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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, Avatarana

Instead of legs, this bald, emaciated humanoid has a second set of long, muscular arms and a leathery flap covering its face.

Avatarana CR 12

Source Occult Bestiary pg. 49
XP 19,200
LE Medium outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +20

Defense

AC 26, touch 15, flat-footed 21 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +11 natural)
hp 157 (15d10+75)
Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +11
Defensive Abilities absolute independence; DR 15/good and piercing; SR 27

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee 4 claws +21 (1d6+6 plus grab)
Special Attacks corporeal possession, detect thoughts (DC 21)
Psychic Magic (CL 12th; concentration +16)
20 PE—detect magic (0 PE), dimension door (4 PE), dispel magic (3 PE), displacement (3 PE), dominate person (5 PE, DC 19), ego whip IIIOA (5 PE, DC 19), expeditious retreat (1 PE), greater invisibility (4 PE), mage hand (0 PE), mind thrust VOA (5 PE, DC 19), misdirection (2 PE, DC 16), psychic crush IOA (5 PE, DC 19), ray of enfeeblement (1 PE, DC 15), see invisibility (2 PE), spider climb (2 PE), telekinesis (5 PE, DC 19)

Statistics

Str 22, Dex 19, Con 20, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +15; CMB +21 (+29 grapple); CMD 36 (38 vs. grapple)
Feats Dodge, Greater Grapple, Heighten Spell, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Lightning Reflexes, Step Up
Skills Bluff +26, Diplomacy +22, Disguise +30, Knowledge (religion) +19, Perception +20, Sense Motive +20, Stealth +22; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ change shape (any humanoid; alter self)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, cult (1 plus 6–36 humanoid followers)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Absolute Independence (Ex) An avatarana is immune to all charm and compulsion spells and effects as well as magic jar, possessionOA, and similar spells and abilities.

Corporeal Possession (Su) As a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, an avatarana can meld its body into that of a pinned, helpless, or willing humanoid creature adjacent to it. Seeping in through the victim’s skin like mercury, the avatarana usurps control of the body as if it controlled the target via greater possessionOA. When the avatarana leaves the possessed body, it reappears in a free space of its choice adjacent to the victim.

Description

Avatarana are among the most deformed and monstrous of rakshasas, taking that race’s corruption of the humanoid form to an unsettling extreme. Most mortals who witness these fiends in motion find them fundamentally unnerving, as their gangly limbs and awkward anatomy seem to work against each other—yet still manage to propel the creature forward with the speed of a hunting cat. A flap of taut, leathery flesh covers the face of every avatarana. While not a part of the rakshasa’s body, the covering can’t be removed—some grotesque magic fuses it to the creature’s body. Indistinct shapes are visible behind this featureless mask. Many who glimpse an avatarana get the unsettling impression that their own features lie beneath this veil, making the rakshasa’s appearance all the more unnerving. Those few grimly zealous investigators who have cut away an avatarana’s facial covering find nothing below but hollow, uneven cavities. The shapes beneath never seem to correspond with what the covering suggests.

Avataranas are rarely seen by their prey before they attack. Rather, they physically merge with unsuspecting mortals, invading their bodies and controlling them to perform terrible acts. Avataranas lust for power and they patiently work their way up social ladders, finding more impressive and influential individuals to possess. They strive to mimic the day-to-day actions of those they possess to keep up their disguises, but their viciousness increasingly shows. Only when others turn against their victims do avataranas release their control, leaving their prey to deal with the ramifications of the rakshasa’s acts.

Occasionally, avataranas employ lesser rakshasas to aid them, using these minions to perform tasks that are too demanding for mortal followers.

If forced to stand on their rear limbs, avataranas stand approximately 6 feet tall. They weigh about 125 pounds.