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Half-Gnoll

There exist a pair of creatures that prove that appearance isn’t everything. Half-gnolls and the Kiviri look nearly identical, being of humanoid shape with hyena-like fur and claws, but are born to different upbringings and cultures, where the half-gnolls are brutal and merciless, capable of any form of deceit and lacking any real honor, the kiviri are noble and, while wary of outsiders, fair and unbiased in their opinions.

The half-gnoll origins are lacking in any sort of love or understanding, products of a profane ritual on the newly born children of non-gnoll slaves, half-gnolls are raised in a society where they are not as strong or as big as their peers yet expected to be the harbingers of their dark god and thus perform just as well, if not better. Beginning life as a waif, half-gnolls take to the hunting and fighting lessons of their elders with a predatory gusto that makes them respected, enabling them to take positions of leadership both despite their age and gender at an early age, leading raids and the like and gaining ever-increasing fame, only leaving the warband under extreme situations —most notably exile or on a personal search for loot and personal power.

The Kiviri origins are the polar opposite of the half-gnoll, raised in isolated tribes, their ways are to avoid outsiders and keep to their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle as they raise their young communally and keep to their old ways of honoring all that is good and right in the world, staying free of the corruption of outsiders. They begin their lessons focusing on virtue and equality and the interconnectivity of all things, learning how to fight with an emphasis on defense, and that while their natural state is predatory they should honor the sacrifice of the prey so that they might live. They are not taught to be ashamed of their place, however, as they practice their hunting skills alongside their mates and hone their craft. A kiviri alone is a rare sight as most have no interest in leaving their tribe, but rarely they must as the wind calls them away for some greater purpose.

Appearance

The physical appearance of kiviri and half-gnolls are very similar, so much so that any who are aware of the two theorize that kiviri may have been half-gnolls who turned away from their ancestral ways. Both are shorter and stockier humanoid creatures, resembling more traditional humanoidsdwarves, elves, goblinoids and the like—but with thick fur covering their backs and forearms and possessing gnoll-like snouts and feral claws capable of dealing horrific damage. The differences between them are more subtle as kiviri have colored eyes of blue or green while half-gnolls typically possess black or red-tinged eyes, the kiviri claws are straighter and more like elongated fingernails as opposed to the half-gnoll’s wicked talons. Otherwise they are tragically similar, much to the dismay of kiviri mistaken for their monstrous “cousins.”

The easiest way to tell them apart is in their clothing— half-gnolls prefer to garb themselves in looted trinkets and trophies from past conquests, and while their armor and gear is well -maintained and can consist of any grade of technology, it tends more towards the outdated, and they tend to be attached to age-old gear that’s served them well over a newer, finer piece of work (although they aren’t against keeping an old piece as a memento and back-up while wielding a new magical weapon). Meanwhile, despite their assumed “savage” heritage, kiviri are unattached to any gear, preferring a reliable newer weapon to their current gear whenever the opportunity presents itself, and their culture has mastered the arts of iron crafting thus enabling them to already be amply equipped. The kiviri value cleanliness, maintaining a trimmed and groomed appearance, and while they keep their outfits spartan they have a few small trinkets, usually hand-crafted totems from their community thought to bring fortune or just as mementos on the long journey.

Demeanor

Half-gnolls are noted for their cruelty streak, enjoying violence to a disproportionate amount even for a gnoll. They gleefully engage in raids and looting, spending every moment they can preparing for the next one as they go about their lives vying for power and influence in the warband. They usually lack any sort of honor, relying on underhanded tactics both in social settings and on the battlefield. Stubborn and bull-headed, half-gnolls only respect those more powerful than they and even then only grudgingly. Some half-gnolls actually elect to leave the warband, others are forced to flee due to failure, but the end result is the same—the stubborn creature refuses to simply roll over and die, instead they take to the new challenge with a gusto that can only be from a stubborn predatory creature. They extend their looting and expertise at ambush into their new lifestyle as well, preferring to strike when the opportunity presents itself and aiding in the plots and plans of their adventuring group with their upbringing and expertise

Meanwhile, the kiviri act with honor unless given no choice. They understand the natural world and their natural inclinations and, while they aren’t ashamed of them, they attempt to rise above being simply predators and try to be honorable and valiant. Kiviri are naturally xenophobic, their culture shuns outside contact, and thus when a young kiviri is called by the winds it can be difficult for them to understand the cultures of other creatures, although they try. They even exhibit patience for odd cultures and norms, and the ignorance of their own culture that outsiders will likely exhibit as the kiviri understand their lack of understanding and thus try to be objective. The one major exception to this is their knowledge of those they resemble —the half-gnolls.While they’re tolerant of the term at first, upon learning of gnolls and their culture, they regard their look-alikes as anathema and monsters, and being referred to as half-gnolls is something they will not allow, at best harshly correcting the assumption and at worst being brought to outraged violence.

