Christina Stiles Presents—Races Revised: Cackle of the Gnolls (PFRPG) PDF

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Welcome to Races Revised - Cackle of the Gnolls, the latest Christina Stiles Presents offering from Super Genius Games! Many races have received short shrift over the years, while elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs have hogged the player spotlight. Well no more! Races Revised are meant to inspire you to consider what’s interesting about an alternate race; whether it be traditionally evil or a non-player-character race, that’s no reason for you or campaign to ignore it in your gaming experience.

This PDF presents an expanded look at an old-school favorite: Gnolls, an opportunistic race of humanoids who prefer to scavenge rather than actively hunt, happily reaping the rewards of others’ hard work. Much like the hyenas they resemble, gnolls prefer to wait for others to complete a task, and then sweep in to benefit from the others’ labor. While they are physically powerful, gnolls are also lazy and cowardly, avoiding entering melee with other creatures, unless they have some advantage over their foes. To many civilizations, gnolls are notorious slavers or despicable killers, and settlements neighboring gnoll territories have numerous tales of such gnoll exploits.

Cackle of the Gnolls includes the following sections:

  • General Description: which includes a physical description, information on their society, relations with other encountered races, their alignment and religion, reasons they might go adventuring, and possible names for male or female characters.
  • Racial Traits: A sidebar containing standard type, size, vision, speed, and other common traits follows its general description. With the Game Master’s permission, players may exchange standard racial traits for any of the alternate racial traits included herein.
  • Alternate Racial Traits: This section provides optional rules for making your character unique by exchanging out standard racial traits for others, or accepting a penalty to acquire another ability.
  • Racial Subtypes: Different subtypes for the race are presented in this section, and it lists optional traits for each of the subraces.
  • Favored Class Options: This option allows the character to have an optional reward for level attainment besides a hit point or a skill point. Characters gain the chosen reward on a level-by-level basis.
  • Racial Archetypes: This section presents at least two new archetypes for the expanded race.
  • New Racial Rules: This line presents various new rules for things like equipment, feats, magic items, spells. Other races may often purchase the race-based items on the open market, though, in the case of alchemical substances, they may have different effects on other races. Only members of the race may choose the listed feats. Although the magic items and spells in this section are used exclusively by members of the race, others could feasibly utilize them—each must be considered on a case-by-case basis in your campaign.

About the Author

Mike Welham proved in 2012 he was a Superstar writer of RPG material, winning the title in a contest from a major RPG publisher. We’re thrilled to have him writing for Super Genius Games, and expect to see his name on an ever-increasing number of products!

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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****( )

Endzeitgeist already gave a detailed description of what is in the book, so I will list only my opinion on the content.

What I liked

- The Descriptions of gnolls, their society and culture are pretty cool.
- The Pack-Bonded archetype (Ranger) is balanced from a player perspective and as a DM it can help to create encounters that make gnolls to stand apart from the other classic humanoid monsters.
- I liked all the new Equipment, the triple flail is heinous.
- The feat section is useful and balanced. Special mention to tripping bite and throwdown trip, t is good to see good feats around combat maneuvers. Another special mention is for Disturbing foe, a nasty surprise for spellcasters Pcs.
- 3 of the magic items are good and useful, I would have prefered the disentangling weapon property to have a static cost instead of costing +1 bonus for the price.

The OK
- The oracle archetype is not bad, but it didn't strike me as good either.

What I didn't liked

- The antigravity Ore is flavorful but its mechanics is uninspired. It is Yet another special material that make an armor lighter reducing the ACP and increasing the maximum dex bonus. The dex bonus is higher than mithral, yet for heavy armor it cost 6,600 less gp, it doesn't make the amor to count as lighter but still. I'm on the fence with the properties of this material for weapons.

- The desert Jasper Hyena is like a figurine of wondrous power, it cost 12,000 gp and let you summon a dire Hyena. THe problem is that it only have 3 uses and then it become non-magical. I doubt anyone I know will want to spend money on this item.

- The Unnerving laughter spell say that the DC of the spell is as with the Unnerving laughter spell...confusing.

