Naityan Rakshasa

And we're back!

The naityan rakshasa: first of of ToB's three monsters. It's a medium-sized outsider with 9 RHD, which seems about average. All of its ability scores, with the exception of intelligence, receive bonuses ranging from +2 to +8. Naityan rakshasas have two claws (better used for wielding weapons), and a bite attack. Their speed is 40 ft.

Defensively, they're blessed with SR 17 (far lower than the default rakshasa's but not completely worthless yet), +9 natural armor, and DR 15/good and piercing; a rare combination that'll probably never come up in-game. Don't piss off guardianals and you should be fine.

The special abilities are far more interesting than the rather bland chassis we've reviewed up until now. Naityan rakshasas have a continuous Detect Thoughts effect active, and can assume the shape of Small or Medium humanoids.

What makes them more than HD-inflated doppelgangers is their Style Shapes ability. As a standard action, they can indefinitely assume one of four shapes, which grants them specific maneuvers to use, as well a permanent stance that can be combined with other stances. I'll briefly go over them here.

-Earth Serpent: +2 natural armor, continuous Strength of Stone (immunity to crits), at-will Mountain Hammer (attack with extra damage that overcomes hardness) and Charging Minotaur (full-round charging bull rush that deals damage). It'd be a neat stance if you didn't immediately lose it upon moving more than 5 feet in the same round: as it is now I wouldn't recommend it.

-Hellfire Hunter: scent, Flame's Blessing (moderate fire resist), Fire Riposte (average counter that deals fire damage), and Flashing Sun (essentially flurry of blows without weapon restriction). It's not bad, and Flashing Sun is probably a considerable damage boost.

-Night Creeper: 1d6 sneak attack, 30 ft. swim speed, Island of Blades (slightly easier flanking), Ghost Blade (make a single attack as a standard action, which makes your foe flat-footed), and Shadow Garotte (moderate damaging ranged touch attack that may render foes flat-footed). Okay maneuvers, but better if you have an actual rogue in your party.

-Elusive Adversary: 60 ft. speed, continuous Shifting Defense (expend AoOs to move when attacked), Baffling Defense (replace AC with sense motive check), and Feigned Opening (make enemy attack provoke AoOs either from you or your ally). It's decent enough, though against foes with anything other than 5 ft-reach melee attacks the stance becomes considerably less useful.

To be honest, none of these stances seem great to me. Don't get me wrong: there's lots of usable stuff here, but I can't help but wonder to what degree it compensates for the nine levels eaten by RHD. That said, the chassis is pretty neat, and I admit that a good melee character can definitely be made out of these guys.

Conclusion: naityan rakshasas should be fine at +0, as long as you don't question how they wield two-handed weapons with backwards palms.

I suspect that this way, they'll end up somewhere in tier 4, perhaps low tier 3.