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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I'm looking at the "Gith" entry in the MM and I'm wondering whether maybe we should split it up into Githyanki and Githzerai? I'll have a shot at the Githyanki:

    Githyanki

    Introduction

    Live from the Astral Plane, mortal enemy of Illithid and Githzerai alike, swinger of a big silver sword: it's the Githyanki!

    I've never really thought all that much about the githyanki; I think I've fought against them a few times as a player, but I've never used them in a game. Will 5e's treatment change that? Let's find out...

    Art



    Compared to the treatment of a lot of githyanki art in previous edition (i.e. this and this), this guy doesn't look too nasty; a lot less "jaundiced skin pulled over a slavering skull" and more "noble warrior in goofy armor".

    I like that the metal used for the armor looks a bit strange, almost as if it's cooled from liquid mid-swirl, but the design doesn't really look different enough from things anyone on the Prime Material Plane wears to really drive home that these folks live on the Astral Plane. I'm not big on the sword either; again, it's pretty standard fantasy stuff, not functional looking but not really a cool enough design to justify it being so massively chunky.

    I do quite like the kinda stylized, painterly look this piece has; I think this MM has struck a good balance between stylized and realistic with most of its art. The background silhouettes of the gith in motion are quite nice too, and i really would've loved to see one of them as the central image for the githyanki; gimme some movement!

    Purpose and Tactics

    So, there's two githyanki statted in the MM: the Warrior and the Knight.

    The Warrior has a pretty good AC for a guy with just a belt across his chest ("half-plate", according to the MM); a Warrior gets jump, misty step and nondetection making them pretty mobile and giving some stealth ability as well. With three castings per day of each, you've got a monster that can engage in hit and run tactics on your players. Couple that with their greatsword multiattack and you're able to dish out a scary amount of damage for a CR 3 enemy, imo. Mage hand is there to make them seem a bit more "psionic" I guess?

    The Knight is quite similar to the Warrior, but better; you've got 18 AC (I guess they actually wear a breastplate?), the addition of planeshift and telekinesis add some tricks to its bag. This ones sword attacks are more powerful than the Warrior's with a fun little wrinkle; the Knight can use its silver sword to sever your players silver cords if they're in the Astral Plane, cutting them off from their bodies in the Material Plane.

    Fluff

    Pretty pulpy; they're extradimensional invaders who love to pillage and burn, ride red dragons, hate the githzerai because they're chaotic and betrayed Gith and hate hate hate hate hate mindflayers with a passion. I didn't actually know about the dragon riding bit, but otherwise, it's all stuff I've heard before. There's some little story hooks in there too: the classic "a githyanki knight's silver sword is a part of him so he'll chase you down across the multiverse and kill you dead to get it back", a reason for the githyanki to be in your players' world (people don't age in the Astral Realm, so they have to raise their kids on the Prime Material Plane) and a little vignette about the githyanki's relationship with red dragons via Tiamat. They're always Lawful Evil so there's not a great deal of use for them beyond "evil naughty bad guys" as they stand; maybe you could add a bit of nuance to their culture beyond "evil slavers from the astral dimension", have a secret unification movement of the two people of Gith, maybe?

    Hooks

    • The tunnels leading up the the chamber stink of death; the floor and walls slicked with purple ichor. You cross the threshold, passing under a patterned arch whose carvings seem to writhe and wriggle in the half-light of your torches and before you is a scene of devastation; dozens of dead mind flayers, their bodies mutilated in creative and horrible ways, and in the middle of the cavern, an elder brain, sliced in two. Who, or what could do this to an entire clan of illithid?
    • You can't help feeling as if you're being watched. During the day, the hair on the back of your neck pricks up, and you turn to find no-one there. At night, you awaken drenched with sweat from dreams of cities floating in an endless expanse, of unspeakable acts of torture and of a gaunt, skeletal face with piercing yellow eyes. Could it have something to do with the shimmering silver sword you discovered recently?


    Verdict
    Not too bad; I don't dislike the githyanki, I just think there's more interesting sentient creatures that can fit similar roles. There's some interesting stuff you can do with them with regards to the Astral Realm and they make an ok "regimented outsider" invasion, but I wish there was a bit more about how their society operated, maybe exactly HOW they are lawful, some stuff about their rank system, etc.
    Last edited by kraftcheese; 2017-03-11 at 07:58 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    The two factors that make Githyanki knights super dangerous are that
    A] They hit like a truck
    B] They can use misty step

    Plus, they're lawful, so like hobgoblins they can go for casters first. Unlike hobgoblins they can teleport, so all they need to do is teleport close to your casters and unleash the fury.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Something that I found both weird and interesting in the fluff is that there are Githyanki bases in the Material Plane to allow them to grow up, and they have to kill a mind flayer to be accepted in the Astral Plane as an adult.

