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Rakshasa

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 224
Rakshasas are born on the Material Plane, but they are not of it. They possess the powers and shapes of fiends, but their fates are inexorably tied to the mortal world, and it is there that they seek to rule. The reincarnations of manipulators, traitors, and tyrants obsessed with earthly pleasures, rakshasas are the embodiments of the very nature of materialistic evil. After dying violent deaths, these spirits are so tied to worldly decadence and selfish concerns that they take shapes that better reflect the baseness of their lives and are reborn as fiends. Thus have sages come to know these beings as the “earthbound evils.”

While there are many different types of rakshasas, from the lowly raktavarna to the powerful maharaja, the most commonly encountered members of this race are not known by any other name—they are more powerful than some members of their kind and less powerful than others, and represent the ideal midpoint between servitor and master. These rakshasas can be recognized by their animal heads (those of great cats, snakes, crocodiles, apes, and birds of prey being the most common) and backward-facing hands. Feral traits and strangely reversed joints are a hallmark of all types of rakshasas, in fact, features that most rakshasas can hide through their supernatural ability to change shapes or by means of powerful illusions.

A rakshasa cannot impregnate another of its own kind, and so new rakshasas come into being via the coupling of a rakshasa and a non-rakshasa or, rarely, that of two non-rakshasas. A rakshasa born to non-rakshasa parents generally only occurs when one or both of the parents commits a great evil during the mother's pregnancy, allowing the disembodied spirit of a previously slain rakshasa to reincarnate into the world by usurping the unborn offspring's body. Rarely, such blasphemous births afflict good or innocent parents, typically in cases where the parents are exposed to great evils beyond their control. A rakshasa grows to maturity more quickly than a human, and often functions as a full-grown adult earlier than age 14. Despite this quick maturation, a rakshasa can live for 500 years or more before dying, at which point its spirit seeks a new host to be reborn in, continuing the vile cycle of fiendish reincarnation over and over again.

Rakshasas believe that each and every creature in the universe has a proper role to play, and that success comes from understanding one's position and working to improve it. Rakshasas don't see castes as good or evil, but rather as purely pragmatic. Creatures of higher caste should be respected for their great power, and those of lower caste should be pressed into willing service to expand the holdings of those of higher castes as their betters seek greater wealth and influence.

There are seven castes in rakshasa society (from lowest to greatest): pagala (traitors), goshta (food), adhura (novices), darshaka (servants), paradeshi (rakshasa-kin), hakima (lords), and samrata (lords of lords). The rakshasa caste system encompasses not just all of rakshasa society, but all of life—although only rakshasas can attain the stations of darshaka and above.

While rakshasas are forced to admit that the gods have powers greater than their own, most rakshasas scoff at the concept of divinity as a whole. The gods are among the most powerful beings in existence, to be sure, but too many examples of powerful, ambitious, or merely lucky mortals attaining divinity exist for rakshasas to pay religious homage to such creatures. Rakshasas see their own transitions from mortals to otherworldly beings as marks of their own fathomless potential and their initial steps on the path to godhood. Thus, as a race, rakshasas deny the worship of deities, although they welcome alliances with the servants of such peerlessly potent beings when it serves their purposes.

The skin of a rakshasa is remarkably resistant to physical damage, able to ignore or greatly reduce most weapon attacks. Holy weapons capable of piercing this skin, however, can reach a rakshasa's vitals and do significant damage. As a result, in lands where their kind are well known, rakshasas take great pains to disguise themselves with magic when they are among enemies.

Rakshasa Immortals

The rakshasa immortals are rakshasas who have ascended beyond mortality—they are no longer bound to the cycle of reincarnation and rebirth most rakshasas endure, and are truly immortal. Such creatures, given the span of countless lifetimes to perfect their art and master their cruelties, approach the power of gods. The following list includes several (but by no means all) rakshasa immortals known to the world. Among them, Ravana is the greatest and most ancient.
  • Aksha of the Second Breath
  • Bundha the Singing Butcher
  • Caera the Blood Bather
  • Dradjit the Godslayer
  • Hudima the Kinslayer
  • Jyotah, He Who Walks Among the Gods
  • Kunkarna the Dream Warrior
  • Mursha the Beastmaster
  • Otikaya the Spirit Archer
  • Prihasta, General Between Heaven and Hell
  • Ravana, The First and Last
  • Surpa the Avenger
  • Vibhishah the Seeker
  • Zabha the Desecrator

