One of the many races of the Innworld, and one of the three dominant races on the continent of Izril. They are a tribal, semi-nomadic people of hunter-gatherers that resemble large, bipedal hyenas. In ages past they have narrowly avoided extinction, and since then have been sharing southern Izril with the Drakes, with whom they are loosely affiliated. Their main claim to fame these days is the sterling reputation of their bowmakers and traders. On the world stage, Gnolls play next to no role, usually only being mentioned in passing - and even then only when Drakes are brought up.
It would be easy to mistake Gnolls as uncultured, savage half-beasts, mere relics of a more primal age who have only survived to this day on the coattails of the Drakes. The majority of the world does so. But the truth is rather more complex. Theirs is a reclusive, pragmatic, self-sufficient, fully civilized, and highly organized society that keeps its substantial ambition as close as they keep to each other.
- 1 Physiology
- 2 Subraces
- 3 Behavior and Culture
- 3.1 Personality
- 3.2 Social Identity
- 3.3 Tribal Life
- 3.4 Tribal Politics and Organization
- 3.5 Merit, Worth, Leadership
- 3.6 Trade, Debt, Guilt
- 3.7 Prejudices and Superstitions
- 3.8 Language
- 3.9 Humor
- 3.10 Hospitality
- 3.11 Clothing Habits
- 3.12 Sexuality
- 3.13 Upbringing
- 3.14 Signature Weapon
- 3.15 Known Gnoll Tribes
- 4 History
- 5 Relations
- 6 Trivia
- 7 References
A Gnoll resembles a large, anthropomorphic hyena. They are the largest bipedal non-monster race native to Izril, and among the largest in the entire world. Only Soldier Antinium and Minotaurs are directly confirmed as larger. Few Gnolls are less than six feet tall, and the source text has many examples notably larger than that. Based on this, it can be speculated that their racial median is several inches above six feet.
In addition to their height, Gnolls have a distinct, thickset build. Not like the mountains of muscle that are Minotaurs, but they are still strong. Stronger than Humans or Drakes, easily. Most adults can bench press 200 pounds without prior training. Both Erin and Ryoka have separately been reminded of bears when considering their build. And their hugs are apparently just as crushing. Erin’s first real conversation with Krshia involves her knees buckling when the Gnoll gives her a friendly clap on the shoulder.
No mention is made of the weight of a typical Gnoll. However, based on the size and build, rough estimates would place them at least around 250 pounds. Or more, depending on the individual. Their fur alone probably adds a solid ten pounds on top of what a comparably built Human might weigh.
There is less sexual dimorphism among Gnolls than there is among Humans. Both genders reach the same heights and body mass. Erin could not initially tell that Krshia was in fact female, and only realized it the second time they met. Female Gnolls are said to wear breast bands for modesty, implying that they have Human-like breasts up on their chests, but they may be less well developed and/or been covered by clothing, explaining Erin’s confusion.
Gnoll fur is thick, shaggy, wiry, and scruffy. It comes in a large variety of colors, from black over grey to blond, in all shades of brown, and even reddish-orange tones. It can be uniform, or have markings in the form of spots, stripes, or mottling. Very rarely, it might be pure white, but that is an unnatural color and carries a deeply negative significance among Gnolls. In spring and fall, Gnolls shed profusely as they change between summer and winter coats.
Gnolls have large, jagged, bone-crushing teeth in the typical hyena fashion. Their faces feature damp noses and whiskers. Gnoll eyes have no whites, just dark pupils and colored cornea. Their highly mobile ears, while often mentioned in relation to body language, are never actually described in detail in the source text. If following the hyena analogy, Gnoll ears could be quite large, round with a slight tip, and furred both inside and out.
Gnoll hands and feet are exclusively referred to as ‘paws’ in the source material, including by Gnolls themselves. This implies short, stubby digits in lieu of a Human's longer fingers. However, they are said to be reasonably dexterous for what they are. Throughout the story, Gnolls are seen using tools, weapons, musical instruments, and other devices made for Humans or Drakes without any apparent disadvantage. Additionally, Gnolls feature large retractable claws on all four paws, in the typical feline fashion. This is unlike real hyenas, whose claws do not retract.
Gnolls also have bushy tails, which are of significant importance to their body language, together with their ears.
It is said that Gnolls have a certain bestial air around them, and Humans in the story are often very uncomfortable in their presence when not used to dealing with them. The fact that Gnoll smiles are very toothy even when well-meaning probably doesn’t help...
Gnolls have an excellent sense of smell. Much like dogs, they can identify people by scent even before they enter a room, determine someone’s emotional state or physical health, tell if they have been in a fight recently, track by scent, and many other things. The ability of Gnolls to smell blood is a recognized aspect of law enforcement in Drake cities. Young Gnolls have the best noses.
Gnoll hearing is very acute as well; it is roughly four times as good as the average Drake or Human. Trying to whisper while a Gnoll is nearby is usually doomed to failure, as they will hear you anyway. Gnolls themselves can whisper among each other, though; it’s just a matter of lowering their voices enough. As is the case with smell, young Gnolls also hear better than adults.
Gnolls have very good eyesight and can make out rough details even in pitch-black darkness.
The source material never addresses the aging process or the life expectancy of Gnolls. Considering this, it is likely to be similar to that of Humans, as large differences would have been worth mentioning.
Gnolls have the standard two mammalian sexes, male and female, and give live birth. No mention is made in the source text about the typical number of children per pregnancy.
Female Gnolls do not menstruate the way humans do. Instead, once or twice per year, females go into heat (also called estrus). They generally enjoy the experience, much to the envy of a certain innkeeper.
Male Gnolls are equipped similarly to canines, and as a result, a single joining can last up to an hour.
Gnoll children look like vicious puppies, and typically behave somewhat animal-like. They start out life as quadrupeds, and are awkward on two legs for many years. At some point, but no earlier than age seven, each Gnoll child experiences what is known as their 'shifting year', during which their bone structure changes into one optimized for a bipedal lifestyle. For most of their childhood, they remain fairly compact, until they hit a growth spurt - possibly in conjunction with the 'shifting year'. As teenagers, they already tower over most humans. Females hit puberty sooner than males do.
Gnolls are obligate carnivores. They must consume meat regularly in order to acquire essential nutrients which their bodies cannot produce internally. However, modern Gnolls have adapted to safely eat a wide variety of other foods as well. In the story, they are seen enjoying things like bread, cheese and dairy, pasta, lettuce and onion, and many mixed dishes. Chocolate is not a problem either.
Still, Gnollish cuisine remains heavily meat-focused. A popular snack food is specially prepared kind of raw meat. When cooking, many Gnolls prefer their meat hot, but rare enough to be bloody. Traditional Gnollish dishes include kebabs, marinated beef and vegetables, meat-stuffed tortellini, fish soup with dried beef, meatballs, and silkap - a thick paste of rendered fat, pork meat, spices, milk, and onions.
Gnolls like their food strongly flavored, but not as spicy-hot as Drakes would prefer. They also lean towards stronger alcohols - perhaps they simply need more to get drunk, due to their high body mass. Among non-alcoholic beverages, Gnolls favor tea. They have a number of traditional herbal blends, often also quite strongly flavored. Some of them have interesting beneficial effects, such as acting as a contraceptive.
