:Chews on a moth and wonders if the mammals are indeed going to fight. He could probably learn something from the fighting style of the Hellknight's two-handed style...:
Bad eggs?!? That's some difficult language right there, krawk.
The Chelish are flocking to the Dark Archives and the foul devices stored within. The Andorans are funding a paramilitary group of vigilantes. All the Osiriani are doing the bidding of a woman who makes my feathers stick on end, while Amenopheus has been thrown to the sidelines. The Taldans keep on whispering about something and are somehow attending more social events for the nobility than ever! What's the Inner Sea coming to?
Maybe the nations brought a bit of order to an adventuring force where chaos ordinarily reigns? Kreeehk. I almost want to roost on Ambrus Valsin's study and watch the whole ruckus blow over.
[Posting as Master Kuro Poe, Arcane Duelist, Choreographer, Dancer, And So Much More. Because VOs can't use aliases. This post contains spoilers for The Hellknight's Feast and The Stolen Heir]
In a dim storage room in the Grand Lodge of Absalom, a Tengu Pathfinder has gathered a number of like-minded individuals. The room is a sizeable timber affair where flags of every nation of the Inner Sea and beyond are draped across the walls, coated in a thick layer of dust. It is clear that these items of pomp and patriotism are not used unless a celebration is in order. And there have been no celebrations lately.
"I believe we have all read the missives from the agents sent to the Hellknight's Feast. While I, personally, -craw- am not surprised that even the Faction Leaders are not immune to admonishment from old money, I believe this marks a clear line being drawn between the work of our Pathfinders and the national interests of the Inner Sea."
"Luscious Zarta was flung into bureaucratic, diplomatic and literal hell for her service to Cheliax.
"Of our greatest diplomats and leaders, only the -ehhhrk- Qadirans have managed to dodge the slings and arrows of patriotism. And to be frank, -craw- they are not motivated by love for a nation, but by coin."
"It is clear the factions of the Pathfinder Society are increasingly losing ground with their national sponsors. We now face a precipice where it is possible that the greatest adventurers of the Inner Sea will act by their own will, rather than the directions of politicians and national interests. The shadow war for Absalom is endless. The war to the north... not so much."
The Tengu looks irritably at a moth that flutters near his beak. There is a jump and a snap of a beak and the moth is gone.
"I propose that we do all we can to convince our fellow Pathfinders that they live for themselves and the good of all, not the infighting of patriotism or the directions of imbecilic politicians or nobles. What say ye?"
It's a difficult question, crawww.
Kreeh, perhaps. Perhaps.
I've read missives from the homeland that a Celestial Tengu is holding court in Kwan Lai. And doing well, too! 'Tis a excellent leader that goes this long without being carved up and fed to the crows. The Silver Crusade would lend itself well to carry favour with this new leadership.
But Ollysta Zadrian would take one look at my file and blanch. Drinking, krooh. Swordfights in the geisha-houses. Krahk. Extortion. Public urination. Attempted drowning of Golden League gambler-lords. The list goes on. Misdemeanors that make Ambrus Valsin laugh are the same that make clerics start their sermons.
No, I think I'm a Pathfinder, and that means being loyal to the Grand Lodge. After all, Ambrus, Drengle, Kreighton and Zey helped Lady Amara when no-one else would. That counts for something. That's solid, krahhhk.
So... apologies for continuing this intrusive line of questioning, but what would happen if Mengkare demanded that you return? I mean, you're Pathfinders! Assuming you stay alive long enough *kreek* you'll be rich and learn magical secrets many can only dream of - surely Mengkare would learn of this from up on his cloudy perch.
He'd probably want you to drop everything and go home to guard some acreage of Hermean farmland or something. BORING!
Would you go back home, or would you disobey his orders?
My biggest question is - now that you're free, do you get to live for yourself, or are you all just still waiting for a enormous dragon to tell you what to do with yourselves?
I mean no disrespect, but what's the point in being ridiculously good looking, holding the highest test scores and breaking athletic records if you need some pervert dragon to sign off whenever you want to bed someone for the night?
