Hunched and feral, this furred, hyena-headed humanoid stands slightly taller than the average human.
Variants and Examples
Gnoll Cleric 11 (CR 12)
The stats given for the gnoll indicate that it has a shield bonus to its AC, as well as listing a heavy wooden shield in the Treasure line. However, the attack line states that it is wielding a spear two-handed in melee. It is completely reasonable that gnolls use a wide variety of weapons, so here are two alternative stat block entries which allow for both situations (wielding a heavy shield or wielding a spear two-handed.) The entries below should replace those given in the original stat block at left (depending on which you choose to use).
AC As shown at left
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +1 natural)
|11||This muscular hyena-headed humanoid is a gnoll, an evil race of creatures that typically prefer intelligent beings for food because they scream more. Gnolls usually only speak their own language. This result also reveals all humanoid traits.|
|16||Gnolls are nocturnal carnivores, driven by hunger and little else. They dislike giants and most humanoids, but will sometimes make alliances with such creatures so long as it means a plentiful supply of food.|
|21||Gnolls prefer combat where they can relly on their physical strength and sheer numbers of fellow attackers to overpower those they fight with ease. They have little discipline in a fight, but typically choose clever ambush locations to give them the upper hand in the first few seconds of combat.|
|26||Gnolls tend to form loose tribes that are ruled by their strongest member, who uses fear, intimidation and strength to remain in power. They revere the gnoll-like demon Yeenoghu, though gnollish clerics are often worshipers of Erythnul, deity of slaughter.|
Monster Lore from WOTC Community Forums – Monsters and Races – Monster Lore Compendium. Copyright 2007-2008, Author: Evandar_TAybara
Environment warm plains or desert
Organization solitary, pair, hunting party (2–5 gnolls and 1–2 hyenas), band (10–100 adults plus 50% noncombatant children, 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, 1 leader of 4th–6th level, and 5–8 hyenas), or tribe (20–200 plus 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level, 1 leader of 6th–8th level, 7–12 hyenas, and 4–7 hyaenodons)
Treasure NPC Gear (leather armor, heavy wooden shield, battleaxe, longbow with 20 arrows, other treasure)
Gnolls are a race of hulking, humanoids that resemble hyenas in more than mere appearance; they show a striking affinity with the scavenging animals, to the point of keeping them as pets, and reflect many of the lesser creatures’ behaviors.
Gnolls are capable hunters, but are far happier to scavenge or steal a kill than to go out and track down prey. This laziness impels them to acquire slaves of whatever type is available, whom they force to dig warrens, gather supplies and water, and even hunt for their gnoll masters.
Creatures other than hyenas and other gnolls are either meat or slaves, depending upon the temperament of the tribe. Even a dead or fallen comrade is a fresh meal for a gnoll, who might honor a distinguished tribe member with a brief prayer, or thoroughly cook one that has died of a wasting disease, but otherwise view a dead gnoll as little different from any other creature. The more “civilized” gnolls do not eat their prisoners, but instead keep them as slaves, either to defend or improve their lair or to trade with other tribes or slaver bands.
Gnolls relish combat, but only when they have the obvious advantage of numbers. In other situations, they prefer to avoid combat except as a means of winning a kill from another hunter, or as a clever ambush to bring down a large meal. These hyena-men see no value in courage or valor, instead preferring to flee once it becomes clear that victory is not possible, noting that it is better to run with tail tucked away than to lose one’s tail entirely.
During combat, gnolls use a strange mixture of pack tactics and individual standoffs. If a gnoll feels that it is winning, it attempts to take down a weaker being rather than aiding its fellows. If the gnolls are struggling, they gang up on a powerful leader and try to take that creature down, in the hopes of forcing its allies to flee.
Gnoll leaders are typically rangers, although clerics are highly regarded as well. Most gnolls find arcane magic difficult to master, and as a result it is relatively rare to see a gnoll bard, sorcerer, or wizard.