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The latest Unearthed Arcana has arrived and the 6-page document contains rules for kender, lunar magic, Knights of Solamnia, and Mages of High Sorcery. In today’s Unearthed Arcana, we explore character options from the Dragonlance setting. This playtest document presents the kender race, the Lunar Magic sorcerer subclass, the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery backgrounds, and a...

The latest Unearthed Arcana has arrived and the 6-page document contains rules for kender, lunar magic, Knights of Solamnia, and Mages of High Sorcery.

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In today’s Unearthed Arcana, we explore character options from the Dragonlance setting. This playtest document presents the kender race, the Lunar Magic sorcerer subclass, the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery backgrounds, and a collection of new feats, all for use in Dungeons & Dragons.


Kender have a (surprisingly magical) ability to pull things out of a bag, and a supernatural taunt feature. This magical ability appears to replace the older 'kleptomania' description -- "Unknown to most mortals, a magical phenomenon surrounds a kender. Spurred by their curiosity and love for trinkets, curios, and keepsakes, a kender’s pouches or pockets will be magically filled with these objects. No one knows where these objects come from, not even the kender. This has led many kender to be mislabeled as thieves when they fish these items out of their pockets."

Lunar Magic is a sorcerer subclass which draws power from the moon(s); there are notes for using it in Eberron.

Also included are feats such as Adepts of the Black, White, and Red Robes, and Knights of the Sword, Rose, and Crown.

 

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Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Except (and yes, I used to play with a guy who always played kender, and when he couldn't, he played halflings), the kender obnoxiousness is built into the race. It's not like someone who decided that they're a thief, therefore they must steal from the party or otherwise be treacherous. Obnoxiousness is built into their race from the get-go. They will steal anything that's not nailed down and may very well carry a crowbar to get the stuff that is nailed down. ("Anything that could conceivably hold a kender's attention for longer than two seconds and that can be quickly hidden on a kender's person will almost certainly be taken.") Then they lie about how they got the object (although the Dragon article indicates that they may legitimately not remember that they stole something even a minute ago--yay, ADHD, the race). They will heap verbal abuse on their enemies. They will refuse to follow orders (strangely, their MC entry says that they're often lawful or chaotic neutral--lawful?!?) and may use their taunt ability on people who try to get them to do things. Yet they are somehow too innocent to know that this stuff is bad or unpleasant to others, and yet, in 1e and 2e, could have quite high Intelligence (max 18) and Wisdom (max 16) scores.

So sure, probably most people who played kender were annoying when they did so, but the race was built to be annoying.
Honestly, I have to think that your kender-playing friends were good gamers who probably wanted to have a cohesive party, but they didn't play kender the way they were written.

Their description is filled with contradictions and even as a created race they make no sense. Their original intent as "savage, warrior children, ever curious, ever alert" who were "thinner, more wiry, and more cunning and streetwise" than halflings would have been much better. Even if it feels very ElfQuest-y to me.

Do you not think it's more likely that the player wanted to be obnoxious, and kender was just an excuse?

But anyway, it's enough that players use them as an excuse to grief.
What I like about the Kender's Ace feature is that it takes the obnoxious thievery of being a default feature of the Kender (ooo look, how did your Magic Ring end up in my nasty little pocketsies? Guess I better just use it and run away to help my Dwarf buddies!) and inserts a moral-ethical dilemma for the Kender. SURE, they COULD use their Ace to create gold to fraud the merchant out of their goods. The fear of a Kender doing as such might lend itself to discrimination from merchants. But that's not the be-all and end all of the feature, and it's not REQUIRED that you're suddenly magically stealing everyone's stuff. You have to CHOOSE to fraud them.
 

Remathilis

Legend
At one point he indicated that not having everything in the setting "was never in the cards," so I think he really didn't want to include a lot of the standard D&D races, monsters, and other things in there. And I've heard he wanted the timeline to be shorter, like the demon lords or whatever they're called had been imprisoned only a few thousand years ago, not a million years.
I like Keith a lot, but I have learned to take his pronouncements on Eberron as respected opinion, not Word of God.

See also: Weiss, Hickman, Greenwood.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
I like Keith a lot, but I have learned to take his pronouncements on Eberron as respected opinion, not Word of God.

