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Originally Posted by Surface R
Not completely mind wiped, but just enough so we dont remember the implantation. Other True souls retain their personalities and memories as usual, they just dont remember being infected with tadpoles.


Normal mandflayers can keep a certain amount of personality/memories from the original host they grew from. wink

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Originally Posted by Taramafor
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All of the Bhaalspawn are dead. This was necessary for the rebirth of Bhaal, which happened in the table top adventure Murder in Baldur’s Gate.

You're comparing board game logic to computer game logic. Don't assume that will apply here. Nothing in Baldur's gate computer games has ever given any indication of ALL children of Bhaal being wiped out. For we know we could be playing as one. .


I think there was a statue of an illithid in the ending cinematics of BG1. Though I'm not quite sure, it has been some time since I've played the game. But you never meet an illithid Bhaalspawn in BG2, so maybe ut remained hidden all this time... until now. :P

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Originally Posted by Ellenhard
Originally Posted by N7Greenfire
Also worth noting the Nautiloid mindflaners were specifically studying the last thousand years of history wonder if that could narrow down what the absolute is


If we are going with Chekhov's rifle theory, then yes; but aren't mindflayers are a race which gathers all the info they could get, all the time, by definition?

The other data drives on the ship specifically relate to the game events though.

One is a study on Goblins another is about Shadowheart's artifact

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Originally Posted by N7Greenfire
Originally Posted by Ellenhard
Originally Posted by N7Greenfire
Also worth noting the Nautiloid mindflaners were specifically studying the last thousand years of history wonder if that could narrow down what the absolute is


If we are going with Chekhov's rifle theory, then yes; but aren't mindflayers are a race which gathers all the info they could get, all the time, by definition?

The other data drives on the ship specifically relate to the game events though.

One is a study on Goblins another is about Shadowheart's artifact


I agree, and humanoid's history (the third manuscript) could easily be linked to the events, too.

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I just noticed that the little brain devourer companion urges you to leave Shadowheart in the pod, to not even try to release her. Although it doesnt mind Laezel at all, strangely. Its a bit intentionally oblique and looks as if its just urging you to go on get to the helm, easy to miss on the first playthrough, but its noticeable on the second run when you already know some bits. And her pod is additionally hardened against tempering or opening, plus of course she reveals she is missing memories and her artifact was the reason Gith attacked. Quite probably a tragic role of the game, with options.

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Both Shar and Tiamat (and other evil gods) have posed as good gods for one plot or another. Sometimes just to gain more followers that wouldn't normally worship them. So I could see that.. kind of. Seems to simple as a plot point.

The Illithids had nautiloids in spelljammer, so even if they can't make them anymore, doesn't mean there aren't still a few (or a lot) still out there. And remember, it was one of their enemies that said they lost the ability to make them, might not even be true.

MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE RECENT RA SALVATORE BOOKS - There was something about Lolth and the Illithids that I would say more about.

IMO, it's deffinately NOT a Bhaalspawn, but it wouldn't be a Baulder's Gate game with someone trying to become a god.

The Githyanki capital city is built on the corpse of a dead god the floats through the astral plane, and Tiamat is already (at least a little) involved through them.

Are there actual clerics of the Absolute, or just cultists?

There are UR priests in older D&D editions, who tap into the raw divine energy to cast and are in fact atheists.

Could be an Elder brain that found a way to pause the ceremorphosis. Uses it to create a cult. Cults mean worship. Enough worship and the Illithids get their own god....which would be superbad for all the Realms and the other gods too, as the Illitids are from Outside.

Just a bunch of random facts and theories.

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Originally Posted by FaultyValve
Are there actual clerics of the Absolute, or just cultists?


Gut and Minthara are both clerics of the Absolute, but that doesn't mean much as any gods could grant them spells if they wanted to keep the charade up. There are plenty of example of that in the setting.

Datamined info:
There is also a Chosen of the Absolute at Moonrise Towers...so they are pushing the charade very far.

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True, I forgot about that.

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Originally Posted by FaultyValve

Enough worship and the Illithids get their own god....which would be superbad for all the Realms and the other gods too, as the Illitids are from Outside.


Illithids already have "their own god"s, even if they don't worship them to the extent of other mortal races.

