Need help creating a gnoll character

40 posts / 0 new
Last post
Okay, so here's the deal, I'm making a gnoll barbarian and I'm having trouble writing his background. I can't think of a reason why he'd be in a civilized society, can I get some help?
WoTC has gotten rid of the forums I came to know and love, if you think that the old Gleemax forums should be restored, add this to your signature.
Well, he could have been thrown out of his tribe, or just be a relatively calm example of his species. You should try reading the Dragon article on playing Gnolls, called, oddly enough, Playing Gnolls.
I don't make a habit of checking Dragon articles frequently, thanks for the help.
WoTC has gotten rid of the forums I came to know and love, if you think that the old Gleemax forums should be restored, add this to your signature.
These suggestions are all taken from 'Playing Gnolls' in Dragon #367 by Rich Baker.

A gnoll PC might leave the pack for a variety of reasons. The character might be a compassionate fugitive. An exile in search of a heroic destiny (or he might become a monster of legend). The character might be a gladiator (either enslaved or escaped), an orphan found and raised by humans or another race.

I've been a fan of gnolls since I first played a superstitious gnoll shaman using rules from the Complete Book of Humanoids (for 2nd edition). I've yet to play a gnoll in 4e but when I get around to it, I'm gonna have the article handy-- I love it ;).
/\ Art
Well I can think of a couple of reasons off hand:

He might be on a sort of "vision quest", perhaps commanded by a spirit or by one of his clan's shamans.

He might have been a slave, whether a guard, laborer, or gladiator who later escaped and found the luxuries of civilization to his liking.

He might have been sent by a more forward thinking gnoll chieftain to reconnoiter a civilized area for slaughter, but found himself intrigued by what it could offer.

That's where the tastiest morsels are-those humanoids who don't work for their food, soft and weak and ripe for the picking (or swording, or biting).
A great deal of the answer will depend on whether he comes from one of the Yeenoghu-worshipping tribes or one of the tribes that has rejected that faith. The latter are much more likely to have dealings with other races and are likewise more apt to have compatible attitudes.

The pack mentality is the real sticking point. A gnoll isn't likely to abandon its tribe unless extreme circumstances force it to do so (such as the 'refugees of conscience' from the Yeenoghu-worshipping ones). Any background should take this into account. (The article does give several good suggestions, some of which have already been posted.)
Gnolls are one of my favorite races! I was so excited when the "Playing Gnolls" article came out, and I would definitely recommend giving it a read. My current character is a gnoll beastmaster ranger with a hyena (AKA reflavored wolf) as his companion. His tribe was of the peaceful, non-Yeenoghu worshipping variety, and he was the guy in charge of training their hyena pack. One day, a human raiding party attacked their camp and slaughtered his tribe, and the sole surviving hyena dragged his unconscious body into the forest. He's now understandably ****** at humans and views them as violent monsters - pretty much the same way they view gnolls. It makes for some great roleplaying with the party's human cleric!
Have him start as a guide through the plains to the temple, say the king bought traveling rights for the adventurers to pass through the land unmollested and the barbarian is acting as a sign of safe passage. After the temple is raided, he might choose to continue on adventuring to become a hero of his tribe.
I considered playing a Gnoll Barbarian in our current campaign, but went with a Defender.

He was from a small, somewhat unusual tribe that were allies to the elves of the nearby forest. His people simply weren't evil. Their fiercest enemies were, in fact, more typical, evil gnolls.

He didn't make it into this campaign, but maybe his tribe did, somewhere in the background.

What happened to my post count? It seems the more I post, the more it drops. Is that how it's supposed to work?

The answer will largely depend on the answer to several questions.

Are you raised in a gnoll tribe? If so, are you from an evil tribe or a reformed tribe? And are you evil or not?

If not raised by gnolls, a background like escaped slave or orphan works. But it sounds like you are planning on being raised among your own kind.

Your own tribe could have been destroyed, and you could either adopt an adventuring party or another nation as your new tribe. For the latter, consider this perspective: You were defeated by another tribe, but you know the human "tribe" (kingdom) is even stronger.

You could be forced out of your own tribe. A rival took over, and you're out of favor.

You could have been abandoned for being too weak, and now you're working to prove them wrong.

You could be listening to those voices in your head (per the aforementioned article, gnolls hear abyssal whispers).
For me, the best kind of gnoll is the one without an explanation, or at least without an interesting one.

The party just found my gnoll character passed out face down in a puddle, when they woke me up I looked at them all confused and squinting and said "which... one of you... hit me?". After that I just sorta followed them around like a stray dog, they never really felt threatened by me becuase I was always so seemingly sick, sad and hungover that they more expected me to just keel over dead.

