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Mind flayer

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Mind flayers, also known as illithids (pronounced: /ɪlˈlɪθɪdz/ il-LITH-idz [11] listen, 5e 4e 3e 2e 1e
meaning "mind flayers" or "mind rulers" in Undercommon[12]), and sometimes
referred to as ghaik by the githyanki,[13] were evil and sadistic aberrations,
feared by sentient creatures on many worlds across the multiverse due to
their powerful innate psionic abilities.[2] Dwellers of deep Underdark areas,
these alien humanoid-looking beings sought to expand their dominion over all
other creatures, controlling their minds to use them as hopeless slaves and
devouring their brains for sustenance.[3]

Their natural psionic abilities also made mind flayers respected in the eyes of
the drow, beholders, duergar, and other dominant races of the Underdark.[14]

Contents [show]

Description Edit

Various depictions of the feared illithid.

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Mind flayers were humanoid in appearance but with an octopus-like, ridged Mind Flayer
head with four tentacles surrounding a lamprey-like mouth.[2][5][15] They were (Illithid)
warm-blooded amphibians,[1] whose blood had a silvery-white color.[16] 5e 4e 3e 2e 1e

5th Edition Statistics[2][3]

Their hands had long, reddish fingers and lacked the index finger,[7][17] and
their feet were two-toed and webbed.[17] Mind flayer eyes were extremely Size Medium

sensitive to bright light, and they considered it painful, a characteristic that Type Aberration

some githyanki scholars attributed to the fact that their alien anatomy focused Alignment Lawful evil
light in a strange way.[10] Their vision was also more sensitive to the Challenge rating Mind flayer 7
recognition of geometric patterns than that of other humanoids.[18] Arcanist 8
Psion 8
Mind flayers that were healthy from brain-rich diets excreted a kind of slimy
General Information
mucous substance that coated their mauve skins.[2][7]
Patron deity Ilsensine[3][8]

Personality Edit Vision Darkvision[2][5]

Activity cycle Any[1]

Mind flayers were tyrants, slavers, and planar voyagers. They viewed
themselves as masterminds, controlling, harvesting, and twisting the potential Diet Carnivore[1]

of other creatures to further their evil and far-reaching goals.[2] Although they Average lifespan 125 years[1]

cooperated to achieve a goal, they would back away at the first sign that Homeland(s) Far Realm[9]
The Underdark[2]
something was not profitable to their self-serving interests.[5]
Language(s) Undercommon[5]
Mind flayers were Deep Speech[2]
aggressive and Qualith[2]
elitist and would
attempt to
“ To put out the myriad suns―to
darken the light.
” Subraces Ulitharid

mentally dominate — Illithid race-wide resolution [19] Favored climate Any[1]

any non-slave, Favored terrain Underground[1][5]

non-illithid that Appearance
they met.[2][5] However, despite their aggressiveness, illithids were ultimately
Average height 6 ft (1.8 m)[1]
a paranoid and fearful race. They were relentlessly hunted by the gith, so any
Average weight Same as humans[5]
mind flayer colony's first priority was concealment and survival.[3]
Skin color(s) Mauve[2]
Emotionally, a mind flayer appeared detached and calm, showing no signs of Eye color(s) Solid white[10]
passion or loss of control. However, sometimes they showed great bouts of Distinctions Facial tentacles
anger, which were difficult to identify as true emotions or mere display. The
mind flayer mind knew only negative emotions, only finding fulfillment in the
First appearance Monster Manual 1st edition
angry and sadistic act of consuming a brain. The closest to happiness any
mind flayer could know was in its pride and in satisfying its curiosity.[20]

Combat Edit

In spite of their lack of physical abilities, mind flayers were feared by all beings in the Underdark because of their great mental
prowess. In addition to the small array of mind-affecting spells that every illithid had at its disposal to take control of its prey,

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they also frequently employed a powerful mind blast to affect a multitude of foes. The mind
flayer's mind blast was a 60‑foot (18‑meter) cone that stunned anyone caught within it.[2][5]

Normally, a mind flayer would use its mind blast ability to stun a few foes and then drag them
away to feed. Once it had its victims, it would attach all of its tentacles to the head of one of
its prey. Then, the mind flayer sucked out the brain, instantly killing the creature, as long as
it only had one head. The mind flayer used its other spells mainly to enslave its minions and
keep them under total control. It also used its spells on the battlefield.[2][5]

Their abundant psionic powers allowed them to levitate at will, as well as to detect the
thoughts of nearby creatures and to dominate or charm any kind of creature in their vicinity.
Additionally, there were reports of mind flayers capable of controlling other by power of
suggestion.[2][5] They were also capable of teleporting themselves to other planes of
existence by plane shifting.[2]

