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"Brain, not brawn, will change the world."

The diminutive asura are the smartest people in Tyria. Just ask them; they will tell you. Once, they were the undisputed masters of a powerful underground civilization, but were driven to the surface by the Great Destroyer, the herald of the Elder Dragon Primordus.

Since their arrival on the surface, however, this long-eared race has prospered. Initially squatting among the ruins along the Tarnished Coast, their mastery of arcane forces has allowed them to regroup, rebuild, and tame this new, savage world. Now their mystic technology is found across the continent, and other races view the asura with a respect they feel they deserve. Yet even as they succeed, their accomplishments are threatened by internal conflicts, personal pride, and individual greed.


The asura were originally a subterranean race, adapted for their cavernous homes deep beneath the surface. They had evolved excellent senses—their long ears and wide, luminous eyes missed nothing—and sharp teeth for an omnivorous diet. They were uniformly brilliant as a people, analyzing, solving, and utilizing the intricate nature of magic itself. Using this power, they spread throughout the Depths of Tyria, linking distant locations with their asura gates and building great underground citadels on places of incredible arcane power.

To their horrified surprise, one of those spots proved to be the home of an Elder Dragon champion. The Great Destroyer, a legendary figure among the dwarves, stirred. Using the very portals the asura had built over its lair, it spread its minions throughout the underground, destroying the bulk of asuran civilization and forcing the survivors into the dangerous and unknown surface world.

The asura were nothing if not resourceful. Armed with what knowledge they had salvaged, and blessed with a surplus of inventive geniuses, they soon dominated the region of the Tarnished Coast. Their golems pushed back the jungles. Their levitation spells set their towns above the dangerous surroundings. And their reconfigured gates allowed them to cross a new world filled with dangerous and alien races. Ingenuity and organization gave them the advantage necessary to prevail.

Asuran society is organized around krewes—loose-knit research organizations, usually commanded by one particularly brilliant member. Highly motivated and competitive, these krewes codify and advance the magical brilliance of the people as they seek to recover lost knowledge, create new fields of study, and unlock the answers in the universal philosophy they call the Eternal Alchemy.

A race of magical innovators and mystical inventors, the asura have done nothing but prosper in the centuries since they arrived on the surface. Useful races have been turned into allies while less useful ones have been controlled and contained. New horizons have been opened, and old knowledge has been recovered.

Rata Sum

The greatest physical example of asuran magical mastery is their mighty city, Rata Sum. Starting with no more than a set of scattered ruins belonging to a failed race, the asura erected a testament to their power. Now dominating the surrounding area, Rata Sum is a huge floating cube riddled with interior passages, its upper reaches divided into smaller cubes. The highest locations are the labs and meeting rooms of the Arcane Council, the rulers of the asura race. The depths of this great cube are still being excavated by unsleeping golem servitors.

Asura think of themselves as individuals, each protecting his or her creations jealously, but there are several organizations that bind the race together. The most important of these is the Arcane Council, which is, in theory, a collection of wise asura who enforce the laws of the people. In reality, this group consists of those who are not wise enough to get out of the task, as most asura would rather be pursuing their own creative agendas as opposed to dealing with internal squabbling and bureaucratic rivalries.

Rata Sum is also the home of the colleges of the asura people: the Colleges of Statics, Dynamics, and Synergetics. Each has a major complex where promising students, apprentices, and journeymen without their own labs can work, advance their knowledge, and attract better-established mentors. Each of the colleges has its own approach to the Eternal Alchemy. Those of Statics tend to think of the world in lines of force and support—as a fixed state—and seek to learn from the lost lessons of the past. Those of Dynamics perceive the world in an active, ever-changing state, and feel that any experiment you can walk away from is a success. Lastly, those of Synergetics think in terms of the connections between things, in the space between beats. They are the most mystic and theoretical of their people.

Rata Sum is the central hub, but the asura have spread their laboratories and research facilities throughout the Tarnished Coast. The personalized nature of creation and the drive to prove themselves the best at their craft often send asuran masters and their krewes into the hinterlands, away from prying eyes and potential competitors. Often, this means that labs are built in particularly remote or dangerous areas. Should a lab be destroyed or its workers slain, new discoveries may be completely lost. Asura curse such events, but neighboring races do not think this is a particularly bad thing.

Knowledge is Power

The asura, as a people, thrive on competition. Each asura approaches their research with a surety born of immense intelligence and confidence. They are a race of mad scientists, each seeking to prove their own exceptional nature.

This competitiveness (and assumed superiority) extends to other races as well. Some are viewed as potential resources, like the alchemically advanced hylek or the dredge with their sonic technologies. Others are potential employees, like the humans or sylvari. And some are treated as pests to be eliminated, such as the rodent-like skritt, who the asura know all too well from their time underground.

The greatest danger to the asura is, to no one's surprise, other asura. Putting aside the sometimes dramatic, even explosive, nature of their experiments, a group of asura have banded together to form their own meta-krewe. Known as the Inquest, these asura combine their resources into a larger organization and share their knowledge among their own members—never with those outside the Inquest. They are more involved in the activities of individual members, and they are less hampered by morality than the other asura, going so far as to use and abuse the spirits of sentient beings in their relentless research. As a result, they are both highly effective and extremely dangerous. Their goal is nothing less than the domination of all Tyria, including the Elder Dragons, and they will not let anyone or anything stand in their way.

Perilous Pride

Since surfacing in Tyria, the story of the asura has been one of success and triumph over long odds, continual perils, and the stupidity of the world at large. Out of the ashes left by the Great Destroyer's assaults, the asura have forged a better future for themselves. Yet, within their very success lies the potential seed of their destruction. The asura are a proud—some might say haughty—people, great in knowledge if not always in wisdom. And a great pride often leads to a great fall.


Check out the ArenaNet Blog for more information about the asura!

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