I based him off of two things; a stray dog (the kind you don't want to take home) and Kikuchiyo from 7 Samurai.
For me, the best kind of gnoll is the one without an explanation, or at least without an interesting one.

The party just found my gnoll character passed out face down in a puddle, when they woke me up I looked at them all confused and squinting and said "which... one of you... hit me?". After that I just sorta followed them around like a stray dog, they never really felt threatened by me becuase I was always so seemingly sick, sad and hungover that they more expected me to just keel over dead.

I based him off of two things; a stray dog (the kind you don't want to take home) and Kikuchiyo from 7 Samurai.

Now that's a cool concept for a gnoll PC. Anybody ever refer to him as simply 'The Stray'?*

* No relation to the forum member 'round these parts :P.
/\ Art
Here's my gnoll barbarian concept, using the Ten-Minute Background in this forum, and reposted from that thread.

Step 1: write five things about your character’s concept and background, five things that you think are the most essential parts of your character.

Garanesh, Gnoll barbarian
1) Garanesh originally hailed from a tribe of gnolls that did not worship Yeeoghnu, but rather, were in touch with the natural world around them. They were hunters and trappers, and they peddled their pelts, leathers and furs with other tribal humanoids (mostly goblinoids and orcs, since humans generally did not take well to a group of armed gnolls striding into town).
2) Garanesh himself was annointed to be the successor to his tribe's shaman. As a pup, he learned about the spirits of the natural world, and the animal totems that gave his people blessings. He learned which animals specifically favored his tribe, and he remembered their names.
3) When he was still young, his entire tribe was massacred, not by another tribe of gnolls, but by humans, presumably as a scapegoat for the actions of a more malevolent gnoll tribe. The people who wiped his tribe out were mercenaries, and when young Garanesh was found alive, they decided to turn even more profit from that venture, and sold him into slavery. Specifically, to the arena of the Free City, where he was to become a gladiator.
4) Reluctant to fight at first, he eventually grew accustomed to it. not only accustomed, but that he has a talent for it. And though he had never progressed beyond the initiation of his shaman training, what he had learned served him well, as he called on the sprit totems of his tribe's bestial protectors for aid in combat. As yet, only Swift Panther had bestowed its gifts upon him, but he knew once he proved himself worthy, others would heed his call. He knew their names Frost Wolf, Stone Bear, Thunder Boar, and more.
5) Garanesh has broken free of his captivity and won his freedom. Inspired by the adventurers who helped free him, he now adventures himself, seeking new horizons and new challenges.



Step 2: List two goals for the character that you, as a player, think would be cool to see accomplished in-game.
Show
1) Find the mercenaries who slaughtered his people and avenge them. He clearly remembers the man who lead the company, he had a distinctive scar on his face and a tattoo of the company's emblem, a gauntlet wreathed in black flame, on his forearm. The faces of all the other men that were there that day are also forever engraved in his mind, and he wants to kill them all (There were 6 of them).
2) Return to his tribe's old lands, both to find out if any of his tribesfolk survived (a prospect he consideres unlikely), and, perhaps, one day, re-form his own tribe.


Step 3: List two secrets about your character. One is a secret the character knows, one is a secret that involves him but that he is not actually aware of yet.
Show
1) Garanesh knows full well that most gnolls worship Yeeoghnu, and his own knowledge of the Abyssal language is proof of his race's connection to that great demon. He was warned as a pup against succumbing to baser urges. When he rages, he can feel the urge to do even more violence, his blood burns with the joy of slaughter. Though his power comes from his connection to nature and his tribe's totems, his fear is that his incomplete knowledge of his shaman training may mean that he will lose control and fall into the depths of depravity of his distant kin.
2) There were, in fact, 2 survivors of Garanesh's tribe's slaughter. His older brother, Kurashk, and a female of no blood relation to him named Surashek, who was Garanesh's age and childhood playmate. The two of them hid and fled the massacre, Surashek sure that she saw Garanesh carried off by the humans. Kurashek has given in to his hatred and is falling down a more violent path, in great danger of becoming one Butcher's Brood himself.


Step 4: Describe three people that are tied to the character though blood, romance or honor. Two of them are friendly to the character, one is hostile. All can do something useful for you, if you can get the situations to line up. If you like, you can include an enemy of yours here as well, so I have an instant NPC nemesis to throw at you.

Show
See #2 above for two of them.
3) The dragonborn who was instrumental in both freeing Garanesh from his enslavement and inspired him to be an adventurer. Garanesh owes him a debt of thanks, and should they cross paths again, Garanesh would like to find a way to repay him.


