Tengu (13 RP)

Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Constitution: Tengus are fast and observant, but relatively fragile and delicate.
  • Tengu: Tengus are humanoids with the tengu subtype.
  • Medium: Tengus are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Tengus have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Senses: Tengus have low-light vision.
  • Sneaky: Tengus gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks.
  • Gifted Linguist: Tengus gain a +4 racial bonus on Linguistics checks, and learn 2 languages each time they gain a rank in Linguistics rather than 1 language.
  • Swordtrained: Tengus are trained from birth in swordplay, and as a result are automatically proficient with swordlike weapons (including bastard swords, daggers, elven curve blades, falchions, greatswords, kukris, longswords, punching daggers, rapiers, scimitars, short swords, and two-bladed swords).
  • Natural Weapon: A tengu has a bite attack that deals 1d3 points of damage.
  • Languages: Tengus begin play speaking Common and Tengu. Tengus with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except for secret languages, such as Druidic).
Random Starting Age
Adulthood Intuitive Self-Taught Trained
15 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
Random Starting Height & Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4 ft. 0 in. +2d6 in. 65 lbs. 2d6x3 lbs.
Female 3 ft. 10 in. +2d6 in. 55 lbs. 2d6x3 lbs.

The crowlike tengus are known as a race of scavengers and irrepressible thieves. Covetous creatures predominantly motivated by greed, they are vain and easily won over with flattery. Deceptive, duplicitous, and cunning, tengus seek circumstances in which they can take advantage of the situation, often at the expense of others, including their own kind. They can be highly competitive, but impulsive and rash. Some claim their behavior is innate, while others believe their selfish mannerisms are cultural and developed as a learned adaptation that has enabled their people to endure through centuries of oppression.

Tengus are natural survivalists. For many, only theft and guile have afforded them the temporary luxuries other races take for granted. In the past, both humans and powerful races such as giants sought the bird-folk as slaves and servitors. Many tengus scavenged for survival, scraping for food in the shadows of cities or living as subsistence hunters and gatherers in the wild. Their descendants now struggle to find their place in contemporary society, often competing against negative stereotypes or driven to embrace them, and they rely on thievery and swordplay to get by in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Physical Description: Tengus are avian humanoids whose features strongly resemble crows. They have broad beaks and both their arms and their legs end in powerful talons. Though tengus are unable to fly, iridescent feathers cover their bodies—this plumage is usually black, though occasionally brown or blue-back. Their skin, talons, beaks, and eyes are similarly colored, and most non-tengus have great difficulty telling individuals apart. Tengus who wish to be more easily identified by other humanoids may bleach certain feathers or decorate their beaks with dyes, paint, or tiny glued ornaments. Though they are about the same height as humans, they have slight builds and tend to hunch over. A tengu's eyes sit slightly back and to the sides of his head, giving him binocular vision with a slightly more panoramic field of view than other humanoids. Like many avians, tengus have hollow bones and reproduce by laying eggs.

Society: Tengus live in close-knit communities in which they keep to themselves. In urban centers, they tend to group in communal slums, while those living in rural areas establish isolated settlements. Overall, they remain secretive about their culture, which is a combination of old traditions laced with newer bits of culture scavenged from the races common in the neighboring regions. Cultural scavenging also extends to language, and regional dialects of Tengu are peppered with terms and colloquialisms from other languages. Unsurprisingly, tengus have a knack for language and pick up new ones quickly.

Most tengu communities tend to follow a tribal structure. Tribal rules remain loose and subjective, and tribe members settle any conflicts through public arbitration (and occasionally personal combat). While every tengu has a voice in her society, in most settlements, tengus still defer to their revered elders for wisdom and advice.

Relations: Few races easily tolerate tengus. Of the most common races, only humans allow them to settle within their cities with any regularity. When this occurs, tengus inevitably form their own ghettos and ramshackle communities, typically in the most wretched neighborhoods. Regardless of their tolerance, most humans maintain as little contact with tengus as possible. Tengus occasionally make friends with halflings and gnomes, but only when they share mutual interests. Conversely, most dwarves have no patience for tengus whatsoever. Other races tend to view tengus in a similar fashion to humans, though many actively discourage them from settling in their realms.