Conclusion

Mechanically, for the players the book provide with good options for Gnolls PCs, and for the DM it gives options to make Gnolls encounter way more memorable (taking into account that bestiary gnolls are pretty insipid).


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This pdf is 13 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 11 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

We kick off this pdf with a short discussion on gnoll society as well as their racial attributes -which follow the ARG-entry at +2 Str, +2 Con, +1 natural armor and darkvision 60 ft and gnoll weapon familiarity. - and yes, in contrast to the ARG, we really get a glimpse at gnoll culture here as well as extensive information on race relations and the important age. height and weight-tables.

We also get an array of 11 different alternate racial traits that include a 1d3 bite attack, scent only useable to find carrion (can you see the gnoll detective? Or for some of the Otakus out there, the Kurosaga Corpse Delivery Service as an adventuring group?) or get stealth and perception as class skills for a -2 penalty to Int to reflect a focus on more base aspects of their nature.

There also is a trait to make gnolls better acclimated to desert terrains, but at the cost of -2 to cha and one interesting one that increases your speed by +10 ft and by further 10 ft. when charging, withdrawing or running - nice one! Rather enjoy a more intelligent take? Excvhange the standard attribute modifiers for +2 Str and Wis, -2 Con and +1 to all saves. As further comfort-tools, 4 variants are spelled out - looking for a throwback? Just take a look at the entry and you know which alternate racial traits to go for. A small thing, really, but one I really like since it codifies abstaract traits ina context within one's gaming world.

All Paizo-classes sans variants (i.e. not samurai, ninja, antipaladin etc.) also get balanced favored class options herein before we go on to the two new racial archetypes, first of which would be the feral oracle, who gets expanded skill-lists, modified mystery-spells and the ability to beast shape and enter a rage at -4 barbarian levels. Rangers may opt for the pack-bonded hunter, who may loan teamwork-feats to allies and at higher levels, have allies benefit from the quarry class-feature - an easier, less complex version of the pack-idea than the terrible Wicked Fantasy: Gnolls proposed and one I can get behind - kudos for doing this - though honestly, I would have loved to see even more pack-themed options herein.

Now we also get 4 gnoll-specific items - the hyena whistle, battle dye, the triple flail (Two-handed weapons reminiscent of flint bars in function, if not name -cool!) and a nasty bleed-damage inflicting gel to add to weapons - neat indeed! Speaking of neat - we also are introduced to antigravitic ore, which allows you to create lighter weapons (with e.g. increased range for thrown weapons or lighter armor. And then, there's fact that this ore allows you to create two-handed weapons that are treated as one-handed weapons - at an exceedingly low price. And that, my friends, conjures forth horrible images - can you see the rangers TWFing greatswords? I can, and it's not pretty... Or rather, I could - fact is, the material does not influence your ability to wield e.g. two-handed swords - you still need two hands. Nice that designer Mike Welham has caught this potential pitfall...

Next up are 11 racial feats - from those that make you a specialist in riding hyenas, increased speed in plains and deserts, increased resiliency versus ingested poisons, a better bite attack, improved demoralization (to the point where your attempts may hamper spellcasting!) a tripping bite, trips that may stagger foes and also two pack options: One that lets you loan 3+Int-mod rounds teamwork-feats to allies and one that allows you to benefit from sniping-feats of your fellows.

On the magic item front, we get the new disentangling quality, which prevents countertrips, a cloak which may turn you into sand (and blow you through small cracks, a hyena figurine and a slavers harpoon that erupts in subduing tentacles upon impact - cool!

We also get the new ferity subdomain of the animal domain that comes with better demoralization and we also get 4 new spells: Blessed Hunt allows you to declare a target or group of targets - you and your allies get rather long-lasting bonuses versus said foes - also tracking them. The second spell, Bloodlust, allows you to enhance your favorite enemy bonus or loan your favorite enemy bonus to allies and the final two spells are unnerving laughter and its mass-cousin: They don't hamper your spellcasting, but may make foes shaken when they have to hear it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cover-artwork is awesome and the interior artwork okay.

