Tree Villages

by Bramble Moonwilow

Kipper Snifferdoo
Max's Fantasy Art Gallery

Although most kender shortly after the time of the graygem settled (to use the term loosely) in the place that would one day be called Balifor, many did not. Wanderlust and numerous other reasons caused many kender to not follow Balif's lead. These set out exploring, mostly in groups, some of which became nomadic tribes (including the ones who would eventually found Hylo) which still wander the face of Krynn today. Many others, though, found their wanderlust waning after about twenty years or so, and settled at the place which was most convenient to have children. For many in the mostly virgin wilderness of ancient Ansalon, the most convenient place was in the tall trees around them.

Kender tree villages were numerous before the cataclysm, but that massive event shook them (in many cases literally) greatly. Suddenly, in many places where trees had been there weren't anymore. Most of the adaptable kender wandered, singly or perhaps forming nomadic tribes. Some of the older ones went to larger towns like Hylo or the budding Kendermore. As a result, there are only about half the amount of tree villages today than there were directly before the Kingpriest's folly.


Although the architecture of tree villages is as varied as any other kender town, all have one thing in common: they are dependent upon the trees. Some carve out hollows likened to caves, painting the walls to avoid sap; others build cozy cottages (usually half finished, with a little added on by each owner) into the sides of the trees. Most tree villages have at least one hollow tree, with floors added at sporadic intervals to allow for multiple tenants. Because of their homes' vulnerability to fire, most tree villages have developed a way of avoiding it, whether not using it, or special sap which is tapped regularly from their homes.


The 'streets' in kender tree villages are where their true originality shines through; no two are alike. There are walkways, rope bridges, spiraling stairs, ladders, climbing ropes, swinging vines, or villages where the kender simply climb the trees. Despite the villages' small size, it's often as easy to get the lost as the larger cities, although it's easier to find your way again than in the likes of Kendermore. Looking up from the ground, though, it's unlikely you'll be able to see anything of this network of transportation.

The Population

Tree villages are typically very small, and very rarely do any non-kender live in one. Generally, a tree village will hold from 20 to 60 kender, although there are exceptions, most notably the tree town Lookit near Hylo, which has a fluctuating population of 150 to 200, about 10% of which are non-kender.

As with most other kender towns, tree villages generally are inhabited by kender under twenty or over forty. In tree villages, the young learn by example; their natural curiosity makes them want to know what the adults are doing an how they do it, whether it be writing something down for later, carving a hoopak or admiring your neighbor's pouch. The more they see adults do something, the more curious they get about what it is, and thus they learn.


Tree village society is a society of equals, but there are those who are respected more than others. These are the Elders, and they consist of the members of the community who are older than ninety- a bare minority. In many tree villages, there is only one Elder. Elders are revered and respected as much as can be expected of kender, but there is no doubt that they deserve their 'rank'; what KENDER could live that long and not be one of the most experienced and knowledgeable creatures on Krynn? Elders are loved by all of the community for their stories and kind advice, especially the children, the latter to whom they often teach what other kender simply cannot. While they certainly aren't leaders, there words carry weight that few will find among kender.


The tree villages have gotten around the kender 'borrowing' urge quite nicely; everything in the community is shared, nothing belongs to anyone, and if you want something no one else is using, you take it. What would probably have been a disaster in a society of more lawfully inclined or cruel beings, works perfectly well for lighthanded, lighthearted kender. This arrangement sometimes causes some trouble when members of other races visit, or when a wandering kender encounters his first member of other races, but since the former almost never happens and they never truly understand the latter, the system continues to govern (or rather not) the kender as it always has.


Trade is nonexistent in tree villages, as implied by the previous section. Kender just share, and since almost never talk to kender or other races from elsewhere until wanderlust hits them, it never really hits them that anyone else would do anything different. This doesn't prove a problem during wanderlust- they just come off a bit more confused with human custom than most -but gods help the poor unknowing man who wanders into one of their towns.

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