Dragonmarks: Gnolls and the Znir Pact

Art by Mariana Suarez Otero for Eberron Expanded

In the dawn of time, before the Sovereigns and the Silver Flame, Eberron was the domain of the fiendish overlords. This was an age of chaos, as the overlords constantly clashed with one another. The Rage of War commanded armies of fiends and savages, while the Wild Heart raised hordes of ravenous beasts. In the struggles between the two, the Wild Heart bred dire hyenas that could consume the Zakya warriors of Rak Tulkhesh. But fiends cannot be permanently slain by tooth or claw; their energy remains. Twisted from within by the immortal essence of the demons they’d devoured, the hyenas were warped into something entirely new, something that was neither beast or demon: and so the first gnolls were born.

Formed from both War and the Wild, the first gnolls were recruited and bred by both Rak Tulkhesh and the Wild Heart. As foot soldiers of the overlords they fought against orcs and the other early humanoids, as well as battling gnoll clans serving other overlords. Even after the overlords were defeated and bound by the Silver Flame, gnolls continued to be pawns of the overlords. The fiendish spark burned within them, and when they weren’t directly serving the Lords of Dust, most gnolls engaged in savage acts of brutality. The Dhakaani goblins ruthlessly exterminated gnolls in imperial territories, driving them back into the wilds.

In the present day gnolls are primarily found on the west coast of Khorvaire. Here’s a few notable concentrations of gnolls.

  • Gnolls are found across the Demon Wastes. Some have integrated into the Carrion Tribes, while other clans refuse to have anything to do with other creatures. These gnolls have embraced the Rage of War and engage in endless, ecstatic violence; when there are no outsiders to fight, they find reasons to battle the other clans. There have been times in the past when a great leader has united them and lead a horde through the Labyrinth, and this could happen again; but for the most part they are one of the ongoing dangers of the Demon Wastes, ever hungry to spill blood in the name of Rak Tulkhesh.
  • The gnolls of the Towering Wood are creatures of the Wild Heart. These feral hunters prowl through the Eldeen Reaches, preying on any creatures who cross their paths. These gnolls rarely organize beyond clans. The fact that they don’t form armies limits the overall threat that they pose to the people of the Towering Woods; they’ve never amassed in sufficient numbers to threaten the Greenheart, for example. But because they’re scattered and mobile, the Wardens of the Wood and the shifter tribes of the Towering Woods have never been able to end the threat. Clans melt away into the depths, appearing to strike isolated villages and travelers. Some say that there is a piece of the Towering Wood that can only be found by gnolls and lycanthropes who serve the Wild Heart—a dark haven where these feral forces build their strength and wait to strike.
  • There at least two gnoll clans that live deep in the King’s Forest of Breland. While smaller than the clans of the Towering Wood, these gnolls are likewise driven by the Wild Heart; they are cruel hunters who take pleasure in terrifying their quarry. Typically they remain in the wildest, darkest depths of the King’s Forest, avoiding the Knight Rangers and restricting their attacks to those fools who stray far from the safe paths. But there have been times when their numbers have grown, and when gnoll raiders have emerged from the Forest to prey on surrounding villagers.

While savage gnolls are often tied to the Rage of War or the Wild Heart, few know those names. Clans are guided by warlocks and fiendish visions, and each clan has its own name for the power that fuels their thirst for blood. The gnolls of Rak Tulkhesh show more martial discipline, while the gnolls of the Wild Heart are feral and cunning. Both are uniformly cruel, taking pleasure not simply in spilling blood but in instilling terror in their prey. The last great raid across the Labyrinth was centuries ago, but the people of Aundair still share grisly tales of the horrors unleashed by the pillaging gnolls, and Brelish children know gnolls devour those fools who stray from the path. This uniform cruelty is unusual in Eberron, where goblins are often more honorable than humans and orcs may be champions of the light. But gnolls aren’t natural creatures; they were shaped by overlords, and the essence of demons flows through their veins. They were bred to spill blood and sow terror, and for countless generations they gleefully embraced that path. But there are gnolls who reject the foul influence of their creators… such as the Znir Pact of Droaam.

THE ZNIR PACT

The region now known as Droaam has long been home to gnoll clans. The Rage of War seeks endless battle, and when there is no greater conflict it delights in setting its minions against one another. For countless generations, gnolls fought troll, ogre, and other gnolls seeking blood for their hungry idols. Centuries ago two gnolls from rival clans faced one another on a battlefield soaked in the blood of their kin and questioned the path that had led them there. The two urged others to deny the voice that called for endless war, to refuse to chase death in the service of a fiend. Two became four, then eight, until entire clans heeded the call. Clan leaders dragged their idols to the place now known as Znir—a word that simply means stone—and there they shattered the images of the fiends they once served. Together the gathered hunters, shamans, and warriors swore an oath: They might be many clans, but from this day forward they would be one pack. They would allow no one—not chieftain, god, or demon—to hold dominion over them.

This was easier said than done. Fighting the fiendish influence within was challenging enough, but the western wilds were a chaotic tapestry of battling forces. The leaders of the newly forged Pact had no desire to rule over other creatures, but even just holding their territory would invite attack. And so they developed the path that has carried them forward to this day: the road of the mercenary. The gnolls would claim no territory beyond the lands around Znir. They would fight for any who would pay a fair price. But if anyone sought to enslave a gnoll, or to strike against Znir itself, they would face the wrath of all of the united clans. This was a lesson that had to be taught many times, but after a century or so, the point was made. To those who paid them, the gnolls were as reliable as stone. Those who betrayed them or who picked a fight would fall before the might of the full Pact.

Some scholars of the Five Nations find it strange that the Znir Pact never took the path of conquest. There was no parallel to the united force of the Pact within the region, and they could have defeated the various chieftains and warlords they served. But the fact is that the gnolls have never had a desire to rule other creatures. They love the hunt and the thrill of battle. The path of the Pact allows them to do what comes naturally—to stalk and kill, to fight endless battles. But they do so together. They choose the paths they follow and the battles they fight. One could look at the Pact and say that they serve many masters. But the Znir gnoll would respond that they serve only themselves: that they choose who they fight for, that they set the terms of their service.

Znir Clans

The Znir gnolls include a dozen different clans, each of which holds onto distinct traditions. Once the clans were devoted to different faces of the overlords, but when they shattered the statue, each clan chose one of the moons. All gnolls hunt and fight, but the Barrakas are known to be the finest trackers of the Pact; the Aryth the deadliest archers; and the Olarune are the strongest warriors and most forceful in the vanguard. Typically, mercenary units are comprised of gnolls of a single clan, assigned based on the nature of the task that lies ahead, and contracts are usually negotiated for a period based on cycles of the clan’s moon. The clans maintain distinct territories within the Znir region. Despite this, all gnolls are welcome around the hearth of any clan; the Znir take pains to crush any tension that arrises between the clans. Shamans and leaders from each clan maintain a council at the Znir, around the broken idols. Here they mediate disputes, assign contracts to clans, and allocate funds and equipment. The Eyre clan have honed their skills as smiths and tanners, and they craft much of the equipment used by the Znir gnolls… though there is still a strong tradition of scavenging among the Znir, and warriors will often claim trophies from fallen foes.

Gnoll vs Gnoll

Droaam is a small place, and the Znir will serve any who will pay a fair price. This inevitably leads to conflict between Znir gnolls. In such situations, Znir will fight one another with all their skill. But they will strike to wound… and a gnoll wounded by another gnoll will immediately withdraw from battle, no matter how superficial the wound. While some clients take umbrage at this—You can still fight! Get back out there!—this is an absolute rule of all Znir contracts, and those who defy this will be punished by the united clans.

In general, the Znir take their contracts seriously. If the client breaks the terms of the agreement, the contract immediately ends. As long as terms are met, Znir will face any danger and will never betray a client. They have earned this reputation over the course of centuries, and this gives them a place much like the Sentinel Marshals of House Deneith in Khorvaire; everyone knows that the word of the Znir is as unbreakable as stone.