Step 5: Describe three memories that your character has. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.
Show
1) Garanesh remembers how idyllic and carefree his childhood was. His last memories of time with his tribe saw him on the verge of being considered a young adult, having gone on a few hunts, learned a little bit about skinning and curing hides, and beginning his training with his tribe's shaman.
2) Another fervent memory is when he first fought in the arena. His previous unwillingess to practice had his "manager" write him off for dead, but the match faced the gladiators against a pack of hyenas, whom Garanesh managed to calm down to an extent, when on of the other gladiators, moved to attack, the hyenas tore the rest of them to pieces, sparing Garanesh. His first real battle in which he fought for his life was against a panther, and when he was victorious, he bagen to eat the panther in front of the crowd, thanking Swift Panther for the gift of one of its children to make him stronger. From then on, he felt the strength of Swift Panther coursing through him, and he became a successful gladiator.
3) A dragonborn warrior ended up in the arena pits with him. Garanesh fought alongside him in a few matches. And then, the dragonborn's companions came. As it turns out, he had been an adventurer who had been captured and enslaved. With the help of the other gladiators, the adventurers slew the "managers" and the slaves were free. That day marked the beginning of Garanesh's freedom. After years of darkness and being forced to fight in pits for the amusement of a crowd, he was finally free.
Sincce he is a barbaian he could of been exhiled from his origin town because he raged and killed a higher up member of that town. Possibly for a reason that that person hurt someone or something he cared about or hit him on accident.
Thanks for all the help everyone, I'm leaning towards the exile background, but I'm considering the gladiator one as well, I'm surprised my thread was this popular.
WoTC has gotten rid of the forums I came to know and love, if you think that the old Gleemax forums should be restored, add this to your signature.
I'm more curious why a monstrous evil humanoid is allowed in civilized lands at all? I hope the DM isn't having you play a human in a funny suit. That takes a lot of the point of playing a monstrous PC or things like drow which have bad reputations. I wouldn't have fun playing a gnoll myself if people weren't at least on edge around me.
Not all gnolls are evil, and even if they are, it has more to do with whether they're behaving in a vaguely civilized fashion or not. PoL is a cosmopolitan setting and your reception generally has more to do with how you act as an individual. Eberron is likewise (even more strongly so if anything, especially since you can't count on racial-cultural stereotypes to nearly the same degree). Some settings (especially older ones) skew back towards the "human-looking good, everything else bad" cliche, but a character like this probably isn't being proposed for one of those.
I never got the feeling at any point that PoL was cosmopolitan at all. Those PoL the setting describes are probably that way because there are hordes of evil monsters out there. They don't seound too trusting to me of monstrous races at all. The setting just doesn't seem to lend credence to that IMO. However most gnolls ARE evil, over a lot more than half of them are. Most people aren't going to think he's a good guy when they see him either. That's in the Playing a Gnoll. It should also be the breaks of playing a monster. DMs who just run them like humans in funny suits are very poor DMs. The Gnolls who get heard about are the baby eaters, not the nice Gnolls. Eberron actually DOES have the same old culture sterotypes. A monster cannot just walk around where he pleases in that setting. Sharn/Breland is more accepting but just try and walk around as a monster in say Thrane or Karnath for example. Won't fly unless your maybe associated with House Thrassk. Also as far as Sharn/Breland goes: If his Gnoll isn't from Breland? He's not protected by the laws of Galifar. He could be killed without penalty.
I never got the feeling at any point that PoL was cosmopolitan at all. Those PoL the setting describes are probably that way because there are hordes of evil monsters out there. They don't seound too trusting to me of monstrous races at all. The setting just doesn't seem to lend credence to that IMO. However most gnolls ARE evil, over a lot more than half of them are. Most people aren't going to think he's a good guy when they see him either. That's in the Playing a Gnoll. It should also be the breaks of playing a monster. DMs who just run them like humans in funny suits are very poor DMs. The Gnolls who get heard about are the baby eaters, not the nice Gnolls. Eberron actually DOES have the same old culture sterotypes. A monster cannot just walk around where he pleases in that setting. Sharn/Breland is more accepting but just try and walk around as a monster in say Thrane or Karnath for example. Won't fly unless your maybe associated with House Thrassk. Also as far as Sharn/Breland goes: If his Gnoll isn't from Breland? He's not protected by the laws of Galifar. He could be killed without penalty.

But if he was minding his own business and conducting himself in a civilized manner within a city or town, then anyone who decided to just attack and kill him because he's a gnoll would likely face some kind of inquiry from the local authorities. If he's from Droaam, then he might very well consider himself a citizen of a nation. Just because Droaam wasn't recognized by the Treaty of Thronehold doesn't mean that it's citizens are "free game" to anyone with sword or spell.
Actually yes, they are. They are not protected by the Code of Galifar. Creatures from Droam are hosed if people want to kill them. It's not going to be investigated. It's hardly even investigated when a Brelish goblin is killed in the lower levels. You really think the Sharn watch is gonna care if a Droam Gnoll or other monster is killed? No. They wont.

So, who does the Code of Galifar apply to? According to page 126 of Sharn: City of Towers:

The protection of the law is extended to all citizens of the 12 nations recognized by the Treaty of Thronehold and all members of the dragonmarked houses. This notably excludes Droaam and the Shadow Marches, although Marchers or Droaamites in the employ of House Tharashk are protected.

Droamites are screwed, unless in the empoly of House Tharashk. If not, no one cares about you.
... and how pray tell do you know that he's not under any such protection? Absent some obvious display, he might be employed by Tharaskh, or he might be a citizen of one of the recognized nations, or he might be under the protection of some other organization or interest who will take an interest in you if you start killing their agents - which might not be as bad as the law, or could be significantly worse.

Even if it might be legal to do it (which you don't know without checking up on things first), most people won't be interested in doing so unless they're given some reason to. (And "he exists" is not enough of a reason.)
Because those employed by House Tharaskh actually DO have obvious signs showing that they are and are usually also in the company of House Tharaskh? It would seem I know more about the setting than you do. I showed that by the setting certain humanoids are not under any protection of the law by any sort. And actually, "he exists" IS good enough. Eberron does not magically make all monsters trusted and viewed as people of their own accord. People aren't really more accepting, they just work on different bias. They are viewed more by nationality. A Brelish goblin being murderd might be investigated if he was an important person. If not then it might not see much light, same as anyone else. If that same goblin was from Droam, nothing will happen if he's killed unless he perhaps belongs to some kind of humanoid gang. Thing is yeah maybe you'd get attention from some gang or organization. Big deal if your someone important as you probably have your own organization. Even if you don't, if a important person killed some Droam monster and then he was killed in retaliation his death would get a lot more attention from authorities than some Dromite. Its how it is.
You have showed only one thing (which was never denied in the first place) - the Code of Galifar doesn't offer any protection (usually).

But that does nothing for the fact that it does offer protection sometimes, and your assertion that people in the setting are innately murderous is not backed up by the books themselves; they've made it quite clear that (excepting certain areas that distrust outsiders as a matter of policy) many monster races can move around and function relatively normally in society even without that legal protection because they're still considered people rather than monsters. (This doesn't just go for gnolls, either.) They may not be trusted as much, but it's nowhere near the 'kill on sight' notion that you're purporting.

Nor is such protection limited to criminal gangs. You just killed the gnoll in Aundair who has no legal protections? Well, the law might not take an interest (officially at least), but the university there sure does because you've just killed one of its paying students and started a scare that may hurt its bottom line much more than the loss of one student (since 'monster' students now make up a notable portion of its clientele, and they're not going to stick around with a killer targeting them).

Or you may have made a serious mistake in assuming that he's not a citizen of Aundair to begin with and now the law is after you along with the university.

And since you like quotes, here's one about gnolls specifically: "People regard them with unease, but their widspread presence is building acceptance for them in the wider world."

Doesn't sound like "kill on sight" to me, regardless of whether you wish to treat it that way in your game.
I never said people were innately murderous. I said that monstrous PCs could indeed be killed simply for existing if they were from a place such as Droam. Not many people are going to care and the people who do care are most likely also considered to be "scum" or foreigners. I don't get where your going at all with the "it does offer protection". Uh yeah we went over that. IF the monster is a citizen of one of the Five Nations he is protected. If he is from Droam he's not. NO protection. None. Nada. The examples you offer up to try and prove your point are also exceptions, not the rule. Not terribly many students at the University from Droam. Where does it specifically say there are "monstrous students as a significant portion of it's students?" page please? What's more is your taking Brelands cosmo attitude and thinking all of the Five Nations act that way and are just as accepting. They are not.

Oh and if your going to quote at me at LEAST have a page number and source?
You're shifting your goalposts again, Akuma.

"I'm more curious why a monstrous evil humanoid is allowed in civilized lands at all?"

"Eberron actually DOES have the same old culture sterotypes. A monster cannot just walk around where he pleases in that setting."

It's not unusual for them to be in civilized lands and a gnoll can by and large walk around where he pleases in that setting, assuming that anyone else is free to walk around in those areas as well.

