The Rakshasa

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The Rakshasa

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Pitch
Multiply-Embodied Post-Biological-Singularity Bestial Psionic Objectivists Seeking Apotheosis
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Snapshot
"Will is the wellspring and the expression of authority; what does not answer your will is not yours.
How shameful, then, to surrender one's own flesh to the whims of blind nature!"

― Si'mh Asanara Na, Foundation of the Throne (or Struggle for the Throne, depending on accent marks),
closest approximation to a rakshasa holy text

Born on a volcanic crucible they name Naraka but whose coordinates they conceal, the rakshasa spilled into the Outer Fringe in centuries past to carve their Dominions from any worlds too poorly organized to resist. Ruled by an unsteady tripod of monarch, clergy, and aristocracy - though all these terms fail to properly capture their meaning in rakshasa culture - internal power struggles slowed and finally halted their expansion. Now they loom at the edge of known space like an exiled tyrant, regarding the rest of the universe as their rightful due. How fortunate for civilized space that each considers his neighbor a competitor as much as a potential ally.

At the heart of rakshasa culture are the concepts of will and property; objectivists down to the bone, the core aphorism of their philosophy could be translated as "you own what you can keep", and ownership conveys that a thing answers to your will. Somewhere in distant history, this relentless striving for dominance permeated down to their very being, and as they unravelled the secrets of life they rewove themselves with the threads. All of Naraka's life is rakshasa, and the rakshasa as they are known today developed from a genetic soup of all Naraka's original life, rendered into building blocks and combined to purpose. Hence each Noble rakshasa is a unique chimera of traits it and the overarching culture value, the monstrous Attendants that serve them close as a witch's familiar are a diminished and altered version of themselves, and the terrible alien predators who form half of their cultural iconography are fundamentally a part of the same species.

More alarmingly, philosophy and circumstance combine to make rakshasa will a literal force by way of psionics. Much of Naraka's more complex life owes its existence to a prehistoric partial-phase collision with exotic matter, leaving deposits of stone deep within the planet radiating the equivalent of hyperspace fallout. In lost millenia the rakshasa aristocracy refined this substance into a dangerous supplement, dosing themselves to the brink of death; with their genetic recomposition the higher castes of rakshasa society enter the world with a bio-engineered glandular system to produce and manage a pre-metabolized form. Universally they express limited telekinetic manipulation (typically under 5kg) and personal bio-feedback control; individual Noble rakshasa develop their abilities according to their own interests. Aggressive energy manipulation and heightened capacity with 'natural' abilities are common, while aerokinetics and hydrokinetics remain unknown.

For all the menace of the Noble castes, most Fringers will never encounter them directly. Rarely found outside the power struggles and border wars of the Dominions, their biological immortality and natural convictions of godhead frequently lead them to remain ensconced in command of massive temple-barges in orbital space; when a Fringer says he's seen a rakshasa, he has likely seen a Prodigal. Bred from the mad reproductive urges of chimerical immortals, each is as unique as its originating Noble, purpose built to alien whims. Something slightly more than an Attendant but not hardwired for obedience, frequently sent (or exiled) into the rest of the Fringe, Prodigals occupy an uncomfortable place between heir apparent, defector, and catspaw. Mistrusted by the races of civilized space and unable to even reliably trust each other, filled with rakshasa genetic alchemy and psionic aptitude and philosophy, the 'public face' of the rakshasa Noble castes in the Fringe is of a sharp-tempered loner with an ego a mile wide.

 

References

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Stylized depiction of a rakshasa Prodigal

 

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Stylized depiction of a rakshasa Attendant

 

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Breaking of Ages, painted in mourning for the fall of Delta Aroenthe VII to rakshasa invasion (artist unknown)

 

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Palatial throne room at the heart of a Puradhyaksa's temple-barge

 

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Pyrokinetic Noble at rest in one of Naraka's many volcanic regions

 

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Rakshasa fortress-city built high over a molten expanse

 

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Ur-Priests conducting an inscrutable ritual in a smoke-filled cauldron

 

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Interior of an Ur-Priest temple, forbidden to all but the geneticist-mystics of the rakshasa

 

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Statues inside an Ur-Priest temple depicting not gods, but mythological archetypes; the rakshasa only worship themselves

 

Notes
Dark text is outdated information!  Check the following posts for more details.

