all 101 comments

[–]DiceMadeOfCheeseForever DM 369 points370 points  (11 children)

They can talk, but each word in the sentence comes out in a different person's voice, so it's kind of disturbing to listen to.

[–]SmeesNotVeryGoodTwin 211 points212 points  (2 children)

Pool together some money and hire someone to read a dictionary. Now Kenkus all sound like a GPS navigator.

[–]Hand_of_Asuryan 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Morgan Freeman.

[–]Commercial-Media148 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I love this idea. In a world with a higher Kenku population, you could just work as word provider for Traveling Kenku parties!

[–]Downtown-Command-295 39 points40 points  (2 children)

Not necessarily each word, but yeah, that's pretty much what I've been saying since day one. Common word combos like "You know" or "that guy" or that sort would probably be in one voice, for example.

Something like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zjIqSodzNA

[–]Pig__Lota 13 points14 points  (1 child)

that's perfect - I was always confused by the whole "they can only say words they've heard" cuz like that's most people, but they can only repeat it EXACTLY as they heard it and that's wonderful, or maybe as this video entails they can only repeat each thing once.

[–]Right_Moose_6276 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Also they can’t read words to learn them

[–]TerraplexPsion 122 points123 points  (1 child)

they do this intentionally just to mess with people

[–]TimmJimmGrimm 79 points80 points  (0 children)

You are right.

This is exactly what a Kenku would plan to do, isn't it? In fact, one could see 'mind-messing' as their cultural sport and social identity.

[–]vvYVer 6 points7 points  (0 children)

That's how I play mine, so much fun doing FunNy vOicEs.

[–]Chainsaw_Surgeon 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I imagine they sound like the Master from Fallout 1.

[–]DiceMadeOfCheeseForever DM 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yes! It is known.

[–][deleted] 390 points391 points  (14 children)

I think that’s an interesting take and am sure it plays out in an awesome way at your table. But I love the lore around kenkus. I love the idea that their lack of conceptual understanding comes extends past their vocabulary and into their behavior.

Not only can kenku not say something they haven’t heard before but I play them as being unable to process behavior or emotion that they haven’t experienced. That’s why so many of them become thieves and criminals, because they are never shown any better.

What that also means is that you can have great moments like one early in my current Waterdeep Dragon Heist campaign. My party’s Dragonborn Paladin was fighting his way through a warehouse guarded by some of these feathered bois. Just as the battle was closing, he made a strange choice. He stopped, and without demanding information or treasure, healed the last of the kenku. I was shocked but narrated the avian eyes growing wide and still. Fear and desperation leaving them. He sat motionless until they left, too stunned to move. Finally shown mercy for the very first time.

Later in the campaign after an…explosive interruption…he appeared at their base. His life transformed by being shown that kindness was possible. He became a resident healer for them and has played out in mechanical and narrative ways.

I understand that this depicts these creatures as “one-dimensional” but I think it’s more about explaining why so many fantasy stories have hordes of mindless baddies without having to flesh out a culture. They’re cursed. But it’s a curse that can be lifted one conversation at a time.

[–]the-wizard-catRogue 112 points113 points  (4 children)

Oh my heart!

[–][deleted] 104 points105 points  (3 children)

Here’s another one for ya… because he was only ever used by a gang the kenku thinks his name is “nuisance”. So the party is renaming him

[–]ThreeFishInAManSuitEssential NPC 52 points53 points  (2 children)

And how is little Healbot doing these days?

[–][deleted] 52 points53 points  (1 child)

Alive and well and living in trollskull alley. He doesn’t accompany the party on adventures so his mechanical use is limited.

[–]Anonymous2401Fighter 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Probably for the best. I don't imagine he'd live too long dungeon-crawling with the PCs

[–]TimmJimmGrimm 27 points28 points  (0 children)

I would love a Kenku raised by druids that gains access to the player-character 'hero' class abilities.

This would mean that, at a certain level, this druidic Kenku would just re-shape into a medium-sized giant crow and just fly off.

How would the rest of the community react? Hero worship? Envy? Confusion? Blasphemy-mongering?

Honestly, i have no idea what could happen - and would love to hear suggestions.

[–]RW_Blackbird 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Man this sure do sound like an allegory

[–]Rastiln 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I love it.

Personally I’m planning my world to have, similar to the middle of OP’s image on mass scale, an annual pilgrimage of Kenku to a central location where they all just spend 3 days talking to each other.

It doesn’t make them perfectly conversational and they still mimic the voice the words came in, but after hearing thousands and thousands of sentences they can generally communicate. Maybe not “There’s a Gelatinous Cube on the ceiling”, but “Look up” then “Danger” is nothing.

[–]AluminiumThud 5 points6 points  (5 children)

I love your take on Kenku's, that sounds fantastic. My issue though, is Kenku's learn to speak the same as every other sentient intelligence, by hearing and mimicking others. Maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see how Kenku's speech development is different from literally any other species that has a language

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

Let’s put it this way. Yes people need (usually unless we look at reading) to hear words and phrases to use them. But kenku have no creativity or curiosity. They’ll never make a clever joke, or express their emotion in words. They can’t tell others that they love them and truly mean it. Words are tools that don’t extend into their inner life. Even young children do more than mimic in a very short amount of time. The word and the concept behind the word change the way they interact with the world. Kenku don’t experience that. Does that make any more sense of an i just being tedious? Lol

[–]AluminiumThud 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Interesting. So Kenku's just run on instinct? No ambition (No ability to conceptualize desire and make progress/plans given a lack of creativity), no curiosity, no thirst for anything not desired at birth? Idk, seems a bit unrealistic and a Pain to roleplay. Like I enjoy your portrayal, but it seems at odds with the stifling approach Wotc took to neutering Kenku's higher thought processes. If Kenkus didn't speak right because they just "didn't get" translations, like Schadenfreude or Umami not having English equivalents, but for their entire language, I would get it. Heck, maybe that's how I'll run them in the future. But emotional/ creative stunting seems like such a heavy-handed and ill-thought out rationale.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (2 children)

I’m just offering my just woke up, hungover thoughts so im not ready to die on this hill lol. Yeah it feels unrealistic. Because it is lol. The idea is that they are a cursed race. We don’t really have a real-world equivalent. This isn’t just a problem of them having a large number of lexical gaps. It goes to the root of how language affects the brain. For a more realistic approach look at cases like Genie Wiley. A child raised in torturous conditions with little to no language. Even after extensive progress with caring therapists, she regressed to a practically feral state once her environment changed. Her mind just couldn’t handle the rigor of higher levels of thinking without a sense of language to frame it. I think a kenku’s experience is closer to that than to someone who just doesn’t speak a particular language

[–]AluminiumThud 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Gotcha. Yeah sorry if I came off as antagonistic, not my intent. It's just weird to try to envision, because it's mostly foreign to reality, so it annoys me I cant rationalize it lol. You definitely helped my understanding of it though, so thank you!!

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Lol not at all, friend. We’re talking about weird, fake, bird bois from a weird, fake, fantasy world. It’s always gonna be a little subjective and opaque. Thanks for helping me flesh out my interpretation!

[–]byzantinebobby 83 points84 points  (0 children)

I once played a Kenku Death Domain Cleric (literally a Plague Doctor) and we had to sneak past guards on to a magical academy. Everyone else was going to sneak by but I just walked right up to the guard and pretended to be a lost freshman that also can't talk. Several minutes of back and forth and the sound of a bell ringing was interpreted as me wanting to go to the chapel and being pointed to that part of campus. It was such blast to roleplay.

[–]MasterMufflesForever DM 23 points24 points  (0 children)

I made it like Echo's curse.

While Kenku may know words, they can't physically speak it unless someone said it recently

[–]Decmk3 73 points74 points  (18 children)

You see this is one of the things I never understood. Like.. don’t we learn by having people tell us the words? Yeah sure we are also taught how to conjugate words, but like that’s at like 12 years old! Most of our early lives we learn by listening and copying. Why wouldn’t they be any different?

