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Asura

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 21
Asuras are immortal beings whose origins are rooted in rejection and destruction. They are manifestations of divine accident, living blasphemies risen from mistakes made by the gods themselves. Given horrible life through these unspeakable divine errors, the asuras seek to sow doubt among mortals and ultimately revenge themselves upon the gods for their accursed existences.

Most asuras share a cohesive philosophy that culminates in nothing less than the systematic destruction of everything the gods have had a hand in creating. To this end, asuras study and meditate on the nature of creation so that they might better know how the cosmos can be unmade. The simplest among these fiends seek out the pious to torment, as well as holy places and relics to pollute with the taint of loathing and faithlessness. Once the destruction or corruption of a holy place is complete, asuras might take up residence in the area to contemplate what they have wrought and consider future misdeeds. The precise records and histories some temples keep can end up being the undoing of other bastions of faith. Thus, asuras spread.

Asuras have reason to seek places to dwell and brood, for unlike many other outsiders, the asuras have no realm to call their own. While the largest population of them dwells in the vast wildernesses of Hell, these fiends can be found throughout the Great Beyond, living anywhere they can make room for themselves. Asuras spend time plotting and nurturing their vast abhorrence of all things. They perfect arts of war and ruin. Even devils are unsafe in asura domains, because although asuras share the alignment of their hellspawned neighbors, devils are proper creatures of the extant multiverse. So consuming is asura antipathy that devils too must eventually fall for asuras to accomplish their ultimate goal.

Despite their warlike and devastating actions, most asuras have an ascetic quality and great insight into reality. They know a great deal about the cosmos. Further, little in the way of material wealth or comfort can sway them from their goals. An asura might possess treasure, probably pillaged from temples lost to asura raids, and it might have servants to see to its wants and needs. However, it values such aspects of existence only insofar as they help the asura move toward its ends.

Other asuras perfect modes of fighting or act as guardians or even extraplanar mercenaries. Such asuras become instruments of ruin, their presence antithetical to the lives of their enemies, whomever those foes might be. They rarely care whom or what they are hired to battle, so long as they can end the existence of a deity's work.

Asuras often collect and guard treasuries of looted religious relics, letting such objects serve as bait for pious heroes powerful enough to locate such treasures despite the asuras' elusive aura. The fiends know the loss of such holy objects often grieves and undermines the beliefs of common members of a faith, and so do all they can to draw out such spiritual suffering.

While an asura's individual incarnations can be slain, these fiends are nearly impossible to destroy permanently. The divine spark in them returns to the presence of mighty asura lords, the asura ranas, in Hell or elsewhere. Within a variable amount of time, usually some multiple of 7 years, a slain asura reincarnates as a weaker asura. A truly devoted asura that died in service to the asura cause might be given its old form at the cost of some of the asura rana's essence. Reincarnated asuras remember their past lives, their origins, and any enemy who has wronged them, and while their appearances and resources change, their thirst for revenge is eternal.

Rarely, however, contemplation on the nature of the multiverse or a desire for something more than eternal strife causes an asura to choose a different course. Such asuras meditate to become closer to that which they once sought to destroy, purifying themselves of their soul-burning hatred. Redeemed asuras are seldom good or religious, but they do wander the planes, dispensing wisdom and working against wanton destruction. Evil asuras loathe these traitors, and seek them out to destroy them with teeming fervor.

Known Asura Ranas

Asuras can grow mighty indeed in their endless cycle of reincarnation. The most powerful among them are the asura ranas who dwell in ruined holy places, abandoned deific domains, or in the wilds of Hell. These potent fiends have unique forms, and can demand anything of lesser members of their race, as they are revered as sages and profane bodhisattvas. They usually dwell in places that allow them to deny devotees of the deities access to holy objects or sites. The following list includes several asura ranas named in myth and tales of woe.
  • Andak the Dismembered
  • Bohga the Treasurer
  • Chugarra the Guru of Butchers
  • Chupurvagasti, Lady of Poison Mist
  • Gavidya the Numberless
  • Hydim of the Eternal Fast
  • Ioramvol with the Mouth Full of Boulders
  • Maeha, Father of False Worlds
  • Onamahli the Twice Pure
  • Rahu the Sun Eater
  • Rytara, Serpent of the Eastern Eye
  • Taraksun, Awakener of Wrath
  • Zurapadyn, the Beast Who Waits in Smoke

Creatures in "Asura" Category

NameCR
Adhukait7
Aghasura11
Asurendra20
Hishandura15
Japalisura12
Nikaramsa14
Tripurasura2
Upasunda9
Vayuphak5

Asura, Japalisura

This lithe, six-armed humanoid has tusks that curve from his chin and carries a pair of bows.

Japalisura CR 12

Source Pathfinder #136: Temple of the Peacock Spirit pg. 84
XP 19,200
LE Medium outsider (asura, evil, extraplanar, lawful)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see invisibility; Perception +25
Aura elusive (75 ft.)

Defense

AC 27, touch 17, flat-footed 20 (+7 Dex, +10 natural)
hp 147 (14d10+70); regeneration 5 (good spells, good weapons)
Fort +9, Ref +16, Will +13; +2 vs. enchantment
DR 10/good; Immune curse effects, disease, poison; Resist acid 10, electricty 10; SR 23

Offense

Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee mwk handaxe +16/+11/+6 (1d6+3/×3), mwk handaxe +16/+11 (1d6+1/×3)
Ranged +1 composite shortbow +22/+17/+12 (1d6+4/×3) or +1 composite shortbows +20/+20/+15/+15/+10 (1d6+4/×3)
Special Attacks dual bows
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +17)
Constant—see invisibility
At will—augury, flame arrow
3/day—arcane sight, divination
1/day—summon (level 5, 1d3 adhukaits 50% or 1 <%Upasunda">upasunda 30%), true seeing, vision

Statistics

Str 17, Dex 24, Con 21, Int 14, Wis 19, Cha 16
Base Atk +14; CMB +17; CMD 34
Feats Deadly Aim, Deflect ArrowsB, Improved Precise Shot, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Snatch ArrowsB, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Acrobatics +24 (+28 when jumping), Bluff +20, Climb +21, Escape Artist +23, Knowledge (planes) +12, Perception +25, Profession (soothsayer) +21, Sense Motive +21, Spellcraft +9, Stealth +24; Racial Modifiers +6 Escape Artist, +4 Perception
Languages Common, Infernal; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ hateful prophecy, infernal arrows, selective nondetection

Ecology

Environment any (Hell)
Organization solitary, pair, or foreboding (3-5)
Treasure standard (2 +1 composite shortbows [+3 Str], 2 mwk handaxes, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Dual Bows (Ex) A japalisura can simultaneously wield two bows of any type. When it makes a full attack with both bows, the penalties for fighting with two weapons apply and can be offset with feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting. The japalisura can apply extra attacks from other sources, such as Manyshot or Rapid Shot, to only one of its bows per round. For the purpose of calculating the penalties for fighting with two weapons, a japalisura treats shortbows and composite shortbows as light weapons, and it treats other bows as one-handed weapons.

Hateful Prophecy (Sp) A japalisura can cast augury or divination for a willing creature, in which case the spell provides information that pertains to that creature’s future rather than that of the asura. Upon completing the casting of the spell-like ability, the japalisura can attempt a Profession (soothsayer) check opposed by the creature’s Sense Motive check. If successful, the japalisura twists the prophecy in such a way to convey impending violence or betrayal, subjecting the creature to the effects of vengeful outrage with an indicated enemy of the asura’s choice. The creature can resist the vengeful outrage effect with a successful DC 20 Will saving throw. The save DC is Charisma-based. Infernal Arrows (Su) As a swift action, a japalisura with at least one free hand can create 10 mundane arrows. It can have no more than 20 such arrows in existence at a time, and its arrows are always destroyed when fired, whether they hit their target or not. Selective Nondetection (Su) A japalisura automatically succeeds at caster level checks to bypass its elusive aura.

Description

Thinking her divine realm so glorious that all must envy it, a goddess once sought a powerful oracle to identify her enemies. The oracle told her that she had no reason to fear invaders, for her death and ruin would come from the covetous barbs of enemies within. Distressed, the goddess returned to her palace, scoured her halls for any such traitors, and at last came upon her three demigod children practicing archery. Certain that her children would one day slay her, she tore them to pieces and cast their bodies and bows far from her realm. The first japalisura formed from these eviscerated remains.

A japalisura is 7 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds.

Ecology

Despite having a single mind to control many limbs, japalisuras are exceptionally dexterous and capable of performing numerous tasks simultaneously. They easily operate two bows at once, smoothly alternating between reloading and firing. Japalisuras never want for ammunition, plucking arrows from the air as if drawing them from some invisible quiver. It’s unclear from where exactly these arrows originate, although every japalisura’s ammunition shares the same fletching and design. One theory is that these asuras are drawing replicas of the arrows carried by the slain demigods, though effects that inhibit summoning don’t impede their ability to draw forth these arrows in any way.

Japalisuras have a knack for extracting embarrassing truths from the universe, hatefully manipulating their prophecies as though they were independent or even in defiance of conventional soothsaying. Where magic fails, they are adept at reading humanoid emotions, making up attractive lies and pandering to biases to confirm their clients’ worst fears and prejudices.

Habitat and Society

Like most asuras, japalisuras favor temples and churches as their lairs. The more a location is associated with prophecy, the better. As a result, japalisuras often settle in and around druids’ groves, oracular caves, cyclops lairs, and the like, especially if those locations continue to attract the occasional pilgrim seeking answers. This makes abandoned sacred sites of Magdh, Pharasma, and Sivanah especially attractive. Japalisuras take a special delight in identifying perilous romantic relationships, posing as servants of Naderi and stealthily presenting at least one of the lovers with predictions of future difficulties to encourage self-destructive behavior.

Japalisuras know that their fearsome miens tend to distress visitors, yet the asuras lack any supernatural means of disguising themselves. Instead, many japalisuras favor hiding out of sight and dealing with visitors from behind screens or within darkened alcoves. In these circumstances, the asura rarely emerges unless doing so would convince a reticent visitor to cooperate or if necessary to destroy someone who poses a threat to the asura’s ongoing operations. Rarely, a japalisura operates openly, relying on either its reputation or its monstrous allure to attract disciples. Such is the case for Holkomion of Iblydos, who claims to have rediscovered the sacred art of mythspeaking. At least one warrior claims to have attained mythic power as a result of Holkomion’s guidance, yet most find that the japalisura’s prophecies in fact direct petitioners to assassinate hero-gods.

More often, a japalisura maintains a small cult to communicate its oracular guidance. A japalisura accepts only the most devout followers into such coteries. With such humanoid puppets, the asura can dispense divinations telepathically without having to show itself. These cults take myriad forms but typically operate outside of large population centers to avoid too much scrutiny. The japalisura Zalmiac poses as the Varisian harrower Madame Vhelanosz, virtually never leaving the wagon from which she interprets her cards. Her pernicious prophecies have incited scores of murders—especially against Desnans and Pharasmins, whom she goads into killing each other—and her loyal cohort of ex-Sczarni assistants ensure nobody asks too many of the wrong questions.