Monster Analysis: Githyanki

Thanks to Melissa Kelt for letting us use her art! And check out the full piece here; it’s amazing.

First Appearance: 40 Desperate Measures

Many years ago, the mind flayers enslaved a race whose name was lost to history. After many attempts at uprisings, the leader Gith led her people to temporary freedom. However, differences between her and another leader named Zerthimon led to hostilies that resulted in two separate races with idealogical differences: the contemplative Githzari, led by Zerthimon, and the warlike Githyanki, ruled by Gith.

The Githyanki live by the sword, sworn to absolute vengeance against the Illithid, the Githzeri, and everyone else, in that order. They travel the Astral Plane across the multiverse, plundering victims and leaving them just alive enough to rebuild so they can be plundered again. Warriors must master the silver sword, a psionic blade considered sacred to Githyanki culture. As one cannot age in the Astral Plane, young Githyanki train in military academies hidden on the Material Plane. They must fell a Mind Flayer before they are permitted to rejoin the ranks in the Astral Plane.

Perhaps of highest interest, during the uprising against the Illithid, Gith’s second-in-command (a lich named Vlaakith) sought the aid of Tiamat, the goddess of evil dragons. In the resulting agreement, Ephelomon, the red dragon consort of Tiamat, pledged the alliance of all of his kind with the Githyanki. While later generations of either group have not always sought to uphold this alliance, the Githyanki and Red Dragons have rarely if ever found themselves on opposing sides of conflict.

Could the individual trapped in the skull grant a Wish? It’s not entirely out of the question. Githyanki casters tend to by psionic rather than arcane, but who knows what an ageless individual can learn. However, by now it should be clear that a wish, even one without negative strings attached, would not have been able to rid Tal'Dorei of the Chroma Conclave. The individual trapped inside had even less incentive to follow through, assuming he ever planned to grant the wish. Fortunately, we’ll never actually know what would have happened should he have been freed…