D&D General Tell Us About Your Gnolls! [+]

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
so does any one use The Flind?
and how do you use it - are they just bigger gnolls, a different species/monster or maybe a unique individual?
Yes! For me, flinds take over the demonic role left vacant by turning gnolls into a more nuanced people. My flinds are a lot like wendigos - gnolls possessed by evil spirits (in this case, demons) that are afflicted by ravenous, insatiable hunger and often driven to cannibalism as a result. My gnolls are born in the normal way, but the 5e origin for gnolls, where they were created from hyenas that ate the flesh of Yeenoghu’s victims, is essentially my gnolls’ origin myth for flinds. Just replace the hyenas with gnolls and the gnolls with flinds. For most gnolls, it’s a cautionary parable warning against resorting to scavenging. To Yeenoghu cultists (who are not viewed positively by the majority of gnoll society!) it’s aspirational, and their priests might perform rituals to desecrate a kill before eating it, in hopes of inviting demonic possession so they might be “elevated” into flinds.
 
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Yora

Legend
Early in 3rd edition, there was a miniatures set with black demon gnolls.
I don't know anything else about them, but they were cool to a 16 year old back in 2001. :)
 

Fifinjir

Explorer
Mine are not exclusively, or even primarily, hyenas, though they may have been the first animal to become them. Any beast that partakes in demonically tainted meat become gnolls, you really don’t want to mess around with a bear or boar gnoll, for instance. They’re also weirdly accepting of former prey who want to hunt with them, humanoids can become “honorary” gnolls surprisingly easily. Sometimes it gets to the point where a “gnoll” warband can have all the true gnolls DK off and become composed entirely of humanoids who are still animated by the same bloodthirst. (This part is actually taken from D&D canon, but isn’t often discussed).
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
And hyenas are actually neither. They’re feliforms, they just ended up as endurance-based pack hunters with crushing jaws instead of solitary ambush hunters with retractable claws through convergent evolution.
Yup. Early hyenas were also weird, with stuff like Chasmaporthes, the only hyena that made it over to North America, being a sprinter. There were a lot of generalist hyenas, the bone-crushers were just a specialised family. But in the end, all the dog-like hyena generalists died out but one, leaving the bone crushing group and the one weird survivor of the generalist line, who went all in on eating termites, the aardwolf. Meanwhile the canine relatives that were dedicated to bone crushing (borophaginae, one of the three groups inside canidae) went extinct due to competing with both felines and canines proper

As for gnolls I kind of just, swiped from Pathfinder 2 significantly in having different types
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Ah yeah, this question is my jam! I was running a not-Egypt D&D game that sadly fell apart. I used a mix of Hamaunaptra (Green Ronin) and Necropolis (Gygax) which included a gnoll race who were creations of Anubis. The player of the gnoll ranger asked for more details about his people, so I wrote this up...

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Anpur (Gnoll) Culture
Grim as the grave, gnolls live closest to the Red Lands and thus closest to death. They know the favor of kings blows hot and cold like the desert wind. During the 12th Dynasty, the golden line of Amenakht made close allies of the gnolls. Then they were mistreated as slaves during the 14th-16th Dynasties, when the Keshan “Jackal Lords” claimed the throne, only gaining their freedom in a bloody rebellion. From these ashes, the 17th Dynasty of Herumet rose with gnolls swelling the ranks of its military. Since then, human sentiment has grown suspicious as the Wasting pushes gnolls into contact with city-dwellers.

Northern and Southern Tribes
Anpur are nomadic, travelling between oases, secret watering holes, and seasonal streams. While gnolls have much in common, there is a clear distinction between tribes native to Northern Khemti versus Southern Khemti. As a rule, the further south a tribe hails from, the more it has suffered persecution at the hands of Settites or Keshans. Southern Khemti has a large gnoll population which has integrated into city life. The stereotype many have of gnolls as raiders stems from the ongoing conflicts between the southern tribes and the Settites and Keshans.

Anheni and the River of Fire
The Anheni are a northern tribe, believing they were given the sacred task of watching over the “river of fire” – a reference to a feature of the Underworld, and a metaphor for the diminishing edge between the Red Lands and Black Lands. Their annual migration takes them from Qema Oasis, to Kheperu Oasis, and to the Tashet. When a new priest or ghaffir (paladin) is chosen, some of the tribe travels to Tepra Oasis for the initiation.

Their priest, The White Arrow, consults with tribal elders on weighty decisions; he is known to contact tribe members with hyenas enchanted with animal messenger and marked with an ashen arrow on their snouts. It was The White Arrow’s ancestors who found one of the rare ka fentu (psychic scarab-symbiotes) in the Cave of Secret Waters, and (until recent events) its most recent host was Vashkeri. This ka fentu birthed three fentu over the last century, known by host’s names: Kaimeton, Nehkewet, and Tetchikamses.

Divine Truth
If Anpur have a second obsession, it is the truth. While human laws may recognize shades of truth, the law of Anubis is clear: What comes from the heart is true. False testimony and concealing one’s true feelings are viewed as equally dishonorable.

Isis, Blink Dogs, and Fentu
Legend holds that the psychic scarabs known as fentu were created by Isis in the wake of the Cataclysm, when the corrupt world was scorched by Ra’s fire. They were her gift to the tribes of Khemti. However, Anpur oral tradition paints a different picture. Isis sought to honor her brother Anubis’ yielding of the Basalt Throne to Osiris, and she created blink dogs in the likeness of the jackal-faced god as a gift to Anubis’ children.

