Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

Feathered folk who resemble ravens, kenku are blessed with keen observation and supernaturally accurate memories. None of them can remember the origin of the first kenku, however, and they often joke that there are as many kenku origin stories as there are kenku. Some of them paint their genesis as a curse, being a flightless bird people doomed to mimic other people’s creations. Other kenku recite cryptic but beautiful poems about their advent being a blessed event in which they were sent into the multiverse to observe and catalog its many wonders.

Whatever their true origin, kenku are most often found in the Shadowfell and the Material Plane, and they tend to have the coloration typical of ravens.

  • Ability Score Increase. When determining your character’s ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. You can't raise any of your scores above 20.
  • Creature Type. You are a Humanoid.
  • Size. Your size is Medium or Small. You choose the size when you select this race.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Expert Duplication. When you copy writing or craftwork produced by yourself or someone else, you have advantage on any ability checks you make to produce an exact duplicate.
  • Kenku Recall. Thanks to your supernaturally good memory, you have proficiency in two skills of your choice.
    • Moreover, when you make an ability check using any skill in which you have proficiency, you can give yourself advantage on the check before rolling the d20. You can give yourself advantage in this way a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Mimicry. You can accurately mimic sounds you have heard, including voices. A creature that hears the sounds you make can tell they are imitations only with a successful Wisdom (Insight) check against a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier.
  • Languages. Your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Player’s Handbook offers a list of languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.

Volo's Guide to Monsters

Haunted by an ancient crime that robbed them of their wings, the flightless kenku wander the world as vagabonds and burglars who live at the edge of human society. Kenku suffer from a sinister reputation that is not wholly unearned, but they can prove to be valuable allies.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Age. Kenku have shorter lifespans than humans. They reach maturity at about 12 years old and can live to 60.
  • Alignment. Kenku are chaotic creatures, rarely making enduring commitments, and they care mostly for preserving their own hides. They are generally chaotic neutral in outlook.
  • Size. Kenku are around 5 feet tall and weigh between 90 and 120 pounds. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Expert Forgery. You can duplicate other creatures' handwriting and craftwork. You have advantage on all checks made to produce forgeries or duplicates of existing objects.
  • Kenku Training. You are proficient in your choice of two of the following skills: Acrobatics, Deception, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand.
  • Mimicry. You can mimic sounds you have heard, including voices. A creature that hears the sounds you make can tell they are imitations with a successful Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by your Charisma (Deception) check.
  • Languages. You can read and write Common and Auran, but you can speak only by using your Mimicry trait.