Gnolls 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.
Tribal cultures sometimes have a different leader in war then when in peace. The tribal chieftain template I discussed last week was for a chieftain who mostly leads primarily by speaking. The tribal hero, or war chief if you prefer, leads by action.
You can represent this by simply applying the advanced template if you want fast, easy, and boring. If, instead, you’d like to challenge your players with a template designed for guerilla warfare tactics, join me after the jump for the tribal hero (CR +2).
After several months of coding, testing, and review, it is here! Rejoice, Hero Lab users, for all the monsters and templates of the Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG are fully available as an add-on pack for Pathfinder in Hero Lab.
If you are an existing Hero Lab user, you can pick up this package of more than 100 monsters for just $6.99.
If you want to get started with Hero Lab, you can buy a license for that software right away by visiting the Hero Lab site.
We hope you enjoy this latest venture, and we look forward to your comments!
“The sight of it made the earth seem unearthly. They were accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there—there you could look at a thing monstrous, beautiful, and free.” —Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
My first Old Hat Monster article was about breathing new life into the classic monster races with my civilized template. The idea plays off a common assumption that the monstrous humanoids are generally going to be unintelligent savages. This assumption is often reinforced by game mechanics and fantasy tradition. Breaking that mold always seems to work—the players always take the “civilized” monster a little more seriously.
The quandary, of course, is that this should be the very opposite. As the player characters explore uncharted territory, there should be a sense of unease . . . a fear of the unknown. Taming the wilds should be a frightening concept. The civilized urbane citizens of your favorite Pathfinder setting should be a little softer than those who still live off hunting and gathering.
Once again, game mechanics are to blame. Proceed cautiously after the jump as I present the first in a small series of tribal templates, starting with the tribal chieftain template (CR +1).
Feral hunter-scavengers, gnolls are demon-twisted humanoid hybrids. With the head of a hyena set upon a tall though hunched humanoid body, gnolls are covered in thick fur that ranges in color from brown to yellow, and their fur is usually matted with the filth they bathe in. With dull black eyes, amber nails, and a curled bushy tail, some subtypes have black spots, and others, thick bristled manes. Male gnolls are a few feet taller than most humans, and females tend to be slightly larger still, though are otherwise similar in appearance. Gnolls wear a hodge-podge of chain and plates for armor—a virtual chart of past kills, with each bit holding fond memories of carnage. Gnolls feed on warm flesh and rotting carrion with equal satisfaction, and their hunting parties, bands, and tribes are encountered in both desert and tundra. Breeding prolifically, they have huge nurseries in their Underdark or fortified surface lairs, and, when food is plentiful, they collect slaves to serve various needs. Most gnolls embrace their demonic heritage, making the majority of gnoll societies tribal and violent. That said, some “civilized” gnolls live in urban areas, where they control their animal instincts and even tolerate other races.