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Monster ENCyclopedia: Ixitxachitl

They dwell in the oceans, resemble manta rays and are fiercely loyal to the demon lord Demogorgon. The ixitxachitl has appeared in every edition of the game so far, and probably has one of the most mispronounced names in D&D history. This Monster ENCyclopedia entry examines the history of these evil, aquatic denizens from Supplement II: Blackmoor right through to Out of the Abyss.

[h=2]Monster ENCyclopedia: Ixitxachitl[/h]
This is a series of posts about specific monsters from D&D's history. Each entry takes a look at the origin of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions. For the ninth entry in the ENCyclopedia series, we are examining a creature beginning with "I", the ixitxachitl.

[h=3]Origins and development[/h]
The ixitxachitl's first appearance was early in D&D's history in Supplement II: Blackmoor, which was released in September 1975. Although Dave Arneson was the author of Blackmoor, this thread suggests that Steve Marsh created the ixitxachitl, inspired by Aztec mythology and a Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story.

Blackmoor was only the third D&D product ever published, and like the original D&D boxed set and Supplement I: Greyhawk, most of the monster descriptions it contains are quite sparse. Curiously, nothing in this initial appearance specifically mentions that ixitxachitl are aquatic creatures. It seems to be assumed that the reader will figure this out from the context, since most of the creatures detailed in the monster section of Blackmoor dwell underwater.

All of the main statistics for the new monsters are presented in a single table, with just seven columns, including one for the name of the monster. From this table we learn that ixitxachitl occur in groups of 90-150 and are encountered in their lairs 75% of the time. They have an Armor of 5, a Move of 9, and [Hit] Dice of 2(-1). They are listed as having a fairly generous quantity of treasure -- thousands of silver and gold coins, a score or more of gems and jewelry, and a 40% chance of four miscellaneous magic items or maps plus a scroll.

The text description of the ixitxachitl deals mainly with their societal structure, and provides only a limited physical description of the creatures as resembling manta rays, with a flat blanket-like form. They are noted as a race of chaotic clerical philosophers; almost all ixitxachitl are clerics with 80% of them being 1st-level and the remainder varying from 2nd to 11th level. Additionally, about 2% of the total population are magic users of 6th-11th level. The presence of high level spell-casters in a group increases the amount of treasure typically possessed by an ixitxachitl colony, but the text notes that magic items requiring hands cannot generally be used.

This initial description also introduces the "vampiric" variant -- a full tenth of all ixitxachitl are said to be vampiric. Exactly what special abilities vampiric ixitxachitl have is not clear, but the text notes they they are affected by any holy or blessed items, so at this point it sounds as if they are vampires in the traditional undead sense. As we'll see later, that turns out not quite to be the case.

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Monster Manual (1977)

The Monster Manual made the ixitxachitl a fixture in Advanced D&D, and gives us the first picture of one. The illustration does indeed resemble a manta ray, but with more prominent eyes, a barbed tail and a mouth full of sharp fangs. The large eyes and overbite give it a rather goofy appearance.

The creature's statistics have been overhauled here. Encountered groups now number a reduced 10-100, and are in their lairs only 60% of the time. Ixitxachitl have average to high intelligence, are medium-sized and have a single attack which does 3-12 damage. (The description doesn't specify if this is a bite or a barbed tail strike.) The Monster Manual description is a little more specific about their habitat. Ixitxachitl now dwell in shallow tropical seas, with lairs typically made in coral reefs.

As was the case in Blackmoor, a large chunk of the text deals with societal structure. One in every 10 ixitxachitl is a 2nd-level cleric, one in 20 is 3rd level, and one in 50 is 5th level. Groups larger than 50 gain an 8th-level cleric as a leader, plus two 6th-level guards, all of whom have boosted hit dice. It's easy to assume that the balance of all ixitxachitl should be treated as 1st-level clerics just as they were in Blackmoor, particularly since "evil clerical spells" are listed as a special attack. (Later, Monster Cards, Set 2 clarifies that this is not the case, with only some of the race chosen at birth to become clerics.) Exactly which spells are considered evil isn't specified (yet).

Ixitxachitl still have a pretty decent treasure horde, and the text notes that leaders (and their guards) may possess additional magic items which can be worn or used without hands.

The concept of a vampiric variation is retained, but their frequency drops from one-in-ten to one-in-forty, and they no longer sound like undead creatures. Instead, vampiric ixitxachitl are described as "similar to their fellows", but with three changes: they drain an energy level when they strike, they regenerate 3 hit points per round, and they have double hit dice.

In the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, the ixitxachitl appears not only in the encounter tables, but also in the monster summoning tables (Appendix M). There aren't very many low-level aquatic creatures in the game at this point, so an ixitxachitl is one of only two possibilities for a Monster Summoning II spell cast in salt water. For perhaps the same reason -- not many alternatives -- ixitxachitl appear in several 1st Edition adventures which have an underwater component.

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C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness (1977)

C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness includes an ixitxachitl lair encounter, which stresses that their attacks should be "logical and cunning" given their high intelligence. Despite the Monster Manual's specific prohibition on magic items which require hands, the leader of this group is wearing a ring of protection, apparently on "one of his finger-like appendages". Perhaps this refers to the tips of the fins, as illustrated in the Monster Manual, because rays do not generally have any other appendages which could substitute for a finger.

Ixitxachitl pop up again in Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits, but indirectly. They are included on the encounter tables for The Great Ocean, one of the alternative Prime Material planes accessible through doorways in Lolth's web. The other place they appear is in the "Chart of Chaotic Evil Monsters" for the reincarnation spell. Four full pages of this 32-page adventure are spent listing changes to magic spells and items while in the Abyss, and this includes a replacement table for any characters who have the misfortune of being reincarnated by the party druid. We also get another pretty goofy-looking picture, complete with those convenient finger-like appendages.

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Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980)

In 1982, TSR release four sets of Monster Cards. These provided some of the first colour pictures of many D&D monsters, including the ixitxachitl in Set 2. The picture is just as goofy as earlier ones, and still has those finger-like appendages at the tips of its fins. As well as clarifying that only some ixitxachitl are chosen to become clerics, Monster Cards, Set 2 also provides both a pronunciation guide (Iks-it-za-chit-l) and a more precise indication of size than in the Monster Manual, pegging the rays as four feet in length.