Please be aware that playing this race not only requires my approval, but psionics approval.  If you're interested in playing rakshasa, contact me via Discord by sending a friend request to Sha#9484.  Failing that, a private message here on the site will do.  Keep in mind that, because of their power, disposition, and cultural background, roleplaying rakshasa requires careful attention to detail and consideration for your fellow roleplayers.

Story arises from conflict, and the goal of this race is to introduce additional active, layered, and interesting antagonists to the setting.  I don't want them in the hands of someone overly concerned with winning combat roleplay, because the point of roleplay is mutually-satisfying collaborative storytelling, not winning.  At the same time, the rakshasa aren't disposable villains meant only to be beaten by protagonistic characters.  They're people, and should be written as such.  Due to the delicate nature of their narrative, permission to play them won't be given freely.  Please don't take it personally.

As for their psionic abilities, I'll state clearly that all rakshasa can innately do three things:
• Telekinesis that can manipulate objects no greater than 5kg (11lbs) total in a range of 3m (10ft) around the rakshasa.  When determining its effectiveness and ease of use, it's best to compare it to physically manipulating the objects in question.  It isn't particularly fast, dextrous, or subtle.  The air wavers softly around the rakshasa's hand and the targeted objects, and it requires unbroken line of sight.
• Biokinesis capable of slowly stabilizing wounds on the rakshasa's own body provided they have safety and time.  The process is of comparable effectiveness to first aid.  The rakshasa must stop and focus on their wounds for a few minutes, or as long as it would take to clean and bandage them physically.  It doesn't heal wounds, only stabilizes them, so too much physical exertion will likely tear them open again.
• Empathy capable of detecting fear in other minds, and, more notably, injecting it into them.  This requires unbroken line of sight, and, like all empathy, works on organics and inorganics alike.  The injected fear is not nearly so pronounced as to crumble a stable sapient psyche, but it's unnerving, the sensation of a predator's eyes drilling into the target's mind and leaving them feeling exposed and very personally threatened.

On top of these innate abilities, rakshasa Prodigals, the player characters, are generally capable of practicing either one or two types of psionics.  If they choose two types, they're only able to use them at very close range.  For instance, a rakshasa Prodigal who practices telekinesis and pyrokinesis can manipulate force and fire, but only within arm's reach, their innate telekinesis aside.  A Prodigal who focuses only on one type of psionics can use it from range as normal.  As a rule of thumb, the effectiveness of rakshasa psionics should never go beyond what can be accomplished with technology.  Rakshasa are incapable of aerokinesis and hydrokinesis.

Finally, I'd like to request that rakshasa cloning rules be slightly altered.  I've checked with staff members and learned that this is hypothetically possible, but whether or not it will be approved is another matter.  I'm hoping their maximum number of clonings can be removed, and that the side effects of their clonings can rely on the frequency of their deaths instead of the total number.  To make this sustainable, their memory losses and mutations could be reverted, however slowly.  In trade, maybe it takes them five days to finish cloning, and maybe they can only be cloned twice a month.  I'm open to input on this.

There are two reasons I ask.  In terms of lore, the rakshasa have a long history of extreme genetic modification.  It's the vehicle with which they pursue self-perfection.  It stands to reason that they would be better at cloning than is common.  On top of this, their unique racial psychology simply doesn't allow for the concerns regarding self-identity that arise when other races consider cloning.  To the worldly rakshasa, it's simply reincarnation, and one iteration is indistinguishable from another.  Still, they earnestly try to avoid death.  Even if they return from it more reliably than other races, the knowledge that they died digs into their pride and leaves them bitter.

In terms of roleplaying, as I've already discussed, the rakshasa are naturally antagonistic.  It shouldn't be difficult to see that protagonistic characters will always vastly outnumber the Prodigals in the Fringe, so if a real fight breaks out, the Prodigals will likely lose.  I don't personally believe that players of antagonists should be more likely to permanently lose their characters, especially considering story arises from conflict.  I recognize that consent rules exist, but I think it would improve their contribution to Galaxy Citizen's narrative if their players felt more comfortable allowing them to die.  Just a thought.

Anyway, sorry about the length of this.  As you can see, they're a very involved race.  It seemed important to discuss their narrative goals, psionics, and cloning all in the first stage, so I can see how they're received before I write an entire document about them.

 

Cosigners

@Yongzhi2000
@Geotec
@iamnotanumber2000

@Khaos

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Consider yourself cosigned.

