Playing a True Kender by Cowig Logsplitter

Table of Contents

The problem with kender players is they can be awfully annoying, especially when the player is new to kender roleplaying. For example, a new kender player will automatically assume that playing in character involves talking non-stop, annoying the Dungeon Master, and greeting any creature that could potentially harm the party. In short, some kender players are so annoying that the other players pray for a monster to roll a good old fashioned critical hit while attacking a kender. The point of today's essay is to explore several topics that will hone your kender playing skills. Just sit back and relax, it's fun for the whole family.

Common Kender Myths
Myth #1: Kender Should Always Run Up and Greet People or Creatures that Could Potentially Hurt the Party

This is a very common occurrence with new players. A kender may spot a huge zombie lumbering towards the party. An inexperienced player might run up, shake its hand, and begin telling it a story. Usually, the monster attacks and the kender gets hurt. Now while it is true that kender are curious and often commit reckless acts, a kender can be cautious when he needs to be. A kender adventuring with a party will recognize that he could get himself or other party members killed, and would most likely react by warning the party and then taking reasonable action (such as shooting the bastard in the head with your hoopak or spying on the creature to gain information beneficial to the party).

Myth #2: Kender Should Steal Everything in Sight

Another common occurrence is a kender might embrace another character or an NPC and then ask the DM, "So what did I steal?" First off, the kender didn't steal anything. He borrowed. Second, there really is no sub-conscious stealing in D&D. You have to declare and roll a pick pocket check just like everyone else. Being a kender does not make you special in that manner. Also, some kender players will just pick up everything they find and "borrow" it. It's true that kender pick up things that interest them. They don't purposely empty an entire room (though its been known to happen). Another kender player made a fine suggestion on making sub-conscious "borrowing" work, and you're welcome to try it if you see fit. The DM took the pouch grab list and struck five items from it and replaced them with question marks. The DM would keep track of things the kender player "borrowed" without ever really thinking about it. These items could them resurface whem making a pouch grab provided the correct number was rolled. It made the game more interesting.

Myth #3: A Kender Player Needs to Try Reckless Stunts

Just because your party encounters a seemingly bottomless pit, there really is no need to find out. Sometimes, little kender stunts such as climbing on top the roof of an inn and then jumping off detract from game playing. It takes up time, it slows the momentum of the game, and it annoys the other players. If you'd like to do something interesting and useful, try crawling under tables and listen to people's conversations. It's fun and constructive. If you're going to be reckless, make sure you have a good reason to do it. As for what that good reason is, the kender never has to declare it. Another kender player has suggested passing notes to the DM so at least the DM knows what the kender is hoping to accomplish. The other players can sit back and possibly enjoy a humorous kender adventure that would take them by surprise. A DM I play with often physically leaves the room so he can confer with players, and that usually works as well.

Myth #4: Kender Players Need to Talk Non-Stop to Simulate a Real Kender

I applaud your zealousness, but it does get annoying. By talking non-stop to various people, you are once again wasting game time, and while you might have fun stopping every person you meet on the street and telling them about your Uncle Tasslehoff, you may find your friends planning D&D sessions and not telling you about them. Also, when asking questions, it's not funny when you imitate Mindy from "Animaniacs" and keep asking the question "Why?" until people snap. I feel the best method of acting kenderish at an event where many people are around is to inform the Dungeon Master "I'm going to look for people that especially interest me and speak with them." It's much simpler and it saves time. The DM will kindlylet you know if you learn anything useful. Sometimes you'll learn something cool, sometimes you get knocked flat on your butt by bodyguards who don't want you near their boss. Jerks.

Myth #5: It Happened in a Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman Book! You Should Try It As Well

Don't moo at the minotaurs. Also, you can try turning the undead with a spoon, but if it doesn't work don't be surprised. However, what you should try to do is be original. Even doing constructive things you read in a book can be dull because it's been done. Don't leech off Tasslehoff's heroics. Go be your own... err... kender.

What it takes to play a kender

I'll be honest. Some people just aren't made to play a kender. Here's a short list of things you need to be in order to play a kender.

  1. You have to be semi-mature. I know it's hard, especially when you're such a child like race, but immature players are more likely to pull off some of the foolish moves mentioned in the previous section.
  2. You need to be good at playing in character. If you have ever played a dwarven fighter, went into a tavern, and then refused all alcohol in fear of getting drunk (based on a true story!) friend, I apologize, but you're just plain awful at roleplaying. Don't ever play a kender.
  3. You need to be creative. If you encounter three goblins, you can't easily fight them off when you're a kender handler. You need to be creative, like taunting the bastards and leading them on a merry chase in which you can possibly separate them and take them one at a time. There really are a million ways to do things. Kender just pick the more interesting methods, and that's what you as a player have to do.

Interacting with other players

A kender instantly becomes attached to new friends, and often times the kender is completely loyal to the majority of the characters in your campaign setting. Very often, a kender will have a "best friend" in the party. For instance, Tasslehoff was rather tight with Flint and the two enjoyed a Dennis the Menace/Mr. Wilson type of relationship. If two party members begin to argue, the kender will be upset and probably won't take sides. In fact, the kender is likely to run away and cause trouble, so other players not involved in the dispute should probably keep an eye on the kender. This brings me to my next point.

Other players must always keep an eye on the kender player. Even though I'm urging you to not get in much trouble while playing, you're still occasionally going to do something "out of curiosity." Also, sometimes the kender player is extremely immature and measures should be taken. If yourkender buddy decides to jump in a bottomless pit, it's in your best interests to stop him. However, in some instances, even the most mature of kender players are bound to get in trouble. For instance, while attending a dinner party in a duke's castle, a kender is likely to get bored and begin adventuring. A character sitting near the kender at the table should stop the kender from leaving in fear of what might happen.

When in direct communication with another character, a kender will often times attempt to be as helpful as possible. Kender love being assigned tasks due to their adventerous nature and will carry them out unless they are of course otherwise distracted. However, a determined kender can overcome this. Kender also like to make fun of fellow characters in a friendly manner. For instance, if a room smells bad, a kender might comment that it smells almost as bad as a certain dwarven party member. Once again, restraint from other characters might be needed, but not only for the kender but also for the dwarf.


An old joke says that the only thing louder than one cat stuck in a tree is two cats stuck in a tree. Keep this in mind when you're allowing multiple kender in one campaign. A Dungeon Master who allows one kender in his campaign is brave enough. Allowing two can work, but three or more is a ludicrous thought and while the campaign certainly would be interesting, I would advise against it.

Most Imporantly, Be Nice to the DM

The DM takes a big risk by allowing a kender in his campaign. A kender shakes things up and can easily cause the party to stray from the path in which the DM originally intended. Therefore, be nice to the guy. He's obviously either very brave or very stupid, but he's still a cool happening guy. Also, he reserves the right to have a rock fall on your character, so it really helps to behave yourself.

Well there you have it folks. Playing a kender can be fun, but try to remember that there are other players who get annoyed when you act immature. I play kender characters all the time and I'm proud to say that even though when I first started playing I did a few things I told you not to do, I am now a mature kender player and keep the campaign enjoyable for other players. Best of luck to you, and may your trails be sunny and straight.

This document is copyright © Cowig Logsplitter. Dragonlance is copyright © Wizards of the Coast.

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