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Monster Cards, Set 2 (1982)

Dragon #85 contains The Ecology of the Ixitxachitl, penned by no less than Ed Greenwood. It provides insight into ixitxachitl senses, society, combat tactics, religion, lifecycle and magic. We learn that, like sharks, ixitxachitl have receptors on their backs and tails which allow them to sense vibrations over great distances underwater. They have infravision and a sense of smell good enough to detect other creatures at short distances, and more disperse substances such as lamp oil or blood at a slightly greater distance. Their normal vision is comparable to that of a human.

Ixitxachitl have their own language, or actually two different languages. As well as a strange-sounding spoken language, the rays have a form of touch-telepathy, a limited form of mental exchange only possible when two creatures are in direct physical contact. Groups of ixitxachitl sometimes swim in connected stacks to facilitate communications.

Carnivorous in nature, ixitxachitl prey on anything they can kill, extending to giant octopi, whales and even dragon turtles. When hunting large creatures, they work in packs. Because they are numerous and voracious, ixitxachitl sometimes range far from their lairs searching for food, which brings them into conflict with other races. In battle, ixitxachitl approach rapidly from opposing directions seeking to confuse prey by striking from two or more sides. The vampiric variety of ixitxachitl often lead these skirmishes. Clerics hang back until the most powerful opponents are identified, and then attack with spells. They try to synchronise their spells with the attacks of others in their group.

Ixitxachitl can burrow into the ocean floor, leaving only their eyes uncovered. They use this tactic to ambush swiftly moving prey, and rarely to hide from foes more powerful than themselves. More commonly though, they fight to the death unless stunned or immobilised. They are not reckless in battle but fight fiercely, with cunning, and without fear.

The Ecology article finally provides a comprehensive list of "evil clerical spells", and it is pleasingly consistent with spells previously listed for ixitxachitl clerics in C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness and, later, in I13: Adventure Pack I. The article clarifies how ixitxachitl employ touch-effect spells using their bite attacks, and expands the use of magic items to include rings worn on tails, and rods, staves, or wands held in clenched jaws.

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Dragon #85 (1984)

Although other creatures cannot distinguish between males and females, ixitxachitl have no problem doing so themselves, even at a distance. Individual females initiate mating once each year, but at varying individual times. They choose male partners, sometimes aggressively. A single young (1-1 HD) is born six months after mating. It grows to maturity in 1-3 months depending on availability of food, and only gains any spell abilities upon reaching adulthood. Ixitxachitl with the potential to become higher level clerics or leaders gain one spellcasting level every six months, and one additional hit dice each year until they reach their peak. Most ixitxachitl live for about thirty years, but some have been known to live as long as three hundred years.

Not all potential leaders are accepted by their colonies. Individuals who are deemed unsatisfactory are slain by other ixitxachitl in a group. Quite how these strange creatures judge their potential leaders isn't clear, but a purpose which differs from that of the group, or disloyalty to Demogorgon are possible triggers for rejection.

The Ecology article supports the Monster Manual's suggestion that vampiric ixitxachitl are not vampires of the undead sort. It notes that they lack many of the common characteristic of vampires -- aversion to running water, ability to assume gaseous form and the ability to infect new vampires. Young vampiric ixitxachitl are able to regenerate from birth, but only gain their level-draining ability upon reaching adulthood. Vampiric traits are not hereditary and cannot be transmitted to other ixitxachitl.

Vampiric ixitxachitl are influential and envied individuals, often becoming powerful war leaders, greatly feared by neighbouring races. In groups of 100 or more the leader is usually both a high-level cleric and has vampiric traits. In smaller groups the leader can be an ordinary, but senior cleric, perhaps guarded by more junior vampiric guards. For the first time in the ecology article, there is a sense that ixitxachitl are capable of building significant undersea empires, and indeed are said to already rule large coastal areas of many worlds. The article concludes by providing a pronunciation which is quite different from that given previously. Here, ick-zit-sah-chittle is noted as generally accepted.

A few other Dragon Magazine articles from the 1st Edition era added some miscellaneous snippets to ixitxachitl lore. In Who Gets the First Swing? in Dragon #71, the ixitxachitl is specifically listed as having a bite attack (rather than a tail attack). Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd in Dragon #93 offers a third pronunciation, but one which is at least similar to that given in Monster Cards, Set 2: ik-ZIT-za-chit-ul. The article Dinosaurs in Dragon #112 suggests ixitxachitl as appropriate creatures for a fantasy Cretaceous setting.

The article A Touch of Evil in Dragon #126 revisits the undead nature of the vampiric ixitxachitl. It acknowledges that the energy-draining and regenerative abilities could be natural abilities, but also posits that there may be truly undead ixitxachitl animated by magical spells or by Demogorgon (the ixitxachitl's deity). A potential encounter with an ixitxachitl lich is also suggested.

[h=3]2nd Edition[/h]
Ixitxachitl were included in the very first 2nd Edition monster release, Monstrous Compendium Volume One. They appear there as part of a combined entry also covering manta, pungi and sting rays. Their statistics have changed very little from the Monster Manual, although the variants (clerics, guards, leaders and vampiric) are given more attention. Some of the details from the Ecology article are confirmed; ixitxachitl dwell in shallow tropical waters and are carnivorous. Changes from 1st edition are a wider variation in individual sizes (3'-8' wingspan), and much smaller encounter groups of only 5-12 ixitxachitl.

The descriptive text accompanying the statistics block covers all the key points: ixitxachitl are intelligent, evil manta rays who hunt marine humanoids for food or sacrifice. They live in coral reef mazes in communities of up to a hundred. As in 1st Edition, there are a certain number of 2nd, 3rd and 5th-level priests in each tribe, and possibly an 8th-level priest leader with two 6th-level guards. Because demons and demon-lords were excised from early 2nd Edition products, these ixitxachitl do not specifically follow Demogorgon, but are simply said to "worship evil powers".

The Monstrous Compendium helpfully provides a pronunciation guide. Unhelpfully, this turn out to be slightly different from all three previously offered pronunciations. Here, icks-it-ZACH-it-ul is correct.

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Monstrous Manual (1993)

The Monstrous Manual was released in 1993, and collected many of the entries from the preceding fourteen volumes of the looseleaf Monstrous Compendium series. The ixitxachitl features twice, once under "Fish", where it appears in a combined entry with almost two dozen other fish-like creatures, and once as its own full-page entry.

In the main entry, the only significant change to the statistics block is an adjustment to the XP values for some of the ixitxachitl variations. There is a new, colour illustration, which is less goofy that the 1st Edition versions, and no longer has "fingers" at the tips of its fins. (It will be a while until these strange appendages show up again.)

Because there is a full page to fill, the description of the ixitxachitl has been expanded from the single paragraph in the Monstrous Compendium entry. Some of the lore from the Ecology article has been incorporated into the text, such as the tactic of burrowing into the ocean floor. The chances of priests and vampiric ixitxachitl occurring in a tribe remain unchanged, although a 6th-level priest is now called a "high priest", and the accompanying guards are now "guardian priests".

Slightly more detail is provided on ixitxachitl communities. We learn that large communities with strong leaders sometimes build on the ocean floor, rather than in the shallows. Apparently ixitxachitl favour pyramid structures in these cities, presumably built by the community's pool of humanoid slaves. The text notes that ixitxachitl occasionally dwell in rivers, and there is an example of such a river encounter in Deck of Encounters, Set Two, published the year after the Monstrous Manual.

The description of the vampiric ixitxachitl seems to support previous precedent that such creatures are not, in fact, vampires. However, the waters are immediately muddied again by the introduction of a new variation. Approximately one in a hundred of the normal vampiric variations is, instead, a greater vampiric ixitxachitl. Greater vampiric ixitxachitl have 8+8 hit dice, and drain two levels from any creature other than their own kind. Although nothing in the text specifies that this variation is actually undead, greater vampiric status can only be passed on from one ixitxachitl to another by means of a bite, which seems to indicate a drift back to the school of thought that they are actual vampires. Large ixitxachitl cities tend to be ruled by a tyrannical greater vampiric ixitxachitl, who is worshipped by its kin as the incarnation of a greater power.

The Monstrous Manual presents three potential pronunciations of ixitxachitl, only one of which we've seen before. The two new options are ish-it-SHACH-itl and icks-it-zuh-chit-ul. In case you haven't been keeping count, we're already up to six different ways to say "ixitxachitl", and we still have three editions to go!

Other notable appearances in 2nd Edition sources include a mention in DMGR7: The Complete Book of Necromancers, where it is noted that hungry schools of ixitxachitl live in the seas around the Isle of the Necromancer Kings, and in DMGR9: Of Ships and the Sea, which claims that ixitxachitl are found only in warm waters and usually only at fairly shallow depths (though they might dwell near thermal vents).

Although not a 2nd Edition release, the Spellfire collectable card game was released during the 2nd Edition era, and card #55 of the Powers expansion set is an ixitxachitl.

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Spellfire, Powers expansion, card #55 (1995)

[h=3]3rd Edition[/h]
For its 3rd Edition appearance, the ixitxachitl was demoted to the Monster Manual II instead of appearing in the first monster book of the edition. According to Dragon #276 this was a decision made by Monster Manual compiler Skip Williams. He is quoted as saying (about the first Monster Manual), "And gone is the ixitxachitl. Not such a great monster, but I've always loved the name."

The ixitxachitl also received a size reduction, with all (non-vampiric) specimens being small instead of 1st Edition's medium-size, or 2nd Edition's small-to-large range. Their small size and individual weakness are turned into a feature, with the ixitxachitl's combat tactics indicating that they generally only attack in numbers, or when they are able to ambush their opponents from concealment beneath the ocean floor.

Most of the details of ixitxachitl society are maintained. They still create maze-like lairs in coral reefs, usually in warm, shallow waters. As we've seen previously, they are occasionally encountered in rivers, but here it is clarified that these are rivers which empty into the ocean, so presumably the river-dwelling rays are not specifically adapted for fresh water conditions. More emphasis is placed on their destructive habits and their tendency to accumulate slaves. They treat their homes badly, stripping them of all plant and animal life before moving on to find a new reef to despoil. According to the Monster Manual II, this lifestyle makes them universally despised by all other aquatic races, including merfolk, locathah, sahuagin and coastal-dwelling humans.

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Monster Manual II (2002)

In appearance, the ixitxachitl of 3rd Edition have a brown or black topside, and a lighter coloured bottom. Curiously, some of the elements which contributed to their goofy appearance in earlier artwork are turned into distinguishing features. Their mouths are filled with triangular, razor-sharp teeth, and they are said to have "intelligent and cruel" eyes.

Little has changed in the ixitxachitl stat block. They remain single Hit Dice creatures and have only a bite attack, despite their dangerously spiky-looking tails. They now have 60' Darkvision, but there is no mention of any clerical or priestly spells as a standard ability. Instead, they have a favoured class of cleric, and may serve any chaotic evil deity (Erythnul is suggested).

In 3rd Edition, the vampiric variety of ixitxachitl gets more space dedicated to it than the "average" ixitxachitl, and it is here that we see some size variation, with individuals able to reach large size and 8 Hit Dice. The text is quite clear that vampiric ixitxachitl are not undead, and are thus immune to turning attempts. They have an Energy Drain ability which bestows negative levels and restores hit points to the creature, but they also gain Fast Healing so that they restore health even when not making attacks. As to be expected, the leaders of shoals are usually vampiric ixitxachitl, or failing that, one with cleric levels.

The D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update booklet includes some changes to bring the Monster Manual II entry in-line with the 3.5 rules, but for the ixitxachitl these changes are limited to minor tweaks to its skills.

The environmental sourcebook Stormwrack contains many mentions of ixitxachitl, as might be expected for a book focussed on watery environs. The Wavekeeper prestige class is a kind of druidic defender for the ocean, and despite 3rd Edition's insistence that ixitxachitl are despised by all other aquatic races, one of the organisations associated with this class counts ixitxachitl amongst its members. The sample stat block for a Wavekeeper is for a merfolk, not an ixitxachitl, but one of his listed languages is ixitxachitl, so they still have their own language in 3rd Edition (even though that isn't mentioned in the Monster Manual II).

