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The githzerai are a once-human race that dwells primarily on the plane of Limbo.
They are a subrace of the gith.
Characterized by spare frames and an exotic appearance, githzerai are taller than humans and slender to the point of being gaunt. Their skin tends toward yellow tones, occasionally shading into brown or green. They have distinctive angular features and pointed ears, as well as eyes set in deep sockets and flattened noses set high on their faces.
Male githzerai usually keep their heads shaved or tonsured and braided, and they grow controlled facial hair. A typical style is a shaved pate with a long braid from the back of the head. Females wear their long hair close to the head in braids or tight buns. Githzerai hair is typically russet, but black and gray sometimes appear.
The githzerai commitment to asceticism means that they generally disdain displays of wealth. Their clothing is practical, simple in design, and accentuated only by simple jewelry. They indulge their artistic nature through body painting or tattoos. Even these expressions incorporate a functional purpose: Tattoos serve as identifiers, helping githzerai recognize the tradition and location from which a fellow githzerai hails.
Githzerai live about as long as humans.
Githzerai are naturally possessed of psionics and some magic resistance. They tend to train in martial combat and many fight as monks.
Githzerai society is very monastic and introspective. Many githzerai train as monks, while others choose to lose their natural magic resistance and become wizards. Some multi-talented githzerai become zerths, blending magic, combat, and psionics into their fighting. The zerths also hold special significance as religious leaders in githzerai society. Like their cousins and enemies, the githyanki, githzerai often form hunting bands for the purpose of seeking out and destroying the hated illithids.
The githzerai dwell mostly in the chaos of Limbo, using their natural psionic abilities and mental focus to form the swirling chaos of the plane into great fortresses and monasteries.
The Githzerai and the Githyanki were once one race referred to as the People. They were thralls, slaves to the Illithids, and were completely subservient for many years. Zerthimon, one of the People and now a God-like figure to the Githzerai, was the first of The People to gain true self-awareness and resistance to the mental shackles of the illithids. He made others aware of their predicament and showed them how to resist the illithids as well. The process was kept underground for a great time until enough of the People were turned that a full-scale uprising against the illithids was staged. The People were victorious, destroying the last vestiges of the illithid empire (some say the most powerful empire to ever exist in the multiverse) upon the Blasted Plains.
It was in the light of this victory that Gith, a warrior-queen and leader of the rebellion, declared that the People would not rest until they had discovered and destroyed all remaining illithids in the multiverse; then, the People would be free to conquer all of the planes of existence and bring war to all other races. Many of the people's hearts shared this goal. Zerthimon argued that the People already knew freedom and should begin to mend the damage done to their race. He too expressed a goal that was in the hearts of many of the People. Still, Gith insisted that hers was the only path and that they would be "under the same sky" in the matter.
Zerthimon then told Gith that there "cannot be two skies." This became known as the Pronouncement of Two Skies, a declaration of war that splintered the People into the races of githyanki and githzerai. Battle was waged on the Blasted Plains, and the githyanki retreated to the Astral Sea while the Githzerai withdrew to the Elemental Chaos. The two races have remained enemies ever since.