Friday, November 07, 2014

Threats of the Galaxy: Illithids

This is the first in a series of posts about the Illithids in Mythic Space, their forces and allies, and various other bits surrounding them.

The Illithid Invasion of 2353 was the single most transforming event in the history of the Alpha Quadrant. It brought not only untold terror upon countless cultures, but it also gave birth to the Galactic Concord and showed that even though the various species in the galaxy may look and behave differently, they can rally together to face a foe as a united front.

The Illithids appeared seemingly out of nowhere with a massive armada and began to systematically take system after system. It wasn't until the Illithids pushed near to the Tau Empire that they were met with enough resistance that they started to use covert tactics and subterfuge in addition to their standard all out attack. To this day it is unknown where they hail from. There are theories abound from systems just outside what is normally considered the boundaries of the Milky Way, to Andromeda or one of the nearby dwarf galaxies, to another form of reality entirely.

If their relentless assault was not enough, what they did with those they conquered was even more terrifying. Illithids feed on the brains of sentient beings. It is unknown if they draw more sustenance from sentient beings, or are able to absorb memories or psionic energy, or simply because it is more terrifying. They do not live solely on brains, as they have been seen eating other substances and food from all over the galaxy in addition to their strange foods. They would feast on the brains of their slaves in front of other slaves to also spread fear throughout their captives as well.

In addition to feeding on their slaves, the Illithid are known to be genetic manipulators of no small amount of skill. They will perform torturous tests on many slaves, usually within earshot of the slave pens, to test each species abilities. They then isolate the best of those abilities in their genome and splice it with other species. It is assume that is how the Ith-Kon first came into being, and it is known that is how their agents known as the Mind Rippers, Tzakandi, and Derro came into being as well.

After their defeat at the Battle of Argos VII, the Illithids were scattered and most were hunted down. Some escaped to the dark corners of the galaxy. The largest group now resides in the sector of space known as the Whispering Dark, home to the dangerous Aboleth. It is unclear if the Illithids and Aboleth are now working in concert or if one now rules over the other. Most of the stellar nations in the Alpha Quadrant that were affected by the invasion are happy to leave them be in such a hazardous and isolated sector of the galaxy, but there are many others that want to see them destroyed; not just out of revenge, but for the safety of the galaxy as well. The Illithid still launch raids and travel to systems where species will do business with them from the Whispering Dark, but they appear to be careful not to draw too much attention to their activities. Most Illithids, however, are only found in small groups and take up positions in criminal organizations, terrorist cells, or are simply creators of random acts of violence and/or mayhem in whatever system they are in.

Sadly, since the Illithids look similar to other cephalopod-evolved species, those other species have taken much of the brunt of the hatred and anger meant for the Illithids. The Ith-kon, who were mostly freed from servitude to the Illithids are not trusted and even attacked on sight in many parts of the Alpha Quadrant. The Pak-Ma-Ra, who have always been stigmatized due to their diet of carrion and their religious beliefs are now attacked because the foolish think they and the Illithid are somehow related. The Quarren look dissimilar enough to not draw too many bigoted comments or random acts of violent directed at them, but they still have encountered angry and bitter people who see them as close enough to the real object of their hatred and lash out.

What little is known about Illithid culture comes from those that survived captivity and from freed slave species. Freed Ith-kon say they came "from beyond" but have no information more concrete than that. They do say that the true leaders of the Illithids are beings called "Elder Brains" who the Illithid serve completely and do anything to protect to the point that only Illithid are allowed to converse with and even simply be in the presence of. Concord scientists and military analysts have devled through the wreckage of Illithid command craft and have found no evidence of these Elder Brains, so it is unknown if such things traveled with the Illithids or even exist at all. The Ith-kon also talk about traveling in a manner that sounds like the theoretical travel form called reality shunting. They would be in the "real" universe, but then be in a place wholly different the next. The Illithid took pains to protect their slaves from this place saying that their minds are unprepared for the glory the Far Realm and would go insane. However, so Ith-kon were able to witness some of the sights of this Far Realm and they talk of undulating horrors, total change in physical laws, and an overwhelming sense of wrongness. Many Ith-kon believe that is where their former masters came from.

Illithids are humanoid beings with heads similar in shape to an octopus or squid. They stand about as tall as an average human (just under 6 feet on average), with slimy skin that is grayish-purple in color. Their circular mouths are filled with needle-like teeth and their mouths are ringed by four tentacles. When they feed on another being's brains, their wrap their tentacles around their victim's head and bite into their skulls with their teeth, sucking the cerebral matter through the open wound in the skull. Their hands consist of three fingers and a thumb and the digits are long and dexterous. Illithid eyes are large, milky white globes.

Illithids are all powerful psions. They have their own spoken language, but they prefer to speak with each other and other species telepathically. Other species that have communicated telepathically with an Illithid state that underneath the stream of information (be it imagery or actual words) is a disconcerting murmur, like barely perceptible whispers but that the sense of the whispers are very dark and foreboding.

Illithids are very intelligent and cunning. They have shown time and again that they are not to be trusted and will not think twice to kill those they feel are standing in the way of their goals. Even species that will conduct business with them, keep their guns at the ready and usually have psionic counter-measures in place as well.

Illithids in Savage Worlds
Illithid (WC): Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d12, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d10, Persuasion d10, Repair d10, Notice d10, Stealth d10, Psionics d12
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6 (1)

Gear: Illithids usually rely on their psionic abilities, but most carry some form of weapon and other will wear some form of armor as well underneath their long overcoats or robes. They also have a fondness for biogenic weapons and items like those used by the Yuuzhan Vong and some Splugorth forces.
Edges: Arcane Background (Psionics), Frenzy, Improved Frenzy, Level Headed, Weapon Finesse
Powers: Banish (plane shift self), Flight (levitate), Mind Reading, Puppet, Stun (mind blast cone)
Special Abilities
• Armor +1: Spongy purple flesh.
• Tentacles: Str+d6; Reach 1"; Grab.
• Darkvision: No vision penalties for darkness (range 12").
• Grab: Pin your opponent if you hit with a raise, they require a raise on an opposed Strength roll to escape.
• Arcane Resistance: +5 to resist opposed psionics, and +5 armor against offensive psionics.

(These stats were gathered from the Savage Worlds Monster Finder found here.)

Illithids for Rogue Space
DRM +3; TP K; SZ A; MV 30' (walk); AR L; DM L; HP 5; SP *
Gear: Illithids usually wear long robes or overcoats made of a tough material that grants L armor. They will also typically be carrying some sort of pistol on their person as well.
Grab: Illithid tentacles do L damage. If a tentacle attack beats their opponent's Fighting roll by 5 or more, they grab their foe and pull their skull toward their mouth. The victim gets one chance to break free before his/her brains are eaten by succeeding in an opposed Fighting roll against the Illithid. 
Psionics: Illithids are powerful Espers rolling for power use with a +4 bonus. They all have the following powers: Psychic Blast, Suggestion, and Telepathy. Illithids can fail on a power use and not lose the use of the power until a second failed attempt is made with that same power without expending HP. Once a power has failed twice, then they can attempt to push using HP to fuel the power. 


Stu Rat said...

I was trying to find TotG: Illithids earlier today. Weird timing.

I like the mish-mash galaxy you've put together. Sorry. Diverse-source-material galaxy.

Giles Kiser said...

Thanks! Mish-mash is the right of it. I like to think of it as my love letter to just about everything I like in space opera and fantasy.

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