night_druid wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:00 am
Thing is, that's not what they talk about when they talk about the Illithid Empire. The context is generally illithids holding sway over pretty much the Prime Material (with only a few pockets outside their control).
The 2nd edition sources were mainly presented as in-character myths and legends, so it's hard to say what is true and what isn't. But here's what they say:
A Guide to the Astral Plane
, page 44: "In a time before most of the prime worlds known today were born, when the gate-towns of the Outlands all went by different names, when beings that could recall days before the creation of then-bejeweled Sigil still existed, the illithids held an ancient empire. This great empire stretched throughout many prime worlds, infested both Astral and Ethereal, and threatened the borders of many of the Outer Planes. The mind flayer dominion was so powerful that vast planar armies marshaled to defend their respective realms. Even the fiends paused in their eternal Blood War long enough to determine if the illithids would attack the Lower Planes as well. Despite the fact that most tomes of historical lore make no mention of it (for truly ancient was this time, and older still the roots of the illithid empire) never has there been a time since then when the entire multiverse has been so vexed by a single threat."
Thoughts about this:
1. It's an in-character text called A Glimpse Through the Mists
, and A Guide to the Astral Plane
says "the book's sources are occasionally suspect, and it often presents as fact that which others call legend."
2. It's likely somewhat exaggerated.
3. It says the empire stretched through "many" prime worlds, not pretty much all of them.
4. It presents the empire as so ancient that many of the present worlds didn't even exist yet. It's deep in prehistory, too old to interfere with the timelines of most settings. That wouldn't be difficult on Oerth, where we know very little of what happened beyond a thousand or so years ago, though it would have to be very ancient to precede Toril's timelines.
, page 38: "Past all knowledge of present worlds, before the crowning of Ra, when the Outer Planes were yet in flux, and while the elemental planes remained untarnished by counter-contamination, the illithids held an ancient empire. Boundless, illithid influence enfolded worlds without number; mind flayer domination infested the Astral, the Ethereal, and even threatened the borders of the Outer Planes themselves! Vast planar armies marshaled to defend their respective realms, and even the eternal Blood War was stayed for a time to assess the illithid threat."
1. Again, this is an in-universe text, in this case called The Planetreader's Primer
2. It's clearly based on the information in A Guide to the Astral Plane
, but even more exaggerated.
3. "Worlds without number" is a lot but still not necessarily the same thing as all or most of the Prime Material Plane.
Dawn of the Overmind
, page 10: "It is difficult to imagine the raw power of a race that held several crystal spheres—and even few alternate planes of existence—entirely within its psionic grip. The resources commanded by such a race stagger the imagination."
1. This source is not
presented as an in-universe legend, so it's intended to be accepted as fact.
2. Several crystal spheres is impressive but not the same thing as all or most of the Prime Material Plane. These spheres weren't necessarily anywhere near the Radiant Triangle.
There's really no evidence of invasion attempts, either. The closest is some notes about illithids fleeing Glyth to found an illithid city on Toril. Note that the beholder invasion of the Land of the Lions is well-documented.
Note that it's canon (within the Chainmail setting) that the illithids ruled an empire in Western Oerik for a time.