Some illithids dedicated themselves to studying and honing their innate abilities. Known as
illithid psions, they were capable of even more remarkable feats of psionic power, including
telekinetic abilities akin to mage hand and telekinesis; further mental control abilities such as
A mind flayer eating.
charm person, command, sanctuary, fear, crown of madness, phantasmal force, and
confusion; and even divination abilities such as guidance, true strike, see invisibility,
clairvoyance, and scrying.[3]

Ecology Edit

Physiology Edit

Illithids fed on the brains of sentient creatures (mainly humanoids). This was the
only kind of nourishment that could sustain the mind flayer physiology, which
required hormones, enzymes, and psychic energy that only brain tissue could
provide. Feeding was a euphoric experience for a mind flayer, as it absorbed its
victim's memories, personality, and fears.[2] It was also viewed by them as the
ultimate form of dominance over another creature.[10]

A mind flayer needed to consume at least one intelligent brain per month in order
to remain healthy. Malnourished mind flayers died after four months of brain
deprivation.[21] The psionic energy also left traces of the original prey's
individuality on a mind flayer's sense of culture and aesthetics.[3]
The skull of a mind flayer.
Reproduction Edit

Illithids were all sexless, without male or female biological sex,[22] and once or twice in their life they would lay a clutch of eggs
from which tadpoles hatched. The tadpoles were kept in the elder brain tank, where they were fed brains by caretakers and
engaged in cannibalism for around ten years.[1] The elder brain also fed exclusively on tadpoles. Tadpoles that survived to
maturity were put through the ceremony of ceremorphosis, where each was implanted into a humanoid victim and devoured its
brain, taking its place and merging with the body to transform it into a new illithid. Only some humanoid species were suitable
hosts for illithid tadpoles.[1][3][23]

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The multiplication of mind flayer colonies happened when a tadpole, quite rarely, through
ceremorphosis, created a more powerful form known as an ulitharid (meaning "noble
devourer" in Undercommon),[12] which was biologically bigger, stronger, and more
powerful and cunning than regular mind flayers. They possessed six face tentacles
instead of the regular four. Most notably, however, they were not controlled by the elder
brain. The appearance of an ulitharid caused a burst of growth in both the colony's size
and capabilities. Elder brains grudgingly accepted the appearance of a potential rival,
because eventually the ulitharid broke off from the colony. When doing so, it took a few
mind flayers with it and sought to establish a new colony in a distant location from the
original. Eventually, the ulitharid transformed into a new elder brain.[3][24]
An illithid tadpole preparing to enter
If, for some reason, a mature tadpole did
a human host.
not undergo the process of ceremorphosis,
it became a ravenous predatory creature
known as an illithocyte or, if allowed to grow out of control, a neothelid. These
creatures were considered abhorrent by the illithids and were mercilessly hunted.

Illithid Monsters Edit

Mind flayers constantly experimented with transforming other creatures and

implanting their tadpoles into different races, producing a large variety of thralls. A mind flayer with a tadpole and a thrall
[3][25] holding down a drow for ceremorphosis.

The process of ceremorphosis yielded a new mind flayer only if the tadpole was
applied to certain compatible types of humanoids. Normally, attempting ceremorphosis on an incompatible creature resulted in
death for both the host and the tadpole.[26] However, illithid research showed that it was sometimes possible to perform
ceremorphosis even on an incompatible host.[27] Creatures that underwent successful ceremorphosis but did not produce mind
flayers were referred to as ceremorphs, or "flayer-kin".[28] Some known types of ceremorphs included:

Brainstealer dragon
The result of implanting a tadpole in a captured dragon.[32]
Mindwitness Ceremorphs
The result of implanting a tadpole in a captured beholder.[3] Original Creature Resulting Monster
Mozgriken Inserting a tadpole into a… …produced a…
The result of a tadpole being inserted into a deep gnome and
then subjected to psychic surgery that channeled energy from
Elf (including drow)
the Shadowfell.[34]
Tzakandi Mind flayer[26][29]
The result of a tadpole being inserted into lizardfolk.[27] or
Uchuulon Ulitharid (rarely)[30]
The result of a chuul being implanted with a tadpole.[31] Goblinoid
Urophion Orc
A roper that had survived the tadpole implantation process.[33] Beholder Mindwitness [3]
Chuul Uchuulon[31]

