Ilshifan – Illithid Ambassador to Iuz

The illithids take a greater interest in the affairs of the surface word than is generally supposed. Unbeknownst to many, they sent an ambassador to the court of Iuz the Old at Dorakaa soon after his return from his imprisonment beneath the ruins of Castle Greyhawk in CY 570. It is, of course, a misnomer to speak of the illithids as a single, monolithic entity. Indeed, their subterranean realms and city-states not only war with one another constantly, but also seethe with intrigue within their own domains, and so too do they often attempt to enlist the aid of powerful surface powers to assist in their own struggles.

So too is it with the illithid city of Mish-la-rog. Located far beneath the earth northwest of the Riftcanyon, Mish-la-rog is a thriving center of mind flayer culture and power. Home to more than a thousand illithids and countless of their slaves, the city is noted for its great University, dedicated to the study of the psionic arts in all their myriad forms. Students, either daring, stupid, or both, make their way there to increase their knowledge and powers at the feet of illithid masters.

The city’s great mind-lords value the openness of their land, recognizing the value the influx of wealth brings. Even traditional enemies of the illithids, such as drow and derro, can be found here in numbers, and it has gained a reputation as a place where deals can be struck, and trade conducted, even among ancient enemies.

So did the city send forth one of its most capable agents, Ilshifan, to present himself at the court of the Old One in Dorakaa, to make sure that the interests of Mish-la-rog were well represented there, and the ambitions of the cambion did not threaten their own position as a “free port” in the underworld. The city’s rulers intuited that the half-demon had designs on the surface lands above their own city, and thus wanted to make sure they had both an ear and a voice in his court.

Ilshifan has proven himself to not only be an able representative of his city (which is where his loyalties truly lie), but also has been of use to Iuz himself from time to time. Not only does the illithid ambassador provide useful intelligence on the goings-on in the underworld beneath and near the lands controlled by Iuz, but he has also performed more direct services for the Lord of Pain, even going so far as to personally uncover a plot by the Hierarchs of the Horned Society to suborn one of Iuz’s own captains. The fact that the plot was entirely contrived by Ilshifan was of no consequence; Iuz was enormously pleased by the show of loyalty and support, and the illithid’s stock rose highly in the court of Iuz thereafter. But it is not the case that Ilshifan’s aid to Iuz is purely illusory; he has been of definitive help to the cause of the cambion on several occasions, and thus his star in court is rising.

Ilshifan is fanatical in his desire to further the interests of Mish-la-rog. If that means aiding Iuz, then he will do so. If it means planting evidence to appear to be aiding Iuz, then he will do so, too. Iuz is vaguely aware of this, but even the cambion’s head can be turned by unswerving flattery, especially when it is coupled with assistance both real and imagined. He has spies and agents throughout Dorakaa, and little happens in the city that escapes his attention. Combined with the constant flow of information that comes to him from the underworld, this makes him a valuable member of the court of Iuz, and the cambion has taken the illithid into his confidence, and sought his advice, on more than one occasion.

Iuz does believe he has a mechanism of control over the ambassador; the succubus Yrarthra has been consorting with the illithid for over a year, and believes she has a degree of influence over him, which she exercises on behalf of Iuz. Ilshifan has allowed her (and thus Iuz) to believe this to be true, but he has been manipulating her deftly all the time she has believed she has been doing so to him. He has allowed her to think she got him to perform minor services, or make subtle changes, for Iuz, but all was done with his full knowledge in order to gull the would-be manipulator. In return, he has fed her half-truths and selective information designed to engender the idea that he is leaning towards the side of Iuz in his loyalties.

Ilshifan (mind flayer): 8+4 HD, 44 hit points, AC 2 (ring of protection +3), psionic ability 330, attack/defense modes B/FGH, psionic abilities: astral projection, body equilibrium, body weaponry, domination, ESP, levitation, probability travel, telepathic projection (all at 10th level of mastery). He has a pale lavender ioun stone (absorbs 22 levels’ worth of spells before burning out forever) and a rod of beguiling.

He also functions as a 10th level illusionist, and has the following spells memorized:

First Level: color spray (x2), hypnotism, light, phantasmal force

Second Level: detect magic, hypnotic pattern, invisibility, misdirection

Third Level: continual light, illusionary script, suggestion

Fourth Level: emotion, phantasmal killer

Fifth Level: maze

Ilshifan has a number of bodyguards and servants, but his chief henchman is a derro named Stonebiter, a 7th level fighter (55 h.p., AC 3 (plate mail), armed with a battle axe +2) who is completely loyal to the mind flayer for reasons which remain obscure to close observers of the court of Iuz.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.