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Demzer
Senior Scribe

658 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  19:30:59  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

It's somewhat odder that the Ak'Chazar rakshasa, as written, actually lacks the magical immunity of the 'common' rakshasa. As they are in all other respects their physical, intellectual and magical superiors, this is puzzling. Granted, the SR 31 is functionally about the same thing as perfect immunity to magic from lower level casters, but still, a common rakshasa is actually better protected from casters of 11th to 16th level than an Ak'Chazar rakshasa. I suppose that can be rationalised by saying that Ak'Chazar rakshasa must give up some of their magic immunity to be able to cultivate their closer connection to their sorcerous gifts.



A very minor nitpick here but in 3.5 Edition (the only one I'm aware of with the Ak'Chazar Rakshasas) they have higher spell resistance then the MM I rakshasa (31 VS 27) which means that they are more resistant to magic than other "breeds" of rakshasa, not less.

Also in 3/3.5 Ed, sadly SR was very inconsistent between different sources and different (but with shared similarities, like different breeds of rakshasas or different types of demons/devils) monsters followed different progressions (5+HD, 10+HD, 11+HD, 15+HD, 27+Class levels for common rakshasas, fixed for others, ...) and most of these completely fell apart on the higher end with monsters with >20 HD and SR in the low/mid 20s or epic monsters with 50-60 HD and SR 35 ... (but the Epic Levels Handbook was peculiar in many ways).
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  20:04:10  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've come up with faux-linguistics for the names of rakshasa sub-races in my campaign.

I'm deciding that some of the names are ancient xenonyms (i.e. names applied to a group by those outside that group), used for rakshasa in the post-Imaskari era, when there were many now-lost Imaskari and Mulan 'survivor-state' kingdoms and polities in the area that now forms Murghom, Semphar, the Raurin, eastern Shaar, Durpar, Veldorn, the western Hordelands, Ulgarth, and the mountain ranges of Katakoro and the Yehimals. Indeed, some of these terms may date back to the lost pre-history of Zakhara and the Utter East.

As the sub-race names sound vaguely Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Turkic or other Central Asian, I figured that this would best explain a mixture of inguistic elements that in the real world belong to different language families (but in the real world, have also mutually influenced each other in the equivalent geographic area to this on Earth, swapping loanwords and other surface influences).

Ak'Chazar: 'Great Wanderers' or 'Distant Sojourners'. From a hypothetical Turkic root 'qaz', 'to ramble, roam', which as a loanword in several post-Imaskari Raurin languages became 'Qasar', 'Khazar' or 'Chazar', all meaning something 'wanderer, vagrant, stranger'. For the ancient people of Solon, modified as an adjective in the elative with quasi-Arabic grammar (as 'kabir' becomes 'akbar', 'chazar' became ak'chazar), Ak'Chazar became their word for these ineffable and powerful shapeshifting spirits with immense necromantic powers. A literal translation might be a superlative of 'Strangers', thus meaning not only 'the unknown people', but 'the Unknowable Ones'.

Nakya: 'Not Agreeable to the Lord of Creation'. From Sanskrit 'na' = 'not' and 'kya' = 'agreeable to the Lord of Creation'. What rakshasa call all other races.

Naityan: 'Those Who are Led'. From Sanskrit root 'nay' = 'lead' and the Sanskrit suffix '-tya' which forms the indeclinable participle, so 'Naytya' = 'The Led'. A specialised warrior subcaste of the Zakya caste of rakshasa, the Naityan can take several forms which give them abilities in combat, but are neither spellcasters nor particularly intelligent.

Naztharune: 'Vain Youths'. From the Urdu 'naz', meaning 'proud or arrogant', but a specific kind of pride and arrogance, not hubris, but rather 'the confidence from being the object of desire', and the Urdu 'tharun' or 'tarun', 'youth'. Higher caste rakshasa consider the Naztharune a vain, prideful variety of the Zakya rakshasa caste, equally unable to cast spells, but generally proud of their status and indulged by their masters, for their usefulness... and their beauty, charm, seductiveness and erotic abilities. Naztharune rakshasi (female rakshasa) are highly desired by many higher caste rakshasa as concubines and rakshasa poetry often features a temptress in the form of a Naztharune dancer whose legendary flexibility and grace promises endless delights in her embraces. Such temptresses are generally contrasted against more suitable lovers, of higher caste and better family, who'll be more faithful and give birth to more successful offspring.

Rathi: 'Knight'. Literally means 'Chariot Warrior', from Sanskrit (and most related languages) 'ratha' = 'chariot' and 'rathi' = 'chariot warrior, hero, champion'. The proper rakshasa term for their warrior aristocracy.

Ruhk: 'Rakshasa Knight'. A term for chariot-warrior of unknown origin, used by several post-Imaskari cultures in the neighbourhood of Raurin, eastern Shaar and the Shining Lands. For some reason, used for rakshasa knights by many Mulan, Thayvian and Faerunian sages, in preference to the actual rakshasa term, 'rathi'.

Zakya rakshasa: 'Rakshasa Who May Be Compelled to Work'. From Sanskrit 'zakya' (adj.), meaning 'workable, possible' or even 'liable to be compelled'. This is what higher caste rakshasa call all lesser castes, who are unable to cast spells, not as well protected from mortal magic and occupy the lowest rung of rakshasa society. The fact that 'Zakya' also sounds exactly like the Semitic/Arabic/Midani/Untheric 'Zakiya' or 'Zakya', meaning 'pure, untainted', has resulted in proud members of the rakshasa warrior caste reclaiming the term by claiming that they are referring to themselves as 'Unsullied', by the magical studies that they maintain weaken more cerebral rakshasa. It is such Zakya warriors who belong to the actual sub-race termed 'Rakshasa, Zakya'. As a term meaning 'pure, untainted', 'zakya' exist in Unther and as an import from Midani in the languages of Murghom, Semphar and Solon, as well a loanword in many Raurin languages that came into contact with the Zakharan interlopers, among them Durpari and Ulgarthian.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  20:18:18  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

A very minor nitpick here but in 3.5 Edition (the only one I'm aware of with the Ak'Chazar Rakshasas) they have higher spell resistance then the MM I rakshasa (31 VS 27) which means that they are more resistant to magic than other "breeds" of rakshasa, not less.

Ak'Chazar rakshasa do indeed have SR 31 to the SR 27 of the common rakshasa, but this is deceptive. By the 3e/3.5 stats, 'common' rakshasa are completely immune to all spells of less than 9th level, which means that the numerical SR is irrelevant unless they are facing a spellcaster who can cast 9th level spells.

Against any characters of levels anywhere near the Challenge Ratings of these monsters, the 'common' rakshasa will be immune to all spells and spell-like abilities accessible by the 8th to 16th level characters who might face CR 10-15 monsters.

Only 17th+ level characters (and only if they are pure casters) have any chance of affecting the CR 10 'common' rakshasa with any kind of spell or spell-like ability, because 8th level or lower spells simply fail against them, as if they had not penetrated SR, without any kind of roll.

This means that effectively, 'common' rakshasa are better protected from the spells of nearly everyone in a campaign world than the Ak'Chazar rakshasa. Granted, when facing archmages and high prophets who can cast 9th level spells, the Ak'Chazar rakshasa enjoys somewhat better protection against these awesomely powerful spells, but, then again, that's mostly irrelevant, because CR 10 monsters are hardly expected to have any defences against parties of characters with at least seven levels more than their CR.

If the 'common' rakshasa is slightly advanced to be equal in CR to the Ak'Chazar rakshasa, say by five levels of sorcerer (for the same CL 12th as the Ak'Chazar has for their spellcasting), the advanced 'common' rakshasa has SR 32 to the Ak'Chazar's SR 31... and remains immune to all spells of 8th level and lower.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Also in 3/3.5 Ed, sadly SR was very inconsistent between different sources and different (but with shared similarities, like different breeds of rakshasas or different types of demons/devils) monsters followed different progressions (5+HD, 10+HD, 11+HD, 15+HD, 27+Class levels for common rakshasas, fixed for others, ...) and most of these completely fell apart on the higher end with monsters with >20 HD and SR in the low/mid 20s or epic monsters with 50-60 HD and SR 35 ... (but the Epic Levels Handbook was peculiar in many ways).


Granted.

Note that the 'common' rakshasa have 7 HD, so their SR might just be 20 + HD, regardless of whether those HD come from being a rakshasa or any class levels.

For my purposes, of course, what matters are not the precise numbers that D&D used in different editons, but what these numbers are meant to reflect. That is, I'll use GURPS mechanics for resistance or immunity to magic, but I need to benchmark the abilities that the different types of rakshasa have against each other and against other Realmslore.

So, for my purposes, it's relevant that 'common' rakshasa are all but immune to spells cast by anyone other than the very few archmages or high priests who are 17th+ level in D&D terms, but that Ak'Chazar, Naityan, Naztharune and Zakya rakshasa do not share this ability.

It's also relevant that the Naityan rakshasa has the worst resistance to magic of the rakshasa types, followed by the Naztharune and Zakya.

This leads me to propose that these three types are regarded as footsoldiers and commoners by the 'common' or 'regular' rakshasa, who are much more powerful and, unlike these three, have very little to fear from most mortals, and, vitally, from other rakshasa.

The Ak'Chazar are clearly powerful enough to rank as some kind of nobility among rakshasa, but also have a special status, in that they are not protected by the blanket spell immunity of other high caste rakshasa. This means that they never reach the levels of security from magical attack that rakshasa rajahs and maharajahs take for granted. In fact, even 'common' rakshasa are better protected against most spellcasting mortals, although most of them lack the spellcasting power of the Ak'Chazar rakshasa. Thus, in spell duels against mortal wizards, the Ak'Chazar cannot simply ignore them as 'common' rakshasa can, but rather must rely on a suite of powers and abilities to defeat them.

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Edited by - Icelander on 27 Jul 2018 20:31:11
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7582 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  20:39:58  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
under 3.5e rakshasa don't have any special ability to resist all spells less than 9th level. I'm looking at the 3.5 monster manual and it doesn't state anything like that. Its the 3.0 monster manual that states that, and since the ak'chazar came out in 3.5, you should compare apples to apples. The 3.0 version was broken and they fixed it.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  20:48:26  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

under 3.5e rakshasa don't have any special ability to resist all spells less than 9th level. I'm looking at the 3.5 monster manual and it doesn't state anything like that. Its the 3.0 monster manual that states that, and since the ak'chazar came out in 3.5, you should compare apples to apples. The 3.0 version was broken and they fixed it.


Ah, ok.

I hadn't noticed that they published new stats for the rakshasa in 3.5.

That does put it in a different light and suggests that Ak'Chazar rakshasa are not at all meant to have less protection from magic than the common versions.

The ability of ignore spells below a certain level has been a feature of the rakshasa since AD&D 1e, but I'll grant that it's a pretty huge deal for a game like D&D 3.0/3.5, where the tactical boardgame origin of D&D is strongly visible and both classes and monsters were supposed to be easily balanced against each other. If the rakshasa was in 4e, even more purely a tactical boardgame, I don't expect it had anything like that ability.

In 5e, though, the rakshasa has the ability to ignore any spell 6th level and lower, so it was clearly regarded as being an iconic feature of the monster.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7582 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  22:15:26  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
yeah, a lot of the earlier versions too had this clause of "insta-kill with a blessed crossbow bolt". So, basically IF you knew you were going up against a rakshasa, then it wasn't a big deal to have them ignore your spells when you insta-kill them as a 1st level wizard with a crossbow and true strike :-) That's gone. I wouldn't mind some kind of homage to that in 5e, such as if they're killed with a blessed weapon on the material plane, they don't reform in hell for an extra century or something similar like maybe they're true dead... but it would only be after you wear them down and use that for the final blow that kills them.

Personally, given that casters get so few spells to cast in 5e, that 6th level thing does make Rakshasa particularly formidable for wizards in 5e. I had not factored that into some of the stuff I'd been considering for Katashaka. Yes, that rakshasa led city versus my red wizards in the Tharch of New Eltabbar just got even more interesting to me.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2018 :  22:46:04  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

yeah, a lot of the earlier versions too had this clause of "insta-kill with a blessed crossbow bolt". So, basically IF you knew you were going up against a rakshasa, then it wasn't a big deal to have them ignore your spells when you insta-kill them as a 1st level wizard with a crossbow and true strike :-) That's gone. I wouldn't mind some kind of homage to that in 5e, such as if they're killed with a blessed weapon on the material plane, they don't reform in hell for an extra century or something similar like maybe they're true dead... but it would only be after you wear them down and use that for the final blow that kills them.


I'm totally keeping that 'blessed bolt' weakness, though, as I noted earlier, I can't imagine how it would only apply to crossbow bolts. Rakshasa myths from India don't include any such thing, because crossbows weren't used in India. Bows and arrows, however, are the most honourable weapons in Indian mythology, the arms of a king.

So, a blessed arrow (can be a bolt designed like an arrow), that seems more thematically appropriate. I've decided that such projectiles will bypass the natural armor of a rakshasa, the DR 15 that rakshasa have against anything that is not magical and do x4 full damage, instead of the lesser damage that magical items of less than +3 do to my rakshasa (in GURPS terms, Rakshasa have higher Injury Tolerance: Damage Reduction against physical attacks that aren't enchanted enough). Basically, blessed arrows or bolts will hit the rakshasa as if he was a normal human and do x4 damage.

While such blessed projectiles are still stuck inside the rakshasa, he'll also suffer damage per turn (Weakness, Rare (Blessed Arrows) (Variable -40%; Quickened 6 +120%); 4d per second, down to 2d from a small wound in a limb, up to 8d for a deep vitals wound), enough, in GURPS terms, so that he'll die in very short order. Even if the initial damage were minimal, an average rakshasa would last only about five to six seconds with a blessed arrow or bolt in its flesh, which means that it needs to remove it almost instantly, which is hard to do in combat (or at any time, if stunned with an arrow through the guts).

Any divinely blessed or Good weapon will be able to hit the rakshasa and do full damage, even if it's not a +3 magical weapon. That's nowhere near the autoslay level of blessed arrows, meaning that anyone who is not an awesome superhero, but who wants to fight a rakshasa, has pretty much got to identify the creature and make use of its weakness to be able to kill it.

Obviously, rakshasa both hate and fear archers and crossbowmen, at least those who are paladins or who fight on behalf of Good, crusading churches, and might thus have blessed arrows or bolts. And they like to make their homes in civilised cities, where people are neither expected nor allowed to walk around with warbows or military crossbows.

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Edited by - Icelander on 27 Jul 2018 23:14:23
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LordofBones
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837 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  06:05:09  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Spell immunity in 3.5e is basically being immune to any spell that allows for spell resistance. I guess conjurers sit back and laugh while evokers can go sulk in the corner, seeing as how the orb line of spells are SR: No.
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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
214 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  09:01:29  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In Hinduism, their origin lie with the Yaksha, a race of semi divine dwarves and nature spirits. I think they were described as night spirits someplace as well:
https://intothewonder.wordpress.com/tag/yaksha/
I do not think the Yaksha is a cognate of the Nordic dwarf, but seems similar. So, a simple explanation would be to make rakshasas originate in corrupt Deva angels, turning to an new race.

