Kender Guide 5e

Published on November 22, 2022

If you want to enrage your enemies (and sometimes party members) to the point where they feel compelled to attack you, the kender race is for you.

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the kender will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your kender. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Kender in 5e?

Source: Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen

Kender are curious folk that originated on Krynn, the world of the Dragonlance setting. These creatures descended from gnomes and share the same small stature, though they were imparted with a supernatural ability to get into trouble, partly because of their inquisitiveness and party because of their fearless nature. Kender traditionally wear topknots, which they view as a source of pride in their appearance. They also tend to wield the kender-invented weapon, a hoopak staff, which is a combination of quarterstaff and sling, and can be waved to create a frightening sound.

Kender first appeared as a playable race for the fifth edition in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, though the lore provided in the book—in which kender are known to fall through interdimensional portals due to their curiousity—ensures they can be used in settings that aren’t Dragonlance-specific.

Kender 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: Being able to choose between +2 ASI, +1 ASI, or +1, +1, +1 ASI means that you can pick exactly what your build will need.

Creature Type: Humanoid is the default creature type.

Size: A Small size comes with some drawbacks, such as wielding certain weapons and grappling. On the other side, Small creatures are better at hiding and can more easily move around the battlefield. For kenders, this can be a drawback for tank builds looking to put their Taunt ability to good use.

Speed: Maintaining a standard walking speed is great, considering kender are Small creatures.

Fearless: Not only do you get advantage against effects that frighten, but you essentially get a once-a-day Legendary Resistance against the effect, meaning you will rarely ever be affected by it. Frightened is a nasty condition, and being able to stymie it completely is a solid boon.

Kender Aptitude: One free proficiency out of a list of helpful skills. Stealth is likely the best one to grab, with Insight and Investigation being runner ups.

Taunt: This is the reason to choose the kender race. Kender are supposed to be annoying and get on both their party’s and enemy’s nerves and this ability certainly allows makes this mechanically possible. Costing only a bonus action and having a range of 60ft makes this Taunt ability one of the strongest in the game, certainly more effective than the Swashbuckler’s Panache, which takes a full action. While this would normally be a tank’s ability, you need CHA, INT, or WIS to make it effective. This, combined with the range of 60ft may make this ability best served for ranged builds that have enough mobility to avoid their enraged targets.

Which 5e Classes Work With Kender?

Your Small size will restrict your ability to wield heavy weapons, which severely impacts some builds that are looking to make the most of the kender’s Taunt ability. Instead, kenders are at their best on the fringes of combat where they can fire ranged attacks into the fray, draw enemies towards them, then escape.

Artificer: With the exception of Battle Smiths, artificers usually don't have a consistent bonus action at the ready. This, combined with a high INT modifier makes Taunt a decent option, especially for Armorers who can back up their insults with a magically-augmented gauntlet to the face.

Barbarian: Barbarians really want to be wielding a heavy weapon so they can output max damage. That said, the kender's Taunt ability will be able to draw fire from weaker party members onto your buffed out barbarian. You'll have to pump either CHA, INT, or WIS to make the save DC for this effect worth it, which also goes against your barbarian instincts.

Bard: A fast-talking bard that throws insults at their foes is what kender do best and they already buff CHA for their spellcasting. That said, their Taunt ability may get in the way of your Bardic Inspiration because they both use bonus actions.

Cleric: Most clerics will be wanting to use spiritual weapon with their bonus action, which competes with the kender's Taunt.

Druid: Druids don't have a great use for their bonus action and naturally want to stack into WIS, so the kender's Taunt is quite effective. Unforutnately, Taunt can't be used while wildshaped, but Fearless can.

Fighter: The kender race is fairly build-specific for fighters. If you want to be a heavy armor wearing, great weapon wielding tank, the kender doesn't synergize well. However, if you don't want to wield a heavy weapon and can spare some ASIs for CHA, INT, or WIS, then kender's Taunt will be well-utilized with your heavy armor and d10 hit die.

Monk: Monks have the ability and WIS needed to make Taunt effective, though the bonus action will interfere with their Flurry of Blows.

Paladin: Kender work surprising well for paladins because they normally stack into CHA and don't have a ton of bonus action options, so Taunt will work well. Unfortunately, you won't be able to wield a heavy weapon, which isn't the end of the world. Last but not least, your Fearless ability is very on brand for a heroic paladin.

Ranger: Beyond hunter's mark, most rangers don't have a consistent use for their bonus action. This, combined with their propensity to stay at range and have a stacked WIS modifier, can make Taunt a very effective tool.

Rogue: Unfortunately, kender don't work particularly well as rogues. While they are known to be good at sneaking and stealing, the rogue's Cunning Action combined with their lack of CHA, INT, or WIS means that Taunt won't be very effective.

Sorcerer: The kender's Taunt gives sorcerers a decent bonus action ability. Unfortunately, with their measly hit dice and lack of armor, sorcerers really don't want enemies focusing fire on them.

Warlock: The kender's Taunt may compete with hex because they are both bonus actions. This, combined with their measly hit dice and lack of armor, means kender just aren't cut out for warlocks.

Wizard: The kender's Taunt gives wizards a decent bonus action ability. Unfortunately, with their measly hit dice and lack of armor, wizards really don't want enemies focusing fire on them.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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