Baldur’s Gate 3: Why Githyanki and Illithids Hate Each Other

Baldur’s Gate 3: Why Githyanki and Illithids Hate Each Other

The Mind Flayers are a major antagonistic force in Baldur’s Gate 3, but their history with the game’s playable Githyanki species goes way back.

Highlights

  • Baldur’s Gate 3’s success is partly due to its immersive world and characters, with the inclusion of extraterrestrial races like the Githyanki and Mind Flayers setting Baldur’s Gate 3 apart from other fantasy games.
  • The game’s story revolves around the conflict between the Githyanki and Illithids, allowing players to align themselves with either side, creating unique and exciting gameplay possibilities.
  • If players dive into the lore, they can better understand this conflict, with the Ilithids creating and subjugating the Gith in the past – something that lasted until the Gith developed their own abilities and rebeled.

Baldur’s Gate 3 has continued to break its own record as one of the most played titles on the Steam charts, and the fully realized world of the Forgotten Realms that Larian Studios crafted is a huge part of it. Taking place in the land of Faerun across various locales endemic to the Dungeons and Dragons setting, the lore consistency throughout the game’s three acts is one of its most immersive elements. In staying true to its source material, Baldur’s Gate 3 has brought some of the most core concepts at the heart of fantasy fiction to the attention of players everywhere.

Several others may exist, but the Forgotten Realms is easily the most popular Dungeons and Dragons setting due to its history of helping to popularize several ubiquitous concepts within the fantasy genre. The modern fifth edition that forms the basis of Baldur’s Gate 3 has come to feature everything from simple Elves and Dwarves to demonic Tieflings, but the inclusion of the extraterrestrial Githyanki and Illithid races into the game have truly set it apart. The Mind Flayers are the game’s driving antagonistic force, while the Githyanki Fighter Lae’zel is available as a companion, but the bloody histories of their respective species spans decades of lore.

Illithids and Their Subjugation of the Gith

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The Illithids, or Mind Flayers, have no solid origin point, having been theorized to come from several different scenarios driven by speculation. Having existed since before the beginning of recorded history, the Illithids commanded vast empires across multiple planes with their advanced technology. Between their psionic abilities and pervasive presence, the aberrations could even possibly descend from the far future. Known for an obsession with genetic experimentation, however, one of their creations would be their undoing.

Using an enigmatic humanoid race known as the “Forerunners” that existed long ago, the Illithids would create an artificial race that came to be known as the Gith. Enslaved by their masters, the Gith would be subjugated under the psionic power of the Mind Flayers until they finally developed their own abilities. Able to fight back, the Gith would launch a successful rebellion and drive the Illithids from the Astral Plane, but the struggle of their people would continue on an ideological level.

The Divide of the Githyanki and Githzerai

Following the victory of the Gith against their oppressors, their newly free society would soon develop a divide. The leader, named Gith herself, wished for vengeance through the hunting down of every Illithid across the entire Multiverse, though her close ally Zerthimon disagreed. Gith would form the belligerent and violent Githyanki while Zerthimon’s followers became the more monastic and reflective Githzerai, splintering the people originally known as just Gith between two purposes. The stories of Queen Vlaakith and Prince Orpheus that followed are key points in Baldur’s Gate 3, with these scenarios taking place many generations after the original split.

With Baldur’s Gate 3‘s story being centered around an Illithid invasion of Faerun, the lore of the Mind Flayers and Githyanki alike has never been so deeply developed within the realm of gaming. Infected by a Tadpole for Ceremorphosis into one of them, most players will have similar goals to the Githyanki in opposing the Illithids, but the thirst for violence created by the oppression Lae’zel’s race faced within the Astral Plane is just as likely to put the player at odds with one of the game’s most unique races.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on PC and launches September 6 on PS5, with an Xbox Series X/S port also in development.

MORE: Baldur’s Gate 3: All Illithid Abilities, Ranked & Explained

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