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Yith

The “great race” was so-called because it was the only natural terrestrial species to conquer time and extinction.

Rather than travel physically through time, those of the great race are known instead to project their minds across eons, swapping minds with members of their target species.

This gives the great race an ideal means of studying other races and other times whilst avoiding easy detection, and it is also how the great race has escaped extinction.

Through its knowledge of all time, both future and past, the great race knows when its current form will become untenable. Before this happens, the great race transfers its minds—as a whole—to the chosen species, which then becomes its new form. Its victims have their minds sent back into the bodies of the great race. Confused, shocked, and on the brink of extinction, they speedily meet their doom. Thus the great race, despite their glories, literally wipes out an entire species (at least mentally, culturally, and spiritually) each time it moves on.

Mind Swaps Across Time. With the aid of singular technological devices, a yithian can extend its innate Swap Minds ability to swap minds with creatures in other times and places, but this process leaves both the yithian and the target disoriented and incapacitated until they finish a long rest. The effect requires another such device to undo the exchange. As a result, yithians are loath to send their minds too far without careful planning and preparation to ensure a body they care to return to is not misused.

Relationship with Humanity

The great race periodically sends scouts to take over human bodies in order to investigate and record human progress. They have fostered a sort of cult to assist them in this and reward their followers with advanced knowledge and secrets from the entirety of time. Unfortunately, they are also preyed upon by enemies, such as the cult of the Yellow Sign, who try to capture members of the great race in human form and torture them to gather their secrets.

In general, the great race acts as a neutral observer of human culture and society, but they may occasionally try to drive events in a direction which is beneficial to them.

The Great Race of the Past

The true origin of the great race is lost to antiquity, but eons ago, they dwelt on a planet named Yith. As a result, they are often called Yithians, but even Yith was not their original home. They once inhabited the bodies of large invertebrates with a massive brain capacity and great potential, and this is the so-called past yithian form they are usually pictured in.

In their most recent incarnation, this species has a basically cone-shaped body and moves along on a complex foot like that of a mollusk. Near the top of the cone, four boneless limbs twist forth: two end in sharpened powerful claws, one in a cluster of sense organs and delicate tentacles used for fine manipulation, while the last ends in cone-shaped tubes used for feeding. The creature’s body houses a huge brain at the top of the cone, centered between the limbs. The great race is immensely intelligent: a typical specimen’s brain weighs over 200 pounds and is more efficient, neuron-for-neuron, than the human brain.

Yithians are massive—typically standing over 10 feet tall and weighing 4 or more tons—and very long-lived. An individual yithian can evade death by mind-switching with another creature. If a yithian’s body is killed before it can switch minds, it does indeed die.

The great race tamed dinosaurs, pterosaurs, sea reptiles, and other primeval monsters, often controlling these beasts via electronic implants. They always preferred technological tools. They were not unified as a single people and often fought civil wars amongst themselves, as well as battling other powerful primeval species, such as the elder things, serpentfolk, flying polyps, and starspawn.

The Great Race of the Future

The great race has no interest in conquering humanoids.

They have identified a future race—a species of beetle—as their next destination. These beetles live many millions of years in the future and are viewed by the great race as far superior to humanity for their future habitation.

The beetle-race is not gigantic, but small: no more than half a foot in length and weighing no more than 2-4 pounds. However, this species is a gestalt—a group mind—and each grouping of several thousand beetles acts as a single individual. This also gives the beetles functional immortality: as a single beetle dies, new ones are born, and thus the gestalt goes on. Each beetle-gestalt has thousands of manipulatory appendages, millions of sense organs, and untold billions of brain cells (each beetle’s brain combines into a great whole). They can communicate via colored biological lights.