In contrast to Drakes and Humans, Gnolls are not above eating people. Little information is provided about how widespread the practice is, but outside of some especially backwater tribes in the deep south, it appears to be a form of capital punishment. Humans might hang a serious criminal offender; Gnolls might serve them to the offended parties for dinner.
As a tribal culture, Gnolls have access to tribal magic. This means that a special caster class, a [Shaman], can channel the mana of nearby tribe members to invoke magical effects. The more tribe members are nearby, the more powerful the [Shaman] becomes. It has been said that Gnolls are apparently very good at tribal magic, perhaps even more so than other tribal cultures.
Classic [Mages] or variations thereof do not currently exist among Gnolls. Wistram, the academy of magic, maintains that this is because the entire race is magic-deficient. The Gnolls themselves have never accepted this claim, and have sought to prove otherwise - but so far with little success. Any Gnoll who attempts to gain a magic class either becomes a [Shaman], or fails entirely. This has been going on for at least a few centuries now, and the Gnolls still have no idea why. But they maintain that, in the past, even Gnoll [Archmages] have existed.
Two Gnolls have recently bucked this trend, and managed to obtain a caster class other than [Shaman]. Drake Magus Grimalkin of Pallass considers the entire affair to be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy - that Gnolls have stopped being able to become [Mages] only because something or someone convinced them that they couldn't. Teriarch also considers it weird that anyone would think or claim that a Gnoll couldn't learn magic. Still, even Grimalkin admits that there seems to be something odd going on in recent generations with regards to Gnolls accessing their own innate mana reserves, and that it requires an unusually high amount of effort to overcome.
Gnoll children walk on all fours when they are young, but eventually graduate to walking on two legs as they get older. However, even adult Gnolls can still move on all fours if they choose to - and they are actually faster than on two legs that way. Although few Gnolls ever leave their tribes, and even fewer of them are found in Human cities, Gnoll [Runners] have been mentioned as far north as Invrisil.
A Gnoll’s fur makes them susceptible to injury by fire. Erin has gone as far as calling Gnolls “highly flammable”. This quality also makes it rare for Gnolls to engage in metalworking and smithing, as they tend to get burned frequently in the process.
An unknown effect currently prevents all Gnolls from picking up magic classes other than [Shaman].
An ancient, subterranean offshoot of the Gnoll race, Raskghar were thought to be long extinct until a population of them was discovered in Liscor’s dungeon. The specific details of their creation are unknown even to the Gnolls, but it somehow involved willingly giving up their identity as people and choosing to become monsters instead. Raskghar are larger and stronger than true Gnolls, but cannot level, and possess only animal-level intelligence outside of full moon periods.
Keilam, a former member of the Halfseekers, was half Gnoll, half Cat-Tribe Beastkin. He is described as having inherited more of the feline side, but with enough Gnoll to make him an outcast among Cat Beastkin.
Krshia has implied that Gnolls and Humans cannot normally interbreed. The same is expected to be true for Gnoll and Drakes. But where nature fails, magic can help out. Special fertility spells have enabled various Gnoll/Drake pairings to produce healthy offspring. Children born with the aid of fertility spells do not count as Half-Gnolls, however. They tend to be visually pure members of one of the parents' species, with no hints of mixed ancestry. The spells are so rigorous that, in one known case, a pair of twins ended up split into different species.
Like many other humanoids, Gnolls can also go through the strange processes involved in becoming one of the Drowned People.
Behavior and Culture
Gnolls in general are wilder, more primal, more attuned to survival, less used to living in safe environments (like cities) than other races. This reflects in their habits and mannerisms, making them attentive, guarded, methodic, and distrustful of strangers. They are considered prideful, and as a result, can be touchy and stubborn when approached the wrong way. However, in contrast to Drakes, this pride is less about race-wide patriotism and more about the individual’s integrity and worth. Gnolls also lack the short fuse and inherent belligerence of the Drakes, and are often seen reacting to and addressing issues in a methodical and organized manner. Next to a Drake, they might be seen as a voice of reason - perhaps this is why Olesm once bemoaned the lack of Gnolls in Liscor’s ruling council. But once railed, their temperament is no less intense, and they keep grudges for their entire lives if they are not settled.
Gnolls are pragmatic and grounded, and look at what is, not what could be. It’s deeply ingrained into their way of life, and is an anchor to cling to when facing despair. Their pragmatism trumps even things like prejudice; Gnolls do not see race as much as others might when it comes to making friends. After all, a single decent person should not be blamed for the past failings of their people as a whole.
Gnolls are generally straightforward with their words and actions, and don’t beat around the bush. Being blunt with them can be the right approach in many cases. When a Gnoll is not being direct, they may not be speaking freely, or may be trying to hide something.
Towards strangers, a tribal Gnoll tends to be taciturn, curt, and closed off. This goes double when a higher-ranking member of the tribe is present; then most Gnolls will leave all talking to them and not say anything at all. In contrast to Dullahans, though, Gnolls have no inherent trouble addressing strangers when it suits them. For example, if a Gnoll hopes to sell you something, or if they think there is some other form of worth in knowing you (see Merit, Worth, Leadership, below), they can be quite welcoming all of a sudden.
Among good friends or members of their tribe, a happy Gnoll is a gregarious, boisterous creature, who will express themselves loudly and physically, freely dispensing friendly pats, pokes, hugs, and slaps that make smaller races wince. When a Gnoll is sad, they’ll rarely cry; their grief is quiet, private, and turned inwards. An annoyed Gnoll has urges to smack the other party around a bit, kick some shins, pull some ears, or other such things - and frequently acts on them. A properly angry Gnoll, by contrast, keeps themselves tightly in check. At that point, the tension is too high for mere smacking, and any physical altercation is likely to get violent in a hurry. This trend continues to its logical extreme: a silently seething, perfectly still Gnoll is the worst news of all.
Gnolls are pack creatures, and having a pecking order comes natural to them. As a result, they are very conscious about figures of authority, and offer adequate formal deference as a matter of course where appropriate. However, they are not hung up on specific ranks and titles like Drakes are. It’s all about the difference in personal influence between two people - and Gnolls quickly drop all semblance of formality around those they consider their equal, even in nominally formal settings.
More than anything else, however, Gnolls are focused and serious. When they’re doing something, they give it their full and undivided attention, sometimes to the point of severity. Their task is serious business. Their tribe is serious business. Their vocation is serious business. Their grudges are serious business. Their history is serious business. Ball games are serious business. Even their dating is serious business. That’s not to say they cannot enjoy themselves, or have a sense of humor; it just means that a Gnoll does not mess about. A Gnoll commits. Their personal pride and sense of duty will not allow anything less. In the entire source text, there is not a single lazy or frivolous Gnoll to be found anywhere, unless you count the youngest children. Even the corrupt Gnoll senator in Pallas pursues his path with dedication, putting himself forward as the speaker for the assembly whenever he can.
Tribal Gnolls are an extremely tightly knit people. For all their readiness to overlook race in making acquaintances, Gnolls ultimately like to be among, and work with, Gnolls. They don’t enjoy mixing and working with other races all that much.
