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Version 0.31: 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. Their magical nature helps them evade attacks while in motion, and despite their lack of wings, more experienced Tengu can magically fly.

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

  • +1 to a random stat every 4th level.
  • 20% less HP than average.
  • +3 willpower per level.
  • At XL 7, gain permanent flight and +4 EV (Agile Flight).

Difficulty of Play


Tengu are a versatile, but frail species. Their aptitudes are good across the board, with impeccably good skill in Conjurations and Air Magic. And with 2 auxiliary attacks, melee is also reasonable. However, Tengu are among the most fragile species in the game: they have low HP and can't wear helmets or boots.

Note that, despite being described as "agile" and "light", Tengu do not get any special bonus from the Dodging skill. It is true that Acrobatic and Evasive Flight grant EV, however, these bonuses are unaffected by skill or armour encumbrance. Therefore, wearing heavy armour is not out of the question.

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
Dodging 1
Maces & Flails 1 Shields 0 Conjurations 3
Axes 1 Stealth 1 Hexes -3
Polearms 1 Summonings 2
Staves 1 Invocations -1 Necromancy 1
Unarmed Combat 1 Evocations 0 Translocations -2
Throwing 0 Shapeshifting -2 Alchemy -1
Fire Magic 1
Short Blades 1 Ice Magic -1
Long Blades 1 Air Magic 3
Ranged Weapons 1 Experience 0 Earth Magic -3


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.


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


  • Prior to 0.31, Tengu did not have have Acrobat and didn't get +4 EV at XL 7. Instead, Tengu gained +20% EV and moved faster (-0.1 movement delay) when flying at all, and gained permanent flight at XL 5.
  • Prior to 0.27, Tengu flight was an ability; you could turn it on or off.
  • Prior to 0.23, Tengu gained temporary flight (about 40 turns) at XL 5, and only got permanent flight at XL 14.
  • Prior to 0.17, the evasion bonus for flying Tengu was capped at +9 EV.
  • Prior to 0.15, Tengu gained permanent flight at XL 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 OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianTrollDeep ElfArmataurGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnDjinniSprigganGhoulTenguOniBarachi
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidMummy