The Kalona are an opportunistic and highly adaptable species, finding whatever they need wherever they are at the moment, whether it belongs to them or not. This is not to say that they are a dishonest people, but they are very creative when it comes to organizing their needs. Kalona are insatiably curious as well, which often changes the nature of their “needs” from day to day, if not moment to moment. The Kalona tell the story of their progenitor, by whose name the entire species is known, and how he created his children after he was rudely awakened during the Age of Ash:
Kalona was woken from his sleep because he could not stay warm enough. He turned and turned in his nest, but it was to no avail – something was wrong. He looked out onto the world and saw that it had grown terribly cold since he had gone to sleep – the warmth of life had drained out of the world and been replaced by the frigid stench of the Dead. Not only that, but the Dead were making an awful moaning noise that kept him awake as well and was giving him quite the headache, as they blocked out the beautiful songs of his raven children who lived above him in the tree. What was worse, someone had stolen all the down he had so carefully collected to make his nest – no wonder he was so cold!
Kalona decided three things: first, he had to bring more life into the world to raise the temperature to a respectable level. Second, the dead were making it hard to sleep, so he needed to get rid of them. Finally, he needed to get more down for his nest so he sleep properly. Kalona rolled out of his nest in a foul mood and set off on his quest.
The first person he met as he climbed out of his tree was Pixie, who was giggling and dancing around the base of the tree. He asked Pixie, “What is so funny?” To which Pixie replied, “Oh, nothing brother Kalona – but as i was dancing here under your tree, someone ran by with a bundle of black down under his arm and it tickled me something terrible!” Kalona asked which way the thief had gone but Pixie could not say, so Kalona began wandering around looking for clues. Then he heard Pixie call out from behind the tree, “I think he ran to the east, Brother Kalona! Look there!” Kalona quickly set off toward the rising sun to find his stolen feathers.
After many days of travelling, Kalona had found no one but the Dead and none of them had feathers. Putting all of those he found to rest, finally he came to a great brown river and saw Elf with a raft, dipping his toe in the water and shaking his head, looking terribly dismayed. “Ho there, Brother Elf! What seems to be the trouble?” Elf looked up and said, “Brother Kalona, I have this great bag of jewels to trade with Gnome in Matawan, but I am too weak and afraid to push my raft by myself.” Kalona said, “I will help you, Brother Elf,” and helped Elf pole his raft across the river. However, when they got to the other side, Elf tried to clap Kalona in chains, but Kalona was too quick for him and Elf slipped and fell face-first into the mud. Kalona was miles away when Elf got back up and noticed his bag of gems was gone. Kalona turned and cawed, “Thank you for the gems, Brother Elf! Glad I could help you!” These gems were very nice, he thought, but still he had no down for his nest. Then he heard the voice of Pixie, “he went to see Gnome in Matawan!”[The story continues in this vein for some time, with Kalona visiting each of the races of the Dust, assisting them and finding some valuable object, sometimes by trickery, sometimes as a gift or payment. Eventually he returns home]
So Kalona returned home, laden with magic and treasure, but still with no down for his nest. He sat examining his haul, but wondering why after all this time he had still not found his stolen down. Then he heard Pixie’s voice again “He is not here, Brother Kalona! You must search elsewhere!” Kalona replied, “But Pixie I have searched everywhere!” Pixie said, “Well, you won’t find him here! Try again!” Suddenly, Kalona realized that Pixie’s voice was coming from above him in the tree, which was strange, because Pixie didn’t like heights. So, Kalona snuck up the tree and found the ravens all nesting in his stolen black down. Kalona was amused, angered, and embarrassed in equal measure. “So, my little ones, it was you who stole your father’s nest and sent him traipsing across the Dust? You are as clever as you are naughty! Now as a good father, I must return the lesson you have taught me in kind! No longer will you nest higher than me!” and at that, he turned the raven’s wings into hands. “You will forever more live in the Dust and not high in the trees, my children, but you will grow large that you might hold the heat of the sun in your feathers and warm the world with your presence!” Kalona waved his wing and the ravens grew to human-sized. “The noisy Dead overwhelm your beautiful songs with their incessant moaning – let your voices be heard wherever they are, croaking your lullabyes as you rid the Dust of their noisome presence!” The ravens, now kalona, crowed in assent. “As you have helped your father in your own way, I leave you with your raven’s tongue and your helpful spirit. Now, GO! I charge you with lining my nest for the rest of time to pay me back for the down you have stolen!” Thus did the kalona depart from their father, each with a little piece of treasure they had taken from Kalona’s nest on the way down to the Dust.
Game Information (the kalona originally appeared as “kenku” in the Monster Manual III)
- +2 Dexterity, –2 Strength.
- A kalona’s base land speed is 30 feet.
- Great Ally (Ex): Kalona work exceptionally well with their allies. When successfully aided on a skill check or attack roll by an ally, or when aiding another, a kalona applies or gains a +3 bonus on its check or attack roll (instead of the normal +2 bonus). Furthermore, a kalona gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls against an opponent flanked by an ally (instead of the normal +2 bonus).
- Mimicry (Ex): A kalona can perfectly mimic familiar sounds, voices, and accents. This ability does not enable the kalona to speak languages it can’t normally speak. To duplicate a specific individual’s voice, a kalona makes a Bluff check; a listener familiar with the voice being imitated must succeed on an opposed Sense Motive check to discern that the voice isn’t genuine.
- Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d3).
- +2 racial bonus on Hide checks and Move Silently checks.
- Low-light vision.
- Automatic Languages: Sylvan (Common) and Kalona. Bonus Languages: Auran, Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling.
- Favored Class: Rogue