When it comes to humanoids, gnolls are either the best or worst of a bad lot. They can be played as noble savages (see Mystara), remorseless slavers (see the Forgotten Realms), or gibbering maniacs (see Classic Monsters Revisited…oh, and The Lion King). And since they travel in packs and are quick to ally with flinds, trolls, ghouls, and worse, they can quickly overwhelm unprepared PCs.
The Shattered Thigh gnoll clan, once a manageable nuisance on the frontier, has become a veritable terror since the spring floods. A new witch leader has revealed a genius for tactics, and her successes have turned the gnolls away from worship of the Blood Mother in favor of her unnamed dark patron. Some in the tribe are growing concerned, however, because the witch is becoming undeniably madder by the day. A few even mutter it appears her tarantula familiar is really leading the tribe, if such a thing were possible…
Gnolls’ willingness to adopt outsiders into their midst can make for some very strange tribes. Jemsin’s Mob is a flind-led lot featuring trolls, ghoul thralls, half-orc affliction-ridden oracles, and a mad band of human barbarian berserkers and anti-paladins that are truly terrifying in their savagery.
Gnolls are common in the servant, untouchable, and criminal classes of Punwar. Among them are the feared Night of the New Moon, a group of thuggees. These assassins kill for both money and devotional reasons, and have a number of taboos that determine the contracts that they will accept—for instance, they will never kill a priest or a pregnant mother. They also engage in intermittent war with rival doppelganger-led guilds that they regard as anathemas. They occasionally ally with the rare local rakshasas, regarding them as hyenas would lions on the savannah—as potential sources for spoils, but far too dangerous to be trusted.
—Classic Monsters Revisited 10–15 & Pathfinder Bestiary 155
Gnolls are hands-down the most awesome humanoids ever. Don’t believe me? Best race in GAZ 10 The Orcs of Thar? Gnolls. Coolest nation in the Known World? Graakhalia, a subterranean desert nation of gnolls and elves. Best Dragon Magazine Ecology? “The Ecology of the Flind” in issue #173. Gnolls: Love them and fear them. This I command.
Given yesterday’s epic-length post, I thought I’d save nudging you about Saturday’s show—featuring a guest-DJ set by Nicholas Sjostrom—for today. Download it!
(If the file skips, you know the drill: Let load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes. Link good until Friday, 5/18, at midnight.)