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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, Zalyakavat

This sinewy humanoid with putrid green skin and a grotesque, shrew-like snout wears little more than a colorful silk sarong and a thin, flexible blade worn as a belt.

Zalyakavat CR 13

Source Pathfinder #130: City in the Lion's Eye pg. 90
XP 25,600
LE Medium outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +24

Defense

AC 28, touch 17, flat-footed 21 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +11 natural)
hp 178 (17d10+85)
Fort +15, Ref +16, Will +11
DR 15/good and piercing; SR 28

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee +2 urumi +24/+19/+14/+9 (1d8+6/15–20)
Space 5 ft., Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with urumi)
Special Attacks detect thoughts (DC 20), urumi forms
Spells Known (CL 10 ft; concentration +12)
5th (3/day)—wall of stone (DC 17)
4th (5/day)—dimension door, ice storm
3rd (6/day)—dispel magic, lightning bolt (DC 15), protection from energy
2nd (7/day)—blur, darkness, knock, see invisibility
1st (7/day)—expeditious retreat, identify, mage armor, magic aura, ray of enfeeblement (DC 13)
0 (at will)—acid splash, bleed (DC 12), detect magic, ghost sound (DC 12), mage hand, mending, message, open/close, read magic

Statistics

Str 19, Dex 22, Con 21, Int 16, Wis 18, Cha 15
Base Atk +17; CMB +21; CMD 38
Feats Acrobatic Steps, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (urumi), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Nimble Moves, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (urumi)
Skills Acrobatics +26 (+30 when jumping), Bluff +26, Disguise +30, Knowledge (arcana, local) +23, Perception +24, Sense Motive +24, Spellcraft +20, Stealth +26; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon
SQ change shape (any humanoid; alter self), inconspicuous urumi, urumi affinity

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or muster (3-6)
Treasure standard (+2 urumi, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Inconspicuous Urumi (Su) A zalyakavat can wear an urumi in its belt slot and draw it as a free action. While wearing an urumi in its belt slot, the zalyakavat gains a bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks equal to the weapon’s enhancement bonus, if any. If the urumi has an enhancement bonus of +2 or higher, the zalyakavat also gains the benefit of nondetection with a caster level equal to the zalyakavat’s caster level plus the weapon’s enhancement bonus.

Spells A zalyakavat casts spells as a 10th-level sorcerer.

Urumi Affinity (Su) A zalyakavat doesn’t drop its urumi when panicked or stunned, and it treats its reach with an urumi as 5 feet greater than normal.

Urumi Forms (Su) When holding an urumi in one paw and carrying nothing in its other, a zalyakavat can expend unused spell slots to activate a variety of special abilities and weapon modifications known collectively as urumi forms. Activating an urumi form is a swift action, and the zalyakavat cannot cast spells during a round in which it activates one. Whenever the zalyakavat activates an urumi form, in addition to the other effects below, the zalyakavat gains the benefit of freedom of movement until the start of its next turn. The zalyakavat can select from the following urumi forms, each of which last until the start of the zalyakavat’s next turn.

Contingent Strikes: A zalyakavat can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher to imbue an urumi it wields with a single magic weapon special ability. The special ability is added to any the weapon already has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. The zalyakavat can select from the following special abilities. 1st-level slot—corrosive, flaming, frost, ghost touch, shock; 2nd-level slot— axiomatic, corrosive burst, flaming burst, icy burst, shocking burst, unholy, wounding; 3rd-level slot—speed; 4th-level slot—brilliant energy; 5th-level slot—vorpal. Imbued magic weapon special abilities do not function for any creature other than the zalyakavat.

Deft Strikes: A zalyakavat can expend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher to gain Improved Disarm and Improved Trip as bonus feats, as well as a competence bonus on disarm and trip attempts equal to the level of the spell slot expended.

Dispelling Strikes: By expending a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, a zalyakavat can disrupt magic with an urumi it wields, causing any creature struck by the zalyakavat’s urumi to be the subject of a targeted dispel magic with a caster level equal to the zalyakavat’s caster level plus the level of the spell slot expended. A creature can be the subject of only one such targeted dispel per use of this ability, but if the urumi strikes more than one creature, each creature struck is subject to the dispelling effect.

Garrote Whip: A zalyakavat can expend a spell slot of 4th level or higher to make an urumi it wields longer and more flexible. The zalyakavat’s reach with the weapon increases by 5 feet, and the zalyakavat can attempt to strike and strangle a single target as a standard action. The zalyakavat makes a melee attack at its highest bonus. On a successful hit, the attack deals damage as normal, and the zalyakavat can attempt a combat maneuver check against the target’s CMD as a free action. This combat maneuver does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If the maneuver succeeds, the target takes an additional 1d8 points of damage plus the zalyakavat’s Strength modifier and must succeed at a DC 22 Fortitude save or fall unconscious for 1d4 rounds. This ability works only on creatures that breathe and have a discernible neck. The save DC is Strength-based.

Whip of Many Blades: A zalyakavat can expend a 5th-level spell slot to cause extra blades to sprout from the hilt of an urumi it wields. When the zalyakavat makes a full attack with the weapon, it can make two extra attacks at its highest base attack bonus. This benefit is not cumulative with similar effects, such as haste.

Description

Shrew-faced rakshasas with a lust for physical combat, zalyakavats are spiritually and magically bound to their weapon of choice, the urumi. Fueling their whip-like swords with arcane power, they perform astonishing feats of martial prowess. To sate their lust for swordplay, zalyakavats continually seek opponents to challenge.

A zalyakavat stands 6 and a half feet tall and weighs around 170 pounds.

Ecology

When the most ruthless and dishonorable of warriors dies in ignominy, their vile spirits are reborn as zalyakavats, usually to a rakshasa mother. Even in infancy, zalyakavats dream of slashing their enemies and drawing blood. In these dreams, they always wield an urumi, and zalyakavats become obsessed with the flexible blades as they mature.

As rakshasas, zalyakavats are selfish and power-hungry, but unlike many of their kind, they desire the thrill and frenzy of violent combat more than material wealth. They are not reckless, however, and use guile and magic to stack the odds in their favor.

Habitat and Society

Zalyakavats typically reside in urban areas, often maintaining homes or hideouts in several different cities. Their lairs are less opulent than those of many rakshasas, though still lavish by most humanoid standards. Individual zalyakavats have different and sometimes eccentric proclivities when it comes to selecting opponents, and they plan their guises accordingly. For example, a zalyakavat who prefers to victimize haughty nobles might operate as a silk merchant or purveyor of fine jewelry, while one who favors dueling with seasoned veterans might pose as a traveling noble to employ such men-at-arms as unsuspecting caravan guards. After slaying an opponent, a zalyakavat often plucks a valuable or gruesome trinket from the corpse to serve as a reminder of the encounter and as a decoration for one of its lairs.

Zalyakavats rarely interact with other types of rakshasas. When convenient or unavoidable, they might serve maharajas or rakshasa immortals as warriors or bodyguards, but a zalyakavat remains forever preoccupied with its desire for melee combat and is thus an unreliable soldier. On rare occasions, zalyakavats gather to participate in prearranged contests of arms. Zalyakavats almost never fight each other in these events, instead coercing or tricking unfortunate mortals into their hidden arenas to serve as opponents. From plush divans surrounding the arena, zalyakavats watch each other take turns fighting the unlucky souls as entertainment.