All of the rest is simply an attempt to split hairs.

Oh, as for the quote: PGtE P52 - the section on Droaam, funnily enough.
You're shifting your goalposts again, Akuma.

No. I'm not.

"I'm more curious why a monstrous evil humanoid is allowed in civilized lands at all?"

That was said about PoL however.

It's not unusual for them to be in civilized lands and a gnoll can by and large walk around where he pleases in that setting, assuming that anyone else is free to walk around in those areas as well.

Yes, it is. I don't hear of many monsters walking around in Thrane, Karnath or Aundair unless they are working with House Tharask. They cannot walk around where they please.

All of the rest is simply an attempt to split hairs.

Opinion.
page 126 of City of Sharn, under who is protected. "so while there is technically no legal penalty for killing a Drooamite Gnoll, the gnoll is held accountable if he murders a Brelish citizen." And it mentions Gnolls "funnily enough". :D

Later under Murder page 127 it also states that "the identity of the victim plays a major roll in determining punishment." The murder of a city councilor likely results in execution; the death of a goblin commoner probably never reaches court." So you can imagine what would happen if anyone did want to go slumming and killing Drooamites.
Do you honestly think that any city is going to tolerate anyone wandering around and killing large numbers of people, regardless of whether they have legal protections or not? That sort of behavior isn't going to be tolerated regardless of who it involves - even if it causes more trouble for some than for others.

And you're *still* ignoring the issue of not being able to tell who is or isn't protected just to look at them, and not all gnolls are Droaamish. Your 'slumming' folks are quite liable to kill someone who does have protections - which will make the trouble they're in worse, but they'll be in it regardless.

But again, your initial assertion was that they couldn't move around in civilized society. As far as Eberron is concerned, they can, and anyone deciding to kill them just for being a gnoll is an exception, not a common attitude - regardless of their legal standing. You can try to shift the goalpost to an argument about how much protection anyone has, but it doesn't change that basic fact.


Edit: Since you also seem to be fixated on Droaamites having no protection, Akuma, I must also point out that Keith Baker has mentioned gnolls as living in the Eldeen Reaches among other places. The Eldeen Reaches are most definitely one of the twelve nations and its people have full legal protections - so are you really sure you want to assume that gnolls must be fair game because Droaamites are?
Do you honestly think that any city is going to tolerate anyone wandering around and killing large numbers of people, regardless of whether they have legal protections or not? That sort of behavior isn't going to be tolerated regardless of who it involves - even if it causes more trouble for some than for others.

Yes. The Sharn watch is corrupt. They don't care if you kill a bunch of Gnolls from Drooam. The only reason they would care was it it caused trouble in some way for them.

And you're *still* ignoring the issue of not being able to tell who is or isn't protected just to look at them, and not all gnolls are Droaamish. Your 'slumming' folks are quite liable to kill someone who does have protections - which will make the trouble they're in worse, but they'll be in it regardless.

Uh no I'm not. There are ways of telling if they work for House Tharask.

But again, your initial assertion was that they couldn't move around in civilized society. As far as Eberron is concerned, they can, and anyone deciding to kill them just for being a gnoll is an exception, not a common attitude - regardless of their legal standing. You can try to shift the goalpost to an argument about how much protection anyone has, but it doesn't change that basic fact.

Wrong again. I've shifted nothing. You have quite a bit though considering a lot of the original comments were about the Points of Light setting, not Eberron. Monsters cannot go where they please. There are indeed places where people are not allowed to go. If a monster was allowed to go there it would be because he was someone special, an exception, not the rule. I also proved TWICE now that things are not as happy and accepting as you think they are and you ignored it. Just deal with it already.


Edit: Since you also seem to be fixated on Droaamites having no protection, Akuma, I must also point out that Keith Baker has mentioned gnolls as living in the Eldeen Reaches among other places. The Eldeen Reaches are most definitely one of the twelve nations and its people have full legal protections - so are you really sure you want to assume that gnolls must be fair game because Droaamites are?

Yeah I do. Those Gnolls are not going to be anywhere near as numerous as ones from Droam. It might be a good idea to carry travel papers if your a monstrous humanoid to prove where your from. It's easier to tell nationality in humans.
Also on the Gnolls living in Eldeen reaches: was it mentioned if those were good or neutral Gnolls or the more common evil Gnolls? Makes a huge difference. When it comes to knowing where monsters live it's also helpful to know their disposition.
The Sharn watch is corrupt, but it isn't the only watch in the setting, and most of them aren't. Even the corrupt Sharn watch is going to be moved to action if someone engages in wholesale slaughter in the streets as you suggested - they do have to enforce public order.

You can always check up on someone to find out if they work for Tharashk - or they might be wearing Tharashk insignia that makes it obvious. You generally don't have time to check up on someone like that if you've just decided to kill someone because they're a gnoll, though. In the process you might also miss checking up on whether they have any other legal protections from some other source.

But legal protections or not, a gnoll in Eberron can go anywhere else that the public can - they're not any different that way than a human or elf.

I never claimed that Eberron is happy and accepting - but it isn't happy and accepting of any race, even humans. Regardless, you asserted that a gnoll couldn't move around in civilization, which is false.

The Eldeen gnolls don't have to be numerous - they just have to be Eldeen and they have those protections. Legal papers to prove your nationality? That's a good idea for everyone, gnoll or not. (Not that anyone who decides to kill a gnoll for being a gnoll is likely to check on such things in the first place.)


As far as the Points of Light setting is concerned, it's not as open as Eberron but it's still much more so than you've claimed. The "playing gnolls" article even talks about the nonevil tribes making deals with nearby communities (which they couldn't if they were 'killed on sight'), and the published information about the setting has repeatedly emphasized that it is racially eclectic due to Nerath's influence. A gnoll PC is likely to face suspicion, but the fact that it's acting in a civilized fashion rather than trying to tear everyone's head off still goes a long way in PoL.


This is as far as I'm willing to debate your views though - you've made it clear (here and elsewhere) that you have a particular view of how things work, and if that's how you want to handle it in your games then go ahead. Please don't assume that everyone else will or should take the same viewpoint, however.
Back on the main topic, and ignoring the "acceptance" issue for the most part, what ever happened to Gnoll Rangers? Spec them out as some sort of bounty hunter, venturing into "civilized" lands for the Thrill of the Hunt. Yeah, sure, people are gonna ***** that there's a freaking 7-8 foot tall hyena stalking through town, but aside from the odd farmer from an outlying villiage having flashbacks to when iMacs burned his peasant villiage to the ground when he was but a lad, noone should be lighting the torches and grabbing pitchforks. Not imacs, I mean gnolls. Obscure freudian. :-p

Cheers folks.
Thank you Neutronium, your post pretty muchs sums up what I was trying to say.

Just because a race isn't widely accepted, or even is "normally" hostile, doesn't mean that there's some kind of "go ahead and kill them on sight" clause in every town/village/city you walk into.

And as for gnolls in the Eldeen Reaches being good/neutral or evil?

First off, it's Eberron, and alignment is not an absolute barometer of behavior or allegiance. You're talking about a setting where a LE vampire is brokering for peace and a CG queen still desires warmongering and strife. It would be safe to assume, however, that when talking about a PC that we're not talking about a savage, evil, marauding gnoll. Even if most of his people were like that, who's to say that he is as well?

And you said "it's helpful to know their disposition".

You ARE shifting the goalposts, because earlier you advocated killing them on sight. What if the gnoll you are looking at is a LG pacifist, only in town to sell his crops at the market? You'll never know, because you want to kill him on sight, and you assume that there will be no legal repercussions because he's not even a person (in your eyes).
Thank you Neutronium, your post pretty muchs sums up what I was trying to say.

Just because a race isn't widely accepted, or even is "normally" hostile, doesn't mean that there's some kind of "go ahead and kill them on sight" clause in every town/village/city you walk into.

You can bet there actually is going to be such a clause in most standard D&D settings.



And as for gnolls in the Eldeen Reaches being good/neutral or evil?

First off, it's Eberron, and alignment is not an absolute barometer of behavior or allegiance. You're talking about a setting where a LE vampire is brokering for peace and a CG queen still desires warmongering and strife. It would be safe to assume, however, that when talking about a PC that we're not talking about a savage, evil, marauding gnoll. Even if most of his people were like that, who's to say that he is as well?

Gee it's awfully metagamey to have everyone somehow magically see the "PC" sign above the gnoll PCs head and then just intrinsically know he's a good guy don't you think?

And you said "it's helpful to know their disposition".

You ARE shifting the goalposts, because earlier you advocated killing them on sight. What if the gnoll you are looking at is a LG pacifist, only in town to sell his crops at the market? You'll never know, because you want to kill him on sight, and you assume that there will be no legal repercussions because he's not even a person (in your eyes).

