Rakshasas are widely feared, even by skilled mages, for they are one of the most powerful hostile fae known; only the kakodaimon can compete with a rakshasa in raw strength. Some call them the “true devils”, others refer to them as the “devourers of souls” due to an odd feature of their diet.
A rakshasa’s natural form is much like a hairy, stunted human, with a pair of matte black horns on their head that seem to draw in all light, as well as two small tusks protruding from their upper lip, curving outwards. They have a whip-like tail, as hairy as the rest of their body, and their eyebrows and are very large and bushy. The males have facial hair which is typically also bushy and wild. Though their hands are almost human, their claw-like fingernails are sharp as swords. Their feet are fleshy like a humans, yet built like a raptor’s, with three forward-facing toes and a single backward-facing toes, all with sharp claws. When they open their mouths, the teeth within are all sharp and pointed. Their ears are larger than a human’s and double-pointed, with one point pointing back and up while the other points back and down. Rakshasas also have red eyes that glow in the dark, and if you look closely, their pupils look like flames.
In human form, a rakshasa has little difficulty passing for a normal human, but there are a few flaws that will give their true identity away to the well-informed. The most obvious is their feet - though human in form, they are backwards, with the big toes placed on the outside. However, this is also the most easily concealed flaw, simply by wearing shoes. The other flaw that is typically noticed is their teeth, which remain pointy. Most rakshasa also have at least one additional flaw in human form, such as very bushy eyebrows, a pair of small scars on the upper lip where the tusks would normally be, or a tail stub.
Rakshasas can reproduce in two ways. The normal human way works; after conception, the unborn rakshasa gestates for approximately three to five weeks, after which the mother births three to five infants. However, usually the mother ends up eating her infants; at best, usually only one survives for more than a few minutes. For this reason, rakshasas usually reproduce in a different, asexual way.
In order to do this, a rakshasa confines itself to a dark cave (or similar space) for one month without food. Then, they leave the cave, sealing it up behind them. Over the next three to five weeks, an infant rakshasa grows up from the darkness itself. Then, with the force of its magic, the infant bursts its seal open and heads out into the outside world. If the darkness is disturbed before they break out, the process is interrupted and the gestating rakshasa dies.
An infant rakshasa can walk practically from birth. It even has claws, so it can hunt. Normally, infants survive on small animals for about a year or two, until they reach adolescence. They will then try to find larger animals, and eventually even hunt humans.
Since rakshasas are largely treated as a menace to society and exterminated on sight, it’s difficult to estimate how long they can live. The oldest-known rakshasa recorded was only sixty-eight years old, but like most rakshasas, he died of unnatural causes, so it’s likely they can live significantly longer. Some researchers speculate they could live to over a hundred.
A rakshasa’s diet is meat. Rakshasas do not eat vegetables. Even rakshasas who have given up human flesh do not eat vegetables if they can help it; they abhor vegetables. They will eat eggs and dairy products, though. Most rakshasas have a particular fondness for human flesh, but they will eat pretty much any meat they can get their hands on.
But not just any meat will do. They can get a little sustenance from store-bought meat, but to really satisfy themselves, they need to consume freshly-caught meat, preferably killed by their own hands. This is because they consume not just the flesh and bone but also the soul, and rely partly on the latter for sustenance.
The rakshasa is a rarity among monsters in that its soul is not composed of standard magic, like everyone else’s. A rakshasa’s soul is composed of antimagic, a rare type of magic whose unique power is to annihilate any other type of magic it comes in contact with. Because of this, rakshasas are quite a dangerous enemy, especially if they have learned to wield that antimagic for spells. The antimagic soul makes them highly resistant to standard magic, though they are susceptible to techniques that directly attack the soul.
In addition to their antimagic soul, rakshasas have a few innate powers that are available even to those who don’t learn to wield their magic. They can bound through the air, effectively flying without wings. They have powers of transformation, which allow them to change size at will or transform into any type of animal, though their appearance as a given species is always the same, and there’s always at least one glaring flaw in the form. They can designate a single location as a safe space and instantly teleport to that location at any time. And they have powers of illusion, similar to many other fae species. A rakshasa can only produce audiovisual illusions, unless they train in magic.
Rakshasas are quite intelligent, perhaps more than the average human, but fortunately few rakshasas put their intellect to good use.
Society and Culture
Rakshasas are solitary creatures that only rarely interact with their own kind. Most are fierce and mean-spirited, and simple live from meal to meal. Some infiltrate human society and build up a cult around them, which they can use as a convenient food source or other entertainment.
Rarely, a rakshasa may decide to give up human flesh and join human society as an ally. These are almost always older rakshasa, and they make quite some effort to adopt a civilized mask to become accepted. Despite that, most people who know what they are will still regard them with suspicion.