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Both of these races consider all other races inferior, and themselves the best. Why are Gityankas better than mind flayers? Why do they have a conflict if they are so similar?


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Originally Posted by OneManArmy
Both of these races consider all other races inferior, and themselves the best. Why are Gityankas better than mind flayers? Why do they have a conflict if they are so similar?

Because their ancestors were enslaved by the illithids for countless generations. It seems to me that this is not conducive to the union.
It's funny, githyanki don't like to hear a lot of ugly things about their race, mostly because they're all true. The first and foremost is that they're a bunch of hypocrites; obsessed with "being free" that they have become convinced their manifest destiny is to conquer & enslave every other race in the multiverse, and they hate religion but worship the Warrior-Queen.

Last edited by BuckettMonkey; 31/10/20 05:45 AM.

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Originally Posted by BuckettMonkey
Originally Posted by OneManArmy
Both of these races consider all other races inferior, and themselves the best. Why are Gityankas better than mind flayers? Why do they have a conflict if they are so similar?

Because their ancestors were enslaved by the illithids for countless generations. It seems to me that this is not conducive to the union.
It's funny, githyanki don't like to hear a lot of ugly things about their race, mostly because they're all true. The first and foremost is that they're a bunch of hypocrites; obsessed with "being free" that they have become convinced their manifest destiny is to conquer & enslave every other race in the multiverse, and they hate religion but worship the Warrior-Queen.


Lich-Queen*. And they don't consider it worship, just intense devotion, but on the outside-looking-in it's definitely worship. But don't tell them that :P And yeah githyanki hate illithids for the whole "millennia long enslavement, torture and experiments" thing.

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Originally Posted by Milani
Originally Posted by BuckettMonkey
Originally Posted by OneManArmy
Both of these races consider all other races inferior, and themselves the best. Why are Gityankas better than mind flayers? Why do they have a conflict if they are so similar?

Because their ancestors were enslaved by the illithids for countless generations. It seems to me that this is not conducive to the union.
It's funny, githyanki don't like to hear a lot of ugly things about their race, mostly because they're all true. The first and foremost is that they're a bunch of hypocrites; obsessed with "being free" that they have become convinced their manifest destiny is to conquer & enslave every other race in the multiverse, and they hate religion but worship the Warrior-Queen.


Lich-Queen*. And they don't consider it worship, just intense devotion, but on the outside-looking-in it's definitely worship. But don't tell them that :P And yeah githyanki hate illithids for the whole "millennia long enslavement, torture and experiments" thing.

Well, considering the amount of her souls eaten, she is very close to god (or demigod) power.
"In truth, instead of sending them to paradise, Vlaakith drains their souls and absorbs their strength, gaining more power with every "ascension". Vlaakith drains their souls and absorbs their strength, gaining more power with every "ascension." Her knowledge of arcane magic equals that of a conclave of archmages, while her combat skill matches the combined talents of hundreds of sword masters."
- Mordenkainens Tome of Foes, p. 86.

By the way, BG3 for some reason includes her in the list of Gods. Although in the fifth edition, she, at most, could act as a otherworldly patron for the warlock (The Undying).

Last edited by BuckettMonkey; 31/10/20 06:04 AM.

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Githyanki will steal your stuff, kill your friends, and maybe take you away to be made a slave and work for them.

Mind Flayers will twist your mind into an obedient servant, do horrific experiments on you and your loved ones, and plant a tadpole in your skull that will snuff out your soul and transform your body into one of them.

Githyanki are definitely evil, but they are more of a... Mundane, mortal kind of evil. No worse than the Drow or another of the billion slaver races in the Forgotten Realms. Mind flayers go beyond that and are closer to devils, demons, and hags in that their evil goes way beyond the limits of what a more mundane race is even capable of.

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I'm surprised you don't know the difference: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Githyanki

Githyanki's hatred for mind flayers is explained there and by the other posters above. Basically, nobody knows what world githyanki came from, they don't even know that, for it's knowledge has been lost to them, because of the millennia they spent being enslaved by the illithids. And, they both use psionic attacks, it's natural for mind flayers to use them, while gith (yanki and zerai) honed these skills to eventually turn them against the mind flayers. Also, like some posters mentioned above, the githyanki are massive hypocrites, for they hate mind flayers for the long years they spent being enslaved, but see absolutely no problems in enslaving other races.

And there of course is that small detail of mind flayers being a parasitic race, after all, in the FR, souls and gods are real things, when someone goes through ceremorphosis (you should really see the tadpole as a parasite) at the end of that process, the host's soul is completely destroyed, a 'fate worse than death'. Also, your soul also gets slowly destroyed in https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Wall_of_the_Faithless , basically, again, after you die, your torment truly begins in some cases.

Last edited by Nicottia; 31/10/20 07:57 AM.
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It should be noted that the story of the Illithids is circular. In the far future, Mind-Flayers had conquered the universe. However, the end of times is here. To not die some of them travel back in time to the beginning and start to conquer everything all over again. They either bring with them or enslave the Gith. Gith revolts and destroys the growing Illithid empire. One of the emerging factions of Gith becomes a new imperialist domain hell-bent on conquering the entire universe.

