Illithids, also known as mind flayers, are monsters with the ability to drain intelligence. Some are found in the Athkatla sewers in the Mind Flayer's Lair, in the mind flayer dungeon in the Underdark, Watcher's Keep, as well as in Sendai's Enclave. There are some offshoots, including the highly magic-resistant and spellcasting ulitharids and vampiric illithids. Umber Hulks are often found with mind flayers.
Illithids use mind-affecting spells like Confusion and Chaos to scatter the party and then attack the nearest party members in melee. Their standard attacks drain 5 Intelligence points on hit. Once a character's Intelligence drops to 0 or below, they die. Thus a Mind Flayer may kill a low-intelligence companion (e.g. Minsc) in just two hits.
Protection against mind affecting spellsEdit
First, the party should take precautions to avoid being confused by the Mind Flayers. It is advisable to never send the whole party to tank an illithid. Instead send just one fighter to hold it at a safe distance away and keep other party members out of range of the spells. Also some protective spells and equipment help:
- Chaotic Commands is a level 5 priest spell that can protect the party's tank;
- Psion's Blade works wonders, but is only available in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal;
- Shield of Harmony is made available early in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn;
- Lilarcor protects the wielder from confusion as well;
- Helm of Charm Protection might also help, even though there is a mismatch between the item's description and actual effect.
Surviving Intelligence Drain AttacksEdit
- Use ranged weapons to pelt illithids from afar;
- Animate Dead to charge the illithid, as undead are immune to Intelligence drain. Let your party members blast the illithids with ranged weapons;
- Other summoned creatures will also work fine, though they are susceptible to intelligence drain;
- Phantom Blade creates a magical sword that attacks enemies on its own, allowing the caster to keep his distance from Mind Flayers.
- Increase your Armor Class. Luckily, Mind Flayers have a mediocre THAC0 and will miss most often than not;
- Use character with Intelligence higher than 10 for tanking. Such characters can survive at least 2 illithid hits. Minsc is a notoriously bad choice for this job, as he can die in two hits due to intelligence loss.
- If feeling lucky, one can try to insta-kill Mind Flayers with the Death Spell. Illithids are vulnerable to this spell, but their magic resistance is so high, that the spell will not affect them is most cases.