Tribes like the Silverfangs, who came to Liscor by their own choice, can be seen as somewhat of an exception. Tribes in the wild are more reclusive, and some tribes deep in the Gnoll heartlands may be actively hostile towards foreigners. But even the Silverfang Gnolls stick to their own part of Liscor, settling in sort of a ‘Gnoll ghetto’ instead of integrating themselves into Drake society, and unofficially govern themselves despite living under Drake law.
It’s a recurring undercurrent in their portrayal that non-Gnolls are rarely allowed to penetrate their society to any measurable depth. For example, the concept of sharing a secret with literally every Gnoll under the sun while at the same time telling literally no one else makes perfect sense to a Gnoll. There seems to be no active malice or racism in this, nor any unhealthy amount of patriotism, as might for example be in Drakes shunning foreigners. It’s just that Gnolls have very close ties to one another; particularly within a tribe, but to some extent even across tribes. And that means that there is a fundamental gap between a Gnoll and a non-Gnoll, one that goes well beyond merely “they look different from us”. An outsider cannot begin to understand the way Gnolls feel connected to one another - and even if they did, they still could not connect the same way.
This gap is seldomly bridged even when it comes to close friends and allies of other races. For example, Ryoka Griffin received warm (if initially wary) hospitality from the Stone Spears tribe, and amazed them with her stories; and she was declared a “friend to all Gnolls” by the Silverfang tribe of Liscor. Yet, when Ryoka returned from her errand, the Stone Spears tribe would have been perfectly happy to let her walk past without meeting again. It took Ryoka’s active calling out for a hiding Gnoll to reveal herself. And while Krshia will honor her word and make all sorts of preferential treatment available to Ryoka and her close associates, and even speak of her in front of the gathering of tribes, the Gnoll did not extend an invitation to Ryoka to join the gathering and meet other tribes. If the author’s intent was to not have Ryoka there, it would have been easy to have her simply refuse to attend, based on her antisocial personality. But it never came to that. Even when Ryoka outright asked for friendship as the only payment to even the score between them, Krshia never considered the possibility of inviting her.
Krshia later did invite Erin to visit the Gnoll lands. Not to participate in the gathering, though - she would have to remain on the outside of that. It is the first instance in the source text of a Gnoll showing this level of openness to an outsider, even if Humans aren't banned from visiting per se. However, in light of Hawk's experiences, it was perhaps wise of Krshia to offer to be Erin's guide.
Love is perhaps the only force in the universe capable of letting a Gnoll grow truly close to a member of another species, as there are canon examples of Gnolls with intact tribal affiliations marrying Drakes. However, as these examples are only mentioned in passing, it is unclear what degree of acceptance the non-Gnoll receives from their spouse’s peers. And as Drassi tells it, such pairings often come with significant expectations of conformity to Gnoll social norms. Whenever she dated a Gnoll, he would invariably start talking about the importance of his tribe, and the commitments expected of her.
There is an opposite face on the coin of this social inward focus, however. As much as it stunts their ties to other races, it strengthens the ties among Gnolls themselves. Apart from the Antinium, there is perhaps no other species in Innworld that coordinates and operates together as naturally, effectively, and at the same massive scale as the Gnolls do.
The kinship that tribal Gnolls feel towards each other is incredibly strong, to the point where murder is a foreign concept to them. Gnolls will disagree with each other, perhaps get in a fight, perhaps even kill each other if they meet on the field of battle on opposing sides. But they would never secretly plot another Gnoll’s death through underhanded means. That would be a direct violation of everything it means to be a Gnoll. The only counterexample seen so far is a wanted criminal of the worst sort, and not affiliated with any tribe.
Gnolls also tend heavily towards nepotism in their social networking. When Krshia sources goods for Erin and friends, or refers them to other traders, she involves exclusively Silverfang tribe Gnolls. Only if none are on hand that fit the bill, the selection expands to Gnolls from other tribes, or tribe-less City Gnolls. And only if there are none among those who can do the job or provide the goods, only then are other sources even considered.
Core values among Gnolls are adaptation and personal growth, as well as self-sufficiency. Another core value is teamwork. This looks like a contradiction at first, but makes perfect sense to a Gnoll. The self-sufficiency and personal growth comes in at the individual level; the teamwork is for the tribe, and the species. A Gnoll strives to be the best they can be at their chosen path of life, both in order to gain standing (see Merit, Worth, Leadership further below), and in order to be strong for each other, and for all of Gnollkind.
During the first Antinium War, the Gnolls reacted faster to the new threat than anyone else, despite being ostensibly splintered into countless individual tribes with no central government. They assembled twenty thousand elites from across many hundreds of tribes before the invaders even set foot in their territory, promptly wiped out an Antinium force four times their number in a single day, and finished raising a regular army six figures strong a mere week later. And where the Drakes failed to mount an effective defense of their lands, the Gnolls succeeded. This illustrates how each individual Gnoll, and each individual tribe, will set aside their personal business and grievances at the drop of a hat to honor the bonds of kinship to their species as a whole - and with what surprising speed and efficiency the Gnolls can organize themselves at any scale.
Gnolls can also make declarations of intent as a species. An individual tribe may go to war or make peace as they wish; but when Gnolls as a whole declare war, then literally every tribe will be acting in unison. No matter where they live, no matter their individual relationship with the offending party, no matter their own agenda or standing among the tribes. And such a war does not end until every tribe agrees that it should end. The Raskghar are currently the target of such a war, and the Selphids and Drakes have been one at some point in the past. Wistram is currently the target of a species-wide boycott. And every Gnoll abides by it - even those who might privately disagree, if there are any. A species-wide declaration is the highest, most serious response the Gnolls have, and the duty to uphold it supersedes personal interest.
Cooperation among Gnolls is not the same as cooperation among Drakes, who steer their society through bureaucracy and military protocol. It is not the same as cooperation among Antinium workers, who lack the concept of individuality and are mere extensions of their Queen’s hive mind. It is not the same as cooperation among Goblins, who have learned to copy each other on instinct to produce spontaneous, dynamically emerging feats of coordination. Cooperation among Gnolls is the result of every single, individual, self-sufficient Gnoll wordlessly and voluntarily dedicating themselves to their people, through their personal senses of duty and pride, and through their unspoken bonds of kinship. They certainly don’t always agree with each other about which is the best path forwards... but you can be sure that every Gnoll contributes in their own way, even if (to an outside observer) they seemingly only go about their daily lives. The only reason that the Silverfang tribe is even in Liscor in the first place, for example, is because they hope to address one of the major problems currently holding Gnolls back as a species.
Only few Gnolls fall out of this pattern of loyal commitment to their tribes and their species, and don’t conform to the typical inward focused social behavior. Those who do generally leave their tribes and become City Gnolls (see below), forever regarded as outsiders by those they leave behind. Some even strike out on their own and travel the world, picking whatever occupation suits their fancy - perhaps even that of a pirate captain. But these cases are even less common than City Gnolls, making them a rare sight abroad.
The vast majority of Gnolls lives in scattered tribes in the southern half of Izril. They make up a third of the population down there. Small tribes may count their members in the hundreds or thousands, while large tribes have tens of thousands, or even more. Many hundreds of different tribes currently exist, each self-sufficient in their own territory. Some tribes are friendly towards non-Gnoll outsiders, some are hostile.
