Kender Etiquette Guide

by Marriat

This VERY IMPORTANT guide is organized thus:

A Kendergarten Course: If you don't know what kender are... You should be ashamed!!!

What is a kender? A kender is anything that

  • Is less than four feet tall
  • Is dressed colorfully
  • Is blessed with a really interesting hairdo
  • Is totally without fear
  • Asks a lot of questions and
  • Causes some of your possessions to be missing after you've met him or her.
And now that I see that light of recognition dawning on your face, you're asking...
Are they dangerous? Well, my friend Kipper here is a kender and well, Listen, I'm trying to protect myself but er, er... let's just continue shall we?

Why do I need an etiquette guide to kender?

Well...(and here comes that old excuse again)...Kenders have feelings...
They really really do...and are so endearing for that (coochie coochie coo! uh, where was I?). Kenders are about the most sensitive beings on Krynn, and easily hurt, by insults and cutting remarks and others' indifference to the things they find are important. A sad kender is the saddest, most heartbreaking thing on Krynn to behold (though at the same time, I do think that they sniffle in the cutest manner possible...dragging their feet, quivering their chins, looking forlorn, using your hankerchief to blow his/her nose--give that back!--and looking like they're in great need of a hug--which they are, but nobody in his/her right mind would hug a kender before taking precautions first...).

So What Do I Do?

Some precautions first!

If you anticipate that you will run into kender, do all these:
  • Fighters,
    That dagger in your boot is NOT safe. Take OFF your bracers. Don't bring your money pouch with you. If you have to (bring it), stashing the pouch in your armor might work, but try something more imaginative, if you can. (Don't ask me WHERE!!! Er...I DON'T wanna know!)
  • Mages,
    Keep those pouches SECURELY fastened to your belt, put wards on them if possible. If you do put a ward on your pouches you should NOT tell the kender that the pouches have a ward on them. It will only intice the kender into trying to get a hold of the pouches even more. If daggers are up your sleeve, keep your arms folded as long as conveniently possible. Flash your eyes. Look threatening. Exude an awe-inspiring, slightly frightening aura of power, if you can.
  • Clerics,
    START PRAYING that nothing important goes missing. (That's what you're best at!) It is also always a good idea to hold onto your holy symbol the entire time kender are around. If a kender is travelling with your party, the best thing to do is wear the symbol around your neck, without slack (you know, kinda like a choker--I heard it's quite fashionable to do that in Palanthas these days) so it can not be slipped over your head while you are sleeping--Oops!--I mean, so it cannot slide off your head, and a kender has to come along to store your symbol for safe keeping. Another good idea for you is to use this time to fall into deep reflection and prayer. The kender will most likely ignore you because it gets kinda boring sitting there for hours and hours.
  • Everybody,
    Take OFF your jewellery, including wedding rings, engagement rings (don't worry about your partner, he/she'll understand and will probably do the same thing under the same circumstances) and anklets (you ask, what will a kender be doing near my ankles? Um...). Don't carry anything on you. In fact, I'll give you the ultimate piece of advice now...

The best thing you can do is to take EVERYTHING off you. Approach the kender naked. You will be the MOST BORING thing he/she has EVER seen in his/her life, and he/she will leave you alone. Of course, please check the circumstances before trying this out...lest you get thrown into the local prison, to share a small cell with twenty to thirty kender, at least... That may be real charming company to have, but WAY overboard, if you ask me...

And now we shall have something really useful...

Here's a real life example...and the etiquette lessons to be learnt from it.

A typical encounter experienced by a kender, this one described by Tasslehoff Burrfoot, himself. (Borrowed from The Tale That Tas Promised He Would Never, Ever Ever Tell, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.)

...Lord Gunthar turned to me.
"Burrfoot, my old friend," he said, putting his hands behind his back. A lot of people have a habit of doing that when we're introduced. "So glad to see you again. I hope the roads you travel have been sunny and straight." (That is a polite form of greeting to a kender and I thought it very fine of the knight to use it. Not many people are that considerate.)
"Thank you, Sir Gunthar," I said, holding out my hand.
He sighed and shook hands. I noticed he was wearing a very nice set of silver bracers and a most elegant dagger.
(I said:) "For example, did I ever tell you about the time I was--"
"Excuse me," said Lord Gunthar. "I must go welcome our other guests."
He bowed, checked to see that he was still wearing his bracers, and left.
"A very polite man," I said.
"Give me the dagger," Tanis said, sighing.

To succeed in knowing how to treat kender nicely, study the above encounter closely. There is a lot of lessons to be learnt. It is obvious that Lord Gunthar was a fine man who knew the rules of kender etiquette, and he left a favorable impression on Tasslehoff Burrfoot, which, since you're reading this etiquette guide, you must be trying to achieve with kender in general.

What are the things Lord Gunthar did right?

Things he did right:

  • He acknowledged the existence of kender.
    He actually LOOKED at Tasslehoff Burrfoot. His eyes did not bounce off like the kender was not even there. This is a BIG thing. Kender are very sensitive about being ignored, and frankly, kender, in any room of people, are actually the ones you should be paying the most attention to...
  • He acknowledged the kender positively.
    Notice the lack of a sneer, or a disgusted, arrogant look in the eyes. He even spoke in a normal tone of voice, without any hint of derision, or a curl of the lip. His facial control is to be applauded. Please try to achieve the same effects by practicing in front of a mirror.
  • He put his hands behind his back.
    Well, not the best thing to do, but second best. (see "Ultimate piece of Advice".) Please refrain from suddenly wrapping your cloak tightly about you (it's too obvious, unless you're outdoors in cold weather), taking ten steps back in fear (even more obvious then wrapping yourself in your cloak) or jumping up and fleeing the scene, yelling "Help! Kender!! Thief!!!" (Much too obvious!!!)
  • He used a kender greeting.
    A proper one, mind you! Not the usual "get away from me, you thief" nor "step back away from me or I'll cut your slimy ears off, you maggot-thief-cutpurse-bigmouth-type small fry thingee" greeting, but a proper kender greeting. I hope the roads you travel have been sunny and straight, I hope your travels have been interesting, I hope your adventures far and wide have been rewarding...etc.
  • He shook hands.
    Best done under the circumstances described under Ultimate piece of Advice. In this case, it would not have been very practical for Lord Gunthar to have stripped down to his birthday suit, unless he had really been inclined to, that is.
  • He declined listening to Tas' story very poilitely.
    Don't say "Shut up!" or "Keep that trap shut!" or "Do you want me to cut that tongue off?" or "Quiet! you bloodsucking insect!" or "By the Abyss, you boob, I've heard that 1000 times already!!!" or "Will you stop talking or do you want this dagger in your scrawny neck" or "Pipe down, you dang doorknob!!!" or...
  • He checked his bracers before he left.
    Well, I did warn you fighter-types already... In general, always check your possessions before you leave. If you DO find anything missing (which you probably will, unless you've taken the Ultimate piece of Advice), just ask the kender politely if he/she has seen it, and they will return it to you, after looking in their pouches, finding it, and admiring it, and parting with it reluctantly. Speed this up as first as possible, so you can leave before something else is missing.

    Here's another real life example which you should NOT repeat.

    (Borrowed from Time of the Twins, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.)

    (A guard, to Tasslehoff Burrfoot)"And who are you, little cutpurse? His manager?"
    This was met by roars of laughter from the other guard and nervous high-pitched laughter from Caramon. Then he glanced down at Tas and knew immediately that they were in trouble. Tas's face was white. Cutpurse! The most dreadful insult, the worst thing in the world one could call a kender! Caramon's big hand clapped over Tas's mouth.
    Tasslehoff's ears--the only part visible above Caramon's wide hand--flushed scarlet. Incoherent sounds came from behind Caramon's palm.
    "Cutpurse! As if I were a common thief!" Tas was practically foaming at the mouth...

    --end of excerpt--

    NEVER, EVER EVER call a kender a cutpurse, or thief. The results are as above, or you may also get taunted, which gets really ugly... If you cared for the kender, you will apologize straight away, possibly even hug the kender, but only do that if you've taken the precautions or the Ultimate piece of Advice.

    Some Last Notes
    They don't mean any harm. They are NOT stealing from you. They will return you your stuff if you ask for them nicely. They may ask a lot of questions, but then again, better getting these questions from a kender than your mother-in-law...

    Kender on IRC A Message from Marriat

    [Wringing her white robes]
    I er...haven't been treating the kender on the IRC channels very well, but er...I wrote this guide so people would not follow my bad examples.
    To all you IRC kender out there, I'm sorry if I've slapped your hands, run screaming out of the Inn of the Last Home, locked you in the kitchen, or upended your pouches, or taunted you right back, and thrown things over your head, or made Otik do something silly to you...
    But I always apologized didn't I? And hugged you when you started crying, too... Hey, where's my money pouch?????!!!!!
    [loud screaming]
    March 1996, Marriat, Kipper Snifferdo
    A guide to interaction with gnomes. Not only does this teach you good manners with them, it's an excellent survival course. ;)

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