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When I started my Legacy of Fire campaign, I had a PC gnoll in the party. (Sadly, Erryou moved on the Great Beyond while fighting the Carrion King.) At the time, I simply removed the Bestiary gnoll's racial Hit Dice to create a player character race; the result seemed to be balanced well enough, but honestly gnolls are fairly boring in terms of game mechanics (nothing past high physical stats and darkvision).
Now that the Advanced Race Guide is out, I've decided to revisit the race just in case I ever get more interest in gnoll PCs in the future. The sample gnoll included in the back is unsurprisingly weak in terms of racial traits, so here's my own take, using the ARG rules to incorporate more of the flavor presented for gnolls back in Classic Monsters Revisited.
The cities of Katapesh and Okeno, both in the nation of Katapesh, may be the only bastions of civilization where gnolls are freely permitted to live and work among humans, so long as they behave themselves. Some gnolls raised in these environments may eventually find that they have more in common with their human neighbors than they do with their feral, tribal kin. "Wild" gnolls denigrate these "civilized" gnolls as domesticated "city dogs," and see them as little better than humans.
+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma: Civilized gnolls are physically powerful and hardy, but primitive and cruel.
Gnoll: Gnolls are humanoids with the gnoll subtype.
Medium: Gnolls are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Gnolls have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision (Ex): Gnolls can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Armor: Gnolls have a +1 natural armor bonus.
Carrion Feeder: Civilized gnolls gain Carrion Feeder as a bonus feat at 1st level.
Desert Raider: Gnolls receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments.
Languages: Civilized gnolls begin play speaking Common and Gnoll. Civilized gnolls with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Halfling, Kelish, Osiriani, and Sphinx.
Racial Point Breakdown
Type: Humanoid (0 RP); Size Medium (0 RP); Speed Normal (0 RP); Ability Scores Specialized (1 RP); Language Standard* (0 RP); Defense desert runner (renamed but unchanged) (2 RP), natural armor (2 RP); Feats and Skills Static bonus feat (Carrion Feeder, ARG 165) (2 RP); Senses darkvision 60 ft. (2 RP)
Total: 9 RP, standard race
* "Wild" tribal gnolls begin play with "xenophobic" language choices.
Alternate Racial Traits
The following racial traits may be selected instead of existing civilized gnoll racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
Bonecracker: Some gnolls develop particularly strong jaws and fangs. Gnolls with this racial trait gain a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage. This is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the gnoll is wielding manufactured weapons. This racial trait replaces the Carrion Feeder bonus feat.
Four-Legged Loper: Some gnolls are more comfortable on four legs than on two. Gnolls with this racial trait gain the benefits of the Run feat whenever they drop to all fours. Dropping to all fours is a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity; standing back up is a move action that does. A prone gnoll still needs to stand back up to return to a four-legged stance (provoking attacks of opportunity), but it also retains the option of crawling as normal. A gnoll cannot use its hands for any other purpose while running on all fours. This racial trait replaces armor.
Hyena Senses: Some gnolls are more closely attuned to their hyena ancestry than others. Gnolls with this racial trait gain low-light vision and a natural ability to sniff out carrion. This carrion sense functions like the scent ability, but only for corpses and badly wounded creatures (creatures with 25% or fewer hit points). This racial trait replaces darkvision.
Random Starting Age
Adulthood 7 years; Intuitive +1d4; Self-Taught +1d6; Trained +2d4
Middle Age 20; Old 30; Venerable 40; Maximum Age 40+2d10 years
Random Height and Weight
(Both genders use the same vital statistics)
Base Height 5 ft. 6 in.; Base Weight 150 lbs.; Modifier 2d10; Weight Modifier x7 lbs.
I haven't designed any gnoll-specific feats, but gnolls may take Carrion Feeder (ARG 165), Ironhide (APG 164), Keen Scent (APG 164), Razor Tusk (APG 168), and Smell Fear (APG 170) as if they met the racial prerequisites.
I allowed gnolls to be used as PCs but no one bit, but I will use this in case anyone does choose to play a gnoll later. Thanks for writing this up.
I also removed the racial hit dice and used the 3.5 SRD for guidance. The stat modifiers that I had for gnolls were the same as what you gave except the -2 went to Int. I chose to keep Cha neutral because I figured a penalty to intimidate didn't fit gnolls. No criticism here, just adding input.
Edit: Here are the racial gnoll feats I came up with. Iron Guts, Jackal Heritage. Basically anything a half-orc would qualify for. Feral Combat Training would also be a good gnoll feat.
The stat modifiers that I had for gnolls were the same as what you gave except the -2 went to Int. I chose to keep Cha neutral because I figured a penalty to intimidate didn't fit gnolls. No criticism here, just adding input.
Yeah, really it's a flip of the coin.
I am not a big fan of carrion feeding for "civilised gnoll" though.
My design philosophy, just for the record, was that physically, "civilized" gnolls are gnolls, full stop. I'm using the thin "civilized" veneer simply to justify the differences (mainly the lack of racial HD) between them and the "wild" gnolls from the Bestiary. A gnoll's ability to feed on carrion is biological, so it's only right that they'd have the ability to eat carrion, even if they consider themselves above it.
(Taking a look at how most urban gnolls live in Dog Town, however, I'd say that "civilized" is very much a relative term.)
I'd give Bestiary gnolls the carrion feeder and desert raider abilities as well, for the record. (Neither would affect their CR.)