Designer Mike Welham has succeeded in the design-goal of providing an identity and some exclusive, nice tools for gnolls that will have PCs curse them - and unlike the last Gnoll-centric supplement I reviewed, "Cackle of the Gnolls" is neither broken, nor imprecise in its wordings and content and features some rather cool ideas. Were I to complain about anything, then it would be that the pdf plays it a bit safe - it's for example cool that unnerving laughter could be used offensively to ostracize others. That being said, there is quite a bunch of content you'd expect and e.g. the new subdomain is not particularly intriguing. Still, the majority of the new tools herein is fun and makes you crave more pack-related options to fight those nasty PCs - those already provided are definitely making you crave more. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of the seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


Cackle of the Gnolls pure Genius

*****

Just picked up Christina Stiles Presents: Races Revised Cackle of the Gnolls

What can I say? If you are a GM and want to use Gnolls to put your party through the ringer, or a play wanting to play something interesting and challenging... This book is for you.

A full write up for a 0HD Gnoll, complete with alternate racial traits, archetypes, feats, gear, and spells.
This is the kind of love all 0HD Races need.

The writing by Mike Welham was top notch, The lay out is what everyone expects to see in a Super Genius Games Product, well written, informative, and lots of great options to bring this race to life.

Will I play a Gnoll using this book? Yes.
Will I torture my players as a GM with this book? Absolutely.
Will I buy future releases in this line? Yep.

Overall this book is useful and fun I give it an easy 5 stars.


Webstore Gninja Minion

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This is a good product. Gnolls return to the list of playable races with this product!! This includes stats, age/weight/height factors, favored class bonuses, bonus feats, special gnoll items, traits, and basically everything you need to play a gnoll. Worth the price you pay!!

Contributor

Thank you, Caligastia!

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Thanks for adding this, Liz!

Caligastia, I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Thanks!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I bought this with the intention of using it to upgrade the Gnolls in my Friday Legacy of Fire game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Very nice, sir Taig. I'll have to take a look.

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Just a note that you guys will be seeing a lot more of Mike Welham's work in the next few weeks from Christina Stiles Presents and Misfit Studios. I'm a total fan. :)

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really liked going through this. I hope we get to see more. Maybe bugbears, centaurs, and even ogres and orcs. Trolls would be cool too.


Woah! Gnolls by Welham? Does it get better?!?!

@Christina - will Mike be doing more Races Revised or just more "Christina Stiles presents..."?

Contributor

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Woah! Gnolls by Welham? Does it get better?!?!

@Christina - will Mike be doing more Races Revised or just more "Christina Stiles presents..."?

Yes, Mike will. He already emailed me a second one. He's also doing some for the Bite Me! Misfit Studios project.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
kevin_video wrote:
I really liked going through this. I hope we get to see more. Maybe bugbears, centaurs, and even ogres and orcs. Trolls would be cool too.

Your wish is our command! Thanks for the input!

Silver Crusade

Christina Stiles wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
I really liked going through this. I hope we get to see more. Maybe bugbears, centaurs, and even ogres and orcs. Trolls would be cool too.
Your wish is our command! Thanks for the input!

watching out for an orc entry like a hawk

also, adds to cart :D

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Orc to the forefront, aye? Can do!

Contributor

Note that one of Mike's advanced races will be the wererat, but it will be appearing under Misfit Studios' Bite Me! line.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm glad you're enjoying the gnolls, everyone. As Christina mentioned, I've got another race in her inbox, which I hope you will like, and I'm working on the wererat for the Bite Me! project.

I'm honored to have the first Christina Stiles Presents book not authored by Christina. :)

Plus it looks like you're going to keep me busy for the foreseeable future.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yep, I plan to keep Mike busy!!!!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay! Gnolls! Who doesn't love savage, snarling, matriarchal* hyena-people?

* -- In my head-canon, anyway. I still hope to see gnoll Amazons show up 'officially' in a Pathfinder book or novel one day.

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

As always, many thanks to Realmwalker for the review!

