Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom: Tengu are a naturally graceful race, given to introspection, though their light frame means they are not as hardy as some other races.
  • Medium Size: Tengu are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Tengu have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: Tengu can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
  • Bite: Tengu have a natural bite attack that inflicts 1d3 points of damage on a hit. If the tengu is otherwise unarmed, it is a primary attack; otherwise it is a secondary attack.
  • Yokai Subtype: Tengu always count Survival and Stealth as class skills.
  • Sneaky: Tengu gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth.
  • Gifted Linguist: Tengu gain a +4 racial bonus on Linguistics checks, and learn 2 languages each time they gain a rank in Linguistics, rather than 1 language.
  • Sword Trained: Tengu are trained from birth in the use of swords and as a result are automatically proficient with sword-like weapons (including bastard swords, daggers, elven curve blades and katanas, falchions, greatswords, kukris, longswords, punching daggers, rapiers, scimitars, short swords, and two-bladed swords).
  • Languages: Tengu begin play speaking common and Tengu. Tengu with high Intelligence scores can choose any language as a bonus language, except secret languages such as Druidic.

Random Starting Ages

Excepting the immortal daitengu, tengu live about sixty years. Players may choose a starting age for their tengu character or they can use the following table. Tengu suffer the effects of aging as normal.

Adulthood Intuitive1 Self-Taught2 Trained3
11 years +1d4 years (12 – 15 years) +2d4 years (13 – 19 years) +3d4 years (14 – 23 years)
Middle Age (30 years) Old (45 years) Venerable (55 years) Maximum Age (55 + 2d6 years)

1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.
3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.

Random Height and Weight

Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Tengu (male) 4 ft. 6 in. +2d6 in.(4 ft. 8 in. – 5 ft. 6 in.) 90 lbs. +(2d6×2 lbs.)(92 – 114 lbs.)
Tengu (female) 4 ft. 6 in. +2d6 in.(4 ft. 8 in. – 5 ft. 6 in.) 70 lbs. +(2d6×2 lbs.)(72 – 94 lbs.)

Racial Feats

The following feats are available to a tengu character who meets the prerequisites.

Racial Classes, Archetypes and/or Prestige Classes

The following archetypes, classes, prestige classes, and/or other replacement class features are available to a tengu character who meets the prerequisites.

If one wishes to understand the truth, one must listen first and then meditate. Thus is an enlightened mind achieved. Yet knowledge without action has no meaning and the mind, divorced from the flesh, can do nothing. Thus if one wishes to transcend, mind and body must flow as one. This is what it means to be daitengu. This is the goal the wise among us seek, though few may truly find it. We are children of the wind and the mountain. Our way is the way of the sword, the path of the warrior. The highest challenge for a tengu is that which tests both heart and soul, mind and body. We seek enlightenment at the edge of good steel. When each movement flows seamlessly into the next, a perfect dance of flesh and wind and flashing blade, we find peace.

Our oldest stories say we were made when the first mountain loved the first wind. The wind blew free. The mountain stood firm. As the mountain watched the wind, longing grew. Out of that longing the mountain gave birth to the tengu. The wind, seeing such love, blessed us with grace and the promise of flight. Yet to achieve this promise, we must first find the power within ourselves, freeing ourselves from the constraints of the flesh.

This is what it means to be tengu.

Physical Description: Tengu are bird-like humanoids with a passing resemblance to crows, possessing feathers, beaks, and taloned hands and feet. Feathers are typically black, although a few tengu are born with white feathers and feathers typically fade to grey as the tengu approaches old or venerable ages. Tengu stand about five feet tall, weighing close to a hundred pounds, with the male tengu being slightly heavier than the female.

Tengu beaks are long, sharp and most frequently as black their feathers (though yellow beaks, or yellow flecked beaks, are not uncommon, especially in tengu youth). Tengu hands and feet are hard talons, with strong grips, and a similar coloration to their beaks. Despite any physiological differences, like most other intelligent races, tengu hands have thumbs, and their toes are all forward facing. A few tengu are born with vestigial wings, that although are never strong enough for flight, are considered a good omen.

