Items from Mythology: War Fans

Yoshitsune, a hero of Japanese legend, learned how to fight with a tessen (iron fan) from his swordmaster, a birdlike demon known as a tengu. Yoshitsune used this technique to defeat a great monk named Benkei. Legend tells that Benkei collected 999 swords disarming passing swordsmen at Gojō Bridge in Kyoto. On the 1000th duel, Yoshitsune defeated Benkei by using the tessen to deflect the blows of Benkei’s spear. Benkei then became Yoshitsune’s disciple.

Araki Murashige defended his life with a tessen. Araki was called to his feudal lord Oda Nobunaga’s mansion under suspicions of treason, and stripped of his swords at the entrance. Oda intended to assassinate Araki during his ceremonial bow by slamming sliding doors shut on Araki’s neck. When Araki bowed at Oda’s threshold, he placed his tessen in the sliding door grooves in the floor, blocking them from closing. Having uncovered the plot, Araki’s life was spared with great apology.

War Fan & Tengu Demon
War Fan Tengu Demon.gif



The War Fan is a light one-handed weapon constructed as a folding fan with spokes of iron. When the War Fan is drawn, it is in its closed state. While you have the War Fan equipped, you can use a bonus action to open or close the fan, changing its state. The War Fan can only be stowed in its closed state.

War Fan Table

Closed Fan. In its closed state, the War Fan functions as a light hammer, dealing 1d4 bludgeoning damage. You can throw the closed War Fan to make a ranged attack (20/60). When equipped with another weapon, the closed War Fan can be used to parry, granting you a +1 bonus to Armor Class (AC) against melee weapon attacks.

Open Fan. In its open state, the War Fan functions as a small scimitar, dealing 1d4 slashing damage with the finesse property. When equipped with another weapon, the open War Fan can be used to deflect missiles, granting you a +1 bonus to Armor Class (AC) against ranged weapon attacks.

Concealment. Due to its light weight (2 lbs.) and concealable nature, you have advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks to disguise one War Fan as a mundane non-weapon item.

Weapon Proficiency

The War Fan is a martial weapon.

Proficient Classes

The following classes and subclasses may train proficiency with the War Fan: Barbarian, Bard (College of Swords), Bard (College of Valor), Druid, Fighter, Monk (Way of the Kensei), Ranger, Rogue. This list may be adjusted depending on your campaign.

Tengu Training

War Fan training by a tengu may be required to gain proficiency or utilize certain functions of the War Fan. Training confers War Fan proficiency. You may also require training to: throw a closed fan, use the fan in its open state, or learn to use the fan defensively, before you can obtain the Armor Class (AC) bonuses conferred.


A local provisioner may sell a War Fan at an appropriate gold cost. However, in settings where enemies have a lot of unarmed face-to-face diplomatic interactions, War Fan availability may be restricted, requiring crafting by an artisan.


Provisioners may sell War Fans for gold. Due to the care required in their craftsmanship and the resulting versatility, a high gold cost is justifiable. The floor for the gold cost can be determined by adding the cost of a light hammer (2 gp), a scimitar (25 gp), and a shield (10 gp). The gold cost ceiling should be less than a Hand Crossbow (75 gp), since the War Fan is less mechanically intricate.


Artisans can custom-make War Fans, but require the supplies to craft them and time to refine raw materials. The artisan may require these crafting materials:

  • Iron Spokes. A blacksmith must forge an identical set of custom angled plates to serve as the fan spokes.
  • Leather Straps. A tanner can provide the leather straps necessary to hold the fan together. The tanner may require you to obtain special leather to ensure that the straps have the correct tensile strength to bind the War Fan.
  • Grease. The lubricant for the War Fan’s hinge can be procured from a cook or butcher. If they already have arrangements with the mechanic, luthier, wagonmaker, or other proprietor, they may take some convincing.
  • Paper. In order to disguise the fan as a mundane item, it must be wrapped in paper as with a normal folding fan.
  • Tengu Feathers. Feathers from a tengu may impart special abilities to the War Fan.

Tengu Demons

Tengu demons can train characters to use the War Fan and its special features. Download the PDF on DM’s Guild for full tengu stats. Here’s a little taste:

Tengu Demon clip.png

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