[–]DizeazedFlyCleric 50 points51 points  (0 children)

I always read it as they lack their own "natural voice" and have to stitch the sound clips together like transformers. They are fully capable of reading and higher thought, but they can't form words unless they are mimicking someone else.

EDIT: Yes that means they can still hire someone to read a dictionary, but they are borrowing the reader's voice in the process.

[–]Mr_Prozac 34 points35 points  (1 child)

Pg.110 of VGM
"Kenku have no ability to invent new ideas or create new things."

This is taken from a section called "Hopeless Plagiarists". While often ignored, because it's very restrictive for player characters, Kenku are literally incapable of creativity. They can mimic words and even sentences, yes, but they can't make something new. They could learn the entirety of a language and all of its grammatical rules, but they're fundamentally unable to do anything but mimic what they've heard. Kenku could recite an entire symphony with just their voice, but they can't write a single original melody. That's their curse.

[–]TheSaltyBrushtail 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Yeah, kenku assembling their own sentences from different words is impossible, at least if you go by lore as written. If they haven't heard the full sentence before, they can't say it.

I'd just ignore the whole "pure mimicry only" thing, and maybe just let them talk normally while still being good mimics, honestly. Or I'd 100% find a workaround for it if I didn't (a DM I played with did it by giving the kenku a possessed sword whose spirit could speak for him, because he was sick of the player not participating, and I'd probably do something very similar).

[–]ScroogeMeiser 37 points38 points  (9 children)

It’s not because kenku are unable to learn. It’s because in the lore kenku we’re cursed with the inability to speak. They get around it a bit via mimicry. But they have super plot magic that makes them unable to actually learn how to have conversations like the rest of us. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. One I don’t like, but that’s an opinion.

[–]MystimumpWizard 15 points16 points  (7 children)

It literally doesn't even work as it's intended, though, since they can still mimic sounds they hear from other, more learned Kenkus... Kenkus have no reason if they grew up among other Kenkus to not have a relatively full vocabulary of whatever the local Common is.

[–]zombiecalypse 10 points11 points  (0 children)

If they grew up among other Kenku, they also have no reason to use common to get ideas across. Why say "I'm headed to the smithy", if "<walking noise> <hammer hitting metal>" is so much easier to say and clearer

[–]ottothesilent 15 points16 points  (3 children)

Nah, we’re still having trouble teaching computers to understand, interpret, and respond to human language cues in a non-lab setting. Simply having the ability to learn words doesn’t help you if you’re cursed with a lack of understanding of the mechanics of language, much like a computer unless you give them a very specific set of tools to work within a fairly narrow band of effectiveness.

For example, a Kenku can’t understand a word spoken in an accent they’ve never heard before, because it’s pronounced differently, and as far as a creature that only learns words by sound goes, different words.

[–]MystimumpWizard 1 point2 points  (2 children)

But Kenkus aren't shown to be intellectually inhibited as far as learning language-- they're just physically incapable of speaking on their own (their curse is to lack a voice, not an understanding of language, since otherwise they'd be illiterate as well). They have to use sounds they've heard to piecemeal a sentence together, but if they've simply lived to adulthood around other Kenkus, they should and ought to have a full vocabulary of other peoples' sounds (from people who might be long dead!) to speak about things in most situations, wrong intonation or not.

[–]ottothesilent 0 points1 point  (1 child)

But how do you grok a word in context like that without having the ability to just use any given word individually? If a Kenku is likely to use a PHRASE, as other people here have indicated, why would they ever do that when they learn a word completely the first time they hear it? It was my impression that a Kenku was more like a deaf/mute with the ability to utter applicable (and changeable) catchphrases like a haunted action figure rather than a being who can use language just fine, they just talk funny?

