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Gith of Mystara

by Aaron Nowack

Excerpted from: "A New Bestiary of the Known World, 2nd Edition", by the Tylion Society for Research, published 993 AC by the Imperial University of Sundsvall

"Millennia ago, before Landfall, the great nations known now as the Carnifex Tyranny and the Serpentine Empire ruled much of Mystara. Though little remains of these peoples, what is known is that they were reptilian, possibly ancestors of the modern lizard-men. It is believed that both of these empires had programs for the development of further reptilian races, for use as slaves or soldiers. It is believed that these creatures fell into two categories: lizard-like, the descendants of which are relatively common, and serpent-like, who have all but died out."

"One of the few remaining serpent-like races is a rare species known as gith. The creatures appear almost as a mixture of elf and serpent, lending evidence to the theory that the elves were actually descended from the Serpentine Empire (see Ages of Blackmoor for further details). The gith are nomadic, tribal creatures, who often war among themselves. Rumours of some gith having strange powers unexplainable by current magical theory are unconfirmed. The gith's most common weapon is a large spear with an obsidian head."

"There are very few places where gith can be found today on Mystara. A very few gith can be found in the Plain of Fire. It is believed that three gith tribes exist there, though evidence leads us to believe that once there were many more, and that the gith had a subterranean city located in the Black Mountains."

"Gith are more common, though still rare in the Aryptian Basin and the Desert of Izonda on the southern continent of Davania. This is most likely due to the southern continent being the location of the Serpentine Empire and the Carnifex Tyranny. There are around one hundred gith tribes of varying size believed to exist in these two regions"

"A further note: Planar travellers have reported seeing creatures apparently related to the gith on other planes. Regretfully, this connection, if any, is unconfirmed."


The Real Truth

The gith parent race, possibly Yuan-ti, was one of the many reptilian species created by the Carnifex. When the Carnifex were imprisoned, a small number of the gith parent race were trapped with them. However, because the Pits of Banishment were set up to contain the Carnifex, they were able to escape relatively easily, though only a small portion did so. The escapees eventually evolved into the Githzerai. The remaining gith struggled to escape, as they evolved into the Githyanki. Eventually, some Githyanki escaped, and began work to return their masters to the Multiverse. This caused a split among the Githzerai between those who wished to stop this, and those who chose to ignore it.

Later, on Mystara, the elves were created from yet another branch of the gith parent race (see the Age of Blackmoor timeline by James Mishler). However, a few of them were stuck half-way between the two forms, becoming the gith. The Black Mountains branch of these creatures now have been contacted by the free Githyanki, who are using them to build a portal to the Pits of Banishment (see the Dark Sun module Black Spine, which I am in the process of converting to Mystara).


Game Stat Changes

Gith: Psionic powers are optional, depending on whether the DM chooses to use them . The group called "mountain gith" in the ecology section are similar to the Plain of Fire gith, while the "tablelands gith" are similar to those found in Davania. Frequency is changed to Very Rare (Rare in areas with a gith presence). A large portion of the Davanian gith have a Chaotic Neutral alignment, rather than Chaotic Evil.

Githyanki: Psionic powers are optional. Background info is superseded by this document. The plane shift ability has only a small (<1%) chance of going to and from the Pits of Banishment. Climate/Terrain is simply "planar".

Githzerai: Psionic powers are optional. Climate/Terrain is "planar". Background info is superseded by this document. A growing minority of githzerai have an alignment of Chaotic Good. The githzerai plane shift ability has a 10% chance of going to and from the Pits of Banishment.


Immortals of the Gith

The Gith worship Alssasks (Alphaks), Omssis (the Great One), Kassath (Ka the Preserver), Pessal (Pearl), and Zession (Zerthimon, see below). They acknowledge, but do not worship Orssna (Ordana), who they see as evil. The Black Mountains tribes have begun to worship the Carnifex and the Outer Beings since the githyanki contact.

The Githyanki worship the Carnifex and the Outer Beings. As well, they worship their lich-queen as an Immortal, though she is not. She is trying to achieve Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy, sponsor unknown (possibly Bozdogan, see my "An Alternate View on Loki/Bozdogan").

The Githzerai worship only one Immortal: Zerthimon (Celestial of Matter, Sponsor: Ka the Preserver), the one who lead them away from the cult of the Outer Beings. The wizard-king of the Githzerai is trying to stamp out this religion.