The warlike githyanki and the contemplative githzerai are a sundered people- two cultures that utterly despise one another. Before there were githyanki or githzerai, these creatures were a single race enslaved by the mind flayers. Although they attempted to overthrow their masters many times, their rebellions were repeatedly crushed until a great leader named Gith arose. After much bloodshed, Gith and her followers threw off the yoke of their illithid masters, but another leader named Zerthimon emerged in the aftermath of battle. Zerthimon challenged Gith's motives, claiming that her strict martial leadership and desire for vengeance amounted to little more than another form of slavery for her people. A rift erupted between followers of each leader, and they eventually became the two races whose enmity endures to this day. Whether these tall, gaunt creatures were peaceful or savage, cultured or primitive before the mind flayers enslaved and changed them, none can say. Not even the original name of their race remains from that distant time.

The githyanki despise all other races, undertaking devastating raids that take them from their strongholds in the Astral Plane to the farflung corners of the multiverse. War is the ultimate expression of githyanki culture, and their pitiless black eyes know no mercy. After a raid, they leave shattered survivors enough food and resources to weakly endure. Later, the githyanki return to their conquered foes, plundering them again and again.

In their own language, githyanki means "followers of Gith." Under the guidance of Gith, the githyanki stratified into a militaristic society, with a strict caste system, dedicated to the ongoing fight against the victims and sworn enemies of their race. When their leader Gith perished, she was replaced by her undead adviser, Vlaakith. The lich-queen forbade worship of all beings except herself. Of all their enemies, the githyanki most hate their former masters, the mind flayers. Their close kin, the githzerai, are second in their enmity. All other creatures are treated with simple contempt by the githyanki, whose xenophobic pride defines their view of inferior races.

In ancient times, gith knights created special weapons to combat their mind Hayer masters. These silver swords channel the force of the wielder's will, dealing psychic as well as physical damage. A githyanki can't become a knight until it masters the singular discipline needed to will such a blade into existence. A silver sword is equivalent to a greatsword, and takes on the properties of a +3 greatsword in the hands of its creator. In the eyes of the githyanki, each silver sword is a priceless relic and a work of art. Githyanki knights will hunt down and destroy any non-githyanki that dares to carry or wield a silver sword, reclaiming it for their people.

In the uprising against the illithids, Gith sought allies. Her adviser Vlaakith appealed to Tiamat, the goddess of evil dragonkind, and Gith ventured into the Nine Hells to meet with her. Only Tiamat now knows what passed between them, but Gith returned to the Astral Plane with the Dragon Queen's red dragon consort Ephelomon, who proclaimed that his kind would forever act as allies to the githyanki. Not all red dragons honor the alliance kindled so long ago, but most at least don't consider the githyanki their enemies.

Since creatures that dwell on the Astral Plane don't age, the githyanki establish creches in remote areas of the Material Plane to raise their young. Doubling as military academies, these creches train young githyanki to harness their psychic and combat abilities. When a githyanki grows to adulthood and slays a mind flayer as part of a sacred rite of passage, it is permitted to rejoin its people on the Astral Plane.

Githyanki Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1, and your Strength score increases by 2.
  • Age. Gith reach adulthood in their late teens and live for about a century.
  • Alignment. Githyanki tend toward lawful evil. They are self-centered, violent, and arrogant, yet they remain the faithful servants of their lichqueen, Vlaakith. Renegade githyanki tend toward chaos as they have forsaken her will.
  • Decadent Mastery. You learn one language of your choice, and you are proficient with one skill or tool of your choice. In the timeless city of Tu’narath, githyanki have bountiful time to master odd bits of knowledge.
  • Githyanki Psionics. You know the mage hand cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast jump once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the misty step spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells. You can cast all of them without components.
  • Martial Prodigy. You are proficient with light and medium armor. Your people are ever ready for war.
  • Size. Gith are taller and leaner than humans, with most a slender 6 feet in height.
  • Speed.Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Gith.
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