Panmeridian: Races


The key differences between Panmeridian's illithids and others is the breeding mechanism: no sentient creature's death is necessary for an illithid to be born and reach adulthood. Illithids themselves are asexual, and have no primary nor secondary sexual characteristics. Rather, they lay eggs.

An Illithid first bears eggs around the age of 15 and every 2-10 years afterwards, based on the illithid's diet: a steady supply of sentient cerebral matter will allow a clutch every twenty-one months, whereas an Illithid living on herbivore brains will find themselves spawning only decennially. Many illithids unready to be parents will deliberately lay the eggs into extremely salty water, which causes them to go into a cryptobiotic state, ready to be awakened years later by taking them from a dry room and tossing them in the usual brackish breeding pools. Others just toss them in the bin.

Illithids lay up to nine eggs per clutch, which resemble very large frogspawn, into a pool of brackish water. After five to six weeks, the eggs grow into tadpoles, which then fight for dominance, eating one another and taking in a small amount of genetic information from the 'losers'; in any given pool, only one will survive. The consumed siblings also give the newborn nutrients to grow (supplemented by parentally-given food, particularly with small clutches), going from a stumpy-limbed squid-tadpole to what is, in effect, a newborn-sized illithid in eight months.
The illithid child will slowly gain sentience and awareness much like any child' the first sign of development is the child gaining the ability to telepathically demand feeding. Thankfully for illithid parents, the children age mentally very quickly, though their physiques of course take some more time.

Illithids eat brains, and especially enjoy intelligent brains: these also benefit their young and improve fertility. All these factors mean illithids are often found in either their own societies, or those that somehow permit them to consume sentient brains.
Surprisingly to many, illithids are, in fact, as much social creatures as humans, enjoying the company of others and deliberately seeking out those of races they've never before encountered. This- and an unfounded reputation for sadism- comes from a natural curiosity towards the minds, mindsets and thoughts of other sentient creatures. Of course, there are a few isolationists, particularly in the societies where illithids are not so much include as tolerated.
Because of the massive dangerousness of the race, illithids tend to be either subjugated and controlled in the societies in which they live- or very much in power. This often leads to a superiority complex in many illithids, and the egomaniac illithid exists as a stereotype for good reason.

When an illithid realizes it is bearing eggs, it will generally seek out those who share their good fortune to share a spawning pool, both for genetic diversity, and for the excuse for a display of genetic dominance; parents in some cultures will even place bets on the survival of their young in the spawning pools.
Illithids are not doting parents, but nor do they generally abandon their young once sentient. Illithid children can expect feeding, clothing, disciplining, protecting and educating: however, comforting, praise, treating, entertaining and even conversation generally have to be sought after, and most illithid parents seem to take parenting as a solemn duty rather than a joyous choice. Well, at least they don't need potty-training.

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