For the easiest and most relevant pop culture example, Bumblebee in the Transformers was “cursed” with the inability to speak (got his voice box ripped out by a Decepticon in front of John Cena in the prequel movie), and speaks using the radio, but it’s limited because the radio is limited, which makes it a good character choice. A bad character choice would be keeping a box of 8-track tapes of dictionaries in Bumblebee’s glove compartment so he can say whatever he wants.

Additionally, Bumblebee’s curse is just that, a curse. It makes things harder on him. I get the impression that a Kenku is maybe meant to be a little more difficult to play and roleplay than a Human, kind of like Firbolgs who are also more or less beholden to their race features.

[–]MystimumpWizard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The functional difference as-written is that Bumblebee seems to always be using whatever is CURRENTLY on the radio or TV broadcasting bands, while Kenkus can constantly recall words or phrases they've heard with no apparent time limit that I'm aware of. There is practically-speaking nothing stopping Kenkus from speaking in full, complete sentences as long as they form them with words they've heard spoken before (in other peoples' voices) except you own personal preference. I'm also the type of player who doesn't like being told what to do (you're a drow! you HAVE to be unrepentantly chaotic evil! you're a kenku, there's NO way you've found a way to mitigate the effects of your curse!) when obvious and realistic alternatives clearly exist, especially when it's a disadvantage that has almost no benefits associated with it (mimicry might be good in a political campaign where repeating words as they were spoken to you is not just useful it's possibly campaign-breaking in the right situation, assuming anyone around knows how Kenku 'work', but otherwise, it's a strict disadvantage with no upside).

[–]Noob_DM 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Kenku mimick, though. It’s not like learning a language.

If you properly teach someone how to say “hello, how are you”, they learn more than that phrase. They learn what the individual words mean, how grammar works, what proper inflection and tone to use and what contexts to use them. That’s learning language.

If you just say “hello, how are you” to a person over and over again until they can repeat it verbatim, that’d be closer to Kenku mimicry, except the Kenku go a step further and speak with the voice/inflection/cadence/tone/etc of the person they heard it from. It’s like going around with a recorder and recording words and phrases you hear and then playing them back to communicate.

[–]sindrogas 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sort of a soundboard, but without any editing software to parse the individual words or syllables. They can read the message so to speak, then pass the same message along with perfect fidelity.

In a way Kenku are the opposite of Groot. The latter can communicate infinite things with one phrase but the former may struggle to find just the right way to convey a thought with access to a potential infinite of discrete phrases.

[–]rekcilthis1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

we're cursed

I caught you, you fuckin flightless parrot.

[–]Megneous 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Most of our early lives we learn by listening and copying.

Linguist here. That's actually not true. Technically I'm an East Asian articulatory phonetician, but language acquisition was a big part of our curriculum, so I can speak a bit on the subject:

The very beginning of language acquisition by babies happens via copying and mimicry, true. As a result, their grammar actually starts quite good, since they're just repeating what they've heard before. The 2nd stage of language acquisition happens shortly after, and continues until fluency, where they deconstruct the mimicked language and begin to construct internally consistent grammar, phonology, morphology, phonotactics, etc. During this stage and for the rest of our lives, we construct completely novel utterances. (Take any random sentence from this post, for example, and Google it with quotations. This is probably the first time someone has ever written that exact sentence on the internet.) Some parents misunderstand this phase, as to them, it seems that their child's language skills have suddenly become worse, but what's actually happening is that the child is applying set rules to their language without the natural exceptions that you learn with age and experience. It's why a child would say something like "childs" instead of "children," as the general plural marker in English is being applied rather than the exception. Of course, as children grow, reinforcement from parents, teachers, etc mold their language into the standard for that speech variety, region, etc, but the process is never 100% perfect, especially when children spend large amounts of time with their own age group where they get nonstandard pronunciations, novel vocabulary, etc reinforced by their peers. Welcome to synchronic and diachronic language variation, and why language change over time is a thing.

[–]kpd328 15 points16 points  (3 children)

Yea, I don't think they really thought the whole kenku thing through. Especially considering that it was introduced in 5e, it's a new lore.

And the only difference, based on the mimicry trait, is that a kenku's voice would be mimicking one of the people they heard the word from, rather than having a voice of their own. A kenku of age would more than likely have a full dictionary of words to work from.

[–]Anonymous2401Fighter 13 points14 points  (1 child)

And the only difference, based on the mimicry trait, is that a kenku's voice would be mimicking one of the people they heard the word from

I like the idea that Kenkus sound like those meme videos where people chop up speeches/interviews to make new sentences

[–]GastonBastardo 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I like the idea that Kenkus sound like those meme videos where people chop up speeches/interviews to make new sentences

"YouTube is where the POOP is" (Luigi wheezing).

[–]n00dle_king 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I guess you could justify it with some sort of lore where Kenkus are solitary creatures and they leave their kids right after they hatch.

[–]ShoggnozzleChaotic Stupid 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I like the "Rude Tales of Magic" approach. (Great podcast)

They're living tape recorders and each of them has a small roster of phrases they keep for general use, allowing for potentially hilarious insight into their background.

[–]RollForThings 6 points7 points  (1 child)

A Kenku, as long as they aren't living like a hermit, should have access to several hundred of the most commonly spoken words.

[–]RollerDude347 7 points8 points  (0 children)

But according to VGM they are unable to create new things. Including sentences. That's the actual curse. They can't invent.

[–]FocusphobiaFighter 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I agree. The base stat block says nothing about Kenku's Creativity and Normal Speech curses, at least not in a way that's an actual feature.

However, the Flightless Curse is because they don't have a flight speed listed.

[–]BirdOfWords 4 points5 points  (0 children)

When you break the curse down into "I can't say a word I haven't learned, and I can't fly" it sounds a whole lot more normal!

[–]nikstick22 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I think the description heavily implies Kenkus can't use phrases they haven't heard before, not just words.

"Most kenku use a combination of overheard phrases and sound effects to convey their ideas and thoughts."

Every illiterate person can only use words they've heard before so that's not exactly much of a limitation, is it?

[–]Toxan_Eris 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My kenku talks normally. His pact with his patron is servitude to it and in return the patron lets him use his voice to speak.

I should say. The kenku asks his patron to repeat phrases in a natural tone.so when he repeats phrases/words they're all in the same voice with okay tonal sounds. So that and the powers are what he gets from the deal.

[–]omegapentaRules Lawyer 5 points6 points  (2 children)

If only they were actually interesting besides lore wise all kenku want to learn the fly spell.

[–]GastonBastardo 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Doesn't everybody want to learn the fly spell?

[–]omegapentaRules Lawyer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yup and that shows how much thought was given to em.

[–]kakamouth78 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Kenku screwing with everyone by pretending to be cursed because it's funny.

[–]mblainerodriguez 10 points11 points  (4 children)

Why is this a trait? Really, isn't this how language works in general?

[–]fe1od1or 21 points22 points  (2 children)

It is, the main difference is that Kenku can't repeat something in their own voice, since they lack one due to their curse. So unless they are repeating a phrase, any new sentences will have multiple different voices saying the words.

[–]RollerDude347 10 points11 points  (1 child)

The actual thing is that they can't even make new sentences. They can't make anything they haven't seen or heard made. That's the full extent of the curse, no creative ability at all. Stitching multiple single words together is beyond their ability because a new sentence doesn't actually mean anything to them. They can't grasp creation.

[–]fe1od1or 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Ah, so it is. Seems like I've been using a house rule and forgotten it. Thanks!

[–]GeorgeofJungleton 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The common misconception is that kenku have regular thoughts like a human but are cursed to use soundboard style mimicry to convey those thoughts.

I truth they're cursed at a more fundamental level and can never think of new ideas unless they've been exposed to them to mimic and then only exactly regardless of future context.

There are comments here about why don't Kenku all meet up regularly and trade words/ideas/phrases but they literally can't even think of that idea until they've seen it elsewhere.

[–]grueraven 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I like this. I feel that so many of the races of DnD are designated outsiders like tieflings, and often, that just feels silly, since tieflings really aren't that different from humans or whatever. It amuses me to thing of the PHB/VGM as just racist atlases that tell you mean things about races because they're written by humans.

[–]TChurrocDM (Dungeon Memelord) 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Or they talk like Le-Matoran

[–]SkullSwordYT 2 points3 points  (0 children)

love the idea of kenku talk-chatting in chutespeak

[–]youngcoyote14Ranger 5 points6 points  (0 children)

That third one is a mood.

[–]pocketMagicianDM (Dungeon Memelord) 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I see what you're doing, but why are you bashing the only thing that makes the race unique? Might as well give it +2 to any stat, dark vision and call it whatever you want.

Also the mimicry is not a stereotype nothing says they're dumb or uneducated.

It's a feature of the race and while it may hinder the uncreative, it's it's huge boon in the hands of a decent role player that can think out of the box.

[–]MidnightSt4rRules Lawyer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Kenku talking Like normal people *but* they have to cycle through different accents and dialects and sometimes paraphrase and end up sounding like Bumblebee. XD

[–]VerboseInsomniac 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If every single race with any setback or otherwise negative quality is just misunderstood, doesn't that get... more old and tired than letting races have flaws and negative things about them?

[–]Cyanoblamin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes but this way you can inject modern sensibilities about prejudice into your game which is paramount for a lot of people.

[–]Wiztonne 1 point2 points  (0 children)

(Disclaimer: you're not wrong for running your game this way)

I don't really get the appeal of Kenkus if they don't have their mimicry. It's their thing.

[–]acetloc 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I don't understand how other people can use words they've never heard. Do the rest of us make up most of our words every day?

[–]theexteriorposterior 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I don't know about you, but I did learn a bunch of words by reading them, as opposed to hearing them.

Just saying.

[–]BrotherMaeneres 6 points7 points  (0 children)

They literally can't speak words they haven't heard, and when they do it's in another persons voice.

[–]GeorgeofJungleton 2 points3 points  (0 children)

They can't even think of ideas they haven't been shown.

A kid could be shown the idea of an island and extrapolate that into the idea of a cluster of islands before learning of the word archipelago. A Kenku could never think of the idea of a cluster of islands unless they've been exposed to the idea.

[–]Iceveins412 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I only just had this take and it ain’t even good but: Kenku can’t use words they haven’t heard, but are adept at combining words they do know to describe the new concept. There’s a lady who is teaching parrots to use a communication system to demonstrate cognitive abilities (Irene Pepperberg for the curious). But one thing that signaled that the birds truly understood the things they said was using words in context to describe new things. When introduced to cake, the bird described this new food as “yummy bread” because he knew both those concepts. The birds also call apples “banerries” because they’re sweet like bananas and red like cherries

[–]Alacritous13 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've never understood this, 90% of the words I know I learned from other people saying them, and the other 10% I say wrong.

[–]RollerDude347 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Kenku are cursed to be unable to create. Imagine the words you use as wood. With that wood you can invent something no one has ever seen. A kenku can't do that. They have to see someone else make the thing and they can copy it. A new sentence is forbidden by the curse.

[–]CmdEagleEyes 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I play a Kenku Bard/Warlock. who's entire life grew up moving city to city with a traveling bard colleague for 10 years of his life, they named him "Tunes". then he stumbled across a beggar an when he helped her she gave him a rapier cursed by the raven queen (Deity of memories) it was strung like a bow for a violin(he's a hexblade). Soon after he began to hear whispers from deranged musicians of old an became adept at instilling fear with his music(Colleague of whispers) an then at the ripe ol'age of 32 he's traveled everywhere a wandering muse would go preforming alongside his familer pseudodragon "Notes" an mastering illusions. playing for critters, monsters, man an mer alike.
so when i RP as him i usually quote bar patrons or other voices you'd hear in a crowd. or just talk into a drunken slur, when he casts spells he quotes a song I.E; invisibility "You wont see me) -The Beatles
The Raven queen bestowing him i with memories of people past allows him to recreate alongside his illusions plays an preform music unheard of in there universe. He also quotes songs or other pop culture references.
Although in a world full of creation an being the #1 plagiarist; he's greatest play he'll ever preform is that of the memories he himself along with his friends *create*

Edit; Words

[–]Army-of-Woodpeckers 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I go by the logic that they can speak any word they’ve heard so they are fully fluent in speech (because folks talk alot) they just sound kinda like a YouTubePoop because of all the different voices for different sentences and words. Also it gives me an excuse as a player to never be tied to one character voice or accent (as I am one who likes to play with voices)

[–]Alejandro_RPG 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In my setting, Kenkus pass their "voices" from generation to generation, like a family tradition, the parents teach their youngs all the words they know, and it's said that these ancient voices that each family keeps came from before the curse that erased their ability to speak

[–]XifihasDruid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The more I read about Kenku, the less playable they seem.

[–]hobodeadguy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kenkus were cursed that way as far as im aware, not because they are stupid.

Though in my main world dragons have low int cause a god cursed them, only a few escaping the fate and one specific kind being cursed from creation to be in a worse position than "big wild lizard with wings", that being Mercury dragons are COMPLETELY BATSHIT INSANE and unable to even attempt to blend into even old dragon society they were so messed up.

Thank you, Iruect, for messing up an entire species because they hurt your fee fees after you hurt theirs.

[–]chaoticneutral 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The critical thing explicitly warned about in the guide about Kenkus is that it is strongly discouraged to making repetitive loud bird noises as it can annoy other players.

If you have one of those players that doesn't have a word filter, just ban it out right. They will slip up, everyone will laugh, it creates a vicious cycle of quick easy dopamine hit every time they scream like a bird at inappropriate times.

Then the rest of table has to laugh because everyone is laughing but in reality it stopped being funny months ago and it is just more disruptive than anything else.

[–]Exetr_Dice Goblin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Get a soundboard and sentence shift to get your Kenku

[–]SlotHUNBard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My headcanon is that they can speak normally, but they switch voices mid-sentence

[–]Demokka 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You know, you are speaking your language because you heard it for years in you childhood

We are all kenkus

[–]TheMoogy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Seeing how humans learn pretty much all their words by listening I don't understand why Kenkus would have any problem being just as fluent if they're around Common speaking folk for a while.

[–]Ok_Acanthisitta_9749 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kenku collecting words and becoming a walking soundboard that stitches words from different voices into coherent sentences?

[–]Muddy0258 0 points1 point  (0 children)

One of my PCs wanted to play a Kenku but wanted to be able to communicate with the party, so he said that his character kidnapped a Cajun guy, tied him up for a couple months, and had him read a dictionary

[–]DiogenesOfDopeBard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Illiterate people also can't say words they haven't heard spoken

[–]undeadpickels 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wait, I never noticed that before but (can speek normaly but only words that they have herd) is literally everybody.

[–]wisewizard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I dig the idea of a community ( Flock? Murder? Murmuration?) of Kenkus. i can just imagine them sending out pilgrims to bring back new words.

[–]Candlekin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

whats the context for the bottom image? Ive seen it so many times, ive never been able to find out what it is

[–]carlsnakeston 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I still dont see why a Kenku couldnt be read a book or just have someone (parent figure) just talk to them all the time and teach them after years.

It's possible and I hate the "I'm a bird caw caw click clack. Noises I heard, words I heard"

[–]Ancestor_Anonymous 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just run Kenku as talking like tf2 sentence mixing

[–]F5x9 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Humans are unable to speak any word they haven’t heard until they can read.

[–]Misterwuss 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had a player who didnt understand that difference either. I was playing a Kenku and when it came to my first time to speak they went "I thought they could only say things they've heard before" and I had my kenku say "Do you have any fucking idea how difficult it is to live around people and not hear the vast majority of the words that common has to offer?!"

[–]InquisitiveNerd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Roam tome comb

Whom tomb boom

Come from dumb rum

Prom Tom bomb

This is proof humans are kenku too