Actually, the Drooamite gnolls are not people in the eyes of the people of the setting, which are the monsters I was talking about as being ok to kill. It has nothing to do with MY eyes. It's right there in the book, not to mention Keith Baker himself talks about it. The laws only apply to Citizens of the Five Nations. Drooam and Dargun are not counted. There will indeed be no legal repercussions for killing any monsters from Drooam. None. Deal. On top of which the status of the person murdered also matters. Most typical monsters will not have much status in a human society and their deaths probably will not even be investigated. Please read the book Sharn, City of Towers more before you try to debate with me.
Chiba, for what it's worth, Keith's post about the three largest gnoll groupings - Droaam, Eldeen, and Demon Wastes - specifically called out the third but not the other two as being the demon-worshipping kind, which strongly implies that the Eldeen ones aren't (since we know from his column that the Droaamish ones aren't). The same post talked about the possibility of gnolls living elsewhere across Khorvaire in small numbers; those three places that he mentioned are just the home of the largest concentrations (and in Droaam's case, the most organized society). Regardless, at least some of those are going to be citizens of the recognized nations with full legal rights.

But the point about allegiances is one that I've been trying to make to no avail. I played a gnoll character in 3E Eberron who was an ex-pat Droaamite who was now a citizen of Breland. The game didn't make it that far (it ended up folding whilst we were investigating a druidic catastrophe on the borders of the Mournland), but one of the plot threads that the DM had floated for the future was that Brelish intelligence might try to recruit him as an agent to infiltrate the Droaamite faction that has been setting up shop across Khorvaire. (Which, apart from being a very Eberron plot idea, would also have been a reasonable proposal, since he'd be more likely to succeed at it than a human agent.)

Now, apart from the fact that he could have trounced the average redneck even at low levels (to say nothing of the levels he would have been at by that point), if some "kill them on sight" idiot had happened along and attacked him for being a gnoll, not only would he have had full legal rights (since he was a citizen of Breland), but Mr. Redneck would have been attacking an agent of the king's intelligence service - and you can darned well bet that they would have had something to 'say' to him about that.

True, he's just one case and somewhat exceptional at that, but the point remains: you can't make assumptions based on race, and especially not based on the erroneous idea that all members of a given race belong to one specific nation - not all dwarves are citizens of the Mror Holds and not all halflings come from the Talenta Plains, either. In absence of any other factors, a gnoll probably isn't going to be as well-received as a dwarf or a halfling in most places, but only someone with a case of terminal stupidity is going to attack any of them out of the blue based on their race alone.
Gee it's awfully metagamey to have everyone somehow magically see the "PC" sign above the gnoll PCs head and then just intrinsically know he's a good guy don't you think?

And its implausible to think that, with exceptions to the "kill on sight" rule being known to exist, that the rule would continue to exist at all. If someone knows that the only gnolls who are legally protected in Sharn are the ones who are working for someone, then, when he sees a gnoll in Sharn, won't his first assumption be that it must be working for someone? And, even if it isn't, doesn't the fact that other gnolls (and similar creatures) sometimes DO have legitimate business in Sharn prevent the violent xenophobia at least to a degree?

My thoughts are as follows.

In a town or city that gnolls have attacked repeatedly in the past, gnolls are likely to be kill on sight. If the gnoll walks forward slowly, weapons sheathed or unarmed, holding up his paws or waving a white flag, he may be given one chance to explain himself before being killed.

If there are intermittent periods of peace, when the gnolls have agreed to leave the humans alone for however long, then the gnoll probably won't be killed on sight, but if someone kills him the rest of the town won't care (however, that someone will need a reason to do so. Additionally, if the townsfolk believe that killing that gnoll might bring down the ire of other gnolls, ending the tentative truce, they might very well care after all).

If gnolls have sometimes traded, sometimes ignored, and sometimes attacked, then the gnoll will be mistrusted and disliked, but probably not in danger of being killed unless he does something suspicious. Think of a native american walking into a Puritan town; he won't be treated as an equal, and people will keep one eye on him and the other on their children, but unless he pulls out a weapon or something he probably won't get shot.

If gnolls have never been seen in this area before, people are going to be more curious than hostile. After all, in 4e big teeth and claws don't necessarily mean evil (dragonborn are seen as a civilized race, after all). People are likely to be a bit wary of the gnoll on account of its size and threatening appearance, but not much more so than they would be of a dragonborn. If they've heard stories about gnolls painting them as evil, they'll be a bit warier, but still to a lesser extent than any of the cases above.
If I'm out in the middle of nowhere, and it's dark, and I know there's a prison near by, and I see someone who looks like an escaped prisoner sneaking around in the bushes, I'd be calling the cops faster than you can say "snitch".

