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Larian Studios announced Baldur's Gate III back in June. And to this day, there's not a lot we know about this new installment in the legendary CRPG series. We know it's Baldur's Gate, we know there's some trouble with Illithids, and we know that the game will be using some modified form of Dungeons & Dragons' 5th edition rule set. This recent IGN First article doesn't do much to clear things up. It simply shares a new piece of Mind Flayer-themed concept art. So if you'd like to see that, be sure to check it out.
Here's a quick description of the creature:
What we don’t know is to what extent the iconic race of mind-slurping aberrations will be featured. For example, there are all sorts of fun, horrifying mutations that can occur in the hive-mind collective. Though the creature in the new image appears to have the familiar four-tentacle anatomy, mind flayer tentacles tend to be shorter, ending at approximately chest level — these are clearly longer. However, the mind flayer in the reveal trailer had similar length tentacles, so it's possible this is just the artistic vision for illithids in Baldur's Gate 3.
There are illithid with longer tentacles, called Ulitharid, which can be “born” through some unknown variant during ceremorphosis — the process by which mind flayer's reproduce, implanting a larval tadpole into a victim's cranium usually via the nostril or ear canal where it devours the brain and replaces it, changing the host body into that of a mind flayer. Anyway, on rare occasions, this process spawns an Ulitharid, a stronger, more aggressive version with six tentacles that drape down to the floor. But these tentacles aren’t quite that long, and again, there’s only four of them, so maybe we’re looking at a new subspecies or just a fabulous specimen of the colony.
And what about that protruding, webbed frill cresting around its head and shoulders. It could be genetic and indicative of a new subspecies, but more likely it's one of the augmentations mind flayers are known to don called a Survival Mantle — a piece of carapace-like armor worn about the head, neck, and chest that also has the added benefit of allowing them to breathe normally in any atmosphere or lack thereof. We also see the creature wearing some sort of bracer-like armor about the wrists.