The Daughters and Tharashk

In their rise to power, the Daughters of Sora Kell have contracted for fully half of the forces of the Znir Pact (divided among all clans). This is an extended contract, under which the gnolls serve both as soldiers, hunters, and peacekeepers. Most large communities have a Znir garrison that’s serving the Daughters. These troops are present to protect the region from brigands or invaders, and to help maintain order. But they serve the Daughters, not the local warlord; it’s understood that if the warlord turns against the Daughters, the local Znir will act in their interests. The remainder of the Pact serves other masters. Many warlords maintain their own Znir forces, either as bodyguards, enforcers, or hunters. House Tharashk has also begun brokering the services of Znir gnolls within the Five Nations. The Pact is still cautious about this arrangement, however. Within Droaam, Znir customs are known and respected, and the Znir can unite against anyone who defies them. The Znir recognize that they don’t hold such power over the rulers of the Five Nations… and thus they are concerned about serving so far from their stones. In addition to those who serve through House Tharashk, a number of Znir have been sent east to study the Five Nations, gathering knowledge of its people and customs so the Znir council can determine how to engage with the wider world. This scouting role is a reasonable path for a gnoll player character; it’s their job to travel the world beyond and learn its ways, and to make friends and allies.

The Demon Within

The Znir defied the overlords when they shattered their statues, but there is still a spark of a fiend in the blood of each gnoll. Znir refuse to allow the demon within to hold dominion over them. Young gnolls learn how to resist this influence—to channel the strength of the fiend without giving it power over them. For most gnolls this is simply a matter of discipline. Znir gnolls are known for remaining calm in the face of provocation; having learned to fight their own demons, they aren’t easily manipulated by mortals. However, some gnolls learn to draw on their unnatural heritage and to channel this power in useful ways. Znir gnolls have their own equivalents of rangers and barbarians; the ranger’s primal magic draws on the Wild Heart, while the barbarian channels the fury of the Rage of War. Znir shamans are similar to warlocks, typically following the path of the Fiend. However, in all of these examples, the Znir don’t serve the dark power. Rather, they can be seen as stealing their strength from it; learning to draw on it without giving anything in return.

In their determination not to let fiendish forces hold dominion over their people, the Znir gnolls have also developed their own techniques for fighting supernatural threats. Champions trained to face fiends and undead are known as hwyri, and wield powers similar to those of paladins in other lands. However, hwyri don’t worship any divine power. Their abilities come from training and understanding of the demon within; they aren’t crusaders, they’re mercenary demon hunters. Most hwyri come from the Vult clan, and in a land that shuns the Silver Flame, these gnolls can be the best hope for people facing fiendish threats. There has been some tension between the Vult and the lycanthropes of the Dark Pack; the Vult shamans suspect that the Pack is vulnerable to the influence of the Wild Heart.

ZNIR GNOLL TRAITS

Exploring Eberron will include my rules for Znir gnoll player characters. For the moment, here’s a few general tips on playing a Znir gnoll.

  • Bone Eaters. Gnolls possess powerful jaws, as reflected by their bite attack. Gnolls can chew through and digest bone, and dislike letting food go to waste. When savage gnolls raid a village, they will consume even the bones of their victims. Znir gnolls won’t eat their fallen foes if they’re in the company of creatures who will be uncomfortable with such behavior. But they will often eat a small piece of any creature they slay—even if it’s just a finger—to form a bond with the victim. The Znir believe that those you kill wait for you in the realm of death, and honoring them ensures that they won’t be hungry when you travel to that land.
  • Pack Instincts. Gnolls have very strong pack instincts. They instinctively work together in combat, and they think nothing of placing themselves in harm’s way to protect their kin. Znir gnolls will not deceive members of their pack; if there are problems, they will call them out directly. If a gnoll character adopts a group of adventurers as their temporary pack, these things apply to the other players—but they will be surprised and angry if their non-gnoll packmates don’t show them the same respect.
  • Casual Aggression. Gnolls often seem very aggressive to other creatures. However, gnolls themselves don’t consider casual intimidation to be a hostile act; it’s just a way to establish a place in the hierarchy of the pack, largely ignored once that hierarchy is established. One of the most common ways this manifests is that gnolls make demands rather than requests. As a gnoll, use active statements rather than passive queries.
  • Cunning Hunters. Gnolls are strong and aggressive by nature. But both the Znir gnolls and there savage kin are cunning hunters rather than simple brutes. Gnolls work together as a pack, always searching for weaknesses in enemies and supporting injured allies. Znir goals won’t break their word, but they don’t hold to any idea of honorable conduct on the battlefield; they are ruthless and efficient, and see nothing wrong with ambushing or tricking a superior foe. Some gnolls have a supernatural knack for minicry, and will use this gift to draw enemies into danger.
  • The Fiend Within. As a gnoll, there is a spark of demonic influence within you. The Znir learn to control this at an early age. But how does it manifest in you? Do you suppress it completely, or do you channel it in some way—possibly reflected by your class abilities? Are you a hwyri who seeks to fight supernatural threats, or are you not concerned with such things?

