Apr 182011

My Favorite Monsters is a showcase of some of the beautiful artwork Turbine has provided so that we have interesting things to kill.

Creepy and cool, walking squids are the kind of challenge that make players forget their cold pizza and stale beer and focus on simply staying alive. Standard rush tactics are not appropriate here: in DDO as well as in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, a Mind Flayer encounter requires thought.

Although I personally enjoy hearing the super badass zerg-star Barbarian screaming like a little girl: “Hurry! He’s eating my brains”! Perhaps I have a mean streak, but that one is always good for a laugh. Or several.

Anne Trent of DDOCast has published one of her lovely “Monster Minutes” focusing on our psionic buddy, with her usual (very scholarly) discussion of Mind Flayer lore and history. You should read it, it is chock-full of actual information, for instance I now know that Gary Gygax himself invented the Mind Flayer.

A penny for your thoughts
A Penny For Your Thoughts

Useful tactics:

Mind Flayers are certainly one of the more iconic D&D monsters.* My first encounter with the mollusky mind-eaters was the first edition AD&D Monster Manual (see original illustration on the right). Even in primitive line drawing, it stands out as something sinister, something special: they are just not built to be minions or filler mobs. Mind Flayers are always the boss, or at the very least a mini-boss.

* WotC has them trademarked, or copyrighted, not sure which is which but no one is allowed to use Mind Flayers in their game without permission from Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro

One of the tentacled bastards had an impact on a friendship that lasts to this day.

Playing in a tabletop campaign with my best friend as the DM, a group of regulars that had been meeting off and on for years, and his recently introduced girlfriend. Except this night we encountered a whole nest of Illithid. Not just Mind Flayers but also some kind of humongous Roper-like Illithid superboss and pools of some gross Illithid tadpole-thingies. It was all very disgusting. But still, Mind Flayers! Super dangerous! And sure enough we were quickly mired in it, blasting at full firepower and hoping not to roll any 1’s.

But the DM’s girlfriend had no such luck. She was ensnared! The DM kept giving us… well, not really clues, so much as demands for action … “She’s got tentacles all over her head”, and “You know if her brain gets eaten there’s no resurrection”, and then finally little begging noises like “her brain is starting to come out … it’s really coming out now … gonna be too late to stop soon …”

Its not that we were ignoring Michelle’s predicament, but the fact was that every one of us was 100% fully engaged with Mind Flayer problems of our own and there was nothing we could do. And so the DM’s girlfriend (now wife) became the only character that was ever permanently killed in that entire multi-year campaign. On her first or second night gaming with us. Something I may never hear the end of even if I live to be 100.

Stupid Mind Flayers.

🙂 😀 🙂

  2 Responses to “My Favorite Monsters: Mind Flayer”

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  1. No matter what you say, nothing short of “mind control” will make me forget about my cold pizza…

    Oh, right…right. 😉

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