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In addition to ceremorphosis, many illithid colonies experimented Deep gnome Mozgriken[28]

with altering creatures in a variety of ways to produce new Dragon Brainstealer dragon[32]
monsters that could serve them. Most such experiments resulted Lizardfolk Tzakandi[28]
in shapeless abominations, but a few were occasionally successful Roper Urophion[33]
and produced viable servants.[35] Some known illithid-created
monsters included:

Brain golem
A large humanoid-shaped construct made entirely of brain tissue. They sprouted from the elder brain to conduct specific
tasks or as a defense measure.[36][37]
Cranium rat
Regular rats bombarded with psionic energy. They could form intelligent swarms that grew smarter as they accumulated

Intellect devourer
Creatures created by subjecting a slave's brain to a ritual that caused it to sprout legs.
They were employed as guards or as bait to lure outsiders into a colony. The larval form
of an intellect devourer, known as an ustilagor, was considered a delicacy in Oryndoll.[3]

Mind worm
An aquatic monster that resembled a pale, smaller purple worm. They were capable of
attacking creatures through any reflective surface, even across different planes.[40]
Nerve swimmer
A modification of an immature tadpole. Used by some mind flayer colonies such as
Oryndoll as a torture instrument.[25]
Nyraala golem
A large partially-humanoid construct that did not require the tissue of the elder brain.
They almost rivaled brain golems in power and were more numerous in known illithid
Nihiloor and its pet intellect
The result of experimentation with oozes. They fed on their victims' memories and could
assume their shapes and identities.[42]

There were also creatures thought to have originated in the same world as illithids and related to them in the same way that
animals were akin to humans. These creatures, known as illithidae, were sometimes found near mind flayer settlements. It was
unknown whether they were naturally attracted by the colonies or if they had been domesticated by the mind flayers. Some
sages believed that gas spores had been created by mind flayers as well.[43][44]

If mind flayers became undead, their new forms were also alien and in many ways different from other undead creatures.[45]
Typical undead mind flayers included:

A mind flayer who decided to follow the path of wizardry could achieve a lesser form of lichdom and become an undead
creature known as an alhoon. It was also possible, although rare, for an extremely powerful mind flayer wizard to become a
true lich, also known as an illithilich. These terrible beings were so rare that usually people did not make that distinction.[46]

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Vampiric illithid
A feral undead illithid with vampiric powers. Its origin was unknown.[45]

Society Edit

Individual mind flayers were rarely found alone; rather, they were usually accompanied by two or more slaves mentally bound to
them. Typical enslaved races found among mind flayers included grimlocks, ogres, quaggoths, and troglodytes.[2][5] These
enslaved species had in common the fact that they were not typically considered edible by the illithids.[10]

Mind flayer communities (also called "colonies") typically ranged in size from two hundred to two thousand, and that was
counting only the illithids. Each mind flayer in the community likely had at least two slaves to do its bidding. In these
communities, the number of slaves often far outstripped the number of mind flayers.[48] For example, the illithid city of Oryndoll
had a total population of just under 24,000 as of 1372 DR, but mind flayers accounted for only about 4,300 of that number.[14]

Mind flayer colonies operated as a single hive mind,

with control centralized by an elder brain, a singular

“ One mind flayer sees ye, and they all see.

One mind. One nasty, suspicious mind.
” entity that exerted its telepathic control
simultaneously over all mind flayers within a radius of
— Elminster[3] 5 miles (8 kilometers).[2] The elder brain was the
heart of the community. Held in a pool of briny fluids,
the elder brain consisted of all the brains of the dead
mind flayers in the colony.[5] It served as the center of the communication network, relaying information received from one mind
flayer to the entire colony, storing all the collective knowledge of the colony, and issuing commands to individual mind flayers.
The degree of control and organization exerted by the elder brain over a mind flayer community was so absolute that it was
more convenient to think of a mind flayer colony as a single individual: the elder brain.[3]

Although mind flayers willingly came together to achieve an end, they were always vying for more control in the community, but
even then they were always beneath the elder brain.[5] While individual mind flayers might have, at one time in their past,
retained a certain degree of independent thought, after the collapse of the illithids' empires it was generally agreed upon by them
that their survival required complete obedience to the elder brain.[3]

Within the colonies, mind flayers organized themselves in ideological factions known as Creeds, which aligned with each
particular illithid's abilities and philosophy. Representatives of the various Creeds organized themselves in "Elder Concords",
which, under the auspices of the elder brain, coordinated the colony's various activities. In cases when multiple colonies
pursued common objectives, a "Grand Elder Concord" was formed.[49]

