Beginner's Guide to Githyanki

Beginner's Guide to Githyanki

Beginner's Guide to Githyanki

Elves, dwarves, halflings, and humans are standard fantasy fare. Experienced players and Dungeon Masters for the game of Dungeons and Dragons have likely become incredibly familiar with these races, and may be ready for something different. And the slew of anthropomorphic animal races can fail to feel unique, given their numbers. Let's cover a race that's truly original, a race wholly unique, one that's... out of this world!

Githyanki are alien beings from an alternate plane of existence from the prime material plane most D&D campaigns are set in. Their unusual appearance and psychic abilities make a strong case for this warrior race from the astral realms to take center stage in your next adventure!


The githyanki are a fictional humanoid race in the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) roleplaying game. They are a race of astral marauders, known for their silver swords and their powerful psionic abilities. The history of the githyanki in D&D is a complex and fascinating one, spanning several editions of the game.

The origins of the githyanki can be traced back to the early days of D&D, specifically the 1978 adventure module "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks". In this adventure, the players encounter a race of psychic aliens known as the "githyanki". These aliens were described as tall, gaunt humanoids with glowing eyes and the ability to move objects with their minds. They were portrayed as villains in the adventure, attacking the players on sight.

Following the release of "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks", the githyanki became a popular monster in D&D lore. In the early 1980s, they were described in more detail in the "Fiend Folio" supplement, which expanded upon their backstory and abilities.

According to D&D lore, the githyanki were once a slave race of powerful mind flayers (also known as illithids). The illithids used the githyanki as soldiers and laborers, but also subjected them to horrific experiments and mental torture. Over time, the githyanki developed powerful psionic abilities as a means of defending themselves against their oppressors.

Eventually, a githyanki named Gith rose up against the illithids and led a rebellion of her people. With the help of a powerful artifact known as the Silver Sword of Gith, the githyanki were able to defeat the illithids and free themselves from slavery. However, Gith herself disappeared, leaving her people to form a new society in the Astral Plane.

In later editions of D&D, the githyanki continued to be a popular race for players and DMs alike. They were often portrayed as fierce warriors and raiders, traveling the Astral Plane in their silver ships and attacking other planes of existence for loot and slaves. They also continued to be known for their powerful psionic abilities, which made them formidable foes in combat.

In recent years, the githyanki have been featured in a number of D&D adventures and sourcebooks, including "Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes" and "Baldur's Gate III". They have also made appearances in various video games, comics, and other media.

Overall, the history of the githyanki in D&D is a rich and varied one, with a complex backstory and a strong fan following. They remain one of the most iconic and memorable races in the game, and are sure to continue to be a popular choice for players and DMs for years to come.

Physicality and Personality

Githyanki are tall, gaunt humanoids with sharp, angular features and glowing silver eyes. They have distinctive silver hair, which is often long and unkempt. They are typically muscular and agile, with an athletic build. Their skin is usually a pale yellow-green, and they have sharp claws on their hands and feet.

Githyanki are fierce warriors and raiders, and they have a reputation for being cold and ruthless. They are driven by a deep hatred of the mind flayers and other aberrations that once enslaved them, and they are fiercely protective of their freedom. They are also known for their arrogance, and can be dismissive of other races.


In Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, githyanki are not only a popular monster race, but they are also a playable player race. Here's all you need to know about the githyanki as a playable race in D&D 5e:

Abilities: Githyanki have the following ability score increases: Strength +2 and Intelligence +1. They also have proficiency in one of the following skills: Athletics, Intimidation, or Survival.

Decadent Mastery. Githyanki learn one bonus language of their choice, and you are proficient with one skill or tool of your choice. In the timeless city of Tu’narath, githyanki have bountiful time to master odd bits of knowledge.


Martial Prodigy: Githyanki are proficient with light and medium armor and with shortswords, longswords, and greatswords.

Psionics: Githyanki know the mage hand cantrip, and the hand is invisible they use this trait. At 3rd level, they can cast the jump spell once with this trait, and the misty step spell once with this trait, regaining the ability to do again so when they finish a long rest.

Silver Sword Mastery: Githyanki are trained from birth to use the silver swords that are sacred to their people. They gain proficiency with the silver greatsword, and can also use it as a spellcasting focus for their psionic abilities.

Mind Link: Githyanki have the ability to communicate telepathically with any creature within 30 feet that understands a language.

Overall, the githyanki make for an interesting and unique player race in D&D 5e. With their powerful psionic abilities, martial prowess, and distinctive appearance, they offer players a chance to explore a fascinating culture and history in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

Roleplaying a Githyanki

When roleplaying a Githyanki character in Dungeons & Dragons, it's important to consider their lore and characteristics to portray them accurately. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind when roleplaying a Githyanki:


Proud and Militaristic: Githyanki have a strong sense of pride in their heritage and military prowess. They believe in the superiority of their race and their mission to eradicate the mind flayers. Emphasize their disciplined and militant nature, showcasing confidence and self-assuredness in their actions and words.

Ruthless and Cunning: Githyanki are known for their resourcefulness and cunning tactics. They are not afraid to employ ruthless methods to achieve their goals. Portray your character as shrewd, calculating, and willing to make tough decisions when necessary.

Astral Travelers: Githyanki have a deep connection to the Astral Plane and excel in astral travel. Consider incorporating their abilities to traverse the planes into your character's actions and dialogue. They might have a fascination with the mysteries of the Astral Plane and seek to explore it further.

Hatred for Mind Flayers: Githyanki hold an intense hatred for mind flayers due to their history of enslavement. Showcase this animosity in your character's interactions and make their motivation to combat mind flayers and their creations apparent.

Loyal to the Lich-Queen: Githyanki society revolves around the authority of the Lich-Queen, Vlaakith, who is revered as the ruler and religious figurehead. Display a strong allegiance to the Lich-Queen, demonstrating loyalty and a willingness to carry out her commands.

Treasure Hunters: Githyanki are drawn to powerful magical artifacts and valuable treasures. Your character may have a keen interest in acquiring such items, which they believe can aid in their eternal struggle against the mind flayers. This can add a motivation for your character's actions and decisions.

Limited Trust and Prejudice: Githyanki are often suspicious of outsiders and hold a degree of prejudice, particularly against the Githzerai and mind flayers. Approach interactions with caution and skepticism, demonstrating a lack of trust unless proven otherwise.


Remember that these are general guidelines, and individual Githyanki characters can vary greatly in personality, goals, and beliefs. Collaborate with your Dungeon Master and fellow players to create a unique and engaging character that fits within your campaign's setting and story.


The conflict between the Gith and the mind flayers proimises to feature prominently in highly anticipated videogame Baldur's Date IV!

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