Backgrounds

The half-gnolls are born into brutality, whether wrought on them by the harsh realities of their life or by them on others, half-gnolls are thoroughly accepting of violence and brutality or at least seeing little issue with it. They are rarely raised with knowledge of their forebears but if they ever discovered their origins it might affect them in unknown ways, possibly shattering their entire life-view and driving them away from their tribe, possibly to understand the heritage of their parents. Otherwise, they tend to be dismissive of the “lesser beings” and can be brutal or otherwise careless in their interactions as predatory creatures, usually only engaging in contact with non-gnolls in a war-like fashion and rarely for anything else. The other, rare half-gnoll whose existence shatters at the knowledge that they’re simply hurting the beings of their ancestry and instead leave the tribe, seeking out a new purpose (often hoping for redemption) as they attempt to make right their wrongs.

The kiviri are raised in a communal society of hunter-gatherers. They are taught respect for their fellows and all of nature, and that they are predators in nature and thus the burden of balance falls to them. Thus a kiviri, while not malicious, pursues their role in society with a guiltless glee that can frighten the casual observer. The kiviri grow up being used to having “bare minimum” in their lifestyle, and being content with it, being as self-sufficient as possible, and a significant understanding and wariness of new things. Their outlook, while understanding of others difference, still tempers their perceptions with distrust of the cultures of others. This tends to make them secretive while still able to operate within a group from their strong ties to their clan back home. They also tend to be mildly arrogant due to their home culture’s “chosen” status in their own folklore.

Adventures

Half-gnolls adventure for one of two reasons: atonement or pride. A half-gnoll who realizes it’s a mutation of a union of slaves often is so wracked with guilt that they spend the rest of their lives trying to “make right” their very existence, casting aside their ties to their kin and often fighting against gnoll’s plans with a gusto that borders on zeal. Other half-gnolls leave their clans on quests for personal power, either their pride has been insulted or they have wronged the clan and seek to repair their pride by becoming powerful and returning to the clan to seek a source of leadership. This may lead to a change in the half-gnolls worldviews and result in a changing of their quest as they get to know the “lesser beings” and sometimes end up empathizing with their plight.

Kiviri adventurers are a rare sight, only adventuring out on important quests as they hate dealing with outside cultures. When they venture out, it is because “the winds” call to them and thus they must head out. However if they’re called out it is usually an unspoken agreement that it’s because the outside cultures were found insufficient for a threat against all peoples, which leads the questing kiviri to be more desperate and serious to both discover the true quest and complete it as briskly as possible.

Racial Traits

Ability Score Adjustments

+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma: Half-gnolls are tough in body and in will, but their upbringing makes them socially inept and ill-practiced

Size

Medium: Half-gnolls are medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties from size.

Type

Humanoid (gnoll): Half-gnolls are humanoids with the gnoll subtype

Humanoid Heritage: At first level a half-gnoll must choose a humanoid subtype from the following: dwarf, elf, gnome, goblinoid, Halfling, orc, or reptilian. They gain the chosen subtype in addition to any other subtypes they possess.

Other Racial Traits

Fur Patches (Ex) Where most races have body hair, a half-gnoll has thick patches of fur that increases their natural armor bonus by +1.

Claws (Ex) Half-gnolls have 2 claws that deal 1d4 damage each

Iron Will (Ex) Half-gnoll and kiviri upbringing makes them stubborn. They gain Iron Will as a bonus feat.

Low-Light Vision (Ex) Half-gnolls see twice as far as humans in dim light

Pack Hunter (Ex) Any time the half-gnoll and one or more of its allies threatens the same creature, they are all treated as flanking that creature.

Languages: Half-gnolls begin play speaking Common and Gnoll. Half-gnolls with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Giant, Gnome, or Goblin.

Alternate Racial Traits

Born Predator (Ex) Half-gnolls and kiviri are both predisposed towards being hunters. Whenever they attack an enemy currently suffering from a condition, they deal an extra 1d4 damage. This replaces the pack hunter racial trait.

Hounding Advance (Ex) Some half-gnolls are more capable of hounding routed enemies than they are of working as a team. As an immediate action, in response to a hostile creature leaving their threatened area, these half-gnolls may move up to their speed, provided this movement ends with them adjacent to the creature that provoked this ability. This takes their move action for the coming round. This replaces the pack hunter racial trait.

Favored Class Options

Ranger: Add +1/3 effective druid level to animal companion (max equals level).

Rogue: Add +1/2 to Intimidate checks.

Wilder: Add +1/4 rounds to the duration of the wilder’s surging euphoria bonus.

Stalker: Add 1/6 dice to deadly strike damage.

Warlord: +1/4 racial bonus on saves vs fear.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens