Illithid powers

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Tadpole Pool.png

Illithid powers are special abilities tied to the mind flayer tadpole that the player character, Origin, and some non-Origin companions are infected with.

Notably, Halsin, Jaheira, and Hirelings cannot get illithid powers.

Once the party attempts to cross the bridge leading to the Goblin Camp in Act One, a cutscene involving the Mysterious Artefact will trigger. During the next long rest, they will be visited by the Dream Guardian who encourages the player character to accept and wield the power the tadpole gives. This dream starts the Embrace Your Potential quest and enables the party to consume tadpoles in exchange for illithid powers.

Once the quest has started, consuming Mind Flayer Parasite Specimens, such as from the corpses of other infected, will allow the party members to unlock new powers. Karlach, Wyll, Lae'zel, and Shadowheart will initially refuse to use illithid powers, but can be convinced to use them through Persuasion checks. The opportunity to convince these party members to partake in illithid powers will be provided again in early Act Three, if they remain reluctant early on.

List of illithid powers[edit | edit source]

Click on an icon to go visit the corresponding page
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Illithid Powers Brain C S.webp
Illithid PersuasionPsionic OverloadFavourable BeginningsForce TunnelConcentrated BlastTransfuse HealthStage FrightAbility DrainLuck of the Far RealmsCharmDisplaceRepulsorCull the WeakPsionic BacklashShield of ThrallsPerilous StakesFracture PsycheIllithid ExpertisePsionic DominanceBlack HoleFly (Illithid Power)Mind BlastMind SanctuaryFreecastAbsorb IntellectDisplacer Beast ShapeA Picture of a brain, covered with Illithid Powers icons - Clickable ImageMap links
About this image
Power Type Description Requires
Illithid Persuasion Illithid Persuasion Passive Feature You can use your connection to the parasite in your brain to force cultists of the Absolute to obey you. Unlocked automatically
Psionic Overload Psionic Overload Class Action Your attacks deal an additional 1d4Damage TypesPsychic damage, but you take 1d4Damage TypesPsychic damage every turn. None
Favourable Beginnings Favourable Beginnings Passive Feature The first Attack roll or Ability check you make against any target gains a bonus equal to your Proficiency Bonus. None
Force Tunnel Force Tunnel Class Action Charge forward, pushing all objects and creatures in your path 4 m / 13 ft away from you. None
Concentrated Blast Concentrated Blast Class Action Deal 3d6Damage TypesPsychic damage. You must be Concentration Concentrating on another spell to cast this. If the target was concentrating, you heal as much as the damage that was dealt to it. The spell you were concentrating on will end. None
Transfuse Health Transfuse Health Class Action Sacrifice half your remaining HP Icon.png hit points to heal a target for the same amount. None
Stage Fright Stage Fright Class Action Your targets have Disadvantage Icon.png Disadvantage on Attack rolls and take 2d6Damage TypesPsychic damage each time they miss. Targets overcome their Stage Fright early when they succeed on an Attack Roll. Psionic Overload
Ability Drain Ability Drain Passive Feature Once per turn, when you make an Attack roll, the attack reduces that target's corresponding Ability by 1. The Ability that is reduced is the same as the one used to make the Attack Roll. Psionic Overload
Luck of the Far Realms Luck of the Far Realms Passive Feature When you make a successful Attack roll against a foe, you can change that attack into a Critical Hit. Recharge: Long rest. Favourable Beginnings
Charm Charm Reaction Channel the dark allure of the tadpole to Charm Charm an enemy that attacks you, preventing them from attacking you until their next turn.

Note: Enemies have Advantage Icon.png Advantage on the Saving throw against being charmed.

Favourable Beginnings
Displace Displace Passive Feature Creatures suffering Falling damage because of your actions take an additional 1d8Damage TypesPsychic damage. Force Tunnel
Repulsor Repulsor Class Action Push anything and anyone back 6 m / 20 ft. Deals 2d6Damage TypesForce damage, targets take half damage if successful on save. Force Tunnel
Psionic Backlash Psionic Backlash Reaction When an enemy within 9 m / 30 ft casts a spell, you can use your Reaction to inflict 1d4Damage TypesPsychic damage to the caster per the spell‘s level. Concentrated Blast
Cull the Weak Cull the Weak Toggleable Passive Feature When you bring a creature down to fewer HP Icon.png hit points than your number of evolved illithid powers, it dies and all nearby creatures take 1~4Damage TypesPsychic damage. Concentrated Blast
Shield of Thralls Shield of Thralls Class Action Conjure a volatile shield around yourself or an ally, granting the target HP Icon.png 10 temporary hit points. Transfuse Health
Perilous Stakes Perilous Stakes Class Action Invest a creature with power that heals it when it attacks, but also makes it vulnerable to all damage. Transfuse Health

Elite powers[edit | edit source]

See also: Partial-illithid

When you first gain access to illithid powers, the outer ring of abilities will be locked. At the very end of Act Two, on the road to Baldur's Gate, you will be given the opportunity to unlock these powers by agreeing to absorb the Astral-Touched Tadpole and become a partial-illithid. Doing this will automatically unlock Fly (Illithid Power) and the 5 powers of the innermost ring, i.e. Concentrated Blast Concentrated Blast, Favourable Beginnings Favourable Beginnings, Force Tunnel Force Tunnel, Psionic Overload Psionic Overload, and Transfuse Health Transfuse Health. Any regular tadpoles the character might have already spent to unlock these abilities will be refunded. Absorbing the Astral-Touched Tadpole will also permanently mark your character's face with dark veins and darken their eyes.

Power Type Description Requires
Fracture Psyche Fracture Psyche Class Action Invade a target's mind and disrupt its defences. The target's Armour Class Armour Class is reduced by 1. If the target dies while its psyche is fractured, you can cast Shatter Psyche on another target. Unlock one of:
Illithid Expertise Illithid Expertise Passive Feature You have deepened your sense of self, gaining Expertise in Persuasion, Deception and Intimidation checks.

Also grants Proficiency in those skills if not already possessed.

Unlock one of:
Psionic Dominance Psionic Dominance Reaction Use your Reaction to cancel a spell targeted at you if its spell level is less than or equal to your proficiency bonus. Unlock one of:
Black Hole Black Hole Class Action Summon a black hole that pulls in nearby enemies and potentially Slows Slows them. Up to five more black holes can be summoned after first casting. Recharge: Short rest. Unlock one of:
Fly Fly Class Action Fly to a target position. Consumes  Movement speed but not an Action or Bonus action. Unlocked automatically
Mind Blast Mind Blast Class Action Spew forth a conical wave of psychic energy and possibly Stun Stun targets within. Deals 4d8+Spellcasting Ability ModifierDamage TypesPsychic damage. None
Mind Sanctuary Mind Sanctuary Class Action Sculpt a magical nexus that allows those within to take Actions and Bonus actions interchangeably. Recharge: Long rest. Unlock one of:
Freecast Freecast Toggleable Passive Feature You have discovered a marvellous adaptability within yourself. Spell slots, charges, and similar resource costs for your next action or spell are removed. Recharge: Long rest. Unlock one of:
Absorb Intellect Absorb Intellect Class Action Gobble up a foe's intellect, lowering their Intelligence icon.png Intelligence by 1 per turn and healing your wounds for 5 turns (1d8hit points each turn). Unlock one of:
Displacer Beast Shape Displacer Beast Shape Class Action Transform into a displacer beast that can Displace itself and enemies, and has HP Icon.png 85 hit points. You take on the attributes of a displacer beast, but maintain your Intelligence icon.png Intelligence, Wisdom icon.png Wisdom, and Charisma icon.png Charisma scores. When your displacer beast form drops to 0 hit points, you revert to your original form. Unlock one of:

Full ceremorphosis[edit | edit source]

See also: Full-illithid

During the final quest, Confront the Elder Brain, the player character will have the option to undergo full ceremorphosis and become a full-illithid. At this point, they will automatically unlock most illithid powers and gain access to more powerful versions of a select few.

These abilities are not available through the "Illithid Power" screen, but are instead granted automatically after transformation.

Power Type Description
Strengthened Force Tunnel Strengthened Force Tunnel Class Action Charge forward, pushing all objects and creatures in your path 12 m / 40 ft away from you. Deals 3d10+4Damage TypesForce and may cause Prone Prone
Fierce Perilous Stakes Fierce Perilous Stakes Class Action Grant an ally an additional 15Damage TypesPsychic damage, automatic Critical Hit when they roll a 15 or higher, and healing on hit. However, they will also be vulnerable to all damage.
Nebulous Black Hole Nebulous Black Hole Class Action Create a point of intense gravity dealing 3d10+4Damage TypesForce damage and possibly slowing slowing enemies.
Synaptic Consumption Synaptic Consumption Class Action Lower all of an enemies ability scores by 5, then 1 per turn, and regain 2~20hit points per turn for five turns. The foe is left Prone Prone.
Augmented Shield of Thralls Augmented Shield of Thralls Class Action Target two creatures, granting them HP Icon.png 25 temporary hit points. Once these hit points are diminished, the shield bursts and leaves nearby enemies Stunned Stunned.
Potent Concentrated Blast Potent Concentrated Blast Class Action Deals 9d6Damage TypesPsychic damage to an enemy. If they were Concentration Concentrating on a spell, heal an equal amount of hit points.
Extract Brain Extract Brain Class Action Lobotomise a nearby creature that is Stunned Stunned, Prone Prone, Sleeping Sleeping or Unconscious, dealing 5d10+50Damage TypesPiercing damage and regaining 6d6hit points.
Tentacle Whip Tentacle Whip Class Action Deal 3d10+5Damage TypesPsychic melee damage, and possibly Stun Stun the target.
Levitate (Illithid Power) Levitate (Illithid Power) Class Action Float to a destination using  Movement speed.

Other powers[edit | edit source]

These illithid powers are not part of the illithid power tree and are instead unlocked through story events.

Power Type Description Requires
Survival Instinct Survival Instinct Class Action If the character reaches HP Icon.png 0 hit points, it regains 3d4hit points instead of falling Unconscious. Reward from: Help Omeluum Investigate the Parasite
Awakened Awakened Passive feature You can use all of your Illithid Powers as a Bonus action. Your resistance to the zaith'isk in the githyanki infirmary awakened this power. Succeed on all three saving throws when interacting with the Zaith'isk in Crèche Y'llek. Or, if Lae'zel is in the Zaith'isk, succeed on the final ability check.

Mind flayer parasite locations[edit | edit source]

Act One[edit | edit source]

True Souls[edit | edit source]

Dropped by defeating the following characters:

Loot[edit | edit source]

  • One is found in the Enclave Library of the Druid Grove on a table X: -445 Y: 17.
  • Three are found in the Infirmary of Crèche Y'llek, next to the Zaith'isk. Two are around one table X: 1285 Y: -818 and one is on another table X: 1285 Y: -802.

Quest rewards[edit | edit source]

Siding with Absolute cultists may net two Gifts from the Absolute, which are functionally the same as Tadpole Specimens. In Act 1, there are two which can be obtained in the following ways:

Act Two[edit | edit source]

True Souls[edit | edit source]

Dropped by defeating the following characters:

Loot[edit | edit source]

  • Two are found by taking the Zhentarim Shipping Crate X: -71 Y: -187 at the docks of Moonrise Towers.
  • One can be found in Zealot Krizt, who will be guarding the broken bridge to Moonrise Towers when first approaching it. If she is not attacked, her corpse X: 625 Y: -87 can be later found in the Oubliette under Moonrise Towers.
  • Found in a Brine Pool X: 678 Y: 45, after passing a DC16 Perception check, in the Mind Flayer Colony under Moonrise Towers.
  • If Isobel was abducted from Last Light Inn, she will have a parasite on her body when you fight her alongside Ketheric.

Quest rewards[edit | edit source]

Two Gifts from the Absolute will be rewarded for:

Act Three[edit | edit source]

True Souls[edit | edit source]

Dropped by defeating the following characters:

Minthara[edit | edit source]

Becoming a Partial-illithid refunds all tadpoles spent on unlocking any of the 5 "inner circle" Illithid Powers, i.e. Concentrated Blast Concentrated Blast, Favourable Beginnings Favourable Beginnings, Force Tunnel Force Tunnel, Psionic Overload Psionic Overload, and Transfuse Health Transfuse Health. Since Minthara starts with some of these Illithid Powers already unlocked, transforming her into a Partial-illithid will net the party 2 tadpoles.

Loot[edit | edit source]

Rivington and Wyrm's Crossing:

  • Found on a barrel X: -225 Y: 108 at the docks in Rivington.
  • Two are found in Storage X: -212 Y: 129 on the ship at the Western Beach in Rivington.
  • Found in a locked Gilded Chest X: -32 Y: 219 on the top floor of Wyrm's Rock Fortress, near a bed, where Gortash goes after his coronation. This can be found along with the Helldusk Boots.