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Axihuatl, Elder Evils (2007)

Released towards the end of 3rd Edition, Elder Evils includes a chapter titled The Leviathan, which is all about a world-spanning creature that slumbers deep beneath the waves. One of the main protagonists in the associated adventure outline is a 290-year-old vampiric ixitxachitl named Axihuatl. Clocking in at a whopping 24 Hit Dice, Axihuatl is a 16th-level priest of Demogorgon. Thanks to a wand of polymorph, he spends much of his time masquerading as a human priest of the Leviathan. As unrepentantly evil as Axihuatl is, when his plans to awaken the Leviathan come to fruition, they go horribly wrong and he is forced to ally with the PC heroes to deal with this even greater threat.

Wisely, 3rd Edition seems to avoid providing any pronunciation guide for "ixitxachitl". There is also no mention of the "greater vampiric" variation from the 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual.

[h=3]4th Edition[/h]
One edition later, the poor ixitxachitl doesn't merit an appearance in any of the Monster Manuals, being instead relegated to the Demonomicon supplement. As has been mentioned previously in this series, comparing 4th Edition monsters to other editions is tricky, because the underlying maths is so different, but the lore (what little of it there is) doesn't stray too far from what we already know.

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Demonomicon (2010)

In 4th Edition, ixitxachitl are not only faithful servants of Demogorgon, but were created by him. More precisely, Demogorgon created manta rays when he was a primordial, and when their descendants followed him into the Abyss they were corrupted into ixitxachitl, fiendish creatures who hunger for mortal flesh. As well as controlling huge areas of the ocean in the mortal world, they also dwell in the Brine Flats, a shallow seabed in Demogorgon's Abyssal realm of Abysm. Ixitxachitl live in coral cityscapes, and are said to darken the ocean waters with "blood from a thousand sacrifices". They still despise sahuagin, but are now permitted to ally with aquatic undead, provided those undead are not beholden to Orcus.

Two types of ixitxachitl are presented in the book. The first, the Ixitxachitl Demon Ray, is the equivalent of the normal ixitxachitl from previous editions. They are still low level creatures, but they do now (finally) get to use their tails, gaining a poisonous tail barb attack in addition to a bite. They are said to be cunning predators which strike from where they are hidden in silt clouds and beds of noxious weeds. The second type is the Ixitxachitl Priest, which seems to be a blend of the vampiric and priestly sorts from earlier sources. They torture, kill and sacrifice for the glory of Demogorgon. Slightly more powerful than their Demon Ray brethren, the Priest's normal bite also dazes their target. This then allows it to use a Vampiric Fangs attack on the dazed opponent, which drains healing surges and weakens the target. The language of 4th Edition ixitxachitl is Abyssal.

Ixitxachitl don't seem to have been used much elsewhere in 4th Edition, although they do feature in the adventure The Dawn of Night in Dungeon #218, and again in Lowdown in Highport in the final issue, Dungeon #221. Interestingly, the latter adventure is actually a 1st Edition adventure, and the ixitxachitl only features in the 4th Edition conversion notes. Like 3rd Edition, 4th Edition avoids providing a pronunciation of ixitxachitl.

[h=3]5th Edition[/h]
Almost exactly forty years after their first appearance, ixitxachitl made their 5th Edition debut in Out of the Abyss. Here, we get statistics for both ordinary ixitxachitl, and the vampiric sort, and there is even a sidebar with information on ixitxachitl clerics.

Remember those "finger-like" appendages in early ixitxachitl art? 5th Edition makes those an official body part, with ixitxachitl now having small, clawed hands at the end of their wings. They still hollow out coral reefs, but have expanded their habitat to include bodies of both salt and fresh water. They are as destructive to their environment as they always have been, and regularly war with other aquatic creatures.

Although they do still venerate Demogorgon, and consider him to be both their patron and creator, they are not restricted to worshipping him, and may serve other demons. A rivalry with merrow is introduced here, with the ixitxachitl and the aquatic ogres competing over which of them are the most favoured servants of the Prince of Demons.

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Out of the Abyss (2015)

Statistically, these ixitxachitl are a little more powerful than previously, having 4 Hit Dice. They have kept the barbed tail attack from 4th Edition, as well as their more traditional bite attack. The vampiric sort has 8 Hit Dice, a vampiric bite which drains hit points, and regeneration. They speak both Abyssal, and their own Ixitxachitl language.

Out of the Abyss kindly provides a pronunciation guide for ixitxachitl, and -- you guessed it -- it isn't quite the same as any of the six previous suggestions. In their latest incarnation, they are ick-zit-zah-chit-ul.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl gods[/h]
The demonlord Demogorgon has been the ixitxachitl's deity of choice consistently through most of D&D's history, but the closest he gets to ixitxachitl worshippers in his original Monster Manual entry is this line: "His appearance testifies to his command of cold-blooded things such as serpents, reptiles, and octopi". Then, quite suddenly, in Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia, we learn that ixitxachitl worship Demogorgon, and can progress to 8th-level clerics. Quite why the ixitxachitl revere a demonlord remains a mystery at this stage. Monster Cards, Set 2 confirms that Demogorgon rewards certain ixitxachitl with spell-casting powers, and that this is decided at birth.

The Ecology article in Dragon #85 expands a little on the ixitxachitl's allegiance to Demogorgon. It is said to be partly inborn, and partly learned. Curiously, the article contradicts the Monster Cards and reverts back to all ixitxachitl having the abilities of at least a 1st-level cleric. Their awareness that they owe those abilities to Demogorgon strengthens their commitment to him. It is sometimes said that no creatures are more fervently loyal to the demon-lord than the ixitxachitl.

In 2nd Edition, demons and demonlords were initially left out of the game entirely, in order to make the game more politically correct. It didn't take long for them to be restored to the game (albeit under the "tanar'ri" pseudonym), and by the time Monster Mythology was published in 1992, Demogorgon's relationship with the demon rays was restored. In that book he is viewed as a usurper-deity who has been adopted by the ixitxachitl "for reasons the other races can only guess at". Ixitxachitl myths present Demogorgon as a savior-power, who has brought them magic to fight their enemies (usually sahuagin) and strengthen them.

It is also suggested that the energy draining ability of vampiric ixitxachitl somehow transfers magical energy to Demogorgon. The fact that it is usually the vampiric rays who become the most powerful priests is said to support this hypothesis. In describing Demogorgon's priesthood, Monster Mythology notes that priests allow the young of captive slaves to reach adulthood so that they have more life energy to drain when they are sacrificed. This too, suggests that the demonlord benefits from the vampiric life draining.

