Kenku Hideout: Part 1

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 08 March 2010

Kenku HideoutKenku HideoutA few weeks ago, I ran Treed! for my players. The results of their endeavor were a number of dead enemies and a captured Kenku. They wanted to interrogate the Kenku in hopes of finding more information about the kidnapped Darkmagics and also to see if there was any loot around. As a result of their interrogations (a skill challenge), they found out that the Kenku hideout was nearby and that one of the guards liked to sleep on the job.

They waited patiently for their time to attack and, when it came, proceed to climb up to the first level of the hideout. Just as the captured Kenku said, the guard was asleep at his post. The rogue quickly took him out and the party started moving towards the nearest set of double doors. However, they were unable to approach the doors without rousing the suspicion of the remaining Kenku guards. They took the first guard out without issue, and were to the door before the rest could get in position.

The sword mage decided to open the door and he saw quite a sight. Right near the door, a number of Kenku were playing cards. In a corner to the left, two Kenkus were playing dice and to the rear, four of them were eating super. One of the Kenkus came right up to the doorway. This worried the adventurers quite a bit and they decided the best course of action was to close the door again.

In the mean time, some of the Kenku guards were now in position to attack. The wing mage guard had no issue coming out of the shadows and engaging the adventurers, while the sneaks waited until they could take advantage of the area and hide. Eventually, the inevitable happened and all were engaged in the fight.

This was a tough fight for my group, partly because currently we only have four level 6 players. I also adjusted the monster stats by subtracting 2 from each of their defenses and adding a 2 to each of their attacks. More about that can be found here. Besides the hide/stealth rules, the other thing I've found hard to keep track of during a game is light effects. I've found it really hard to keep track of light levels, light sources, types of sight, and the like. These things are particularly important when trying to use the hide/stealth rules, since the darkness can provide concealment, but I feel like trying to keep track of who can see what really slows down the game. What do you think?

Encounter Details

Players (Level 6)

  • Anka - Shadar-Kai Swordmage
  • Birkalis - Half-Elf Bard
  • Finnan - Halfing Rogue
  • Skamos - Tiefling Psion


  • 4 Kenku Sneak (Level 4 Lurker) [DDI]
  • 8 Kenku Warrior (Level 7 Skirmisher Minion) Modified from [DDI]
  • 4 Kenku Wing Mage (Level 5 Artillery) Modified from [DDI]


  • Remember to take advantage of the Kenku sneaks ability to hide whenever it has cover from an ally. This could include moving your sneaks in such a way that gives each other advantage.
  • Warriors do extra damage when they have combat advantage. Wing mages can help provide combat advantage by using Death Flock.
  • Wing mages can also fly. This can help them get into combat easier, especially the ones acting as guards. It didn't happen in our game and one way to make it easier would be to decrease the space between the main hideout and the guard platforms.

It sure was tough, but a fun encounter with a lot of non-obvious choices. I particularly like shutting the door to the room full of kenku. FYI Skamos is a Psion; he doesn't have the discipline to be a Monk.

FYI on the sneaking rules - page 15 of the March errata, pg 280-281 of PHB covers concealment and cover. In the areas where there's dim light, which I think was was the whole outside area, there's partial concealment to characters with normal vision and none for characters with low-light vision. Everyone needs total concealment (darkness) or superior cover to initiate a hide (K-Sneaks just need cover from another Kenu w/o the total concealment), but once hidden you can move slowly through regular concealment to stay hidden (which would be total darkness for the low-light peeps).

As for your first note, with two kenkus this is not possible every round. Counter-example: two kenku sneaks: K2 granting cover to K1 against PC, K1 already hidden from previous round. K1 attacks PC (and hits for extra damage), K1 is no longer hidden from the attack. K1 then moves to grant cover to K2, but has no kenku-cover and so is not able to re-hide. K2 (now covered by K1) uses a move action to hide (and succeeds against PC). K2 now attacks (and hits for extra damage) and is no longer hidden. At the end of the round K1 & K2 are not hidden. [next round K2 can rehide and attack, but then not move to cover K1]

That scenario can get a little more complicated if they miss and stay hidden, but they still need some kind of kenku-cover, total concealment, or superior cover to re-hide. I think it would be easier if there were Kenkus that didn't care about hiding to constantly provide cover (and will get mowed down), or if the kenkus had blinds from which they could fire at the PCs instead of worrying about covering each other.

I'm going to post my interpretation of the Stealth rules tonight on my blog.

Filthy Crebain! Send them all off to the Raven Queen.

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