In hindu mythology, these 'races' is a bit ambiguous, and can cross breed. Think there is a hindu epic character who is 1/4 Deva, 1/4 Asura, 1/4 yaksha and 1/4 rakshasa.
The "Asura" is a cognate to "Aesir", the "war in heaven" in Norse mythos is descended from same mythos as the Hindu one is, most likely the proto Indo European...
To follow this concept, I'm tempted to make the Rakshasa connected with the Dawn War, and the Primordials, as corrupted/fallen servants.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1577 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  11:40:28  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Spell immunity in 3.5e is basically being immune to any spell that allows for spell resistance. I guess conjurers sit back and laugh while evokers can go sulk in the corner, seeing as how the orb line of spells are SR: No.


Do you mean Orb of Acic and Orb of Fire from Completely Arcane, reprinted in the Spell Compendium?

In theory, those are clever spells. Summoning acid or fire that is not magical in nature and using magic merely to deliver it to the target would, indeed, bypass Spell Resistance and immunity to spells below a certain level.

My problem with the spells is that as written, the acid and fire still seems to be pretty darn magical. As the Caster Level of those who gain access to these spells will be 7th to 8th level, that means that the acid or fire does 7d6 to 8d6. Instantaneously. And when cast by a more powerful caster, it goes all the way up to 15d6.

That's far more than any normal kind of non-magical acid or fire that can fit into a 3 inch sphere would ever do, even if it was under considerable pressure (or in vacuum). Well, unless the pressure or lack thereof was so extreme that the fire turned to plasma and/or there was an explosion/implosion when the orb collapsed. In which case the acid or fire effects aren't the real point of the spell and the real effects are caused by the orb, which causes bludgeoning damage from the explosion.

Technically, I guess that the 'fire' could be a piece of the sun and still be non-magical, but such a small piece couldn't sustain the nuclear reaction and you'd be left with an orb full of a small quantity of rapidly cooling superheated gas. I don't actually have numbers for how dangerous that would be, but intuitively, it doesn't feel plain stupid to assume that it might indeed be destructive to the tune of 7d6 to 15d6 to the target as it flashes out.

The acid is more problematic, in that there really aren't any real acids that dissolve metal armour on a second-by-second timescale. Nor do they usually cause death within a six second timeframe, at least not from massive physical trauma. The 'instant damage' acids of RPGs are basically magic already. Which is usually fine, but not when trying to argue that the acid should ignore magic resistance because it isn't magical. If we want that effect, we should probably use realistic acid effects.

Acid may well cause toxic reactions and/or do sufficient damage to the respiratory system to lead to eventual death, but it will do this over the period of minutes. I'd have to consult some GURPS experts who have Chemistry degrees to work out the maximum effects of the volume of a 3-inch orb filled with a realistic strong acid, but it's not going to be just instant damage that can destroy a human body, and then nothing more. If it can destroy a human body, which I doubt, it would at least be over time.

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Edited by - Icelander on 28 Jul 2018 11:41:08
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LordofBones
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837 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  11:41:35  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not necessarily. Yaksha are in the service of the deity Kubera (who's actually Ravana's half-brother), but they are themselves not rakshasa, who have a different origin entirely. They're not divine servants (the only ones they respect are the Vedic Trinity, Shiva especially), and frankly the trend of tying everything to devil/demon/celestial is somewhat exhausting.

It's also incredibly jarring to consider rakshasa as 'corrupt angels' considering their history of kicking in divine teeth. Indrajit beat the snot out of Indra and was about to kill him when Brahma intervened and offered him a divine boon in exchange for the other deity's life.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7582 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  16:08:49  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Spell immunity in 3.5e is basically being immune to any spell that allows for spell resistance. I guess conjurers sit back and laugh while evokers can go sulk in the corner, seeing as how the orb line of spells are SR: No.


Do you mean Orb of Acic and Orb of Fire from Completely Arcane, reprinted in the Spell Compendium?

In theory, those are clever spells. Summoning acid or fire that is not magical in nature and using magic merely to deliver it to the target would, indeed, bypass Spell Resistance and immunity to spells below a certain level.

My problem with the spells is that as written, the acid and fire still seems to be pretty darn magical. As the Caster Level of those who gain access to these spells will be 7th to 8th level, that means that the acid or fire does 7d6 to 8d6. Instantaneously. And when cast by a more powerful caster, it goes all the way up to 15d6.

That's far more than any normal kind of non-magical acid or fire that can fit into a 3 inch sphere would ever do, even if it was under considerable pressure (or in vacuum). Well, unless the pressure or lack thereof was so extreme that the fire turned to plasma and/or there was an explosion/implosion when the orb collapsed. In which case the acid or fire effects aren't the real point of the spell and the real effects are caused by the orb, which causes bludgeoning damage from the explosion.

Technically, I guess that the 'fire' could be a piece of the sun and still be non-magical, but such a small piece couldn't sustain the nuclear reaction and you'd be left with an orb full of a small quantity of rapidly cooling superheated gas. I don't actually have numbers for how dangerous that would be, but intuitively, it doesn't feel plain stupid to assume that it might indeed be destructive to the tune of 7d6 to 15d6 to the target as it flashes out.

The acid is more problematic, in that there really aren't any real acids that dissolve metal armour on a second-by-second timescale. Nor do they usually cause death within a six second timeframe, at least not from massive physical trauma. The 'instant damage' acids of RPGs are basically magic already. Which is usually fine, but not when trying to argue that the acid should ignore magic resistance because it isn't magical. If we want that effect, we should probably use realistic acid effects.

Acid may well cause toxic reactions and/or do sufficient damage to the respiratory system to lead to eventual death, but it will do this over the period of minutes. I'd have to consult some GURPS experts who have Chemistry degrees to work out the maximum effects of the volume of a 3-inch orb filled with a realistic strong acid, but it's not going to be just instant damage that can destroy a human body, and then nothing more. If it can destroy a human body, which I doubt, it would at least be over time.



I only say this because you seem to be a bit like me and favor a bit more realism over balance, even if it means that you gain balance through a bit more in-depth rules instead. Don't try to think through the mechanics of 3.5e spell damage. It will make you go crazy. Nothing used to cheese me off more than the concept that a sonic spell and a fire spell of the same level did the same damage. Seriously, fire spells should be triple the damage, but a lot easier to resist if you have the proper preparations, or are of certain races (fiery creatures, fiends, etc...). Sonic should do pitiful damage, but be hard as hell to block, similar to other force type effects. All I could picture was parties going through dungeons sounding like massive thunderbursts.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7582 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  16:09:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Spell immunity in 3.5e is basically being immune to any spell that allows for spell resistance. I guess conjurers sit back and laugh while evokers can go sulk in the corner, seeing as how the orb line of spells are SR: No.


Do you mean Orb of Acic and Orb of Fire from Completely Arcane, reprinted in the Spell Compendium?

In theory, those are clever spells. Summoning acid or fire that is not magical in nature and using magic merely to deliver it to the target would, indeed, bypass Spell Resistance and immunity to spells below a certain level.

My problem with the spells is that as written, the acid and fire still seems to be pretty darn magical. As the Caster Level of those who gain access to these spells will be 7th to 8th level, that means that the acid or fire does 7d6 to 8d6. Instantaneously. And when cast by a more powerful caster, it goes all the way up to 15d6.

That's far more than any normal kind of non-magical acid or fire that can fit into a 3 inch sphere would ever do, even if it was under considerable pressure (or in vacuum). Well, unless the pressure or lack thereof was so extreme that the fire turned to plasma and/or there was an explosion/implosion when the orb collapsed. In which case the acid or fire effects aren't the real point of the spell and the real effects are caused by the orb, which causes bludgeoning damage from the explosion.

Technically, I guess that the 'fire' could be a piece of the sun and still be non-magical, but such a small piece couldn't sustain the nuclear reaction and you'd be left with an orb full of a small quantity of rapidly cooling superheated gas. I don't actually have numbers for how dangerous that would be, but intuitively, it doesn't feel plain stupid to assume that it might indeed be destructive to the tune of 7d6 to 15d6 to the target as it flashes out.

The acid is more problematic, in that there really aren't any real acids that dissolve metal armour on a second-by-second timescale. Nor do they usually cause death within a six second timeframe, at least not from massive physical trauma. The 'instant damage' acids of RPGs are basically magic already. Which is usually fine, but not when trying to argue that the acid should ignore magic resistance because it isn't magical. If we want that effect, we should probably use realistic acid effects.

Acid may well cause toxic reactions and/or do sufficient damage to the respiratory system to lead to eventual death, but it will do this over the period of minutes. I'd have to consult some GURPS experts who have Chemistry degrees to work out the maximum effects of the volume of a 3-inch orb filled with a realistic strong acid, but it's not going to be just instant damage that can destroy a human body, and then nothing more. If it can destroy a human body, which I doubt, it would at least be over time.



I only say this because you seem to be a bit like me and favor a bit more realism over balance, even if it means that you gain balance through a bit more in-depth rules instead. Don't try to think through the mechanics of 3.5e spell damage. It will make you go crazy. Nothing used to cheese me off more than the concept that a sonic spell and a fire spell of the same level did the same damage. Seriously, fire spells should be triple the damage, but a lot easier to resist if you have the proper preparations, or are of certain races (fiery creatures, fiends, etc...). Sonic should do pitiful damage, but be hard as hell to block, similar to other force type effects. All I could picture was parties going through dungeons sounding like massive thunderbursts.

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Icelander
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Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  17:01:25  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I only say this because you seem to be a bit like me and favor a bit more realism over balance, even if it means that you gain balance through a bit more in-depth rules instead. Don't try to think through the mechanics of 3.5e spell damage. It will make you go crazy. Nothing used to cheese me off more than the concept that a sonic spell and a fire spell of the same level did the same damage. Seriously, fire spells should be triple the damage, but a lot easier to resist if you have the proper preparations, or are of certain races (fiery creatures, fiends, etc...). Sonic should do pitiful damage, but be hard as hell to block, similar to other force type effects. All I could picture was parties going through dungeons sounding like massive thunderbursts.


