The Rakshasa are an evolutionary offshoot of the Beastman race. At one point they were one of the most powerful forces in the Augustgradian Desert, prior to the Great Desert War, where they took control of the entire region and held it fairly ruthlessly for roughly thirty years. Far more sinister, charismatic, and intelligent than their brutish cousins, the Rakshasa are nowadays often found as assassins or swords-for-hire, with a number of them working for Destiny's Call. They have the distinction of being one of the single most hated races on the continent, with many of the native races of the Augustgradian Desert having gone out of their way to drive them out of the region.
Egotistical and vain, Rakshasa, despite their rarity, tend to be quite skilled at being movers and shakers. The ones still left on Fontraile tend to show considerably more moxie than their beastman counterparts, and trend strongly towards working on the shadier side of the law. In many cases, their superior air works for them, especially when they work for the likes of a militant group or as hired guns. Rakshasa will always try to achieve the highest possible status wherever they can, and as such can be found as officers in some of the militant groups, successful black marketeers and drug lords, and more. A few more civilian Rakshasa have become high-powered lawyers and executives. A common thread is that Rakshasa focus hard on living high-power and high-profile lives. Though the Rakshasa are often thought as both amoral and cruel, it is questionable how much of this is nurture and how much is nature - a lot of evidence suggests that their depraved culture specifically stemmed from their place as slaves for the Grey Elves.
Nara is a Rakshasa.
Rather like the Beastmen, the Rakshasa are large, muscular humanoids with animalistic features. Unlike the beastmen, who tend to resemble Jackals or Bears dependant upon the subspecies, the Rakshasa tend to have a likeness not unlike great cats, often with thick manes for males. Fur coloration and patterns vary dramatically, and though all-black is very common, browns, grays, and even striped patterns are not unheard of. Unlike the Beastmen, they have digitigrade feet. Not quite as large or bulky as their counterparts, they average about 7 feet tall and weigh upwards of 500 pounds. Females are taller than males, but with a slimmer build. In spite of their large size, they are much faster on their feet than Beastmen are, and their heightened intelligence and propensity for using magic tends to make them a very different opponent altogether.
From the moment they were "uplifted" by the Grey Elves, the Rakshasa have been more intelligent, skilled, and magically-adept than the race they came from - the Rakshasa are often considered one of the most intimidating races on Fontraile - their blend of magical prowess and magical capability are a combination rarely seen in any race in the region, and paired with their natural ferocity and charisma, many of the Rakshasa gravitate quickly towards combat and leadership roles alike. A common thread amongst the race is an amoral streak - as a whole, the Rakshasa are willing to do anything necessary to secure victory and achieve their goals. If in charge of a given task, they'll pursue it relentlessly, often with almost blind opportunism, whilst if forced into a submissive position, they'll do anything necessary to suit their own ends, without the bounds of what they can get away with.
The Rakshasa lack skill with Shamanistic and divine magic; instead, their skills are focused primarily on the arcane, with strong focuses towards Conjuration, Necromancy, and Illusion. They maintain many characteristics with their Beastman forebears - their biologies quite similar, with similar periods of heat for females, similar maturation rates, and genetic compatibility with other beastman subraces. It is uncertain if they have compatibility with any other races, though it seems rather unlikely given their engineered status. For reasons unclear, Rakshasa live substantially longer than beastmen do, living for 600 years or longer, but they often lose their lives to violence far sooner.
Rakshasa lore tells that their race was the first attempt by the Grey Elves to interfere with the natural progression of a race - an action that would later be seen with the Gargoyles - and that theirs was an attempt that went horribly wrong... For whilst the Rakshasa were indeed smarter than the Beastmen they came from, they also had none of the fears or taboos of their forebears. Most records suggest that the Rakshasa were, at one point, simply Beastmen that were "uplifted" by the Grey Elves as favored servants. Though records from the time of the Great Elves are relatively few and far between, all evidence suggests that the Grey Elves were hardly kind masters and frequently used the Rakshasa in petty power games between themselves. Chafing at this treatment, the Rakshasa eventually developed magic of their own, and, without warning, began to rebel en masse. As the Grey Elves had already fallen into a sort of decline, they had no real ability to deal with the situation, as their empire wound up torn apart and eventually subsumed by the rise of the Rakshasa. The Rakshasa proved willing to go to any depth to secure victory - and in doing so, discovered forms of magic that the Grey Elves had long ago declared forbidden in their society, discovering ancient rites of fiend-binding, summoning, and later, Necromancy. Their alchemists became skilled in the manufacture of poison and drugs, and they became willing to use any means available to win the day. It was all of these that led to them overthrowing and supplanting their former masters.
Once in place, the Rakshasa showed an unusual trait in that they generally held an inability to unite under a single banner - instead, individual warlords - the Rakshasa Khans - each formed their own individual fiefdoms, using their magical power, bribes, and sheer force to conquer individual swathes of territory. According to survivors from this time, as well as record-keepers from amongst the Beastmen and Naga, these city-states in Augustgrad were absolutely massive, the largest one being about the size of Sigilus. Each of the Rakshasa Khans had a host of slaves, servants, attendants, and lesser nobles - the latter of which often had their own network of servitors. In this fashion, many of the Khans proved to wield an absolutely enormous amount of influence, and each proved quite able to control the bulk of its territory. Their rule was hardly unopposed, however - the Naga, forced from their ancestral homes by the Rakshasas' emergence, waged a guerilla war against them, and the fledgling human kingdoms of Augustgrad and the Gargoyle clutches both waged a more open war with the Rakshasa, whilst the Beastman clans harried them relentlessly.
The largest and most powerful of the Khans, the Great Khan Elsid, one of the survivors of the fall of the Grey Elves, managed to subsume several smaller fiefdoms, and began leading them in a bloody war of conquest that would ultimately wind up wiping out the bulk of the Gargoyle race, seeing the Gargoyles as a work of the hated Grey Elves and wanting to erase their presence from all time. Towards that end, some of the most horrifying acts in the Great Desert War occurred under his orders, including releasing fiends upon the Borkhoi, poisoning the Solahn, and causing the infamous White Vale disaster. Though Elsid's fiefdom eventually fell to infighting following his death, the bulk of the Rakshasa survived, maintaining their individual territories and always looking to expand them, caring little for how their actions might effect the world.
At some point, however, the Rakshasa were opposed by a united force. The human kingdoms of Augustgrad united under one banner, and, armed with new weapons, began to call to the Naga and Beastmen, who were only too quick to join the battle. In addition to the burgeoning military force, the Rakshasa soon found themselves attacked from within, as assassins took advantage of the Rakshasas' volatile political climate. They quickly began to suffer losses, suspecting a traitor, and once a loosely-but-solidly unified race, they quickly fell victim to infighting as low-ranking Rakshasa, in turn, sold out their masters. Most of the Rakshasa were killed in the ensuing battles, with several escaping and fleeing far and wide. Suspicion and distrust still run rampant amongst the long-lived Rakshasa - they remain divided and contentious to this day. No longer united, they cannot control the desert as they once did, though a rare few amongst them remain convinced that if they could only expunge the traitors in their midst, they may one day yet reign supreme again....
Rakshasa society is based upon a warped variation of the Grey Elves' own culture, which they supplanted. Their culture was primarily built upon personal honor and individual strength. Their society was heavily class-based, with powerful clan leaders, known as Khans, who held absolute authority over those below them. They simply subsumed the lands of the Grey Elves they took, often altering their architecture to suit their needs and be more imposing. Very often Rakshasan buildings and temples featured aggressive-looking, sharp spires and clawed towers, which have been theorized by some to have been an inspiration for similar architecture used by the Rakavuu.
The Rakshasa were engineered to be servants and guardians, but they are nonetheless a warrior race, much as their forebears, the Beastmen are. Like the Beastmen, without combat against external forces, the Rakshasa tended to quickly fall into civil war and internecine struggles, as was prevalent before the the Rakshasa wound up destroying the Grey Elves, and later, the Gargoyles. Rakshasa as a whole are naturally predisposed to attack over defense, and ambush over direct assault. Rakshasa favor assaults by small strike teams; in groups of three or more, Rakshasa warriors during the Great Desert War would, according to Rashida vai Borkhoi, often display acts of outright suicidal bravery and engage numerically superior forces. However, a lone Rakshasa tended to avoid combat, even against an evenly-matched enemy.
The Rakshasa inherited the warlike mentalities of their Grey Elven progenitors and the hunter mindset of their Beastman forebears, resulting in their expansionistic behavior. They are natural guerrilla fighters. During the days of the Grey Elves, the Rakshasa hunters tended to lie in wait, identify the weakest, most vulnerable prey, and execute coordinated attacks. These pack-hunting tactics are very ingrained in the Rakshasan psyche. Obviously, instinct always gives way to their increased intelligence, but their predator instincts always come naturally, and as a whole are one they turn to when under stress or when enjoying an advantage. This was seen extensively in Rakshasan military strategy; the Rakshasa often used a lone or relatively weak unit as a decoy to lure opposing forces into ambushes. Once they had a target in sight, the Rakshasa would often pursue it to the death, often whilst ignoring more dangerous, undamaged opponents. This occurred often enough that some Borkhoi insist to this day that the Berserkers of the beastmen had their origin amongst the Rakshasa. Because of their affinity for group tactics, the Rakshasa were relatively poor at sabotage or spy operations, or relying on single-operative tactics, though they became increasingly willing to do so as the war went on, and became increasingly-adept at threatening, coercing, or bribing other races to spy for them.
The Rakshasa are, of course, completely aware of these tendencies in their collective psyches, as they have exploited them against one another in warfare against one another before they turned upon the Grey Elves. Their culture heavily preached obedience of superiors, a natural extension of their conditioning under the Grey Elves - forward thinking and creativity were only encouraged in commanders and nobles. Standard soldiers and commoners are trained and expected to follow orders, without question or interpretation, as this was believed to give a Warrior a very specific set of goals to fulfill rather than allowing distraction therefrom. As a result, the Dakahr clutch often found that if they made the mission goals of a given Rakshasa impossible or logically unachievable, they could be thrown into chaos, especially if there was not a dominant leader handy to restore order.
Focusing on the strongest is the exact opposite of Rakshasan hunting instinct, which tends to focus on the weakest. In war, however, it was ineffective to leave the strongest opponents alive and capable of fighting back. As such, the Rakshasa made focusing on striking the opponent's strongest forces and commanders first a primary tenet of their military strategy.
Rakshasan culture remained clannish, even at its most organized levels, and the Rakshasa tended to challenge one another with great frequency - and any insult or official challenge was oft grounds for a fight - though only rarely to the death. In fact, it was often punishable by death for a Rakshasa warrior to refuse single combat, an aspect that was mercilessly exploited by the Rakavuu during the war. It was through these challenges that the Rakshasa established social status and who was dominant or submissive - quite literally a major establishing structure of Rakshasan culture. A subordinate is honor-bound to follow the orders of his superior. Challenging said superior, except in extremely unusual circumstances, would be a violation of their oath, which was considered a major societal taboo. All of this changed after the collapse of the Rakshasan leadership base: The remaining Rakshasa are scattered, lacking unity and often eschewing honor entirely.