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Illithids: Gyrus

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Zimrazim's picture
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Factol
Joined: 2007-01-14
Illithids: Gyrus

[Posting this here because, even though the world of Gyrus is on the Prime Material Plane, I refer to this planet in several other posts/articles relating to illithids.]

Gyrus is listed as illithid-dominated on the majority of star charts, at least to those spelljamming nations that know of its existence. While the mind flayers are in fact the single most poweful political entity on that planet, their control is hardly absolute, for pockets of resistance and totally wild places are still easy to find.

The very oldest Elder Brains of this world claim to be able to remember the last days of the lost illithid empire, whether this claim is actually true or not. Starfaring lesser races believe that the mind flayers of Gyrus were able to preserve at least some of the technology of the ancient Penumbral Empire, and it is observably true that their level of (psionically imbued) technology is higher than that of many illithid nations.

While powerful, the illithids of Gyrus face multiple threats to their dominance: sentient oozes and slimes within the Underdark, humanoid resistance fighters, hordes of undead, the gith races, and even the Far Realms.

First, some of Gyrus’ native species include sentient underground oozes and slimes, many of whom show respect to Ghaunadaur or other elder, insane deities. Second, a mostly-human surface nation, eventually (mostly) conquered by the mind flayers, willingly embraced undeath as a major weapon of war, and large numbers of undead from that war (both free-willed and non-), in addition to some constructs, menace both the Underdark and the surface. Third are the gith races. The many, many wars of the githyanki have prevented them from throwing the kind of military force at Gyrus of which they are technically capable, but they have launched major military assaults in the past. The githzerai and gith pirates have also made trouble, but not to the same extent. On a smaller scale, Gyrus is also a popular destination for the most daring and reckless of githyanki hunting parties and githzerai rrakkma bands. Fourth, the remnants of various human, demihuman, and humanoid races occasionally form vicious guerilla bands to resist illithid occupation. Finally, the very lowest reaches of the world’s Underdark contain certain planar rifts and unstable, shifting portals to particularly far-flung areas of the planes, space, and time. Once in a while, something really weird comes through the portals, and there have been a few Far Realm incursions in the world’s history. Some of the Elder Brains claim that some of the illithids of the Penumbral Empire were able to get one of these portals stable for a while, thus bringing the original population of mind flayers to this world.

The sun of this planetary system is small, red, and distant, and the atmosphere of Gyrus includes a significant amount of unbroken cloud cover. This means that the sunlight conditions of the surface, while unpleasant, are not immediately deadly for mind flayers. Even so, few mind flayers actually live on the surface full-time, for various reasons. First, the surface has a large concentration of wild, unconquered areas, including entire legions of undead, savage illithid-hating humanoids, native surface monsters, and other threats. Second, while it’s not outright deadly, excessive long-term exposure to the sunlight of Gyrus can still cause skin cancers, eye problems, and other very unpleasant health conditions for mind flayers. While brain raiding is very common – indeed, large stretches of the surface are essentially ‘wild game preserves’ for them – only small populations of mind flayers inhabit the surface for long, usually for scientific or military purposes.

The mind flayers of Gyrus are an active spelljamming nation (though their region of wildspace is on the remote side, as such things go). To a lesser extent, they also have maintained an interest in and presence on the Planes.

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Calmar's picture
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That sounds

That sounds interesting.

I'd suggest that the surface environment should be more suitable to mind flayers. While reading the first part of your description of Gyrus, I had the image of a gloomy rocky surface with dark clouds that race over the sky, and just a few bushes and leafless trees in my mind. Without powerful races on the surface and below the illithids certainly would have no trouble to darken the sky.

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Zimrazim's picture
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Calmar wrote: That sounds

Calmar wrote:

That sounds interesting.

I'd suggest that the surface environment should be more suitable to mind flayers. While reading the first part of your description of Gyrus, I had the image of a gloomy rocky surface with dark clouds that race over the sky, and just a few bushes and leafless trees in my mind. Without powerful races on the surface and below the illithids certainly would have no trouble to darken the sky.

Thanks for the comment. 

The main reason the surface of Gyrus has any sunlight is that too much of their food chain (all those humans, animals that humans eat, and particularly plants) ultimately depends on photosynthesis to survive.  Hence, the dim sunlight is just enough to sustain photosynthesis for an acceptably diverse amount of plant life, in order to maintain a "food" (read: human/humanoid) population of sufficient size.

The illithid population of the planet is so large that the illithid have been forced to engage in their own twisted version of ecological management, with themselves at the top of the food chain.  Ironically enough, they depend, indirectly, on photosynthesis.

__________________

BoGr Guide to Missile Combat:
1) Equip a bow or crossbow.
2) Roll a natural 1 on d20.
3) ?????
4) Profit!

Calmar's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-07
From the logical point of

From the logical point of view you are definitely right. On the other hand, there are a few underdark races that thrive completely without sunlight, though. Eye-wink

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--Bel the Pit Fiend, Lord of the First (in a quiet hour of privacy)

sciborg2's picture
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Re: Illithids: Gyrus

Zim, I'd love to include this in the Far Realm & Aberration themed issue of the Zine, under the goal of including Prime worlds that can be accessed from Sigil.

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