The Great Brain
Greater Power of the Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Symbol: A glowing green brain
Home Plane: Outlands (Caverns of Thought)
Alignment: Lawful evil
Portfolio: Mind Flayers, Illithids, Mental Dominion, Magic
Core Worshipers: Mind Flayers
Worshipers: Mind Flayers
Cleric Alignments: Lawful evil, Neutral evil
Domains: Domination* (CD), Dream* (CD), Evil, Knowledge, Law, Magic, Mind* (CD), Tyranny* (CW).
Favored Weapon: +1 defending unarmed strike or tentacle
Description: The constant burn of Ilsensine’s brain waves sizzles in the mind’s ear. No secrets stay dark; no evil thought or mental sickness remains unrevealed. Ilsensine’s thoughts pound against the mind like waves of hatred, dark lies, perversions beyond imagining, and megalomania. This power believes that illithids are meant to rule the multiverse, to enslave the “cattle” that overrun the lands, to use them, and to consume their minds. Ilsensine appears as an enormous emerald-green brain trailing thousands of nerve ganglions off into the distance. Ilsensine is obsessed with gathering knowledge of all varieties, and its ganglia stretch to every corner of existence, tapping into all the knowledge of the universe.
The illithid god is a mental/spiritual entity manifesting as a disembodied brain of lambent emerald hue that trails countless ganglionic tentacles throughout its cavernous desmesne and out into the infinite planes. It is said that its far-reaching “nerves” allow it to gather information from all worlds and planes simultaneously, learning every secret and storing it away for later use.
It has no physical body but manifests itself as cohesive thought in the shape of a gigantic, pulsing brain. Ganglia of infinite length trail outward in all directions from its glowing shape and reach to all corners of existence. Through these ganglia, Ilsensine the knowledge that is. It peers into the minds of the greatest sages of all dimensions, saps fading memories from the desiccating brains of dead wizards, and stares across space and time itself to learn all there is to know. Of everything it surveys, it judges the mind fl ayers as the most worthy of mortal creatures.
It is also said that on extremely rare occasions, Ilsensine sends an avatar (a huge, two-tentacled spectral brain that radiates green light) or proxy (Ilsensine’s favored proxy is Lugribossk) to those illithids that most revere the deity’s name, or to those communities that could most benefit from a specific godly intervention. Illithids so honored offer up any scholars or sages currently kept captive in order to pay Ilsensine homage, and they dedicate a small number of illithids within their community to the priesthood of Ilsensine. This priesthood is a small and select one, given to dying out after the demise of the initial illithid priests so chosen. Mind flayers seem more interested in developing their own personal psionic powers than in channeling the power of another—even a deity.
Relationships: Ilsensine cursed the derro god Diinkarazan and seeks vengeance against Diirinka, who successfully stole from it. It was formerly served by the illithid god Maanzecorian, who was recently killed by Orcus.
Ilsensine is an enemy of Lolth and Laduguer, but is allied with Kiaransali. Ilsensine’s relationship with the dwarf god Dumathoin, whose realm overlaps the brain god’s, is ambiguous but nonhostile. Dumathoin’s and Ilsensine’s mortal worshippers do not share this nonhostility, making war with one another as often as mind flayers and dwarves typically do, which is essentially whenever they encounter one another.
Realm: Ilsensine resides in a subterranean realm below the Outlands (also known as the Plane of Concordant Opposition to many natives of the Prime Material Plane) called the Caverns of Thought.
Dogma: Ilsensine is a cold and calculating activity that embodies mental prowess, the pursuit of knowledge, and absolute domination over all other life. Ilsensine demands that mind flayers enslave and ultimately consume the "cattle"—all other races—that surround them.
Worshipers: Mind flayers do not worship Ilsensine in the same sense that humans or elves worship their deities. They revere the god for its gigantic, all-sensing mental capacity. To them, Ilsensine is the ultimate form of what an elder brain aspires to be and might become, in the fullness of uncountable eons of growth. The illithids envy its vast knowledge,
which in practical terms appears limitless. They entreat Ilsensine for favors and even supplicate it, but their innate, overpowering egoism prevents any true “worship.”
Clergy: The priesthood of Ilsensine is small and selective. Illithid clerics live monastically, pursuing knowledge for its own sake and engaging in experiments to develop new psionic
powers. Through their worship, they enlist the aid of all-sensing Ilsensine, who knows things
that are hidden even to the elder brains.
Mind flayer priests are not reviled the way wizards (and especially sorcerers) are, but they don’t mix with illithid society. They rarely leave their temples except when conducting important ceremonies.
Taking a cue from Ilsensine, the clerics sometimes use cranium rats as spies or to convey messages across long distances. When Ilsensine needs to intervene directly in material affairs, it most often sends its proxy, Lugribossk.**
Ilsensine is served by illithids, cranium rats, and eaters of knowledge, and it is the patron of all who enslave the thoughts of others. Because Ilsensine promises power and domination to all that follow it, sometimes members of other races (particularly psions) will create small cults devoted to the deity.
Temples: Temples of Ilsensine are typically small, out of the way shrines in a nondescript corner of the illithid community. Larger ones may feature at the end of long, gently curving halls a stone idol depicting a massive, disembodied floating brain trailing long ganglia. The stone ganglia intertwine in complex knots before seeming to crawl up the room’s supporting columns and merging with the ceiling.
Braziers of incense fill the air with the cloying, stinging scent of spice. Chambers attached to the main temple house the clerics and acolytes.
Rituals: Illithids enter Ilsensine’s temples when the idea of making sacrifices or requesting boons from the deity strikes them, although their society does not require they do this with any regularity, or at all if they do not choose to.
Mind flayer clerics seldom leave their temple complexes, though on rare occasions they may parade through their community’s central plaza or select thralls and captives for ritual or scientific use.
Ilsensine’s followers pray to it telepathically, holding their tentacles completely still as a sign of respect. When a particularly tasty brain is consumed, illithids dip their fingertips in the cerebral fluid and trace Ilsensine’s symbol on a nearby surface.