That’s all I have time for today, but you’ll find more about gnolls and the Znir Pact in Exploring Eberron! Thanks to my Patreon supporters, who keep this site going and who chose this topic!

45 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Gnolls and the Znir Pact

  1. Thanks for this great article, Keith!

    Since gnolls have existed since the Age of Demons, I was wondering how old the Znir Pact is. Was the Znir pact formed before the giant’s destroyed Crya, and if so is there still a Crya clan? Or was it formed afterward, timetime in the Age of Monsters? Or is it a much more recent thing, only a few centuries old?

    • In my opinion the Znir Pact is younger than Galifar. The gnolls themselves are tens of thousands of years old, but the Pact is a relatively new development.

      If I were to apply the 13-1 rule here, I’d say that there was a thirteenth gnoll clan in Droaam that DIDN’T embrace the Znir Pact; they were thought to have been wiped out, but perhaps they still linger in the shadows.

    • Some of the clans respect the Dark Six; note that Ghyrryn references them in The Queen of Stone. They’re willing to acknowledge their influence over the world. But they don’t WORSHIP them.

      Same principle with the overlords. There are minotaurs devoted to Rak Tulkhesh, and lycanthropes influenced by the Wild Heart. The Znir don’t seek to stop this; they just refuse to bow to god or demon themselves. Hwyri are trained to eliminate supernatural threats, but unlike the Church of the Silver Flame, they don’t go out of their way to interfere in other peoples’ lives. They protect the gnolls; if you want them to protect YOU from demons you’ll have to pay.

      So: they believe overlords exist. They believe the Sovereigns (including the Dark Six) exist. They justt don’t kneel to any of them.

      • “So: they believe overlords exist. They believe the Sovereigns (including the Dark Six) exist. They justt don’t kneel to any of them.”

        What about a more equal partnership?

        I.e a Gnoll Warlock with a Patron has it so that the deal is more fair on both sides?

        • What about a more equal partnership? IE a Gnoll Warlock with a Patron has it so that the deal is more fair on both sides?

          There’s nothing wrong with an equal partnership. With the overlords, I suggest that Znir warlocks actually STEAL power from the “patron.” However, I think a Znir warlock could form a partnership with another sort of patron. This could even be formatted as mercenary service: The warlock is performing a service in exchange for payment (magical power).

  2. Brilliant!

    “Centuries ago two gnolls from rival clans faced one another on a battlefield soaked in the blood of their kin and questioned the path that had led them there. The two urged others to deny the voice that called for endless war, to refuse to chase death in the service of a fiend. Two became four, then eight, until clans heeded the call. Clan leaders dragged their idols to the place now known as Znir—a word that simply means stone—and there they shattered the images of the fiends they once served. Together the gathered hunters, shamans, and warriors swore an oath: They might be many clans, but from this day forward they would be one pack. They would allow no one—not chieftain, god, or demon—to hold dominion over them.”

    I really like this bit.

    How are their relations to the deities and spirits/patrons that are more benign?

    “Gnolls can chew through and digest bone, and dislike letting food go to waste.”
    What kinda stuff are they able to eat and digest safely besides bones?
    and how would this effect their cooking and recipes?

    And i’m imagining Gnoll-made Jerky, which also comes in Bone Variations, to chew on as their version of bubblegum…

    A Gnoll Mercenary leaning against a tavern wall waiting for a job offer, a bone sticking out of their mouth a little like a cigarette, a quiet but still audible crunching noise coming from them as they take in the ambience of the tavern.

    • How are their relations to the deities and spirits/patrons that are more benign?

      As seen in The Queen of Stone, the Znir don’t necessarily consider the Dark Six to be malign forces. They still won’t BOW to them. As noted in a previous answer, if a powerful being wants to make a deal with a Znir gnoll – offering payment for a service – it’s no different than making a deal with a warlord. Otherwise, you can acknowledge powers that exist without being subservient to them.

  3. Hwyri Immok of the Vult.

    Thanks, Keith! This really helps me integrate Immok a bit more with the overall Znir Pact culture.

  4. Thank you so much for writing this article! It’s exactly what I need to flesh out the background for my first 5e (and first Eberron) character. Now I just need the book to be released so I can get my hands on all the good mechanical bits!! Thanks again 😀

    • This is discussed in my answer to another comment. Some might be, but most Znir believe that higher powers—such as overlords or the Dark Six—may EXIST, they just refuse to WORSHIP them. It’s a similar approach to the Blood of Vol; “If the gods exist, they are cruel.” In The Queen of Stone, the Znir gnoll Ghyrryn specifically talks about the Keeper snatching souls; but that’s presented like “Don’t stand under a tree when there’s lightning.” It may be a fact of the universe, but the way to deal with it isn’t to bow and scrape to the storm, it’s to know how to avoid the threat.

  5. This is exactly what I was hoping for in casting my votes for this topic!
    Didn’t know it was possible, but now I’m even more excited for EE!

    Are the gnolls still as free as anyone else in Eberron to have any alignment, or do they still have chaotic and/or evil tendencies due to their fiendish origins?

    • Are the gnolls still as free as anyone else in Eberron to have any alignment, or do they still have chaotic and/or evil tendencies due to their fiendish origins?

      Gnolls in the thrall of the Rage of War or the Wild Heart are driven towards evil alignments. The Znir gnolls consciously suppress those impulses and can thus have any alignment. The impulse is still there, but they are aware of it and don’t allow it to define them. With that said, Droaam itself is a fairly brutal and ruthless land, and the Znir are mercenaries as opposed to altruists; I’d say that as a culture they’re more neutral than good. But you could definitely have a good-aligned Znir gnoll.

    • Traditionally, flinds are champions of Yeenoghu. In 5E they radiate an “aura of blood thirst.” The most logical translation is that they are imbued with the power of the Rage of War—that they’d be gnoll champions in the Demon Wastes.

      The Znir have champions that are easily as powerful as the 5E flind, but I might change the flavor. For example, rather than “Aura of Bloodlust” you could present the ability — make a bite attack as a bonus action — as martial discipline rather than supernatural. On the other hand, you could follow the path I suggest for Znir warlocks—the idea that they steal the power of the overlord rather than being controlled by it.

      So I’d personally leave the flinds in the Wastes and creature unique champions for the Znir, but anything’s possible.

  6. Would Znir pact mercenaries by useful against a lycanthropic outbreak? What would it look like if the Fiend Within was brought in to counter the Beast Within?

    • Gnolls train to fight all the forces in Droaam, including the Dark Pack. In the novel The Queen of Stone, the Znir gnoll Ghyrryn (pictured at the start of this article) characters a weapon with a silvered spearhead, specifically in preparation for clashing with lycanthropes.

      As for the second part of the question, bear in mind that lycanthropy ISN’T an expression of the Beast Within, it’s a CORRUPTION of it—and one of the possible sources of the Curse of Lycanthropy is the Wild Heart, the overlord tied to the gnolls. So if anything, gnolls are likely MORE vulnerable to lycanthropy than other creatures… though as the Znir have learned to resist their inner fiend, they might be able to resist the curse for longer than most creatures.

  7. Spotted Hyena which all D&D Gnoll art I can find are based on (the other two main types have stripes and lack the laugh) are the rare mammal with females that are bigger than males and matriarchal social structure. Is there any matriarchal bent among Gnolls in Eberron?

    In a weird related question I’ll likely regret asking: Spotted Hyena are notorious (and, according to Pliny the Elder, have been since at least the first century) for the females being partial hermaphrodites. Gnolls?

    • This is discussed in the “Playing Gnolls” article I wrote for Dragon in 4E.
      The physical build of a female gnoll is almost identical to that of its male counterpart, and in many clans the females are actually larger than the males. As a rule, it is very difficult for a member of another race to tell the gender of a gnoll unless it’s pregnant or actively nursing. Females can be just as aggressive as the males, and actively take part in hunting. While the leader of the clan is typically the strongest gnoll (male or female), lineage is usually traced through the mother.
      Because of the difficulty involved in identifying the gender of a gnoll, there are folktales based around the idea that gnolls are hermaphrodites or can change their gender; however, neither of these things are true.

          • Dragon 367, to be specific.

            And now I’m only just realising that Keith was the author of that article. That frames the article in an entirely different context.

            A lot of people referring to the 4E Gnoll race said it was out of place as a villain race. But of course, Eberron turns those evil/good dichotomies among “monstrous” and “civilized” races on their heads, with heroic Orcs, Goblinoids, etc.

            Thanks for it! Gnolls have become an essential race within my homebrew setting, in part because of that early 4e article that existed when I was first putting together the setting.

  8. First off, let me add my praise to everyone else’s. Big Droaam fan here, and my Gnoll Scout Rogue appreciates you giving him attention.

    Before you wrote this, I came up with my own backstory for how the Gnolls broke free of the demons. It was way more involved and could’ve formed the basis of an adventure itself. Might still use it for my own stuff, but I still like to see what you’ve added.

    Now, on to my question(s):

    First, How do Znir gnolls feel about primal forces in the world? Like, say, the totems of Lammania or the Gatekeeper druids? Any affinity for them? Perhaps a pack that explores these powers?

    Secondly, do the Znir hold any interest in the gnolls of other parts of the world? If they encountered the gnolls of Breland, would there be an attempt to lead them away from the Overlords?

    • First, How do Znir gnolls feel about primal forces in the world? Like, say, the totems of Lammania or the Gatekeeper druids? Any affinity for them? Perhaps a pack that explores these powers?

      Gnolls were shaped by the Wild Heart, an archfiend who embodies mortal FEARS of nature. I think they do have an affinity for primal power, typically the path of the ranger or barbarian. But a Znir druid is more like a warlock than a Warden of the Wood: embracing their inner predator, not empowered by overall respect for the natural world. The Dravago clan likely produces the most druids—but again, I don’t see a Znir druid as feeling a particular kinship for a Gatekeeper.

      Secondly, do the Znir hold any interest in the gnolls of other parts of the world? If they encountered the gnolls of Breland, would there be an attempt to lead them away from the Overlords?

      The Znir Pact is very insular. So no, I don’t think they are driven by a deep zeal to convert all gnolls across Khorvaire; I think they are concerned with the good of the Pact. However, I could imagine a Znir gnoll PC who encounters savage gnolls in the King’s Forest feeling pity for them.

      Essentially, the situation is the same as a HUMAN who encounters a HUMAN whose beliefs or culture they find to be savage and misguided. Some will feel a drive to interfere; others will feel it’s none of their business.

      • Now see, this is an interesting thought process. On the one hand I’m rather against demonizing other people’s cultures just because they conflict with yours. There are some values I will not bend on, but I don’t mind if you have weird forms of worship or government.

        On the other, fantasy setting and actual demons.

        ….Hmm.

  9. Fascinating article as usual. Question: Are there gnoll clans in Eberron outside of Khorvaire? We konw that the Overlords in general were all over the planet, and at least one is imprisoned on Xen’drik, but were the centers of power of the Wage of War and the Wild Heart in Khorvaire, and so gnolls are only found there? If there are gnolls outside of Khorvaeire, would they resemble the clans of the Shadow Marches or Demon Waster, or would they have followed unique paths? Finally, if gnolls of the Znir Pact were offered a contract that would take them out of Khorvaire, would they accept? You said they were somewhat uncomfortable working in the Five Nations; would this be even more acute off-continent?

    • Are there gnoll clans in Eberron outside of Khorvaire?

      In MY Eberron, they were created in Khorvaire and have never been a seafaring culture, so no. The Overlords are regional, and both Rak Tulkhesh and the Wild Heart are based in Khorvaire. But you can certainly change that in your campaign!

      Finally, if gnolls of the Znir Pact were offered a contract that would take them out of Khorvaire, would they accept?

      It depends on the circumstances. A SINGLE gnoll could take a job anywhere. The question is whether they’d be willing to commit significant forces to a distant operation. The issue is that Znir neutrality and security are both based on the principle of “If you wrong us, we will band together to make you pay.” If they spread their forces too thin or too far apart, they lose that security. But if it’s important enough, or if they’re sent in large enough numbers that they feel they can protect themselves, it’s possible. Ultimately, it’s about the story you want to tell.

      • Thanks again for posting this article! I had a great time last night playing my first Gnoll character. By pure coincidence, we were attacked by some Gnolls and my DM and I played out the Gnoll v Gnoll truce after first wound bit perfectly. The other players were very curious about that lol.

        One question though, how do the Gnoll who live in Sharn fit in with all of this? I assume they are Gnolls (or their decendants) who originated from the Znir Pact who left (either voluntarily or via exile) but still continue the traditions/beliefs of suppressing the demon within?

        • One question though, how do the Gnoll who live in Sharn fit in with all of this?

          Most gnolls in Sharn are recent immigrants working with Daask. Most such gnolls are still part of the Znir Pact, serving out their long-term contract with the Daughters of Sora Kell; they are working WITH Daask, but they still have a personal loyalty to the Pact. If such an immigrant gnoll chose to leave the Pact (or was exiled), they’d likely still hold onto their traditions. A gnoll driven by the Wild Heart or the Rage of War would have a very difficult time living peacefully with other creatures.

  10. So my takeaway from this is that feeding fiend flesh to animals can turn them into fiendish humanoids. Are there other such creatures in Eberron? For example, did minotaurs come from wild buffaloes who drank from water contaminated with fiend blood? Are dire corbies the result of crows and ravens that feasted upon fiend carrion?

    • It’s not that simple. Fiends are immortal; eating one doesn’t normally bind its immortal energy to the creature that eats it. The Wild Heart is an overlord, and what the article says is that it “bred hyenas that could consume the zakya soldiers of Rak Tulkhesh” — IE unnatural hyenas with the ability to trap the immortal essence of the things they consumed. But such a thing had never been done, and it turned out there were consequences.

      But you can’t just feed a demon to your animal companion and have them become a humanoid.

      • But considering that the gnoll experiment had worked out pretty great for several thousand years in the overlords’ favor, had it been attempted again by other overlords?

  11. REALLY great article. Always loved that eberron alignment wasnt a difinitive thing – that most monster races werent inherently evil. But the take on gnolls allows me to explore a character batling inner demons – but unlike classic noir, its actual d&d demons.

    At the beginning you mention dhakaani empire drivning gnoll clans of the map. In modern khorvaire both goblin and gnoll often take the path of the mercenary – is there still any amimosity between the two, or did the memory of this prosecution die along with the dhakaani empire?

    • The Empire of Dhakaan fell thousands of years ago, and the Ghaal’dar are a different culture. INDIVIDUAL goblins or gnolls could explore this, but I don’t think the Znir Pact as a whole give much thought to their suffering at the hands of the Empire.

  12. Love it! Ghyrryn and his interactions with Thorn really made me fall in love with gnolls (good job on instilling those feels there, author man!)

    Can we expect myrnaxe stats? (I was just going to copy/mimick the valenar scimitar, like 1d8 and 1d4 on bonus, maybe copy the racial feat too?)
    Also, what’s the pronunciation on myrnaxe?

    My two cents for gnoll racial attributes:
    Scent and reach- as with wildhunts and bugbears, respectively. Plus, of course the bone eating. XD
    Maybe a pack tactics feature like hobgoblins’ instead of reach? But they need to feel BIG, while staying lanky…
    Excited to see what you go with.

  13. Some interesting recent finding on IRL hyenas:
    – Females dominate not because of dimorphism, but because most males emigrate https://hyena-project.com/2018/11/22/friends-over-muscles-how-female-hyenas-came-to-dominate-males/
    – Sons may inherit leadership if they didn’t emigrate and are the last matriarch’s youngest adult child https://hyena-project.com/the-clans/shamba-comeback-kids/ https://hyena-project.com/research-topics/rank-inheritance/
    – Siblicide is commited entirely by hogging all the milk away in times of food scarcity https://hyena-project.com/research-topics/twin-rivalry/
    – While polyginandrous, extreme promiscuity is not the case https://hyena-project.com/research-topics/who-females-prefer/

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