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Gnoll lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG

Gnoll lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG

When the Tales of the Valiant Player’s Guide debuts in just a few months, it will contain the classic fantasy people for player characters: elves, dwarves, humans . . . the usual suspects.

This blog series of extra lineages doesn’t appear in the Player’s Guide . . . but if you like these, let us know here and in the Kobold Discord server. There’s potential for them to appear in an official capacity in the future!

In the Monster Vault, gnolls have a suite of abilities that make them great monsters. But what if a player wanted to play as one?


Gnolls look like hyenas given humanoid bearing. Their powerfully built bodies are covered with short brown or dull yellow fur spotted in darker brown. The claws on their hands and feet, while often painted or decorated with whorls, are brittle and ill-suited as weapons. Gnolls find most clothing restrictive and uncomfortable and favor short kilts or skirts with hardened leather mail or a leather apron to protect the torso. They like to adorn their leather with metal links and spikes.

Though they are viewed as lazy and vicious by their detractors, gnolls are no more likely to be indolent or violent than the members of any other lineage. They once lived in familial packs like the hyenas they resemble but are increasingly becoming citizens of the world and can be found in most desert and port cities. Non-adventurous gnolls gravitate toward physical occupations, such as tanning and trapping. Gnolls evidence some amount of wanderlust, and they are often found among traveling caravans or as the crew of merchant vessels.

Gnolls once favored the worship of archfiends, and while some pay reverence to one demon lord or another, they are more likely to adhere to the religious mores of their chosen community, though many gnolls eschew religion entirely.


Your gnoll character has certain hereditary traits dictated by their lineage.

Age. Gnolls tend to live hard lives. They reach adulthood around 12 and few see more than 70 summers.

Size. Gnolls are Medium size, and they range from 7 to 8 feet tall and average around 250 pounds. Females tend to be taller and more powerfully built than males.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Scent Prey. You have advantage on WIS (Survival) checks that rely on smell.

Sprinter. Your powerful legs allow you to overrun your prey. When you use your action to Dash, you move triple your speed. You can use this feature a number of times per day equal to your PB. You regain all uses when you finish a long rest.


These heritages are open to characters of any lineage, but gnolls founded them and their values lead these communities.


As rugged as the terrain they inhabit, badlander heritage characters feel they can survive whatever the world throws at them. They tend to be quiet and stoic, enduring hardship with a shrug and self-deprecating bark. Their clothing is sturdy and economical without flourishes that could get caught on an outcropping of rock.

This heritage was originally cultivated by gnolls. As other humanoids moved into these regions, either in a concerted effort to settle the arid landscape, or just to get away from civilization, they looked to the gnolls for survival secrets. Now there are as many badlander heritage characters of other lineages as there are gnolls, a fact which makes some of the original badlanders howl. Depending on the temperament of a given badlander conclave, they are as likely to let newcomers to the badlands figure out how to survive on their own as they are to assist them.

Extreme Endurance. You are inured to the rigors of hard living. You have advantage on CON saves against exhaustion. When you finish a short or long rest, you can reduce your exhaustion level by one.

Iron Guts. You can subsist on spoiled food and drink. You have advantage on saves against being poisoned.

Scrub Survivors. You have proficiency with herbalism kits. If you have an herbalism kit, you can make WIS (Herbalism Kit) checks instead of WIS (Medicine) checks. If you make a DC 12 WIS (Herbalism Kit) check during a short rest, you and up to 4 other characters regain 1 additional hit point per die when you use hit dice to regain hit points.

Languages. You know Common and one other language. Badlander heritage characters usually select Gnoll.


Junker heritage characters have been raised among the wasteland and desert dwelling junker gnolls. These tightly knit, semi-nomadic communities are recognizable by their small caravans of camel drawn covered wagons. Packs of hyenas often run among the wagons as they travel, creating an intimidating air. The wagons stop near settlements for prolonged periods, usually a season, but up to a year if business is profitable.

The first junker communities were insular and secretive. The gnoll leaders didn’t trust other humanoids to respect them and their property. For their part, non-gnoll communities feared the hyena-folk’s loudness and large bearing. Generations of peaceful contact between the junkers and other communities, and the adoption of many non-gnoll members into the junker community has softened relations.

Junker heritage characters tend to be creative, outspoken, and loud. They like to celebrate their discoveries by carousing, and can often be convinced to perform minor repairs around a homestead or settlement in exchange for food, drink, and dance.

 Improvised Toolkit. You can use a pair of daggers in place of thieves’ tools, tinker’s tools, or woodcarver’s tools.

Project Manager. You know how to work efficiently. When you craft an item during downtime, you decrease the number of workweeks it takes to complete the project by 1d4 weeks. If the crafting time is reduced to less than 1 week, it still takes 1 day to complete the project.

Scroungecrafter. You know how to create something sturdy out of makeshift parts. If you spend 1 hour scrounging goods before you start crafting a nonmagical item during downtime, you decrease the cost of creating it by 25 percent.

Languages. You know Common and one other language. Most junker heritage characters choose Gnoll, Gnome, or Goblin.

Looking forward to the Tales of the Valiant RPG? So are we! The Player’s Guide and Monster Vault will be out later this year!
You can get PDF and VTT implementations of the new game at Kobold Con, May 10!
Visit the Kobold Press Discord for more info!

about Kelly Pawlik

Kelly started gaming after her second son was born in 2012. She delights in worldbuilding and prefers campaigns that contain an abundance of intrigue and romance. Kelly co-founded Dire Rugrat Publishing in 2015 and has worked on many projects with Kobold Press. In 2021 she released the first three novellas in her middle-grade science fiction/horror/urban fantasy series, The Olympic Vista Chronicles.

9 thoughts on “Gnoll lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG”

  1. Sorry, not feeling it. Most of those things feel like ribbon features. To be honest, I’m not particularly fond of the idea of Gnolls becoming ‘civilized’. Maybe KP’s lore of gnolls is much different. But they have almost always been irredeemably evil. I could see maybe doing a source book for evil campaigns featuring some Gnoll lineages, but as a DM I’d definitely make them unavailable to a PC unless they could come up with a very compelling reason for an exception. Even then, they’d be KOS in almost every civilized society in my setting.

    1. I think it depends more on the setting than the core rule set. Tales of the Valiant doesn’t make any lineage “irredeemably evil,” and gnolls definitely aren’t “irredeemably evil” in the D&D 5e Eberron setting, nor in KP’s D&D 5e Midgard setting, where they are explicitly a playable race. So I don’t think there’s any compelling reason, even in D&D 5e, for gnolls to be iredeemably evil, unless the setting (or the GM) says so.

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