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    Default [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Hey,

    I need some more help from the experienced on here.

    My players are going to attempt to travel deep into a gnoll ruled territory. Long story short a very big and mean Gnoll b$%^& managed to subjugate all the neighboring Gnoll tribes under her name, and in the last few years has managed to pose a threat other races who used to think of the Gnoll bands and tribes as nothing but a nuisance.

    Now, the text in the 3.5 MM says:

    "Gnoll lairs are fortified surface encampments or underground complexes."


    My issue is I am having a hard time picturing this. They will probably have to travel through a number of them to reach their goal (still brainstorming the plot in a rush), so I would like to know what I should be imaging and describing to the players. Also, I would like to map some in my copy of Fractal Mapper.

    If anyone has any pictures/art that would be pretty useful as well.

    I could also use some logistics and more information I could use and interpret, While the Gnoll entry in the was longer and more in-depth than most (to my surprise), it still is pretty sort.


    p.s. Anyone know where I can get some Gnoll sprites to use in Fractal Mapper? CC3 ones work well too.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Seems to me like the group is a warband, go with a tent city for buildings with basic fortifcations that can be assmbled quick (ditchs with some sharped wood in them).

    If you want this to be a homebase, make it a cave conplex (the home cave of the Gnoll warlord) with the above mentioned tents/fortifications around the enterance and some permanent buildings in progress, she has more than one tribe under her control, so I wouldn't expect everyone to fit in the cave.
    Last edited by deuxhero; 2009-08-17 at 07:18 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Really, you could do whatever you want. Gnolls are militant humanoids much like orks, though I suggest you make them matriarchal. Their 'god' is actually a very powerful demon prince (up there with Grazz't and Demogorgan). Heck, you could even make the gnoll queen of yours a half-fiend (or fiend-touched, or whatever).

    If you want suggestions, then have a tribe of smarter-than-average gnolls conquer kobolds, and use said kobolds to build a fortress tunnel network inside a mountain, or something. Someone did the math somewhere that four kobolds--with one with an expert level--can clear more tunnel than a 20th level cleric with the 9th level stoneshape spell.

    You can easily make your PCs pay for waltzing into a monster lair. Having gnolls and kobolds shooting at PCs through murder holes, tripping traps, collapsing tunnels, etc. The trick, of course, is to never let them rest but don't actually give them hard targets to attack.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Gnolls have a connection to ghouls, so the upper sections of the fortified encampment could be like a mud-and-straw brick city, with a log barricade around it, and warrens underneath dug by the ghouls.

    Given their fondness for slavery, and their apparent comfort with undead, a gnoll tribe having some zombie or skeleton laborers, constantly working on expanding the tunnels, or building the fortifications, or whatever (made from slaves who were worked to death, or, more likely, succumbed to illness or infection and seemed unpalatable to the anthrophagic gnolls), makes some amount of sense, given the gnolls own personal distaste for physical labor.

    Structures such as those seen near the end of Sahara, with mud-brick walls and rattan/stick roofs would best fit my image of the most complicated structure a gnoll community would build, with the majority of gnolls having a more nomadic pack structure, and using temporary and portable tents and lean-to's. (Carried on pack hyena, beaten into submission and used as mules, and perhaps dire hyena/hyaenodans for the tribes lucky enough to have them.) Very low status gnolls would be the ones most likely to set up such tents (and tend the hyenas), as a more mobile group would be less likely to have slaves or undead in tow.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    I know nothing of this Gnoll/Ghoul connection, but female Gnolls are known as Flinds, and tend to be much nastier.

    Edit: As for camps, try a trench dug (to stop chargers), a small mound of earth studded with spikes (to stop leapers), and a few slingers on duty, with more being able to be called up should the situation require. I'd give it three entrances/exits. One main front enterance, one 'escape' exit out back, and an escape tunnel for the leaders.
    Last edited by Seffbasilisk; 2009-08-17 at 07:58 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Seffbasilisk View Post
    I know nothing of this Gnoll/Ghoul connection, but female Gnolls are known as Flinds, and tend to be much nastier.
    Yeenoghu (demon lord of gnolls) conquered Doresain (the demon king of ghouls) and kept him alive as a vassal, so gnolls and ghouls have a sort of master-laborer relationship born out of this alone.

    Of course, not all gnolls are demon worshippers. Just most of them.
    Last edited by Gnorman; 2009-08-17 at 08:31 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Gnolls are lazy. Laaaaaazy. They don't build, they don't even really order slaves to build. I Envision a gnoll "stronghold" as a three story farm house with much of the roof burned away (due to their own carelessness!). The entire pack camps out here (in all likelyhood living off of the previous owners and their livestock) and when supplies (read; captives) get low their scouts (gnoll love rangers!) go out and find a new lair.
    Last edited by Darcand; 2009-08-18 at 06:20 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Work your players up into progressively bigger and bigger camps. Start out with a few scouts on the outskirts, with one, maybe two, tents. Probably a group of 2 1st level Gnoll Warriors led by an (insert party level here) level Gnoll Ranger, with Precise Shot if level 3+, firing into the party while the Warriors act like the big dumb meat-shields they are.

