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Version 0.18: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

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, and very powerful members of this species can stay in the air for as long as they wish to do so. Their movement is a bit faster than normal 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

  • +1 to a random stat every 4th level.
  • 20% less HP than average.
  • +3 magic resistance per level.
  • Gain the ability to Fly short distances at level 5.
    • This is upgraded to the ability to stay permanently airborne at level 14.

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 strong aptitudes in Conjurations, and are bad at Invocations. All of Vehumet's powers are passive.

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.


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 and Dragons.

HumanHigh ElfDeep ElfDeep DwarfHill OrcHalflingKoboldSprigganOgreTrollNagaCentaurMerfolkMinotaurTenguDraconianGargoyleFormicidVine StalkerDemigodDemonspawnMummyGhoulVampireFelidOctopode