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The nobles of illithid society,[4] ulitharids (loosely meaning "enlightened ones",[5] or "noble devourers" in Undercommon[6]) possessed extraordinary gifts of strength, and a vile, malicious intellect. They were treated as minor godly beings by their normal mind flayer brethren.[2]


The tadpoles that became ulitharids appeared normal, but were changed by some unknown force. The unique nature of the altered tadpole was not apparent until it underwent the process of ceremorphosis, where the usual procedures of morphological alteration to the host body were altered and the resulting mind flayer displayed a pair of unusually long mouth tentacles not seen in other illithids.[2]

Ulitharids also exhibited psychological changes in addition to the physical, demonstrating a harsher, more spiteful temperament than other mind flayers.[2] Ulitharids were also extremely rare within mind flayer enclaves: between 1-in-25 and 1-in-100 illithid tadpoles would develop into an ulitharid.[3][2]

According to Volothamp Geddarm, ulitharids were also key to the expansion of illithid society, as they are the caste of mind flayers capable of eventually metamorphosing into elder brains; an ulitharid that grew sick of fighting its parent elder brain for power would take a substantial part of of the colony to a new area, whereupon its brain would be placed in a new or reclaimed brain pool and be merged with the brains of other illithids to become a larval elder brain, capable of supporting illithid larva and expanding their empire. The only restriction on this process was that the ulitharid could not die of old age, as their brains would be too decrepit for the process. To that end, an ulitharid often carried an extractor staff, a device that would allow it to remove its own brain when the brain pool was ready, which would also recycle its body into psionically-active sludge that would assist the new elder brain in adapting to its pool, and could serve as a useful melee weapon in a fight.


An extremely dangerous foe in combat, ulitharids could threaten foes with their powerful mental attacks and long reach, in addition to forming a psionic protection somewhat akin to mage armor.[2]

Their formidable mental powers were their greatest weapon. Wielding mind blasts, charms, the power of suggestion, and the ability to dominate the mind of both man and beast, they were extremely dangerous to face in combat. They also possessed the powers to shift planes and create dimension doors.[2]


The ulitharids formed the elite nobility of mind flayer society, with their rarity supporting the reverence they received from other illithids, who viewed them as a blessing and second only to the elder brain. Their ego reflected their privileged position, as they viewed common mind flayers as lesser beings, nearer to illithid-spawned abominations like urophions.[2]

Notable Ulitharids[]




Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Video Games
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of AmnNeverwinter Nights
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
RrakkmaStardock Under Siege
Board Games
Tyrants of the Underdark: Aberrations and Undead


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 175. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter (April 2005). Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-7869-3657-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 David Wise ed. (December 1994). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One. (TSR, Inc), p. 118. ISBN 156076838X.
  4. Bruce R. Cordell (April 1998). The Illithiad. Edited by Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-1206-5.
  5. James Jacobs (July 1990). “Thunder Under Needlespire”. In Barbara G. Young ed. Dungeon #24 (TSR, Inc.), p. 49.
  6. Owen K.C. Stephens (March 2001). “By Any Other Name: Races of the Underdark”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #281 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 83. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  8. Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  9. Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 135–137. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.