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The "Japanese Goblin" emoji

Tengu are a breed of yokai ("monster") from Japanese mythology, and one of the more famous of their kind, alongside the kitsune and the kappa. Tengu are a race of humanoid birds, depicted either as literally human-like crows or as winged humans with cartoonishly-elongated noses. Most modern scholars of yokai formally split the two depictions into two races; the humanoid crows are kotengu or karasutengu, a lower breed mostly depicted as comedic relief or profound scoundrels, and the winged, big-nosed humans are daitengu, a superior breed who may sometimes fall to evil, but are usually described as skilled warriors and martial artists, even teachers of samurai in some stories.



In Pathfinder, due to being unable to use the kenku race and because Paizo prides itself on digging into real-world mythology, it instead created the tengu as a PC race. They're still obviously based on the kenku, being flightless humanoid crows renowned for being thieves and scavengers, but with some cultural aspects of the karasutengu blending in. They even have unique Oracle and Rogue archetypes based on the tengu's association with martial arts; the Shigenjo (an Oracle with a ki pool and some Monk abilities), and the Swordmaster (a warrior-thief who uses mystical trances to heighten their combat skills).


+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Constitution
Humanoid (tengu) type
Base Speed 30 feet
Low-Light Vision
Sneaky: +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth.
Gifted Linguist: +4 racial bonus on Linguistics, gain 2 languages per point in Linguistics.
Swordtrained: Free proficiency in all sword-based weapons.
Natural Weapon: Bite (1d3)

Variant Racial Traits:

Carrion Sense: Replace Gifted Linguist with Carrion Sense; this focuses as Scent, but can only be used to track corpses and badly wounded (50% or less hit points) creatures.
Claw Attack: Replace Swordtrained with two Claw Attacks (Primary Natural Attack, 1d3 damage) and free Improved Unarmed Strike.
Exotic Weapon Training: Replace Swordtrained with proficiency in (3 + Int bonus) Eastern Weapons.
Glide: Replace Gifted Linguist with the Glide trait. When falling, a tengu that passes a DC 15 Fly check takes no damage from the fall. After passing this check, it can take an additional DC 15 Fly check; on a success, it moves 5 feet laterally for every 20 feet fallen.

Since a Constitution penalty is crippling for anyone and their main traits are focused on melee, the one place a character with a con penalty shouldn't be, Tengu don't see much use. Swordtrained has the dishonor of both being massively ambiguous and useless to most people who would be making melee attacks, even without the con penalty, since they're already proficient with virtually all the weapons it gives.

The Races of Pathfinder
Player's Handbook: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Race Guide:
Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
Bestiaries: Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
Adventure Paths: Being of Ib - Kuru
Inner Sea Races: Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
Ultimate Wilderness: Vine Leshy
Blood of the Sea: Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton
Planar Adventures: Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi

Mists of Akuma[edit]

In the Mists of Akuma setting, tengu are a race of mountain-dwelling humanoid avians noted for their remarkable tenacity, which sadly tends to come across as obnoxious or threatening to many, especially since the tengu generally don't give a shit about what anyone else thinks of them. The rise of yai sovereigns and oni warlords in their mountain homes has forced the race into exodus, causing a diaspora that has scattered them into lone individuals and small flocks that can be found all across the lowlands, often pursuing a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Only one of the original tengu settlements survives; Su-Yosai, the last haven of the original tengu culture, and a palce that issues a spiritual calling to all the dispossessed members of the race.

The tengus' lack of size is made up for with wisdom and exceptional agility, making them a formidable force to be reckoned with. Their fine senses give the bird folk an awareness that notices details and tells of a foe that most would miss and allow them to excel even in situations of extreme adversity. These talents complement those of duelists and thieves, leading many to pursue those paths and creating an untrustworthy perception of the avians.

All tengu are clad in a thick covering of feathers which range in color from jet black to ashy gray, their eyes shades of yellows and red with the occasional chestnut gaze. Their oily plumage make the avians better able to resist the cold winds of the mountains but are easily flammable, exemplified in the instinctive aversion to fire that most of the bird folk have. They offer no protection against weapons however, and thus many tengu wear armor if they are to enter combat even though it often restricts their flight.

Each tengu’s arms are lined with a number of large feathers that form wings before ending in talons, giving them the power to take to the skies while still permitting the tengu to dexterously handle objects with their hand-like appendages—these are primarily built for gripping and are used for self-defense only as a last resort. While tengu can theoretically fly anywhere they like their wings are designed for short distance excursions and travel by foot is generally quicker than taking to the air.

Ability Score Increase: +2 Dexterity, +1 WIsdom
Size: Small
Speed 25 feet
Wing-Arms: You have a Fly speed of 15 feet, but can only fly if you have both hands free and are carrying no more than half your carrying capacity.
Natural Entertainer: You are Proficient with Performance and Sleight of Hand.
Oiled Plumage: You are Resistant to Cold damage, but Vulnerable to Fire damage.


The MGE's version of a Tengu.
LamiaMonstergirl.pngThis article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.

Being a race of bird people from Japan, you had better believe that tengu often get the monstergirl treatment. Physically, tengu are often portrayed as being much the same as harpies; the real difference tends to be in their attitude, depicting them most frequently as either conniving tricksters or as stoic samurai warriors.

See Also[edit]