Rokugan: Return of the Jade Raven
The crow-like torikan are among the great Five Races created at the dawn of time. Over the millenia, however, they fell from grace and into the gutters of human civilization. Today they are known as a race of scavengers and irrepressible thieves. Covetous creatures predominantly motivated by greed, they are vain and easily won over with flattery. Some claim their behavior is innate, while others believe their selfish mannerisms are cultural and developed as a learned adaptation that has enabled their people to endure through centuries of oppression.
Torikan are natural survivalists. For some, only theft and guile have afforded them the temporary luxuries other races take for granted. For others, the key to their salvation lies in tomes and ancient magic. In the past, both humans and powerful races such as giants sought the bird-folk as slaves and servitors. Many torikan scavenged for survival, scraping for food in the shadows of cities or living as subsistence hunters and gatherers in the wild. Their descendants now struggle to find their place in contemporary society, often competing against negative stereotypes or driven to embrace them, and they rely on thievery and swordplay to get by in a harsh and unforgiving world.
Torikan are avian humanoids whose features strongly resemble crows. They have broad beaks and both their arms and their legs end in powerful talons. Though tengus are unable to fly, iridescent feathers cover their bodies—this plumage is usually black, though occasionally brown or blue-back. Their skin, talons, beaks, and eyes are similarly colored, and most non-torikans have great difficulty telling individuals apart. Torikan who wish to be more easily identified by other humanoids may bleach certain feathers or decorate their beaks with dyes, paint, or tiny glued ornaments. Though they are about the same height as humans, they have slight builds and tend to hunch over. A torikan’s eyes sit slightly back and to the sides of his head, giving them binocular vision with a slightly more panoramic field of view than other humanoids. Like many avians, torikan have hollow bones and reproduce by laying eggs.
Torikan live in close-knit communities in which they keep to themselves. In urban centers, they tend to group in communal slums, while those living in rural areas establish isolated settlements. Overall, they remain secretive about their culture, which is a combination of old traditions laced with newer bits of culture scavenged from the races common in the neighboring regions. Cultural scavenging also extends to language, and regional dialects of their native Sylvan are peppered with terms and colloquialisms from other languages. Unsurprisingly, torikan have a knack for language and pick up new ones quickly.
Most torikan communities tend to follow a tribal structure. Tribal rules remain loose and subjective, and tribe members settle any conflicts through public arbitration (and occasionally personal combat). While every torikan has a voice in her society, in most settlements, torikans still defer to their revered elders for wisdom and advice.
With little at home to leave behind, many torikans turn to a life of adventure seeking fame, fortune, and glory. A common torikan belief portrays a life on the road as a series of experiences and trials that form a path to enlightenment. Some take this to mean a path of spiritual empowerment; others view it as a way to perfect their arts or swordsmanship. Perhaps in spite of the prejudices upheld by outsiders, many torikan adventurers embrace their stereotypes. These individuals seek to succeed by epitomizing torikan racial qualities, and proudly flaunt their heritage. Despite their avian frailty, with their quick reflexes and quicker wits, torikans make excellent rogues and rangers, while those with a strong academic background often become wizards. Those disciplined in the practice of martial arts take jobs as mercenaries and bodyguards in order to profit from their talents.
Torikan share a number of traits in common with one another.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Age. Torikan mature at the same rate as humans, and live about as long.
Honor. Torikan have an Honor Score of 0. With no grasp of the human code of Bushido, they have little aspiration to change this. They are also noted for thievery and deception, which don’t help matters.
Ambusher. When you enter combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against any creature that has not yet acted in the first round.
Bite: You have a natural bite attack that deals 1d4 piercing damage.
Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Sneaky: You are proficient in Perception and Stealth.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Rokugani, Sylvan, and one other language of your choice.
Subraces: Torikan are primarily divided between the scholarly Kenku and shifty Tengu. Choose one of these subraces.
KENKU: Unlike your taller kin, you are more content to mind your own matters and studies than eek out a living amongst humans. You are reflective and scholarly, believing education and lore can elevate your once-mighty race from the slums to the highest levels of power.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
- Size. Kenku range between 3’ – 5’ 5". Your size is Small.
- Speed. Your base land speed is 25 feet.
- Magical Knack. You are proficient in Arcana. You also know two cantrips from any class, though they must both be from the same class. Intelligence is your spellcasting modifier for these spells.
- Mimicry. You can mimic any sounds you have heard, including voices. A creature that hears the sounds or sees your forgery can tell they are imitations, or a forgery, with a successful Wisdom (Insight) check. The DC of this check is equal to 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus.
TENGU: Known as thieves and swindlers, you have little desire to improve your reputation. Your clans have raised you since birth to take what you can and give nothing back. Far from being a mere cutpurse, you have been instructed in martial combat and stealthy arts. Those who underestimate you have a tendency to regret it, if they live long enough to do so.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
- Size. Tengu have the average height and build of a fit human. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. Your base land speed is 30 feet.
- Bonus Proficiencies. You are proficient in longswords, rapiers, short swords and thieves’ tools.
- Carrion Sense. You have natural ability to sniff out carrion. While their sense of smell isn’t as keen as that of other species, it is particularly attuned to the scent of injuries or death. You have advantage on Survival checks to track or locate corpses and badly wounded creatures (50% or fewer hit points).