Dungeons & Dragons: Everything You Need To Know About Playing A Kender
While Dungeons & Dragons is a game full of a myriad of unique races you can access when creating a character, and some races have deep associations within the given settings of the game. Dating back to the mid-80s, Kender have their roots within the Dragonlance setting, having appeared in a multitude of Dragonlance novels. Kender are a small-sized race with gnomish ancestors, primarily known for their absence of fear.
With the release of Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, Kender have been introduced as a new playable race option, featuring great and robust abilities that make them an impressive asset to any adventuring party. For those looking to support their allies as a Kender in their next D&D campaign, we're going to explore everything you need to know about this new spin on a classic race!
Have No Fear
As previously mentioned, one long-standing classic trait of the Kender is their ability to disregard fear. Within D&D's fifth edition, the frightened condition can be quite hindering, preventing a character from moving towards the source of their fear and causing them to make attack rolls at disadvantage as long as they can see the creature they're frightened of. Luckily for those looking to play a Kender, their ability to shrug off fear has been given a mechanical counterpart.
While not completely immune to the frightened condition, Kender have advantage on all saving throws against being afflicted with the frightened condition and all saves against ending the condition if you're already afflicted. Not only can this significantly help reduce the chance of a Kender becoming frightened, but once per long rest, if a Kender were to fail a saving throw against the frightened condition, they can choose to automatically succeed instead — regardless of what that saving throw's DC may have been. This means that if you want to play a character that can potentially shrug off fear of the more horrific creatures in the multiverse, a Kender is an excellent choice.
Taunt Your Foes To Protect Your Allies
Outside of their resistance to fear, perhaps the most notable and impactful ability of Kender is their signature taunting mechanic. As a bonus action, you can target a creature within sixty feet of you, forcing it to make a Wisdom saving throw. If the target of this ability fails the save, each attack it makes against creatures other than you are at disadvantage, significantly hindering their accuracy. This taunt uniquely allows you to determine if you use your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma to calculate its DC, meaning that it can be a great asset on a wide range of character archetypes and builds.
Making The Most Of Your Taunt
As a bonus action, the Kender's taunt is an excellent use of action economy that can provide additional support utility to a wide range of builds, allowing you to assist your party in several ways. Firstly, as this ability allows you to cause a target to attack with disadvantage, you can prevent a key foe such as a boss from dealing damage to your party's squishier members whilst retaining your action for dealing damage or casting spells. While the taunt doesn't provide the target with disadvantage when they attack you, you can make the most out of your target's incentive to attack you.
First and foremost, you can play a Kender of a resilient martial class that has more hit points to spare than your allies, making the most out of your HP pool. Alternatively, you can pair this feature with spells and abilities that trigger when you are dealt damage from a foe's attack, such as the Warlock spells Armor of Agathys or Shadow of Moil. These types of pairings can truly put foes in lose-lose situations in which they have no good attacking options.
Best Classes For A Kender
Though Kender are a flexible race that can excel in nearly every class in the game, the following are particularly strong options we recommend for those looking to play a Kender.
Wisdom-based spellcasters, Druids are notably bulkier than Wizards and Sorcerers due to their d8 hit dice. This means that if a creature feels compelled to attack you due to your taunt, you won't immediately be knocked out. More notably, while Druids are excellent spellcasters, they're a class that has notorious difficulty making use of their bonus action. This means that Kender Druids can maintain the strengths of the druid class whilst preventing a character's bonus action from going to waste.
Among the bulkiest and most straightforward martial combatants in D&D, like Druids, many fighters have an issue when it comes to making the most out of their bonus action. However, unlike Druids, Fighters often want to soak up damage for their party while being as close to their foes as possible. This means that drawing your foe's ire through the use of taunting is a win-win. Additionally, as the DC of your taunt can be determined by your Intelligence, Kender can make for great Eldritch Knights and Psi Warriors, as both of these subclasses make use of their Intelligence.
Paladins are a perfect fit for a Kender's combination of fear resistance and taunting. As paladins tend to want to protect their party, deal damage, soak up hits, and heal their allies when needed, the ability to intentionally redirect a foe's offenses into yourself fits their capabilities quite well. This is especially accentuated by the fact that the majority of a Paladin's key utility comes in the form of actions, with a Paladin's bonus actions otherwise going to waste. Additionally, as Paladins naturally tend to have high Charisma, they're already well-suited to have a high DC on their taunting.
As previously mentioned, Warlocks have access to great exclusive spells in the form of Armor of Agathys and Shadow of Moil. When paired with taunting, they can put foes in lose-lose situations in which they don't have beneficial targets to attack. Additionally, like Paladins, as Warlocks naturally make consistent use of their Charisma, Kender Warlocks can have inherently high DCs on their taunts.
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