Check out Ilsensine, as well as Maanzecorian.

Originally Posted by azarhal
Originally Posted by FaultyValve
Are there actual clerics of the Absolute, or just cultists?

Gut and Minthara are both clerics of the Absolute, but that doesn't mean much as any gods could grant them spells if they wanted to keep the charade up. There are plenty of example of that in the setting.


I agree, and I think this is certainly plausible.


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Maybe the three now mortal gods want to find a way to godhood that does not limit their ability to interfere in Faerun. They were made mortal because they did not stop their interference. As the Mindflayer gods are outside of the normal pantheon, could they seek to cooperate with them to become a less limited kind of god with no supreme entity to control them?
This seems more like a story for a planescape setting, but the motivation is there for them.


I sometimes use thought experiments. I don't necessarily believe in every idea I post for discussion on this forum
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After more playing it feels to me that Shar might be the main culprit, if there is a main. But the dead Three are certainly involved in some way. It may be they made some kind of a pact with Shar, because they are not as strong and powerful anymore, and Shar has her own issues and goals. Several characters describe Absolute as female and i dont think the dead three would easily go for such pretending.

The devils are obviously an outside force in this. Its not their game but they do have interests in it.

Apart from that the only unclear thing is whats the deal with presumed Illithid diety. Is it an actual deity or an impostor.
The mural that is the first thing we see in the game makes it definite there is some sort of religious thing going on with Illithids,although it may be just a part of Illithids, not all of them.

[Linked Image]

There is an elder brain out of whom the chosen one comes forth holding the special staff above kneeling and bowing multitudes.
I have no idea what are the things on the left and right of the figure with the staff, the creatures with two big legs and long tails, bent so their big triangular heads touch the floor. Anyone knows?

-edit-

On a second look, those might be humans leaning back with their shoulders but their heads are unclear. The tentacles , not tails, would then be behind them.

The crowd is also humanoid on the left and right and only the middle row are Illithids.



Last edited by Surface R; 11/11/20 09:08 PM.
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There's also this to consider;
Unbeknownst to many surface-dwellers, the dreaded mind flayers are devoutly religious beings. Unlike the atheistic aboleths, illithids give constant thought to their gods and both fear and honor their race’s clerics. These are the three known deities worshiped by mind flayers.

ILSENSINE
The God-Brain
Deity of illithids, mental domination, and psychic magic
Alignment: Lawful evil
Domains: Evil, Law, Knowledge, Magic, Trickery
Subdomains: Deception, Discipline, Divine, Slavery, Thought
Favored Weapon: Unarmed strike or tentacle

The mind flayers themselves do not know if Ilsensine is their creator or if he merely “adopted” them, but regardless the God-Brain epitomizes everything the illithids strive to be: pure thought, unfettered from physical constraints and bent on the domination of all minds in creation. Almost all illithids venerate Ilsensine, though outright worship is uncommon: to most illithids, Ilsensine is an ideal to strive for, not a cause to dedicate onesself to. Most mind flayer cities, cells, or ships contain a shrine to Ilsensine. The rare temples of the God-Brain are complex networks of curving halls patterned after the tangled gray matter of a humanoid brain. Its unholy symbol is an illithid’s head grasping the world in its tentacles.

Ilsensine’s priesthood is small and secretive, and many cults contain more psychics than clerics. Priests of Ilsensine are respected but not envied, because they forgo the honor of joining with their community’s elder brain upon death, instead allowing their spirits to join Ilsensine in his otherworldly realm, the Caverns of Thought on the Astral Plane. Ilsensine’s priesthood is devoted to archiving the history and knowledge of the illithids, as well as honing their mental powers to their utmost potential. Their ability to control the undead (which are immune to most telepathic attacks) makes them feared by other illithids.

On rare occasions, cults of Ilsensine crop up among human psychics. These deviant cults seek to emulate mind flayers, sometimes even cannibalizing other humans’ brains, and are often led by an illithid cleric.

Ilsensine is a being of pure mental energy with no real form, but when it deigns to communicate with its followers, it projects the form of a massive green brain with thousands of ganglia trailing off into the distance.