Gnolls do not build cities like other species; in fact, they rarely ever build any permanent structures at all. They are outdoor creatures, and don’t like solid buildings and enclosed rooms very much. Instead, they erect encampments of sturdy hide tents and huts reminiscent of Mongolian yurts, arranged to provide protection from the weather. The size of these huts can vary greatly, from small personal homes to large communal areas for the whole tribe to share.
Gnolls are at least partially nomadic. Many tribes move at least once per year, employing carts, sleds, and sleighs to transport their entire encampment. Where the Gnolls erect their camp next is governed by their current needs and focus; each tribe has something they specialize in. These specializations are often centered on natural resources - the kind that can be hunted, cut, or mined. Gnolls don’t waste anything they harvest or hunt. Tribal Gnolls also raise livestock, but generally do not farm crops. Livestock can be moved with the camp, while planted fields cannot. Horses, for example, although Gnolls are good at running and often prefer it. They also have to be pretty large to comfortably carry most Gnolls.
In a tribal camp, Gnolls share responsibilities; everyone does everything, to some extent. As a result, Gnolls pick up a few levels in a wide variety of classes early on in life. While this makes them adaptable and self-sufficient, it may also mean that they later level their chosen ‘main’ class more slowly. All ages contribute: children help out with tasks around the camp, and elders stay active in the affairs of their tribe until they die.
Traditional tribal remedies include ointments that work a little bit like weak healing potions. However, the tribes are no limited to just that, and in fact have have made some unique advancements in medicine and healing. For example, the rare [Bone Surgeon] class is said to be only found among tribal Gnolls.
Sometimes, though rarely, a Gnoll might leave their tribe and live in cities of other species. In doing so, they cut their ties to Gnoll society, and are considered outsiders among tribal Gnolls, who are referred to as Plains Gnolls by comparison. There is no active shunning involved; Plains Gnolls and City Gnolls will still talk to each other. Nevertheless, the term “City Gnoll” is sometimes used with pity, disdain, or confusion. Why would anyone forsake the bonds between Gnolls for that? They just don’t understand.
The City Gnolls themselves, meanwhile, have a different perspective. They cherish their personal freedom, not being required to submit themselves to their tribe’s needs, and not having so many... connections, to potentially thousands of family members. And perhaps they disagree with the traditions of Gnollkind, as well. Perhaps they feel that an established city is a more comfortable place to live than a temporary camp. Perhaps they feel that their tribe would not provide them with the means and the approval to follow unusual dreams - like those of the Gnoll who lives in Pallass, the ‘City of Inventions’, and tries to develop a means to fly without magic. Or perhaps they harbor unusually well developed xenophile tendencies. City Gnolls are certainly much more at ease talking to strangers and integrating with - or even marrying - other species than their tribal cousins. And naturally, any Gnoll children born to City Gnolls are never exposed to the traditional way of tribal life, and thus they automatically are also City Gnolls.
There is a curious incongruency, though, in regards to achieving significant rank or status in a Gnoll's chosen city of residence. Because that status, no matter how important it might seem to city's dominant culture, does not translate into Gnoll hierarchy at all - not unless it also grants the Gnoll worth in the eyes of other Gnolls. And this even extends to Plains Gnolls. Even a well-known City Gnoll senator might instinctively know themselves way down the social ladder when meeting a Plains Gnoll with actual pull in the Gnoll hierarchy. Perhaps the ties that bind Gnolls together are not so easily severed even for those who willingly and vocally choose to do so...
Among the Walled Cities, Oteslia is the one with the highest relative percentage of Gnoll citizens. However, Liscor likely has even more. A decade ago, the Silverfang tribe sent a large number of crafters and traders to live and work in Liscor. Although that ostensibly makes them City Gnolls too, they have not forgone their affiliation with Plains Gnoll society - they just happen to live there temporarily, because their mission requires it. Still, they admit that they have come to cherish the bonds they have built there, and have developed many qualities of City Gnolls, such as being generally more open-minded towards other races.
Tribal Politics and Organization
There is no indication in the source text about a centralized Gnoll government. They do not have written law, and each tribe is self-sufficient, self-governing, and autonomous within its territory. That the Gnolls are still able to organize to the impressive degree shown in the source is a testament to the strong bonds of kinship between them, and the ability of magical communication between [Shamans].
When two tribes do meet, there are a number of traditions and formal ceremonies to observe, which differ depending on the purpose of the meeting. When disagreements between two tribes cannot be resolved, the chieftains will formally declare war to each other in a face-to-face meeting, after which the tribes part for one full day before hostilities begin. Peace is equally negotiated in a face-to-face meeting of the chieftains. One of the main customs of peaceful meetings between Gnoll tribes is a mutual exchange of gifts.
The gathering currently meets every ten years. In the past, the intervals used to be longer. Teriarch remembers how the Gnolls used to meet only every one hundred years, then every fifty years, then every twenty. The progressive shortening of the interval over the centuries has not been explained outright in the source text, but it can be theorized to be linked to the rebuilding efforts after the near-extinction of the Gnolls during the Human invasion of Izril. Krshia has stated that the tribes are still not back up to their historic strength, but also implied rather heavily that they have been growing rapidly, and that they have ambitious plans for the coming decades. Whatever the reason may be, the Gnolls certainly see a far greater need to coordinate at a large scale today than they used to in centuries past.
During the gathering, the Gnoll tribes exchange information, forge alliances, and coordinate the efforts of their species as a whole. As mentioned before, custom dictates that Gnoll tribes exchange gifts upon meeting peacefully, and the gathering is no different. Only here, since literally all tribes are meeting all others, each tribe attending is expected to bring a gift to be given to all Gnolls - to the entirety of their species. The quality and worth of that gift is subject to every other tribe’s scrutiny, and if it is a good one, the tribe offering it will rise in standing and gain influence in the gathering. Similarly, a poor gift reflects poorly onto the tribe. Evaluation of the gift is not simply based on quality or usefulness, but also how difficult it was to obtain.
With the current rapid pace of the gatherings, tribes tend to invest the majority of the intervening decades towards procuring a worthy gift. For example, the Silverfang tribe decided right after the previous gathering to send a sizeable portion of its traders and crafters to Liscor, in order to amass the monetary resources required to purchase a suitable gift.
Merit, Worth, Leadership
Gnoll society is, at its core, a meritocracy. The custom of exchanging gifts, the concept of putting aside both personal gain and inter-tribal strife at the drop of a hat in favor of aiding the species as a whole, the strong focus on honesty, integrity, and paying one’s debts - it’s all an expression of one specific core concept: Worth. Individuals gain influence by having worth in the eyes of their peers. Those with the highest worth generally become leaders among Gnolls. And just like how an individual Gnoll has worth to their tribe, each tribe has worth to the species as a whole. The tribes with the highest worth, again, become leaders - they are the ones that everyone listens to at the gathering of tribes, letting them steer the future of all Gnolls into the direction they consider best.
Generally, Gnolls are matriarchal, and most leaders and figures of influence are female. But merit and worth are regarded higher still than this tradition, and as such, males can also become leaders. If a male is clearly a better leader, and has brought much fortune to the tribe, then even the nominally more dominant females will defer to his worth. Urksh of the Stone Spears tribe was a male Gnoll chieftain, as was Kerash, the legendary warrior-chieftain who some outsiders had called the first ‘King of the Gnolls’. Bekia, a female Gnoll in Magnolia's employ, used to be a chieftain but screwed up in some way and got ousted from her tribe.
There are few, if any, structures beside worth that determine social rank and leadership. A majority vote is not recognized as a valid decision-making method, as it would sidestep the concept of individual worth. Similarly, there is no such thing as a Gnoll nobility. No Gnoll is regarded as better than others merely by virtue of their birth. Gnolls are also firmly opposed to the idea of slavery - the concept of putting another person to work for your own gain and not giving them recognition for their efforts runs counter to the concept of worth.
City Gnolls have trouble achieving leadership roles in Drake society, as they usually are a tiny minority, and Drakes tend to be possessive and racist. In the Drake military, Gnolls are rarely ever promoted. And in civil administration, Gnolls do not get any official representation. This even includes cases like Liscor, where the merchant guild’s interests are represented by a Drake who has less mercantile prowess than some of the (here quite significant) Gnoll population. However, in democratic systems, City Gnolls tend to do better. In Pallass, one has managed to get elected as senator. And when Liscor held a surprise election for its ruling council, Gnoll candidates won the popular vote in four out of eight districts. Even there, though, the incumbent Drakes managed to trick them out of one of those seats.
This lack of official representation, combined with their social inward focus, has led City Gnolls to form unofficial “shadow councils”, which administrate Gnoll affairs in secret. These councils consist, again, of those Gnolls who are considered to have the most worth. Officially, City Gnolls defer to Drake laws, but effectively, they govern themselves. It is not the most well-guarded of secrets, as some Drakes in high-ranking positions are well aware of these structures. But then again, those Drakes smart enough to pick up on it are usually also smart enough to see the value in their existence.
Trade, Debt, Guilt
Fair exchanges are a cornerstone of Gnoll culture. “Everything is give and take”, in Krshia’s words. A favor rendered should be repaid in kind. A request should be made in tandem with an offer of recompense. Intentionally cheating another party in barter for goods, services or favors is frowned upon - it is a violation of the bonds of kinship. Polite little untruths, too, are considered a Human oddity, and not something a Gnoll would speak. Not that Gnolls are not capable of straight-faced lying when it suits their goals, of course, but those are carefully considered.
Because of this cultural honesty, Gnoll crafters and traders have a reputation of being straightforward and trustworthy. And indeed, there are many famous Gnoll merchants and traders - it’s one of the few ways in which the more reclusive tribes openly interact with the rest of the world. Tribes often settle near natural resources to exploit them; for example, the Stone Spears tribe was engaged in gemstone mining. It can be speculated that the Gnolls produce, move, and trade a lot of the raw materials that come out of southern Izril.
When an exchange cannot be immediately made fair - for instance because one party cannot repay a favor rendered at that moment - then debt is accrued. Gnolls take debts very seriously, and will constantly look for ways to get even. If a Gnoll owes you a debt, you can be certain that they will be a loyal ally, even if you are an outsider. On the flipside, if you owe a debt to a Gnoll, then the same expectation is placed upon you. Debts must be honored. And a debt can be a great many things.
In their exchange-oriented cultural thinking, the concepts of ‘debt’ and ‘guilt’ are at least very closely related - or might in fact be considered the same thing. Gnolls are normally very systematic and rational in how they judge guilt and responsibility. However, if debt and guilt are roughly the same thing, and debt is transferable, then so is guilt. Preventing what a Gnoll considers justice not only annoys said Gnoll - it will literally mean that the unpaid debt is now on your shoulders, and yours to pay off. Gnolls take debts very seriously, and will constantly look for ways to get even. This can extend all the way to “blood for blood” revenge. Don’t think about waiting it out, either, because Gnolls can keep grudges for as long as they live.
Payment for a debt doesn’t necessarily have to be money, nor does it have to be the same thing that caused the debt - although a life for a life, and other such things, is definitely an acceptable option. But while fair, it is not the optimal outcome, since it doesn’t restore what was lost. It just causes equal loss to the other party. Whenever possible, what the Gnolls are really looking for is, again, worth. A debt can be paid with anything of sufficient worth, even the kinds of debt that are actually serious guilt. All it takes is enough worth to weigh up against the guilt. The Gnolls do not shy away from comparing the value of people’s lives to the value of secrets and material wealth.
Prejudices and Superstitions
Gnolls are a suprisingly laid-back and fair people when it comes to prejudices. They do not blame individuals for the transgressions of their race, they have no problems with homosexuality or interspecies couples, and gender segregation is a foreign concept to them. In their meritocratic society, an individual’s actions and worth speak louder than their race, gender, origins, beliefs, or anything else. And when a Gnoll does take issue with something they see, they generally don’t heckle, or make a scene about it. They just walk off. ...Well, most of the time, anyway.
There are, however, certain superstitions. And at least in these, Gnolls are just as susceptible as Humans to discriminating against those they believe to be responsible, even without direct proof. Younger Gnolls are more likely to blindly believe in such tales, while the elders tend to be more measured.
The prime example of this in the source text is white fur. It is said that no Gnoll has white fur, except those touched by disaster. Those who have lost their tribe. Those who have survived calamity. And those who are said to bring it, earning white furs the epithet of "doombringer". This superstition is not wholly unfounded: Mrsha, who used to be brown, actually turned white when she became the [Lone Survivor] of the Stone Spears tribe, which was ambushed and slaughtered by a Goblin army. Another, very similar case occurred during the eradication of the Saltstone tribe, where more than a dozen surviving children spontaneously turned white. There is clearly a real, supernatural effect involved in the appearance of a white Gnoll, likely involving traumatic stress and/or the severing of their tribal bonds.
However, Gnolls in the source text rarely question the exact circumstances of how Mrsha gained her fur color. Instead, they repeatedly make her coloration the scapegoat for just about anything and everything at their convenience, regardless of whether she was even present when it happened. After Mrsha actively saved the lives of a number of Gnolls, the worth she gained through that act seems to have superseded most of the animosity towards her - but, of course, now the Gnolls simply attribute the doom of their enemies to her fur color instead.
Gnolls are one of the minority of races in Innworld that are confirmed to have their own, unique language. It involves a lot of growls, howls and other such noises. It is unlikely that other races can learn to properly speak Gnoll, or at least, not without an extremely strong accent. Only a few transliterations of Gnoll words into English letters exist in the source text, and most of them are names.
It is, however, not a fully-featured native language. It is described as more of a secret tongue, used by Gnolls when they don't want outsiders to overhear something. Gnolls can also use howling as a means of quick and efficient communication across a large area.
All Gnolls encountered in the source text so far have been able to at least passably speak Common, with the exception of Mrsha, who is mute. This suggests that Gnolls grow up bilingual, learning Common and their own tongue at the same time.
However, when tribal Gnolls do speak Common, they generally do so heavily accented, with a distinctly 'growly' pronunciation and a halting cadence. They struggle with vocabulary and tenses on occasion, even after living among other races for some time. They frequently use awkward grammatical patterns, forgo contractions, employ oddly specific qualifiers, or frame statements as rhetoric questions. Usually they end in an affirmative, to underline the amiable intent, but when the Gnoll is upset or angry, this often changes to a negative. It is quite likely that these structures come from the Gnoll language, and that tribal Gnolls living isolated from other species tend to meld the two languages together somewhat - both in grammar and in sound. This frequently happens in the real world, too.