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After some brief contact with the writer. I'm more than happy to Co-sign this.

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Co-sign after talking with the creator of this. Yes.

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Hello @Sha. I find this to be a very interesting concept of a species and I find its writing to be particularly well thought out. However, because it of course uses psionics as one of its main themes, I must take extra care to ensure that this race cannot be abused. Greater power than other races can be given to the players, but only when limited to the good roleplayers like which is done with stronger races such as the Ravir.

To start off on things I would like simply removed or limited, I currently ask you to remove their natural empathetics and to limit them to only one psionic type (at normal range).

Finally, I would like you to find alternatives that work with the current cloning guidelines (since we'd rather not cater it to your species) and to also impose some age limit like we normally do with characters.

And I believe we have talked about this, but for a species like this my suggestion would be to have your cosigners send you a full character sheet you will grade before you accept them. Then they must send it to @WowGain or I.  Just address the problems I listed above and hopefully we can move on to phase 2.

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Just to chime in, our age cap of 300 usually comes in at that due to mental strain as an IC explanation. For inorganics such as Glitch, this usually means that they become so corrupted over time that they're reduced to insane, semi-lucid individuals with only a fraction of their original mental faculties left. Organics usually begin to crumple under the mental stress of having lived so long, their mental ability rapidly deteriorating. For examples of characters that have surpassed this, they're usually allowed to do so due to them already basically being insane beyond reason or having hardly any memory of their younger days, such as a character like Sarge Jr, who is a few centuries old but has the mental stability of a piece of cardboard in a hurricane. 

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On 3/27/2017, 5:38:49, PrivateNomad said:

I currently ask you to remove their natural empathetics

Yeah, this is totally fine.  When I wrote this, I wasn't sure how much potential the typical psion would have.  It was only ever meant to be flavor anyway, and since projecting bad feelings is difficult to approach in RP, I'm fine with just sidestepping it entirely.  I'll probably add empathetics to the list of "shit rakshasa can't do", then, since they're so worldly.

But I'd like to ask if it'd be reasonable for them to be able to smell adrenaline instead, like wolves can.  That way it'd only work on exposed organics with adrenal systems.  It wouldn't be very precise, I'm just trying to maintain a sort of predatory theme.

 

On 3/27/2017, 5:38:49, PrivateNomad said:

and to limit them to only one psionic type (at normal range).

This is also fine.  Like Nomad and I discussed, I was under the mistaken impression a psion using Wave would also have normal telekinesis, so it felt reasonable to strip away their ranged ability to give them something else.  Typically, rakshasa prefer melee combat because it's more personal and visceral, but I needed a justification for this besides sentimentality.  A cultural aversion to ranged combat like the Ravir have wouldn't work for them, because they believe the nature of war is cruelty and struggle to understand ideas like honorable fights and war crimes.  They generally do what works, and if their psionics were just as effective at range as up close, they'd have no reason not to take cover and throw fireballs around corners, which doesn't suit them stylistically.

I was really worried at first, because I didn't want melee-oriented rakshasa to be limited to Wave (because variety is nice), have ranged powers too (because characters shouldn't be good at everything), or just make bad decisions ("melee is better because uhhhh it's fun haha").  It works for Ravir because they're so physically strong that it serves as a risk/reward balancing of their racial approach to war.  Thankfully we sorted out that a similar system would work for psionics, too.

Basically, rakshasa will choose just one kind of psionics to practice, but they'll also choose the range at which they practice it, and they'll be locked into those choices.  It'll be something like the relationship between Wave and normal telekinesis, where the melee version is more dangerous while the ranged version is more versatile, so they'll both have ups and downs.  That way there's more variety and racial style is preserved.

 

On 3/27/2017, 5:38:49, PrivateNomad said:

Finally, I would like you to find alternatives that work with the current cloning guidelines (since we'd rather not cater it to your species)

Yeahh, I don't blame you for not wanting to open that can of worms.  It was worth a shot, but I wasn't holding my breath.  I did at least think of a way to preserve their genetic engineering lore while allowing them to operate under the normal cloning rules.  I'd write it out more fully in stage two of grading, but basically, at the heart of Prodigal ships would be the garbhagriha ("womb chamber") that would house the Prodigal's genetic cipher and serve as their personal cloning facility.  It would have all the limitations listed in the cloning rules, because obviously a Prodigal ship has limited resources.

Now, this part is literally only a lore alteration, and the practical effect on GC's narrative would be the same: when a given Prodigal's womb chamber is finally exhausted, instead of dying permanently, a signal would be sent to Naraka and the Prodigal would be cloned there, instead, in the Abode of All Flesh, which is basically a huge fortress-temple that serves as the seat of the Ur-Priesthood's power and has no relevant limitations as Prodigal ships do.  For reasons I would carefully explain, they'd have all their memories from the Fringe, including those they previously lost thanks to their imperfect womb chambers.

The thing is, dying that many times would be considered a terrible and humiliating failure.  The Prodigal would be returned to the Noble that spawned them to be dealt with as desired, and GC would never see them again.  Nobles are very individualistic so it's hard to say what exactly would happen to the Prodigal, but what's certain is that they would not be granted another ship, at least not in GC's timeline, because those things aren't cheap.

No, the womb chamber aboard a Prodigal's ship could not simply be renewed (and why would they do that for them anyway, death to the lesser races is especially shameful, how about stop being an embarrassment instead), and no, the Prodigal could not simply sneak out of the isolationist Dominions and into the Fringe again, because border patrol is fierce.

Let me know what you think.

 

On 3/27/2017, 5:38:49, PrivateNomad said:

and to also impose some age limit like we normally do with characters.

On 3/27/2017, 5:45:18, WowGain said:

age cap of 300

Oh yeah no, if someone wanted to play a Prodigal anywhere near that old I'd be immensely suspicious as to why.  I did confirm with WowGain that this limitation is more for PCs than NPCs, which is good, because I can't see the God-Tyrant on Naraka changing every three hundred years, and I imagine all of the Nobles (which biologically but not politically includes Prodigals and Attendants) are immortal, too.  I think the idea of a society that's effectively beaten death is interesting, because what kinds of problems do you have when your own mortality is no longer a concern?  But rest assured that this would never touch the server.  Prodigals are called that for a reason - they're expected to return when they're older.  Rakshasa player characters would just be like other people in the Fringe.

I'm really sorry about the length of this, by the way.  It's all so delicate that I didn't want to leave any lingering questions as to my motives or solutions.

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16 hours ago, Sha said:

But I'd like to ask if it'd be reasonable for them to be able to smell adrenaline instead, like wolves can.  That way it'd only work on exposed organics with adrenal systems.  It wouldn't be very precise, I'm just trying to maintain a sort of predatory theme.

Sure.

16 hours ago, Sha said:

The thing is, dying that many times would be considered a terrible and humiliating failure.  The Prodigal would be returned to the Noble that spawned them to be dealt with as desired, and GC would never see them again.  Nobles are very individualistic so it's hard to say what exactly would happen to the Prodigal, but what's certain is that they would not be granted another ship, at least not in GC's timeline, because those things aren't cheap.

No, the womb chamber aboard a Prodigal's ship could not simply be renewed (and why would they do that for them anyway, death to the lesser races is especially shameful, how about stop being an embarrassment instead), and no, the Prodigal could not simply sneak out of the isolationist Dominions and into the Fringe again, because border patrol is fierce.

Let me know what you thin

This is fine.

The stage one seems fine, So I'm going to go ahead and clear you for stage two as long as you add what we talked about before. See you again when you post it.

@Sha

@Yongzhi2000
@Geotec
@iamnotanumber2000

@Khaos

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@Sha do you still have any interest in getting this passed?

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The rakshasa are kind of my brainchild and I'd love to be able to play them on GC, but as things stand I don't think I'll have the time to complete a full application with the level of quality that I want for them.  Life has sort of been kicking me around lately, so I haven't even really felt like RPing.  If that changes, I might like to try again, but until then I know you'll have to reject this due to inactivity.

I'm very sorry to have wasted everyone's time.  :\

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19 hours ago, Sha said:

The rakshasa are kind of my brainchild and I'd love to be able to play them on GC, but as things stand I don't think I'll have the time to complete a full application with the level of quality that I want for them.  Life has sort of been kicking me around lately, so I haven't even really felt like RPing.  If that changes, I might like to try again, but until then I know you'll have to reject this due to inactivity.

I'm very sorry to have wasted everyone's time.  :\

Not a problem. I hope things go well on your own personal side.

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