Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder | Starfinder

All | Unique
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Families | Templates | Types | Subtypes | Universal Monster Rules


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, Dandasuka

This small creature looks like a well-dressed and jewelry-bedecked fiendish gnome, its face mostly mouth and fangs.

Dandasuka CR 5

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 225
XP 1,600
LE Small outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +9

Defense

AC 19, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +3 natural, +1 size)
hp 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +6
DR 5/good or piercing; SR 20

Offense

Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d6+1 plus bleed), 2 claws +8 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks bleed 1d4, detect thoughts (DC 15), sneak attack +1d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +7)
1/day—clairaudience/clairvoyance
Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +4)
1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 13), ventriloquism (DC 13)
0 (at will)—bleed (DC 12), daze (DC 12), detect magic, ghost sound (DC 12), mage hand

Statistics

Str 13, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD 21
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack
Skills Acrobatics +10, Bluff +15, Climb +10, Disguise +19, Perception +9, Sense Motive +10, Sleight of Hand +10, Stealth +17; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon
SQ change shape (any humanoid; alter self)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or murder (3–10)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Spells A dandasuka casts arcane spells as a 2nd-level sorcerer.

Description

Dandasukas, also known as “biters” among rakshasas, serve as spies and assassins. They often appear as part of a rakshasa’s retinue or secret network. Born to manipulate and murder, they revel in their work and delight in the sight of blood. Thus, dandasukas go about their work cheerfully, laughing as they manipulate foes and butcher victims.

All dandasukas are restless and energetic. They crave activity and entertainment, preferring the sick and cruel to conventional fare. Dandasuka pranks are rarely amusing for the victim.

Monstrous hunger gnaws at the hyperactive dandasuka’s body, making the creature crave humanoid flesh and blood. When such blood is spilled, a dandasuka is often not able to contain its fiendish appetite. It might lick a bloody blade, lap up fallen drops, or even take a bite out of a fallen foe at the expense of a more tactically sound option in a fight. A dandasuka settles for other meat when it must, but it always prefers humanoid flesh.

Murder and mayhem are not the only duties of a dandasuka. Stronger rakshasas dispatch dandasukas as emissaries and servants to allies. Despite their usual disorderly habits, they bargain good-naturedly and in good faith, only implying dire consequences for noncompliance. Dandasuka negotiators efficiently take care of impasses if no favorable resolution can be reached. Similarly, dandasuka retainers serving rakshasa allies curb their fiendish ways as best they can, though their employers would still do well to keep them amused and fed. One has to be careful of keeping dandasukas too pleased, however, since they are known to take unwanted initiative because of off-hand remarks, such as idle wishes that a certain person were dead.

Dandasuka greed extends from amusements and food to wealth. All dandasukas love comfort, fine clothing, and shiny baubles. Most of them wear as much jewelry as they possibly can without looking ridiculous, and some cross that line. A dandasuka is 3 feet tall and weighs 55 pounds.