I'll stick to being a runtish off-shoot with a notoriously woeful family tree, if it means I get to control my own destiny. *krehh*
This battle would take place on an enormous Tian-Xia kite-blimp hundreds of feet in the air. You'd face me on the opposite end of a 5-foot wide, 6-foot tall corridor with twisted steel spikes to hinder acrobatic foes and the spell Forbiddance cast on the corridor.
One Tengu. One Sword. One Duel at a time.
This is excellent news, *kee-reee!*
The people of Tian Xia are impressing the nations of the Inner Sea with their power, agility and wits. While I have heard many of the more scurrilous Pathfinders openly speculate about the future of the Lantern Lodge, we know deep in our beating hearts that the power of the people from the land under heaven will trick, confound and ultimately win through in this struggle.
So the Decemvirate is concerned about some self-appointed Rune Lord. A chubby man who sleeps for 10,000 years? He is no match to our ferocious samurai, deadly ninjas, erudite clergy and superior steel. We will show him what it takes to be known as a hero in Tian Xia - and he will scramble to return to his bedding!
I am sure 10,000 years ago this 'Krune' never had to faced off with a legion of Tengu with magical steel in hand. He is unprepared for the magical advantage of Hao Jin's greatest sorcery. He will be easy.
We are the exalted of the great Dragon Empires - let us prove our worth!
Let us finish this!
The Dragon Empires gazetteer makes reference that in Kwanlai, Lady Sutarai-Gongen has the allegiance of all five major tengu clans. But who are these clans? What are they named and what are they known for? Has this been described in any releases to date?
Really curious to pad out my tengu's family history of why they had to leave Kwanlai, and I figured clan status was a good place to start.
Hey, as long as you're no hobgoblin, you're fine with me! Keh!
*hands over a fine ceramic glass of bubbling plum sake to the muscled grey recruit*
We need all the muscle we can muster to rid the Aspis from the Tapestry. Just the other day I heard that yet another team of Pathfinders had fallen after delving into an ancient shrine. Torn to shreds, they say!
You best get used to not learning too much about Amara's ambitions, cawhhh. She is generous with hospitality but incredibly frugal with infomation. We serve as best as we can, though I would love more clues about her ongoing interest in the Way of the Kirin.
I had a bit of spare time in Photoshop. The base sheet is the old 3.5 edition magic item slot sheet, but the silly human has been erased from reality and replaced with a boisterous Tengu. The silhouette is from the Advanced Races Guide and is not my own work.
Please export/download and share for free if you find this useful! Caw!
Well, first of all, by Tengu standards your name is kind of silly.
Caw! is not a name - it is an expression of being.
I recommend taking a trip up to the mountains at least once every two months - too much city life makes you a trash-pecker, and makes you forget the old ways.
It is not really for me to instruct you - I may be a Master of the Lodge, but in Tengu society, I am merely one who is good at swordplay but bad at scavenging. You should find an Elder. Some Tengu advanced in years, who has lived a long life. They can tell you much more.
For what it's worth, the other races will see you as flippant and self-interested. Maybe a little gaudy. Let them think that. Their eyes are positioned all wrong on their head and they cannot truly perceive as we do.
1. I suppose I was living a life of self-destruction in Goka. Amara took me out of all that. Put all my pent up energy to good use, and allowed me to really pursue the Legend I was born to be, heheh kehrk!
2. Kuro Po. These Inner Sea folks keep spelling Po as 'Poe', couldn't say why.
3. Parents were refugees from Kwan Lai. I don't like the sound of that place, so I spent most of my childhood in the slums of Goka. It's a tough place but wonderful if you're born with wits, kehrk. If you are enterprising, even a wasteland can make you rich!
4. I am always in red robes, with a flashy cap filled with feathers. If I am expected to meet with the local nobility I will change into a silken yukata, although this restricts my movements.
5. Mischief and dancing! Sword fights with strange creatures with nefarious plots. Using my magic to help my friends and confound my enemies. Learning new curse words in various languages *cackle*
6. Bullies. Tyrants and those that exploit people under them, particularly when their exploitation is racially motivated. In-fighting. Authority figures with big swords. Harpies, yuck.
7. Too many to list. Grok the armoured hulk, for hiding behind and being lectured at. Skerek the mage, as he has the strangest abilities to watch. Rigby the halfling is kin to me, although he never wants to swordfight.
