Designing the Buntai: The Tengu

One of the otherworldly creatures we are going to make into the subject of a buntai are the Tengu.

Tengu 1

In traditional art tengu are portrayed as human-like creatures with a bird’s beak or a long and beak-like nose, wings and tail feathers on their backs, and claws on their fingers and toes. Some of the more monstrous depictions give them scaled digits or lips, pointed ears, mouths full of sharp teeth, three-toed bird’s feet, or somewhat bat-like webbed flight feathers. Like many demons, they are often associated with the colour red, although sources differ on whether this applies to their skin, hair, or clothing.

Tengu 2

Perhaps via confusion with the similarly-long-nosed Shinto deity Sarutahiko, Tengu are also sometimes portrayed with a red face and sans any bird features. This image is particularly common in folk art, like the famous Tengu masks that can be found in many Japanese restaurants.

Tengu 3

I am quite taken with the portrayal of the Tengu in the film 47 Ronin. It nods to the traditional, but brings it up-to-date. Some of the character of the Tengu shown in this film has made it through to my first draft of the buntai.

tengu 3

So how do you see these fascinating creatures and how would you interpret them for a skirmish game?

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6 thoughts on “Designing the Buntai: The Tengu

  1. I loved the way they did the Tengu in 47 Ronin. I thought the portrayal of their movement was good too. I seem to remember a traditional written description as being along the lines of “leaps akin to flying”. To me that always sounded like the long leaping movement used in the Chinese martial arts stories and in Manga.

    In miniature form however, I don’t think the 47 Ronin Tengu would stand out enough. I suspect they’d need to be given actual bird features.

  2. I think that you are right on the look.
    As for the movement that is being integrating by giving them the equivalent of the Heroic Leap Ki Power. As they will have almost no shooting capability so the ability to bound across the battlefield should be a good balance.

  3. i agree with Dewbakuk and you your self about the birdlike features. Saddly though there are no reasonably priced Tengu miniatures that I can find. Bushido has a 2 park for 23 dollars but that is not what I would call well priced.

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