A typical example of tribal Gnoll speech, as provided by Krshia: “I will be there. But I go to The Wandering Inn now. To hear what may be heard. And to pick up the Mrsha child, yes?”
Among those who have spent most, if not all of their lives among other native Common speakers, you will find Gnolls with a better grasp of the language. The City Gnolls of Pallass are noticably more eloquent than any of the tribal Gnolls in the source. A Drowned Gnoll on board a deep-sea freebooter has seamlessly adopted her fellow sailors' way of speaking, and a Gnoll [Actor] gained perfect mastery of speaking Common via his class.
Gnolls have their own writing system, too. Interestingly, it is fairly similar to Human and Drake scripts, and easy to learn for those races. Since Gnolls have traditionally had a habit of not writing down stuff, perhaps this script is a relatively recent (in historical terms) development, and borrows from other cultures that the Gnolls have met.
Gnolls tend to be intensely committed to whatever they are doing, but that does not mean that they have no sense of humor. Rufelt can barely contain his mirth at the best of times, for example. It’s just that their sense of humor is... a little odd in the eyes of other species. Gnoll jokes often are as pragmatic as they are, and generally delivered deadpan - a sly ambushing of their conversation partners, who might need a heartbeat or two to catch up to what was said. They enjoy wordplay a lot, drawing statements into the absurd by making unexpected juxtapositions or exploiting the language barrier. When amused, they laugh loudly and heartily, showing lots of teeth.
As might be inferred from their formal traditions for tribal meetings, Gnolls are big on hospitality. Each and every guest will be offered food and drink, no matter the time, place, or occasion. And “offered” means they’ll insist, and can get quite pushy about it. Don’t even think about getting away without partaking. The host will feel disappointed at minimum, and potentially even insulted, when their offerings are left untouched.
Between Gnolls, it is perfectly normal to lick your plate clean when eating something that another Gnoll made. Showing your host that you liked their food this much is sure to please them greatly.
Gnoll fur insulates quite well, and they change coats twice a year to be better adapted to the weather. Often, Gnolls can be seen wearing only what’s absolutely necessary to be modest in public - meaning a loincloth, and on females, additionally a breast band. Some continue to do this even in deep winter. However, Gnolls can and do wear clothing, and manufacture all sorts of articles, even boots. If not for warmth, then perhaps Gnolls wear clothing for utility purposes, or to signal their craft or their social status, or perhaps even out of vanity.
Interestingly enough, Gnoll clothing is said to be far more similar to Human clothing in style and form than it is to the designs of their Drake neighbors.
Gnolls are casual, open, and unbiased about sexuality, even involving same-sex or interspecies pairings. When a Gnoll gets laid, the whole tribe can smell it on them the day after. Their noses are too good to try and hide it, so they simply don’t consider it a private matter. They don’t even mind loudly talking about it in public. Voluntary abstinence is an odd concept to them; sex is fun, after all, so why would someone not be interested? That’s just unnatural and unhealthy! Gnolls do pair off for marriage and raising a family, but among singles, promiscuity is the rule, rather than the exception. Since their period of heat only affects them about twice a year, this would mean that most sexual encounters are of a purely recreational nature. Unwanted offspring is controlled by means of contraceptive teas.
Gnolls appear more adventurous in bed than other species - or at least, they’ll admit to it more readily than others.
Gnoll upbringing is very hands-off. Youths are given extreme freedom to choose how they want to grow up, and their parents will refuse to make life-changing decisions for them. Even the youngest can do practically whatever they want... until they annoy an adult. Then Gnoll upbringing suddenly gets very “hands-on”, in the sense that the child gets smacked. That’s how they learn boundaries. More serious offenses may earn the child a spanking - and Gnolls have strong arms and don’t believe in light punishments. It is said that Gnoll children quickly learn not to cry over little things.
The great freedom children enjoy comes earmarked with an asterisk or two: in the tribes, they have to help the adults out with simple tasks when called upon. They learn a wide variety of basic crafts and survival techniques that way. And all children must attend their lessons on maths, language, and other such things. Yes, even you, Mrsha. They learn to swim as well - though that's probably a lot more fun than grammar lessons!
Gnoll children don’t usually have many toys due to the nomadic tribes’ need to keep their baggage light for moving about. So they play with whatever they find in the wilderness, or simply with each other. But there are always balls, and games of catch. Gnolls like balls. Gnoll children really like balls. They love to run and chase and catch. As a result, Gnolls manufacture a huge variety of balls with different traits, serving many different purposes.
Throughout the source text, Gnolls are seen swinging around just about every kind of weapon in existence, often based on what’s most practical for the current job at hand. But there is one weapon that Gnolls will favor regardless of practicality. One weapon that is so ubiquitous among them that it gives the species as a whole a reputation.
Gnolls get weird about bows. The entire race is crazy about them. Carrying a well-made bow past a group of Gnolls will turn heads, and may even be a conversation starter between complete strangers. And not just among the tribes, either - even a city-dweller can shoot with high precision, frequently engaging in sport shooting for practice. Gnolls so elderly that they can no longer pull back a normal bow will try to obtain a crossbow instead, if they can afford the rarity. But given the choice, a real, proper bow is what any Gnoll desires.
It’s a good match, too. The large size and great strength of a Gnoll allows them to use bows that are larger and sturdier than what most other races could wield, with a much higher draw weight behind the string. This should allow them to achieve a higher maximum range than smaller species, and penetration comparable - or even superior - to crossbows. It also allows for larger, heavier arrows, which are more precise at range and only amplify the other advantages even more. Add the ability to out-sprint other species on all fours to dictate range at their leisure, and a unit of Gnoll [Archers] becomes a terrifying force on any battlefield.
Such is the reputation of Gnolls and their [Bowmakers] that everyone else defers to their expertise in questions of analysing feats of archery, such as the controversy surrounding the famous yet unlikely shot with which Elia Arcsinger slew Velan the Kind.
Known Gnoll Tribes
- Az’muzarre Tribe
- Blackpaw Tribe
- Decles Tribe
- Demas Metal Tribe
- Dustfur Tribe
- Ekhtouch Tribe
- Fletchsing Tribe
- Gaarh Marsh Tribe
- Gembows Tribe
- Greenpaw Tribe
- Grovelind Tribe
- Hawkarrow Tribe
- Inknight Tribe
- Ironscent Tribe
- Jadehammers Tribe
- Kedarune Tribe
- Lomost Tribe
- Longstalker’s Fang Tribe
- Longstride Clan
- Loofrel Tribe
- Plain’s Eyes Tribe
- Ruinstrider Tribe
- Saltfur Tribe
- Saltstone Tribe
- Silverfang Tribe
- Sofang Tribe
- Steelfur Tribe
- Stone Spears Tribe
- Vaskia Skyhunter Tribe
- Wallbreaker Tribe
- Weatherfur Tribe
- Wild Wastes Tribe
- Woven Bladegrass Tribe
The Gnolls do not write down their history, but instead keep it through oral tradition - a task that generally falls to the tribe's [Shaman]. But while tradition is a major cornerstone of Gnoll culture, even some Gnolls themselves admit that this method is flawed, and much detail has been lost over the millenia.