When problems arose or the mind flayers wished to discover some secret, they
formed "inquisitions", a team of mind flayers, not unlike an adventuring party.
Each mind flayer used its own talents and abilities to achieve the inquisition's
goal. If a situation was too large for just an inquisition to handle, the mind flayer
community put together a "cult". A cult was much larger than an inquisition and
was spearheaded by two mind flayers who constantly vied for greater power
within it.[5] This type of mission, which put mind flayers temporarily out of reach
from the elder brain, was regarded as dangerous but highly profitable if An illithid oversees the transport of an elder
successful.[3] brain by quaggoth slaves.
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If a mind flayer remained out of reach from its elder brain, it was possible for it to
reacquire its free will. These so-called renegade illithids could go on to
establish their own colonies or, free from the elder brain's arrogant supremacy, even seek cooperation with other species. This
new personality and any alliances that were made instantly vanished as soon as the renegade illithid fell back under control of
an elder brain.[3]

Language and Names Edit

Illithids were capable of speaking Undercommon and Deep Speech but preferred telepathic communication.[2][5] They also had
a form of written language called Qualith, which consisted of patterns of four lines imbued with psionic energy, capable of
conveying not only text but also the author's thoughts. Without the use of magic, it could only be read by other illithids.[2][3]

Mind flayer names were strains of thoughts and images that identified them to other members of the race. Since these names
were too complex to be pronounced or even expressed in words, other races of the Underdark adopted rough translations in
Undercommon by usually combining descriptive words that conveyed the general idea of the mind flayers' original names in
order to identify them.[12] Sometimes, the illithids themselves chose to adopt pronounceable names for the benefit of their
thralls or to instill fear in their enemies.[3]

Magic Edit

Mind flayers considered arcane magic an abomination. They viewed it as an inferior and
corrupt form of psionic power that should disappear from the universe once the illithids
regained control of it. It was speculated that this hatred was related to the role of magic in
the gith rebellion.[3]

Arcane magic was especially sought out by renegade illithids looking for ways to shield
themselves from the elder brain's influence.[3] Although most mind flayer arcanists were
wizards, a few were also born with the gift of sorcery. Because a mind flayer sorcerer was
naturally more intelligent than other mind flayers, it was better able to resist psionics. For the
most part, an illithid with the gift of sorcery would use defensive spells such as greater
invisibility and resist energy, as well as spells to further hinder enemies, such as ray of
A mind flayer sorcerer. exhaustion and touch of idiocy.[5]

Mind flayers were capable of channeling their psionic abilities to craft their own version of
magic items. As a security measure, these items could only be used by the illithids or their thralls. They had a variety of
abilities and applications, such as the survival mantle, which allowed the wearer to breathe in a vacuum, or mind carapace
armors, which protected the wearer's mind as well as its body.[3] They also had the ability to craft psionic seals, a type of brand
that granted its wearer a variety of abilities.[50] Other items included mind blades, shields of far sight[3] psychic swords, psychic
reservoirs, resonance stones, tentacle extensions, gauntlets of Tyla'zhus, tessadyle robes and tendril rings of Ilsensine.[50]
Some illithids also experimented with symbiont creatures in order to create living carapaces of armor.[51]

A rare and most treasured item in a mind flayer colony was a flying ship known as a nautiloid.[3] Mind flayers once had a
massive presence in space and commanded countless of these conch-shaped spelljammers. In fact, spacefaring mind flayers
were sometimes quite different from their land-bound counterparts and acted more as traders than conquerors.[50][52] However,
incessant hunting by the gith and the fact that mind flayers lost the means to build them or acquire them from the arcane
caused them to almost disappear.[3][53]

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Religion Edit

As a race of planar travelers, mind flayers did not worship entities from
the Outer Planes as deities and did not share the same mythical
thoughts about the afterlife. Instead, an illithid's last desire upon death
was to be rejoined with its elder brain, thus attaining a form of
immortality by having its life experiences merged into the elder brain's
consciousness. Elaborate funerary jars, also known as brain canisters,
[54] with the individual's biography inscribed in Qualith were commonly

used by mind flayer colonies to preserve a dead mind flayer's brain until A nautiloid spelljammer, used by mind flayers to travel
it was consumed by the elder brain.[3] through the Material and Astral planes.

However, mind flayers

revered two manifestations of psionic ideals in a form resembling worship. These
entities were not exactly deities but were revered as such and were capable of
granting divine powers to their followers, even non-illithid ones.[3][55]

The broader entity was known as Ilsensine, which embodied a mastery of one's own
mind and a union with universal knowledge. Mind flayer colonies interpreted this
concept in different ways.[3] Some viewed it as a promise of power and domination
to its followers, a feature that was also attractive to non-illithid followers.[55] Others
interpreted these objectives as attainable through dominance or replacement of the
deities associated with knowledge.[3] The influence of Ilsensine was important in the
conflict between mind flayers of Oryndoll and the duergar. In the time when they had
invaded the shield dwarf kingdom of Shanatar and captured many shield dwarves,
the mind flayers had no gods. However, when the dwarves began to stage uprisings
and rebellions, the city was plunged into chaos. The only reason it did not fall to the
duergar rebellions was because of the sudden appearance of the mind flayer god
Ilsensine. Since Ilsensine's appearance, the mind flayers became deeply religious
and began to develop formidable psionic powers.[56] Ilsensine's favored proxy was
A mind flayer placing the brain of a slain
comrade in a funerary jar. A smaller sect of mind flayers revered another entity called Maanzecorian. It
embodied a complete comprehension of knowledge and the simultaneous access to
memory, thought, and aptitude.[3] It was also viewed by the illithids as a keeper of
secrets. Its essence was killed by Tenebrous, the undead shadow of the demon lord Orcus sometime in the mid-14th century
DR,[58] though this fact was unknown to most at the time.[59] However, in the late 15th century DR, mind flayer colonies
dedicated to Maanzecorian were again common.[3]

Some mind flayers viewed the perfect memory of the aboleths as a manifestation of Maanzecorian, which led to several
conflicts between them.[3]

History Edit

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The illithid race was extremely old and predated recorded history, as ancient texts that did not mention younger races already
mentioned illithids. The mind flayers themselves appeared not to have much knowledge of their eldritch origins.[60]

Origins Edit

Some sages theorized that mind flayers were aliens from an unimaginably
distant future, who had come back in time to prevent their extinction from being
brought upon by the end of the universe. By the use of a powerful spell, they
sent their great spelljamming fleet back in time, arriving at different time periods
in different crystal spheres and reestablishing their empires. This interpretation
was consistent with the fact that aboleths, even with their perfect racial
memories, did not remember the beginnings of the illithid race.[61]

Others believed that, because of their advanced technology and ships, illithids
were a cursed, inbred mutant offspring of humans from an ancient and distant
crystal sphere known as Clusterspace,[62] forced to live in the underground
depths of their world, honing their mental skills and experimenting with psionic
powers for ages until the hate for their oppressors caused them to seek
vengeance and set out to conquer the universe.[63]

Other scholars dismissed the origin myths of illithids as a mutant breed of

humans, instead believing that they might have originated in the Far Realm,
A githyanki attacking a mind flayer.
(referred to as the "Outside" in the Sargonne Prophecies,)[60] or at least had
been warped by it.[64] A group of mind flayers who later reached the Far Realm
on a nautiloid returned with drastically changed bodies, minds, and goals, worshiping an unknown entity referred to as Thoon.

Most origin myths agreed that, an untold number of millennia in their past, mind flayers were the most powerful race in the Inner
Planes, commanding vast empires from the Astral and Ethereal planes that spanned multiple worlds, kept under control by their
nautiloids.[3][60] The Planetreader's Primer, a book of ancient lore allegedly published in Sigil, further stated that the vast mind
flayer empire also threatened the boundaries of the Outer Planes, at some point even disturbing the Blood War.[66][67]

At some point, the gith, their most prominent slave race, rebelled and brought down the entirety of the mind flayer empires in
the Astral Plane in less than a year. The surviving mind flayer enclaves in the Material Plane were constantly and mercilessly
hunted down by raiding parties from both the githyanki and githzerai factions, bringing the illithid race to the brink of extinction.

Recorded History Edit

Sometime around −11,000 DR, illithid refugees from the planet Glyth arrived on Toril and founded the city of Oryndoll in the

In −8100 DR, the illithids from Oryndoll attacked eastern Shanatar, starting the twenty-year long Mindstalker Wars. The war
ended with a retreat of the illithids, but they managed to capture and enslave the dwarves from Clan Duergar, who were
experimented with during the following millennia and eventually became the duergar subrace.[69] Around −4000 DR, the duergar
slaves rebelled and broke free from the mind flayers, nearly destroying Oryndoll, which narrowly escaped destruction thanks to
the appearance of an avatar of Ilsensine.[70] The duergar subsequently founded several holds across the northern Underdark.

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[71] In −1850 DR, the city of Oryndoll was attacked by the duergar as

part of a series of attacks against all their enemies.[72]

The mind flayers had the first contact with the Netherese in −1064 DR.

In 153 DR, an army of illithids and lycanthrope slaves invaded and

conquered the dwarven city of Gauntlgrym.[74] The ruined city remained
disputed by groups of aboleths, duergar, drow, and illithids until it was
retaken by the Companions of the Hall in the late 15th century DR.[75]

The dwarves of Clan Duergar succumb to the power of

In 1154 DR, the town of Ch'Chitl was founded by an illithid cult seeking
the elder brain of Oryndoll.
to establish a partnership with Skullport.[76] The city's elder brain
planned to use the town as a foothold in a move to enslave Waterdeep.
In 1250 DR, however, the city was attacked by githyanki, who mortally injured the elder brain and derailed their invasion plans.
[77] In 1385 DR, the city was ravaged by the Spellplague, which created horribly mutated mind flayers with extraordinary psionic


Sometime in the mid-13th century DR, the illithids managed to reestablish their domain on
Glyth, from where they conducted selective breeding experiments with oortlings.[79] Around
that same time, there was also an illithid colony in a free-standing object in Realmspace
known as the Skull of the Void, in which they performed breeding experiments on beholders.
Decades of consumption of the beholders' brains conferred to the illithid inhabitants and their
descendants the ability to levitate.[80] Sometime in the late 14th century DR, Glyth was laid
to waste by the elder evil known as Atropus, who had been concealed in one of the planet's
rings.[81] However, by the next century, mind flayer colonies were again present on the

A mind flayer of Thoon pursued During the Time of Troubles, Oryndoll was once again visited by an avatar of Ilsensine, an
very different goals from a event that ushered a large expansion in the city's creeds.[70] Shortly afterward, members of
regular illithid. the Loretaker Creed traveled to the Caverns of Thought in search of Ilsensine but returned as
firm followers of Thoon.[83]

In the late 15th century DR, mind flayers had lost the knowledge of how to construct their plane-crossing nautiloid vessels.
Since the illithids knew that the end of the nautiloids would mean their permanent exile in the Material Plane, a few colonies
were dedicated to rediscovering the secrets of nautiloid construction.[3]

Notable Mind Flayers Edit

Galuum, an inhabitant of the Ryxyg enclave sent to enslave duergar in the Waydown in the late 15th century DR.[84]
Grazilaxx, a member of the Society of Brilliance.[85]
Methil El-Viddenvelp, chief advisor to House Baenre on matters concerning the borders of Menzoberranzan.[86]
Captain N'ghathrod of the Scavenger, a space pirate native to Glyth.[82]
Nihiloor, a mind flayer who worked for the Xanathar's Thieves' Guild. It was fond of creating intellect devourers and setting
them loose throughout Waterdeep.[87]

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Ralayan, an alhoon who served as right hand to Priamon Rakesk of the

Twisted Rune.[88][89]
Vestress, a rogue illithid who served the Kraken Society as Regent of
Yharaskrik, a mind flayer involved in the destruction of Crenshinibon in
1366 DR.[91]
Xetzirbor, an inhabitant of the Cyrog enclave who journeyed to
Gravenhollow to save the city's elder brain from death in the late 15th
century DR.[92]
Captain N'ghathrod and the miniature giant
space hamster aboard the Scavenger.
Appendix Edit

Notes Edit

Edit “ I wonder what a mind flayer's brain tastes

Adventures — Volo [93]
Out of
Abyss • Waterdeep: Dragon Heist • Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage


Homeland • Exile • Sojourn • Into the Void • The

Radiant Dragon • Starless Night • Siege of Darkness •
Tangled Webs • Finder's Bane • The Nether Scroll •
Servant of the Shard • Windwalker • The Ghost King • “ Volo, ye are the fool of fools. Illithid
brains are poisonous, and drive humans

The Companions • Night of the Hunter • Rise of the insane with a flood of memories at every
King bite. Er, ask me not how I know this.
Referenced only — Elminster[93]
The Maelstrom's Eye • The Orc King • Vengeance of the Iron

Dwarf • Archmage • The Paladins

Video Games
Eye of the Beholder • Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon • Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace •
Menzoberranzan • Descent to Undermountain • Icewind Dale • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn • Baldur's Gate II:
Throne of Bhaal • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark • Neverwinter Nights 2 • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of
the Betrayer • Baldur's Gate: The Black Pits • Neverwinter • Sword Coast Legends • Baldur's Gate: Siege of
Dragonspear • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms • Baldur's Gate III

Board Games
Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport • Tyrants of the Underdark: Aberrations and Undead • Waterdeep:
Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Organized Play & Licensed Adventures

The Occupation of Szith Morcane • The Malady of Elventree • Writhing in the Dark

Card Games

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AD&D Trading Cards

Further Reading Edit

Clifford Horowitz (November 2003). “Brain Power”. In Chris Thomasson ed. Dragon #313 (Paizo Publishing, LLC ), p. 46–

External Links Edit

Mind flayer article at the Eberron Wiki, a wiki for the Eberron campaign setting.

Gallery Edit

A mind flayer savoring its latest An illithid body tamer. Enjoying another drow meal.

A confrontation with a mind flayer. The illithids of Phanlinksal Omin Dran and his team
attacking Drizzt. confronting an illithid.

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Cover art from Underdark


References Edit

1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Doug Stewart (June 1993). 11. ↑ Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In

Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 251. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0. Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.

2. ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 12. ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Owen K.C. Stephens (March 2001). “By Any
2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Other Name: Races of the Underdark”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon

Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 221–222. #281 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49.

ISBN 978-0786965614. 13. ↑ Larian Studios. Baldur's Gate III. Larian Studios.

3. ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 14. ↑ 14.0 14.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff
3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20.
3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 Wizards ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the 15. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith
Coast), pp. 71–81. ISBN 978-0786966011. Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
4. ↑ Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). 16. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith
Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 188–189. Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 112. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
17. ↑ 17.0 17.1 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by
5. ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte
18. ↑ Nigel Findley (September 1991). Into the Void. (TSR, Inc.), p. 69.
Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast),
ISBN ISBN 1-56076-154-7.
pp. 186–188. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
19. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith
6. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 2004). Expanded Psionics Handbook.
Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
(Wizards of the Coast), p. 204. ISBN 0-7869-3301-1.
20. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005).
7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st
Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the
edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 70. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
Coast), pp. 63–64. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.
8. ↑ 8.0 8.1 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith
21. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith
Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
9. ↑ Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008).
22. ↑ Nigel Findley (September 1991). Into the Void. (TSR, Inc.), pp.
Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 188.
91–92. ISBN ISBN 1-56076-154-7.
ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
23. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005).
10. ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Roger E. Moore (October 1983). “The
Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the
Ecology of the Mind Flayer”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #78 (TSR,
Coast), p. 63. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.
Inc.), pp. 66–68.
24. ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards
of the Coast), p. 175. ISBN 978-0786966011.

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25. ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Kevin Baase, Eric Jansing, Oliver Frank, and 42. ↑ Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's
Bill Halliar (November 2005). “Monsters of the Mind – Minions of Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of
the Mindflayers” . In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #337 (Paizo the Coast), pp. 217–219. ISBN 978-0786966240.
Publishing, LLC ), pp. 25–35. 43. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005).
26. ↑ 26.0 26.1 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the
Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5. Coast), pp. 154–157. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.

27. ↑ 27.0 27.1 Christopher M. Schwartz (January 1999). “The New 44. ↑ Stephen Inniss (October 1989). “The Dragon's Bestiary: All life
Illithid Arsenal”. In Bill Slavicsek ed. Dragon #255 (TSR, Inc.), p. crawls where mind flayers rule”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon
33. #150 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 12–16.

28. ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to 45. ↑ 45.0 45.1 Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April
the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9. 2005). Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of

29. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005). the Coast), pp. 160–161. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.

Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the 46. ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards
Coast), p. 63. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6. of the Coast), pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-0786966011.

30. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith 47. ↑ James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster
Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5. Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp.

31. ↑ 31.0 31.1 Richard Baker, Joseph D. Carriker, Jr., Jennifer Clarke 89–90. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.

Wilkes (August 2005). Stormwrack. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48. ↑ Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003).
163–164. ISBN 07-8692-873-5. Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 188. ISBN 0-

32. ↑ 32.0 32.1 Kevin Baase, Eric Jansing, Oliver Frank, and Bill 7869-2893-X.

Halliar (November 2005). “Monsters of the Mind – Minions of the 49. ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark.
Mindflayers” . In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #337 (Paizo Publishing, (TSR, Inc), pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
LLC ), p. 25. 50. ↑ 50.0 50.1 50.2 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited
33. ↑ 33.0 33.1 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by by Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 80–85. ISBN 0-7869-
Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5. 1206-5.

34. ↑ Christopher M. Schwartz (January 1999). “The New Illithid 51. ↑ Penny Williams (June 2003). “Armed to the Tentacle”. In Jesse
Arsenal”. In Bill Slavicsek ed. Dragon #255 (TSR, Inc.), p. 34". Decker ed. Dragon #308 (Paizo Publishing, LLC ), pp. 52–60.

35. ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards 52. ↑ Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer:
of the Coast), p. 78. ISBN 978-0786966011. AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 61. ISBN 0-88038-762-

36. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith 9.

Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 17, 88, 92. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5. 53. ↑ Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer:

37. ↑ Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 67. ISBN 0-88038-762-

Sernett, Chris Thomasson, and James Wyatt (April 2003). Fiend 9.

Folio. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-7869-2780-1. 54. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005).

38. ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the

of the Coast), p. 133. ISBN 978-0786966011. Coast), pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.

39. ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. 55. ↑ 55.0 55.1 Bruce R. Cordell (April 2004). Expanded Psionics

(Wizards of the Coast), p. 191. ISBN 978-0786965614. Handbook. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 222. ISBN 0-7869-3301-1.

40. ↑ Kevin Baase, Eric Jansing, Oliver Frank, and Bill 56. ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob

Halliar (November 2005). “Monsters of the Mind – Minions of the Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd

Mindflayers” . In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #337 (Paizo Publishing, edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 213. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.

LLC ), pp. 29–31. 57. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith

41. ↑ Christopher M. Schwartz (January 1999). “The New Illithid Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.

Arsenal”. In Bill Slavicsek ed. Dragon #255 (TSR, Inc.), p. 32". 58. ↑ Monte Cook (December 2, 1997). Dead Gods. (Wizards of the
Coast), p. 37. ISBN 978-0786907113.

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59. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith 75. ↑ Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1,
Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5. 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of

60. ↑ 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. the Coast), p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.

Edited by Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 36–40. ISBN 0- 76. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The
7869-1206-5. Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 122.

61. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005). ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the 77. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The
Coast), pp. 7, 30, 69. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6. Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126.

62. ↑ Sam Witt (1993). “The Astrogator's Guide”. In Michele Carter ed. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

The Astromundi Cluster (TSR, Inc.), pp. 4–5. ISBN 1-56076-632-8. 78. ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008).

63. ↑ Sam Witt (1993). “Adventures in the Shattered Sphere”. In Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp.

Michele Carter ed. The Astromundi Cluster (TSR, Inc.), pp. 48–51. 232–233. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.

ISBN 1-56076-632-8. 79. ↑ Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary

64. ↑ Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 1-

Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the 56076-052-4.

Coast), p. 68. ISBN 978-0786965622. 80. ↑ Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary

65. ↑ (July 2007). Monster Manual V. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 104. L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 1-

ISBN 0-7869-4115-4. 56076-052-4.

66. ↑ Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005). 81. ↑ Schwalb, Robert J. (December 2007). Elder Evils. (Wizards of

Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7869-4733-1.

Coast), pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6. 82. ↑ 82.0 82.1 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep:

67. ↑ Monte Cook (January 1996). A Guide to the Astral Plane. Edited Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards

by Miranda Horner. (TSR, Inc.), p. 44. ISBN 0-7869-0438-0. of the Coast), p. 250. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.

68. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The 83. ↑ (July 2007). Monster Manual V. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125.

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-4115-4.

ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. 84. ↑ Lisa Reinke (2015-11-01). The Malady of Elventree (DDEX3-08)

69. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The (PDF). D&D Adventurers League: Rage of Demons (Wizards of

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. the Coast), pp. 15–16, 31.

ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. 85. ↑ Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1,

70. ↑ 70.0 70.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of

Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. the Coast), pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.

168–169. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5. 86. ↑ R.A. Salvatore, Michael Leger, Douglas Niles (1992).

71. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Menzoberranzan (The Houses). Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden.

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.

ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. 87. ↑ Christopher Perkins, James Haeck, James Introcaso, Adam

72. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Lee, Matthew Sernett (September 2018). Waterdeep: Dragon

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. Heist. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 212.

ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. ISBN 978-0-7869-6625-7.

73. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The 88. ↑ Steven E. Schend (1996). Undermountain: Stardock. (TSR, Inc),

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7869-0451-8.

ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. 89. ↑ Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three:

74. ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.

Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 65. 90. ↑ Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the
ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7. Coast), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.

91. ↑ R.A. Salvatore (October 2000). Servant of the Shard. (Wizards

of the Coast), pp. 336–337. ISBN 0-7869-1657-5.

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92. ↑ Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 93. ↑ 93.0 93.1 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters.
2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 978-0786966011.
the Coast), pp. 154, 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.

Connections Edit

Mind Flayers
The Scourge of Worlds
Alhoon • Elder brain • Ulitharid • Vampiric illithid
Brainstealer dragon • Mindwitness • Mozgriken • Tzakandi • Uchuulon • Urophion
Related Creatures
Brain golem • Cranium rat • Nyraala golem • Illithidae • Illithocyte • Intellect devourer • Mind worm • Neothelid • Nerve swimmer • Oblex •
Oortling • Ustilagor

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