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Naityan rakshasas are bloodthirsty cousins of the rakshasas that are incapable of spellcasting. Instead of sorcerous power, naityan rakshasas are born with inherent martial prowess and unrivaled shapeshifting ability among their kind.[1]



Naityan rakshasas in their true forms are black-furred humanoids covered in bright red stripes with the heads of tigers, approximately as tall as humans with added muscle mass contributing to their slightly greater weight. In addition to the mastery of disguise found in normal rakshasas, they possess a variety of specialized forms with unique abilities. In order to transform, they quickly assume their natural appearance again before shifting into their desired alternate state, causing fur to rapidly grow and vanish and their bones to visibly crack and twist.[1]

The alternate forms of a naityan rakshasa include an armed, serpentine creature with gray, stone-like scales; a humanoid hell hound; a horrifying, humanoid eel with slick, black skin; and an entity with the head and fur of a displacer beast, tentacles for arms, and hook-covered hands. Outside of death, which causes them to revert to their true form, only truesight can reveal a naityan rakshasa's natural form, but all forms share the iconic backwards hands of the rakshasas.[1]

Personality and alignment[]

All rakshasas love the taste of humanoid flesh, but their blood in all its form is considered an unrivaled delicacy by naityan rakshasas.[2][1] For many naityan rakshasas, the craving can become a crippling addiction, driving them to bottle the blood of various humanoids and even enslave menageries of humanoids specifically to drink their blood, a habit that typically leads to the failure of their plans.[1]

While all rakshasas are said to be an embodiment of evil, the naityan rakshasas' link to humanoids causes them to be considered the manifested evil of humanoid nature specifically. They are said to be a kind of punishment sent by deities to the Material Plane.[1]

Abilities and traits[]


By changing form, naityan rakshasas gain access to the martial maneuvers of certain fighting styles while keeping their claws and fangs, but they revert to normal if unable to hold their stance. Their snake-like form, the earth serpent, can be an unstoppable force or an immovable object, with its tough, rocky scales protecting it from harm. Their hellhound form, the hellfire hunter, gains the hellhound's affinity for flames and their keen sense of smell. Their eel-like form, the night creeper, is skilled at moving unseen and striking their enemies' vitals, as well as being able to swim. Their displacer beast form, the elusive adversary, is the fastest and most evasive of their transformations.[1]


Despite their natural weaponry and myriad of alternate forms, naityan rakshasas attempt to conceal their true nature for as long as possible, changing to the form best suited to the task at hand only when pressed. Foes with fire-based abilities or methods of evading detection meet their hellfire hunter form while the elusive adversary is used for defense or in order to escape. The night creeper form is saved for underwater combat or when flanking enemies while the earth serpent is for one-on-one encounters.[1]

Naityan rakshasas often undergo training to become swordsages, combining the inherent combat skill of their other forms and true training in order to adopt two martial stances at once. Whenever possible, they wield enchanted weapons and other tools to enhance their fighting ability, but shun armor too heavy to suit their preexisting style.[1]


Although large gatherings are rare, naityan rakshasas never operat individually, instead cooperating in small teams under the leadership of the strongest naityan rakshasa in the group, or occasionally another type of rakshasa. Such teams often consist of blood relatives but the common need for support draws most naityan rakshasas that meet each other together. Naityan rakshasas not currently in a group, either due to rivalry, a personal desire for power and influence, or outside parties separating them still typically try to keep in contact with one another and their relationships can last for years under positive circumstances.[1]

Otherwise, naityan rakshasas operate like normal rakshasas, taking over or creating organizations through deception, disguises, and their ability to detect thoughts. The leadership positions they occupy are typically more focused on physical skill, such as thieves' guilds, assassin clans, martial orders, and military forces.[1]


Life cycle[]

Naityan rakshasas make up a fraction of the already few rakshasas thought to exist, their numbers being so minuscule that some individuals believe they are the last of their race. They are capable and are required to mate with humanoids while in a compatible form in order to perpetuate their race, a practice that often resulted in stillborn children or offspring so malformed they normally died soon after being born.[1]

Even the rare, beautiful children are born with backwards hands and kidnapped by their naityan rakshasa parents before others learned of their fiendish heritage. Most are born and raised on the Material Plane because of their low numbers and despite being separated at birth they still live close to humanoids. Naityan rakshasa juveniles do not instinctively know of their true form and have to be taught how to adopt it and of their true origin by their parents, gaining more control and variety as they mature.[1]


Naityan rakshasas do not require food in order to live, indulging in bloodlust simply for the flavor.[1]

Publication history[]

D&D 3rd edition[]

The naityan rakshasa appeared in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006). It was mentioned in Ecology of the Rakshasa, Dragon #326 (Dec 2004).


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006), p.151-154.
  2. Ecology of the Rakshasa, Dragon #326 (Dec 2004).