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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

This figure’s backward-bending fingers and its bestial, snarling visage leave little doubt as to its fiendish nature.

Rakshasa CR 10

Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 231
XP 9,600
LE Medium outsider (native, shapechanger)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14

Defense

AC 25, touch 16, flat-footed 19 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +9 natural)
hp 115 (10d10+60)
Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +8
DR 15/good and piercing; SR 25

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee +1 kukri +16/+11 (1d4+4/15–20), claw +10 (1d4+1), bite +10 (1d6+1)
Special Attacks detect thoughts
Spells Known (CL 7th)
3rd (5/day)—lightning bolt (DC 16), suggestion (DC 16)
2nd (7/day)—acid arrow, invisibility, minor image
1st (7/day)—charm person (DC 14), mage armor, magic missile, shield, silent image
0—dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 13), mage hand, mending, message, prestidigitation

Statistics

Str 16, Dex 20, Con 22, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 17
Base Atk +10; CMB +13; CMD 29
Feats Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Critical (kukri), Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +20, Diplomacy +16, Disguise +24, Perception +14, Perform +16, Sense Motive +14, Stealth +18; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon
SQ change shape (any humanoid, alter self)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or cult (3–12)
Treasure double (+1 kukri, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Detect Thoughts (Su) A rakshasa can detect thoughts as per the spell of the same name (CL 18th). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. When a rakshasa uses this ability, it always functions as if it had spent three rounds concentrating and thus gains the maximum amount of information possible. A creature can resist this effect with a DC 18 Will save. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Description

The rakshasa is an evil spirit that cloaks itself in the guise of a humanoid creature that it might walk unseen among its prey. They embody what is taboo among most societies, and in the shape of those it seeks to defile, a rakshasa gorges itself on these hideous acts. Were they human, these acts of cannibalism, blasphemy, and worse would mark them as criminals condemned to the cruelest of hells.

When not disguised as a humanoid, the otherwise humanoid rakshasa has the head of an animal. Often, they possess the heads of great cats (such as a tiger or panther) or a snake (like a cobra or viper), yet other heads are not unknown—apes, jackals, vultures, elephants, mantises, lizards, rhinos, boars, and more are possible. In most cases, the type of head a rakshasa possesses speaks in some way to its personality—a tiger-headed rakshasa is stealthy and ravenous, while a boar-headed one might be gluttonous and crude. These changes rarely impact the rakshasa’s base statistics, although there are more powerful variants of the standard rakshasa that possess multiple heads, more potent spellcasting powers, and additional deadly and unusual special abilities.

Rakshasas scoff at religion—they understand the power of the divine, but see themselves as the only thing worthy of worship from the mortal races. Rakshasa clerics are thus quite rare. Although rakshasas are outsiders, they are also very much creatures of the Material Plane, and many believe the first rakshasas chose this exile over some other role offered them by a long-forgotten god. Although they usually work alone, it isn’t unheard of to find extended families of rakshasas working together to ruin a mortal civilization from the inside out over the course of many generations. A rakshasa is 6 feet tall and weighs 180 lbs.