Kender

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"He gave it to me because he didn't wake up when I took it."

Kender are a fantasy race in Dungeons & Dragons' Dragonlance setting. They are basically Halflings with double-doses of ADHD and kleptomania thrown in. No one apparently saw how terrible a decision that was. They survive getting the shit kicked out of them only because every one of the little shits seems to be wearing plot armor which they undoubtedly stole from more interesting species now tragically extinct.

Most of their fluff involves them stealing things and getting pissed when they are accused of it ("It must have fallen into my pocket"). What fluff doesn't involve theft directly is more focused on how much everyone loves the cute little Kender anyway. They aren't even decent comedy relief since they have childlike naivety and "d'awwww" written into the race description.

The only person who likes playing Kender is That Guy. Some are so brazen as to try to play a Kender outside of the Dragonlance setting. In this situation, feel free to have your PC use lethal force against the offending character, the rest of the party will gladly help you. Don't even allow the little shit to suicide his character; justice must be done and he cannot be allowed to die on his own terms.

They generally cause a lot of rage in anyone who reads anything about them.

File:1247364875051.png
What the--? I left an image RIGHT HERE. Fucking Kender.

Ironically, 2e produced only two other groups that were quite as Chaotic Stupid as Kender, and neither of them are as hated. Planescape gave us the Xaositects faction (who do approach Kender-levels of annoying in the eyes of many DMs -- a Kender Xaositect PC is generally regarded as a concept horrifying enough to make a DM's brain explode) and the Slaad (who were explicitly done up as monsters to avoid and/or kill, so far less irritating by any measure).

Even the other two races of Dragonlance generally hated by DMs and players alike aren't as bad as Kender. The Tinker Gnomes are generally idiots, but can actually be kind of funny. Sometimes. Plus even the writers at TSR got a little jab at them by noting how normal gnomes like to hunt down and destroy Tinker Gnome spelljammers in Spelljammer. As for Gully Dwarves, frankly, most people prefer to pretend they never existed, since an entire race of ugly, smelly, hairy, retarded baby-people is the kind of concept that should have been purged with fire at birth.

So, basically they're like young children stuck in the "sticky fingers" stage of development. Except they don't feel guilty about it later.

Horrifically, Kender and humans can actually breed together, creating abominations called half-kender, who inherit the kender knack for sticky fingers but aren't so cutesy that they don't realize that stealing is wrong. How this is possible is a long story, but basically, kender descend from tinker gnomes (making them cousins of dwarfs, who have the same ancestry), who descend from humans cursed by Reorx. This is why Krynn is also home to half-gnomes and half-dwarves.

For those wondering more directly how kender and humans mate, well, beyond some human women giving in to their shota fetishes or falling for the "he's so cute!" air of kender males, most half-kender are actually the result of human men banging female kenders. Why? To put it simply: cute shortstack whose natural instinct to you asking "wanna fuck?" is "hey, sounds fun!" and then dragging you to the bedroom. Although apparently a lot of Krynnish men somehow "don't realize" they're banging a female kender until after they've gotten her pregnant -- there's even a Pre-Cataclysm story featuring a knight who spends the story unknowingly getting close to his own half-kender son, having never realized his mom was a kender when they were together before she left him. Which has the disturbing implication that Dragonlance is a setting full of pedophiles.


There's no good reason why Kender should have survived this long anyways:

  • Physically diminutive in an environment rife with monsters, with nothing but agility and pickpocketing to defend themselves with.
  • There's no trade nor commerce with outsiders; nobody would let a kender get near a marketplace or bazaar, and even if they were trading one-on-one at village borders, some other Kender would probably steal the wares while you were still discussing the prices.
  • Hell, being pathological liars about theft means any non-Kenders would treat them as little sociopaths.
  • There's no construction; the minute you turn your back on any materials, it's gone to be used in someone else's building project. (and while they were stealing your building materials someone else was stealing theirs.)
  • No Kender is going to have the attention span to do the boring but necessary work like stockpiling food, learning to write, or digging latrines.
    • The only way they could survive a frosty winter is by raiding villages and travelers with their cute smiles and compulsive thieving behavior... leaving any villages that didn't exterminate the long-haired rats starving themselves.
Fuck! Any villages in cold climates that DIDN'T threaten Kenders with violence to stay the fuck away would just starve during winter and die out from their unwilling charity and insufficient locks on the granary. There shouldn't be any Kender sympathizers left, they should've died out generations ago. Kenders are a plague.
Kender race description annotated.png

So, you may ask, just what the fuck were they smoking to come up with these shitheads? Well, the answer is, alas, fairly simple, almost tragically so. See, Dragonlance began as a series of modules for 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons. The iconic party members were supposed to be the default player-characters for the players to assume the roles of. Thing was, in 1e, halflings could only take the Thief class, which left the authors of the module/novel, Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickmann, with a pair of dilemmas: the first, why are all halflings always thieves? Second, how can halflings be all thieves and still be part of the heroic races?

