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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
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...
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.
- 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.
- 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!)...my friend, I apologize, but you're just plain
awful at roleplaying. Don't ever play a kender.
- 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
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
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.
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