Nov 12, 2015

Dungeons & Dragons 5E: Race -- Gnoll

I've been a fan of gnolls for years. Most recently, under 4th Edition, Keith Baker wrote an article about playing gnolls; since I'm a huge fan of his Eberron setting, as you can imagine, I'm very familiar with his work. I made the following conversion of gnolls into a playable race, informed by the Monster Manual, but not slavishly bound to it. It should be pretty well-balanced.

Gnoll Traits

As a gnoll, you have the following racial traits.

     Ability Score Adjustment. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
     Age. Gnolls mature with remarkable speed for intelligent humanoids; some cite this as proof of their fiendish heritage and suggest that it is unnatural for a creature to be ready for battle so soon after birth. They have short life spans—in fact, they rarely live longer than thirty years, but they typically remain remarkably strong and vigorous right up to the end of their days. When their strength leaves them, it is a sudden and catastrophic decline.
     Alignment. Fierce and feral, the gnolls are truly creatures of the wild. On the other hand, the pack is a powerful force for a gnoll, and it is difficult for a gnoll to be alone. While the typical feral hunter is chaotic evil, gnolls can be of any alignment.
     Size. Gnolls tower over humans, with the average gnoll standing over 7 feet tall, but with lean builds. Your size is Medium.
     Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
     Darkvision. As a feral night hunter, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. 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.
     Rampage. Gnolls are instinctively bloodthirsty. When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on your turn, you can take a bonus action to move up to half your speed and make a bite attack.
     Bite. You have well-developed fangs and powerful jaws. You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike, and may do piercing damage instead of bludgeoning damage.
     Skill Proficiency. You have training in the Intimidate and Survival skills.
     Languages. You can speak, read, and write Gnoll and Common. The Gnoll language is the strongest evidence supporting the theory that gnolls have fiendish blood—harsh and guttural, it has many similarities to the Abyssal tongue.

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