August 18, 2021 8 min read
Author:Rhenn Anthony Taguiam
Meta Description:The crow-like Kenku in Dungeons & Dragons 5e are more than just minions to an adventure's villains. This D&D 5e guide will help us make an interesting Kenku.
Unlike their avian cousins, Kenkuin Dungeons & Dragons 5e lost their wings when their ancient progenitor had committed a mysterious crime. As a result, Kenku evolved to look more like humanoid crows - retaining black feathers, a beak, and talons for hands and feet. However, most people know Kenku to be sly, cunning, secretive, and untrusting creatures. Adventuring parties could use a Kenku for their natural ability to work well in teams and players may love playing a Kenku for their natural affinity with shadows and sowing chaos. Players who want to play a mysterious avian character can rely on a Kenku to envelop their party with intrigue and mystery.
This guide explores what we know about Kenku society and how you can make compelling and mysterious Kenku characters that can help propel your team dynamic into new heights.
Kenku are particularly associated with “henchmen” such as the Goblin, which might make other people treat them with a side-eye. However, players who decide to make a Kenku character might find them interesting, as their art of forgery and mimicry aren’t just “passed down,” they’re inherited. And depending on their background in the adventure, Kenku might be on a constant quest to gain a voice to call their own.
Players who want to explore this idea with a Kenku should take note of these traits:
Thanks to their Dexterity and Wisdom bonuses, Kenku make nimble and mobile creatures. Moreover, these “expertise” make them quite ideal for professions and classes that rely a lot on mastering movement and mobility, as well as being quick of thought.
For those who don’t want to immediately associate DEX-based Kenku with Rangers and Rogues, there are actually other interesting class options out there. The ones below are classes that fit not just the technical traits of the Kenku, but also their potential flavor:
Kenku are known not just for their flightless nature, but also for their mastery of forgery. However, this specialization in mimicry and forgery aren’t “special” talents, they’re a component of a greater Kenku “curse” - the lack of a true voice. Regardless of the nature of this curse, Kenku are doomed to forever find their unique voice, as they can only mimic those of people around them.
This caveat introduces a loss of identity - which in itself can be the crux of a Kenku’s story. Here are some interesting character backgrounds that can fit this very conflict: