Essentially an intellect devourer's purpose is to lead unaware people back the the colony of mind flayers for their insidious purpose. However, I am unsure happens when the colony is no more.

They are not described as hive minded or directly controlled, but they are products of their master and serve them. Would they seek out a new colony or live independently?


1 Answer 1


They would most likely continue to serve their now dead/missing masters as they had previously.

As you mentioned, Intellect Devourers are created to "lure others into its illithid creators' hunting grounds". I couldn't find anything concrete that mentioned intellect devourers having any kind of independence/capability of seeking out another master to serve, or another colony to join. However, that could be possible.

Since they are incapable of individual thought, it makes sense that they would continue to serve their illithid masters, as that is all they know. Even if their masters were dead, they may continue to lure adventurers into the lair of their (now-dead) masters as they have always done.

It is also possible that an intellect devourer may realize that its master is dead/gone, and revert to purely primal instincts and just try to survive. It no longer lures people to a lair; instead, it seeks out intelligent creatures and consumes the "creature's mind and memories, subsequently entering the body and using it as a new host" as a means of survival.

It's entirely up to you/the DM on what makes most sense story-wise.

At the end of the day, what really matters is what make sense story-wise, or what would be a cooler/more interesting encounter. If you wanted the party to be lured by an intellect devourer to an abandoned illithid lair/city that is now filled with long dead/rotting corpses, then go with that. Otherwise, if you think they are capable of individual thought, then they could try and seek out new masters to serve.

I found this interesting point in this article about intellect devourers on the blog "The Monsters Know What They're Doing" that described what an intellect devourer's purpose would be quite nicely:

Intellect devourers are aberrations, created to serve the interests of mind flayers. They’re not independent creatures. You’re not going to randomly run into one in the woods. Rather, any intellect devourer your player characters encounter will be on some kind of mission. That will affect who it uses its powers on and when.

That quote is what informed this answer, but ultimately, it is up to you and what makes most sense for your story.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That is a fantastic answer. I know it is ultimately up to the DM and I am going to allow it independent thought to make the campaign more interesting since they ran off with a PC's body. However I was honestly interested in the lore ramifications for this when I asked it. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arrowkill
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Where do you get that Intellect Devourers are incapable of individual thought? "They’re not independent creatures" means that they don't just randomly pop up because they are made by Mindflayers, so are directly tied to them, it doesn't mean that an Intellect Devourer is a mindless servant. There are Intellect Devourers inhabiting bodies in premade campaigns that are serving as spies and the like, this seems highly unlikely to be possible if they have no individual thought. They are quite good at pretending to be the creature they're now inhabiting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 9:34

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