Monster Analysis: Rakshasa (Second Encounter)

  • Encounter Appearance: 58 A Cycle of Vengeance
  • First Encounter Appearance: 21 Trial of the Take Part 4
  • Armor Class 16
  • Speed 40 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 13
  • Immune to nonmagical physical damage
  • Immune to spells 6th and lower, Advantage on saves against spells 7th or higher
  • Vulnerable to magical piercing damage from Good-aligned creatures
  • Suggested average, max HP: 110, 156
  • Damage taken in first encounter: 111
  • Damage taken in second encounter: 200
  • 22 HDYWTDT by Pike

Hotis returned, this time as the predator instead of the prey. Never underestimate a vengeful rakshasa. Thanks to @Takayuuki_art for the art!

We were able to see a little bit of the rakshasa’s manipulative cunning during The Trial of the Take, though he preferred to rely on traps and intimidation. When he did try to use persuasion against the party, even Thorbir was able to see right through it. This time, however, he had the element of surprise, the support of hired assassins, and the knowledge of how to make his quarry really hurt. Rakshasas are very weak in a head-on assault against a full party (especially one as potent as Vox Machina), and leveled the battlefield to the best of his ability.

Hotis very wisely used Gilmore’s generosity to his advantage to ensure that the gift was put to use. By exploiting Vax’s guilt and the strong friendship between them, Hotis was confident that Vax would equip the robe, which provided two other very important advantages to the fiend. It ensured that Vax was not only unprotected by his usual garb, but that if he attempted to change, the rogue would waste a turn and HP trying to remove it. Once Vax was alone and vulnerable, the plan was ready to be enacted.

Vax’s fear that Hotis would Plane Shift away was unlikely to come to pass that early in the battle, but by catching the tiger by his tail, Vax providing himself as bait and allowed everyone else to get in position to deal with the fiend. Hotis would not have stopped stabbing Vax after he was unconscious, choosing to ensure the death of his primary victim. Scanlan’s dramatic yet timely leap not only dealt a decent amount of slashing damage to the otherwise occupied fiend, but also brought the bard in range to cast a life-saving Healing Word to bring Vax back into the fight.

Hotis’s spell immunity did throw off the casters, Scanlan in particular. Although his use of Mythcarver and his newfound ability to inspire himself gave him advantage early in the fight, Scanlan found it difficult to affect the rakshasa (no, hand-based magic wasn’t the cause). Pike had the right idea at the end of the battle to blast it with all she had. Even with Hotis’s successful save due to its natural advantage, a 7th level flamestrike is nothing to sneeze at.

Assassins

  • Armor Class 15
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Stealth +11, Resistant to Poison Damage
  • Assassinate, Evasion, and Sneak Attack
  • Suggested average, max HP: 78, 120
  • Assassin 1: 4 before thrown out of window by Keyleth
  • Assassin 2: 85 damage, 18 finishing blow by Percy
  • Assassin 3: 92 damage, 19 finishing blow by Percy

The real lifesaver of the battle was the earrings. Communication not only brought Scanlan in time to save Vax, but also woke up the party in time to deal with their own assailants. Had it simply been Hotis, Vax would have merely needed to survive until the party could reach him. With the assassins in play, the party had to quickly deal with their own (manageable) troubles first. This did work out in their favor, though, as Keyleth was able to give them a direct route to the new fight location instead of having everyone rush up to the tower.

It does seem curious which members Vox Machina were targeted, though strategically it may have been Hotis’s wisest move. Keyleth was obviously targeted as a member of the team that hunted Hotis in the first place, as was Kashaw, shown after the fight. Pike would be a target as the only member able to keep Hotis’s prey from dying. Percy may have been chosen as the only other Good party member capable of dealing piercing damage, even if none of his weapons dealt magical damage. (Also, while we’re unsure if there’s any direct correlation, it has also been noted that Keyleth, Pike, and Percy were the only other members of the party to enter the Raven’s Crest. It should also be noted that the most powerful allies in Whitestone were also targeted: Kima, Allura, and Gilmore.)

Now that he has been defeated again, Hotis’s vendetta can only grow. Allura explained that Hotis would now be back on the Nine Hells recovering and plotting his next attempt at revenge, and would determine his location while the party commences on their quest in the Feywild. Given that Hotis has been shown to worship Dispater, the archduke of lies and manipulation, we strongly suspect that his spirit will be found on the second layer, Dis, where many twisted deals are struck and the archduke presides. In order to reach the second layer, the party must first travel through Avernus, the first layer and the only direct portal into the Nine Hells. The clock is ticking before Hotis escapes once again.