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Abysm, the Palace of Demogorgon, Fiendish Codex I: Hodes of the Abyss (2006)

As well as representing Demogorgon's interests in the mortal world, ixitxachitl are also found in the Abyss. 3rd Edition descriptions of Demogorgon's realm of Abysm in Stormwrack and Fiendish Codex I note that they roam its foul seas, along with aboleths and kraken. They carve out enormous tunnel complexes in the seabed of the Brine Flats, and these lairs occasionally hold lore, magical items, or prisoners crucial to Demogorgon's plans.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl and spells[/h]
Divine spellcasting is an integral part of ixitxachitl society. According to the Ecology article in Dragon #85, they are able to cast spells without requiring verbal, somatic or material components, but some more complex rituals do still demand movement and chanting. Although their spells are considered to be innate abilities bestowed upon them by Demogorgon, they are still limited to casting each spell only once per day. They gain spell bonuses for wisdom as do clerics of other races.

Ixitxachitl spellcasters do pay a small price for their association with Demogorgon. Because of the deep-rooted enmity between him and Orcus, ixitxachitl are unable to magically control or influence undead, and intelligent marine undead will not aid or ally with them. The exception to this are undead raised directly by ixitxachitl clerics, over which the clerics are able to maintain limited control. When animating the dead, cleric prefer to animate their own kind. Ixitxachitl lack skeletons however, having only unconnected pieces of cartilage. This means that they cannot be animated as skeletons, but only as zombies. Clerics attempted to turn ixitxachitl zombies gain a +1 bonus to their efforts.

In the adventure Grotto of the Queen in Dungeon #64 the ixitxachitl's cleric leader successfully casts charm person on a sailor to lure him into the ocean.

Because ixitxachitl have no means to function in a waterless environment, an airy water spell (or something similar) can be effective in keeping them at bay.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl and magic items[/h]
As we already know, ixitxachitl can only use magic items suited to their anatomy (unless it's more convenient for an adventure writer to make up new finger-like body parts). The Ecology article clarifies this slightly, stating that they can use any magic items not specifically prohibited to clerics which can be worn and operated without hands. The article also notes than many magic items can be modified to be activated by mental commands instead of audible command words, thus making them more useful underwater. However, someone using ESP on an ixitxachitl while it is activating an item with a mental command will be able to pick up the command word from the creature's surface thoughts.

There are a small number of specific magic items with links to ixitxachitl. The Eidolon of Khalk'Ru, from Dragon #45 is a yellow crystal containing within it the image of a squid with twelve tentacles. It allows the user to summon and charm a killer whale, giant squids, giant octopi or vampiric ixitxachitl. The Eidolon comes with a downside though; if freed from the charm effect, the summoned creature will immediately attack the Eidolon's user.

An item with a highly specific purpose is the Periapt of Protection from Vampiric Ixitxachitl. It is made by tritons, and prevents vampiric ixitxachitl (and, oddly, lacedons) from getting closer than ten feet to the wearer. The Vestments of Ehjax are various ixitxachitl holy relics owned by the leader of the ixitxachitl of Serôs in the Forgotten Realms (see below). Finally, the long sword used by the elven deity Deep Sashelas' avatar in Monster Mythology does double damage against ixitxachitl.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl relatives[/h]
Obviously, ixitxachitl are related to manta rays and other chondrichthytes. Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark also notes that there is a close physical resemblance between cloakers, mantari, miners (forest trappers), and ixitxachitl. However, the ixitxachitl have one much closer relative -- the ixzan. Introduced in Night Below: An Underdark Campaign and reprinted in Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three the following year, the ixzan is freshwater offshoot of the ixitxachitl. Nearly identical in appearance, ixzan are semi-amphibious and can survive out of water for up to ten minutes. As they don't have legs, their movement across land is an awkward undulation, but their thick rubbery skin means that this does not cause them any discomfort.

View attachment 73264
Ixzan, Night Below: An Underdark Campaign (1995)

Ixzan live in communities of 20-100 in large Underdark lakes where they use slaves and magic to construct their favoured pyramid structures. Ixzan communities are lead by an oligarchy of powerful priests and wizards, rather than the single leader that ixitxachitl communities usually have. They are known to ally with aboleth, and more commonly kuo-toa. Ixzan worship the evil power Ilxendren, and enjoy stalking Underdark creatures, particularly svirfneblin. They have slightly better infravision than ixitxachitl, and a form of sonar which they use to communicate. Unlike ixitxachitl, they cannot vocalise, and do not have a spoken language.

Because ixzan communities are more isolated than those of their ocean-dwelling cousins, they have more variants. There are ixzan priests and vampiric ixzan, as with ixitxachitl, but some 5% of the population are wizards. These wizards do not have spellbooks and do not memorise spells. Instead they cast arcane spells as innate abilities. Further, approximately one in every fifty ixzan is a mutant, and has some minor physical change which gives it an advantage in combat. Examples include tails with poisonous barbs and skin which secretes a thick, corrosive slime.

We'll return to the ixzan again later, when we look at the Forgotten Realms setting.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl and other monsters[/h]
Throughout D&D lore, the fairly poor relationship between ixitxachitl and other aquatic races is a recurring theme. The rays will hunt, eat and sacrifice almost any creature, including whales, dragon turtles and giant clownfish (from Dragon #250). They regularly battle with tritons, mermen and locathah. The Ecology article notes that the ixitxachitl have all but eradicated aquatic elves from some warm seas, although The Complete Book of Elves suggests that sea elves are sometimes able to keep the devastation of ixitxachitl to a minimum. Dragon #41 notes that ixitxachitl also do not get on well with silkies, and Sea of Fallen Stars notes that shalarin and ixitxachitl attack each other on sight.

When it comes to sahuagin, things seem to be more complicated. The Monstrous Manual implies that ixitxachitl are one of the few underwater races that don't hate sahuagin by default, and the Ecology article notes that some sahuagin have even learned the rudiments of the ixitxachitl language. However, it is clear that sahuagin and ixitxachitl don't always get along. The sahuagin in U3: The Final Enemy have an ixitxachitl carcass in their larder, and in I13: Adventure Pack I ixitxachitl and sahuagin are skirmishing for control of shipwrecks, with enough casualties to stain the water dark with blood. Because of their close relationship to sahuagin, sharks tend to dislike ixitxachitl, except to eat.

