(Hinduism, Sanskrit)

In the Ramayana, and other Hindu mythology, a demon, c.f. Asura. A being endowed with inhuman strength and capacity to do anything. Usually his mental make-up was such that he preferred evil to good, hence becoming an asura.

The rakshasa is a traditional fantasy monster. It is based upon Hindu legend, from there it made its way into the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game, and has found its way into video games and fantasy fiction since then.

The rakshasa are a highly organized evil race of spirits that take the form of humanoid animals. Each rakshasa is unique and may take after any animal, but tigers and monkey based appearances are the most common. The animal base of each rakshasa seems to be almost random and does not follow any sort of genetics at all.

Rakshasa prefer to subsist on a diet of human flesh, and they go to great lengths to get it. The most common method of hunting involves using their formidable mental abilities to disguise themselves as a trusted friend or companion. They usually only keep that ruse up long enough to get the victim alone, and then they will strike.

In addition to their mental powers the rakshasa are almost all natural spellcasters as well. Most of them have natural claws and teeth, and those that do not tend to wield weapons, with curved swords being the most popular.

What makes the rakshasa particularly dangerous is that they cannot be affected by most magical spells, and they can only be hurt by magical weapons. Unfortunately they do have a weakness in that any crossbow bolt blessed by a priest will kill them instantly.

The rakshasa are an honorable race in their own way and are very devoted to their own dark gods. But they see humans as nothing more than livestock and thus their honor does not apply to any dealings they might have with humanity.

Rakshasa usually tend to live in great colorful tents, although in some places they will be more permanently set up in ornate palaces instead. They prefer to live in tropical areas, but they may be found anywhere the temperature is above freezing. Their society is a caste based one, and there is absolutely no advancement possible. But it isn't as bad as it sounds, as even those of the lowest castes are still well above the human livestock that every settlement keeps.

Rakshasa females outnumber the males about two to one. Their only role in society is that of faithful mates and parents. All their honor and position is based upon the ability and ranks of their male children.

The rakshasa are an immortal race, each spirit is eventually born anew in the body of a newborn rakshasa and will grow to have full memory of its previous lives. They have been known to hold grudges over a span of many lifetimes, and will almost certainly try to avenge their previous deaths.

My monster nodes are usually based upon material in the various AD&D rulebooks. But they are my own work, as I often expand the information. In some cases I will blatantly disagree with the source material. None of these nodes are cut and paste. You are free to use my descriptions in any material of your own (even commercial material), as long as I am credited as the source.

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