See also: Weiss, Hickman, Greenwood.
as it should be. Once the setting is out in the world there's no longer one Eberron (or Krynn or Toril or Oerth) but a multitude. At least one for each table that uses it (and given how different players in the same game have different ideas of a world, usually more than one).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Do you not think it's more likely that the player wanted to be obnoxious, and kender was just an excuse?

But anyway, it's enough that players use them as an excuse to grief.
I think kender are written in such a way as to attract people who want to be obnoxious. Because as I said, they written to be obnoxious.

Actually, they're the Mary Sue race. They're actually really horrible, but for some reason, in the setting, people love them and never want to upset them.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I like Keith a lot, but I have learned to take his pronouncements on Eberron as respected opinion, not Word of God.

See also: Weiss, Hickman, Greenwood.
There's a reason that Keith USUALLY couches his pronouncements with "in MY Eberron." And when the Hellcow doesn't, it's almost always implied implicitly.

There's also a reason that THIS blog post exists.

"Canon is less about your enjoyment of the game and more about us being internally consistent. Whether or not a piece of art or lore is canonical in fifth edition should have little or no bearing on how most people interact with the game. If I told you that Markham Southwell is canonically the sheriff of Bryn Shander circa 1492 DR, would that really impact your experience running or playing Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden? I hope not. However, we use canonical lore internally to maintain consistency across our fifth-edition products. Knowing that fire giants are canonically shorter yet more powerful than frost giants means that we don’t need to rethink that bit of lore in upcoming products. Similarly, knowing that all trolls regenerate makes designing new troll variants easier."

There's no need for this consistency from table to table or from DM's Guild product to DM's Guild product (though I would hoplessly wish that Guild Adept products and products from Ed/Keith/Matt Mercer/other setting parents would not outright duplicate a subclass or lineage that's already in the game just to have a slight variation on it for their table). There IS need for consistency of brand and lore for WotC since they're making the baseline assumptions. The biggest problem editions earlier than 4e had was that they all only assumed you were playing with the core rules and their product, and maybe a handful of related initiative products. So you had a dozen different variations of the same idea in 3.5e that stepped on each other's toes since they weren't reviewing the other products being churned out for consistency of lore (and mechanics).
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
It's an irony not lost on me that there are tons of posts elsewhere online and here, filled with complete loathing for Kender. Yet now all of a sudden people care about Kender lore.

I agree, I want a Dragonlance that evokes the things that made Dragonlance so beloved while feeling new. For me, that's not the problematic tropes.
Which are?

This is a serious question, not a gotcha. I read some of the novels (I know I read the first trilogy and Kaz the Minotaur, and probably some of the others) way back when but they never did much for me. I didn't think they were bad or anything; they just never grabbed me. And neither did the game books, even the Monstrous Compendium (and I love monsters). So what I want to know is, what should be in a 5e Dragonlance book? And what should be done with the problematic elements to bring them into 5e?
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Every negative stereotype has been applied to some group at some point in time.

Every. Single. One.
I mean, that's just demonstrably wrong, isn't it? "They're mind-controlling squid people that time travelled back in time from the end of the world that wants to eat our brains" is a negative stereotype of a person/creature (Mind Flayers, including Gnome Ceremorphs), but I'm pretty sure that it's never been applied to any group of real-life people.

Sure, there are plenty of negative stereotypes that have been applied to real world peoples . . . but this is fantasy. We can pretty easily make up some new stereotypes for races/species in the game and avoid rehashing problematic ones from the real world.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Sure, there are plenty of negative stereotypes that have been applied to real world peoples . . . but this is fantasy. We can pretty easily make up some new stereotypes for races/species in the game and avoid rehashing problematic ones from the real world.
I think there's a miscommunication going on here. You're confusing simple descriptions of monstrous creatures with "negative stereotypes." The two aren't the same. What you wrote about mind flayers, above, isn't an issue of stereotyping them; it's their actual description in a nutshell. Call them "a race of natural manipulators who believe themselves superior to all other people," and now you've just laid down that mind flayers are a racist depiction of Jews. Eating brains is just a tweaked blood libel. Ceremorphosis is people who convert before marrying into a Jewish family. Their wildspace connections and interstellar slave-trading are the banking conspiracy reflavored. The entire thing is easily twisted, and so needs to be approached with skepticism in mind, rather than a willingness to believe someone just because they feel strongly on the subject.
 

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