A second variety tengu, the kite tengu, typically have brown and white feathers and smaller, more hooked beaks. Humans have likened them to black-eared kites.

Tengu young are laid in eggs, one a day, generally over a period of two or three days (though clutches can be as large as six or as small as a single egg.) Each egg measures about nine inches long, possessing a sky-blue shell with dark green or black speckles. The child incubates for six months within its egg, and, when it hatches, it stands about a foot tall and is featherless with a yellow beak and yellow talons. Tengu grow quickly, being able to walk within a month of hatching and reaching full height by six or seven years of age. As tengu age, their beaks and talons all darken in color, the beaks more swiftly than the hands or feet. Tengu are considered physically mature at around 10 years in age.

Ecology & Society: Tengu are naturally a mountain race, dwelling in villages built in high, rocky places. Farming is poor in these regions, but the primarily carnivorous tengu raise goats or boars and hunt the wild beasts that live in the mountains. Often, a tengu town will have a small mine and smelter that provides iron, copper and bronze depending on what ores are available.

Much of a tengu’s time is spent in training and personal meditation. Leisure activities include poetry, calligraphy, fishing, pottery, embroidery, painting and the arranging of rocks. There are, in some human cities, enclaves of tengu who, having left their mountain villages, seek a new way of life. City-tengu build their communities in high buildings, maintaining a similar social structure to those found in the mountains. The kite tengu, live similar to mountain tengu, although their ways tend to be more savage. Raiders and barbarians, kite tengu do not smith their own weapons, but take them by force, periodically descending from their mountains to loot and pillage henge and human villages alike.

Although tengu are a very individualistic race, they enjoy the companionship of others and understand the benefits of a strong community. Each tengu is a law unto himself, bound only by his own conscience and sense of honor. However, there is a clear hierarchy in tengu society, defined by the master-student relationship, with each student giving respect to his teacher and his teacher’s teacher. Tengu children respect their parents as their first teachers, and in turn also respect the parents’ masters.

The standing of a tengu in their community determines where they dwell. The higher the social standing the higher up, whether in a building or further upslope, the tengu dwells. The greatest tengu, the daitengu, dwell above all, high atop the mountain, and each tengu mountain has a single daitengu, an immortal guardian who lives until a new daitengu arises from among the students to take his place atop the mountain.

Relations: Though tengu seek out conflict so as to test their skill, they are not an especially war-like race and, tend to avoid mingling in the affairs of other races, so far as the other races allow the tengu to pursue their own private goals.

Tengu seldom judge races as a whole, preferring to allow each individual to stand, or fall, according to his or her own actions. This is not to say tengu are foolish in their interactions or overly trusting. Tengu regard most non-tengu with some caution and suspicion until they know them well enough to trust them. However, the caution and suspicion is usually not of a hostile nature and tengu typically allow people a chance to prove themselves one way or another. For this reason tengu often begin new relationships by testing the worthiness of an individual.

Tengu cannot stand foolishness, corruption and pride in other races and will sometimes go out of their way to make examples of those they find particularly grating. Tengu are often willing to aid noble endeavors which appeal to their sense of adventure.

Tengu are perhaps closest to the hengeyokai, trading with them: metal mined in the mountains in exchange for fabric and goods from their forest homes. The two races have much in common, philosophically and historically, though hengeyokai are are far more communal in nature than tengu.

While tengu share some of the sense of humor of the kappa, they tend to find the kappa’s crudeness gets old after a time. Tengu admire the tenacity of the kappa, and understand their love of competition.

Alignment & Religion: Racially, tengu try to avoid labeling individual choices as good or evil, right or wrong, believing that each individual must decide these things for himself or herself. What is good for one individual may be harmful for another. While this may be viewed as neutrality in the great issues of life, tengu do not see it that way. Tengu believe in being proactive in those matters of personal importance to oneself. Others may make different choices than the ones we would make, but so long as their choices do not affect us, who are we to demand they conform to our desires? Every individual walks his own path.

Tengu religion has no founder, no idols and no dogmas. While tengu honor the kami as older brothers in the world, they believe true power comes from enlightenment and know that enlightenment cannot be forced upon another. The higher powers are not kings to be served; they are teachers to be respected. Tengu also know this truth: any teacher, whether tengu or kami, no matter how skilled or powerful, can only instruct. The student must realize the truth of the lesson of his own accord. As the path to enlightenment differs from soul to soul, the wise teacher uses lessons most appropriate to the student. Students must be attentive, but they cannot rely on their teachers to do the learning for them.

Honor is an important concept to the tengu, and they claim that it was tengu who taught humans what honor was, although tengu believe that humans have twisted honor to mean loyalty to others. Tengu honor is defined as loyalty to self. If we cannot be true to our own selves, how then can we be true to others? Tengu are shamed by those actions which make them less and take pride when they excel. The exact manner by which a tengu pursues personal honor differs from one tengu to another. Enlightenment cannot be achieved by those who cannot recognize their own weaknesses and who give in to every covetous craving. The path of the daitengu is the path of self-mastery. That is not to say that there are no selfish tengu or tengu with overwhelming false-pride, but these tengu are not respected and are instead pitied for their inability to recognize their weaknesses.

Adventurers: Tengu often become adventurers when their teachers send them on a mission. Still others, perhaps coming from a less formal training situation, leave on their own, driven by a craving for excitement and a natural longing to roam. This longing is present in most tengu of a certain age, though most of them lose the impulse when they reach middle age.

Alchemist (Rentanjutsu) Tengu alchemists are extremely rare, as the loud explosions typical of the occupation offend tengu sensibilities.

Barbarian (Emishi) Most tengu barbarians hail from the kite tengu clans.

Bard (Bakushi) Tengu bards are rare in the mountains, though are more common among those tengu who have migrated to the cities of men.

Cavalier (Tenguhatamoto) Tengu cavaliers are found on only a few mountains. These mountains are those which have an abundance of dire boars, which the tengu warriors ride into battle.

Cleric (Kappa-kannushi) Few tengu follow the path of the kannushi, especially the kappakannushi, as its devotion to the kami runs counter to their religious philosophy.

Druid (Hengekanushi) Few tengu follow the path of the kannushi, as its devotion to the kami runs counter to their religious philosophy. Those tengu who learn the ways of the hengekannushi have typically been raised by the hengeyokai.

Fighter (Tengubushi) Many tengu sword schools teach the ways of the tengubushi and almost every tengu village has several such warriors in it.

Inquisitor (Metsuki) Metsuki are uncommon among the tengu, though upon occasion a militantly lawfully oriented tenguyamabushi monastery may train a few of its members as inquisitors.

Magus (Tengukensei) Many tengu choose the kensei path, eventually gaining divine access.

Monk (Budoka) Monks are not unknown among the tengu, though their monastic traditions often focus more on sword-use than on unarmed combat.

Oracle (Miko) Sometimes, led by visions, certain tengu maidens make a journey to one of their people’s shrines, becoming a shrine maiden and tending to the care thereof. Miko adventure infrequently, being tied to their shrine.

Paladin (Yamabushi) Serving the tengu as priests, the yamabushi wander the mountains, righting wrongs, teaching the wisdom of the kami, and providing spiritual guidance to their people. It is not uncommon for the quests of these tenguyamabushi to take them, for a time, away from the mountain they call home.

Ranger (Tengu Matagi) Tengu matagi are common among the more solitary tengu, those who live on the edge or outside of the tengu villages. These hunters make their living selling meat to the various schools, but their skills are also useful when it comes time to defend the mountain from encroachment.

Rogue (Sekko) Tengu rogues are not common in the mountains, though tengu who migrate to human cities often find their natural talents lend to success in this class. Nevertheless, even in the mountains, some schools train their students as shinobi, utilizing the rogue class.

Sorcerer (Jugondo) Sorcery is no more common among the tengu than it is among humans. Tengu sorcerers frequently have either the elemental (air) or fey subtypes.

Summoner (Yobukami) Of all the yokai, the tengu are most likely to study the art of summoning. Like the master sen (wizard), a master yobukami often lives alone, in remote areas of the wilderness, where they can study their craft in peace.

Witch (Mahoutsukai) There are very few tengu witches and those that exist are seldom trusted by other tengu.