Gnolls are among the oldest species in Innworld. They predate recorded history - not just their own, but anyone’s recorded history. As the Gnolls recall it, they were present during all of history’s major eras and ages, which they have given names: the Sunset of Flame (presumably the end of the reign of Dragons on Izril, though not specifically explained), the Rain of Scales (details unknown), the Age of Theft (the Selphid slave empire), the Twilight of Magic (the fall of the Half-Elves), and many others. The current age has also been named by the Gnolls: the Waning World. This is based on the fact that, while Gnolls have historically been a world power, they have declined immensely since the Human invasion of Izril, and have not been able to return to their former strength.
Gnolls have historically been found on all continents, but it is implied that they originated on Izril. Both Gnolls and Drakes lived on the whole continent, but Gnolls were always more numerous in the north. This could mean that the forested rolling hills of the north are the cradle of Gnollkind, while the Drakes originated in the swampy prairies of the south.
At some point in the past, Dragons ruled Izril, and kept their descendants, the Drakes, as slaves. The Gnolls, meanwhile, were hunted as food by Dragons and Drakes alike, and skinned for their pelts. To escape this predation, the Gnolls fled and hid wherever they could - ultimately, even underground. First in caves, then ever deeper. But Gnolls are outdoor creatures, and the darkness and confinement did not sit well with them. A number of Gnolls lost their minds, and eventually changed - they gave up their levels and their sentience, becoming a semi-feral, subterranean offshoot of the race that the Gnolls dubbed the Raskghar. They began to hunt the Gnolls, and the Gnolls fought back, declaring a total extermination war that is still in effect today.
The Great War
The Gnolls, victorious over the Raskghar, eventually returned to the surface when the Dragons no longer ruled the continent. But they did not forget what had driven them underground, and they never forgave the Drakes. Eventually, this led them to declare war on the Drakes, too. As it was with the Raskghar, when the Gnolls declare war as a species, they mean business. The result forever redefined what the word "war" meant for both Drakes and Gnolls. It lasted for several hundreds of years, and spanned the entire continent of Izril, causing unimaginable bloodshed between the two races. No other war that they have been involved in since, not even both Antinium Wars combined, has come anywhere close.
The Gnolls even broke the great Walled Cities of the Drakes. The ones the Drakes built to withstand the Dragons themselves, which would later successfully repel the Black Tide of the Antinium - they fell to the vengeful Gnolls. Not just one, but many of them. And with each Walled City that fell, the Drakes lost something that they could never rebuild, lost population they could never recover, while the Gnolls just lived anywhere they pleased and raised new warriors. Slowly, generation by generation, the Gnolls were winning. And had the war continued as it was going, the Drakes might not exist anymore today.
But then, the Terandrian Humans invaded, bringing with them magical artifacts of unbelievable power. And they attacked both Gnolls and Drakes indiscriminately, taking merciless advantage of the fact that both of Izril’s major native races had already torn their lands and resources, and each other, to pieces over centuries of total war. The Humans just had to mop up what was left. Both Gnolls and Drakes were driven into the south.
This southern retreat played out differently between the Drakes and the Gnolls, however. Southern Izril had always been predominantly Drake lands. And they still had Walled Cities there, where they could retreat and regroup. Not so the Gnolls. The north was their ancestral home, and the vast majority of their holdings. They fought tooth and nail for it. When Gnolls declare war, they mean business. They, as an entire species, almost fought down to the last Gnoll. They very nearly went extinct in the process.
Afterwards, what little remained of the Gnolls made grudging peace with both Humans and Drakes, and retreated into the wilds, focusing entirely on themselves and their survival. It marked the end of Gnolls as a world power - as anything other than a footnote to the Drakes, really. Even today, the Gnoll tribes are still not back up to the strength they had before the invasion, and the world has largely forgotten that they were ever relevant.
Recent generations have seen the Gnolls finally start making strides to re-establish themselves. However, there have also been setbacks, such as the death of the famous warrior-chieftain Kerash at the hands of the Necromancer a hundred years ago; their current inability to obtain most casting classes and the subsequent falling out with Wistram; and of course the two Antinium Wars and all the chaos and destruction they wrought across the last decades.
Gnolls currently have a formal cooperation agreement with the Drakes, with whom they share southern Izril. In the eyes of the world, they are essentially allied; in fact, Gnolls generally get tacked onto the Drakes as if an afterthought. “Drakes and Gnolls” do this, “Drakes and Gnolls” will react that way, and so on. In truth, the cooperation doesn’t go nearly that far. For example, it does not extend to following the Drakes into their feud with the Humans. The agreement was only signed quite recently, during the first Antinium War, and is little more than a generic non-aggression pact. During that war, the Gnolls mainly defended their own holdings, never counterattacking, and only participated in coalition efforts to destroy the Antinium when it benefited them as well. The Gnolls are also not integrated into Drake society, but rather have their own lands, and keep separate from them by their own choice even when they do decide to settle in a Drake city. Which happens very rarely to begin with. Finally, despite the treaty, there is occasional strife between Drake city-states and individual Gnoll tribes, and the Gnolls still have not forgotten the mistreatment suffered in ages past. There are areas in the Drake lands that Gnolls do not go near, where ancient customs like making clothes out of Gnoll pelts remains popular to this day.
Gnoll relations with Humans are strained, and many Gnolls harbor more or less open resentment towards them. This is due to the Human invasion and subsequent conquest of northern Izril, which involved falling into the backs of the Gnolls while they were close to winning a war against the Drakes, and nearly resulted in their extinction.
Another reason why Gnoll hate Humans is because they can be as bad, or sometimes even worse, then Drakes. This is mostly because while Humans don’s call Gnoll savage beasts as often as Drakes, they still see Gnolls as if they are animals. Meaning to them, Gnolls are less than people.
However, there is currently a formal (if grudging) peace treaty in place. When the Drakes and Humans feud and clash in the Blood Fields, the Gnolls abstain from participating. However, the Gnolls have never forgotten their ancestral lands in the north, and have designs to eventually return - be it in peace or in war.
Few, if any, mentions are made in the source text about Gnoll-Antinium relations. The only direct statement made on the topic is that the Gnolls feel hemmed in by the land claimed by the Antinium Hives. But it’s probably a safe bet that there is no love lost between the two species.
Gnolls consider Goblins to be naturally occuring pests and don’t really think about them beyond that... unless a large tribe or Goblin Lord needs to be dealt with.
The Gnolls are formally at war with the Raskghar. An eternal, no-holds-barred, species-wide, total extermination war. It was declared thousands, if not tens of thousands of years ago, but since it was never cancelled, it is still in effect. After Raskghar were discovered in Liscor’s dungeon, a number of Gnoll adventurers journeyed there for the express purpose of fighting them.
Gnolls don’t like Selphids. We can assume that, in addition to being squicked just like everyone else by the concept of a parasite moving a dead body around, Gnolls can also smell said dead body constantly. Gnoll history further remembers them being enslaved by Selphids in ages past, and joining the war to overthrow them.
The Beastkin, especially those from Baleros, are traditional allies to Gnolls, and some Beastkin even visit the Gnolls, but they are a minority.
The Isle of Wistram is under a formal, species-wide boycott, due to the rude humiliation and dismissal of one of their best [Shamans]. No Gnoll will travel there, or trade with them, or with anyone known to sell to them. Wistram would never openly admit it, but rumors among students say that this boycott actually causes significant problems for the academy.
