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Version 0.23: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

This page is about the player species. For the monster, see Tengu (monster). For a list of all monstrous tengu, see List of tengu.

The Tengu are an ancient and feared species of bird-people with a legendary propensity for violence. Basically humanoid with bird-like heads and clawed feet, the Tengu can wear all types of armour except helmets and boots. Despite their lack of wings, powerful Tengu can fly magically, and very powerful members of this species can stay in the air indefinitely. Their movement speed and evasion are increased slightly while flying.

They are experts at all forms of fighting, including the magical arts of combat (conjurations, summonings and, to a lesser extent, necromancy). They are good at air and fire elemental magic, but poor at ice and earth magic. Tengu do not appreciate any form of servitude, and so are poor at using invocations. Their light avian bodies cannot sustain a great deal of injury.

Innate Abilities

Tengu have a base Strength of 8, Intelligence of 8 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers). They have +1 to base magic points.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Difficulty of Play


Due to their excellent aptitudes and inborn mutations, tengu are powerful and versatile in both melee and magic. However they are also among the most fragile races in the game. In addition to their low HP, their equipment restrictions mean they tend to have low AC. Overall, this makes tengu quite weak early on, but more powerful later, especially once they get the EV and speed bonus from flying permanently.

Caster tengu have the best reasons to choose Vehumet over Sif Muna, as they have a strong aptitude for Conjurations, and Vehumet's entirely passive suite of abilities means they don't have to rely on their poor Invocations aptitude.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 0 Armour 1 Spellcasting -1
Short Blades 1 Dodging 1 Conjurations 3
Long Blades 1 Stealth 1 Hexes -3
Axes 1 Shields 0 Charms -2
Maces & Flails 1 Summonings 2
Polearms 1 Necromancy 1
Staves 1 Translocations -2
Unarmed Combat 1 Transmutation -2
Fire Magic 1
Throwing 0 Ice Magic -1 Invocations -1
Slings 0 Air Magic 3 Evocations 0
Bows 1 Earth Magic -3
Crossbows 1 Poison Magic 0 Experience 0


Tengu are a type of legendary creature in Japanese folk religion traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics.


Prior to 0.23, tengu gained temporary flight (about 40 turns) at XL 5, and only got permanent flight at XL 14.

Tengu gained permanent flight one level later before 0.15.

Prior to 0.12, Tengu received the speed bonus while flying only with less than 70% of their unencumbered burden (though flight itself granted a considerable bonus to carrying capacity, a property also removed in 0.12). They also gained experience somewhat more slowly; Prior to 0.11, tengu lost the ability to fly when not in their natural form.

The species was renamed from Kenku to Tengu in 0.10, to avoid the direct association with the race from Dungeons & Dragons.

Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianHalflingTrollGhoul
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnCentaurSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreDeep DwarfGnoll
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidBarachiMummy