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Any (prefer night)
Any (usually neutral)
NO. OF ATTACKS:
1d2/1d2/1d4 (or by weapon)
Rear claws (1d3/1d3)
M (5'-7' tall)
120 or per level
These feline humanoids seem to have originated in the Yazak Steppes. While rakastas are found in steppes, savannas, and plains throughout the world, they are most common on the Savage Coast, where they have adopted a feudal style of government mixed with their ancient nomadic ways, warrior traditions, and mystical predilection. They are the dominant race of the nation of Bellayne.
A rakasta looks like a furry human with the head of a cat. Its short fur is usually soft and ranges in colour from light tan to dark brown. Many rakastas have a darker hue on the ears and muzzle. Some specimens have white highlights at the ears and muzzle instead or even white or dark patches at the extremities (feet, hands, and tail). Older rakastas show a whitening around the face and ears.
Rakastas have a build similar to that of humans; nomad rakastas tend to be slender, while those who live more sedentary lives tend to weigh more, ranging from slightly chubby to downright obese. The creatures have cat eyes, with vertical pupils. The irises are usually green, but some are yellow or even blue or hazel; a few rare individuals have two colours, most commonly one blue and one green eye.
Rakastan hands and feet are like those of humans, except for the fur and retractable claws. Rakastas also have non-prehensile tails. Nomads usually have tails between two and four feet long, though a very few have none at all. The tails of town dwellers range from four to six feet in length; most are covered with short fur, though the hair on some rare ones is long and silky. Rakastas are very proud of their tails and spend a great deal of time each day grooming them.
Rakastas tend to be proud and emotional; the nomads, in particular, are quick to anger. All are convinced of rakastan superiority over other races. Still, most are extremely interested in the world at large. For the nomads, this translates into a wanderlust that demands they explore and experience all things for themselves, while for the town dwellers, it becomes an intense curiosity about visitors and a penchant for puzzles of any types.
Most rakastas are usually neutral, but good and evil individuals are more common than the rare lawful or chaotic rakasta, evil specimens being fully as common as good ones.
The modern rakastan language is Rakastan, which has both ancient rakastan and Traladaran roots. In some ways, it sounds like the common tongue, but it is different enough that the similarities are more confusing than helpful. However, common is spoken by the town-dwelling nobility.
The Red Curse: Rakastas acquire Legacies and require cinnabryl to ward off Affliction.
Combat: Most rakastas carry weapons. The favourites for town dwellers include swords (especially matara and mishiya), maces, nonaka, and sa. Nomads also use these weapons, but they prefer to use war claws, a weapon developed by the rakastas. An unarmed rakasta instinctively attacks with claws and teeth when cornered; some nomads bite even when armed. Any rakasta who hits with both claws in the same round of combat can hang on and bring the rear claws to bear; rakasta nomads make special sandals to leave their rear claws exposed for this type of attack. Because most rakastas follow the code of behaviour called the Warrior's Honor (which the nomads call Sri'raka), few of them ever use missile weapons, especially against intelligent opponents. Firearms are considered particularly dishonourable, so Beast Riders, Honourbound, and Defenders from Bellayne never use them.
Warriors are very common in rakastan society, but bards, thieves, and priests are also relatively common. Wizards are rare. The primary warrior kits among rakastas are Honourbound (found everywhere) and Beast Riders (found among the nomads). Rakasta Beast Riders use feliquine mounts.
Special Abilities: Rakastas have excellent balance and reflexes, so they take only half damage from any fall. They have infravision with a range of 60 feet and superb hearing. Together, their keen senses give them three special abilities: detecting invisible or ethereal beings, blind-fighting, and detecting noise like a thief.
When confronted with invisible creatures, a rakasta receives a +4 bonus to any saving throws made for detection (as explained under "Invisibility" in Chapter 13 of the DMG). A rakasta automatically gets a saving throw, with the bonus, when an invisible creature approaches within 10 feet and during every round the invisible being remains that close. The rakasta does not automatically know where the invisible creature is, just that it is close by; locating it still requires other clues. Rakastas can also use this ability to detect the presence of ethereal creatures such as ghosts, phase spiders, or someone wearing plate mail of etherealness. They recognise the difference between ethereal and simply invisible creatures, but they gain no special attack or defence capabilities against ethereal beings.
Rakasta characters automatically gain the blind-fighting proficiency, without spending non-weapon proficiency slots. A normal rakasta also has a 20% chance to hear noise like a thief. Rakasta thieves can further improve upon this ability (just as thieves of other races can improve on their base scores). Note that the rakastan racial bonus is already added into this base; rakasta thieves do not receive an additional 5% bonus. See "Listening" in Chapter 15 of the DMG for more information.
Because of their keen senses, rakastas receive a -1 penalty on their saving throws against attacks based on sound (such as a banshee's wail or a harpy's song).
Habitat/Society: Rakastas have a medieval level of technology, similar to that of nearby human cultures. However, they tend to view most technology as a needless complexity. While their smiths are famous throughout the coast able to make intricate and detailed tools, weapons, and armour most people of Bellayne stick with a few basic types of items. Thus, while plate armour is known, very few use it because they prefer less ostentatious types like leather, chain, or banded armour. Though smiths might make special weapons on request, the ones local customers will buy are the national basics mentioned in the combat section. The rakastas still see little need for specialisation. For example, a rakasta smith usually becomes skilled in all facets of the profession (armourer, weaponsmith, blacksmith, redsmith, and metalworker).
Among the nomadic rakastas, divisions are even simpler; everyone is classified as either a warrior or a youth in training to become a warrior. Most warriors have other skills as well: One might be a skilled builder, another might be a weapon maker, and yet another might be a cleric. Still, all are warriors first and foremost.
In many other ways, rakasta nomads are similar to their settled compatriots. All rakastas cherish their young. Children are raised to take over family professions. It is difficult for children to enter a profession different from that of their parents unless they choose a military career.
Most permanent buildings in Bellayne are wooden with stone foundations. Nomads travel with tents, usually a simple framework draped with a large piece of leather.
Rakastas enjoy sports and games, especially battle-oriented contests such as unarmed combat, running, and riding.
Ecology: The rakastas of Bellayne produce and export excellent wools, tea, finished metal tools and weapons, liquors, and coal. The latter is used throughout the Savage Coast by smiths of all sorts, but most of the country's goods are traded to Renardy, Eusdria, and Herath.
Though rakastas usually consider themselves superior to members of most other races, elves are considered almost equal. Humans, dwarves, and lupins receive a somewhat grudging respect; rakastas have occasional territorial disputes with the lupins. Settled rakastas view shazaks as dangerous savages and believe other lizard kin to be even worse. Nomadic rakastas respect the warrior lifestyle of the shazaks, many of whom also adhere to the Warrior's Honor. However, caymas are considered irritating, and gurrash are viewed as nothing but dangerous opponents. Rakastas are very accepting of the peaceful tortles, who are well regarded warriors, priests, and peasants in Bellayne. The rakastas hate goblinoids passionately. Rakastas form opinions on most other races on an individual basis.