When the githyanki, under their liberator, Gith, freed themselves from the yoke of mindflayer slavery, this branch of the race fled not to the Astral plane, but to arcane space.
Tall, emaciated beings, the pirates of Gith appear as almost skeletal humanoids with skin varying from dirty gray to dull yellow. Long, dingy-brown hair flows down their backs and over the ornate, bejeweled arms and armor they prefer to use.
The pirates of Gith can operate as fighters, mages, or fighter/mages, with limits of 11 in each class. Typically, the highest-level fighter captains the ship. This frees all the mages (single-and multiclassed) for spelljamming or combat duty.
Clerics of Gith are occasionally encountered as well (limit of 11th level). Rarely, a fighter/cleric is encountered, almost always as the captain of its ship.
When closing with a foe, the pirates use spells and any armament their ship possesses. In melee, they use a variety of weapons, with swords predominating.
Operating from small bases hidden on asteroids, the pirates strive to capture any ship that is larger, faster, or better armed than theirs. They feverishly attempt to capture any elven-made ships that come their way (see below). As a result, many elven armadas post large bounties on the heads of Gith pirates.
The pirates' greatest fury is reserved for the illithids, however. The pirates of Gith spare no expense to kill all mindflayers they find. No Gith pirate ever uses a captured illithid ship.
A ship's complement varies, but these numbers are a general guideline:
1 Captain (highest-level fighter or fighter/cleric)
1 Mate (highest-level fighter/mage or cleric)
1 Chief Spelljammer or Warlock (highest-level mage)
The rest of the crew is evenly divided among the three common class possibilities.
The pirate philosophy carries over into all aspects of life. The strongest take what they want. Each ship is very important to its crew, as it is the primary factor in determining the pecking order in a settlement. This explains the pirates' constant quest for better ships. Each settlement is ruled by force by its best ship, or a coalition of the best ships.
Extreme isolationists, the pirates of Gith live with no other races—they may even try to commit genocide on a race that settles too close to them. Over all, despite being pirates, these Gith live a structured, militaristic lifestyle.
Every adult member of this race possesses the following magical abilities, each usable three times a day: astral spell, plane shift, and ESP. All function as the spell of the same name (as cast by the lowest-level caster possible). These inherent abilities also enable the pirates to pilot ships with series helms. These abilities function only in wildspace, not in the phlogiston.
The most dangerous aspect of this race is the combination of the above abilities, the properties of major and minor spelljamming helms, and the unique organic structure of the elven-made ships. When a Gith pirate is at the helm of an elven-made ship (flitter, etc.), he may use his plane shift and astral spell abilities to shunt the entire ship, and all its contents, to the Astral plane (this uses up that pirate's astral spell and plane shift abilities for the day). This gives the pirates an escape route, and it enables them to wait in known shipping lanes, astrally hidden, before returning to the Prime Material plane to launch an attack. The Gith pirates can use only elven-made ships of less than 50 tons in this manner.
This special maneuver only works in wildspace, not in the phlogiston. That is certainly the reason the Gith pirates never pursue prey into that medium.
The Gith pirates are carnivores, pure and simple. They do not care what state, short of putrefied, the meat is in. Some of the pirate bands also engage in cannibalism.