Now, who are the Illithids? They used to be something else before they became squid headed psionic powerhouses. A common theory is that they were humans. I prefer the theory that they were Gith.

So you have a story where Illithids travel back in time to escape the end of the universe. They enslave (or bring with them) their Gith slaves. The Gith revolts and crushes the Mind-flayer empire. The Gith become the Githyanki and start conquering the universe. Their quest to master their psionic powers and enslave the universe eventually corrupts them into Illithids -- the Gith who don't ascend become their slaves. At the end of time, they travel back in time to escape the end of the universe.


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Originally Posted by OneManArmy
Both of these races consider all other races inferior, and themselves the best. Why are Gityankas better than mind flayers? Why do they have a conflict if they are so similar?


If you have to people who both believe they are better than everybody else they will definitely not get along, because everybody else includes the other person. And if there's anything such people can't stand it's somebody they think is lesser than themselves thinking they are better than them in turn.

Last edited by Dexai; 31/10/20 11:51 AM. Reason: Accidental doublepost

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Battles between evil and worse is a recurring theme in D&D. The pinnacle of this is the blood war.

Githyanki vs illithids, Drow vs Druegar, you name it. I guess it has the advantage of giving the player characters an opportunity of feeling good by killing everyone smile

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Personally I find the Illithids to be of a more understandable kind of evil. I mean their tadpole infestation is their means of reproduction. Their actions (especially their experiments on different races) has a purpose (betterment of their gene-pool and guaranteed reproduction). It is still evil, but not pointless. Don't misunderstand me. I mot making the Kagha argument about a viper defending her nest, because the Illithids are intelligent enough to modify their methodology. They just seeminlgy never developed any kind of moral framework to let this even be a consideration.

However, the Githyanki on the other hand seem to be assholes just for the sake of it. Their attitudes seem pointless to me and more a result of a historical race wide trauma maintained through rituals, believes and stories. Their claims of superiority are just comical and Lae'zel exemplifies that perfectly. She enjoys using others and making them grovel. It may even stand in the way of achieving her goals.
Like the meeting with Githyanki patrol: All of the Gith are just so hostile towards each other without any reason... It is just pathetic in my eyes and results in slaughter and blood.

I hope the Githyanki will become more interesting than that deeper into the story.

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Originally Posted by TyPinOwly
Personally I find the Illithids to be of a more understandable kind of evil. I mean their tadpole infestation is their means of reproduction. Their actions (especially their experiments on different races) has a purpose (betterment of their gene-pool and guaranteed reproduction). It is still evil, but not pointless. Don't misunderstand me. I mot making the Kagha argument about a viper defending her nest, because the Illithids are intelligent enough to modify their methodology. They just seeminlgy never developed any kind of moral framework to let this even be a consideration.

However, the Githyanki on the other hand seem to be assholes just for the sake of it. Their attitudes seem pointless to me and more a result of a historical race wide trauma maintained through rituals, believes and stories. Their claims of superiority are just comical and Lae'zel exemplifies that perfectly. She enjoys using others and making them grovel. It may even stand in the way of achieving her goals.
Like the meeting with Githyanki patrol: All of the Gith are just so hostile towards each other without any reason... It is just pathetic in my eyes and results in slaughter and blood.

I hope the Githyanki will become more interesting than that deeper into the story.

Technically Illithids are only evil in the eyes of other races. This does not make them actually evil, as you said they do not have a similar moral framework to other races.
Githyanki are a warlike race, in their eyes everyone else is weak and considered lesser. They would not show weakness to each other and often niceness is considered weakness. Once someone proves themselves capable, they gain more respect. Lae'zel implies this on the ship, most likely as the game progresses she will have a much better attitude to the player and to others she finds capable.

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Originally Posted by Zarna
Technically Illithids are only evil in the eyes of other races. This does not make them actually evil, as you said they do not have a similar moral framework to other races.

Well... evil is an objective measure in D&D (not talking about IRL philosophy here). An evil person/race doesn't need to consider themselves evil or go against their code of morals to be evil. The 5e player handbook says: "Lawful evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits of a code of tradition, loyalty, or order." Which fits Illithids the best imo.

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Illithids are a parasitic slaver race that needs other races to exploit. They use them as labour, reproductive hosts and meals.

Githyanki are a militaristic race of "space pirates" who raid worlds steal what they want, kill those who try to stop them and go away to enjoy their plundered goods. They sometimes take slaves but once their usefulness is at an end they either kill the slaves or just forget about them.

Both are bad. The Githzerai are the way! :P

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One is a toad, the other is an octopus crazy.

