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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, Rakshasa Maharaja

Impeccably dressed and bedecked in exotic jewelry, this fiend holds an ornate saber in its backward-facing hands.

Rakshasa Maharaja CR 20

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 226, Pathfinder #9: Escape from Old Korvosa pg. 86
XP 307,200
LE Medium outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +13; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +31

Defense

AC 37, touch 24, flat-footed 27 (+4 deflection, +9 Dex, +1 dodge, +13 natural)
hp 310 (20d10+200)
Fort +16, Ref +21, Will +18
DR 20/good and piercing; SR 35

Offense

Speed 40 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee +3 falchion +31/+26/+21/+16 (2d4+15/15–20), 4 bites +23 (1d6+4)
Special Attacks detect thoughts (DC 29), extra initiative
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th; concentration +27)
Constant—comprehend languages, tongues
At will—clairaudience/clairvoyance
1/day—dominate monster (DC 28)
Spells Known (CL 18th; concentration +27)
9th (4/day)—weird (DC 28)
8th (6/day)—greater shadow evocation, mind blank
7th (7/day)—greater shadow conjuration, mass invisibility, spell turning
6th (7/day)—greater dispel magic, mass suggestion (DC 25), true seeing
5th (8/day)—baleful polymorph (DC 24), feeblemind (DC 24), mind fog (DC 24), teleport
4th (8/day)—charm monster (DC 23), dimension door, lesser globe of invulnerability, scrying
3rd (8/day)—dispel magic, nondetection, suggestion (DC 22), vampiric touch (DC 22)
2nd (8/day)—darkness, knock, misdirection (DC 21), resist energy, see invisibility
1st (9/day)—charm person (DC 20), identify, mage armor, magic missile, ventriloquism (DC 20)
0 (at will)—arcane mark, bleed (DC 19), daze (DC 19), detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic

Statistics

Str 27, Dex 28, Con 30, Int 25, Wis 22, Cha 29
Base Atk +20; CMB +28; CMD 52
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Hover, Improved Critical (falchion), Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quicken Spell, Silent Spell, Still Spell
Skills Acrobatics +27 (+31 when jumping), Appraise +25, Bluff +35, Diplomacy +30, Disguise +30, Fly +31, Intimidate +30, Knowledge (arcana, history, nobility, religion) +25, Perception +31, Sense Motive +27, Spellcraft +25, Stealth +30; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise, +4 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal, Undercommon; comprehend languages, tongues
SQ change shape (any humanoid; alter self)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure double (+3 falchion, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Extra Initiative (Su) When an encounter starts, a maharaja rolls twice for initiative. The maharaja acts normally on the higher of the two initiative counts each round. On the lower initiative count, the maharaja can take a single standard action.

Spells A maharaja casts arcane spells as an 18th-level sorcerer.

Description

All rakshasas aspire to power, but there are those for whom this hunger is more than an obsession: It’s a birthright. Legends among the rakshasas tell of the maharajas—those rakshasas whose depredations and acts of cruelty have elevated them above others of their kind and allowed them to reincarnate as embodiments of every myth, fable, and cautionary tale involving the beast-headed fiends. Accorded the respect and deference of their lessers, maharajas inspire one emotion within the rakshasa race that few can: fear.

A maharaja rakshasa emerges only after a rakshasa of great power and influence has spent several lives as a member of the samrata, the height of the rakshasa’s social-spiritual caste system. When a rakshasa ascends to maharaja status, others of its kind take notice, with rakshasas coming from far and wide to serve even a young maharaja—eager to curry its favor at an early age. The birth of a maharaja denotes that great change is imminent: The maharaja will fulfill some terrible destiny, found a lasting nation of rakshasas, undergo some manner of divine ascension, or defeat some greater foe and commandeer its domain, often splitting the region into large enough chunks for its lieutenants and servants to claim and still have room to expand. It is rare in the extreme for more than a handful of maharajas to emerge in the same century.

So great is a maharaja’s power and influence and so long is its life that one can spend most of its time enjoying the luxury of its years of toil. When not manipulating armies or the machinations of lesser rakshasas, it can often be found surrounded by the most beautiful of its servitors—often charmed or dominated humanoids, or, if the maharaja is powerful enough, good-aligned outsiders—lounging in opulence.

The lair of a maharaja is typically a glorious, decadent mansion. After decades or centuries of work, gold filigree decorates the columns, and great friezes embossed with rakshasa myths and folklore decorate the walls. Rather than couches or divans, luxurious pillows stuffed with exotic feathers and crafted from the hides of even rarer creatures serve for furniture, and all about hang the trophies of a centuries-long life of tyranny: the crowns of defeated rulers, the wealth of ruined countries, and the heads of failed lieutenants.

A maharaja’s great experience and power, however, does not make it immune to or ignorant of threats. Disloyal servants, powerful kings, ambitious rivals, and meddling adventurers all might step forth to challenge a maharaja’s rule. To that end, a maharaja employs devious methods to ensure its own safety, with assassination, false rumors, and illusory doubles serving as useful tools to ferret out threats. Wary of attack and often with wide territories to control, most rakshasa maharajas have several secluded palaces and lavish redoubts, and travel among them endlessly.

Rakshasa Rajadhirajas

Each maharaja is unique, the process of its evolution granting it strengths and weaknesses that differentiate the being from all before it. Over its lifetimes, its path teaches it myriad lessons and grants distinctive powers. A typical maharaja is a master of divination, enchantment, and illusion. Other maharajas master various other techniques, such as necromancy or conjuration. As a maharaja continues to grow in malignant might, its powers outstrip those even of its peers. It might ultimately ascend to the rank of rajadhiraja—a king of kings.

Even more so than the maharajas, the rajadhirajas are unique beings. A rajadhiraja is never lower than CR 21—most have additional racial Hit Dice beyond the standard maharaja. Each additional racial Hit Die granted increases the rakshasa’s CR by +1, but also increases its effective sorcerer caster level by +1 and grants a new spell-like ability that follows that rakshasa’s personal theme and philosophy. A rajadhiraja that fancies itself a master of space and time might gain the ability to use greater teleport three times per day or the use of time stop once per day, while one who sees itself as a master of forms might gain the ability to use shapechange once per day or polymorph at will. A master of combat might instead gain additional damaging spell-like abilities. The type of new spell-like abilities the rakshasa gains can be selected as needed—8th- and 9th-level spells should be usable once per day, 5th- through 7th-level spells usable three times per day, and spells lower than 5th level at will, though even these guidelines can be adjusted as you see fit to make a more interesting rajadhiraja.

The cycle of reincarnation and the faint memories it imparts provide rajadhirajas with the distinct power to manipulate life and death according to this cycle. A rajadhiraja can use its mastery of reincarnation to alter these cycles for other creatures, and as a result, all rajadhirajas gain the following special ability in addition to their other powers.

Reincarnate (Su): Once per day as a standard action, a rajadhiraja can bring a dead creature back to life as if using the reincarnate spell, except that the target must have been dead less than 1 day and can have been killed by a death effect. As with any effect that restores life to a creature, the reincarnating creature can choose not to be reincarnated if it wishes, but if it does allow the effect to happen, it returns to life at full capacity, as if restored via true resurrection in a new form. Some rajadhirajas slay their own allies in combat, then use this ability to in order to allow the allies to continue the battle in a new body. The new form granted by this effect can be any form within one size category of the dead creature’s original size—the exact form of this new body is chosen by the rajadhiraja. Use the results listed in the Core Rulebook for the reincarnate spell as guidelines for determining the new body’s physical ability score adjustments.