8. I am kinder than most Tengu. I'll cut your purse but not your stomach. Amara Li tells me my hands are softer too, hrrrm. I am not a bloodthirsty bird, but my voacabulary seems to suggest that I am. Perhaps I have the soul of a halfling in the body of a tengu? I shall ask the Samsarans.
9. AXE BEAKS. THE WORST. Also, Pengalangs keep me up at night, although they are mildly less evil than axebeaks.
10. My lovely adamantine sword, Shimmerquill. It's worth more than my Shadow Lodge life insurance policy! It has beautiful rubies, and innate carvings and a polished scabbard and a nice tight grip and it goes 'swoosh' when I do my fighting dancing. It's essentially the best thing ever.
*reads Aram's list*
Kehhhrk. NOPE. I meet these requirements, but I don't much like the idea of spending time with a group who assume that some Pathfinders are somehow *better* than others.
*Gives the list back and heads off to enjoy the company of dumb brutes who hold solid iron portcullis up while the party makes their escape, wizened old wizards who require a walking frame just to get about Absalom but know every historical fact written and good-natured paladins who could sell fur coats to Mwangi tribespeople but couldn't walk from one end of a market to the other without knocking at least four stalls over.*
I've been called a lot of things in my time with the Society...
Kill-hungry treasure looters!
With Amara Li in charge, you'll definitely need to be good at being polite, rather than lying through your beak or sending Bèn Dàn to flex his muscles at someone who owes someone else gold. Diplomatic approaches work nicely, rawwwrk.
It goes without saying that you must speak Tien fluently. I'd pick up Varisian, or if you're a sage, Thassilonian too.
There's a new region of interesting flora and fauna in the Inner Sea. Often scholars in Goka will want natural odds and ends. Sometimes, only perceptive adventurers can locate these curiosities in the first instance. Studying nature, especially botany, is useful. Appraising trade negotiations to ensure the likes of the Sczarni to no dupe our brothers and sisters in Tian Xia is a useful skill set.
Your missions will be primarily cultural - I have seen little need for athleticism or feats of strength.
Now recruit, how could I convince you to fetch a pot of green tea from kitchens? If I said it was a mission for Ms Li, would you believe me? Hrmmn?
*Gorjo and Bèn Dàn tower over Kuro, who is very short, even for a Tengu. Kuro strains his neck to look up at the two warriors.*
"Gorjo, your curse is that you get to learn magic, leave the jungles of Nagajor and explore the world. Bèn Dàn, your curse is that there's a minor chance you could crush folks like me underfoot. Also, you have a discriminating countenance. One that would dissuade folk of shallow interests from starting friendships based upon superficial interests such as beauty."
"I do not feel that either of you are truly cursed at all! And even if you are, I'm a Tengu. I absorb bad luck. Better than that! I spread good luck. I stink of the stuff. Seriously! It reeks! Pat my head and you'll be absolved of your curse, for a few hours at least."
*Kuro removes his hat.*
In order of preference.
1. Kitsune (shared 'Tien mystic' feats for both kitsune and tengu)
But if it's just two, Kitsune and Grippli. You'd have the Tengu representing the mountains, the Kitsune representing the forests, and the Grippli representing the rivers. Easy!
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
You've got your five minutes: Wow me. ;)
-Tengu combine old world mythology with a lovable race that exemplifies the swashbuckling, mystical, light-hearted spirit of Golarion.
-Ability-wise, Tengu represent a balanced supernatural race whose innate magic abilities encourage tricks, humour and roleplaying, not numbers crunching and min/maxing.
-Tengu represent a postmodern departure from the euro-centric past of fantasy, and a squawking, worldly entrance into a more globalised and more original fantasy setting.
-Tengu are capricious and flawed enough to represent every alignment, from greedy, bestial animal (claw fighter!) to enlightened, divine mountain spirit (wind druid!). They are far less boxed in than the other races who already have their own stereotypes and expectations.
-Tengu's obsessions with sword-fighting encourage massive variety in class options. Can you imagine special options for a Tengu Oracle who takes their power from Steel? Ever seen a Tengu Samurai who becomes utterly devoted to their beloved katana? What about a Tengu Swordmaster who has trained with the Aldori, the Red Mantises and the Hellknights and have developed an apex sword school?
