I have found a homebrew Mind Flayer race* and am wondering if it is reasonably well balanced against other races.

I have removed the fluff like age etc and just left the important parts.

My personal conclusion is that it possibly on the strong side, but still remaining within the bounds of power.

Ability Score Increase.

Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.


Most illithids are taller than humans, but their bodies are slender, weighing much less than an average being of their stature. Your size is Medium.


Your base walking speed is 30 feet.


You have darkvision up to a range of 60 ft.

Magic Resistance.

You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Mind Blast.

You may use your action to attack anything in front of you with a mind blast. When you use your mind blast, each creature in a 15 ft. cone must make an Intelligence saving throw equal to 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus.

A creature takes 2d6 psychic damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful save. This damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. After you use your mind blast, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Devour Brain.

If you consume the brain of a recently deceased creature, you briefly interface with its mind. By doing so, you learn at least one piece of useful information the creature knew.


You can speak telepathically to any creature within 120 feet of you. A creature understands you only if the two of you share a language.


You can speak, read, and write, Common and Undercommon, and can read and write Qualith.

*I can't remember where I found this, so apologies to the creator to whom I can't credit.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Could this be the source? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 17:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose that could have been inspiration for the source (And possibly the same author) but it is a PDF that I downloaded from somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


So, taking these one at a time...

ASI, Speed, Size, and Darkvision

Normal, moving on

Magic Resistance

Equivalent to the Magic Resistance trait of the Yuan-ti from Volo's Guide. Even on the Yuan-ti, this trait is considered overpowered.

Mind Blast

At its base, this is a reworded carbon copy of the dragonborn's Breath Weapon. However, it targets an Int Save and deals Psychic damage. Int Saves are relatively rare, and a lot more creatures have a low Int score than have a low Dex/Con score. Additionally, elemental resistance/immunity is more common than psychic.

Devour Brain

Hard to quantify. Depends on the sort of campaign you are running. But it's probably fine


Longer range than what a Kalashtar has, but is limited by a shared language and doesn't allow return communication. This is probably fine


Again, normal. Though as a minor nitpick, I'd note that Mind Flayers generally do not speak Common.


Magic Resistance is significantly stronger than any other race's ability to resist harm. For that alone, I would hesitate to allow this at my table. Pair this together with the built-in AoE that is a bit better than the dragonborn's, and I'd rate this race as notably more potent than average. Probably not gamebreakingly powerful unless you were in a game with a TON of magic-using foes...but certainly more powerful than standard races.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure you can say that Mind Blast is a carbon copy of dragonborn's breath weapon. The save is Int, which is an uncommon save; furthermore, increasing the DC is based upon Int, which means that this save could get much higher than average for certain characters. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Magic Resistance is the same as the Yuan-Ti from Volo's, which is considered too strong by most people. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that Mind Blast is actually slightly more powerfull then The breath weapon of dragonborn's as it requires a Int save which is lower then des/con in a lot of monsters especially minions/enemies that want to come close enough to be caught in a cone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dinomaster
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 13:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that while Elemental resistance is more common than Psychic resistance, Psychic immunity is very common. Constructs, most undead, and many extra-planar beings ignore Psychic attacks entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 16:13

I will evaluate this using Detect Balance. The average official race scores 30 points, for a maximum of 47 (Yuan-Ti).

ASI: 11 points (Few builds need both Cha and Int)
Darkvision: 3
Magic Resistance: 19
Mind Blast: 6
Devour Brain: 6, Limited version of Speak With Dead at will, could be very useful sometimes
Telepathy: 8 (Darkvision 120 feet is worth 2 points more than Darkvision 30 feet)
Languages: 1
Total: 54
This race is better than the strongest one in official D&D, and 3.5 times more powerful than the weakest race, a Kobold. It is unbalanced.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Devour Brain would be a 2 with the sometimes useful descriptor :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 18:27

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