Despite their aggressive nature and voracious appetites, the ixitxachitl have a surprising number of allies. Dragon #85 notes that they sometimes co-operate with sea hags or even locathah for mutual gain, and that they have been known to hire or train creatures such as sea lions. Salt wiggles (from MC7: Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix) also ally with ixitxachitl if they are paid, and Lords of Madness mentions oceanic aboleths as another common ally. Ambitious zakharan kraken (from Dragon #198) make pacts with ixitxachitl, agreeing not to destroy them in turn for servitude and tribute. The kraken then use their servants to strike against shipping and coastal cities. Ixitxachitl also seem to be on good terms with varrdig grue (ALQ4: Secrets of the Lamp), giant nautili (Dragon #193) and kopru (PC3: The Sea People). Dragon #93 mentions ixitxachitl as one of the languages spoken by eyes of the deep, but it isn't clear if this means they are allies.

[h=3]Forgotten Realms[/h]
Ixitxachitl have a long history in the Forgotten Realms, particularly in the underwater realm of Serôs. The Sea of Fallen Stars accessory covers this region in detail. Ixitxachitl are one of many races inhabiting the shallower areas of Serôs, particularly a region known as the Xedran Reefs. The rays have a theocracy ruled by a zealous Vitanar named Ourqax from the capital of Xedras. The upper echelons of this theocracy are stacked with vampiric and greater vampiric ixitxachitl.

The deity Ilxendren was created by Carl Sargent in Night Below for the ixzan to worship, but appears to have been adopted into the Forgotten Realms as a lesser power worshipped by ixitxachitl in general. Centuries ago (prior to 875 DR), the ixitxachitl of Serôs worshipped demonic powers, but this changed with the coming of Ehjax, the First Prophet of Ilxendren and the First Vitanar of the Xedran Reefs. He was responsible for establishing the rules and strictures which govern the ixitxachitl of Serôs until today. Curiously, the ixitxachitl of the Xeran Reefs refuse to acknowledge that Ilxendren is worshipped by their freshwater cousins, as they cannot conceive that their god would have any followers other than themselves.

View attachment 73265
Sea of Fallen Stars (1999)

The ixitxachitl of Serôs are divided into a six-tiered hierarchy. At the lowest level are the common ixitxachitl, followed by Priests (level 1-3) and Vitans (level 4-5). The remaining three bands are made up of vampiric ixitxachitl, Vitanar Guards (level 6-7), Devitans (level 8-9) and finally the Vitanar (level 10-11), who are greater vampiric ixitxachitl.

Sea of Fallen Stars mentions a type of white kelp known as 'chitl-bane because of the effect it has on the rays. Ixitxachitl, particularly the vampiric sort, cannot stand the smell and are forced to make an immediate morale check. Delightfully, Sea of Fallen Stars offers yet another pronunciation of ixitxachitl (IKS-its-uh-chit-ul).

Cloak & Dagger tells the story of a rogue ixitxachitl priest named Vyqinak who fled the Xedran Reefs and abandoned his faith. He turned from Ilxendren to the worship of Demogorgon, who eventually led him to the harbour of Westgate. A chance encounter with the vampire Night King Orlak led to Vyqinak's transformation into a vampire, a status denied to him before he fled his own kind.

Ixitxachitl inhabit other areas of the Realms beyond Serôs, including the seas near Waterdeep (City of Splendors), the Fang Rocks in the Pirate Isles (FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars), Lake Thaylambar and the Alamber Sea (Spellbound), and the coast of Turmish (SPEC 3-3: Dance of the Sun and Moon).

View attachment 73266
Dungeon #79 (2000)

Dungeon #79 has an interesting adventure titled the The Akriloth. Set in the underwater realm of Serôs, it features an ixitxachitl colony warring with a merfolk city (and some other factions). The leader of the ixitxachitl is named Xulkur. He is both a 9th-level priest and vampiric, but the most interesting twist in the adventure is that Xulkur has turned a mermaid into a velya -- the mermaid equivalent of a vampire. Of course, given that (non-greater) vampiric ixitxachitl are not, in fact, undead, nor able to pass their vampirism on to other ixitxachitl, let alone turn other species into vampires, exactly how Xulkur created the velya is a mystery.

After their initial appearance in Night Below, the ixzan were adopted enthusiastically into the Forgotten Realms. Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark covers them in some detail, as one of nine main civilizations of the Underdark. Most of the information here is recycled from Night Below, but an interesting alternative origin story is suggested. Instead of the ixzan being an offshoot of the ixitxachitl race, Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark theorises that both began as a race of proto-rays in the Underdark, with the ixitxachitl descended from individuals who migrated from the depths to the surface and then made their way to the oceans. This explanation, it is said, is also more consistent with the theory that both ixitxachitl and ixzan share a common ancestor with other ray-like inhabitants of the underdark like the cloakers and lurkers.

Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark also details Malydren, a city-state that rules the Lake of Radiant Mists. The rulers of the city are a council of powerful ixzan wizards and priests known as the Xendreth. There are nearly eighteen thousand ixzan dwelling in Mayldren, making this a fearsome location for non-ixzan to visit.

The 3rd Edition version of the ixzan appears in Lost Empires of Faerûn. This version of the creature lacks the variety of the 2nd Edition version. There are no priests, wizards, vampires or mutants. Instead, all ixzan have a limited selection of spell-like abilities, damage reduction, and spell resistance.

View attachment 73267
Ixzan, Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005)

The Forgotten Realms has at least one ixitxachitl expert. A human resident of Baldur's Gate, Ramazith Flamesinger is a sage of marine botany and zoology, in particular ixitxachitl and other intelligent sea life. He is detailed in Forgotten Realms Adventures and Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast.

According to Greyhawk Adventures ixitxachitl reside in the Turucambi reefs in the Oljatt Sea. They are also found in Woolly Bay and the Sea of Gearnat (WGR3: Rary the Traitor) and Relmor Bay (From the Ashes).

In the Mystara setting, ixitxachitl are known as devilfish. They first appear in the Master Rules. Unlike their AD&D counterparts, devilfish get both a bite and a tail attack. They gain cleric spells and vampiric traits, but these are directly linked to each creature's Hit Dice, rather than occurring in a certain percentage of individuals.

However, the most significant difference is that Mystaran vampiric devilfish are actually vampires. They have regeneration and an energy drain ability, much like ixitxachitl, but they can also only be harmed by magic, silver weapons or holy items. They can be turned by clerics, and have a vampire's charm ability. About the only vampiric trait not gained by devilfish is the ability to change shape.

