Tengu

Tengus are a gregarious and resourceful people that have spread far and wide from their ancestral home, collecting and combining whatever innovations and traditions they happen across with those from their own long history.

Tengus are survivalists and conversationalists, equally at home living off the wilderness and finding a niche in dense cities. They accumulate knowledge, tools, and companions, adding them to their collection as they travel.

The tengu diaspora has spread across the world in search of a better life, bringing their skill with blade crafting to lands far from their home. In maritime regions, tengus notably work as fishers, blacksmiths, and “jinx eaters”— members of ships’ crews who are believed, accurately or otherwise, to absorb misfortune. Having lived in a variety of conditions and locations, tengus tend to be nonjudgmental, especially with regard to social station, though their willingness to associate with lawbreakers has often led some to look at them with suspicion.

If you want to play a character hailing from a rich history of artisanship and tradition, but who happily picks up new practices, companions, words, and items as needed, you should play a tengu.

Rarity Uncommon

Hit Points 6

Size Medium

Speed 25 feet

Ability Boosts Dexterity

Languages Common, Tengu; Additional languages equal to your Intelligence modifier (if positive). Choose from Dwarven, Elven, Halfling, Gnomish, Goblin, Sylvan, and any other languages to which you have access (such as the languages prevalent in your region)..

Traits Humanoid Tengu

Low-light Vision You have Low-light Vision. You can see in dim light as though it were bright light, and you ignore the concealed condition due to dim light.

Sharp Beak With your sharp beak, you are never without a weapon. You have a beak unarmed attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage. Your beak is in the brawling weapon group and has the finesse and unarmed traits.

You might…

  • Be gregarious and eager to find a flock of your own.
  • Voraciously absorb the practices of those around you, sometimes even forgetting where they came from.
  • Be willing to take on any task or job, no matter what others think.

Others Probably…

  • Look to you as a source of eclectic skills and knowledge, especially relating to languages.
  • Get confused by your simultaneous respect for and disregard of tradition.
  • Have trouble reading your expressions or regard you with suspicion and superstition.

Physical Description

Tengus have many avian characteristics. Their faces are tipped with sharp beaks and their scaled forearms and lower legs end in talons. As closed footwear tends to fit poorly unless custom made, many tengus wear open sandals or simply go barefoot.

Tengus are rarely more than 5 feet tall, and they are even lighter than their smaller frames would suggest, as they have hollow bones. A small number of tengus have vestigial wings incapable of true flight.

Tengus hatch from eggs and are featherless for their first year of life, during which they rarely leave home. They soon grow a downy gray coat, which is replaced by a dark covering of adult feathers by the time they come of age at around 15 years. Tengus use their shed feathers in a variety of tools, from simple writing quills to magical fans to focus their ancestral magic. Many tengus modify their appearance by dyeing patterns into their feathers or talons, which amplifies their body language and has the added benefit of aiding other humanoids in understanding their expressions.

Society

Tengus are extremely social, banding together in extended communities with many families living in adjacent houses and sharing the work of the household. In cities, a community may also contain members of other ancestries. Tengu children raised in the same unit consider each other siblings, usually forgetting which of them share a biological connection.

The greatest divide in tengu society is between tengus remaining in their ancestral home and those who have dispersed across the world. Tengus refer to these two groups as those “in the roost” and those “migrating,” respectively.

Roosted tengus tend to be more traditionalist and conservative and are especially concerned with preserving their culture in the face of years of erosion from oppression. Migrating tengus, on the other hand, voraciously absorb the culture of the various nations and settlements that they now call home.

Alignment and Religion

Tengus often follow the faith of the region in which they were raised, though the tengu ancestral deity is the storm god. This god’s notorious drunken carousing and emotional swings causes many tengus to instead focus their attention on gods of freedom and travel, or deities of nature.

Before their diaspora, tengus practiced a syncretic faith that blended a polytheistic worship of the deities responsible for creating the natural world.

As tengu folklore posits that tengus long ago descended from the night sky on shooting stars to rest upon the highest peaks, animist rites were practiced on mountains and other great natural features. Even today, tengus rarely differentiate between divine and primal worship.

Tengus are far more concerned with the balance between traditionalism and adaptability than they are with good and evil, with lawful tengus more common among the roosted and chaotic tengus more common among the migratory.