Alignment and Religion: Tengus tend to be neutral, though those who allow their impulsiveness to get the better of them lean toward chaotic neutral. Religious beliefs vary from tribe to tribe; some worship the traditional tengu gods (most of which are aspects of better-known deities), while others take to the worship of human gods or celestial spirits. Tengus can be fickle with regard to their patrons, quickly abandoning religious customs when they cease to provide any tangible benefit. Many embrace polytheism, picking and choosing to uphold the tenets of whatever deities best suit them at the time.

Adventurers: With little at home to leave behind, many tengus turn to a life of adventure seeking fame, fortune, and glory. A common tengu belief portrays a life on the road as a series of experiences and trials that form a path to enlightenment. Some take this to mean a path of spiritual empowerment; others view it as a way to perfect their arts or swordsmanship. Perhaps in spite of the prejudices upheld by outsiders, many tengu adventurers embrace their stereotypes. These individuals seek to succeed by epitomizing tengu racial qualities, and proudly flaunt their heritage. Despite their avian frailty, with their quick reflexes and quicker wits, tengus make excellent rogues and rangers, while those with a strong connection to the spirit world often become oracles. Those disciplined in the practice of martial arts take jobs as mercenaries and bodyguards in order to profit from their talents.

Male Names: Bukka, Chak-Chak, Chuko, Ebonfeather, Highroost, Kraugh, Pezzack, Taicho, Tchoyoitu, Xaikon.

Female Names: Aerieminder, Aikio, Cheetchu, Daba, Gildedhackle, Kankai, Mikacha, Ruk, Zhanyae.


The following racial traits may be selected instead of existing tengu racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.


The following options are available to all tengus who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the class reward.


The following racial archetypes are available to tengus. Shigenjo (Oracle)Swordmaster (Rogue)

Tengu Equipment

Tengus have access to the following equipment.

Signal Kite Kit

Though wingless, tengus have long cast their thoughts toward the sky and flight. Built from paper glued to bamboo frames, their kites are painted with various colors and pictures. In addition to flying kites as a leisure activity, tengus also fly kites of various shades and patterns to send signal messages. Tengus have developed an extensive code of signals and can use their kites to display complex messages visible at great distances. A signal kite kit includes six small colored kites that can be hooked together in different patterns to facilitate complex messages. The kit also includes a spool and 300 feet of twine. Sending or interpreting a signal kite's message functions as described in the Bluff skill, but the sender and anyone trying to understand the message must also know Tengu.

Terror Kite

This small kite is usually painted with a fierce face and bright colors and is edged with serrated wooden blades. Its twine is strengthened by soaking it in glue and sometimes with crushed glass to give it a slight cutting edge. The kite has hardness 5 and 3 hit points. Participants in a kite battle make alternating sunder combat maneuvers against each other's kites; each successful maneuver allows a competitor to roll 1d6 points of damage against the opponent's kite. When a kite reaches 0 hit points, it is broken or its string is cut, and its player loses the match. In some matches, points are awarded for touching the kite's top to the opponent's string, with the winner being the first to reach a set point total. Those interested in kite-fighting may select the terror kite as a weapon for the purpose of feats such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, and apply these bonuses on kite damage rolls and on their sunder combat maneuver attempts made while using terror kites.

Wing Oil

Tengus mix special salves to protect their feathers from the elements. This one-ounce vial of wing oil gives a feathered creature a +1 bonus on all saving throws to resist the effects of cold weather. Its effects last 24 hours.

Signal kite kit 5 gp — —
Terror kite 20 gp — —
Wing oil 1 gp — 20

Tengu Feats

Tengu have access to the following feats.

Tengu Magic Items

Tengus have access to the following magic items.

Tengu Spells

Tengus have access to the following spells.