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The people of Gith lost everything under the domination of the mindflayers. By the time they were able to rebel, they had lost their homes, knowledge of what home was like, understanding of what life was like before the Illithid, etc. Once they broke free they split, one side wanting to just be done with wars, etc. and one side so blinded by hate and loss they felt they were OWED everything that was ever taken from them. Both sides will kill an Illithid on sight, but the Githyanki Hunt them. They hunt them and they Take. In their minds, all the other planes were spared what happened to them because of their suffering and thus OWE them. Their leader went to hell to make a bargain and never came back. Dragons now come to aid them. Their Queen is a lich that absorbs their very lives yet they believe she exalts them to a new life. Corrupt leadership and loyalty have made them into what they are today. Something that most likely their long dead ancestors would abhor. The funny/sad thing is, if they ever actually found their homeworld, they would not recognize it. They would capture/slay the people, steal the resources, etc. In fact, they may have already done so.


Illithid are an alien parasitic race who enslave and kill any that cross paths with them. To them you are either food, raw material for reproduction, or slaves. They are (and should be) totally alien to most they encounter, their goals, morality, etc. are totally different.

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Originally Posted by Svalr
One is a toad, the other is an octopus crazy.

Love it!

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Originally Posted by HakkaStyle
The people of Gith lost everything under the domination of the mindflayers. By the time they were able to rebel, they had lost their homes, knowledge of what home was like, understanding of what life was like before the Illithid, etc. Once they broke free they split, one side wanting to just be done with wars, etc. and one side so blinded by hate and loss they felt they were OWED everything that was ever taken from them. Both sides will kill an Illithid on sight, but the Githyanki Hunt them. They hunt them and they Take. In their minds, all the other planes were spared what happened to them because of their suffering and thus OWE them. Their leader went to hell to make a bargain and never came back. Dragons now come to aid them. Their Queen is a lich that absorbs their very lives yet they believe she exalts them to a new life. Corrupt leadership and loyalty have made them into what they are today. Something that most likely their long dead ancestors would abhor. The funny/sad thing is, if they ever actually found their homeworld, they would not recognize it. They would capture/slay the people, steal the resources, etc. In fact, they may have already done so.


Illithid are an alien parasitic race who enslave and kill any that cross paths with them. To them you are either food, raw material for reproduction, or slaves. They are (and should be) totally alien to most they encounter, their goals, morality, etc. are totally different.



That was a great summation of the Githyanki, nicely done.


What I think people don't really acknowledge with Mind Flayers (and Beholders, Aboleth, etc.) is that they aren't people. They aren't a natural species, or even a natural species which has been altered by magic or psionics. They are utterly alien aberrations from the Far Realm. Literally, Lovecraftian horrors. They aren't just alien to this planet, they're alien to this REALITY. They can't be judged or considered in any way comparable to the rest of these evil or potentially evil humanoid races. They aren't like githyanki or orcs or yuan-ti or hobgoblins or lizardfolk or even demons and devils. They are aberrations. They are Things Which Should Not Exist. To even glimpse the place from which they come is to break your mind, to be lost to madness. An evil person, even a thoroughly evil one like a devil or a lich or a drow matron mother or a red dragon, still has a mind which is based on this reality, and can still, in theory, be reasoned with. You could convince, hypothetically, an evil being which is not an aberration that it was wrong, that it should not do what it is doing. You could never do this with a Mind Flayer, or other aberrations. They are entirely alien to our entire way of thinking as beings co-inhabiting an ordered reality.

In one way of looking at it, this makes them somehow less evil than githyanki and demons, as there is no real malice in an aberration. It's not being evil on purpose, it's not just an asshole that wants to see the world burn because it's sad inside and wants to take it out on others. It is Something Else. It is merely a slave to its own "nature", which is the opposite of Nature itself. It is simply not placed on the spectrum of morality that non-aberrations all fall upon.

But in another way of looking at it, this makes them a much worse, much scarier kind of evil. They have no natural, mortal, sane, or even comprehensible motivations. Our reality is not their reality. They would never have even the tiniest glimmer of doubt or shame or guilt or hesitation in what they do, because we (all of the beings of this universe) are NOTHING to them. Every Mind Flayer, Beholder, Aboleth, and other aberration is just a miniature Cthulhu. They represent a crossover between the traditional fantasy genre and the cosmic horror genre. If "evil" can be defined as "that which is inimical to the continuance of human(oid) life and liberty", then nothing can be more evil than aberrations, and Mind Flayers are textbook aberrations.

This is why, to me, characters like
Omeluum
should not exist.
Unless he's just pretending, for some deeper plot, in which case that's okay. Because as soon as you make a Mind Flayer who's actually just a cool guy who wants to get along and help people,
you have betrayed the entire reason that these creatures were ever added to D&D, their entire premise as a narrative element, their entire role in the cosmology of D&D.

That's just my opinion, as an old grognard who has been playing D&D since the early 80s. And who knows, maybe in this new era of 5e, they want to step away from hard Lovecraftian elements and make every single monster just something relatable and cute and fun. They change the lore on most creatures with every new edition. But to me, there will always be a huge difference between natural people who are evil because they're wounded, and incomprehensible alien horrors from Beyond Reality.


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