of the original psionic monsters. They’ve been flaying minds and eating them since day one, basically, and with a telepathic blast and the ability to extract the brain (killing someone instantly if it reduces them to 0 hit points), it gets to chow down on their delicious brain, meaning they benefit greatly from allies with access to polymorph to turn enemies into a 1hp critter whose brain is more easily harvestable.



Sometimes when you want to flay a mind you need to get a little more undead. And that’s where the Alhoon comes in. These undead mind flayers have rejected the Elder Brain and gone into the “deviant” exploration of Arcana. Which means they’re undead mind flayer casters (and some variations are Illithiliches). Their mind blast power is dangerous on its own, but stunning foes can make them more vulnerable to followup attacks by its spells.


Like a mind flayer but bigger, Ulitharids are the answer when you need an Illithid that can do a little bit more. With some innate spellcasting that empowers their role as the establishers of a mind flayer colony, an Ulitharid is the leader of other mind flayers, second only to the Elder Brain. These guys make for excellent villains, especially since they might break away from the Elder Brain to establish their own colony–they have great built in motivation and incredible psionic power.

Elder Brain


Although speaking of the Elder Brain, why not throw ol’ briny into the mix. This threat is usually stationary, though as you can see from the picture, there are clearly “encounter suits” for these brainiacs to go a-questin’ in. And at CR 14, they’re among the highest level threat in the mind flayer family. Their abilities make them insidious and able to turn one party member against another–they can create a psychic link which lets it implant thoughts that victims perceive as their own (at least temporarily), which can give it an advantage that it can press into more devastating combats.

Tadpole (Ceremorphosis)

Finally Mind Flayer tadpoles are perhaps the single best way to flay a mind. As you’ll see in the upcoming BG3, they have a lot to offer you, right before they flay your mind and turn you into one of the very creatures that you’re fighting against.

So the next time you’re looking to flay a mind, remember, variety is the spice of life, and spice makes brains taste better!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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