Quan yinThe Yakshas (feminine: Yakshina) are supernatural beings associated with nature, caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. In general, they are the Fey subtype in the Monster Manual, but the most powerful ones are considered to be Outsiders. Many are specifically tied to specific locations or objects. They are more powerful and numerous in the deep wilderness and less so near civilization. In all cases they are considered Chaotic for game mechanics purposes. The most powerful are often considered gods (the great kami) by practitioners of the animist folk religion, called Adepts.

Yakshas feel no obligations to be moral to non-Genie or non-Fey creatures. They can be friendly, extremely deadly or deliberately mischievous. They have a definite opinion of what belongs to them and how they should be treated. The way that they treat those that they encounter depends on the actions of that person or party in relation to these perceptions. They tolerate nothing that assaults their rights or land. They can befriend those that show them honor and respect. They trick and mislead those who do neither or who show fear.

The most powerful Yaksha are the Twilight Lords and Rakshasa who rule an otherworldy realm where no sun shines, and all are happy in twilight. Time works differently in this world. One night spent there equals more than a month in the mortal realms of men. The more benevolent, but always dangerous, Twilight Lords are said to dwell in the Argent Kingdom, an arboreal realm of splendor. The Rakshasa though, dwell in the abominable Black Taj, where the feast on the souls of the damned who are karmically judged to enter one of the Thousand Hells.

The next Yaksha races are the Gandharva and Apsaras. The Ganharvas are male nature spirits. Some are part animal, usually a bird or horse. They have superb musical skills. They guard the Soma and made beautiful music for the Immortals in their palaces. Their wives, the Apsaras, are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. They also act as caretakers of fallen heroes. On a similar power level are the horrific Bhuts who haunt the wilderness and waylay and devour unwary travelers.

The least powerful Yaksha are sprites known as Yokai who serve the more powerul Yaksha. Yokai are cunning, somewhat sadistic and definitely amoral in their dealings with all creatures. The key to their psyche is the selfish disregard of anything that does not brings them satisfaction or pleasure. Their own pleasure is always their driven force. Yokai are noted thieves of wealth, food and children. Due to the skills that they lack, they need to interact with stronger races that are related in the working of metal. For this reason, they are often closely associated with nearby human settlements. Favors are exchanged, needed items are ”claimed”, etc. To a sprite there is no moral wrong in theft unless the item is stolen from them. Yet they can be kind, generous, and considerate when the mood suits them.

Yaksha are ruled by a hereditary king and queen divided into local realms. To a degree, the social rules that apply, parallel those of a human monarchy. Lesser Yaksha are allowed freedom but they are not given access to knowledge or wealth. Birth and the favor of the noble-born determine the station of each Yaksha. To a large extent, social interaction is through reciprocal favors and obligations between individuals.


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