Kithkin are small, nimble humanoids. They are known for their skill at creating everything from folk medicine to weaponry, and live in villages called clachans. Major regions are led by cenns, kithkin particularly apt at tactics, leadership, or diplomacy.
But much of what makes kithkin who they are comes from thoughtweft. This empathic bond connects all kithkin, making each individual subconsciously aware of each other's thoughts, moods, and actions. Thoughtweft is an almost subliminal understanding of the minds of other kithkin, and it naturally binds kithkin together into tightly knit communities.
Thoughweft gives them the ability to cooperate like no other species and is the basis for many other kithkin qualities. For example, they are famed as sympathetic listeners, which strengthens their ties to each other and other races. In fact, they compare their society, and life itself, to the "wend and weave" of cloth; all is connected and interdependent. They are also a superstitious people. Everything from healing to farming to warfare is fraught with little rituals, charms, and ways to avoid ill luck.
The concept of the weave permeates all aspects of their culture. For instance, the concept of lanamnas refers to any unequal relationship, like cenn and townsfolk, or overseer and worker. Kithkin believe that such relationships can only work out if both parties know that each side contributes something important. In other words, they are woven together by their obligations to the other party.
Beyond the thoughtweft and their community spirit, kithkin have other quirks. They're innovative builders and alchemists, using both craftsmanship and magic to construct melee weapons, armor of leather and bronze, bows, slings, traps, farming equipment, furniture, potions, powder-bombs, healing circles, barrier rings, flight auras, and balloon-driven air vehicles.
Kithkin are reverent and superstitious. They venerate the mysterious greater elementals of Lorwyn, beings that embody the abstract concepts and dreams (and sometimes, nightmares) of the plane. They feel that the movements and actions of the greater elementals represent omens for their own lives, and watch them with respectful distance.
This augury mingles with the kithkin propensity for superstition; they propagate hundreds of odd little folk practices to protect their good fortune. For example, a kithkin might wear a bit of silver on her knife hand when eating jackmutton, to prevent the rest of the herd from becoming nervous or irritable. Most of these superstitious practices fall somewhere between wise folk medicine and utter hogwash in terms of actual usefulness, but kithkin follow them faithfully. Look for more superstitions in the flavor text of Lorwyn cards.
Kithkin celebrate Lammastide, a holiday involving dancing and the tying of ceremonial ribbons. Lammastide Weave refers to another important aspect of kithkin life, and dancing is an elaborate affair among kithkin, serving to heighten and solidify the bonds of thoughtweft. At the regular Lammastide Dance, complex dances are performed by huge crowds. These are elaborate affairs in which the dancers dart among, around, and between each other at astonishing speeds, yet with almost perfect execution. This isn't just a demonstration of thoughtweft; there's some magic involved that actually strengthens that bond through these dances.
They also celebrate the Aurora, an annual show of flickering lights that plays across Lorwyn's sky, usually with a gathering of multiple clachans and droning cenn speeches.
Though kithkin may appear to be small and harmless, this is a misconception that has fallen more than one opponent in battle. Their thoughtweft enables their armies to coordinate like no other, dissipating any disadvantage their size brings. Their forges and artisans produce some of the finest weapons and armor in the world. And then there are the cenns, the leaders whose wisdom and experience prove their worth time and time again. Gaddock Teeg, cenn of the clachan of Kinsbaile, is one of those leaders.
Kithkin use a lot of powders and dusts to perform their spellcraft. The empathetic nature of the thoughtweft allows kithkin healers to treat the cause of an illness rather than fight its symptoms.
Although they're protective of all creatures, many treefolk are especially fond of the empathic kithkin. (Guardian of Cloverdell)
Where the Lorwyn kithkin were open, the Shadowmoor kithkin are closed. Their extreme paranoia drives everything they do. Thoughtweft still exists, though the constant sense of danger drives the kithkin into even higher tension. Their stories and lore still exist, though they are little more than fearful warnings about the dangers and evil lurking behind everything and everyone. Their towns, known as douns, are armed fortresses where they huddle in fear, striking out like cornered animals against anything that draws near. The saddest part is that most of the time, such fear is almost justified. But this paranoia also keeps the kithkin isolated and paralyzed, unable to do much but anticipate the next dark assault.
Kithkin are still bound together as a people by the psychic tradition of thoughtweft, a power that links the hearts and minds of many as one. Unfortunately, in Shadowmoor the burgeoning power of this group consciousness breeds a conformist hive mind. Those that think differently from the kithkin seem alien to them, and that which is alien is fearful, something to be destroyed lest it bring harm to the community. Kithkin do not exult in evil, nor do they make a philosophy of hatred, but still these things fester deep in every kithkin's heart, erupting all too often in the xenophobia of the angry peasant mob.
The gate of every kithkin doun is a cunning trap, intended to spill visitors into an oubliette from which there is no escape.