Sample Names Though roosted tengus tend toward more traditional names with the hard consonants often seen in the Tengu language, migrating tengus’ tendency to readily absorb and repurpose the culture of those around them has led to names that combine elements of whatever languages suited the namer’s fancy.

Sample Names Arkkak, Chuko, Dolgra, Dorodara, Kakkariel, Kora, Marrak, Mossarah, Pularrka, Rarorel, Ruk, Tak-Tak, Tsukotarra

Tengu Heritages

As a fluid people scattered from their original homes, there are a wide variety of tengus. Choose one of the following tengu heritages at 1st level.

Jinxed Tengu

Your lineage has been exposed to curse after curse, and now, they slide off your feathers like rain. If you succeed at a saving throw against a curse or misfortune effect, you get a critical success instead. When you would gain the doomed condition, attempt a DC 17 flat check. On a success, reduce the value of the doomed condition you would gain by 1.

Mountainkeeper Tengu

You come from a line of tengu ascetics, leaving you with a link to the spirits of the world and the Great Beyond. You can cast the disrupt undead cantrip as a primal innate spell at will. A cantrip is heightened to a spell level equal to half your level rounded up. Each time you cast a spell from a tengu heritage or ancestry feat, you can decide whether it’s a divine or primal spell.

Skyborn Tengu

Your bones may be especially light, you may be a rare tengu with wings, or your connection to the spirits of wind and sky might be stronger than most, slowing your descent through the air. You take no damage from falling, regardless of the distance you fall.

Stormtossed Tengu

Whether due to a blessing or hatching from your egg during a squall, you are resistant to storms. You gain electricity resistance equal to half your level (minimum 1). You automatically succeed at the flat check to target a concealed creature if that creature is concealed only by rain or fog.

Taloned Tengu

Your talons are every bit as sharp and strong as your beak. You gain a talons unarmed attack that deals 1d4 slashing damage. Your talons are in the brawling group and have the agile, finesse, unarmed, and versatile piercing traits.

Tengu Ancestry Feats

At 1st level, you gain one ancestry feat, and you gain an additional ancestry feat every 4 levels thereafter (at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels). As a tengu, you select from among the following ancestry feats.

1st Level

Scavenger’s Search Feat 1

Tengu

You’re always on the lookout for supplies and valuables. Each time you use the Seek action to search for objects (including secret doors and hazards), you can search for objects in your choice of a 10-foot emanation around you or an adjacent 15-foot-by-15-foot area, rather than a single adjacent 10-foot-by-10-foot area.

Squawk! [reaction] Feat 1

Tengu

Trigger You critically fail a Deception, Diplomacy, or Intimidation check against a creature that doesn’t have the tengu trait.

You let out an awkward squawk, ruffle your feathers, or fake some other birdlike tic to cover up a social misstep or faux pas. You get a failure on the triggering check, rather than a critical failure. All creatures that witnessed you Squawk are temporarily immune for 24 hours.

Storm’s Lash Feat 1

Tengu

Wind and lightning have always been close friends to you. You can cast the electric arc cantrip as a primal innate spell at will. A cantrip is heightened to a spell level equal to half your level rounded up.

Tengu Lore Feat 1

Tengu

You learned skills for surviving in the place where your people were dispersed. You gain the trained proficiency rank in Society and Survival. If you would automatically become trained in one of those skills (from your background or class, for example), you instead become trained in a skill of your choice. You also become trained in Tengu Lore.

Tengu Weapon Familiarity Feat 1

Tengu

You’ve trained with a blade and other tengu weapons ever since you hatched. You gain access to khakkaras.

Additionally, choose two weapons from the sword group. You can choose from among all common martial swords, plus the katana, temple sword, and wakizashi. For the purpose of determining your proficiency, that weapon is a simple weapon, and if the weapon isn’t common, you gain access to it. If you are trained in all martial weapons, you add common advanced swords to the swords you can choose from.

You also gain access to all uncommon tengu weapons. For the purpose of determining your proficiency, martial tengu weapons are simple weapons, and advanced tengu weapons are martial weapons.

5th Level

Eat Fortune [reaction] Feat 5

Concentrate Divination Divine Tengu

Frequency once per day

Trigger a creature within 60 feet uses a fortune or misfortune effect.