    I imagine having to kill an evil magic genius as a rite of passage to be a pretty difficult bottleneck, and the Githyanki youth are more likely drilled day and night to prepare them for it. Then most of them die horribly.

    Kind of as if any Stormtrooper's first mission out of the academy was "go kill that Dark Jedi", or an even more cruel version of the Witchers' trials

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Does anyone else think that the Gith in the picture really looks like Adam Jensen?

    *stabs Mindflayer*

    "I never asked for this."

    Seriously though. I find Githyanki really boring. They're evil, they hate Mind Flayers, Githzerai and you and they have no interest in negotiation.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2017-03-11 at 08:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Something that I found both weird and interesting in the fluff is that there are Githyanki bases in the Material Plane to allow them to grow up, and they have to kill a mind flayer to be accepted in the Astral Plane as an adult.

    I imagine having to kill an evil magic genius as a rite of passage to be a pretty difficult bottleneck, and the Githyanki youth are more likely drilled day and night to prepare them for it. Then most of them die horribly.

    Kind of as if any Stormtrooper's first mission out of the academy was "go kill that Dark Jedi", or an even more cruel version of the Witchers' trials
    Well, it doesn't say the githyanki has to walk alone in an illithid colony.

    Perhaps this sacred rite of passage takes place in an arena and is also a test of teamwork. How many CR3 githyanki warriors would it take to kill a CR7 mind flayer?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    Well, it doesn't say the githyanki has to walk alone in an illithid colony.

    Perhaps this sacred rite of passage takes place in an arena and is also a test of teamwork. How many CR3 githyanki warriors would it take to kill a CR7 mind flayer?
    Probably two, but the mindflayer itself might have minions or fellow mindflayers prepared.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Probably two, but the mindflayer itself might have minions or fellow mindflayers prepared.
    I meant a githyanki arena, with a mind flayer in its underwear.
    Edit: Or in a gladatorial breastplate. The point is that it doesn't have home advantage.
    Edit2: And now I am imagining the undefeated Spawntacus.
    Last edited by Millstone85; 2017-03-11 at 10:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Plus, they're lawful, so like hobgoblins they can go for casters first. Unlike hobgoblins they can teleport, so all they need to do is teleport close to your casters and unleash the fury.
    I'm not sure that respect for the rule of law, and/or a personal code, is really the deciding factor there? I'd expect pragmatism and an understanding of tactics to matter more. So you could have conniving (but still chaotic) hags and red dragons and what have you that know it's in their best interests to geek the mage first, and you might have a hide-bound evil army (not sure whether hobgoblins qualify, but a culture of evil bureaucracy definitely has legs) that obeys the rules of engagement and always comes at you head on (so you can put your meatshields in front of your casters).

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Geeking the mage is a tactic for any being who think that focusing on the squishy-but-might-unleash-a-big-blast-of-hurt is better than focusing on their tougher buddy who can also unleash hurt, but takes longer to kill and needs more time to unleash said hurt.

    Goblins can do it, demons can do it, even Slaad can do it.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by twas_Brillig View Post
    I'm not sure that respect for the rule of law, and/or a personal code, is really the deciding factor there? I'd expect pragmatism and an understanding of tactics to matter more. So you could have conniving (but still chaotic) hags and red dragons and what have you that know it's in their best interests to geek the mage first, and you might have a hide-bound evil army (not sure whether hobgoblins qualify, but a culture of evil bureaucracy definitely has legs) that obeys the rules of engagement and always comes at you head on (so you can put your meatshields in front of your casters).
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Geeking the mage is a tactic for any being who think that focusing on the squishy-but-might-unleash-a-big-blast-of-hurt is better than focusing on their tougher buddy who can also unleash hurt, but takes longer to kill and needs more time to unleash said hurt.

    Goblins can do it, demons can do it, even Slaad can do it.
    This is a pretty big stereotype, but I personally think Lawful monsters tend towards planning beforehand and chaotic creatures to improvisation.

    So if I'm thinking of a monster that would immediately, straight off the bat go for the healer it would probably be a lawful one.

    True, there could be monsters with codes of chivalry or who worship strength that go for you head on, and they are equally likely to be Lawful or Chaotic.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    If we are talking alignments again, I would like to point out that I don't know where...
    Quote Originally Posted by kraftcheese View Post
    hate the githzerai because they're chaotic and betrayed Gith
    ... came from. Both the the githyanki and the githzerai are lawful. Or was it just the betrayal being called chaotic?
    Last edited by Millstone85; 2017-03-11 at 10:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    This is a pretty big stereotype, but I personally think Lawful monsters tend towards planning beforehand and chaotic creatures to improvisation.

    So if I'm thinking of a monster that would immediately, straight off the bat go for the healer it would probably be a lawful one.
    I don't get your reasoning. Even if the stereotype was true, a demon could just as likely decide in an instant that killing the mage was for the best.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    True, there could be monsters with codes of chivalry or who worship strength that go for you head on, and they are equally likely to be Lawful or Chaotic.
    Having code of chivalry sounds more lawful to me.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Probably two, but the mindflayer itself might have minions or fellow mindflayers prepared.
    I'd honestly expect a killing illithids as a rite of passage would be done as a cadre type thing, not alone. Githyanki might be evil and sadistic, but they aren't stupid. They overcame their illithid overlords by working together, no reason that doesn't extend to the current time frame.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    I'd honestly expect a killing illithids as a rite of passage would be done as a cadre type thing, not alone. Githyanki might be evil and sadistic, but they aren't stupid. They overcame their illithid overlords by working together, no reason that doesn't extend to the current time frame.
    Still, a lot of them would die trying to capture/kill an illithid

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Still, a lot of them would die trying to capture/kill an illithid
    I really see it as the githyanki keeping prisoners after destroying an illithid colony and then using these prisoners to test young warriors. That's what I think would make sense and for interesting stories.

    Perhaps the illithid is in fact given a few thralls just before the fight, and the PCs have been captured by the githyanki to serve as such.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    i find it hard imagining the githyanki allowing an illithid to stay alive, even to kill later.

    and i have to agree that targeting the artillery is more a question of intelligence and ability than it is of alignment. you don't need to have a detailed 5-step plan for "kill the magic user first". i suppose if it was only through very close cooperation and coordination that it was possible, then yeah, lawful creatures are more likely to use it. but for someone that is smart and can teleport? i'd expect that to happen regardless of alignment. heck, i'd even expect chaotic creatures that are smart to try some basic tricks given a chance... sneak some people behind to attack from the back, everyone individually trying to shove their way through the front line to get the caster in the back, ranged attacks being fired if available at the caster, etc.

    now if we're talking about, say, there's 2 groups of soldiers facing each other, 20 soldiers across, 3 ranks deep, in a narrow gorge, and you want to grapple enemies and move them through your own ranks (without leaving an opening) in a wide enough gap to get a second and third rank in place to grapple their second and third rank so that you can then get a couple of soldiers through to harass a mage on the other side, all before the enemy can react and plug the hole from their own second and third rank? alright, that's gonna take some crazy coordination, and i have a hard time believing that a chaotic group of monsters would have practiced well enough to pull that sort of maneuver off. but just "teleport next to the wizard and stab him in the face"? no coordination involved, no practice needed, not even really any advance planning, sounds perfectly reasonable for a chaotic creature to do that to me.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Having code of chivalry sounds more lawful to me.
    I agree. Which is why I mentioned the "worship of strength" as a reason why a chaotic creature wouldn't want to fight tactically - because they wouldn't be proving their strength.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Dying like a moron doesn't show strength. People who worship strength have all the reasons in the world to fight tactically.

    Unless they're so sure of their superiority that the glory of fighting with a disadvantage is worth it, I suppose. Kind of like some Norse raiders fought with blacksmith hammers or oars to show off.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    i find it hard imagining the githyanki allowing an illithid to stay alive, even to kill later.
    By the same logic, any illithid colony the githyanki learn of wouldn't exist long enough for young warriors to go on a ritual hunt.

    Maybe they just have to take part in an attack on the illithids, and then their elders will know if they lied about their contribution, because psionics.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    By the same logic, any illithid colony the githyanki learn of wouldn't exist long enough for young warriors to go on a ritual hunt.

    Maybe they just have to take part in an attack on the illithids, and then their elders will know if they lied about their contribution, because psionics.
    knowing an illithid colony exists is not the same as being able to do anything about it, and it certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't want to take the time to plan and prepare if at all possible before attacking it.

    having a prisoner in your possession and in chains, on the other hand, makes it quite easy to kill said prisoner in most cases.

    and truthfully, you only need to find one illithid colony (or caravan, or whatever) per year, give or take.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    knowing an illithid colony exists is not the same as being able to do anything about it, and it certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't want to take the time to plan and prepare if at all possible before attacking it.
    But then the coming-of-age rite is even more impractical. In a "plan and prepare" period, you do not want to alert the enemy of your presence and give them fragile young minds to interrogate. Are githyanki brains still comestible? The cost of failure becomes way too high.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    But then the coming-of-age rite is even more impractical. In a "plan and prepare" period, you do not want to alert the enemy of your presence and give them fragile young minds to interrogate. Are githyanki brains still comestible? The cost of failure becomes way too high.
    Maybe they just have the adults do the preparations, and then the young ones serve as grunts for the assault?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Still, a lot of them would die trying to capture/kill an illithid.
    Only the most hardy and skilled warriors can serve the Lich Queen. Besides, it dosn't have to be a whole colony, that strikes me as a thing a large contingent of veteran warriors would tackle. A group of young warriors if we're going with a rite of passage probably are tasked with stalking and slaying a lone mind flayer, or a small number of a certain time frame.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2017-03-11 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post
    My only complaint about Mouthers is I've always found their blinding light spittle a little unthematic. Insane wailing? Makes sense. Melting the world around them, the same way they melt the flesh of their victims after eating it? Makes sense. Spittle that acts like a flash grenade when it hits something? Somewhat out of left field, even if it does give the creature a ranged option.
    You know, until you've pointed it out, I was under the impression it spits goop into your eyes, not that it throws up flash grenades. Huh. Definitely agree on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I really see it as the githyanki keeping prisoners after destroying an illithid colony and then using these prisoners to test young warriors. That's what I think would make sense and for interesting stories.

