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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  15:18:54  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Kenku are a favourite race of mine. I see them as basically italian immigrants in America. They have their own neighbourhoods and there are kenku gangs which hold a significant amount of sway. So I'd love to be able to incorporate them into the Realms, but I want to do it in a way that feels right and fits in with the rest of the flavour for the forgotten realms.

Here's a bunch of canon mentions that I've found.

The kenku were enslaved by the Netherese and used as scouts. (Astride the Wind in the Realms of the Shadow anthology, as mentioned by Icelander of candlekeep)

Reeatlann the Kenku has contact with The Key of the Faith, a Holy Prayer Book (relic) of Oghma the Binder. The year is noted as 1278DR. (Prayers of the Faithful as mentioned by crazedventurers of candlekeep)

Kenkus inhabit cities across southern Faerūn, with a large but loose guild of thieves and assassins called the Daggertalons based in Zazesspur. Kenku living in the eastern nations of Veldorn and Estagund trace their ancestry even further east, to Kara-Tur (3.5e Monster Manual III as mentioned by Daviot of candlekeep)

Before the Spellplague hit the kenku had migrated to the Beastlands from the east and settled in the region (Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide).

Kenku are known as the Manni in the Hordelands. (as mentioned by MarkusTay of candlekeep)

Kenku can be found in Waterdeep amongst at least one adventuring company that tends to hire non-humans, called the Lightning Targe. (Ask Ed 2014).

Estagund was spared most of the of the devastation that the Spellplague caused across the land of Faerun. Between the 1340s and the 1370s kenku had become dominant in the nation's larger settlements. (Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide)

The primary inhabitants of Durpar in the 1470s are halflings, humans and kenku. Vaelan's outlying districts is filled with kenku (and halfling) gangs fighting for dominance. (Forgotten Realms Player's Guide)

In the 1470s a rakshasa rebuilt Tirumala and employs many kenku as a spy network. Other kenku in the so called "holy city" live as slaves. (Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide)

Blackfeather Barrens is a hidden kenku city that is controlled entirely by the kenku who live there. Any outsiders who come nearby are immediately attacked and killed. (Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide)

The kenku Corvus Nightfeather is a survivor adept of Rookery of Tears. (As mentioned by Christopher Rowe here at Candlekeep)

---
So it looks to me like there were two branches of kenku. Those who were enslaved by the Netherese and those who lived in the Far East in Kara-Tur and the Hordelands.

Within the 1470s quite a few of the eastern kenku had migrated west to Faerun. Although it's possible that this had actually begun in the 1350s when the Shou began migrating to Thesk and other regions of Faerun.

Is there any information that I haven't included that anyone knows of? Details seem quite sparse on the kenku. One thing I wanted to know was their language. Did kenku have their own language in 3.5e days? If they did it seems likely that there would be significant similarities between Halruaan and Ruathlek, but also Chondathan, Damaran, Illuskan, and Tethyrian.

Does anyone know what the language (if there is one) is called? Or the language spoken by aarakocra or any other of the avian species?

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Fellfire
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1953 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  16:12:24  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You might look into Gray Richardson's work here on the Aearee.

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hashimashadoo
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1114 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  16:31:57  Show Profile  Visit hashimashadoo's Homepage  Click to see hashimashadoo's MSN Messenger address Send hashimashadoo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This post reminded of some lore I read in an issue of Dragon that focused on Kara-Tur (I forget the publication number). In it, it stated that there were several waves of mass immigration into Faerūn. The first came in 1360-62 when Tan Chin invaded Shou Lung, the second came when the Spellplague hit (hinting that some regions of KT were particularly badly affected). The third came from Wa when it was smashed by a tidal wave and attacked by kaiju (and the creativity award goes to...)

Any one of those waves of immigrants could have contained a whole bunch of kenku.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31827 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  18:08:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Manni were covered in issue 163 of Dragon Magazine -- the first issue I ever bought. But there may be a misunderstanding somewhere, because they are not the same as kenku -- unless a later edition changed one or both races.

Manni are basically really large birds with fingers on their wings; kenku (at least in the 2E Monstrous Manual) were more humanoid with a lot of bird features, like their feet, their heads, and the wings that they had in addition to their arms.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 11 Feb 2015 18:10:09
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Taurendil
Seeker

Chile
43 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  20:03:35  Show Profile Send Taurendil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the same 3.5e MM3 it makes reference to it, at the end of the general description: "Kenkus speak Common and their own language, Kenku."

It's a little confusing, because in one AD&D adventure I ran, with the kenku as NPC ("Haggash Secret" inside A Hero's Tale by Monte Cook) it says, regarding kenkus behavior: "If approached, the kenku try to relate, using signs and gestures (and without letting anyone see their faces, for obvious reasons), that they have taken a vow of silence. Any interaction is kept short, so that no one discovers their true identities. In any case, kenku are physically unable to speak any human or demihuman language."
In the 5e MM it says that they understand Auran and Common but speak only using the Mimicry trait.

Anyway, as the 3.5e MM3 is the only that makes explicit reference to kenkus of the Realms, I'd stick with that.


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Edited by - Taurendil on 11 Feb 2015 20:08:14
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1953 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2015 :  23:54:16  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kenku and tengu. I always get them confused.

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6727 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2015 :  00:51:09  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recall a kenku character present in one of the old "Gold Box" Icewind Dale CRPGs.

[/Ayrik]
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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2015 :  02:53:13  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the replies guys.

quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

You might look into Gray Richardson's work here on the Aearee.

I didn't really see anything there about languages besides the fact there's no surviving written records beyond magical glyphs and wards.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Manni were covered in issue 163 of Dragon Magazine -- the first issue I ever bought. But there may be a misunderstanding somewhere, because they are not the same as kenku -- unless a later edition changed one or both races.
There was another thread mentioned they were corgies, I might have misunderstood.

quote:
Originally posted by Taurendil

In the same 3.5e MM3 it makes reference to it, at the end of the general description: "Kenkus speak Common and their own language, Kenku."

It's a little confusing
Kenku language seems to change from edition to edition. I was hoping for a more Realmsian name for the language as only a couple of races (elves being the most notable) seem to have a language named after them (e.g. goblins speak Ghukliak).

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31701 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2015 :  02:58:58  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recall the entries for the Beastlands, Durpar, and Estagund in the FRCG noting that kenku are heavily based in those regions as well.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5395 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2015 :  11:36:43  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Realms have had kenku right from the beginning. The original write-up of Adjatha "the Drinker" in Dragon #74 (subsequently repeated in FR4 The Magister) notes that one of the wielders of the sword was slain by a "mischievous kenku".

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Razz
Senior Scribe

USA
720 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2015 :  03:48:07  Show Profile Send Razz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Which kenku are the true kenku? I remember the 2E one, where they looked hawklike, had both the human arms and bird wings and seemingly tribal in nature.

Then there's the raven-humanoid ones, with no wings and very roguish in nature.

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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 31 Mar 2015 :  22:27:37  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JohnLynch
Vaelan's outlying districts is filled with kenku (and halfling) gangs fighting for dominance. (Forgotten Realms Player's Guide)


Some travelling troupe of performers should write a play based on that ^
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Roseweave
Learned Scribe

Ireland
212 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2015 :  20:03:19  Show Profile  Visit Roseweave's Homepage  Send Roseweave an AOL message  Send Roseweave an ICQ Message Send Roseweave a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm writing a realms fic that deals with different crow related mythologies atm.

I was reading up on Scarecrows in a Dungeon Magazine from a couple of years back and it gave me some ideas. I've also wanted to introduce a version of the Morrigan to the Realms since I like importing versions of real life folklore.

Kenku are obviously based on Tengu so should be kept as Kara-Tur/Wa/Kozakura immigrants IMO. I see them being to Tengu as the Wood Elves are to Eladrin, only have shed more of their Fae origins.
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Razz
Senior Scribe

USA
720 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  06:52:35  Show Profile Send Razz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Did a search online on Kenku, found this old post. My question remains, why are there two Kenku races? Which are the true Kenku? THe humanoid, winged hawk-like ones or the raven-humanoid wingless ones?

quote:
Originally posted by hashimashadoo

The third came from Wa when it was smashed by a tidal wave and attacked by kaiju (and the creativity award goes to...)



Where is the source for this one? I don't recall this happening?
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6727 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  14:01:25  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Asking which species is the "true" or "original" kenku seems comparable to asking which species are the "true" elves, dwarves, dragons, or giants. There are many contradictory yet valid answers.

[/Ayrik]
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31827 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  15:22:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Razz

Did a search online on Kenku, found this old post. My question remains, why are there two Kenku races? Which are the true Kenku? THe humanoid, winged hawk-like ones or the raven-humanoid wingless ones?

quote:
Originally posted by hashimashadoo

The third came from Wa when it was smashed by a tidal wave and attacked by kaiju (and the creativity award goes to...)



Where is the source for this one? I don't recall this happening?



The easiest answer is to say that there are, as you put it, two Kenku races. Perhaps there was once one race, but as time went on, one group changed while the other stayed the same. Or maybe neither group looks like the originals.

I like both versions, personally... But if it was me, I'd keep the earlier version as kenku, and call the other version something else. In the Midgard setting, for example, they have tengu, but they're usually called Huginn (Midgard uses Norse mythology, and Odin's ravens were named Hugin and Munin).

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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4339 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  16:45:00  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lately I'm moving away from the model of a single progenitor for a species on toril.

You could have the classic kenku derive from aearee breeding and magic, while the artificers of anok imaskar created the tengu. In narfell there could be a different breed that possesses strange lightning abilities due to breeding with vrok.

All the different species look fairly similar and so are categorised as kenku by ignorant humanoid sages who think they are knowledgeable but are really guessing at events happening many millennia previous.

To further confuse things you could even have kenku arrive via portals from another world and establish a stable breeding population. There is no need to link everything to a single origin species (it's not the real world, magic allows for wondrous things including the evolution or creation of the same creature several times on separate occasions).

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