Campaign Idea: What if Illithids ran a Matrix simulation of the world?

Posted on December 2, 2022 by


I’m currently running a campaign based off of “Dragonsight”, a concept introduced in Fizban’s Treasure of Dragons. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and will likely blog about it soon, but have started turning the wheels on my next campaign and how to top what I’m currently doing. 

I know I want to run something around mind flayers, and since my campaigns tend to all be based around apocalyptic threats, I thought of an idea that turns the tables on that… what if the world already faced its apocalypse, and the heroes are tasked with reverting it? 

I call it Mind Flayer Matrix, and it’s exactly that… take the plot of the Matrix and loosely turn it into a D&D campaign… here’s my pitch document…


Illithids rule the world. 

The people don’t know it, but they do.

The entire world–as people perceive it–is a simulation stemming from the mind of a enormous and maniacal elder brain named Drabangoza. Over the centuries, Drabangoza carefully built itself an empire, consuming and merging with ally and rival alike until its physic abilities grew beyond that of any other illithid in the multiverse. 

The gargantuan brain rests in Its center of power deep below what was once the nation of Cormyr, where it oversees a global colony of mind flayers, all zealots driven by a ravenous physic hunger that drives them to consume brains and merge with Drabangoza.

Centuries ago, Drabangoza took over the world and created a collective version of it that exists solely in the minds of Faerun’s inhabitants. Humanoids, monstrosities, wild animals, bugs–really anything with a brain–believes the world is as they perceive it–as the Faerun where Candlekeep is a bastion of knowledge, Waterdeep is the jewel of the north, and the Underdark is the domain of the drow. 

But it isn’t. In fact, it is very different. 

That is all a fabrication of Drabangoza’s powerfully twisted mind, projected onto the minds of every being in the world. 

Faerun was effectively destroyed centuries ago, as Drabangoza rose to power and its psychic armies swept its lands. It swiftly destroyed civilization and created a new one in the survivor’s minds, who now exist solely as prisoners used for psychic experiments and other nefarious aims. 

 The world’s population resides entirely under illithid control deep within the earth. The mind flayers experiment on the brains of every single being, seeking to enhance their psychic nutritional value. The illithids also control how the captured breed in order to maintain a steady supply of new brains to feed on and grow Drabangoza’s empire.

A githyanki named Morp’feeus (I know, I know…), free from Drabangoza’s psyching control, has in its possession 5 ancient rings of psychic resistance, and is planning a daring attack on illithid prisons, hoping to rescue and enlighten heroes with the truth of their world so they can destroy the elder brain and save it.

Drabangoza’s Faerun is a dangerous place. Nations and cities fell, and psychic power radiates from underneath every ruined castle and blighted forest. The connection to the weave is erratic, and arcane magic is wild and unpredictable. 

The gods are absent. Drabangoza’s projection kept prayers from reaching their ears, so they fled, searching for new worshippers.  But whispered prayers can travel far, and a god will never ignore the pleas of the faithful… 

So will the PCs take the blue pill or the red pill? 


What do you think? Could be a neat campaign conceit. Next step… break down the Tiers of play and what the PCs will face in each of them…

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