Tengku are evolved from avians but they cannot fly. Their faces resemble of those of crows or ravens. Adults average around five feet tall but they have light frames due to their hollow bones weighing about seventy five to eighty pounds on average. Tengku feathers range in coloration but more of than not, their coloration is dark brown or black. Feathers tend to lighten with age. The eldest Tengku are stark white.   Tengku state that they used to have their own language but that language was lost. Most Tengku speak Elven or Common as their native tongue, though a few hundred Tengku words remain in their vernacular. A couple words have even been adopted into Common and Elven.   Origins: Tengku were created at some point in the Second Age, but who created them or why is lost to history. Ask two Tengku about it and you’ll get three different stories. A commonality in legends of their origins involves them losing their flight. Some legends say one or more of the Nine took away their power of flight as some kind of punishments. Other legends say they gave up their flight in exchange for their great cunning.   Second Age History: Details of their history are sketchy, they are barely mentioned in surviving Second Age records at all. They never warred with the elven kingdoms, but surviving records show the elves considered them untrustworthy swindlers and thieves. They were considered a barely tolerated nuisance but not a threat.   Their one redeeming quality in ancient written works that modern Tengku are happy to take credit for was that Tengku were good at finding hard to acquire items. During the Second Age, they were the preeminent dealers of valuable First Age artifacts.   Surviving the Second Unmaking : With their reputation of thieves and swindlers and their barely tolerated status in Elven kingdoms, Tengku had a lot of hiding places as a manner of course. Most of these hiding places were sniffed out but not all of them. A few Tengku also attached themselves to bands of elf survivors. They parleyed their ability to find food in exchange for the elves’ military protection.   Recent History and Distribution: During the Second Unmaking. More than a few elves, especially children were safely hidden in the rookeries where Tengku children were held. Most of these children that grew up and survived made their way to the Elven Empire. Early in the Third Age, most of the surviving Tengku lived in lands claimed by the Elven Empire because it was beneficial to stay where they had friends.   The loose moral codes of Tengku did not mix well with the hide-bound Khemra worshipers of the Elven Empire. Over successive generations, gratitude from “your ancestors helped my ancestors” eventually wore thin. Some Tengku still live in the Elven Empire, but most Tengku dwell in human lands now.   There are many exceptions but most Tengku prefer to live in densely populated areas or else they never settle, staying on the road their whole lives. Most large cities have a small Tengku quarter.   Lifecycle and Society: Tengku hatch from eggs like lesser birds. Tengku age slightly faster than humans and they age slightly faster. Tengku reach adulthood after only nine years. They typically die of old age around fifty but a few hardy Tengku have made it to sixty. Tengku are staunch individualists in many ways, but they to keep their eggs in a single spot and guard and rear their young collectively. Tengku females usually lay single eggs, but twins are far more common among Tengku than among humans. Tengku sometimes mate for life, sometimes don’t, but mated pairs will at least stay together until their young are all grown up.   Tengku push their young out of the nest so to speak very quickly after a child’s ninth hatching day. They are not allowed to return until they made their fortune. Most do not return, eventually settling somewhere else. In this way, despite their small numbers, Tengku live on every continent in virtually every nation.   Some Tengku prefer working alongside humans and demi-humans full time, but eventually flock to their own kind. Tengku are nearly all literate. They have set up a fairly intricate system of message delivery. A Tengku can eventually contact another Tengku on the other side of the world if they are patient. Many Tengku make a living running messages for humans and demihumans. Sometimes they will even run messages for non-criminal humans.   There are exceptions, but Tengku’s reputation for double-dealing, greed, and thievery is largely deserved. Many Tengku are mercenary minded adventurers seeking treasure and relics. More than a few are pickpockets and swindlers.   Religious Practices: Tengku are a very widespread and adaptable race. It is fairly common for them to adopt the religious practices of the non-Tengku in the area that they dwell in. Whether this piety is genuine or not is up for debate.   A great many Tengku worship Phidas . His greed and clever words appeal to them. A lot of Tengku who never give up a life on the road worship Nami . They value her adaptability and freedom. A lot of Tengku who live in large communities of their own kind worship Mera, the patroness of the very idea of community (though their treatment of their own young causes many human Tenders to take offense).   Tengku rarely worship Greymoria unless they practice arcane magic. Likewise, Tengku rarely worship Zarthus unless they are actual artists or musicians, and they rarely worship Korus unless they fall in love with the wilderness during their travels as a young adult. The few who regularly worship Maylar generally style themselves as agents provocateur rather than warriors. If a Tengku is publicly praising Khemra or Hallisan probably an act.   It is rare but not unheard of for a Tengku to become a priest or divine spell-caster. The majority of these rare few are followers of Nami . While more Tengku worship Phidas than Nami, the Rovers are a lot less particular on who they induct than the Masks . It is joked that a Tengku wearing a mask is still recognizable as a Tengku.

Civilization and Culture


Today, the gnomes, satyrs, and tengku have no homeland of their own but they commonly live in the lands of other races. This was the case during the Second Age as well as during the present.   Based on the recent censuses of the last twenty years, we estimate that among the civilized world, about 5% of the population are gnomes, about 1% of the population are satyrs and about 2% of the population are tengku.   Many of the surviving documents of the Second Age were inventory ledgers or census tallies. It looks like during the Second Age about 6% of the civilized population was gnomes, 2% was satyrs, and 10% was tengku.   Anything stand out for you? Why are there are so many fewer tengku now than in ancient times? In modern times, tengku have a reputation for being untrustworthy liars, thieves and swindlers. In ancient times, tengku had a repuation for being untrustworthy liars, thieves and swindlers.   I have yet to find a written account backing my supposition but I believe that the tengku suffered disproportionate losses during the Second Unmaking because the bands of scattered elf refugees generally did not welcome the tengku among them whereas did not extend this xenophobia to gnomes and satyrs, at least not as consistently.   For whatever reasons, the Lunatan elves did allow tengku to take refuge with them. This might because tengku prefer cities and town and Lunatus was the last land to still have towns and cities or maybe modern tengku prefer urban environments now because they were the only place their ancestors were welcome. Most modern tengku today are descendants of the tengku who sought refuge on Lunatus and then had a diaspora away from Lunatus during the Third Age.   I can only speculate and the tengku don't like to talk about the Second Unmaking with those outside their race. Their culture is more focused on the present and future versus the past. More's the pity.   -Akeem of Magicland, professor Emeritus of History
Tengku are a Frankenstein creation of my imagination sewing together multiple inspirational source materials.   Physiologically, Tengku are based off of D&D kenku which are based off of the Tengu from Japanese Yochai folklore.   Tengku culture and personality is largely based off the Ferengi from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Tengku Character Creation   Graceful: -1 difficulty all non-magical rolls involving Dexterity Keen Eyesight: -1 difficulty Alertness rolls   Mimicry: Tengku can mimic any voice or accent they hear. They cannot use their mimicry to speak a language they do not know. If they are trying to impersonate someone a listener knows very well, an opposed roll is necessary pitting the Tengku’s Manipulation + Subterfuge against the listener’s Perception + Empathy.   Profit Driven: Tengku treat Commerce as a simple skill and they receive a bonus die on all rolls involving Commerce.   Cooperative: Tengku gain a bonus die on rolls when making a cooperative roll with one or more other people. This applies both with other Tengkus and other races.   Hollow Bones: Tengku have hollow bones which enables their their excellent Dexterity but it comes with the drawback of greater vulnerability. When hit by blunt trauma or bludgeoning weapons, Tengku receive a +1 penalty on their soak roll, even if using armor or magic to soak it. Tengku also have one fewer bruise level than humans.   Tengku player characters have four fewer freebie points

Articles under tengku

Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake