In my recent question, How did the Duergar break free of the Mind Flayers?, in this answer it is stated that the Duergar freed themselves from the mind flayers in the year "c. –4000 DR".

However, I cannot find anything online or in any 5e material that describes when the gith freed themselves from the mind flayers. I was curious to know how far apart these two revolts took place.

Is there any official lore that states when the gith freed themselves from the mind flayers?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The 5e lore and the lore from past editions have conflicting information regarding gith, Vlaakith and their history, as you can read here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/101031/… PS: The Dungeon #100 article I quote in that answer Vlaakith 157 has some vague information about this question as well, but I will wait to see if someone else has more concrete data. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know, this event didn’t take place in the Realms at all—neither illithids nor gith are native to Realmspace. Instead, the uprising would have been in the Outer Planes. And as far as I can tell, by the time the first gith found their way to Toril, this event was in the past. That doesn’t invalidate the question—it just makes it harder, since it can be tricky to line up the relative times of the Outer Planes to any given Material Plane world. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I admit I'm making an assumption here; I'm assuming the Duergar revolt (as per my other question) took place in the Underdark, but I'm also assuming that the gith revolt also took place in the Underdark. It could be that this assumption is setting up a false basis for comparison... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at—illithids came to the Realms and subjugated the duergar in the Underdark there, and those duergar later revolted, making it a wholly Realms-specific event. There were no gith in the Realms, in the Underdark or otherwise, and they neither were enslaved nor revolted within the Realms. Gith only traveled to the Realms after all this took place. But like I said, the question still can be answered (though I can’t—I’ve reached out to a friend who may be able to though). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Nonetheless, thanks for that clarification. It would still be interesting to see if the illithids suffered a blow from both slave revolutions at roughly the same time, or whether they were quite some time apart... it might explain why the gith were then able to so effectively able to hunt the illithids to near extinction if they also had their hands full with the duergar... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


Canon: Specific & Vague

When looking at the history of D&D lore on this issue, we have to confront the fact that the majority of sources are nonspecific about how far in the past the uprising took place, apart from noting that the illithid empire was "ancient," as was the uprising.

There is one specific reference, though the number it gives doesn't square with other suggestions that the empire's existence was "in a time before most of the prime worlds known today were born." That number is found in Lords of Madness, and is given as two thousand years. That range is fairly inadequate - among other things, githyanki have a lich-queen who claims to be the 157th in her line, twice the lifespan of humans, and a current residence that does not even experience time, such that caretakers of githyanki eggs and offspring need to truck them to the Prime to mature properly, periodically. Given what we know about dragon lifespans, two thousand years also feels fairly inadequate for a long and storied allegiance.

Twenty thousand years would be more reasonable - a vast span of time, enough for the githyanki and githzerai to establish well-known cultures relevant on the Planes, enough for the illithids to have rebuilt some of their strength and made several new attempts to conquer existence. The ancient empire was vast and terrible enough to startle the fiends into pausing the Blood War itself; was capable of engineering an artificial discworld with the diameter of a planetary orbit in a mere thousand years; and its scattered splinters were able to establish themselves on worlds across the Prime, worlds like Toril and Oerth, where even in small numbers they became forces to be feared.

The Nature of the Rebellion

The duergar uprising isn't really comparable to the gith uprising, scope notwithstanding. The most salient quality of the gith uprising is that it happened because the illithids were no longer content to just use their forerunner slave stock as mutable thralls - a threat to the empire from a species known as the voor resulted in the mind flayers developing new mutagenic methods to weaponize their favored servants against this new adversary. The tumerogenesis tank, a kind of mutation pod, was used on forerunners to trigger physical and spiritual enhancements, as well as psionic capacity for the sake of fighting the voor.

Whatever modifications were made to the victims of the tumerogenesis tanks would be considerably more substantial than the present-day differences between the gith races and humans. These changes, made at a genetic level, created ideal warriors to combat the alien menace, but the mind flayers wisely recognized the threat that this new super-soldier breed posed to them, and moved to eradicate the whole stock once the conflict with the voor was resolved.

Obviously, they failed.

Some few were able to conceal themselves and move among the forerunner population, mating and passing down some of their changed genes. Gith was an heir of these bloodlines, these strange transformative mutations providing traits that would arm them to face the illithids - not one-to-one, perhaps, but given both psionic durability and sheer numbers, the mind flayers were wholly unprepared for what came next. The gith toppled their masters without history, religion, territory, anything on their side - except the weapons the mind flayers inadvertently gave them. As for the battlefield, the duergar fought in the Underdark; the gith fought on the artificial world of Penumbra; on the forerunner homeworld of Pharagos; on nautiloid ships across wildspace in countless crystal spheres.

Anyway, I hope this has been at least interesting; hopefully helpful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A related note: The githyanki and their lich-queen attempt to take back their original homeworld of Pharagos, in the adventure arch of Dragon Magazine #309, Dungeon Magazine #100 & Polyhedron #159. A spelljamming, world sweeping invasion that PCs are posed to stop. Although the world of Pharagos itself is a little disappointing as most traces of Gith lineage have been swept away by time or an invaded army. \$\endgroup\$
    – L.P.
    Feb 20, 2020 at 4:22

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