Gnolls were the first of the Family. In the days when the Gods walked the world, the Divine Pack hunted on the plains of Ikari. Hyenas followed behind them to scavenge the kills. Those hyenas became the Gnolls, 5.5-6.5 ft tall bipedal hyena-people. That part of the story is uncontested, but the Gnoll religion goes on to say that the other Gods were so impressed they started making mortals in their images as well. That bit isn’t universally believed.
Gnolls are extremely in touch with their origins. They prey on the Megafauna of Ikari, but they also preserve it, preventing it from being wiped out by their city-dwelling cousins. The nomadic Gnoll packs that travel the plains have so far resisted even the latest invasion of the Outsiders. No cities to besiege, and the time honored tactic of murdering the nomads’ herds to starve them doesn’t work as well when the herds are a huge army-trampling mob of triceratops.
Gnoll packs generally have a Huntleader and a Warleader. When at peace, the Huntleader is in charge. When actively at war, the Warleader takes charge. The Huntleader is generally the pack member considered the wisest, while the Warleader is considered the strongest. Proving this differs from pack to pack, but it’s always open to challenge. The challenge might be bloody, but the loser rarely harbors ill-feeling, and if that loser survives, will cheerfully serve under the new leader. Gnolls are like that.
Gnolls have much more primal form of social norms, a unique sense of humor, and no fear of death. They feel their connection to the Divine Pack and know that if they die having been faithful pack members in life, they’ll join the Divine Pack after death and hunt forever in the afterlife. This tends to manifest in bravery bordering on recklessness. It also leads to odd social quirks where they may kill and cannibalize a pack member who becomes crippled if healing magic isn’t available. Generally if the wounded member fends off the first attempt, they’re considered ‘not that crippled’ and the matter is dropped.
They don’t impose their rough and tumble mode of life on the other Family races, recognizing that the others races were crafted, rather than arising on their own merit, and so aren’t held to the same standard. Gnolls tend to see the differences as more funny than offensive. So a Bugbear carrying her wounded brother 2 weeks back to camp might cause an occasional chuckle from her gnoll companion, while a Kobold guild’s pension system to accommodate members unable to work would reduce them to tears.<meta />
Tips for playing Gnolls:
You are very much a pack member. If you aren’t leading, you follow, and if you are leading, you expect to be followed. You have a rough and primal set of sensibilities, and when you see others acting excessively civilized or ‘house-trained’ as the Gnolls say derisively, you have a hard time not laughing. You don’t fear death. You have an innate respect for the food webs that exist within an ecosystem, and it bothers you to see them disrupted.
Darkvision: 30 ft.
Medium Humanoid (Gnoll)
Beastmaster: You are proficient in the Animal Handling skill, and do not need a saddle to ride any mount (although they give their bonuses as normal).
Hyena’s Bite: Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 piercing damage as long as you are biting.
Mask of the Wild: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
Keen Senses: You are proficient in the Perception skill, and have advantage on all perception checks related to smell.
Fearless: You have advantage on saving throws against becoming frightened.