The Master Rules entry for devilfish is reprinted in the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, and the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix later confirms that "devilfish" is simply the Mystaran name for ixitxachitl. (That source doesn't attempt to deal with the differences between the vampiric versions.)

View attachment 73268
The Sea People (1990)

There are several mentions of devilfish in PC3: The Sea People. The tritons of the Sunlit Sea arrived there after fleeing their devilfish enemies, but the devilfish followed them, leading to a brutal and protracted war spanning more than a century. Also detailed in The Sea People is Saasskas the Destroyer, a demonic Immortal who started life as a devilfish, before contracting vampirism. In her subsequent quest to become immortal, she sacrificed thousands of tritons on her altars deep below the waves. It is she who is the hidden hand driving the devilfish attacks on others races in Sunlit Sea.

The Sea People notes that devilfish are usually carrion eaters, lurking in deeper waters and feasting on morsels drifting down from above, only rising to the lighter, warmer regions when their numbers swell. The ongoing threat that these creatures pose to other aquatic races is one of the forces driving the alliance between the tritons and the merrow of the Sunlit Sea. Devilfish lair in abandoned ruins, sunken vessels and deep cracks in the ocean floors. They make use of undead creatures to guard their lairs.

The Underwater Adventures booklet in The Sea People introduces a new variation: devilfish warriors. In Mystara, devilfish dwell in the depths of the ocean, rather than in the shallows. Devilfish warriors never leave the depths, as the light of the sun causes their skin to burn and blacken. Consequently, the warrior caste is little known to land-dwellers. They are bred to fight and die for the glory of their species, and are slightly larger and more aggressive than the cleric caste. The largest specimens reach 9 Hit Dice.

View attachment 73269
The Sea People (1990)

Perhaps because it predates The Sea People by a few years, M4: Five Coins for a Kingdom features a group of devilfish that live in a more traditional hollowed-out coral reef. Curiously, the adventure advises that if this encounter proves too challenging for the PCs, the blood in the water sends the creatures into a berserk feeding frenzy, causing them to feast on each other.

AC1011: Poor Wizard's Almanac II & Book of Facts indicates that devilfish can be encountered in the Merry Pirate Seas of the Hollow World setting, as well as near the Pearl Islands south of Alphatia. GAZ10: The Orcs of Thar notes that the Oenkmarian currency includes small jade ingots called "ixitxachitl". Although The Orcs of Thar doesn't explain why they are called "ixitxachitl" rather than "devilfish", most likely this is to remain consistent with the quasi-Aztec culture of Mystara's orc nation.

Planes of Conflict notes that ixitxachitl live and hunt in the waters near the town of Portico on the plane of Elysium. Hellbound: The Blood War mentions that ixitxachitl live in the shallow seas surrounding the fortress of Carroristo on the Abyssal layer of the same name.

The accessory Children of the Night: Vampires dedicates five pages to Myxitizajal, a greater vampiric ixitxachitl. Once the lord of an ixitxachitl city on an ocean world, the possession of an artifact know as a pearl of enthrallment gradually corrupted him. Over time he developed an irrational hatred for his own kind. One day, when one of his advisors dared to criticise his hunting technique, the vampire drained him dead. This began a period of Myxitizajal's rule punctuated by rampant cannibalism. Eventually his subjects revolted, and during his flight, Myxitizajal was claimed by the mists of Ravenloft.

Myxitizajal has some features of true vampires, including two extended upper fangs, and slitted eyes which glow faintly orange. He is only active at night and takes damage from sunlight.

View attachment 73270
Myxitizajal, Children of the Night: Vampires (1996)

In March 1998, Dragon #244 ran a "Terror From Above" contest, which encouraged readers to submit new flying monsters for the Ravenloft setting. With TSR's blessing, these submission were compiled into the Terrors From Above Netbook, published by the Kargatane on the official Ravenloft fan site. One of these submissions was the kyryn. These flying beasts are said to be derived from ixitxachitl, but are neither aquatic, nor intelligent. They have scorpion-like stingers on their tails and psionic powers.

[h=3]Ixitxachitl and ixzan names[/h]
Axihuatl, Bhylqex, Ehjax, Erqynak, Myxitizajal, Oksakex, Ourqax, Phiaqiv, Qaxdivak, Qyxas, Revlopar, Rhykdeq, Vourdakeq, Vyqinak, Xulkur, Zekaqux.

[h=3]Comparative statistics[/h]
View attachment 73271

Thanks to the following EN World members for suggestions for additions to this entry when it was originally posted: TraverseTravis.