Remember, I'm not running D&D 3.5 or any other edition. I can use spells that exist in Realmslore, but I'm not bound by rules oddities. If a given spell is much more powerful than another, which is of the same level in D&D, then it doesn't have to cost the same to cast in my game. Even if I'll retain something like a spell level, in that spellcasters must have a certain level of power before learning certain spells, each die of damage for spells has an energy cost in GURPS and that cost will be larger for more 'useful' types of damage.

That being said, I'm not sure what 'sonic' as a type of damage means in a realistic context, especially not when distinguished from 'force'. Real-world sonic weapons cause disorientation, nausea, discomfort or pain. They don't tear physical structures or bodies apart and if they did, that would just be through concussion, in exactly the same way as any other 'force'.

Not to mention that there is no non-magical way that sound waves contained in an 'Orb of Sound' could somehow be powerful enough to kill a person and yet not do anything to people standing next to them. I'll accept sonic spells as 'magic', but when the central conceit of a spell is that it conjures entirely natural and non-magical matter or energy, so that Spell Resistance doesn't matter against the effects, those effects need to follow the rules of physics.

So, sure, I'll allow an 'Orb of Sound' or 'Orb of Force' spells, but those release magical effects and are thus affected by Spell Resistance or the spell immunity of rakshasa.

Well, I guess that technically, if they released a huge noise, they might exist as Conjuration spells that ignore Spell Resistance and could be the same spell, but that would inevitably affect more than one target. Any sound loud enough to cause physical damage will probably stun, disorient and deafen people in a much larger area around it. At any rate, as written, or anything close to it, 'Orb of Force' and 'Orb of Sound' can't work.

'Orb of Acid' can, in theory, work, but it will probably do its damage over some time, at minimum several seconds, and probably do less physical damage than the D&D spell. But it might well have toxic side-effects and cause respiratory damage, making it almost as dangerous to living foes.

I'm working on figuring how an 'Orb of Fire' would work. First instinct is that it might well work well enough, but I'm getting advice to figure out what kind of side-effects we might expect.

The kicker is the low volume of the orb, as there isn't much space for combustible materials and gasses in 0.23 L of volume, so they'd have to be under considerable pressure and I'm concerned that it might be difficult or impossible to get just burning to one target, as at a certain point, we'd expect an explosion. Basically, there is going to be a cap on how much damage that little volume of flame can do in an instant before it stops being 'fire' and becomes something else.

'Orb of Cold', of course, won't work that like that. 0.23 L of something at an absolute zero might be hazardous, but the mechanics of heat transfer mean that the cold isn't going to kill something the size of a human instantaneously. I'm going to look into what kind of material should be in the orb and how it would react when it suddenly came into a room temperature atmosphere.

'Orb of Electricity' is probably easiest to stat. It would work like a massive electric shock, i.e. it has a lot of side-effects that are unhealthy for humans.

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Edited by - Icelander on 28 Jul 2018 17:38:07
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sleyvas
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Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  17:47:57  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yep, like I said, don't try to equate any sanity to the energy damages of 3.5e... it'll make you go crazy. Careful now man, I can already see the wheels a-spinning, as we're basically on the same page.

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Demzer
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Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  20:17:08  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cheesy way to explain the line of "Orbs" spells as they are, since they're conjuration, is that actually the orb is a really tin containment sphere for stuff the caster takes from the corresponding elemental/paralemental/whatever plane.
So the stuff thrown at people is real (no SR, it's like a conjured creature biting/mauling them) but it affects only one target because as soon as the containment field is shattered (on contact with the target) the conjured matter very quickly goes back to its home plane.
So ultra high sonic waves, explosions, numbing cold, acid fumes and whatever side effect we might expect are not there a split second after the sphere has hit its target and only the target suffers the damage of the exposure to the excruciating flames of the Plane of Fire or the incomprehensibly high dissolving power of the stuff from which the paraelemental Plane of Acid is made.

I like realism too but after all ... it's magic.
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Icelander
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Posted - 28 Jul 2018 :  21:30:41  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Cheesy way to explain the line of "Orbs" spells as they are, since they're conjuration, is that actually the orb is a really tin containment sphere for stuff the caster takes from the corresponding elemental/paralemental/whatever plane.
So the stuff thrown at people is real (no SR, it's like a conjured creature biting/mauling them) but it affects only one target because as soon as the containment field is shattered (on contact with the target) the conjured matter very quickly goes back to its home plane.
So ultra high sonic waves, explosions, numbing cold, acid fumes and whatever side effect we might expect are not there a split second after the sphere has hit its target and only the target suffers the damage of the exposure to the excruciating flames of the Plane of Fire or the incomprehensibly high dissolving power of the stuff from which the paraelemental Plane of Acid is made.

I like realism too but after all ... it's magic.


Fair enough, but if something is an inherently magical substance with no real counterpart in actual physics, requiring supernatural power merely to exist, I fail to see how it would bypass spell resistance any more than flames created with Fireball.

It seems to me for the Orb spells to be metaphysically justified in ignoring a rakshasa's spell immunity and Spell Resistance, they really need to use a completely non-magical substance as the means of attack, with magic only used to contain and direct it. After the orb vanishes, what is in it has to behave 100% according to real physics, otherwise it's a just magical attack like ordinary spells are.

