“It’s literally a brain on legs.”
Intellect devourers are one of those rarely used monsters that come up maybe once every other campaign. They have a long pedigree that stretches back to the early years of D&D. And they straddle that fine line between the goofy and terrifying hemispheres of monsterdom.
You have to go back to 1976 to the Eldrich Wizardry supplement for the original D&D game to see the genesis of these bizarre beasts. They have enough presence in the game to make it on the 1st Edition (AD&D) Monster Manual one year later. The backstory connects these things to Mind Flayers, or Illithids if you prefer.
It seems Garry Gygax and friends took a look at the squid faced illithids and thought “You know, these guys need a pet.” So the idea was a dark ritual where illithids transform a victim’s brain into nasty little beast that destroys people’s minds and replaces their brains in order to masquerade as their victim and lure even more tasty brains in time for illithid brunch. It’s the illithid pyramid scheme.
Making these buggers was easier than I expected. There’s not much putty involved. It’s all in the armature. You can pretty much pump these out with a couple hours’ work. There is a couple of design options for sculpting one. Some illustrations show a brain with arms and legs sticking out of it. Some feature dog bodies with brain heads and other concepts have even weirder designs.
My first impressions come from the 2e Illustrations which type, but strangely the body or legs were depicted dark blue.
Personally, as nostalgic as I am, I dig the 5e look.
So, with this in mind, I got the following results.