Wizard (Sen) While most tengu actively pursue the path of the sword, the life of a hermetic wizard appeals to a subset of the tengu population. The wizards live alone, sometimes on their own mountain, with powers rivaling those of the daitengu, accepting worthy students and then sending them out into the world when their training is over.

Names: Tengu names often feature aa, k, i, and o sounds. They are seldom more than three syllables long, and double syllable names are most common. Female names are more likely to contain b, m and uu sounds. Tengu seldom employ surnames but if an occasion calls for such, a tengu typically uses the name of his mountain to provide the necessary distinction.

Some common tengu male names include: Aakoni, Bitaan, Jaariko, Kimaako, Kiji, Kutaamo, Taakiko and Waakiki.

Some common tengu female names include: Aamuu, Bimuuko, Fuumkuu, Haanako, H’ruubo, Kaabiko, Mitsuu, Suumik, and Umuuko.

The Daitengu: Each tengu mountain traditionally has a single daitengu, an unaging tengu-master who dwells near the summit, providing guidance, counsel and wisdom to those who come seeking. The daitengu draw their ageless existence from the kami of the mountain upon which they reside. They also adopt the name of the mountain as their own official name, though young daitengu may still sometimes be called by their given name in private.

In order for a mountain to possess a daitengu, it must first have a properly sanctified shrine to the kami of the mountain built near the summit. If there is not yet a tengu-of-the-mountain, or, if by some chance, the old daitengu vacates his post, any non-evil tengu may become the daitengu. If there is already a daitengu associated with the shrine, it is necessary for a supplicant to defeat the current daitengu in a physical fight to the death. As daitengu are typically quite powerful, this is not a challenge to be undertaken lightly.

When tengu become daitengu, they cease to age, become immune to poison and gain DR 10/—. Daitengu maintain these traits so long as they are within their shrine. Should they leave the shrine, not only do they lose these traits, but they age at the rate of 1 year per day until their physical condition matches their actual age. In daitengu of sufficient age, such an event can be fatal. Younger daitengu are thus more likely to leave the shrine than older daitengu, as the former have less to lose than the latter.

When a daitengu dies, a part of their soul, called the nigimitama, remains in the shrine. These spirits seldom manifest of their own accord, though if the shrine is truly threatened, there are tales of such a thing happening (and a company of ghostly daitengu is a fearsome thing). By meditating for an hour, the current daitengu can attune himself to the spirits of the former daitengu, and seek their counsel, gaining a bonus to any Knowledge checks he makes while meditating. For this reason, the older a shrine, and the greater the number of daitengu who have lived within, the greater the store of knowledge available to the current daitengu (The exact bonus to Knowledge checks varies from shrine to shrine).

This fact, that former daitengu aid the current daitengu, coupled with the practice of calling the daitengu after the mountain, helps explain why there is seldom a distinction made by the tengu between the current daitengu in a shrine and those that came before.

Level wise, NPC daitengu should be assumed to be at least 20th level.

Alternative Racial Traits

You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial Traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once.

As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial Traits for those listed here.

