On Competence And Raksi

Man, why does competent always hafta mean "Has a big plan that would suit as a video game endboss?"

I like Raksi as the competent sort of competent. She has her Mahalanka and surrounding territories under her thumb, and a lot of her energy goes into maintaining them the way she wants them. She keeps ties to the rest of the Silver Pact so she can get favors for her sorcerous research, which means she occasionally does things for other Lunars. She mentors the Thousand Fang Army.

She uses baby-eating as a front. She does eat babies, and she even enjoys it, but she mostly does it so that people will think of her as "That crazy woman who eats babies." If you go to a Silver Pact meeting set up by her in her city, she'll expect you to partake of the repast and be insulted if you don't, but it's not because she gets off on forcing people to eat babies — it's so you'll be off your game and she'll have the negotiation advantage. I like the idea that if you go to Mahalanka to kill Raksi because you're outraged at her baby-eating, that means she's played you.

Meanwhile she putters around doing her sorcery research and making artifacts and keeping tabs on the local Deathlords and pondering how she can turn the imminent civil war in the Realm to her advantage by expanding Mahalanka's territory to the west, or whether that would piss off Ma-Ha-Suchi too much to be worth the trouble, and otherwise acting like someone who's 1,200 years old and has an established power-base to maintain and is used to thinking in terms of plans that take multiple centuries to execute.

2e writes her up as this eternal mental child obsessed with Solar Circle Sorcery above all else. It's a boring cartoonish caricature.


I think it could be useful to remember, just for a moment, what Raksi is and why there's an NPC named Raksi in the books.

Raksi is a shapeshifting cannibal whose Tell is that her hands are backwards. Remind you of anything? She's is The Rakshasa, the Hindu shapeshifting cannibal trickster-demon who can assume any form, but who can always be recognized because its hands are backwards, which is why it compulsively hides them behind its back when interacting with people. You may recognize them from D&D, where they all have tiger-heads, but in actual Hindu mythology they're not tied to that form at all.

Note that Raksi was named Raksi, and very clearly fulfilled the archetype of The Rakshasa, about two years before the Fair Folk got renamed the raksha.

This places certain boundary conditions on what anyone can or should want to do with Raksi. For example, she needs to stay a cannibal. She also needs to keep her backwards-hands Tell, which is tricky inasmuch as the Tell is supposed to be an animal feature, but really the problem there is the idea that the Tell needs to be an animal feature, since Raksi's Tell is drawn directly from the mythology surrounding her archetype.

So the question is not so much "Should Raksi remain a cannibal in 3e?" The answer to that one is "What are you, dense? What would be the point of even keeping her at all if we got rid of the cannibalism?" The question is "How can we keep Raksi herself, i.e. in fullfillment of her own archetype, while making her a deep, interesting, and useful enough character to not be a fucking waste of wordcount?"

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