Contributor

Eric, that's a cool idea!


No problem I want to see more of this line.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Eric Hinkle wrote:

Yay! Gnolls! Who doesn't love savage, snarling, matriarchal* hyena-people?

* -- In my head-canon, anyway. I still hope to see gnoll Amazons show up 'officially' in a Pathfinder book or novel one day.

As Christina said, that is a cool idea, and it logically flows from the hyena's pecking order.

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Realmwalker wrote:
No problem I want to see more of this line.

That seems likely. :)


Ms. Stiles, Mr. Welham, thanks for the praise!


This is the kind of thing that would be great for other low HD humanoids like lizard folk and mongrel men.

Contributor

Very true! Btw, I am a publisher who is accepting pitches. :)

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

eakratz wrote:
This is the kind of thing that would be great for other low HD humanoids like lizard folk and mongrel men.

Yeah, it would, wouldn't it?

So, what races would everyone like to see, Races Revised style?

Grand Lodge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Yeah, it would, wouldn't it?

So, what races would everyone like to see, Races Revised style?

Bugbears, orcs, ogres, lizardfolk, and sahuagin. Maybe the centaur too if at all possible.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Centaurs, Fauns, Janni

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

So I am curious -- since centaurs appeared on two lists, would you both be most satisfied with seeing a centaur Races Revised? Or do you have levels of preference?

Shadow Lodge

I'd take it.

Contributor

Eric Hinkle wrote:

Yay! Gnolls! Who doesn't love savage, snarling, matriarchal* hyena-people?

* -- In my head-canon, anyway. I still hope to see gnoll Amazons show up 'officially' in a Pathfinder book or novel one day.

I sent you a PM.

Grand Lodge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
So I am curious -- since centaurs appeared on two lists, would you both be most satisfied with seeing a centaur Races Revised? Or do you have levels of preference?

I wouldn't mind that, but I'd rather a compilation book with multiple races in it like you did with Races of Fire and Fury.

Dark Archive

Ooh, Gnolls have always been my favorite thing you are not supposed to play that I really, really wanted to play! Zero HD playable Gnolls sounds awesome. Gnolls with a dash of Lamashtan matriarchal hyena-folk, even better!

Lizardfolk, Bugbears, Darkfolk and Spriggans are next on my personal wishlist to see playable versions of.

Well, and Cambions, but we don't even have non-playable versions of those yet (the Tome of Horrors version being pretty darn far from playable, sadly). Then again, Dragonlance had PC-able Minotaurs and Dark Sun had PC-able Thri-Kreen, so I suppose even six and seven HD races can be toned down...

Grand Lodge

Set wrote:
Well, and Cambions, but we don't even have non-playable versions of those yet (the Tome of Horrors version being pretty darn far from playable, sadly). Then again, Dragonlance had PC-able Minotaurs and Dark Sun had PC-able Thri-Kreen, so I suppose even six and seven HD races can be toned down...

That's originally what I used the Advanced Races Guide from Paizo for. Make my own. Although I do like more "official" not homebrew stuff that you can show your players.


Christina Stiles wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

Yay! Gnolls! Who doesn't love savage, snarling, matriarchal* hyena-people?

* -- In my head-canon, anyway. I still hope to see gnoll Amazons show up 'officially' in a Pathfinder book or novel one day.

I sent you a PM.

I got it and PM'ed you a response.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nice stuff, and just in time for a plot-line in my campaign.

I will use this as a platform for a Hyena Shaman and a Hyena Domain- and a "Laugh at Death" spell-like ability....

I am still sort of disappointed that Paizo didn`t include Gnolls as a Featured Race in the ARG, and Cackle helps to partially fill that void.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

I look forward to seeing your gnoll rules, Enocelot, and I'm glad we could provide you a decent starting point with this book.


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Cheers!

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Thanks for the great review, End! I appreciate it quite a bit.

Contributor

Wow, nice review! I'm a big fan of Mike's work, and will be working a great deal with him on several projects. His aardvolk PDF is just as good, IMO.

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