  • Axe Trained: The kite tengu sometimes train with the axe instead of the sword. These tengu are automatically proficient with axe-like weapons (including handaxes, battleaxes, greataxes, glaives, scythes, waraxes, and double axes). This ability replaces sword trained.
  • Boar Rider: The boar-riding northern tengu spend much time with dire boars and are quite skilled at handling them. These tengu gain a +2 racial bonus to Ride and Handle Animal checks. This ability replaces sneaky.
  • Born Poet: Some tengu are especially gifted poets and songwriters. They have a +4 racial bonus on Perform (oratory) checks and a +2 bonus on Linguistics checks. This ability replaces gifted linguist.
  • Carrion Sense Many tengu have a natural ability to sniff out carrion. While their sense of smell isn’t as keen as that of other species, it is particularly attuned to the scent of injuries or death. Tengu with this racial trait have a limited scent ability, which only functions for corpses and badly wounded creatures (50% or fewer hit points). This racial trait replaces gifted linguist. Source: PZO1121
  • Claw Attack Tengu with this racial trait have learned to use their claws as natural weapons. They gain two claw attacks as primary natural attacks that deal 1d3 points of damage, and are treated as having the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for the purpose of qualifying for other feats. This racial trait replaces sword trained. Source: PZO1121
  • Exotic Weapon Training Instead of swords, some tengu are trained in exotic weaponry. Such tengu choose a number of eastern weapons equal to 3 + their Intelligence bonus, and gain proficiency with these weapons. This racial trait replaces sword trained. Source: PZO1121
  • Forestborn: While most tengu live high on the mountains, some are born lower down, where the trees are more plentiful. These tengu have a +4 bonus on Survival checks and a +2 bonus on Linguistics checks. This ability replaces gifted linguist.
  • Glide Some tengus can use their feathered arms and legs to glide. Tengus with this racial trait can make a DC 15 Fly check to fall safely from any height without taking falling damage, as if using feather fall. When falling safely, a tengu may make an additional DC 15 Fly check to glide, moving 5 feet laterally for every 20 feet he falls. This racial trait replaces gifted linguist. Source: PZO1121
  • Kite Tengu: Kite tengu are more savage than the typical black feathered tengu. These tengu have a a +2 bonus in Intimidate and Survival checks. This ability replaces sneaky.
  • Mountainborn: Living all their lives in the mountains, some tengu are adept rock-climbers. These tengu have a +4 racial bonus to Climb checks. This ability replaces sneaky.
  • Spear Trained: The boar-riding northern tengu frequently employ spears and quarterstaffs as their primary weapon. These tengu are automatically proficient with staff- and spear-like weapons (including shortspears, quarterstaffs, longspears, spears, tridents, lances, and ransuers). This ability replaces sword trained.

Favored Class Alternatives

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, tengu have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to all tengu who have the listed Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.

Fractional bonuses have no effect until enough are taken to form a whole number.

Race Bonus Source
Barbarian Add +1/3 to the bonus from the superstitious rage power. PZO1121
Fighter Add +1 to the fighter’s CMD when resisting a grapple or trip attempt. PZO1121
Monk Add +1/4 point to the monk’s ki pool. PZO1121
Add +1/2 to the oracle’s level for the purpose of determining the effects of the oracle’s curse ability. PZO1121
Rogue Choose a weapon from those listed under the tengu’s swordtrained ability. Add a +1/2 bonus on critical hit confirmation rolls with that weapon (maximum bonus +4). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus. PZO1121
Select one bloodline power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the sorcerer’s Charisma modifier. The sorcerer adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that bloodline power. PZO1121
Add one spell from the witch spell list to the witch’s familiar. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast. If the witch ever replaces her familiar, the new familiar knows these bonus spells. PZO1121
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Barbarian (Emishi) Add +1 to any Acrobatic skill check made to jump or leap. RP:ICT
Cavalier (Tenguhatamoto) Add +1 to any Handle Animal skill check made to handle boars or dire boars. RP:ICT
Fighter (Tengubushi) Add +1 to the tengubushi’s CMD when attempting to resist a feint or disarm maneuver. RP:ICT
Monk (Budoka) Add +1 to any Acrobatic skill check made to jump or leap. RP:ICT
Paladin (Yamabushi) Choose a kind of sword. Add +1/2 circumstance bonus on critical hit confirmation rolls with that weapon (maximum bonus +4). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus. RP:ICT
Ranger (Tengu Matagi) Add +1 ft. to the tengu’s base speed. This increase in speed has no effect in combat until chosen five times so that speed has increased by 5 feet. A speed of 34 ft. is effectively a speed of 30 ft. when in combat. RP:ICT
Rogue (Sekko) Add a +1/2 bonus on Bluff checks against non-tengu. RP:ICT
Summoner (Yobukami) Add +1 hp to the summoner‘s eidolon. RP:ICT
Wizard (Sen) Add +1/2 to any Linguistics skill check. RP:ICT
Section 15: Copyright Notice

In the Company of Tengu copyright 2011, Steve D. Russell and Michael Tumey. All rights reserved; Author: Jonathan McAnulty.

Patjhfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Race Guide © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Hal MacLean, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Owen K.C. Stephens, Todd Stewart, and Russ Taylor.

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