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Inspired by Lords of Madness (Updated with 65% more ideas, and 74% more confusion)!

I've been slowly reading through this book. ("Slow" not because it's not grabbing--it very much is--but because I'm working it in around my writing.) And I just read the section in the aboleth entry about their attitudes toward mind flayers.

(If you want to keep yourself in suspense about a rulebook :confused: , I suppose what follows could be considered a spoiler.)

Anway, I read this line:

"In a way, the aboleths and the illithid are like cosmic bookends: two similar races with similar goals, one from the ancient past and one from the doomed future."

And the thought that immediately occured to me was this:

Two ends of the universe? Or two ends of an evolutionary process??

Think about it. Assuming a fantasy world in which evolution holds true, life on land would have originated from creatures of the sea. We know that the aboleth can briefly survive on land, and they've already spawned one amphibious offshoot. They're races that both have four tentacles that don't really map to the limbs of "normal" creatures. They've similar personalities, similar goals, even some similar abilities. What if the aboleth and the illithid are not merely the alpha and omega of the universe, but are literally two ends of the same cycle?



I'm not 100% certain where I'm going to take this idea, but I'm nearly certain I'm going to use it somehow. I wanted to throw it out there, and see if any of you folks had any thoughts on the matter, or if it might inspire you in turn.

(Of course, I'm going to feel really stupid if somebody comes along and tells me the book actually talks about this possibility later on. I'm only a very short way into it. :heh: But dang it, at least for me, it is an original thought.)
 
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demiurge1138

Inventor of Super-Toast
OK, that's cool. Especially if the aboleths are the opposing force that the illithids were fleeing from the future. Think about it. The illithids are a race of mutant upstarts, perhaps created when an aboleth savant tried to spawn clever skum servitors (we already know that the process of making skum is an invasive and disturbing procedure- only a step removed from ceremorphosis). The servitors rebelled, and eventually overcame their creators. Until the final waxing of the cyclic aboleth empire brought the two races into planet-spanning conflict.

The aboleth are trying to destroy all illithids, in addition to trying to prevent themselves from accidentally creating them. The illithids are purposefully plotting to be created by the aboleth savants.

Mmm... temporal paradox...

Demiurge out.

Edit: And no, I don't remember anything about a connection between aboleths and illithids.
 

Flyspeck23

First Post
And there I thought I wouldn't need or even enjoy LoM... damn.


Mouseferatu said:
Think about it. Assuming a fantasy world in which evolution holds true, life on land would have originated from creatures of the sea. We know that the aboleth can briefly survive on land, and they've already spawned one amphibious offshoot. They're races that both have four tentacles that don't really map to the limbs of "normal" creatures. They've similar personalities, similar goals, even some similar abilities. What if the aboleth and the illithid are not merely the alpha and omega of the universe, but are literally two ends of the same cycle?

Cool idea. And it might fit my homebrew, so thanks :)
 

Liquidsabre

Explorer
Wow, I love that phrase "Cosmic Bookends!" :p

And THAT is a really cool idea there Mouse. Thanks for sharing it! The fact that the LoM has such neat snippets in it is heartening and I can't wait till I finally pick mine up!
 


philreed

Adventurer
Supporter
When the hell did this come out??? I've been wanting this book since it was announced (with the cool name, but let's not go there).
 



Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
Mouseferatu said:
Two ends of the universe? Or two ends of an evolutionary process??
Actually, this was my exact thought when I read that line. However, given that illithids had an empire at the end of the universe....perhaps the illithid ARE aboleths or at least what they become eventually.

There's some interesting points here. The aboleth's apparently conquer the universe every so often, then lose it again. The illithids rememeber a time when they HAD conquered the universe and are waiting for that time to happen again.

It makes perfect sense. I just don't know how to work it into a story....Hmm, I AM running the RttToEE right now, and my players are level 10...sounds about the time to start dropping hints for a post adventure continuation involving this somehow.
 


Majoru Oakheart said:
Actually, this was my exact thought when I read that line. However, given that illithids had an empire at the end of the universe....perhaps the illithid ARE aboleths or at least what they become eventually.

That's basically what I meant by "evolutionary process"--that I thought it was a cool idea that aboleths eventually evolved into illithid. :)
 

Flyspeck23

First Post
Mouseferatu said:
That's basically what I meant by "evolutionary process"--that I thought it was a cool idea that aboleths eventually evolved into illithid. :)

And that's how I've read your post :)

So how to implement that into a homebrew? How does this father/son-relation play out? Are they even aware of the connection? Maybe only the illithid know, but how does that influence their opinion about aboleths? And if the aboleths know, are they trying to change the future so that they'll not turn into illithids?
And so on.
 

Goblyns Hoard

First Post
Nice concept Mouse - never been a big one for using either race having but may have to look into them now.

If you're going for an evolutionary process then you probably need to come up with some intermediate forms. Ever play werewolf? If so you need to figure out what the Hispo, Crinos and Glabro are to the aboleth lupus and illithid homid. I'm not saying you need these to be alive in your game (or neccessarily even stat them out) but if you know what they are, you can figure out how they got that way, then you can figure out what needs to be happening in the game in order to instigate that metamorphosis.

So...

Assuming a middle that is bipedal but still monstrous then you need an intermediate form that is somewhat bear-like - i.e. has legs, comfortable out of water for longer than your standard aboleth, and able to rear up on the hind legs for a little if it wants to. The legs don't need to be homologous with humanoid legs (who says the bone structure of an illithid is actually that similar to ours) they only need to serve the same purpose (i.e. get over terrain that an aboleth can't). You want to keep the tentacles away from this because you need them to be the illithid head tentacles later.

You need evolutionary pressures to drive it out of the water which will start of the process of developing limbs to walk on. From there the legs gradually evolve to the point of only using two rather than four - first because they need to climb rocks better then later because tools become important. OK that mirrors human development but it's not a bad evolutionary path.

Ultimately if you still want to play with aboleth and illithid the way they are these factors don't matter - you just need to develop the framework to figure the plotline... so on the basis of the above...

Illithid are conspiring to dry up the aquatic environments of the aboleth in order to drive them out of the water and start the evolution into becoming illithid. As much as possible they are trying not to kill their ancient ancestors but they need to prevent them from living in water that they may evolve into the glorious empire of the illithid.

Drop me an e-mail if you want any more thoughts on this - I'm an evolutionary biologist and this is the sort of thing I really enjoy.
 

yennico

First Post
Or the ilithids made a time travel back in time because they have seen something in the future that they will either degenerate them back to aboleth, some disease that only kills ilithids or they are alle killed by an superior force so they want to create more ilithids by evolution from aboleths to ilithids so the can deafeat that force.
 


Ry

Explorer
I did something similar with the Faranth (from some 3.0 Dungeon magazine) - maybe you could use them as an intermediate stage.
 

Goblyns Hoard said:
Assuming a middle that is bipedal but still monstrous then you need an intermediate form that is somewhat bear-like - i.e. has legs, comfortable out of water for longer than your standard aboleth, and able to rear up on the hind legs for a little if it wants to. The legs don't need to be homologous with humanoid legs (who says the bone structure of an illithid is actually that similar to ours) they only need to serve the same purpose (i.e. get over terrain that an aboleth can't). You want to keep the tentacles away from this because you need them to be the illithid head tentacles later.

Interesting ideas, but you're missing an important part of illithid "biology": the actual illithid doesn't have legs, or arms. It's a tadpole, and is only vaguely humanoid because the tadpole invaded a humanoid body and ate out it's nervous system. Kinda like the Goa'ld from Stargate SG1 if you've ever seen that show.

So there's no evolutionary reason to have a humanoid form; just the ability to take over and metamorphosise (is that a word?) a humanoid host.
 

Goblyns Hoard said:
...
Illithid are conspiring to dry up the aquatic environments of the aboleth in order to drive them out of the water and start the evolution into becoming illithid. As much as possible they are trying not to kill their ancient ancestors but they need to prevent them from living in water that they may evolve into the glorious empire of the illithid.
An alternate thought would be that the Illithid most definitely don't know they came from the aboleth, and look down on them as animals. There were many eons of intermediate forms after all. The Illithid looking at the Aboleths as ancestors would be kind of like us looking at a shrew and saying the same.

So, perhaps they are drying up the Aboleth habitat in furtherance of some other goal thus inadvertantly setting up the conditions of their own creation? They don't really even take notice of the aboleth in the process. They're like dolphins caught in tuna nets. Inconvenient, expensive, but no big thing to the people doing the catching. Perhaps some of the Illithid that are more grounded in "real world" physics and cause-and-effect take notice of the similarities between themselves and the aboleth. They might put the pieces together and speak out against the destruction of the aboleth, only to be decried as "dangerously logical." These beings, after all, are intimately related to the kind of universes with screwy causality (Far Realms, etc). Attributing their creation to a logical, temporally feed-forward process like evolution would likely be a form of heresy in their society.

Or, even more amusingly, they are actively TRYING to wipe out the Aboleths because they find the creatures loathsome. Chain of effect the same.
 

Chris Tavares said:
Interesting ideas, but you're missing an important part of illithid "biology": the actual illithid doesn't have legs, or arms. It's a tadpole, and is only vaguely humanoid because the tadpole invaded a humanoid body and ate out it's nervous system. Kinda like the Goa'ld from Stargate SG1 if you've ever seen that show.

So there's no evolutionary reason to have a humanoid form; just the ability to take over and metamorphosise (is that a word?) a humanoid host.
Hmmmm... that makes the evolutionary path very different, but you can still do it with the "drying out their habitats" routine. They pulled a standard juvenilization schtick, keeping the larval form into the adult stage (I forget what it's actually called). This allowed them to invade smaller, deeper subterranean habitats that weren't affected by the drainage. The parasitism developed after they encountered subterranean humanoids in the new habitat.
 

Gez

First Post
The Morkoth and the Kopru could be the missing links between aboleths and illithids.
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