D&D 5E New Unearthed Arcana: Heroes of Krynn Revisited

WotC's Jeremy Crawford has announced a new Unearthed Arcana article today with redesigns from the prior Heroes of Krynn UA based on feedback, and in the following video he discusses that feedback and what's in the article:
  • New iteration of Kender based on feedback survey, due to mixed response. This time is a back to basics, aiming to capture 1E AD&D fearlessness, curiosity and taunting skills. Delve into their origins from Gnomes in deep history.
  • Kender are no longer fey creatures who grab objects from the Feywild
  • Tweaked Feats from prior article
  • Tweaked Backgrounds from prior article
  • Brand new rule giving a list of free Feats for ANY Background
  • Free Feat rule for Level 4 for all characters that doesn't take the ASI away, based on a curated list
  • Reveals that in the Adventure, healing magic is already back.
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Helena Real

Dame of Solamnia (she/her)
I don't think I've been as excited for a setting as I am for this one. I feel like they've fixed the few issues I had with the first UA (which weren't dealbreakers for me anyway, I'd have just changed things), now I'm looking even more forward to the dragonlance release.
I'm pretty much in the same boat. I screamed with joy when the setting was announced last week, so far as to revive this old account of mine to share my excitement and joy with all of you. This new UA is, in my opinion, a HUGE step in the right direction, especially when it comes to Kender and Knights of Solamnia. I can run a campaign with this gaming info. and expect no friction with the original material—and that's more than I imagined with the first iteration of this UA.

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Helena Real

Dame of Solamnia (she/her)
Whether they came from gnomes or elves, or something else, the niche is still the halfling niche, that's how it always felt to me since I started playing 2e.

I do know that they are a recent race in Krynn, which is apparently important when time travelling. The wizards of high sorcery, with their ability to travel through time, had a ban on any of the new races travelling through time as it could cause issues. I forget what those issues are, though I know Tasselhoff caused a few of them.
The races of the Graygem—Dwarves, Gnomes, and Kender—because they were basically created by the touch of Chaos, have one unique property when it comes to time-traveling: they can change the course of the River of Time. Other races can travel back in time, but they cannot make changes in the past that create a new future (if you follow my explanation). Kender, Gnomes, and Dwarves, if they travel back—or forwards—in time can create new futures or pasts.


You know, I went back and looked at the kender racial traits I could find. (I admit, I'm not a DL fan so my resources are limited)

The Kender Racial Traits are in the Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (2e) give racial stats for Kender. Lets see what they get.

The fabled Kender is a curious example of convergent evolution. Their native world of Krynn is one of the few with no true halflings of its own, yet this ”ecological niche” is filled by another race which, though unrelated, is similar in size, appearance, and culture: the Kender. Hairfeet, Stouts, and Tallfellows who have been to Krynn or have met Kender wanderers on other worlds have adopted them as honorary cousins, despite misgivings about the Kender’s complete lack of the prized halfling virtue of common sense.
An extensive description of the Kender is provided in the DRAGONLANCE Adventures hardcover rulebook and in the Tales of the Lance boxed set. The information given here focuses on playing Kender in a general AD&D campaign-i.e., Kender who have strayed from the DRAGONLANCE game setting into other worlds. It should be noted that it is entirely up to a DM whether he or she wishes to allow Kender into his or her own campaign-and he or she is encouraged to consider very carefully before agreeing!
Kender are somewhat taller than an average Hairfoot or Stout, averaging 3’7‘’. They are much more slender than true halflings, and they tend to show their age more-a fifty year old Kender will look like a forty-year-old human, whereas a Hairfoot will probably retain his or her youthful looks even into old age. Kender complexions are light, but they tan easily. They tend to wear their hair very long, with a characteristic topknot and long, trailing tail. They wear shoes most of the time, since unlike true halflings, they completely lack foot-fur.
Kender are the most curious of all halflingkin, the most wiIling to depart from their hearth and home to embark on a life of adventure. Most Kender are infused with wanderlust about the time they reach adulthood (in their early twenties) and are likely to spend several decades in an exploration of the world around them, only to feel an equally compelling urge to return home and settle down as they begin to age (midfifties to early sixties). Kender are absolutely and utterly fearless-even to the point of immunity to magically induced fear-and as a result are willing to travel literally anywhere and try almost anything.
The life expectancy of a Kender is similar to Hairfoot‘s (about a century) but it must be noted that, due to their curiosity and fearlessness, Kender are far more likely than any other halfling subrace to meet with a sudden and violent demise. They are not suicidal, but they do get carried away.

Kender Ability Scores
Ability Minimum Maximum
Strength 6 16
Dexterity 8 19
Constitution 10 18
Intelligence 6 18
Wisdom 3 16
Charisma 6 18

Ability Score Adjustments: + 2 to Dexterity (to a maximum of 19); -1 to Strength.
Languages: Kender, Krynn Common, and any other(s) allowed by Intelligence.
Infravision: Yes (30’)

Special Features: Kender who are not thieves have a base 5% chance to perform any thieving skill except Read Languages (no chance) and Climb Walls (40% chance). Dexterity modifiers do apply, but these abilities never increase as the Kender goes up in level.
Kender are totally immune to the effects of both magical and nonmagical fear, whether caused by monsters like the mummy or lich or by spells such as scare and symbol of fear.
The Taunt: Kender are adept at the art of taunting an enemy until that foe loses all ability for rational thought or restraint and is goaded into an uncontrolled attack. If the victim can understand the Kender’s speech, he, she, or it must make a saving throw versus spells (Wisdom bonuses apply). If it fails, the victim will attack the Kender wildly for Id10 rounds, suffering a -2 penalty to all attack rolls and a +2 penalty to Armor Class.

Hmmm... Nothing about Pockets. I see taunt. I see fearless. And I guess a free skill in Stealth, Sleight of Hand, or Investigation is kinda like getting free Thief Skills. They're lacking Darkvision (Infravision) so I guess we should put that in the feedback. Other than that, it's a faithful translation.

Now granted, I also liked magic pockets. But it's unfair to say removing it completely destroys what the kender is. Mechanically, they are very similar to the AD&D kender.
People keep repeating this and I don't understand why.

Who ever said that there was any mechanical problem with any iteration of kender? The mechanics were never the problem, so, making the mechanics the same wasn't the issue.


There is no problem with kender that couldn't be solved by travelling back in time to prevent them ever being created.
See, here's the thing.

I LIKE Kender. I do. For all that I'm pretty vocal criticizing what they did at the table, I do understand why they were popular. At the time, they were very different and original. D&D never had anything like Kender before. The issues with kender were more to do with the flavor of how they were presented - the whole handling thing and the "easily bored" thing were often interpreted as tacit permission to players to be asshats.

I'm not saying that the way the race was written mandated that. It didn't. But, that's often how it was interpreted and kender became a problem for a lot of tables, with all sorts of horror stories and then pretty much blanket banned.

But the concept is really cool.

It's funny. In that other thread about halflings D&D General - My Problem(s) With Halflings, and How To Create Engaging/Interesting Fantasy Races - at the tail end of the thread, I posted a picture with a bunch of pictures of PC's and asked people to identify the halflings because, IMO, halflings lack distinguishing characteristics. A number of posters went postal and got very annoyed with me for cutting off the feet of the pictures. "That's as much a distinguishing characteristic of halflings as elf ears are to elves. "

Thing is, halflings haven't had hairy feet in D&D for over twenty years. Since the arrival of 3e, D&D halflings haven't had hairy feet. But all these people arguing that hairy feet are a distinguishing characteristic of halflings didn't even register that. Halflings are so totally bland that people haven't realized that halflings haven't been hobbits in D&D for longer than a lot of gamers have been alive.

So, yeah, I want kender to stand out from halflings. A halfling with taunt. Whoopee. Kender just got relegated to the same dustbin that halflings have inhabited for years. Does anyone think that adding taunt to a halfling is suddenly going to make players want to play one? Halflings are one of the least played races in the PHB. There might be a few others at the bottom of the barrel, but, halflings aren't far off. Tying kender to halflings just means that no one will play kender either.

But, hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe adding taunt to halflings will suddenly make them interesting to players. Stranger things have happened. I have pretty strong doubts, but, we'll just have to wait and see. My prediction is that even if this Dragonlance becomes popular, kender will just take up space in the book and will pretty much never get played. Think about it this way. Think about your group. Your players have the choice of playing dragonborn (draconians) based on a "Bad Batch" sort of vibe, or playing a kender.

Which one do you think will see play more often?

Kenders aren't going to be erasured, and one of the reasons is one of the character-players of the new actual-play show "Legends of the Multiverse" is a kender(crave cleric), and so cute she could be sold as a doll. Hasbro could dare to sell action figures of the PCs from that show if this becomes enough popular.

Here we aren't talking about game mechanic or racial traits, but the lore, the psicology of the kenders, and my suggestion is that trope only shows a tendency but not all the kenders behave like this. Or maybe that stereotype is true, but initentional, because it is a curse by the Greygem to punish or bother the other races, and then when kenders are alone the curse is totally inactive. Or that collecting compulsion is a secondary effect of a "guardian spirit", special feys who choose kender explores. Then the kender is relatively innocent, because she is mind-affected by her fey "invisible friend". And this new "urban legend" could explain the reason kender PCs are accused as thiefs when the players really tried to touch nothing with value to avoid troubles.

Gullys can be redesigned as potential PCs, with enough flexibility to avoid typecasting, but also to can roleplay different psychologies/personalities, because you can't tell always the same joke. Their mental health would be relatively normal, but their cultural level is too low, and too superstitious, and too many times they are mind-affected by faes without good intentions using their glamourous powers.

* The shadowpeople could be a PC race who live not only in the underground, but also in the Shadowfell, with a love-hate relation with some neighbours shadow dragons.


Once again for some reason I still find myself amazed at peoples ability to view something in the worse light possible. At times I cannot help but think some are wishing for there to be an issue to "fight". Aside from this my view is to focus on the curiosity and let the outlet of said curiosity be an individual thing.

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