As someone tries to twist fate, you consume the interference.

The triggering effect is disrupted. If it’s a misfortune effect, Eat Fortune gains the fortune trait; if it’s a fortune effect, Eat Fortune gains the misfortune trait. This fortune or misfortune applies to the same roll the triggering effect would have, so you couldn’t negate a fortune effect with Eat Fortune and then apply a misfortune effect to the same roll.

Long-Nosed Form [one-action] Feat 5

Concentrate Polymorph Primal Tengu Transmutation

You can transform into a specific, curious-looking human form. This human form is the same age and body type as your tengu form and has roughly analogous physical traits, such as height, though your nose remains as long as your beak and your complexion has red undertones, no matter the skin color of your human form. Using Long-Nosed Form counts as creating a disguise for the Impersonate use of Deception. Due to your imperfect transformation, your transformation doesn’t automatically defeat Perception DCs to determine whether you are human, though you may be able to explain away or hide your tengu traits. You lose your beak unarmed Strike in your human form, as well as any other unarmed Strikes you gained from a tengu heritage or ancestry feat. You can remain in your human form indefinitely, and you can shift back to your tengu form by using this action again.

Adventurers

A tengu that leaves the ancestral homeland feels an intense pull toward adventure, to cross vast distances, collect beautiful treasures, and brave the challenges of combat or the rolling sea.

Tengu backgrounds might reflect their place in the homeland or the tengu diaspora. These could include acrobat, bandit, barkeep, charlatan, courier, emissary, entertainer, fortune teller, gambler, insurgent, merchant, nomad, refugee, sailor, or scavenger.

Tengus often become rogues, bards, oracles, rangers, or swashbucklers.

One-toed Hop [one-action] Feat 5

Tengu

Assuming a peculiar stance, you make a short hop on each toe. You make a vertical Leap without triggering reactions that can be triggered by move actions or upon leaving or entering a square.

Tengu Weapon Study Feat 5

Tengu

Prerequisite(s) Tengu Weapon Familiarity

You’ve learned techniques for using blades and other tengu weapons. Whenever you critically hit using one of the weapons from your Tengu Weapon Familiarity, you apply the weapon’s critical specialization effect.

9th Level

Eclectic Sword Training Feat 9

Tengu

Prerequisite(s) Tengu Weapon Familiarity

You were always taught that you needed to be able to use whatever weapon came your way. You can change any of the swords designated in your Tengu Weapon Familiarity to different swords that meet the same specifications. You have to practice with a sword during your daily preparations to designate it, and the designation only lasts until your next daily preparations. This changes only your proficiency; it doesn’t change your access.

Soaring Flight [two-actions] Feat 9

Morph Primal Tengu Transmutation

Prerequisite(s) skyborn tengu heritage

Frequency once per day

To be a tengu is to be unburdened by the concerns of the world below. You grow a pair of magical wings or expand your existing ones. For 5 minutes, you gain a fly Speed equal to your land Speed or 20 feet, whichever is greater.

13th Level

Tengu Weapon Expertise Feat 13

Tengu

Prerequisite(s) Tengu Weapon Familiarity Study has made you an expert with tengu weapons. Whenever you gain a class feature that grants you expert or greater proficiency in a given weapon or weapons, you also gain that proficiency for the weapons from your Tengu Weapon Familiarity.

17th Level

Great Tengu Form Feat 17

Tengu

Prerequisite(s) Long-Nosed Form

You take on the imposing form of a large, winged oni. Once per day, as part of using Long-Nosed Form, you also gain the benefits of 4th-level enlarge and fly. This lasts for 5 minutes or until you shift out of your Long-Nosed Form, whichever happens first.

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide © 2020, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Amirali Attar Olyaee, Alexander Augunas, Kate Baker, Brian Bauman, Logan Bonner, Carlos Cabrera, James Case, Jessica Catalan, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Jesse Decker, Fabby Garza Marroquín, Steven Hammond, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Joan Hong, Nicolas Hornyak, Vanessa Hoskins, James Jacobs, Erik Keith, Lyz Liddell, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Patchen Mortimer, Dennis Muldoon, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Jessica Redekop, Mikhail Rekun, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Michael Sayre, Mark Seifter, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jason Tondro, Clark Valentine, and Andrew White.