Monday, July 21, 2014


Literally “asura-lords,” asurendras are just that: lords of the asura race, second only to the mighty and unique asura ranas.  As powerful as most of the lords of the other outsider septs—and possibly more varied in terms of abilities—these entities are the result of countless of cycles of reincarnation spent working toward the unmaking of the gods’ creations.  At once beautiful and monstrous, meditative and murderous, ascetics who revel in corpse eating, asurendras are creatures of contradictions who have several lifetimes, long even by immortal standards, with which to carry out their goals.

Asuras can claim no one plane as their own—so Blood Upon the Blade claims two.  His palace exists partly in Hell and partly on the Material Plane, tucked into the dome of the Ahi Mahal, which he long ago convinced the caliph to deconsecrate and turn into a pleasure palace.  It is said that Blood Upon the Blade’s three heads allow him to keep one set of eyes in each plane—saving his third and final set to always be watchful that his zahhak servant (see Pathfinder #24) remains loyal to him and not the divs.

The Queen Consort of Bones is a blasphemous sage of death.  She likes to wander from conflict zone to conflict zone with her asura and undead servants, posing as a charitable religious order but spreading death, disease, famine, and unbelief.  An adventuring party might travel the globe detecting signs of her passage, but only the most powerful will be able to track her down.  Those who do should be warned she is never without at least one gashadokuro lover, with whom she shares a taste for fresh corpses.

A blasphemous sage of shaping, the asurendra Tang Lok Tarl travels from world to world reshaping primordial life to his desires and planting tripurasura minions to divert the faiths of nascent civilizations.  While it is not true he created the first disenchanter, it is true that his voidjammer, modeled to resemble a mammoth’s head, is practically an ark for rare and mutated creatures.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 24–25

I keep trying to think of ways to conceptualize asuras and it can be hard, especially if your multiverse already contains demons, devils, daemons, divs, and Lovecraftian horrors all at once.  Setting aside the Lovecraftian beasties—they’re from another dimension after all—maybe a useful way to think of all these outsiders is in terms of American political parties.  If demons and devils are the two main parties—and no, I don't really believe that; I vote every election; I’m just making an analogy here—daemons act like third-party spoilers diverting soul-votes from the others.  Divs are basically a loud special interest group, rakshasas are a greedy Chamber of Commerce…and asuras?  Asuras are the ones who want to bring the whole system down—the bomb-throwing anarchists who give even other anarchists a bad name.  The other outsider races may have more power in general, but asuras have several immortal lifetimes to plan.  And the results of their plots are often the black swan events (if you’ll excuse the trendy term) that have outside effects across the multiverse.  After all, in our world the bullet of one nationalist launched the Great War…a great shuffling of power that would lay the groundwork for World War II, which set up the sides for the Cold War and redrew the map for the regional conflicts plaguing so much of our present history…you get my drift, even if I’m playing very, very fast and loose with the history.  My point is, asuras don't have to be many or even the most mighty to make even Heaven and Hell tremble…

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