If you’ve watched The Wire (and you better have) you know that judges guard their prerogatives and the sanctity of their courtrooms very highly. They’re supposed to be impartial, but that doesn't mean they leave their personalities behind in the cloakroom. And when you’re a CR 20 Huge crow-dragon whose mandate to maintain the flow of souls is more important than any one case, who’s going to tell you how to run things?
Yamarajes are also art lovers, students of entire planets, and gourmands who just so happen to breathe beetles and drink lightning, if you’re keeping score. I also love the Bestiary 4’s description of yamaraj parties: “bacchanals [where] solars and pit fiends may hobnob alongside one another […] attempting to win future favors.” The banquet-as-RPG-adventure is one of my favorite module setups—my time as a Vampire player and a Shackled City fan is clearly showing—so the thought of spending a session among the living, the dead, and the divine in a yamaraj’s manor (and what crazy forms that edifice might that take!) is delicious.
A demigoddess has been promoted to deity after her master’s death, but still has several centuries to go before she learns the proper decorum required of immortals. Her overenthusiastic lobbying for her favorite souls in a yamaraj’s courtroom has pushed the grave magistrate to the breaking point, and he bars her from his courtroom, threatening to make the afterlife miserable for her supporters. Unfortunately, he does this just as her herald, the one destined to save the world from a daemonic incursion, is slain by kytons. Adventurers must testify on the herald’s behalf in front of a hostile judge and jury if they want to keep a single soul on their planet alive.
The God of Strife has raised an ancient hero from the dead to serve his people one last time—by slaying a dragon. But the dragon is no dragon at all; it is a yamaraj whose manor rides the weights that keep the hands of the Eternity Clock spinning smoothly. If the hero—a long-lost ancestor of a certain group of famous adventurers, it just so happens—succeeds in killing the yamaraj, the God of Strife may well have accomplished much more than the murder of just one psychopomp.
Yamarajes are supposed to be impartial, but friendship can corrupt in a way no bribe or diabolic promise ever could. A charming rakshasa immortal has carefully cultivated Prandeep, Sentinel of the Severed Sentence, for millennia, to the point that the two share a lush greenhouse lair for much of the year. Adventurers attempting to take down the rakshasa rajadhiraja must survive rakshasa and pyschopomp underlings, Advanced juggernauts, houseguests that range from azatas to ghoul kings to sentient libraries, and an embarrassed, enraged, and possibly compromised-beyond-saving Prandeep.
—Pathfinder Adventure Path #48 90–91 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 222–223
One more note: Yamarajes owe their name to a Hindu demigod of death and punishment. My knowledge of the Vedas is next to zero, but the rakshasa entry above is at least a nod in the source material’s direction.
This was one of those totally free-form shows that happens when you’ve done zero prep because the night before you accidentally wound up drumming for a dance party for two hours. Whoops. But it sounds pretty good, so please download and enjoy!
(Usual disclaimer: If the feed skips, Save as an mp3. Link good till Friday, 5/16, at midnight.)