-Tengu absorb bad luck. Pirates using this are just the beginning. Tengu witches and warlocks begin developing new magic that creates a barrier against bad luck. Tengu oracles develop a curse that allows them to literally absorb terrible accidents before they occur, saving lives in the process.
-Wizened Tengu. Some Tengu hide for decades in the mountains, eschewing society and instead seeking council with foul spirits and Vrocks. They become bitter, wizened old birds who may be physically frail but have increased supernatural abilities. Could be a great age template. Raaaark!
-Three words: Dire Crow Rider.
-Another three words: Tengu Charlatan Archetype.
-Advanced Fey Tengu. Mystical Tengu who accept their quasi-fey birthright begin to suffuse in magic, and become the mountain spirit legends that they have long rumoured to be. Wind spells! Better shapechanging! Wings! Defecating on American automobiles! Awesome!
-Houses, villages, family structure, social structure of Tengu. I imagine trundling caravans with enormous sphere-like nests, moving through treacherous mountain passes. Loads of gambling dice games, knife games (fun!) and doublespeak. They are the Sczarni of Tian Xia, but their plumage is better, and ninjas are scarier.
-I really like Tengu.
For goodness sakes!
I, for one, am in dire need of a guide to what call in Tengu means what.
CAW! - sign of approval, solidarity.
Also - Shape Changing for beginner Tengu!
I am humbled by the collective shame that Pathfinder blood was shed within the Hao Jin tapestry. These losses will not be forgiven.
I promise that the Aspis Consortium agents will not find a footing in my home city of Goka, nor will they be tolerated to pollute the Ruby Phoenix's realm with their avarices of greed, disrespect and, worst of all, disrespect for Tian Xia's history.
Kuro slowly draws his Curveblade and lays it reverentially in front of him.
I pledge my blade to the eradication of those that have sullied the name of the Lantern Lodge! Let us fight true to our ideals! CAWW!
Kuro seems dejected for a moment.
I never thought that a higher rank would mean others would hesitate to speak their minds to me. This will not do at all!
Being a Master means being open to all - especially if others stick their fingers at me have raise their voices about how I may or may not have damaged their roof *Keheheh* or how I dropped my adamantine sword and it cut straight through their new Andoran polished timber floorboards.
I am not a Master who sits on top of mountains to grow white hairs and be tended to by sycophant bald male humans. No, I would be a Master who is fast to argue and quick to react. And one who is highly appreciative of these prawns, thank you kindly.
This is why I love the Lantern Lodge best. We keep a holistic view of the world. We appreciate and maintain scholarly interest in all matters... including food!
Dips a claw in either Tanuki or Lokan's sizzling wok, pulls out a prawn and swallows it, shell and all.
Amara Li has honoured me with the title of Master. I am a Master of Steel. There are few Masters in the Lodge, but there talents are legendary. For instance I have travelled with a Master of the Physical, a powerful ascetic of the Monkey Style. I have also heard of Masters of the Spell, who have learnt much from Hao Jin's handiwork, and a Master of Lore, who have spoken to so many from around the world, and read so many books they themselves are a walking library.
But soon, hopefully, the Lodge will have a Master of Cuisine? *quorrr*
Kelly Youngblood wrote:
I would very much like to take you up on your offer.
*Awhhk* This is why the Grand Lodge teaches us how to disguise our appearance. The Goka guards may be looking for Shan Taicho, but they will not be looking for Chan Chico, Tengu manservant of the great speculative rice exporter Puro Ko!
I can get us in, you will see.
My deepest apologies, Gorjo.
I have a habit of shortening fellow Pathfinders names for convenience, *kehh*. In the heat of battle, when I am likely to be sword-fighting Oni or... easily unsettled human cronies, I like to be able to pronounce my companion's names in less than six seconds.
This city is built for mammals. But there are creative ways to find the comfort you are missing. I know of a secret passage that leads to the roof above Ambrus Valsin's office. The tiles are steady and the roof receives plenty of sunlight at most times of the year. It is an excellent spot to roost contentedly, or, in your case, sunbake. *Cawww!*
Ah, yes, adventuring for the love of a fine woman. I too can empathise with such a desire. In my younger days in being a debt-collector in Goka, there was much coin spent patronizing the Lustrous Quill tengu geisha. I'd spend many hours lolling in the company of sharp-beaked Tengu women who would feed me pickled grubs, dripping in warm sake from talons shining in beautiful jewels. They had yellow eyes like topazes plucked from the hands of a sleeping dwarf.
And the music - oh! Kuro seems taken away...
They had no shamisen - oh no! We would SING, long epics of romance and sword-fights and treasure until long into the night, *cawwww* Then the neighboring humans would gather outside and throw pots and pans at the windows as they couldn't get to sleep. No matter! We'd do it all again in a week's time.
Next time we are in Goka, I will show you where you can find the company of a good woman, oh yes. *cawww*
Wealth is only worth fighting for if it'll go towards a better life for all.
That's what I tell myself when I grab sacks of coin from decrepit tombs, only to see all the coffins explode open to reveal Mummies and Souldrinkers and Mohrgs and what-not. And then more of the floor collapsing business happens too, cawwwww.
Indeed, we have history behind us, but I'd prefer other Pathfinders to read about all of that. Life is short and time spent with your beaks in books is time that could be spent dashing across rooftops, or sword-fighting a foul axebeak, or enjoying the company of a traveling Lillend.
No, what is truly glorious is not the past, but the FUTURE.
What would the Sczarni say? She has a full hand? When will she reveal her cards?
The people of the Inner Sea? Pferrsherr.
The Taldans are full of pomp and fire and smoke and nothing behind them. The Qadirans regard all with an intent to sell, the Ulfen smell of beasts as if they've made their beds in the stable, the Chelish lie in beds with Oni. And the Sczarni are more likely to slit your throat and take your purse than regard you at all!
Cawww, the people of Tian-Xia are much kinder, generous spirits.
The ruffled Tengu takes a moment to shake his feathers back into place. He adjusts his feathered cap.
But let us talk of our home across the sea... what Successor-State are you from? What led to you ending up here at the Lodge?
(PSST! Check out all the nations here)
'Tis not a Lantern King, 'tis a Lantern Lodge! Away, witch doctor! CAWW!
The Inner Sea - the food is great, but the women are ugly, all soft and round, the men have a tendency to wave swords in your face and the floor has a propensity to collapse underfoot.
'Tis a good land to learn the craft of swinging a sword in another's face, but once I've collected enough coin and stories, I'll be heading to Kwan-Lai. Look me up if you need a companion on the barge back home!
Kuro Poe wrote:
I forgot to mention, you need to base this character off a medium sized crow equivalent of Mickey Rourke.
Couple of ideas:
-Necromantic full caster, modelled off the Skeksis from the Dark Crystal. Wear an enormous robe and go 'Aaaaghnhnhgh' and do weird stuff with your fingers/claws when you're roleplaying. Wear loads of disgusting jewellery.
-Fighter/Samurai swordsman, modelled off the Final Fantasy reinterpretation of Gilgamesh. Travel the realms, collecting the blades of your vanquished foes until your name lives in legend. Get a Shih Tzu dog companion that you've dubbed 'Humbaba' to join you on your adventures.
-Feral claw fighting Tengu. Barbarian totem fighter works great but I also think picking up fighter feats and seeing what options you can take with rend feats, crane style and lunge/weapon focus/specialization is worth a look. Really gory, crazed old Tengu pit-fighter with half his feathers missing would be great. He's spent half his life in Chelish gladiatorial pits and he's never. gonna. stop. fighting.
-Dashing scoundrel. Arcane Duelist bard is my favourite, but with ARG the Tengu rogue archetype seems intriguing. Possibly a Tengu expatriate who's studied with Aldori swordlords? Pretend to be a rooster.
-Pirate Tengu. Possible one lvl dip into Gunslinger then the rest Ranger or fighter? Take Sword and Pistol and Opening Volley as feats. Not sure if this can be optimized but it'd definitely be cool. Take max ranks in perception and buy a telescope.
-Curveblade wielding Inquisitor or dual wakizashi-Ninja in service of Yaezhing, The Blood Minister, patron God of Judges, Lawyers and Assassins.
In short, the Tengu are the best race on Golarion and they deserve more love or even a Kwan Lai Pathfinder Lodge. Cawwww.