If I drive into Boston, and see someone wearing an orange prisoner looking outfit minding his own business in a public place with lots of people around, I don't think "holy crap it's an escaped prisoner" I think "yeesh I guess the freaks are out today" and try not to stare as I walk by.
DDI auto-renew cancelled 11/17 due to lack of usable software tools (aside from the compendium)
You can bet there actually is going to be such a clause in most standard D&D settings.

That would be your personal opinion and in no way supported, ESPECIALLY by 4e, which is simply a "points of light" setting that any DM can make their own, so outside of FR or Eberron there's no continuity between the worlds.

And as per the article on gnolls, it's apparent that there are several tribes of non-evil gnolls whose presence is accepted peacefully, at least in towns closer to the wilderness.

Gee it's awfully metagamey to have everyone somehow magically see the "PC" sign above the gnoll PCs head and then just intrinsically know he's a good guy don't you think?

A gnoll PC would be coming into town with a GROUP of other adventurers, who are clearly not bothered or threatened by his presence. What do you think is going to happen? Some other adventuring group is going to stop their whole group and say "You four! Back away! That's a gnoll next to you and I'm going to kill it!"?

Of course some townsfolk might be unsettled by his presence, but his own personal behavior would immediately set him apart from his savage kinfolk, since, you know, he isn't entering town beside a howling pack of other gnolls intent on slaughtering all inhabitants of the town.

Actually, the Drooamite gnolls are not people in the eyes of the people of the setting, which are the monsters I was talking about as being ok to kill. It has nothing to do with MY eyes. It's right there in the book, not to mention Keith Baker himself talks about it. The laws only apply to Citizens of the Five Nations. Drooam and Dargun are not counted. There will indeed be no legal repercussions for killing any monsters from Drooam. None. Deal. On top of which the status of the person murdered also matters. Most typical monsters will not have much status in a human society and their deaths probably will not even be investigated. Please read the book Sharn, City of Towers more before you try to debate with me.

What do you know? I HAVE read that book. I read it cover to cover when it first came out. I read every Dragonshard article that came out for over a year, and I own every single Eberron book except for City of Stormreach. I am quite well versed in Eberron lore, and I will thank you not to be so snide and insulting when you have no idea what I do and do not know. You know what they say about when you assume. And you certainly have.

@ Neutronium
I am confused by your post, as it seems you should be adressing Akuma.

I am definetely Pro-gnoll. Gnolls are one of my favorite races. I have a gnol barbarian backstory on the "Ten-Minute Background" thread (page 16 or 17, name is Garanesh). When one of ym players decided to pony up and try DMing, it came as no surprise to any of the rest of the group that I said "I'm making a Gnoll Barbarian"

I have a fairly large collection of minis, as I like to use minis when I DM, and I have a veritable Horde of gnolls, over 30.

Like I told one of my players: "You can never have enough gnolls"
:D

@Space Dragon-
I like your post. Very well thought out, and a good point I was going to make to Akuma about a gnoll in a town who isn't looking for a fight (i.e. he backs off and asks for peace). Granted you have a very special corner-case in your example, but I like it a lot.

@Akuma_Daimyo-
One last thing, and it realtes to a part of my post you didn't respond to (other than insult me and tell me I haven't read the Eberron material as well as you ), as well as what Space Dragon said.

You advocate killing any gnoll in a town on sight and say there will be no legal repurcussions, even in Eberron. Let's say you are in that small town in the Eldeen Reaches, and you see a gnoll step out into the street and you attack and kill him. What you didn't know is that he was a LG gnoll, in town to sell his crops, and he was well-known and well-liked by the entire town. You honestly think your DM isn't going to have the townsfolk come after you for murder? You're deluded. You know why? Because the DM controls NPC actions, and the DM put a non-evil gnoll in that town as a member of that town, it's a good bet he didn't want you to kill it, or at the very least that he had some negative repercussions planned should you even try.
> @ Neutronium
> I am confused by your post, as it seems you should be adressing
> Akuma.

No, I was addressing Chiba Monkey. Since I said I was done with Akuma, I haven't read anything he's posted in this thread.
You know, I always felt that the DM decided what NPCs did. Not a sourcebook. After all, if a gnoll walks into town and meets a hail of arrows and bolts it's because the DM said so. Likewise if they all come out to gawk at and greet the strange visitor to their town. The DM is the final arbeiter. If i'm running an Eberron game and one of my PCs is a gnoll, i'm not going to have every gnoll in sharn be constantly attacked by random murderers at every turn. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that just because something is technically legal that you should do it. Imagine the conversation at the bar: "Hey guys! I just found out that it's legal to go kill gnolls from droam! Let's go kill a dozen or two!" "I don't know man, those things are two feet taller than you and have claws and fangs" "good point, nevermind."
Sign In to post comments