Creatures in "Rakshasa" Category

NameCR
Amanusya6
Avatarana12
Dandasuka5
Marai8
Orsatka13
Rakshasa10
Rakshasa Maharaja20
Raktavarna2
Tataka15
Zalyakavat13

Rakshasa, Amanusya

This lithe dancer would be beautiful were it not for her clawed hands, backward-facing head, and long, lolling tongue.

Amanusya CR 6

Source Occult Bestiary pg. 48
XP 2,400
LE Medium outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

Defense

AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 66 (7d10+28)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +6
DR 5/good or piercing; SR 21

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +11 (1d4+2)
Special Attacks detect thoughts (DC 17), sneak attack +3d6
Psychic Magic (CL 4th; concentration +8)
5 PE—babbleOA (2 PE, DC 16), blur (2 PE), deja vuOA (1 PE, DC 15), hideous laughter (1 PE, DC 15), hold person (2 PE, DC 16), hypnotism (1 PE, DC 15), id insinuation IOA (2 PE, DC 16), paranoiaOA (1 PE, DC 15)

Statistics

Str 15, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 18
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 23
Feats Nimble Moves, Skill Focus (Perform [dance]), Step Up, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +14 (+18 when jumping), Bluff +18, Disguise +22, Escape Artist +14, Perception +11, Perform (dance) +17, Stealth +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon
SQ beguiling dance, change shape (any humanoid; alter self), swift change

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or troupe (3–8)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Beguiling Dance (Ex) An amanusya can attempt a Perform (dance) skill check in place of a concentration check to cast defensively or in place of an Acrobatics check to move through threatened squares. Once per round, when an amanusya succeeds at a Perform (dance) check to move through a square threatened by a foe, she can immediately attempt a feint against that foe as a free action.

Swift Change (Su) An amanusya can change shape as a swift action, but only when revealing her true form.

Description

Among the most gregarious of rakshasas, amanusyas walk among mortals, learning their dreams and turning their desires against them. Amanusyas are seducers who often adopt the guise of entertainers or holy people from distant, exotic sects. The basest among them might tempt any mortal into lives of depravity, but the eldest, most experienced amanusyas seek to lure the most pure-hearted souls into debauchery and apostasy. They consider themselves keen observers and connoisseurs of mortal vice. Amanusyas might watch worthy victims for months before engaging them. When they do, though, their approaches are subtle and their promises calculated. They use guarantees of fame, wealth, pleasure, and a better life as tools to poison mortal minds with grand ambitions, endlessly assuring them that one more contrivance, one more broken vow, one more heist, or one more blasphemy will secure true greatness that, of course, never comes.

Like many rakshasas, amanusyas dwell in urban environments. They prefer places where they can easily blend in and observe potential victims, such as markets, theaters, fairs, and even temple grounds. When amanusyas find that the time is right, they affect “chance” meetings with their prey. Amanusyas’ lairs are usually the former homes of victims, decorated with defiled religious items and the preserved bodies of any kills too pretty to consume.

Amanusyas often form troupes for mutual protection and to be able to take down dangerous and crafty opponents. They loathe serving more powerful rakshasas, but are sometimes blackmailed or bribed to work as infiltrators and assassins. They see most mortals as food and playthings, though according to an old Vudran folktale, once in a millennia, an amanusya actually falls in love with a mortal. These unions never end well, however.

Amanusya rakshasas can produce offspring only with humanoids of Medium size. Their children become full-blooded amanusyas who, in their true forms, strongly resemble their humanoid parents. This physical reminder of corruption often pushes the mortal parents over the edge—they succumb to whatever heinous temptations are offered by both their lovers and their offspring. The most powerful amanusyas are born from unions with devout followers of good deities. Most amanusyas are female, but one in a dozen is male.

An amanusya stands 5-1/2 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds.