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Birds of Prey

Written by Endrise

What comfort can one find on the peak of a mountain, if one does not thank every pebble that made the road up towards it?
— Sojobo

Tengu are a race of birdfolk who come from the eastern lands of Zipangu. Honed swordsmen of the blade, their swordsmanship is only exceeded by their pridefulness. As such, while many might see them as mere bird Yokai, their skill is rarely matched.

Basic Information


Tengu take on the form of a humanoid with bird-like features. Although this can range range from barely any traits to full-on bird, most sit right between the two. As such, they have humanoid hands but talon feet, covered in a coat of shiny feathers.

Their heads resemble that of birds of prey, although crows and ravens are the most common. Like such birds, their heads move in quick snaps, with beady eyes and a beak making up their face.

Biological Traits



Daitengu take on a more human appearance with their avian features becoming secondary. Distinguishable by their red faces and long noses, their kind are some of the wisest of the race. Said to live on the highest peaks of Zipangu, they hone their skills all day.

Only those who they consider worthy do they train, and even then their training is often deemed harsh. Though, those that endure are unmatched in the honed skill.


Kotengu are more bird than human, embodying the worst of Tengukind. Boastful and arrogant, they dwell the mountain roots causing discord amongst the lands. For them, anyone that isn't themselves is inferior, only to serve the Kotengu in question.

As such, few enjoy their presence... Although they very bright either. For as much they like to brag, their tendency to humiliate themselves makes their actions often laughable.

Genetics and Reproduction

Tengu reproduce like most avians through the means of eggs. On average, a single Tengu lays about ten to twenty eggs in their lifetime, each about the size of an ostrich egg.

As such, Tengu are only compatible with other birdfolk such as Syrinxs or Garudas. However, due to their own pride, it's rare for them to crossbreed with other races.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Tengu are native to Zipangu but they have been found all across Tai. Some do also show up on Sichelan and neighbouring regions, such as in Shureem. Though, with how some have a sense of wanderlust, they can show up everywhere.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

As a bird race, their eyesight is as sharp as it can get. Even in dimly lit environments, they can still see others with clearance. Some also develop a great sense of smell. As such, they can track or smell wounded or decaying flesh from afar with relative ease.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Male names: Bukka, Chak-Chak, Chuko, Ebonfeather, Highroost, Kraugh, Pezzack, Taicho, Tchoyoitu, Xaikon.
Female names: Aerieminder, Aikio, Cheetchu, Daba, Gildedhackle, Kankai, Mikacha, Ruk, Zhanyae.

Common Etiquette Rules

Tengu are a race well known for their high standards and ambitious nature. As such, their cultures and etiquette reflects this one to one. For them, taking pride in your work is valuable and to doubt yourself shows signs of weakness. For such is the way of the Tengu.

However, it does not mean they are devoid of pity towards others. Understanding one another's weaknesses is important, and they value that thought the most. As such, for as prideful they might behave, few will even disrespect those below them.

Common Dress Code

Tengu thrive wearing fashionable robes, often in the eastern designs of Zipangu itself. Kimonos especially are common amongst their kind, though regular cloaks also work. Depending on gender, age or even formality, colours and appearances can vary.

It's also a common practice for Tengu to have their weapon or equipment visible on them at all times. This can range from their tools hanging from their belt to carrying their blade on their back.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Trial by Proof

A common tradition when a Tengu becomes too cocky for their kind is Trial by Proof. If a Tengu boasts about their skills, they must proof themselves to the clan elders. This can be anything from a sword duel to preparing the best dish in the land.

Should they succeed, nothing happens, but if they fail they get exiled from the clan. The only way one is allowed back in is to either prove themselves again, or revoke their statement. Should one still fail a second try, the banishment is permanent.

Common Taboos

For as much Tengu pride themselves on being superior in their craft, few enjoy boasting about it. For as prideful they might be, using it to be disrespectful to others is seen as bad sport.

It's the reason why so many Kotengu get demonised in Tengu culture. For as much power one might have, belittling others is never the answer. Some Tengu even get exiled from their clans because of being too egotistical.



The history of the Tengu is notorious for being vague. As far as one can remember, Tengu existed ever since the early civilisations of Zipangu and Tai. Where they came from has been up to debate.

The first theory is that they are an evolved form of the Garudas. Due to Zipangu's supernatural landscape and Yokai presence, some mutation might have occured.

Another theory is that Tengu are the reincarnated souls of swordsmen and emperors. As a result of their prideful nature, they became the birdfolk others know them for today. A sort of punishment if you may for their ego.

Historical Figures


Sojobo is one of the most powerful Daitengu to have ever lived. Known as the king of Tengu, he taught several of Zipangu's greatest warriors in the arts of combat and magic. Some even say that the gods themselves fear him for what the old sage is capable of.


Ipponjin is a blacksmith who has mastered the art of Adamantite weapons. Although handicapped by past events, his dedication to his craft is still unhindered. Only those who he deems worthy might wield his blades, if they can even reach his mountain shop.

Common Myths and Legends

  • Tengu control the weather: While they are closely associated with the winds, they don't control them directly. Although they do have magic items to do so.
  • Tengu like the taste of worms: While they are technically birds, eating worms or vermin of the ground isn't something they do.
  • Tengu never forget a face: Tengu can hold grudges for a long time, although it's debatable if they keep them forever.
  • All Tengu know magic: While a common practise, not every Tengu is a mage by hand.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Most other races that have heard of Tengu know them to be perfectionists. Often too prideful to admit defeat, their relationships are difficult at best.

As such, many seek out jobs as mercenaries or swords for hire, although their standards can be very high. While this make them sought after for espionage or bodyguards, their service is not cheap. Whether that be a cash price, or requiring a favour from their contractor.

Amongst fellow Yokai, Tengu sit amongst the top three of the societal ladder next to Kitsune. As such, they are highly respected by their fellow Yokai, often than not even praised as demigods. Some even teach other races their skills in a mentor/pupil scenario.

Amongst other beastfolk, they often take leadership roles towards Catfolk and Ratfolk. While their relationships can be complicated, their combined skills make many unmatched.


Tengu by Endrise

Tengu Players

Tengu are arrogant and prideful no matter how wealthy or powerful they might be. For even in the lowest slums do they believe they are superior. As such, they seek to hone their skills with any chance they got, often provoking others if they so wish. Though even with their arrogance, they show some respect to others.

Common Languages
Common, Tengu
Genetic Ancestor(s)
70 - 110 years
Average Height
4'6" - 5'6"
1.37m - 1.68m
Average Weight
70 lbs - 114 lbs
32 kg - 52 kg
Average Physique
Hunched over
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Black, navy blue or wood brown
Geographic Distribution

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Cover image: Species - Bird Cover by Endrise

Tengu Racial Traits (1e)

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom,-2 Constitution: Tengus are fast and observant, but relatively fragile.
  • 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 two languages each time they gain a rank in Linguistics rather than one language.
  • Swordtrained: Tengus 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).

This species has multiple parents, only the first is displayed below.
All parents:


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