Last Updated on January 22, 2023
In D&D 5th edition, a Rakshasa is an evil fiend that originates from the Nine Hells. Rakshasas are known for their manipulative behavior and their ability to change forms.
This guide covers the Rakshasa’s stats, its behavior and origins, and its relation to its native plane, the Nine Hells.
Medium fiend, lawful evil
- Armor Class: 16 (natural armor)
- Hit Points: 110 (13d8 + 52)
- Speed: 50 ft.
- STR 14(+2), DEX 17 (+3), CON 18 (+4), INT 13 (+1), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 20 (+5)
- Skills: Deceptions +10, Insight +8
- Damage Vulnerabilities: Piercing from magic weapons wielded by good creatures
- Damage Immunities: Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
- Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 13
- Languages: Common, Infernal
- Challenge: 13 (10,000 XP)
Limited Magic Immunity: Rakshasas cannot be detected or affected by spells of 6th level or lower unless they choose to be. These creatures also have advantage on saving throws against other spells and magical effects.
Innate Spellcasting: A Rakshasa’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks.) Using no material components, a Rakshasa can innately cast the spells below:
- At will: Disguise self, detect thoughts, minor illusion, mage hand
- 3/day each: Detect magic, major image, charm person, invisibility, suggestion
- 1/day each: Fly, dominate person, true seeing, plane shift
Multiattack: The Rakshasa makes two claw attacks.
Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) slashing damage, and if the target is a creature, it is cursed. The magical curse the creature suffers takes effect during short and long rests. The creature’s thoughts are filled with horrible dreams and images. The cursed creature gains no benefit from the rest. The curse can only be lifted by a remove curse spell or similar magic.
What Is a Rakshasa?
Rakshasas are fiends that particularly enjoy masquerading as influential members of society, such as nobles, advisors to lords or leaders, wealthy merchants, or crime bosses. They are persuasive and generally prefer trickery over direct confrontation when it comes to crushing opponents. However, they can also be quite dangerous in combat.
Rakshasas have several abilities that allow them to be quite versatile. They can innately cast spells and enjoy immunity from many magic spells and effects, making them difficult for even Wizards and Sorcerers to take on. They are also immune from nonmagical attacks.
Rakshasas are scary creatures that should not be taken lightly. However, with proper preparation, they can be defeated.
The History of the Rakshasa
While Rakshasas thrill in masquerading on the Material Plane, they actually originate from the Nine Hells. They came into being when mighty devils performed a dark ritual that liberated their essence from their bodies, allowing them to escape into the Material Plane to wreak havoc.
Due to their origin, Rakshasas cannot die on the Material Plane. Instead, their essence returns to the Nine Hells when they’re dispatched, and they slowly reform a body over a period of months or even years. However, this does not mean that they cannot be permanently destroyed. If a rakshasa is killed in the Nine Hells, it is destroyed forever.
What Does a Rakshasa Look Like?
A Rakshasa typically has the head of a tiger and the body of a human. However, they have also been known to have the heads of other creatures, such as crocodiles.
These creatures are about the same size as a human. They have long, sharp claws that they aren’t afraid to use and a defining feature: their palms are reversed, meaning that their palms are where the backs of their hands should be on a humanoid.
Shapechanging Tiger People
Rakshasas can change their form and frequently do so to disguise themselves as other creatures. They are exceptionally skilled at hiding among humans. While you won’t be able to tell if someone is a Rakshasa just by looking at them, there are certain giveaway signs, such as their reversed palms. They also usually wear jewelry and clothing that is quite lavish and lead a luxurious lifestyle.
How Does a Rakshasa Behave?
Rakshasas are cunning and manipulative creatures that constantly strive to gain power and wealth. They use their powers of deception to take advantage of others. They are also extremely arrogant and believe they are superior to most other creatures. They relish using their magic to control and deceive. Rakshasas are particularly fond of tormenting mortals, and they often take on the guise of famous or influential people in order to do so.
Rakshasas are not above using violence to get what they want. They are quite capable of fighting and often do so when outnumbered or outmatched. That said, Rakshasas are charismatic creatures and prefer to use their magnetism when engaging with enemies. They are also very good at lying and use their lies to confuse and mislead foes.
Despite their love of chaos, Rakshasas are actually quite organized. They often work together to achieve their goals, and they are known to serve influential devils. Rakshasas are not to be trifled with. They are strong monsters that should be respected and feared.
Rakshasa in Combat
Whether you’re battling against a Rakshasa or playing a Rakshasa character, you should keep this creature’s abilities and weaknesses in mind during combat.
Their major weakness is their vulnerability to damage from magic weapons wielded by good creatures. The best strategy when fighting a Rakshasa is to have a mix of melee and ranged attackers who are also good creatures. These creatures should be equipped with magical weapons.
Melee attackers should focus on dealing damage up close while ranged attackers unleash magic arrows from afar. Remember, Rakshasas are immune to many spells and magical effects, so using magic may not be sufficient. Instead, focus on physical attacks. Having someone who can remove curses on your team is also essential as the Rakshasa can curse creatures with its claw attacks. Otherwise, you may find yourself haunted by the monster for a long time to come.
Incorporating Rakshasa’s Into Your Game: Tips for DMs
If you’re a DM, you might wonder how to incorporate Rakshasa into your game. Here are a few tips:
- Rakshasa can make for exciting villains or allies. They are typically quite manipulative, so they can be used to further the plot in interesting ways.
- A Rakshasa is a shapechanger. They can disguise themselves as other characters. This can lead to some gripping plot twists.
- Rakshasas are often associated with devils, so they can be used to introduce devils into your campaign.
- Rakshasas are immune to many spells and magical effects, making them challenging opponents in combat.
- Rakshasas can curse creatures with their claw attacks. This can be used to create some intriguing plot hooks while giving your players roleplaying opportunities that can further their characters’ development.
Keep these tips in mind when incorporating Rakshasa into your game. With a bit of creativity, you can use these creatures to add some spice to your campaign.
If you’re roleplaying a Rakshasa, there are a few things to remember. First, Rakshasas are typically arrogant creatures that believe they can outsmart everyone else. You should play your character with confidence and a sense of entitlement.
Rakshasas are also shapechangers that usually have expensive tastes, so use this ability to disguise yourself. You can use it to gain information or to deceive the party. Remember, Rakshasas are skilled liars, so use this to your advantage.
Finally, rakshasas are associated with devils. Consider having the Rakshasa serve a devilish master. This can be a great source of power and influence.
Rakshasas almost always manipulate those around them instead of fighting, so try to avoid combat when possible. When a Rakshasa must fight, it’s typically done strategically. For example, a Rakshasa might use Dominate Person to control an enemy and make it fight on its behalf.
A Rakshasa might also use its magic to create illusions, fly, or become invisible. When you’re playing a Rakshasa, think about how you can use your abilities to gain the upper hand in combat.
A Game of Cat and Mouse
Since Rakshasas have the unique ability to change form, they make great recurring villains. If the heroes think they’ve finally killed the Rakshasa only to have it show up again in a new form, it can make for a very frustrating (and fun) game of cat and mouse.
This is perfect for just about any game, but it works incredibly well in long-running campaigns where the players think they’ve finally rid the world of a major threat only to find out that it was just the tip of the iceberg. It’s also an excellent device for games that hinge on a mystery as the Rakshasa’s true identity is always in question.
Rakshasas in the Nine Hells
As mentioned before, Rakshasas have a strong connection to the Nine Hells. If you’re looking for a good location to use Rakshasas in your campaign, the Nine Hells is the apparent option.
Not only are Rakshasas at home in the Nine Hells, but they can also be used to introduce devils and other Lower Planes creatures into the game. For example, your players can be led into the Nine Hells in search of a bothersome Rakshasa they want to be rid of for good only to be met with even more fearsome fiends.
Slay Me Once, Shame on You…
Slay me twice, shame on me. That’s the Rakshasa maxim. And it’s true – Rakshasas are very difficult to kill, and like many cats, they have more than one life!
When a Rakshasa dies on the Material Plane, it is reborn in the Nine Hells. The process takes a long time, but when it reforms, it does so with all its former memories and knowledge intact, and it comes back ready for revenge, seeking the one who killed it!
So, if you’re looking for a memorable villain that keeps coming back for more, look no further than the Rakshasa.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.