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Gnasty Gnolls: Sand Dancers and Slavers in AGE

GnollGnolls have slaughtered their way to gaming infamy, and they are a favorite of gamemasters (GMs) and players alike. This article can be used by GMs to round out this age-old monster, or players can use it to create new characters. The following gnoll variant is formatted for AGE—though you can convert the material to your preferred system easily enough—and is specific to the Midgard campaign world.

Gnoll Sand Dancer

Indigenous to the Sarklan Desert, where their tribe is called the Kum Firtinasi, Sand Dancers roam the vast empty, having adapted to harsh desert life. These nomads prey on traders and travelers by night, and they go wherever the slaughter takes them, pitching tents made of skin to shelter from hot days. Sometimes hired to protect caravans, Sand Dancers sport gray robes that make them difficult to spot, and they are adept at ambushes, utilizing dunes and dust storms to conceal their approach. It is said that Sand Dancers drain and drink a victim’s blood for moisture, and this rumor has spawned tales that the Sand Dancers are actually vampires. Sand Dancers are hygienic for gnolls, burying their scat in sand banks and taking dust baths that reduce their stink. Sand Dancers have an affinity for bastard swords and crossbows.

Playing a Gnoll Sand Dancer

If you choose to play a Sand Dancer, modify your character as follows:

  • Add 1 to your Constitution. Sand Dancers must be tough to handle desert living.
  • Pick one of the following focuses: Perception (Hearing) or Perception (Smelling).
  • You can speak Kariv.
  • Choose a class. You can play either a warrior or a rogue.

Roll twice on the accompanying table for additional benefits. Roll 2d6 and add the dice together. If you get the same result twice, re-roll until you get something different.

GNOLL SAND DANCER

2d6 Roll Benefit
2 +1 Cunning
3–4 Weapon Group: Light Blades
5 Focus: Perception (Seeing)
6 Focus: Constitution (Running)
8-Jul +1 Strength
9 Focus: Constitution (Stamina)
10–11 Focus: Communication (Leadership)
12 Weapon Group: Bows

Gnoll Slaver

Slavers roam deserts and tundra alike. They use hyena teams to pull prison carts and ride individual ones into battle. Always searching for victims, Slavers do not stay in one place for long, and those they encounter and do not eat on the spot end up in bondage, and they are worked, sold, or traded. Skilled torturers, Slavers break body, mind, and spirit. Though Slavers make temporary alliances with traders and curb their blood-lust long enough to make a deal. More often than not, though, such meetings mean the capture or death of those they trade with, and cargoes of barley, hemp, jewels, linen, oils, papyrus, perfume, and spices are counted among their pilfered wares. Slavers are concentrated on the Rothenian Plains, were they are called Pashtva, and the Southlands, where they are called Kolelik. Slavers have an affinity for maces.

Playing a Gnoll Slaver

If you choose to play a gnoll Slaver, modify your character as follows:

  • Add 1 to your Perception. Slavers look for future victims.
  • Pick one of the following focuses: Communication (Animal Handling) or Perception (Tracking).
  • You can speak Khazzaki.
  • Choose a class. You can play either a warrior or a rogue.

Roll twice on the accompanying table for additional benefits. Roll 2d6 and add the dice together. If you get the same result twice, re-roll until you get something different.

GNOLL SLAVER

2d6 Roll Benefit
2 +1 Dexterity
3–4 Focus: Communication (Bargaining)
5 Focus: Dexterity (Brawling)
6 Focus: Cunning (Navigation)
7–8 +1 Strength
9 Focus: Strength (Intimidation)
10–11 Focus: Dexterity (Riding)
12 Weapon Group: Bludgeons

2 Replies to "Gnasty Gnolls: Sand Dancers and Slavers in AGE"

Doomedpaladin

May 30, 2013 at 9:47am

Hey Peter, I really enjoy your work with these Gnolls. I’m the same way with Roachlings, its easy to get caught up in the potential that a race posseses. If you have any more of these articles available could you do one for Anu-Akma’s ‘Holy Guides’?

When I wrote Anu-Akma’s description in the CS I tried to imply that his gnoll servants are sitting pretty feeding his ignorant surface worshipers to his ghoulish ones below when they grow old and ill. The worshipers think they’re going to the “afterlife”, and technically it will be, just not how they envisioned it. So the gnolls get treated like heroes on the surface, a major trading force for food by the world beneath, and focus on destroying any ghouls that try to get back through their tunnels in an attempt to expose the truth of the situation. I’d love to see your take on this role since they need to be both diplomatic, deceitful, and still strong enough to survive in the world beneath.

Pete von Bleichert

May 30, 2013 at 7:28pm

Doomedpaladin!
I am glad you’re enjoying these. I like your idea for another piece on these scoundrels. However, it sounds to me as though you are best qualified to write it. I am certain Kobold Press would give it fair hearing, and–if you survive the arrows, pit traps, and rolling boulders–would broadcast it to the masses. I would love to read it, so, please, get to work (or I’ll feed you to a subterranean ghoul!). For your enjoyment, there is one more installment due next week. And always remember: Roachlings are Gnoll hors d’oeuvres!
Pete
PS-There is always hope for a paladin; redemption may be fleeting, though is ever attainable.