I'll accept that even in the absence of magic, flames from the Elemental Plane of Fire (in real terms, combustibles and gasses in the proccess of oxydization) or a discharge of electricity from the Quasi-elemental Plane of Lightning might still be dangerous, but the same doesn't hold for the Para-elemental Plane of Ice.

0,23 L of some material at or near absolute zero probably aren't going to kill a person instantly without magic. The idea of 'cold' as a form of attack just falls apart without magic. The temperature difference between a person and absolute zero is just so much lower than the difference between a person and the inside of a blast furnace.

And is there even a Para- or Quasi-Elemental Plane of Sound?

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Edited by - Icelander on 28 Jul 2018 21:34:39
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LordofBones
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Posted - 29 Jul 2018 :  05:02:09  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're trying to apply real-world science and logic to a setting where skeletons can walk and talk without vocal chords and muscles, and where the existence of souls and the concepts of good, evil, law and chaos are objective facts.

Also, in addition to the orb spells, there's flame arrow, evard's black tentacles and acid fog. Pathfinder has even more ways to ruin a magic-immune monster's day (create pit). Or Doom Scarabs from PH2, which deals damage (no SR) and only checks for SR for the hp-drain component of the spell. Or

Or just buff up the party's meatshield and send him into the fray.
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Icelander
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Posted - 29 Jul 2018 :  05:45:07  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

You're trying to apply real-world science and logic to a setting where skeletons can walk and talk without vocal chords and muscles, and where the existence of souls and the concepts of good, evil, law and chaos are objective facts.

Yes.

Magic can break the laws of physics. This is established. What magical cannot do, however, is gain the benefits of not being a magical spell, and thus be able to ignore SR and immunity to spells below a certain level, as with the rakshasa, while still clearly being a magical effect.

I'm open to spells that use magical means to conjure or move around an entirely natural and non-magical material allowing the caster to bypass such magical protections. But that has to be at the cost of this particular hazardous material actually being restricted by physics.

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Also, in addition to the orb spells, there's flame arrow, evard's black tentacles and acid fog. Pathfinder has even more ways to ruin a magic-immune monster's day (create pit). Or Doom Scarabs from PH2, which deals damage (no SR) and only checks for SR for the hp-drain component of the spell. Or

Or just buff up the party's meatshield and send him into the fray.


Flame Arrows and Acid Fog have durations and behave in blatantly magical ways. Fire doesn't burn without fuel and acid reacts to substances, meaning that acid turns into other things during the reaction. I wouldn't allow either spell to bypass the spell immunity of rakshasa and, frankly, I don't think they ought to bypass SR.

Using magic to conjure acid into the atmosphere, that then works normally by physical laws (more likely causing respiratory failure or toxic reactions than corroding flesh, clothes or armour on a combat useful time-scale), or setting arrows aflame with magic, which quickly burns them up, those would be the kind of spells that could bypass SR and rakshasa spell immunity. But a real flaming arrow does no more injury than a regular arrow, it just has a chance of setting very combustible objects on fire.

I'm on the fence about Evard's Black Tentacles, as I think that physical attacks by summoned creatures should absolutely bypass both SR and rakshasa spell immunity, but I'm not sure the tentacles qualify. I might default to the same solution as for the Doom Scarabs, i.e. the physical effects bypass them, but not magical special effects.

Obviously, using magic to enhance the capabilities of oneself and allies is one of the most sensible ways to avoid the special magical protections of one's foes. That's probably what rakshasa do on the rare occasions that they must directly confront each other.

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Edited by - Icelander on 29 Jul 2018 05:48:20
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LordofBones
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Posted - 29 Jul 2018 :  06:58:05  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Presumably, that's why most acid spells and the orb line of spells are Conjuration, not Evocation. You're not creating orbs of fire/acid/force/ice cream, you're effectively a conduit to the elemental plane in question (I guess acid would hail from the QEP of ooze). As to why it scales with caster level, I'd assume that reflects the potency and amount of the effect being conjured, from a small bead to a streaking orb (that's just conjecture, mind you).

I mean, there's a spell that reduces spell resistance (Spell Vulnerability), so I don't exactly know how the devs rule SR.
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Icelander
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Posted - 29 Jul 2018 :  17:20:53  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Presumably, that's why most acid spells and the orb line of spells are Conjuration, not Evocation. You're not creating orbs of fire/acid/force/ice cream, you're effectively a conduit to the elemental plane in question (I guess acid would hail from the QEP of ooze). As to why it scales with caster level, I'd assume that reflects the potency and amount of the effect being conjured, from a small bead to a streaking orb (that's just conjecture, mind you).

My problem is that D&D acid works like comic book or bad movie acid, not like real acid, which is more likely to kill from respiratory damage or toxic effects, and absolutely doesn't affect other things, like hypothetical constructs or magically animated dead bodies, just as well as living, breathing animals.

I'm fine with it as long as I can justify it as not being real acid, but actually a magical effect that people in D&D-land imagine is acid, but that leads to me being hesitant to state suddenly that this particular magical effect somehow ignores Spell Resistance and immunity to spells.

Basically, in my campaigns, D&D acid is an alchemical construct that requires magic to work, just like smokepowder (but for a different reason). Conjuring it is a spell effect, just as conjuring magical fire.

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

I mean, there's a spell that reduces spell resistance (Spell Vulnerability), so I don't exactly know how the devs rule SR.


That's using specialised magic to counter an innate kind of magical protection, so it's conceptually fine with me.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 Jul 2018 :  01:20:23  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

And is there even a Para- or Quasi-Elemental Plane of Sound?




Yeah, I like to bring this up when I hear people call wu-jen stupid because their idea of the elements includes metal and wood, but not air. Is there some kind of Quasi-elemental plane of Thunder that crosses a "Plane of Cacophony" with the "Plane of Air"? Is the Feywild actually tied with the "Plane of Wood", thus explaining the many living plant beings? There may be dozens of inner planes that we simply haven't discovered the mysteries of yet. Now, do I like these concepts I just threw out? No. But it doesn't mean they're wrong.

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Icelander
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Posted - 30 Jul 2018 :  02:39:07  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If there is a major concentration of rakshasa in the Scarlet Jungle in the Yehimals, northeast of Ulgarth, as well as smaller groups in areas near where that jungle once reached, like the Forest of Ajmer, the Dustwall and Veldorn, I wonder what impact this has had on the humans of Ulgarth and the Shining Lands.

Are there cults and secret societies of people who have been manipulated by rakshasa for generations?

Considering that all rakshasa view themselves as nobles, like to be waited on or fawned over and consider physical conflict beneath them, it would make sense for them to cultivate families of loyal retainers.

And I really feel that famatical cultists inspired by the worst pulp and Hollywood anthropology on Thugee cultists would be cool. They'd see rakshasa as direct representatives of the Gods... or maybe even as divine themselves. In their worldview, the servants who obeyed unquestionanly and were willing to sacrifice everything for their rakshasa masters would eventually be reborn as rakshasa.

Thoughts?

Suggestions for names of the cult?

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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 Jul 2018 :  16:46:17  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just something to throw out there for some possibilities.... I wouldn't be surprised if the cult of Kiga down in Kadarasto (its from Ruined Kingdoms for Al-Qadim where Nog and Kadar were) didn't possess a sizable number of Naztharune Rakshasa. They have a focus on assassination, shadows, are panther headed, etc... Maybe these Rakshasa led some wereleopards who also served them, since the Cult of Kiga is also served by wereleopards.

From Al-Qadim's Ruined Kingdoms boxes set for 2e
"Kiga, goddess of the hunt and of the kill, was depicted as a mysterious, sometimes sinister, panther-headed deity. A predatory goddess, Kiga was venerated by those who hunted for necessity or for personal amusement. Today, the worship of Kiga has been perverted into ritual murder by her (thankfully) few lycanthropic followers, based in Kadarasto."

"Claws of the Shadow: Favorite weapons of the cult of Kiga, these bagh nagh vary in enchantment from +1 to +3. They are typically found as a matched pair. If both claws are worn,
they also allow the bearer to assume shadow form for up to one turn per level of the wearer, once/day (800 XP per plus)."




Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 30 Jul 2018 17:49:20
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Icelander
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Posted - 30 Jul 2018 :  17:44:40  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just something to throw out there for some possibilities.... I wouldn't be surprised if the cult of Kiga down in Kadarasto (its from Ruined Kingdoms for Al-Qadim where Nog and Kadar were) didn't possess a sizable number of Naztharune Rakshasa.


I'll grant that there is a connection to rakshasa in this cult, but I view the connection as working the other way. The rakshasa take advantage of the fact that the human cultists believe them to be emissaries or representatives of their deities, but are not themselves part of these human cults.

Any rakshasa who actually worshipped human (or demihuman, for that matter) gods would be an outcast from their society and probably hunted down. It's perfectly fine to set up a cult in the name of fake gods (or even real ones, as long as the doctrine and religious activities are twisted to benefit the rakshasa), but it would never do to actually believe.

The gods are evil frauds who've seized almost all power in the multiverse and when Ravana tried to respectfully gain just a little of it, he was slapped down, killed by mortal assassins in the service of hypocrite gods and his reincarnated form imprisoned with divine power. Ravana is the rightful Lord of Creation and it is the duty of all rakshasa to offer him their worship, just as it is the birthright of all rakshasa to rule over the lesser races, assuming they have the intelligence, guile, willpower and magical might to seize their birthright.

If the cult of Kiga were actually in possession of rakshasa, even such petty rakshasa as the Naztharune, it would be an intolerable provocation and insult. That sort of thing could only be allowed to pass if the true rulers of the cult of Kiga were, in fact, rakshasa themselves. Naztharune rakshasa are, indeed, born to serve, rather than rule, but they are born to serve their betters, not such infinite inferiors as humans or even cursed humans, like lycanthropes.

That being said, cults being what they are, it's entirely possible that there exist splinter cults of Kiga, one of which is manipulated by secret rakshasa lords to be used as disposable mortal servants and another of which is ruled by humans and provides a sanctuary for rogue Naztharune rakshasa who have been marked for death by orthodox rakshasa society.

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Edited by - Icelander on 30 Jul 2018 17:49:57
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