    Perhaps the illithid is in fact given a few thralls just before the fight, and the PCs have been captured by the githyanki to serve as such.
    Aaaaand now I'm thinking about Alien vs. predator setup: Githyanki implanting Illithid tadpoles to victims abducted from material plane to have some proper prey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Only the most hardy and skilled warriors can serve the Lich Queen. Besides, it dosn't have to be a whole colony, that strikes me as a thing a large contingent of veteran warriors would tackle. A group of young warriors if we're going with a rite of passage probably are tasked with stalking and slaying a lone mind flayer, or a small number of a certain time frame.
    The most hardy and skilled warriors are killed before they grow too powerful and dangerous for Vlaakith.

    Interesting (?) note: the name Githyanki actually came from G.R.R Martin's sci-fi novel.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2017-03-11 at 09:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    If we are talking alignments again, I would like to point out that I don't know where...... came from. Both the the githyanki and the githzerai are lawful. Or was it just the betrayal being called chaotic?
    Whoops, no, you are absolutely right about that one; for some reason my brain went "They live in Limbo so they're chaotic" when actually one of their big things is imposing order and build outposts in of the chaos of Limbo.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Dying like a moron doesn't show strength. People who worship strength have all the reasons in the world to fight tactically.

    Unless they're so sure of their superiority that the glory of fighting with a disadvantage is worth it, I suppose. Kind of like some Norse raiders fought with blacksmith hammers or oars to show off.
    I never said it was smart. I think it's dumb too, but there's a precedent especially if someone will look cowardly in front of their tribe or whatever.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    The most hardy and skilled warriors are killed before they grow too powerful and dangerous for Vlaakith.

    Interesting (?) note: the name Githyanki actually came from G.R.R Martin's sci-fi novel.
    Fine, only the second most hardy and skilled warriors then.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I like the Gith, although seriously WotC needs to go through the Monster Manual and every time there's a race that "used to be X until the Mind Flayers enslaved them and messed them up", roll on a percentile table and switch the enslaving race - aboleths, chromatic dragons, devils, demons, evil fey, not-evil-but-way-chaotic fey, ....

    The Githyanki are one of those iconic monsters that were given abilities before they were given a coherent backstory, and so the red dragon riding bit comes into play. It seems off; CE red dragons and LE Githyanki aren't a good mix, especially with the non-psionic / psionic bit.

    Githyanki, though, have the whole "stamp them out before they spread" threat. If there's an enclave, why yes they are rearing their young ... but they are also establishing a base, and the raids may be coming. People who can travel through the astral plane can show up with a convenient horde anywhere they feel like hording.

    Hook #3:
    A forbidding castle is sometimes glimpsed high on the mountain, although those who have climbed it in days past say there was no castle there. Now, those who climb the mountain don't come back, and gaunt yellow figures appear from time to time, seize prisoners, and vanish without trace or track. Can the party investigate this mystery, and survive?
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I like the Gith, although seriously WotC needs to go through the Monster Manual and every time there's a race that "used to be X until the Mind Flayers enslaved them and messed them up", roll on a percentile table and switch the enslaving race - aboleths, chromatic dragons, devils, demons, evil fey, not-evil-but-way-chaotic fey, ....
    I count four of these flayed minds: the duergar, the gith, the grimlock and the kuo-toa.

    Also the intellect devourer, though that is more of a fleshy construct.

    It is not that many. And there are races that were infused with demonic blood or cursed and banished by the fey.

    Do you just dislike the illithids?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I count four of these flayed minds: the duergar, the gith, the grimlock and the kuo-toa.

    Also the intellect devourer, though that is more of a fleshy construct.

    It is not that many. And there are races that were infused with demonic blood or cursed and banished by the fey.

    Do you just dislike the illithids?
    There are, perhaps, 40 humanoid races in the MM? Therefore ~10% of them are the result of the illithids messing up someone in the past.
    Plus I think there's more, it's tickling at the back of my mind (no mind flayer tentacle joke required, mmmkay?).
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
    http://easydamus.com/character.html

    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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