The kender were their answer; an entire race of fey children who basically never grow out of that inquisitive stage of their lives, their incessant need to know why and vulnerability to boredom conspiring with their racial propensity towards sticky fingers to make them constantly picking pockets, opening locks, and generally getting out in the world making a nuisance of themselves. And thusly, all /tg/dom has suffered ever since.

To give them the very small credit they're due, they were the inspiration for WoTC to push halflings into a more adventurous characterization in 3rd ed. If only to ensure that such atrocities as the existence of Kender would never seem a necessity again.

Fortunately, Kender are inextricably linked with Dragonlance, which WoTC basically just ignores in terms of actual /tg/ content. Dozens of books have rolled out, but the whole "War of Souls" thing has kind of undercut the series' popularity, and may well have killed it off entirely. The last appearance of the Kender on the tabletop game front was in 3.5, where despite all the novels, the Dragonlance D20 books basically wound up being mostly ignored.

The Kender never made an appearance in 4th edition, and though they were brought up in the initial 5e playtesting, they failed to make the cut for the corebook. Perhaps because of the sheer backlash from the outraged fandom. So, unless a Dragonlance Unearthed Arcana or 5e sourcebook comes out, Kender are likely to never appear on the tabletop game again.

Racial Stats[edit]

What's that? You want to know what their 3.5 stats were? Why? Morbidly curious? Or were you thinking that maybe you could rescue the mechanics from the fluff? Well, whatever, it's your funeral.

True Kender appeared in the Dragonlance 3rd edition corebook, whilst Half-Kender appeared in the Age of Mortals 3rd ed splatbook. Races of Ansalon, meanwhile, featured Afflicted Kender, and a beefed up version of both the True Kender and the Half-Kender, which are the stats repeated here.

True Kender[edit]

These are the standard thieving bastard shitheads we've spilled so much electronic vitriol describing.

Humanoid with the Kender subtype
+2 Dexterity, -2 Strength, -2 Wisdom
Small
Base speed: 30 feet
Weapon Familiarity: Kender Weapons
+1 racial bonus to all saving throws
+2 racial bonus to Spot checks
+2 racial bonus to Open Locks and Sleight of Hand checks, and are always considered to have Training in both skills
Lack of Focus: -4 racial penalty to Concentration checks.
Taunt: +4 racial bonus to Bluff (Taunt) checks
Fearlessness: Immunity to Fear
Favored Class: Rogue

Aflicted Kender[edit]

These are magically cursed kender who appeared during the Age of the Dragon Overlords, after the Chaos War; the first Overlord, Malystryx, chose to settle in the kender homeland of the Goodlund Penninsula, where her magical aura transformed it into a blighted, arid wasteland as she unconsciously warped the land to be more to her taste. This magical corruption, combined with a devastating attack on Kendermore that massacred thousands of the little runts and drove the rest into fleeing, permanently shattered their previous immunity to fear, thus creating a more wary, paranoid, duplicitous and deceitful form of kender.

Humanoid with the Kender subtype
+2 Dexterity, -2 Strength, -2 Wisdom
Small
Base speed: 30 feet
Weapon Familiarity: Kender Weapons
+1 racial bonus to all saving throws
+2 racial bonus to Spot checks
+2 racial bonus to Open Locks and Sleight of Hand checks, and are always considered to have Training in both skills
+2 racial bonus to Climb, Hide, Jump and Move Silently checks
Favored Class: Rogue

Half-Kender[edit]

As mentioned above, due to various reasons, kender and humans can make babies together, and while it doesn't happen often, it happens enough. Half-Kender are the "eternal teenagers" to their kender parents' "eternal children", inheriting many of the kender affinity for thieving and lying but also enough conscience and brains to realise that doing shit like that ain't right.

Humanoid with the Kender subtype
Medium
Base land speed: 30 feet
+4 racial bonus to saving throws vs. Fear
+1 racial bonus to Spot checks
+1 racial bonus to Open Locks and Sleight of Hand checks, and are always considered to have Training in both skills
Taunt: +2 racial bonus to Bluff (Taunt) c hecks
Weapon Familiarity: Kender Weapons
Favored Class: Any

External Links[edit]