Illithids, or “Mind Flayers,” are arguably the most threatening psychic entity in 5E. While they may not have the most raw power, these creatures are vastly intelligent and cunning. Introduced along with the original Monster Manual, Illithids are tall creatures with the head of a squid. They tend to have purple-ish skin, with clawed, four-digited hands. An illithid without an evil-looking robe is rare, as they tend to value their appearance rather fondly. So, with such alien appearances and vicious intentions, surely they don’t care much for names? Well, they actually do, and our Illithid Names guide will help you decide what name works best for them.
Illithid Names 5E Guide
Illithids are massive threats to any party in middle levels, even by themselves. They have immense psionic power, and are extremely smart. Thus, a DM should name them with the same care that they would name themselves. Illithids are legendary and feared across the Forgotten Realms, and they know it. Their names are created in a way so that their name by itself says everything for them.
Culture and Naming Conventions
Illithids refuse to travel alone. Instead, they use slaves as protection; usually, creatures so unintelligent that the illithids can’t actually eat them. Their minds don’t have enough information for the illithid to get a full, satisfying meal. They travel with these creatures to better find more food.
Mind flayers actually have colonies of mind flayers, a terrifying thought. Within these communities, hundreds or thousands of illithids work together for common goals. However, inevitably, illithids will vye for a little more power, under the watchful gaze of the elder brain. The elder brain was in control of the illithids; the mind flayers were slaves of another being, while taking slaves themselves.
Illithids have Creeds, which are essentially groups of illithids that have the same philosophies. These Creeds join an Elder Concord, which was a representative democracy of illithids. Illithid Creeds that wished to discover secrets or stop human cities from discovering them too quickly, an inquisition would be sent to deal with it. If more would be required (like, if a Metallic Dragon was wanting to slay them), then a “cult” would be formed. Cults would only be sent in the most dire of circumstances.
Illithid cults and inquisitions could form renegade illithids, who broke from the elder brain’s control. These illithids could seek help from other species or try to make a colony of themselves. Unfortunately for them, as soon as the elder brain finds them again, they lose their free will once again.
See Also: Gnomish Names Guide
Examples of Illithid Names
Illithids prefer telepathy to communicate to one another. They have a written language – Qualith – which is only readable with magic or a mind flayer translator. As such, mind flayer names are normally completely unpronounceable. So, Undercommon is the language that the mind flayer tends to adopt. These names are much easier to use to intimidate or spread a legend. This is important to keep a mind flayer’s thralls under wraps. Illithids normally adopt names that are longer, with flowing syllables.
Illithids are sexless, so any illithid can accept any name.
That’s it for illithid names! Mind flayers aren’t playable, but an especially powerful mind flayer might be a patron for a Great Old One Warlock.