MAANZECORIAN
The Keeper
Deity of knowledge and secrets
Alignment: Lawful evil
Domains: Darkness, Evil, Knowledge, Law, Rune
Subdomains: Devil, Language, Loss, Memory, Thought
Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

Unlike Ilsensine, Maanzecorian’s origin is known to all mind flayers. Once the greatest psychic ever to rise in the primordial Illithid Empire, Maanzecorian ascended to godhood with Ilsensine’s sponsorship and has served as the God-Brain’s loyal advisor ever since. Maanzecorian is deferential to Ilsensine, and his priesthood, though smaller, is given equal respect in illithid culture. His unholy symbol is a silver crown set with a red gem.

Maanzecorian is a god of philosophy and secrets, concerned with the pursuit and exploitation of knowledge. His priesthood, consisting almost equally of clerics, psychics, and occultists, believes that other races may possess knowledge of use to mind flayers, and may even diplomatically approach non-illithids for exchanges of information; however, they still see other beings as potential slaves or food, and quickly betray their allies when they are no longer of use. As a god of secrets, a rare few illithid wizards and sorcerers, heretics among the rest of their kind, pray to Maanzecorian to conceal their activities and grant them deeper arcane knowledge.

Maanzecorian appears as a towering ulitharid with greenish skin and yellowed tusks on either side of his eight tentacles, a silver crown with a blinding red gem levitating above his head.

THOON
All
Deity of constructs and quintessence
Alignment: Neutral evil
Domains: Artifice, Evil, Madness, Void, War
Subdomains: Blood, Construct, Dark Tapestry, Insanity, Toil
Favored Weapon: Heavy flail

Mind flayers are known to cross the vast gulfs of the Dark Tapestry in their nautiloid ships, and it was on one such excursion through interstellar space that a fleet of illithids on a mission of exploration came in contact with the unspeakable force they named Thoon. These illithids returned (or were sent back) warped in mind and body, fanatically devoted to the worship of Thoon, which they described alternately as either a god or philosophy. When questioned, they answer only that “Thoon is Thoon, and Thoon is all.” Thoon’s priests claim to receive mental instructions from this mysterious force, but whether Thoon truly speaks to them or they are simply mad, few can say. The fact that Thoon’s clerics receive power from this alien source, however, is not in doubt.

Using their strange visions and mental instructions, the mind flayers of Thoon animate horrific constructs and travel the planets and planes in search of a substance they call quintessence, a life-giving energy radiated by a rare few living beings. Not all creatures of the same race contain quintessence, but the illithids’ constructs are designed to sense it within them. Once detected and secured, the quintessence is extracted, killing the victim and preventing it from returning from the dead with any spell less than true resurrection. The quintessence, distilled into a glowing green fluid, is then used to power more Thoon constructs.

The mind flayers of Thoon terrify other illithids, who see the Thoon flayers as heretics against Ilsensine and fear the spread of their alien philosophy. The illithids of Thoon seek to spread their faith by the sword, destroying the elder brains of other illithid communities and subverting its tadpoles, and the sight of heavily-armored clerics of Thoon sends an illithid community into an uproar as they scramble to destroy the interlopers.

The true nature of Thoon is unknown. The few human scholars who know of it guess that it may be a heretofore unknown Outer God, akin to Azathoth and Nyarlathotep, but this is only crude supposition. Its unholy symbol is a simple green metallic disc.


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Yes well, as i said, and that mural throws in our faces as the first thing we see - the supposed Illithid deities should be considered. But as that lore says neither the more official deity, nor the other one are very clear even to Illithids themselves and remain cagey, mysterious and somewhat hidden. Connections to the Astral plane abound.

What we have seen so far in the EA points out to a more complicated plot with several forces involved. Which i prefer and like so i hope the main plot will continue on that trajectory.

However, if one would seek a malevolent force much greater and older then the Dead Three, and with even bigger grudges against everything, that would be Shar.
Who also already pulled off "pretending to be other god" trick to exact her vengeance.
And also - "Shar eventually made allies of Bane and a patsy of Cyric in 1374 DR. Together, their followers attempted to conquer Myth Drannor "

Her bitter fight against Selune and the whole universe would fit with the name "Absolute", as in someone who denies other forces are as great or as important.

Also;

"Shar killed Ibrandul, a lesser deity of caverns, dungeons, and the Underdark, as an act of pure opportunism. She continues to grant spells to clerics in the name of Ibrandul, reveling in the deceit of the entire affair."

