• Better Know a Fiend- Why Not Illithids?

    With their cephalopodic heads and their brooding demeanor, the Mindflayer family is one of the darkest, most viscious group of fiends in the Final Fantasy series. The history of these abominations is fascinating. From their god-like beginnings in the Cthulhu Mythos they've become a staple in not only Final Fantasy, but in our pop culture.

    Probably the most notorious of these beings came from the mind of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, the Cthulu. One of many Great Old Ones, the Cthulhu has a humanoid body, draconian wings and a Giant Octopus-like head. Cthulhu has become a regular reference in pop culture, including a couple of appearances in South Park. It has also inspired many other creations, including Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Zoidberg of Futurama and the Illithids of Dungeons & Dragons.

    The Illithids were created by Gary Gygax for Dungeons & Dragons. After seeing the paperback cover of Brian Lumley's Chtulhu Mythos novel, "The Burrowers Beneath", he created a race of demons with similar features and dark personalities.There are a wide variety of Illiads and are most commonly called Mind Flayers. They use their tentacle covered mouths to devour the brains of their prey. Their main attack is the Mind Blast, a psionic wave which can inflict paralysis, confusion or even death upon it's target.

    Illithid larvae are inserted into the heads of a humanoid host, commonly human, elf or goblin like beings. They eat at the brain, until the host body is consumed by the larvae and becomes an Illithid itself.

    Illithids are the primary inspiration for Final Fantasy's Mind Flayers. To answer the pressing question, Illithid is a copyright protected term by Wizards of the Coast (the current owners of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise), ergo, Square Enix cannot use the name. However, Mind Flayer is a concept, as mentioned, created beforetime.

    The Mindflayers appeared in the first Final Fantasy in three forms. The pallete-swap Piscodemons (erroneously renamed Wizards on the NES) guarded the Crown in the Marsh Cave, as well as appeared in the Cavern of Earth and other dungeons. They focus on strong physical attacks to wear the Warriors of Light down. It is logical to believe that Astos sent the Warriors of Light to retrieve the Crown, fearing the Piscodemons would consume his being, as Mind Flayers do in Dungeons & Dragons lore.

    The Mindflayers themselves (renamed Wizards on the NES and Mind Flares on the PlayStation) inhabit the Cavern of Ice and later dungeons. They have pathetic physical attacks, but have the random chance of instantly killing it's target. They use the Mind Blast (Trance in NES) maneuver as their namesakes, this attack Paralyzing the party. They tend to come in large groups of four or more, which makes them even more difficult.

    The Squidraken were added for the GameBoy Advance Dawn of Souls and Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary editions versions. They don't have the Instant Death physical attacks of their Mindflayer brethren, but retain the Mind Blast attack.

    Mindflayers also made appearances in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Called Mage in the SNES version (which itself was renamed as Final Fantasy II in the US), they inhabit the Lodestone Cave (apparently they're chummy with Dark Elves now). Here they RARELY drop an eponymous item, which when used, will give Rydia the Mindflayer summon. Their Mind Blast attack not only Paralyzes, but causes the Sap status. In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, they use Drain as well.

    The GameBoy Advance version, Final Fantasy IV Advance, has a pallete-swap called the Mist Kraken. The Mist Kraken uses Mind Blast to Paralyze and Blaster to Instantly Kill. They inhabit the Lunar Ruins and Rydia's Trial.

    Final Fantasy IV: The After Years feature a couple of new pallete-swaps, One is Will Priest (legally, he's Will Priest, Jr., but has some daddy issues). They appear in large parties and counter with Protect or Cure, depending on your attack. Mindosaur is a PSP exclusive monster, who casts Death on every turn.

    In Final Fantasy V, Mindflayers inhabit the Interdimensional Rift. Blue Mages can learn Flamethrower and Mind Blast from them. In the Final Fantasy V Advance versions, Necromancers can learn Drain Touch.

    Due to the "super cool modernization" of the Final Fantasy series, the species didn't return until Final Fantasy IX, where the Drakan appeared (Squidraken in Japan). Here they're hooded, flying demons, who can inflict Confusion with their Mind Blast as well as use a multitiude of other status effects. but can succumb to Quina's LV5 Death spell.

    Final Fantasy XI added an interesting twist to the creature. In this universe, Soulflayers are former Blue Mages, who no longer could control the monsterous powers their magic holds. They are very powerful beings, and the items they drop are pretty valuable.

    Final Fantasy XII both the Mindflayers and Piscodaemons are Marks. Mindflayer is a Rank IV Mark that appears in the Henne Minds when the party is at full power. They are the sworn enemy of the Garif, who post the Mark. They are very powerful magic users who will use HP Restore the first time they go into HP Critical. They also appear in Stage 17 of trial mode in the International Zodiac Job System version.

    The Piscodaemon is a Rank V Mark. Despite looking exactly like the Mindflayer, the Piscodemon is the corrupt soul of a Nu Mou, Ashkroft. The Grand Kiltias Anastasis sealed him away, but upon his death, Ashkroft emerged as a demon. His twin brother Ivaness posted the bill, hoping that he could be stopped before any more damage is done. When his HP hits 20%, he casts a Physical Paling, making him hard to finish off like the Mindflayer.

    Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has two Mindflayers. One, a boss, is in the Tam-Tara Deepcroft. During the Seventh Umbral Era, the cult Lambs of Dalamud attempt to revive King Galvanth the Dominator. When the team arrives, it interferes, causing the Galvanth to be revived as a Mindflayer. The 2nd is an Rank S Elite Mark in the South Shroud. It is in the fifth tier of the voidsend heirarchy and spawns on one of the three New Moon nights.

    In Final Fantasy Tactics, they appear as Pisco Demon, Squidlarken and Mindflare (Piscodaemon, Squidraken and Mindflayer on PSP). All three attack with their tentacles, the later two use Ink to blind your players. The Squidlarken uses Dischord to remove buffs from your team while the Mindflare uses Mind Blast to cause Confusion and Berserk. All three can be recruited to join your party by an Orator (Mediator). With the Monster Skill (Beastmaster) ability, one could make the Mindflare use the Level Drain ability, which, as the name implies, will lower the target's level by one.

    Mindflayers truly are one of the most prolific fiends in the Final Fantasy franchise. Which version is your favorite? Of course, there are other Cephalopodic fiends in the series, but they'll get their spotlight another time. Today, let's just celebrate our dark lords, the Mindflayer. Hail Cthulhu!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Better Know a Fiend- Why Not Illithids? started by Colonel Angus View original post
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