"Oho! So you seek to preach about how worthy you are, do you?"
Since the ascension of Mankind the Tengu have meddled in the affairs of Japan. Canny Sei, they realised that banality could one day spell their doom and took steps to banish the threat before it gained too much strength. They undertook a far-reaching plan to undermine the development of human civilisation in Japan, covertly intervening to incite civil unrest and uprisings, fomenting conflict and revolt with the ultimate aim of impeding and slowing progress.
However, old habits die hard and the Tengu continue to meddle in the affairs of their realm, but their influence has waned. Long regarded as mountain spirits and the embodiment of supernatural forces they do not regard themselves as Sei and are genuinely amused by the pretensions of the western kithain.
Intelligent and cunning they have on occasion taken promising humans as students, instructing them in the paths of knowledge and arts, both passive and martial; indeed a Tengu of Mt. Kurama trained the great historical hero Mitamoto-no-Yoshitsune in the 10th century.
The Tengu hold little respect for any religion except Shinto, and while they believe in the power of the Gods and spirits, they also believe that few of those who take to the path of religion are truly enlightened or dedicated. They would often descend to mercilessly tease and prank any travelling monks and priests, testing their dedication and character. Only those monks who demonstrated the greatest devotion and faith gained any respect. Even today, they see it as their task to test the devotion of any religious leaders they encounter.
They have an affinity with the Actor realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
Tengu vary greatly in size, but the vast majority are notably shorter than most men in their Sei seemings. Their crimson faces feature a long beak-like nose and penetrating gaze. Their ears are long and pointed, and they favour wearing their black of white hair long and loose. Sharp teeth flash briefly in their open mouths, and some have bird-like feet, or wing-like arms. Tengu clothing is clean, simple and loose, allowing freedom of movement. Many traditionalists wear kimono robes and geta (raised wooden sandles).
Kodomo Tengu strive to strike a balance between riotous play and the study of knowledge, arts and crafts. Their faces are pale pink, darkening only when the reach Sozoshii.
Sozoshii Tengu study, play and prank with equal passion, and some take to testing the beliefs of those people around them who act too righteous. Their faces have become bright crimson and their nose is near adult size.
Toshi-ue no Tengu are the most common of their kith and fully assume the mantle of religious testers. Intelligent, and learned, they are often skilled in several arts and crafts, both martial and wise. At this seeming their crimson faces darken to a blood-red and their noses reach their full adult size.
Traditionally Tengu live in the mountains of Japan, disdaining contact with Man that they didn't initiate themselves. However, in recent years, a growing number have moved into the cities of Japan, where they unsurprisingly favour the high altitudes that skyscrapers afford them. Many of the most dedicated grumps often become priests of the Shinto faith, and struggle to increase its following in the faith of modern life.
Birthrights and Frailties
As with any Kith, Tengu have a few traits exclusive to them.
Path of the Scholar: Tengu are prodigious scholars and tutors, possessed of incredibly sharp intellect. They gain an additional point of experience each session that can only be used to earn esoteric knowledge, crafts, arts or martial arts. No Tengu can botch a knowledge roll.
Path of the Gentle Breeze: Tengu may fly at upto 20 mph for 1 hour by spending a Glamour point. Any exceptional manoeuvres require a Wits + Kenning roll, and any complex actions such as combat have their difficulties increased by 2.
Test of Faith: Tengu must make a successful Willpower roll (Diff. 7) whenever they encounter a religious leader of any faith except Shinto, to avoid 'testing' them with pranks and teasing.
Views on Other Kith
The only western Kithain the Tengu have any real dealings with are the Eshu.
Eshu: Amusing gaijin with interesting knowledge.
Now these guys have some really interesting stories.
Hengeyokai: The Kitsune and Tanuki also inhabit our mountain realms. They can be useful allies when testing a fool, but are unreliable.
The Tengu can certainly appreciate a good prank, but they shouldn't restrict their targets so much.
Kappa: Manners are good, but they are a thin veneer indeed.
Oni: We can respect our fellow mountain dwellers. They understand their place in the universe and many show understanding of knowledge.
Intelligent and wise, but they meddle too much with the fate of Men.