@orbax, and armoredhedgehog
Beholder seems a likely scenerio as well they have been known to do similair things. Though what if the Absolute is actually an elder brain gone mad? I mean the tadpoles are from Illithid. Then there is the conversation with Us on the ship where he says they are fleeing a great evil. Maybe something from another plane? The Far realm?
There are so many hints, and drops, and nothing really concrete, and I for one haven't explored all of them. Just now finally moving out of the druids grove, and surrounding areas to the blighted village, then goblin camp. 60+ hours and lots of characters that I'm slowly no lifeing it through. Then again it's the first act and in the grand scope of things we are pissons
So the pieces I have so far are:
- The hag when she takes your eye and tries to get rid of the slug says its netherese magic protecting it - crazy if you know anything about them. They deal in artefacts, very powerful ones. Or did, when they were still a civilization before the Spellplague.
- The dead illithid in goblin camp said the Absolute was a ring of illithid psionics controlling everything
- There is some "weapon" that seems to be an infernal puzzle box, which would mean it has a contract. If the gith want it and the illithids had it...its hard to know what that means. The gith have a contract with tiamat, but how theyd lose it, I cant imagine. So wtf is it. If its not an infernal puzzle box, then I really dont know. Other than something moved inside of it. The source of the control for all of the slugs? A contained netherese artifact that, if opened, removes the stasis the bugs are in?! Who knows?!
- A potential mass invasion by the illithids based on the vision from the dead mindflayer of them dropping out of deep space
- Gith doing everything they can to stop them and retrieve that thing. The stakes seem to be a lot higher than just pod people plans - and why now?!
- The land has turned crazy - that is usually A. A creatures lair or B. A lost netherese workshop and its rampant, crazy magic is fucking everything up
- We have anti-magic research in the underdark and an "escaped" illithid working with the illuminated brotherhood or whatever it is. If you listen to their NPC chatter it has something to do with some crazy research theyre playing with.
This all makes me feel like the belly of the beast is a netherese workshop, ship, town half buried and rediscovered by the illithid who have reclaimed it and are amassing an army so they can unleash all of the illithid and nautiloids at once using the artefacts and items they have discovered within to harness both magic and anti-magic powers and fuck.shit. up.