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Kenku Wizard 5e D&D Guide

Kenku Wizard 5e D&D Guide

Bound by the spell of a powerful deity, Kenku Wizards find solace and strength in their magical endeavors, utilizing their sharp wit and avian instincts to soar through the realm of mysticism.

In the realm of spellcasting, the Kenku Wizard thrives on versatility. They master spells of illusion and deception, crafting fantastical mirages that can confound the minds of their enemies.

In many cases, Kenku Wizards are known to collect trinkets, ancient tomes, and peculiar artifacts drawn to the allure of forbidden knowledge.

They’ll venture into the deepest corners of forgotten ruins or strike deals with enigmatic creatures just to unearth a long-lost spell or unravel a mystical riddle.

Their insatiable thirst for knowledge often leads them into dangerous situations, but with their cunning and magical prowess, they always manage to find their way out, leaving behind a trail of bewildered foes and enchanted wonders.

Creating a Kenku Wizard

Kenku

Kenku are haunted by an ancient crime that stole their wings, turning them flightless. Now, the flightless Kenku travel the world, often ending up as burglars or vagabonds living at the edges of human society.

Kenku suffer from their sinister reputation, which isn’t particularly unearned, yet they can prove a valuable asset to those needing a thief or spy.

SkinFeathers cover their skin in colors of Russet-brown, brown, or white (they also have white markings, which Kenku use to tell each other apart)

Rarely, Kenku have Solid black or purple feathers

Note: Their legs and arms aren’t covered by feathers, resembling thin human arms and legs

HeadThe head of a crow
EyesBeady eyes of Black or red
NoseNostril holes on their beak
MouthLarge, black crow-like beak
FeetLarge talons of a crow
TailA small vestigial tail with long feathers

Note: These features can be slightly changed or modified if some variations don’t fit your character.

Kenku Subraces

Much like their avian brethren, the Aarakocra, Kenku don’t have any subraces. This can probably be attributed to their thin-spread numbers and poor way of life, leading to fewer communities forming.

Wizard Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice1d6 per Wizard level
HP at level 16 + Constitution modifier
HP at Higher levels1d6 (or 4) Constitution modifier per Wizard level after level 1

Proficiencies

ArmorNone
WeaponsDaggers, Darts, Slings, Quarterstaffs, Light crossbows
ToolsNone
Saving ThrowsIntelligence, Wisdom
SkillsChoose two – Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion

Wizard Arcane Traditions

Upon reaching level 2 as a Wizard, you can choose between 13 different Arcane Traditions you can adopt, each shaping your practice of magic through one of the schools.

Abjuration – Wizards who adopt the School of Abjuration will have their magic emphasize banishes, blocks, and protects. 

Detractors have controversial takes on this tradition, stating that it focuses on negative negation rather than positive assertion.

Most spellcasters understand this to be a lie, mere verbal debauchery to please the hearts of the lazy and undisciplined.

Bladesinging – Adopting the Bladesinging tradition incorporates a dance of swords into your wizardry and was originally created by Elves.

A bladesinger is taught to use elegant maneuvers to protect himself from attacks, allowing him to channel magic into cunning defense or devastating attacks. 

Those who have observed bladesingers at work recall the display as one of the most beautiful experiences in their life.

Chronurgy – Wizards who adopt Chronurgy magic focus on time manipulation, altering reality to their liking.

Chronurgy Wizards use increasing anticipatory dunamis energy to bend the flow of time, granting their allies an advantage in mere milliseconds.

Conjuration – Wizards following the School of Conjuration focus on spells that produce creatures, effects, and objects out of nowhere.

They can summon growing clouds of damaging fog or summon creatures from a different realm to assist their allies. Masters of Conjuration can even teleport themselves to other planes of existence instantaneously.

Divination – Wizards adopting the School of Divination strive to uncover the veils of consciousness, time, and space. These Wizards master spells that provide them with enlightenment, foresight, remote viewing, and supernatural knowledge.

Divination Wizards are often hired by commoners and even royals, as many people seek a clearer understanding of their past, present, and future.

Enchantment – Wizards belonging to the School of Enchantment aim to master magic that charms and entrances people and monsters.

These enchanters are contrasted with becoming peacemakers who beguile violent creatures to put down their arms or tyrants who bind the unwilling to serve them for eternity. Most enchanters will fall somewhere in between.

Evocation – Adopting the School of Evocation allows a Wizard to study magic that creates powerful elemental effects like burning acid, bitter cold, cracking lightning, rolling thunder, and searing flame.

Evokers can find employment in military forces where they serve as magical artillery to blast enemies from far away. Others use their evocations to protect the weakest of society, and some even become adventurers, tyrants, or bandits.

Graviturgy – Graviturgy Wizards aim to understand and learn spells that drive bodies of matter apart and draw them together, learning to manipulate and bend gravity’s violent energy to their benefit or the destruction of their enemies.

Illusion – Wizards belonging to the School of Illusion focus their studies on magic that confuses the mind, confuses the senses, and tricks even the most brilliant minds.

