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Corvus - the Raven Folk

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Sea-of-Stars's picture

It just seemed that there needed to be a race of Beastfolk mystics and as I am a big fan of ravens . . .


 The Corvus line was developed by the Seer-Diviners of the Obsidian Tower as servants and assistants, but the wily ravens learned more than was indended and as magic receeded, they became more and more indispensable.  Suddenly, there were no more humans in the Obsidian Tower, just the tribes of the Corvus.

The Corvus have slowly spread from there, making terraces for farmlands among the hills and mountains of their homes.  They are still small in numbers but their homes are inaccessible and easy to defend.


For those who are able to fit into their culture, the Corvus are talkative and personable.   Unfortunately, many outsiders find their particular culture almost incomprehensible.  Corvus will often  exhibit very particular behaviors, and expect particular results.  The effect is mutual confusion, more often than not.

Physical Description

Corvus are physical very similar to their cousins, the Tengu - fine-boned and graceful, black feathers instead of hair, sharp black beaks.  Their eyes are black and often described as piercing.  They favor simple and loose clothes that only cover the torso to their knees, leaving their arms entirely free.


The Corvus and the Tengu, which outisders often confuse for the same race, do not like each other.  The Corvus find the Tengu rash and unruly, while the Tengu regard the Corvus as hidebound and insular.  However, their skills work well together and the Corvus often travel with Tengu guards.

Alignment and Religion

The Corvus are very orderly and traditional, following the step followed by their ancestors and the Seer-Diviners before them.


Corvus are known to have produced a number of Oracles not very long after the Collapse.


Corvus names are secret, twisting things not easy to pronounce and harder to remember.  The name they use in public are usually simple and related to their role, Baker, First Archer, Seer of the Highest Tower.

Corvus Racial Traits


-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma.  The Corvus see far and clearly, and are skilled with tool, but they lack mass and strength.

Borthers of the Black Wing: As a supernatural ability, Corvus can speak with blackbirds, crows, ravens and similar birds.

Gifted Linguist: Corvus gain a +4 racial bonus on Linguistics checks, and learn 2 languages each time they gain a rank in Linguistics rather than 1 language.

Hollow Bones: The bones of these birdmen are hollow and fragile making Corvus light for their size, they suffer a -1 penalty to CMD against bull's rush and trip attempts and -1 racial penalty to saves against crushing and sonic damage.

Low-Light Vision: Corvus can see twice as far as Humans in low-light conditions but still cannot see in complete darknes.

Natural Weapon: Corvus possess a bite natural attack that inflicts 1d3 points of damage on a hit. This is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the Corvus wields a manufactured weapon.

Piercing Gaze: Corvus gain a +2 racial bonus to sight-based Perception checks and a +2 racial bonus to Sense Motive checks.

Scholar of Secrets: Each Corvus at 1st level they may choose a Knowledge skill that is a class skill for them, if they belong to a class (such as wizard) that already has all knowledges as class skills they gain an extra skill point per level that must be applied to a Knowledge skill.

The Unkind Truth: While the Corvus ability to disemble is well known, they are incapable of lying.


Language begin play speaking Common and the secret language of the Corvus.


-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma

[1 pt] Brothers of the Black Wing

[4 pts] Gifted Linguist

[-1 pt] Hollow Bones

[1 pt] Low-Light Vision.

[2 pts] Natural Weapon.

[2 pts] Piercing Gaze: limited bonus to Perception, but still Perception is a very used skill.

[2 pt] Scholar of Secrets.

[-1pts] The Unkind Truth.


This is cool to me, because I

This is cool to me, because I see a difference between Crow and Raven in terms of myths and stories, and I think it is cool for the Tengu to be crow-like and the Corvus to be raven-like. They could be kindred sundered from each other, or one derivative from the other.

What if they both had the same ability adjustments? The Tengu are +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Wis, and I think that would work for raven-ish mystics as well as it does for the Tengu. The Tengu are swordsmen - the Corvus could be their mystical brethren, maybe some of the very first divine casters, Oracles and Witches, after the Collapse.

Oh yeah, Oracles

Having just re-read the PFSRD on Oracles, I think subtly aiming the Corvus in this direction is a cool idea. Granted, this is simply because I think Oracle is an awesome new class; deliciously flavorful, and very much in line with the mythical seer archetype.

Sea-of-Stars's picture

If they should be oracles

Which I think is an awesome idea, now that I have had a chance to look at Oracles, should we not go for +2 Dex, +2 Chr and -2 Str? I see them being slight but tough.

mikeb's picture

I like the direction this is

I like the direction this is going. It is definitely shaping up to be different than tengu.

And Raven does nothing if not

And Raven does nothing if not talk his way out of trouble :)

I like it, looks good. I'll give some thought to a couple more racial traits. One should probably be Bestial Nature, since I think the others all, or mostly, have it - the ability to speak with ravens, crows, rooks and similar birds as a magical ability.

I'm thinking what kinds of abilities a mythical trickster would have. Hmm...

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Working on it

Have expanded their abilities -and general information- a bit, they can talk with their winged brethren now as well as get a good read on people (bonus to sense motive) and gave them the same natural weapon ability as the Tengu. Still leaves a few more points to fill in but getting there.

What would be comparable to

What would be comparable to the Swordtrained racial ability? Would Corvus also have the Linguistics ability?

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Modified again

Added gifted linguist, because it fits if the tengu have it, and the hollow bones penalty trait.

Could add a staff trained ability and maybe a minor defensive power, but thinking it is getting long enough as it is.

Looks close to done to me,

Looks close to done to me, for what it's worth. I think that with the mystery knowledge ability, they're right around 10pts, and seem comparable to the Tengu. My only note is that Scholar of Secrets is probably a 4pt racial trait because it is very similar to a Feat granting an extra class skill. Without piercing gaze, they line right up at about 10pts; if Scholar of Secrets became a +2 racial bonus to a knowledge skill of the player's choice, that would also bring it back down to the 9-10 range.

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Scholar of Secrets

I do not see Scholar of Secrets being worth 4, the restriction to Knowledge skills makes it pretty narrow. But I could drop the gain a class skill part of it but I do not think it is necessary but willing to listen to counter arguments.

The reason I would say it is

The reason I would say it is 4pts is because there is Feat that grants you an extra class skill, and any racial ability that is equivalent to a Feat is in the 4pts range, according to the system on the Paizo forums I've been using.

For just the extra skill point applied toward Knowledges per level - I don't know of a feat or ability that compares to. On the forum they say that a bonus skill point is 2pts, so a limited bonus skill point makes sense at 1pt. The 4pts is just because of the comparable Feat; maybe 3 because the list is limited to Knowledges? As I think about it, 2pts makes some sense as well.

Really, given what they say on the boards, it's still your race and your call. I doubt anyone will be fighting a Corvus and exclaim "That raven-guy is to knowledgeable! Who created this race anyway?"

mikeb's picture

There are traits that let you

There are traits that let you take a Knowledge skill as a class skill. You can get two traits for a single feat. So maybe between those two in equivalence?

Makes sense to me - 2pts

Makes sense to me - 2pts

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Revised (and final) version of Scholar of Secrets up

Think that should work for all.

mikeb's picture

There's actually a OGL race

There's actually a OGL race called the tengu - http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-lists-and-details/-t/tengu

I'm not opposed to making our own raven beastfolk though. We can definitely give them a more thematically appropriate background like you've started here.

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Corvus and Tengu

I like having both, somehow, I do not think that they like each other but they work together as their skill sets/ standard role compliment each other.