King Flos Reimarch's widely publicized call for all those who claim allegiance with him to travel to Reim inspired a few small and destitute Gnoll clans from southern Izril to seek a new life on Chandrar as his subjects. When a number of these Gnolls were persecuted and slaughtered with extreme prejudice on their way to Reim, Flos reacted by visiting harsh vengeance on those who had committed these crimes, going as far as to declare war on another nation. This has caused Gnolls all over the world to view Flos with great respect, shedding previously held prejudices about the infamous King Of Destruction.
Gnolls have very few other political relationships, as they rarely ever leave Izril in the current age. Those few Gnolls that do travel are individuals, and might be sent to attend a prestigious academy, or simply decide to strike out on their own.
- In real life, hyenas are sometimes described as being dog/cat hybrids. This is a gross oversimplification. But Gnolls in Innworld actually do possess certain cat/dog hybrid traits that are not found among real hyenas. Including, but not limited to: feline ear positions but canine tail tells in body language, feline retractable claws, seasonal shedding, and a habit of howling at the moon.
- But don’t go comparing Gnolls to dogs, as this is very offensive to them.
- Gnolls are not considered Beastkin. No reason is provided. Perhaps only animal-people tribes native to Baleros qualify for the descriptor. Or perhaps Gnolls are sufficiently different from actual hyenas - which for that matter have only been seen on Chandrar, not on Izril.
- Certain atavistic behaviors, like shaking one’s fur dry, are a faux pas among Gnolls. Others, like scent marking, are apparently okay.
- Scritching behind the ears is considered an intimate act. Children will allow it more readily, but among adults, doing it without permission is very rude and presumptuous.
- There is a false rumor that Gnolls will bite your face off if you offend them. In truth, Gnolls are less bad-tempered than for example Drakes, Centaurs or Minotaurs.
- When a Gnoll dies, everyone attending the funeral places a gift with the departed.
- Tribal warriors will paint their fur when they expect to see battle. The exact details of the patterns used are a complex topic, as they depend on the individual Gnoll's tribe and social status. City Gnolls do not wear such paint - or at least, any Plains Gnoll would consider the presumption to do so a grave insult.
- Gnolls have access to special Skills for unarmed fighting with their claws, and potentially even their bite, since hyena jaws are among the strongest in the world IRL. However, no Gnoll appearing in the source text so far has made use of such Skills.
- Gnolls don’t take to adventuring as much as humans, but there are still numerous teams in the south.
- Most Gnolls don’t like cats.
- More often, they keep dogs as pets. They find them easy to train because dogs see Gnolls as natural pack leaders.
- At the end of the month of Rerrk, there is a tradition among tribal Gnolls to sit together, crack open the strongest alcohols they can find, and toast the coming of summer.
- Gnollish table manners apparently leave something to be desired.
- Gnolls love a nice hot bath as much as anyone else. Unfortunately for them, they have to pay double admission for Liscor’s bathhouse, like other furred species. They probably clog the drains quite severely... and smell like wet dogs.
- If you don't want a Gnoll to eavesdrop, it would be a mistake to change your voice to a whisper. All you just did was draw attention to yourself - and they can hear you whisper just fine.
- Gnolls in Liscor are forbidden from recreational communal howling, unless it’s a full moon.
- Many City Gnolls in Pallass, and sometimes Drakes too, pay money to experience "authentic" wilderness lifestyle via a canned hunting service provider run by Plains Gnolls. It is not really authentic at all. But much of the clueless city folk would probably not survive any more authenticity...
- The mountain range bisecting Izril in the middle is called ‘Grisrith’ by the Gnolls. In their culture, it is a place where myths and legends roam above the clouds.
- Initially, the incident at Wistram was supposed to be 20 years ago. Newer chapters have revised that to 40 years ago.
- Chapter 1.13
- Chapter 1.26
- Chapter 3.35
- Chapter 4.08 T
- Interlude – Lifting Ants
- Chapter 1.20
- Chapter 2.08
- Chapter 6.38
- Chapter 6.57
- Chapter 1.21
- Chapter 1.35
- Chapter 7.10 K
- Chapter 3.27 M
- Chapter 3.22 L
- Chapter 1.34
- Chapter 6.10
- Chapter 2.13
- Chapter 1.31
- Chapter 1.32
- Chapter 4.16
- Chapter 3.36
- Chapter 5.06 M
- Chapter 6.58
- Chapter 2.28
- Chapter 3.38
- Interlude - Krshia
- Chapter 4.24
- Chapter 5.42
- Chapter 6.61 L
- Chapter 6.28
- S01 - Mating Rituals
- Chapter 2.42
- Chapter 7.06
- Chapter 5.49
- Chapter 1.29
- Chapter 4.18
- Interlude – Chocolate Alchemy
- Chapter 3.42
- Chapter 3.37
- Chapter 4.19
- Chapter 3.39
- Chapter 5.27
- Chapter 2.01
- Chapter 2.18
- Chapter 2.23
- Chapter 2.46
- Chapter 2.41
- Chapter 7.02
- Chapter 5.46
- Chapter 1.36
- Chapter 4.36 O
- Chapter 5.57
- Interlude - Embria
- Chapter 6.50 I
- The Depthless Doctor
- Chapter 1.12
- Chapter 5.16 S
- Chapter 1.03 D
- Chapter 2.02
- S03 – Wistram Days (Pt.3)
- Chapter 2.40
- Chapter 2.34
- Chapter 5.48 G
- Chapter 5.45
- Chapter 4.40 L
- Chapter 5.54
- Chapter 1.28
- Chapter 2.09
- Chapter 4.31
- Chapter 4.09
- Chapter 6.03
- Chapter 4.43
- S02 – The Antinium Wars (Pt.1)
- Chapter 5.39
- Chapter 5.53
- Chapter 6.23 D
- Chapter 5.26 L
- Chapter 4.33
- Chapter 2.43
- Chapter 3.23 L
- Chapter 3.10
- Chapter 6.09
- Chapter 5.01
- Interlude – Numbtongue (Pt.1)
- Chapter 7.11
- Chapter 5.50 G
- Chapter 6.49
- S02 – The Antinium Wars (Pt.3)
- Chapter 6.68
- Chapter 4.06 KM
- Chapter 4.26 M
- Chapter 2.26
- Chapter 2.05
- Chapter 5.34
- Chapter 2.35
- Chapter 6.63 P
- Chapter 6.08
- Chapter 4.27 H
- Chapter 5.24 L
- Chapter 2.07
- Chapter 1.14
- Chapter 7.07
- Chapter 5.07
- S02 – The Antinium Wars (Pt.5)
- Chapter 4.38 B
- Chapter 7.35 C
- Chapter 8.30
- Interlude – Strategists at Sea (Pt. 1)
- Chapter 7.35 C
- Interlude – Songs and Stories
- Chapter 8.16
- Chapter 5.18 S
- Interlude – Foliana
- Chapter 6.30
- S02 – The Antinium Wars (Pt.2)
- Chapter 7.31
- Chapter 2.14 G
- Chapter 2.25
- Chapter 6.15 K
- S03 – Wistram Days (Pt.2)
- Chapter 6.21 D
- Chapter 3.18 T
- Chapter 1.23
- Chapter 1.22
- Interlude – Burning Alcohol
- Chapter 7.01