Gnolls have slaughtered their way to gaming infamy, and they are a favorite of gamemasters (GMs) and players alike. This article can be used by GMs to round out this age-old monster, or players can use it to create new characters. The following gnoll variant is formatted for AGE—though you can convert the material to your preferred system easily enough—and is specific to the Midgard campaign world.
Sallying forth from the edge of sandstorms, gnoll avengers ride chariots into battle. Though encountered across Midgard, avengers tend to be concentrated in the Southlands, especially in the river city of Nuria and particularly at the Palm Palace, as well as the outlying cities of Corremel and Per-Kush. Avengers are used en masse to conquer others or defend the kingdom, or they work in smaller formations to hunt, track, race, and make war. The bloodline of these gnolls originates with a common ancestor—a large gnoll named Arrna—and each avenger has remained loyal to the king and queen of the river kingdom since then. Riding ornate ceremonial chariots, statues of avengers are found within royal tombs, even protecting their charge in the afterlife. Like other gnolls, avengers capture slaves, especially those with the skills to perpetuate or amend the technology of their vehicles, and they engage in cannibalism, eating fallen brethren to absorb their twisted souls. Avenger leaders employ falcons for scouting, while the rank and file have an affinity for barbed nets (see below), spears, and short bows.
Playing a Gnoll Avenger
If you choose to play a gnoll avenger, modify your character as follows:
- Add 1 to your Dexterity. Avengers must be agile to fight from chariots.
- Pick one of the following focuses: Constitution (Driving) or Strength (Spears).
- You can speak Nurian.
- Take the warrior class.
Roll twice on the accompanying table for additional benefits. Roll 2d6 and add the dice together. If you get the same result twice, re-roll until you get something different.
|3–4||Weapon Group: Bows|
|5||Focus: Willpower (Courage)|
|6||Focus: Dexterity (Crafting)|
|9||Focus: Dexterity (Bows)|
|10–11||Focus: Cunning (Engineering)|
Chariots are two-wheeled vehicles fashioned from skin stretched over steam-bent wooden frames. Slaves or free artisans with a Journeyman level of the Invention talent, or with the Cunning (Engineering) and/or Dexterity (Crafting) focuses can design and/or build chariots. A simple gnoll chariot costs upwards of 100 sp. Under a GM’s supervision, more complex chariots can be acquired or constructed, such as those with armor, intelligence, or magical resistance, or with additional offensive capabilities such as the ability to spread disease.
Chariots are drawn by 1–4 hyenas (that lose their bite attack due to a bridle, though maintain the stunt Knock Prone) and have a driver and an armed rider. When chariots are used in numbers, they fight in closed ranks to overwhelm enemies. On open terrain, chariots provide great speed and maneuverability, offering stable platforms from which to launch arrow, javelin, and spear attacks (weapons fired/thrown from a moving chariot add +1 to damage). Chariots have a speed of 15 at full speed and an armor rating of 4. Driving is a minor action, and any charioteer makes a Constitution test every round. If this fails, a Dexterity test is made. If this fails, the charioteer falls from the chariot and makes another Dexterity test for damage. The GM can determine target numbers based on terrain and speed.
New Gnoll Weapon: Barbed Net
This rope net is covered in spider-venom-coated hooks and costs 20 sp. Considered a missile weapon with a short/long range of 2 yards and no reload, the user makes a ranged attack to successfully throw the net. With a hit, the hooks cause 1d6 damage and the spider venom inflicts –2 to Dexterity. If able, the user performs a Knock Prone (SP2) stunt, entangling the target.