Gnolls are beastly humanoids resembling predatory animals - hyenas, jackals, or wolves being the most common. They are only barely civilizable, with a wild streak in their personalities that no amount of schooling can remove.
Gnolls are one of the common races of the galaxy, present on many worlds. They prosper in wilderness areas and emerge to raid civilized settlements. House Aranath and House Esmer sometimes field gnoll regiments or drop them on a planet as raiders, but otherwise the only use most of the Dragon Empire has for wild gnolls is as target practice.
Slightly more civilized gnolls can work as scouts, animal trainers, forest wardens, trappers and hunters. In cities the try to become urban predators, running prostitution rings, protection rackets, repossession services or working as bounty hunters or enforcers. Some become spiritual advisors for people looking to reconnect with nature.
Yet other gnolls take more after wolves than hyenas, and are more lawful in alignment. These like to form orders and companies with military discipline, though they are still rather wild and violent.
Personality: Gnolls are very much like wild beasts, motivated by their base urges. They have a need to personally hunt and kill, but this can be channeled into other dominance games. They dislike a regular schedule and labor of any sort. A gnoll is governed heavily by its stomach, and grows increasingly aggressive when hungry - wise gnolls and their friends always have some junk food lying around.
Physical Description: Gnolls have the heads of beasts, which they carry low and horizontally. Their bodies are furred and beastlike as well. Most gnolls resemble jackals, with long, mangy, spotted fur. Some have a leaner body and more even coloration and resemble wolves or shorter fur and snouts resembling jackals. A few gnolls resemble rams or lions.
Relations: Gnolls get along with Bugbears and orcs, and can ally with humans. Elves and gnolls have a strange love-hate relationship, as they both love the wild and to express their emotions, but in very different ways. Gnolls have a very hard time relating to soulmechs because of their lack of instinct and wild passion, and many gnolls simply refuse to accept that soulmechs are even sentient.
Alignment: In the wild gnolls are chaotic evil with abandon. In civilization, gnolls can channel their wild natures in other ways. Few abandon both the ways of chaos and those of evil, however, so lawful good gnolls are really, really rare.
Gnoll Lands: Gnolls prefer to live on the fringe of civilization, so that they can raid and flee back into the wilderness when they want to. But the only lands gnolls can really call their own are the deep wilderness. In the empire, gnolls rarely have their own lands, but sometimes they can form a ruling elite and gain control of an area with a mixed population.
Religion: Gnolls honor The Destroyer and sometimes The Stormlord or The Adversary. The more lawful among them honor The Warrior. Some become clerics of these deities and create personality cults around themselves, but most ignore religion unless they have need of divine favor.
Language: Gnolls speak gnoll and common. Many also speak undercommon or whatever languages are spoken locally.
Names: Gnolls have descriptive names, either personal characteristic or something they have done. Typical names include Many Whelps, Strongarm, Bigaxe, Dwarfsplitter, Read Ear, Leaps-the-Clouds and so on.
Adventurers: Gnolls consider their regular lifestyle to be one of adventure, where they must constantly strive to stay on top of things or sink into the quagmire of their surroundings. While there is some point to this argument, true gnoll adventurers are few and far between. Some occasionally work as guides and aides to wilderness expeditions, but this is usually only temporary.
Gnoll Racial Traits
- +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Gnolls are like wild beasts, full of abandon.
- Medium-Size. No special rules applies to gnolls because of their size.
- Base speed 30 ft.
- Unusual physiognomy: Gnolls are medium-sized humanoids, but their body shape is unusual enough that armor must be specially fitted for them, at a 25% increase in price. Gnolls can wear light armor that has not been modified in this way, but it always counts as donned hastily.
- Natural Armor: Gnolls have a +1 natural armor bonus.
- Darkvision up to 60 ft.
- +2 racial bonus on Survial skill checks and Wile Empathy ability schecks because they are in touch with their bestial nature.
- Automatic Languages: common and gnoll. Bonus languages: giant, goblin, orc, sylvan, and worg.
- Favored Class: Ranger. A gnoll's ranger levels do not count when determining whether or not there is an XP penalty for multiclassing (see PH, chapter 3, experience penalty for multiclass characters).
- Level Equivalent: +1
These special feats are available to gnolls.
Beast Run (General)
Gnolls can learn to run very fast on all fours.
Benefit: When empty-handed, you can crop to all fours and move with a speed increase of +20 ft. You are not considered prone when you do this, and you need not perform any kind of action to stand up.
Gnolls can learn to use their natural fangs in combat.
Benefit: You can use your fangs in combat. Your jaws do 1d6 damage and you are considered armed when using them. They count as your primary attack when used, but may not be used together with other attacks. You may use your bite when grappling.
Bite Trip (General)
You can pull down foes that you have successfully bitten.
Benefit: A gnoll that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the gnoll.
Gnolls can train their natural scent to great levels.
Benefit: Gnolls with this ability automatically sense whenever a creature comes within 30 ft., and can automatically pinpoint such creatures as a standard action, even if they are concealed or invisible. The range of this ability is doubled upwind and halved downwind. Incorporeal creatures cannot normally be detected by smell.