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Curious and covetous creatures, tengu are feathered humanoids known for being scavengers and neigh irrepressible thieves. Traditionally an oppressed people, tengus are known for their cunning, duplicity, and natural ability to take advantage of even the worse situations.

Physical Description

Compared to other races of the galaxy, tengu are notoriously uniform in appearance, a trait that it makes extremely difficult for non-tengu to differentiate between tengus of similar age and size, regardless of gender. Tengu bare many similarities to avian animals, including a body covered in darkly-colored plumage, arms and legs covered from the joint down in thick scales and powerful talons, and a mighty beak. Tengus often bleach and dye their feathers or decorate themselves with paints or glued ornaments to help them appear more individual, although for others remaining indistinct is an advantage, not a problem to be mended superfluously. Tengus usually stand roughly the same height as humans, though are often shorter on average due to their slightly hunched builds and are always light due to their hollow bones. A tengu’s eyes sit slightly back on their head compared to most humanoids, giving their vision a slightly more panoramic field of view than other humanoids. Like many avian creatures, tengus reproduce by laying eggs.

Home World

Tengus were originally from a great world, where they faced extreme prejudice at the hands of the ever-expanding empire. At some point before the great disaster, a tengu leader rallied thousands of his brethren and bid them all leave of the planet, migrating to one of three vacant moons. Tengus have inhabited these moons ever since, but to call it their home world would be incorrect, as tengu inhabit nearly every habitable world in the galaxy, constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to amass fame, fortune, or whatever else they fancy. Still, the moons remain the center of tengu society, and hosts large the single largest population of tengu.

Society And Alignment

Tengus as a collective people are rambunctious, wild, and paranoid, often holding true to the notion that others cannot be trusted beyond face value. As a result, they tend to live on the fringes of humanoid society other than their own, wherein they are loud and largely incorporative even with one another. On most worlds, tengu live in tightly-knit communal slums where they largely keep to themselves. Even now with the rise, fall, and reemergence of an empire, tengus are secretive about their society, yet relish the opportunity to scavenge everything from culture and language to knowledge and martial trainings from others.

Ultimately, tengu society is a hodgepodge of ideas and customs taken from others without a true grasp of their purpose of meaning. Politicians from other worlds have claimed for generations that a tengu-run society is doomed to fail, yet perhaps it is because of such dismissals that tengu and their home have persisted even after a stellar disaster.


Tengu are rowdy and ultimately off-putting to virtually every other race in the galaxy, even themselves. Of the majority races in the galaxy, only humans allow tengus to settle within their cities with any real frequency, and when this occurs the result is most often ramshackled communities of tengu-run ghettos that make foul neighborhoods even more wretched. Tengus sometimes make friends with like-minded halflings and gnomes who share their interests, but neither dwarves nor kitsune have much patience for tengus; dwarves seeing tengus as filthy do-nothings and kitsune as pilfering thieves with no purpose or motivation. Most other races discourage tengus from settling near them, and often have negative prejudices towards tengus that they happen across.


Tengus with enough drive and motivation to try to accomplish something with their lives often become adventures out of necessity—while their kind isn’t respected, even the hardest hearts can yield before a hero. Conversely, some tengus simply take to scourging the galaxy as pirates or worse, taking whatever they fancy with little care or regard for others. A tengu’s natural dexterity makes them skilled operatives, and their cobbled proficiency with a variety of melee weapons and martial arts makes them surprising combatant even in roles where other races are less combat oriented, such as with envoys or mechanics. Finally, some rumors claim that tengu have a natural ability to absorb bad luck and divine future through their feathers, and some tengu explore such tales by becoming mystics.


Tengu names tend to be a horrible combination of phrases and sounds from a multitude of different languages, as tengu commonly pick up and adopt words they like the sound of into their own language, even if they don’t necessarily know what those words mean. As a result, a tengu’s name is often a linguist’s nightmare, and seldom makes sense or has any real meaning attached. Some examples of tengu names are Aerieminder, Aikio, Bukka, Chak-Chak, Cheetchu, Chuko, Ebonfeather, Gildedhackle, Gruzzequi, Highroost, Kankai, Kraugh, Mikacha, Qilanke, Pezzack, Prejil, Ruk, Taicho, Tchoyoitu, Xaikon, and Zhanyae.

Racial Traits

+2 Dex, +2 Wis, –2 Con

Hit Points: 4

Size and Type

Tengus are humanoids with the tengu subtype and are Medium. They have a base speed of 30 feet.

Special Abilities

Low-Light Vision: Tengus can see in dim light as if it were normal light. For more details, see low-light vision.

Gifted Linguist: Tengus gain a +2 racial bonus on Culture checks, and learn 2 languages each time they gain a rank in Culture rather than 1 language.

Natural Weapons: Tengus are always considered armed. They can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. Tengus gain a unique Weapon Specialization with their natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1-1/2 x their character level to damage rolls with their natural weapons (instead of adding their level, as usual).

Sneaky: Tengus gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks.

Weapon Familiarity: Tengus are proficient with basic and advanced melee weapons and gain specialization with those weapons at 3rd level.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Starfarer’s Companion © 2017, Rogue Genius Games, LLC; Authors: Alexander Augunas and Matthew Morris