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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next PC Race - Kenku



DracoKnight
2016-03-16, 06:01 AM
It feels like it's been forever since I've posted something, but here I am!

So, I was flipping through the DMG, and I saw that there is a list of features to give to generic NPC statblocks, so that you can change the race. Well, I saw that the kenku was one of these, and I've been looking for a long time at how to make them playable, without saying: "Okay, you're a halfling who talks funny." Anyways, here's my take on the Kenku (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UWLIDmQzszbLhWOTNkCo99SjILQv1BMY7YWxAEVAL7U/edit?usp=sharing) :smallbiggrin:

Ninja_Prawn
2016-03-16, 06:21 AM
Hmm... you might want to clarify the mechanics of Mimicry... though I'm not sure it works as a PC trait. It just looks like something that would be a pain to deal with and not fun in any way. Maybe those kenku who become PCs are the ones that have mastered basic speech?

Also, 5 feet tall is not Small. I'm a real-life, modern human, and I'm 5' 3". I imagine kenku as being like 3 feet, maximum.

Flashy
2016-03-16, 06:27 AM
Just a minor quibble with the wording on Ambusher, but don't you always have advantage on attack rolls made while hidden?

For simplicity I feel like the feature should read "You always have advantage on attack rolls against targets who are surprised" or something similar.


Hmm... you might want to clarify the mechanics of Mimicry... though I'm not sure it works as a PC trait. It just looks like something that would be a pain to deal with and not fun in any way. Maybe those kenku who become PCs are the ones that have mastered basic speech?

Just to add my support here, roleplaying a character with bizarre speech patterns can be horrifyingly difficult. I recently made the mistake of running an NPC that couldn't perceive time, and so didn't use anything but the present verb tense. Cutting the past and future tense out of dialogue sounds like it should be easy, but when you're doing it on the fly it's really, really not. I'm not saying that roleplaying a kenku would be equally problematic, but I wouldn't ask a player to try to manage a weird dialect in the actual racial feature list.

Final Hyena
2016-03-16, 06:32 AM
It feels a bit sub par, maybe give it stealth as well?

DracoKnight
2016-03-16, 06:43 AM
Hmm... you might want to clarify the mechanics of Mimicry... though I'm not sure it works as a PC trait. It just looks like something that would be a pain to deal with and not fun in any way. Maybe those kenku who become PCs are the ones that have mastered basic speech?

Also, 5 feet tall is not Small. I'm a real-life, modern human, and I'm 5' 3". I imagine kenku as being like 3 feet, maximum.

Good point on both accounts. This *is * just a rough draft, though :smallsmile:


Just a minor quibble with the wording on Ambusher, but don't you always have advantage on attack rolls made while hidden?

No, you do not in fact, by RAW.


Just to add my support here, roleplaying a character with bizarre speech patterns can be horrifyingly difficult. I recently made the mistake of running an NPC that couldn't perceive time, and so didn't use anything but the present verb tense. Cutting the past and future tense out of dialogue sounds like it should be easy, but when you're doing it on the fly it's really, really not. I'm not saying that roleplaying a kenku would be equally problematic, but I wouldn't ask a player to try to manage a weird dialect in the actual racial feature list.

Fair point.


It feels a bit sub par, maybe give it stealth as well?

That might be a good idea.

Flashy
2016-03-16, 06:50 AM
No, you do not in fact, by RAW.

Huh, the more you know. My bad then!

Ninja_Prawn
2016-03-16, 06:59 AM
Huh, the more you know. My bad then!

"When a creature canít see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it." - PHB 195.

Is this the rule we're talking about?


I recently made the mistake of running an NPC that couldn't perceive time, and so didn't use anything but the present verb tense.

That's... extreme. It would be interesting to include a character like that in a novel, though...

Flashy
2016-03-16, 07:08 AM
"When a creature canít see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it." - PHB 195.

Is this the rule we're talking about?

That was totally it, thanks. I see where my confusion came from.


That's... extreme. It would be interesting to include a character like that in a novel, though...

Yeah, it was a ridiculously bad idea and I regretted it almost immediately, especially since the basic concept would have been much more effectively (and interestingly) conveyed to the players with simpler dialogue. Occasionally mixing up things that had already happened and things it expected to happen, talking about the distant past as though it had happened yesterday, etc. The premise wasn't inherently awful, but my approach was overconfident and clumsy.

That's why I think the Kenku mimicry concept could work on a player race, I just think it's something a player interested in that specific concept would probably have to feel out over a couple of sessions.

PoeticDwarf
2016-03-16, 01:02 PM
Mimicry should just be swapped for a mimicry you can use (talking as others etc.) because now it's the worst for normal campaigns and you should think about everything. Also is the class too weak. And ambusher doesn't add much reading the rules. In most situations

It is nice and fits the fluff, but just weak and sometimes strange

Belac93
2016-03-16, 02:07 PM
I think deception instead of sleight of hand would make more sense. Base Kenku don't have sleight of hand proficiency.

DracoKnight
2016-03-16, 03:33 PM
Mimicry should just be swapped for a mimicry you can use (talking as others etc.) because now it's the worst for normal campaigns and you should think about everything. Also is the class too weak. And ambusher doesn't add much reading the rules. In most situations

It is nice and fits the fluff, but just weak and sometimes strange

Okay, I will work on these changes. I am still in the process of developing them. This is still only the first draft :smallsmile:


I think deception instead of sleight of hand would make more sense. Base Kenku don't have sleight of hand proficiency.

I might add it...but I think Sleight of Hand does make more sense. I know the MM Kenku doesn't get it, but after reading their fluff it makes sense to me.

Belac93
2016-03-16, 06:06 PM
The fluff definitely makes it seem like Sleight of Hand and Deception should be the skills. That's what I did for my Kenku homebrew, now that I look at it.

DracoKnight
2016-03-21, 06:15 PM
The fluff definitely makes it seem like Sleight of Hand and Deception should be the skills. That's what I did for my Kenku homebrew, now that I look at it.

I'll go Sleight of Hand & Deception then.

GandalfTheWhite
2016-03-26, 01:01 AM
How did this slip past my radar? I love using the Kenku as NPCs!

I don't know how to properly balance Mimicry without making it a hassle for the player, but everything else looks great! :smallbiggrin:

Requiemforlust
2016-03-27, 01:29 AM
I think it's balanced...it's just kinda...meh.

Write up the fluff, and I would probably care more.
And I agree with the above posters, I don't know how you'll balance mimicry for a PC.