Their magic is subtle, but these keen illusions can make even the most absurd things seem real. 

There are even illusionists – like gnome wizards – who are clever tricksters and entertainers. Unfortunately, others misuse their power to become masters of deception. Frightening and fooling those who cannot see through their sham.

Necromancy – Necromancy Wizards explore the cosmic forces of death, life, and undeath, learning to manipulate the energies that animate all living things.

Those who progress in this tradition learn to sap the life force from creatures, destroying their bodies and using their life essence as magical power.

Necromancers aren’t necessarily evil. However, many of their practices are considered taboo by certain societies.

Order of Scribes – Wizards belonging to the Order of Scribes are the very essence of Wizardry, primarily focused on recording magical discoveries for all Wizards to use and even magically altering their book and turning it into a trusted companion.

The Order of Scribes is described as the most literary tradition, even among Wizards who are known for studying magic intensively and never stopping, even after becoming masters. Most Wizards don’t even travel without having their books or scrolls handy.

Transmutation – Transmutation Wizards use spells that modify matter and energy, delighting in being an agent of change. Their spells allow them to alter both mental qualities and physical forms.

Transmuters are sometimes prankers or tinkerers who turn people into toads or transform copper into silver, while others take studying very seriously, wanting the power to create and destroy worlds.

War Magic – Wizards who embrace War Magic use the principles of abjuration and evocation, which teaches them how to empower their spells and bolster their defense.

Those who follow this tradition are called War Mages, and they use their magic to deal devastating blows and block any counterattacks with their increased defenses.

War Mages usually work with Evokers and Abjurers, often being teased by Evokers because of their split attention.

Combining Wizard With Kenku

Determining Your Wizard Subclass

Choosing your ideal subclass is subjective, but if your objective is optimization, try understanding what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass.

ClassRole
School of AbjurationController/Support
BladesingingStriker
Chronurgy MagicController/Support/Utility Caster
School of ConjurationController/Defender/Utility Caster
School of DivinationSupport/Utility Caster
School of EnchantmentController/Defender/Support
School of EvocationBlaster/Striker
Graviturgy MagicBlaster/Controller/Support
School of IllusionController/Face/Support/Utility Caster
School of NecromancyBlaster/Controller/Healer/Support
Order of ScribesLibrarian/Support/Utility Caster
School of TransmutationController/Defender/Support/Utility Caster
War MagicBlaster/Defender/Striker

Optimal Kenku Subrace

Kenku have bonuses to their Dexterity (2) and Wisdom (1) scores, which doesn’t help if you are becoming a Wizard; luckily, you won’t have to choose between subraces though.

Not even the vast skills Kenku have will really help them as Wizards, as most of their abilities are better used by Rangers or Rogues. Only their Wisdom bonus is good because of the proficiency they have on their saves with it.

On the other hand, Kenku won’t make bad Bladesingers, especially those who become more like bladesinging assassins. So if you’re looking to pick up Bladesinging, Kenku won’t be that bad.

Your Kenku Wizard Background

Your Kenku Wizard needs a unique background that will affect its choices, as well as the way it sees the world and what it wants to achieve.

Start by asking yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?

Place of Birth

Think of the environment a Kenku Wizard grew up in and how it affected them physically and emotionally and eventually shaped their view of the world.

Try to make their place of birth and upbringing correspond with their personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring their character alive.

Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.

Characteristics and Personality Traits

(Short outline of characteristics; are they proud, violent, or angry, and how does their class affect their personality).

Kenku Wizard Examples:

  • I’ll settle for nothing less than perfection.
  • I judge people based solely on their actions, not their words.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Kenku Wizard’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing (probably something about nature).

I’m determined to make something of myself.

Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Kenku Wizard has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.

Someone I loved dearly died because of a stupid mistake I made. That will never happen again.

Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Kenku Wizard – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.

I like keeping secrets and won’t share them with anyone.

Inspiration

Inspiration can be used by the DM to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.

I cannot abandon the path I’ve pathed for myself. The ones who killed my loved one will feel the wrath of my magic. That – I can promise them!

Note: If you’re struggling to create your background or just don’t want to think, the Player’s Handbook has well-thought-through backgrounds that you can use for your character or use as a mold.

Supplies and Gear For Kenku Wizards

Wizards start with the following equipment, together with the equipment from their background. Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.

  • (a) Quarterstaff or (b) Dagger
  • (a) Component pouch or (b) Arcane focus
  • (a) Scholar’s pack or (b) Explorer’s pack
  • Spellbook

You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole, inherited, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.

Note: By using your starting wealth, you can buy your own equipment (4d4 x 10 GP for Wizards).

Final Thoughts

Nobody would expect a Kenku, known for deception and theft, to become a scholar of the magical arts.

Even though Kenku don’t have any features or stats assisting them on their journey, they have their one arsenal of tricks in combination with their magic.

If you ever meet a Kenku Wizard, be sure to speak to him. Just approach with caution, as Kenku are known to be jumpy because of their harsh past.

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