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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

Rakshasa, Raktavarna

What at first appears to be a bejeweled blade shimmers and writhes, transforming into a hideous, red-eyed serpent.

Raktavarna CR 2

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 229, Pathfinder #7: Edge of Anarchy pg. 86
XP 600
LE Tiny outsider (native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect magic; Perception +9

Defense

AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +2 size)
hp 22 (3d10+6)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +4
DR 5/good or piercing; SR 17

Offense

Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d4–2 plus poison)
Special Attacks detect thoughts (DC 13)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +8)
Constant—comprehend languages
1/day—charm person (DC 13), suggestion (DC 15)
1/week—commune (CL 12th, 6 questions)

Statistics

Str 7, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 12 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Alertness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +12, Climb +14, Disguise +16, Escape Artist +6, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +17, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +8 Disguise
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon; comprehend languages
SQ change shape (Tiny living object), master’s eyes

Ecology

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

Special Abilities

Change Shape (Su) As a full-round action, a raktavarna can take the shape of a handheld object, most often an ornamental light, a one-handed weapon, or a piece of treasure. If the rakshasa remains stationary in such a form, it can attempt Stealth checks even while being observed. It can remain motionless in object form indefinitely, but reverts to its true form as soon as it takes any action.

Master’s Eyes (Su) A raktavarna can designate a single creature as its master as a standard action. If the raktavarna is a spellcaster’s familiar, its master is automatically that spellcaster, and the raktavarna cannot change this. As a full-round action, a raktavarna’s master can observe the world as if looking through the raktavarna’s eyes. The master must concentrate to maintain this link each round. The master’s visual senses are suppressed for this time, and he uses the raktavarna’s darkvision, detect magic, and regular eyesight to observe the world. This ability has no limit on range, and functions even across planar boundaries. If the raktavarna is slain while its master is using this ability, the master is stunned for 1d4 rounds (no save).

Poison (Su) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 13; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Wis plus modify memory; cure 1 save. Each time a victim takes Wisdom damage from this poison, a modify memory effect causes the victim to forget the previous minute’s interactions with the raktavarna, as long as the raktavarna is no longer visible or is in object form. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Made up of smoke, blood, and gold, raktavarnas are the least of the rakshasas—they are born not from humanoids, but from the souls of rakshasas who failed utterly in their previous incarnation and who are thus reborn from a serpent’s egg.

These terrors drift through society, passing from hand to hand as weapons or strange tokens from foreign lands, curiosities brought home by traders and emissaries and given to leaders as tribute. In this manner the raktavarnas gain entry into corridors of power throughout the world, and what they see, their foul masters know. A raktavarna’s servitude to a master ends only when its master decrees, or (more commonly) upon the master’s death. Little disconcerts raktavarnas more than having no master, and when they are cast adrift in this manner, they seek a replacement as soon as they can.

A 7th-level lawful evil spellcaster with the Improved Familiar feat can gain a raktavarna rakshasa as a familiar.