Wednesday, May 12, 2021

I Steal Pathfinder's Asura Ranas

We're talking about Fiends. They tend to lead to some dark shit. CW for mentions of self-mutilation and gore. It should be pretty obvious when they come up.


D&D's sister series. Where all the good writers went after 3.5 was over. That game system I know but have never played. Darker and Edgier D&D. That setting that's really cool because the Great Old Ones are more active participants in the world. Fiends 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Pathfinder's "Book of the Damned is great. Hell, it manages to rival Planescape's "Faces of Evil". Partly this is because I love Kitchen Sink Cosmologies, and I love curveballs, and I love new extraplanar factions to fuck about with, and the Book has all of those. Of particular interest to me, the Book goes out of its way to list a bunch of beings just below proper Fiendish Divinities in power level, and as far as I know, virtually none of them have received the slightest attention. 

This leaves the perfect opportunity for me, a Rascal, Rogue, and Rapscallion, to swoop in and talk aimlessly about them while also kind of giving my thoughts on the Fiendish Races themselves at the same time.

Iunno I wanted to talk about these guys because I think they're Cool and New, and I'm going in alphabetical order, so we start with the Asura Ranas.

For those unfamiliar with Pathfinder cosmology: Asuras are Lawful Evil Fiends created from the mistakes of the gods. Deity gives its pet serpents sapience and then they sneak off and eat all the high priests? That's an Asura. Deity throws a ball of bandits with such force that it hits a planet and causes a mass extinction? That's an Asura.
Cool idea. We immediately run into a problem with applying them to Egharl, because Egharl doesn't have gods. That being said, Asuras in general are way too cool for me to just leave out. I'll talk about that problem more when I do a master-post on Fiends sometime. On to the Asura Ranas!

Andak the Disembered

This is exactly what you'd expect from a guy named "The Dismembered". He's a guy whose "limbs have been hewn into multiple pieces and reattached awkwardly and randomly". In a bit of a strange twist, they're associated with axes (implying dismemberment on a battlefield), torture, and self-mutilation. Makes sense, but it's a bit weird that his priests focus entirely on bloody self-augmentation, with no mention made of cutting off other people's limbs. I'd probably play him as a patron of corrupted self-improvement, kind of like The Meat from TMA. Determination to be strong, even if that means contorting your body into an unrecognizably hideous form. Overall: Pretty cool.

Bohga the Treasurer

Bohga! Second Rana in, and we may already have hit my favorite. Bohga is a creature of corrupted asceticism, who attained perfection after meditating over a horde of stolen goods for millennia. That premise alone stuck in my mind more than basically anything else in the Book. The image of an evil ascetic meditating over the horde of gold she's stolen but will never use? Instant classic. 

Chugarra the Guru of Butchers

We literally just had a guy named "The Dismembered" two entries ago. Chugarra is just an evil butcher. He butchers people. I will admit that the image of a massive, skinless butcher is fun, but overall? Pass. 

Chupurvagasti, Lady of Poison Mist

The name tells you everything you need to know. I don't understand what poison mist has to do with a deity's mistake. This is a portfolio that's been covered before. I'd prefer to use some sort of Prince Elemental Smog instead of this woman. Nothing here is uniquely Asura, and nothing here is overtly interesting enough for me to ignore that. Pass.

Gavidya the Numberless

The Book describes him as a "Cloaked figure who has no fewer than six faces at all time, each forming from folds on his scalp before gravitating towards the center of his head and competing to be eaten by his smiling mouth.", and that is a bloody amazing description. He's a patron of false prophets who delights in causing inter-religious strife, which is easy for me to adapt for use in Egharl. There's very little for me not to love about this guy.

Hydim of the Eternal Fast

An Asura Rana created by a god who accidentally condemned a nation to famine, I would immediately dismiss this guy if it wasn't for his name. Harbingers of Famine aren't hard to come by - Pathfinder alone features a bloody Horseman of it. That being said, the title is unique enough to set him apart from the crowd and make me think there's a place for him as a sort of Tantalus-like figure, constantly hunger but physically unable to break fast. Also, his obedience requires you to "Eat 13 pages from a sacred text", and anything that makes players eat paper is okay in my book. Pretty cool dude.

Ioramvol with the Mouth Full of Boulders

This poor guy. I don't even know how he became an Asura Rana - The Book just says he "Suffered countless deaths via falls, premature burial, and rockslides". I have no idea how being crushed by falling rocks a lot leads to achieving Enlightenment, but to each their own. This guy gets a pass in my book because of his name alone, without even having to take into account how cool a "tattoed colossus pierced with shards of rock" who spits boulders out of his mouth would be to use in an encounter. Also, he has the Undead and Murder subdomains, and that's honestly the premise for an adventure in and of itself. Competes with Bogha for my #1 spot.

Maeha, the Father of False Words

I'm torn on this guy. On one hand, he kind of treads of Gavidya's toes, being another Rana whose worshippers pretend to be priests of a different religion. On the other hand, his Areas of Concern include Propaganda and Isolation, which speaks to a totally different sort of Rana - A false shepherd of the lost, presenting a kind demeanor but working to lead vulnerable people even deeper into isolation. I like that angle. It's dark, and it'd be hard to pull off in a game, but I think it's a very solid concept. Reminds me of The Lonely from TMA. This guy is pretty cool.

Onamahli, the Twice Pure

I have no idea what to do with Onamahli. She's just got too much stuff going on. On one hand, she has an obvious connection to beauty and self-image, being created after a celestial being tore itself in half in an attempt to become beautiful. It's topic you'd have to be careful around, but one that could produce some really emotionally intense adventures. On another hand, she's said to be "Contemplating the paradox of competing divine truths". That seems a bit silly. Of course, different gods believe different things! I don't spend my day contemplating the paradox of multiple rats wanting the same piece of cheese. Then there's the fact that one of her areas of concern is "Double-Standards". That deserves a whole Rana to itself, not just a single line in an already overstuffed one. Finally, there's the whole thing about two minds, one body. That bit is just kind of weird, and if used poorly, it'll just end up vilifying plural people. I don't like her.

Rahu, the Sun Eater

Rahu is a giant, flying, disembodied snake head that is said to cause eclipses by eating the Sun and Moon. He also has a thing for executions, and both are seen as manifestations of gluttony for light and life. Quite frankly, you had me at "Giant, flying, disembodied snake head".

Rytara, Serpent of the Eastern Eye

Rytara is a four-headed snake with three eyes on each face, and she uses her third eye to see your worst fear so she can cause you to reliv- Wait a second, this is just a goddamn Sakhil! A Sakhil snuck into the Asura section! 0/10!

Taraksun, Awakener of Wrath

If Taraksun was just a being associated with wrath, I'd pass him off as generic and be done with it. That being said, Taraksun is associated with specifically the wrath of impotent people - Captives, slaves, people like this. It's an interesting situation. Liberation is a pretty consistently good thing, but that doesn't mean Taraksun is without a niche. I could see him as someone who tempts people into rage first for a beneficial cause, to set themselves free and strike back at the people who hurt them, but then continue to stoke the fires of that rage long after they're necessary. Or he could be an agent of the cycle of revenge, always making sure one member of the bloodline escapes in order to extend the vendetta down another generation. All in all? Pretty cool guy.

Zurapadyn, the Best Who Waits in Smoke

Zurapdyn is said to "Revel in any act of fiery purification performed for misguided reasons.", which more or less makes him the patron of witch burnings. That's great. That's a great niche I don't think anyone has tapped before, and also fire is cool. I'll need to use him sometime.

1 comment:

  1. Reading you description of Andak, with his themes of dismemberment AND self-improvement, I feel like his followers should be out chopping off other people's limbs and adding them to themselves. Watch out for that 5 armed axe-man!

    I've been thinking a lot about the demons in my own setting so this post was a great read! I'm not at all familiar with Pathfinder or its fiends.


I Steal Pathfinder's Asura Ranas

We're talking about Fiends. They tend to lead to some dark shit. CW for mentions of self-mutilation and gore. It should be pretty obviou...