The Lower City:

  • Found on a table X: -9 Y: -92 at Sorcerous Sundries.
  • Found next to the Gnarly Cauldron X: -2336 Y: -120 in The Blushing Mermaid - Basement.
  • Found on a table X: -45 Y: 18 inside a flooded room in the Iron Throne.
  • Found on a desk X: -208 Y: -86 on the second floor of The Lodge.
  • Found on a table X: -1856 Y: -428 in the Sanguine Laboratory in the cellar of Crimson Draughts, accessed through a wooden hatchX: -91 Y: -90.
  • Found in High Security Vault n.6 X: -713 Y: 881 in The Counting House.
  • Six are found in Cargo Shipment X: -202 Y: -125, disguised as Wooden Trunks, on a ship just east of the Steel Watch Foundry.
  • Found on a table X: -1937 Y: 447 in the Steel Watch Foundry - Lab Level.

Quest rewards[edit | edit source]

Spellcasting ability modifier[edit | edit source]

Illithid powers follow the same rule as scrolls when it comes to which ability is used for the saving throws of spells that requests one (e.g. Stage Fright).

If the player has invested their levels in one class only, their spellcasting ability modifier will be the one from that class. Classes abilities are listed in the spells page.

It gets more complicated in the case of Multiclassing, as the spellcasting ability modifier will be the one from the last class that has been added to the character, with a quirk: fighters and rogues will provide their ability modifier only if they are level 3 and in their spell subclass (Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster).

Example: Wizard 5, Monk 1, Rogue 2 will use the Wisdom icon.png Wisdom stat for the saving throw difficulty of their illithid powers, as rogue is not taken into account here, and monk is the last class added before rogue.

Pre-release powers[edit | edit source]

In Early Access, illithid powers were much simpler. Instead of consuming other tadpoles to gain points to spend on powers, your tadpole grew more powerful as you used Illithid Persuasion options in dialogue. Once you'd used Illithid Persuasion three times, a special cutscene was triggered during your next long rest and each character gained a single illithid power unique to their class. Some of these abilities were reworked into the current illithid powers. A full list of Early Access powers can be seen below:

Early Access Illithid Powers
Power Class Description How to Obtain
Endless Rage Endless Rage Barbarian While Raging, deal an additional 1d4 damage with weapon attacks, but receive 1d4Damage TypesPsychic damage each turn. Prevents Rage from ending early. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Stage Fright Stage Fright Bard Drown your enemies in an overwhelming fear of failure. They receive Disadvantage Icon.png Disadvantage on Attack rolls and take 2d6Damage TypesPsychic damage each time they miss an Attack Roll. Ends when they hit with an Attack Roll. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Survival Instinct Survival Instinct Cleric Infuse a creature with psionic force. If it reaches 0 HP, it regains 3d4 HP instead of falling Unconscious. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Aberrant Shape Aberrant Shape Druid Magically assume the shape of an Intellect Devourer that can deal Psychic damage. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Psionic Pull Psionic Pull Fighter Pull a creature or object toward you. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Fracture Psyche Fracture Psyche Paladin Invade a target's mind and disrupt its defenses (Reduces target's Armour Class Armour Class by 1). Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Force Tunnel Force Tunnel Ranger Charge forward and push all objects and creatures in your path away from you. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Inkblot Inkblot Rogue Create a cloud of magical darkness and immediately attempt to hide. Creatures within the cloud are Heavily Obscured and Blinded. Creatures cannot make ranged attacks into or out of the darkness. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Horrific Visage Horrific Visage Sorcerer Release the eldritch magic within you and terrify a creature with your twisted powers. Regain 2 Sorcery Points and potentially deal 1d4Damage TypesPsychic damage per turn for 3 turns. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Supernatural Attraction Supernatural Attraction Warlock You are part of a greater whole. Concentrate on your connection to teleport to another tadpole-infected creature. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Reflective Shell Reflective Shell Wizard A protective shell envelops you. It reflects any projectiles targeted at you to their point of origin. Does not affect creatures that don't rely on sight or that can see through illusions. Succeed on 3 Illithid Wisdom Skill Checks, then rest until you receive a dream cutscene.
Repulsor Repulsor All Classes Channel the power of the Absolute, knocking back all creatures and objects and dealing 2d6Damage TypesForce damage. Help Omeluum investigate the parasite

Achievements[edit | edit source]

A-Expand Your Mind.jpg

Expand Your Mind
Consume a parasite and unlock a new power - is it meant to wriggle the whole way down?


Gallery[edit | edit source]