Supplement II: Blackmoor, p14, 23 (September 1975)
Monster Manual, p55 (December 1977)
Dungeon Masters Guide, p224 (August 1979)
C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness, p15 (December 1979)
The Dragon #35, p33, "The Official Errata: Scads of Additions & Revisions for AD&D" (March 1980)
Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits, p5, 15 (June 1980)
Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia, p110/95 (August 1980)
The Dragon #41, p57, "Dragon's Bestiary" (September 1980)
Dragon #45, p22, "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (January 1981)
Dragon #48, p85, "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (April 1981)
Monster Cards, Set 2 (May 1982)
Dragon #71, p31, "Who Gets the First Swing?" (March 1983)
U3: The Final Enemy, p17 (October 1983)
Dragon #85, p24, "The Ecology of the Ixitxachitl" (May 1984)
Dragon #93, p19, "The Ecology of the Eye of the Deep" (January 1985)
Dragon #93, p24, "Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd" (January 1985)
Master Rules, Master DM's Book, p26 (June 1985)
Dragon #112, p75, "Dinosaurs" (August 1986)
I13: Adventure Pack I, p78, 80-81 "To Kill a Kraken" (May 1987)
M4: Five Coins for a Kingdom, p9-10 (May 1987)
Dragon #126, p30, "A Touch of Evil" (October 1987)
Greyhawk Adventures, p102 (August 1988)
GAZ10: The Orcs of Thar, Dungeon Master's Booklet, p20 (December 1988)
Monstrous Compendium Volume One (June 1989)
PC3: The Sea People, p23, 41-43, 47, 59, Underwater Adventures, p2-4 (February 1990)
Forgotten Realms Adventures, p76 (March 1990)
MC7: Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix (July 1990)
Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, p165 (October 1991)
FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars, p57 (February 1992)
Monster Mythology, p85, 87, 88 (April 1992)
WGR3: Rary the Traitor, p15 (July 1992)
From the Ashes, Atlas of the Flanaess, p74 (October 1992)
PHBR 8: The Complete Book of Elves, p14 (December 1992)
Dragon #193, p96, "The Dragon's Bestiary" (May 1993)
Monstrous Manual, p111, 118, 209 (June 1993)
ALQ4: Secrets of the Lamp (October 1993)
Dragon #198, p70, "Campaign Journal: Scimitars Against the Dark" (October 1993)
AC1011: Poor Wizard's Almanac II & Book of Facts, p49, 63 (November 1993)
Deck of Encounters, Set Two, "River Sacrifice" encounter (January 1994)
City of Splendors, Campaign Guide to the City, p32 (July 1994)
Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix, p7 (July 1994)
Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast, p222 (October 1994)
DMGR7: The Complete Book of Necromancers, p111 (March 1995)
Spellbound, Campaign Guide, p27 (June 1995)
Spellfire, Powers expansion #55 (September 1995)
Night Below: An Underdark Campaign (November 1995)
Planes of Conflict, A Player's Guide to Conflict, p23 (November 1995)
Hellbound: The Blood War, The Dark of the War, p66 (June 1996)
Children of the Night: Vampires, p36-40 (November 1996)
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three, p64 (November 1996)
Dungeon #64, p11, "Grotto of the Queen" (September 1997)
DMGR9: Of Ships and the Sea, p124 (September 1997)
Dragon #250, p88, "Dragon's Bestiary" (August 1998)
Terrors from Above, p63-64 (August 1998)
Sea of Fallen Stars, p38, 40, 47, 54, 58, 102-104, 129, 136, 141-142, 162-163 (August 1999)
Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark, p16, 23-25, 107-110, 116 (November 1999)
Dungeon #79, p58, "The Akriloth" (March 2000)
Cloak & Dagger, p54 (June 2000)
Dragon #276, p14, "Profiles" (October 2000)
Monster Manual II, p128-129 (September 2002)
D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update, p34 (July 2003)
Lost Empires of Faerûn, p177-178 (February 2005)
Lords of Madness, p30 (May 2005)
Stormwrack, p9, 79-80 (August 2005)
Fiendish Codex I: Hodes of the Abyss, p140 (June 2006)
Elder Evils, p68-69 (December 2007)
Demonomicon, p119 (July 2010)
SPEC 3-3: Dance of the Sun and Moon, p8 (August 2011)
Dungeon #218, p66 (September 2013)
Dungeon #221, p24 (December 2013)
Out of the Abyss, p225-226 (September 2015)

[h=3]Other ENCyclopedia entries[/h]
Visit the Monster ENCyclopedia index for links to other entries in this series.


Great read!

Do they make an appearance on a D&D Video Game or are they absent from that scene (as is the case with aquatic monsters)?



"ik-ZIT-za-chit-ul" (from Dragon #93) is how its Gary pronounced it.
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First Post
Another awesome entry in my favorite article series!!!

Ixitxachitl were one of my favorite monsters back in the AD&D 1e days. I always wanted to start a campaign that would be set underwater for at least half the time. So many cool auqatic creatures are underused.


"ik-ZIT-za-chit-ul" (from Dragon #93) is how its creator (Gary) pronounced it.

The credit for their creation should probably go to Dave Arneson, since he is the author of the 1975 Blackmoor supplement Ixitxachitl first appeared in.


I was recently reading the ambiguous Ixitxachitl entry in the 1e Monster Manual and trying to parse out whether the vampiric ones were undead or not as it does not explicitly say they are, but it does call them vampiric with several vampire powers and vampires are undead. Thanks for providing more context across editions.


Shirokinukatsukami fan
Do they make an appearance on a D&D Video Game or are they absent from that scene (as is the case with aquatic monsters)?
There have been an awful lot of D&D video games over the years, so I'm a little reluctant to say the ixitxachitl have never made an appearance in one of them, but I couldn't find any evidence that they had while I was researching this article, and I did look. I don't recall any of the games having a major underwater component, which might be why.


Shirokinukatsukami fan
I was recently reading the ambiguous Ixitxachitl entry in the 1e Monster Manual and trying to parse out whether the vampiric ones were undead or not as it does not explicitly say they are, but it does call them vampiric with several vampire powers and vampires are undead. Thanks for providing more context across editions.
Yes, it turns out that later authors found that wording just as confusing as you did. The addition of the greater vampiric ixitxachitl in 2nd Edition really didn't help the situation. On the balance though, if I was developing a complete taxonomical chart of all D&D creatures (which would be an interesting project), I don't think I'd put any of the ixits in the undead branch, not even the greater vampiric variety. I'd stick them all in the myliobatidae family, and make both vampiric and greater vampiric ixitxachitl subspecies of the vanilla ixitxachitl species. The ixzan probably need their own genus. I'd hand-wave away any mention of undeadness as sages confused by the fact that they happen to have similar traits to true vampires.

There have been an awful lot of D&D video games over the years, so I'm a little reluctant to say the ixitxachitl have never made an appearance in one of them, but I couldn't find any evidence that they had while I was researching this article, and I did look. I don't recall any of the games having a major underwater component, which might be why.

There's some custom content ones for Neverwinter Nights!*

* Practically all D&D monsters have a custom content version for NWN. Even wereravens.


Yes, it turns out that later authors found that wording just as confusing as you did. The addition of the greater vampiric ixitxachitl in 2nd Edition really didn't help the situation. On the balance though, if I was developing a complete taxonomical chart of all D&D creatures (which would be an interesting project), I don't think I'd put any of the ixits in the undead branch, not even the greater vampiric variety. I'd stick them all in the myliobatidae family, and make both vampiric and greater vampiric ixitxachitl subspecies of the vanilla ixitxachitl species. The ixzan probably need their own genus. I'd hand-wave away any mention of undeadness as sages confused by the fact that they happen to have similar traits to true vampires.


It's worth noting that the Blackmoor version of the Pungi Ray has an energy drain attack (the same as the Blackmoor Giant Leech), meaning it's a D&D Ray monster that's "Vampiric" in the blood-draining sense, like a "Vampire Bat".

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