What do we get to play with immediately? The Underdark - right under the defiled temple of - Selune.

What is changing the tadpoles? Shadow magic.

Auntie Ethel being too scared of it to even touch it... and who would frighten such a hag, eh?

Plus, fool Gale thinks he was so special Mystra herself came down to sex him up. Ha. Ha. And what did he get out of it? An orb of magic eating - cities or continents destroying Netherese - shadow magic - primordial weave - from an Astral plane.

Plus she knows the fetherfall spell.

[Linked Image]

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After giving it a bit more thought, I think that when the character keeps using those tadpole powers, it's

not the shield blocking the absolute that is getting weaker, but rather the tadpole itself is getting stronger, allowing it to get through. Only a little bit at first, which is why the absolute can visit the main character in dreams, because this is when their conciousness is not in full control. But "feed" the tadpole enough and it'll break through completely.

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My guess? A person making a power play Like some others have said. Someone (probably a woman as the Absolute is usually referred to as a goddess) got their hands on powerful Netherese magic. Clearly they are aiming to get all the benefits of the mind flayer tadpoles without having the hosts turn into mindflayers.

My personal question is how long we will have the tadpoles in us, assuming we want to get them out in the end.

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Its not a person, a mortal, thats for sure. The way whole thing is talked about, the actual spells priesthood gains, the fear tadpole causes to even someone like ancient hags...

Its a god-ess. If BG games have a common thread its the "Gods play their games with mortals" theme. One of the dead three played the main villain role in the originals, the signs of the whole dead three are all over the start of the game - but they are not enough anymore, because they have been reduced and simply repeating the story of the originals all over again would be dumb and cheap. One of the most basic things sequels try to do is to top the previous movies or games or stories.
The presence and influence of Shar is all over the story. From companions to whole sections of game world. And she already used the dead three as her pawns, killed and impersonated other gods, including giving their spells and powers to the priests to maintain the charade.

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Originally Posted by PraiseThanos
Clearly they are aiming to get all the benefits of the mind flayer tadpoles without having the hosts turn into mindflayers.

The opposite is hinted at in the game.

The Underdark "scholar" tells you that as soon as the stasis gets removed the transformation will be instant. Imo this is the fate Raphael hints at, and also why he is so sure that the PC will be willing to make a deal with him in the end.


Might be a plot similar to some extent to the doppelgangers in BG1.

Edit: I'd also add that the BG games don't have a common theme of 'gods playing with mortals'. Other deities are forbidden from interfering directly in the Bhaalspawn conflict. The common theme is the antagonist trying to achieve godhood.

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Yeah i didnt mean any game, obviously, but the game like Bhaal tried to play for his own gains, being under threat of armagedon, personal existence in risk and all. That kind of "gods playing games with mortals" done by an evil deity for his own purposes.
Sarevok was only trying to achieve godhood because he was egotistic and power hungry. It wasnt the main underlying theme of the games but one of the major consequences of the game Bhaal played. Similar to Irenicus and Bodhi, who wanted that power to escape their faiths.

But it all starts with a game one God tries to play by using mortals, giving them powers, making them think they can even cheat, use those powers simply for themselves, etc, etc.
Thats the underlying theme, the source of all thats happening later on.

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If you are talking about the Dead Three, then this is also a story about mortals achieving godhood. And it is not the source of everything that happens later on. For example, Irenicus has lost his elven spirit (or whatever it was they have), because he tried to usurp the power of the tree of life. Failing on that, he tries to get divinity again by stealing the divine soul of a Bhaalspawn first.

The initiative starts with mortals. Bhaal was mortal too, before he became a god. This is how the story starts: the Dead Three make a pact: they will become gods or die trying.

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I agree with@ash elemental's point. We also saw that on the nautaloid itself. One push of a button and *bam* instant transformation.

I'm not sure what to do with the mural that @surface R has posted. The underdark mindflayer tells us that nautaloids can no longer be made and are relics of days of empire. So is that mural an Ozymandius like mural or a vital clue? If the later then that would point to Ilsensine if the former it could point to Vlaakith or the dead three.

I had originally dismissed Vlaakith but some spoilers in the datamining thread have made me reconsider.

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