When I first brought up kender barbarians on my website I was surprised
at the reactions I got to it. Mostly people acted as if a kender barbarian would
be an impossibility. Nothing is impossible when it comes to magic and roleplaying
however. And not many people are aware of this, but many of the kender of Goodlund
did live in a state of semi-barbarism for quite some time, living off the land
and failing to create permanent homes. They are still a far cry from the barbarian
that we all think of, but it shows that kender do not always have to be well
spoken and live like humans, which is the lifestyle that most kender now partake
of. Below is a brief overview of a kender barbarian tribe that you could use
as a background to play a kender barbarian character.
There has long been a kender tale of a place where kender are not so civilized,
but have fallen and remained in a state of barbarianism. Until recently the
race was unheard of, but with the arrival of the Brutes at the end of the 4th
Age some of these kender have been encountered. They are known to the Brutes
as the Comshee, a troublesome little race that they equate to fleas on a dog.
The Comshee are comprised of several small tribes of kender that live on the
outskirts of the Brutes cities, on a small continent in the far reaches of the
Courrian Ocean. The Brutes have always hunted the Comshee as far back as both
civilizations can remember. Over the centuries the Comshee have become adept
at avoiding and surviving in the hostile barbaric environment of their brutal
Survival of the quickest is the rule of thumb for the Comshee. They have always
lived by taking what the needed from the other civilized societies. Which is
why the Brutes have always killed the Comshee on site and without mercy. Infestations
of Comshee are dealt with in an extreme fashion. But the Comshee are adept at
escaping and have never been fully exterminated by the Brutes.
These barbarian kender share many similar traits with the True kender of Ansalon.
They are fearless which the Brutes contribute to low intelligence, and couldn’t
be farther from the truth. They are Irrepressible to the point of being claustrophobic.
Comshee are not known to ever make permanent dwellings and prefer the open sky.
And Comshee trapped in a small space automatically goes into an uncontrollable
rage. They are Independent and fail to understand the rules of any society.
(If everyone just acted as they were supposed to there would be no problems.)
The Comshee are compassionate about nature and others of their kind. They build
strong bonds between individuals and will gladly give their life to help them.
These kender are vagabonds in the truest sense of the word. They live from day
to day off whatever they can find or hunt and do not have a notion of a structured
life or employment. And much like True Kender the Comshee not only have wandering
feet, but also wandering hands. They are often surprised at the objects they
find in their satchels and packs.
Physically the Comshee are much like the True kender of Ansalon. They are
small boned, with fine features and pointed ears. Their hair falls in the range
of black to light brown, turning silver early into maturity. Some Comshee are
born with white silver hair and are thought to be blessed by the rest of their
tribe. They wear their hair cropped short, both the males and females. But they
do maintain long thin braids that can be tied up and out of the way when they
need to travel swiftly, Their eye color ranges from yellow to light brown with
flecks of green. Brutes often think that the Comshee have reflective eyes and
swear that they can see them reflecting on dark nights like possums or raccoons.
They have dark cinnamon skin and it’s customary to have at least one tattoo
on the face. The design of the facial tattoo is added just before the kender
departs for his or her Spiritual Journey. The design is chosen by the kender
after much meditation, with the use of certain mushrooms found in the region.
Comshee tribes consist mainly of extended family. They do not stay in settlements,
but instead designate meeting places where they meet from time to time to share
news and trade. Quite often two tribes will designate the same area and share
it happily. War among Comshee tribes is very rare and has not been heard of
in a very long time. A tribe may stay in one place for more than three months
if there is a kendermaid with child. The tribes mix freely and are not jealous
if a couple decided to stay with one tribe or another. They know they will meet
their old tribe again some day and may even switch back to them at that time.
The teenage and older adults are the warriors, hunters and gatherers. The
older kender usually remain in the meeting place for the period of time and
tend to the cooking, and watching of children and babies. It’s rare to find
young adults in the camps. They are usually on their Spiritual Journey.
Around the age of eighteen a Comshee warrior is compelled to take a Spiritual
Journey. It is meant to be a worldly experience to help the warrior grow in
body, spirit and wisdom. The Spiritual Journey typically takes about ten years
to complete. After a decade the Comshee warrior makes his way back to lands
he came from to seek out his people and eventually his family.
The Comshee are very reverent of nature. They feel like they are, and have
always been, part of the earth. Comshee warriors are comprised of some rangers
and druids, but mostly barbarians. These fierce warriors are called “Shi-kren”
or “Natures Wrath”. They believe they embody one of the four elements and their
battle rage is a result of that. A Shi-kren of fire erupts like a volcano hurling
insults and attacking wildly. A Shi-kren of water rushed forth, flowing from
one opponent to another. A Shi-kren of earth shakes like an earthquake with
rage, and a Shi-kren of air will actually twirl like a tornado and makes sounds
like a thunderstorm. It is warriors like these that have prevented the Brutes
from annihilating the kender race from that continent.
The Comshee view the civilized cities of their continent as places of great
danger. To be caught in one would mean instant death. They do not fear them,
but they have learned that to be trapped in one would mean that the great life
that the earth has given them would cease to exist in this world, and none of
them want that. They do enter them quite frequently however, but only to explore
to satisfy their curiosity and to pick-up the things they need. They do not
view this as theft, it is just how it has always been. If they need something
that can not be found in the region they live in they go into the cities and
take what they need. The cities always have more than they can use so no one
It is possible that these kender have found their way to Ansalon. A young
barbarian on a Spiritual Journey may have stowed away on a ship transporting
Brutes to the continent. Or a gnomish traveling invention could have carried
a warrior over. However it occurred it’s possible that kender barbarians are
here to stay.