A lost gnoll tribe domesticated these blink dogs –perhaps explaining why blink dogs in Khemti often understand the Gnoll language instead of, or in addition to, Sylvan. It was a blink dog which sniffed out the secret caves where fentu lived; thus, the Anpur believe themselves the first to discover the fentu. Elves – who claim descent from Isis – strongly disagree, and came to use the word “engnol” (jackal) as a disparaging term for “stealing the credit.” During the Cataclysm, this tribe was annihilated under uncertain circumstances and the blink dogs scattered across the desert. Some whisper the tribe fell to demon worhip, while others insinuate the blink dogs were elvish spies all along.

Allies Without: The Necropolis
Anubis has few functional temples; instead, his priests are found among Anpur tribes or small funerary shrines. There is is one exception. Kher-semet, the necropolis across the river from Hamunaptra, is the seat of the Shield of Semet, an order of monk-priests devoted to keeping tomb robbers and undead at bay. Gnolls have historically been received as friends by these monk-priests, though it is rare for gnolls to venture among the predominantly human tombs. Legend describes a gateway to Neter-khertet (the Ethereal Plane and/or Shadowfell) maintained in secret by the Anubian priests, which leads to the High Temple of the Jackal. The truth of this legend is suspect, as the High Temple was destroyed in the ancient past.

Enemies Within: Cult of Yeenoghu
While gnolls may harbor resentments against Osiris’ faithful and city-dwellers, they reserve hatred for the demon lord Yeenoghu. Preying on those gnolls who hunt demon kind, Yeenoghu tries to lure them into wanton acts of destruction that blur all boundaries of justice. To Yeenoghu there is no disproportionate response; there is only ruin and slaughter. The cult represents a miniscule number of gnolls, as tribes rally together to wipe out their kin fallen to Yeenoghu.

Ghost Stories
Every Anpur knows a handful of ghastly tales, with deep morals hidden behind the tragic and the grotesque. Ghosts are a centerpiece of gnoll story-telling, often revolving around a living hero who serves as a guide to lead the spirit to its final rest. A common theme is avoiding fates worse than death, such as eternal torment or slavery. The few examples of humor among the Anpur can be found in these ghost stories, though it often leans toward the macabre.

Death Without Borders
When a gnoll dies beyond the reach of its tribe, the tribe’s ghaffir (paladin) is tasked with retrieving the body. No matter what. Failure at this holy task is the highest shame and grounds for exile. Anpur tradition holds that no law supercedes this duty. Indeed, gnolls are so relentless in their pursuit of their tribe’s remains, that a saying is used throughout Khemti: “Better to come between two stones, than between a gnoll and his bones.”

Una’at: The Journey Backwards
There comes a time in a gnoll’s life when the bones of their ancestors call to them. This is known as the Una’at or “The Journey Backwards”, when a gnoll retraces their steps both individually and collectively as a family or tribe. For most, this happens toward their later years and may coincide with discovering the place they are meant to be buried. For a rare few, however, the Una’at becomes a call to adventure, pushing the gnoll towards discovering ancient mysteries of their people. One recent story tells of a cunning gnoll named Cheropthses who was called to “The Journey Backwards” at a young age, ultimately leading his entire tribe to rediscover the supposed birthplace of the Anpur, settling in the Eastern Redlander city of Qarta Nefu.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
In my campaigns, gnolls are humanoid species of dwindling numbers who have been pushed to the margins (this is actually true of all the so-called "monstrous humanoids" in my games, but gnolls more than most because unlike goblins and such, gnolls live on the surface world and have nowhere to retreat to where the "free peoples" won't pursue them). Since they lives of bare subsistence and scavenging, most of the time when others interact with them it is under the violent circumstances of raids and the like. However, there are some tribes of gnolls far from so-called "civilization" that do their best to avoid interacting with humans and the like because of how "savage" they are when they spot gnolls (assuming gnolls are all like the raiders they have more experience with).

I haven't given much thought to their religious and other cultural practices because it has not become relevant.

However, if anyone wants to start a (+) thread about goblinoids, I could be convinced to write a little about how goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears in my setting are all gendered expressions of the same species with a high degree of sexual dimorphism.
 
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For me, the gnolls were the first creation of Orlanda the Sorceress. Dissatisfied with the result, she discarded them and worked on uplifting other races. Shocked and disoriented in being raised to sentience and then thrown away, the gnolls reacted violently. This drew the attention of Yeenoghu, who adopted their form and gathered them into its fold. They are much like Frankenstein's monster, except falling further by being adopted by an abusive step-father.

However, there is hope for them yet. Isolating them from the teaching of their demon-pacted shamans allows them to find a different path, if such a tremendous effort can be expended. Predictably, they tend to go after the magicians first.
 

However, if anyone wants to start a (+) thread about goblinoids, I could be convinced to write a little about how goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears in my setting are all gendered expressions of the same species with a high degree of sexual dimorphism.
Sure, sounds interesting. Should we have an orc thread too, or can they be honorary goblinoids and share the tread, due belonging to that group in Tolkien and Warhammer? :sick:
 



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