    Then, they start running into the patrols. They don't have tents, players just run into either the day shift or the night shift. Patrols are either 4 Warriors and a Ranger or 2 Warriors and 2 Rangers. If the patrol should happen to see the PCs before they seen the patrol, send one of the Warriors off to a warcamp as warning. Pretty much the same tactics, sniper Rangers, meat-shield Warriors. BTW, if the Rangers have a companion, send one of them as a runner (choose nastiest low level animal in that area).

    The warcamps are where it starts getting interesting. Presumably these would be where the tribes other than the queen's would be. This is also where we start seeing slaves. Slaves can be just about any humanoid race you want. The warcamps are surrounded by trenches, possibly with wooden spikes. If you have at least one intelligent or wise gnoll (presumably your gnoll-queen), set up double trenches, with spikes facing both outward and inward (both for discouraging slaves from escaping and for bull rushing pesky adventurers onto ). These guys are mostly going to be Warriors a few levels shy of the group and typically 3-4 Rangers per 10 tents. Give the players an opportunity to sneak over the spikes without getting seen if no runners made it back from patrols, but make it hard. Also, to make it realistic to support such a large populace, maybe put a few crops here. It would be impossible to survive on pillaging alone, but it would also be impossible to survive on farming alone. I'm not suggesting something a normal human farmer would have, like grain or green beans, more wild plants that the gnolls are caring for, like winter peas.

    Past the warcamps is the cave. This is the main base of operations, with your baddy at the back. At this point, every gnoll has class levels, and the only slaves are going to be kobolds and dwarves tunneling the place out. At this point it should get fairly tough. All gnolls should be within 2 ECL of your party's average level (both up and down).

    If you're like me and want to be as realistic as possible, have the kobolds smuggle you into the slave's quarters when the party needs to rest, as repayment for attempting to kill their captors. You may want to roll a die (pick your favorite) to see if they get caught or not.

    Ultimately, it's up to you. This is just my suggestion (based mostly on a campaign I played through). Good luck.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Gnolls don't really establish civillisation themselves, so why not base their tents and encampments around the ruins of cities, castles and churches that they previously overran and destroyed?
    Last edited by Myshlaevsky; 2009-08-18 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Seffbasilisk View Post
    I know nothing of this Gnoll/Ghoul connection, but female Gnolls are known as Flinds, and tend to be much nastier.
    Flinds are a subrace. Each kind has both males and females.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    I made a gnoll settlement once. they lived in these african huts and had their settlement walled in, the only way in and out was trough, what is it called?, rope ladders.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Since Gnolls are humanoid hyenas, maybe use hyena dens as inspiration?


    Here's a nice video of a hyena den: http://www.blip.tv/file/2042969

    Basically they excavate a hole, usually in the side of a hillock or small mound of earth, then clear the area around it of vegetation. Actually, this is pretty typical for dogs too. Mine did this with my yard.

    Maybe a central burrow with fortifications, but a wide open area around it with some tents and shelters for things that would be more comfortable outdoors. An outdoor kitchen, blacksmith (if they have one), and that sort of thing. There could be multiple sub-burrows for individual families.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    I think I would have the players find a long, thin, narrow winding passage headed down into the earth. I would have it protected by a handful of guards in a few carved out passages and some traps. Then I would have it open up into a much, larger--I'm talking huge--underdark kind of cave complex complete with an underground lake and a giant mushroom forest and luminescent fungi on the cave ceiling.

    And while they were marveling at all that--I would have them come under attack by gnoll warriors riding dire wolves cause they would never expect to be attacked by cavalry underground!

    And some time after that--I'm thinking kobolds riding dire bats!

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Quote Originally Posted by The WitchKing View Post
    And while they were marveling at all that--I would have them come under attack by gnoll warriors riding dire wolves cause they would never expect to be attacked by cavalry underground!

    And some time after that--I'm thinking kobolds riding dire bats!
    And when they go all the way underground...Chitines riding Monsterous Spiders!
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Gnolls subsist largely on meat. As such, there won't be the normal fields and farm implements of a human village, but smokehouses and other methods for preserving and storing meat will be more common.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazrasa View Post
    Work your players up into progressively bigger and bigger camps. Start out with a few scouts on the outskirts, with one, maybe two, tents. Probably a group of 2 1st level Gnoll Warriors led by an (insert party level here) level Gnoll Ranger, with Precise Shot if level 3+, firing into the party while the Warriors act like the big dumb meat-shields they are.

    Then, they start running into the patrols. They don't have tents, players just run into either the day shift or the night shift. Patrols are either 4 Warriors and a Ranger or 2 Warriors and 2 Rangers. If the patrol should happen to see the PCs before they seen the patrol, send one of the Warriors off to a warcamp as warning. Pretty much the same tactics, sniper Rangers, meat-shield Warriors. BTW, if the Rangers have a companion, send one of them as a runner (choose nastiest low level animal in that area).

    The warcamps are where it starts getting interesting. Presumably these would be where the tribes other than the queen's would be. This is also where we start seeing slaves. Slaves can be just about any humanoid race you want. The warcamps are surrounded by trenches, possibly with wooden spikes. If you have at least one intelligent or wise gnoll (presumably your gnoll-queen), set up double trenches, with spikes facing both outward and inward (both for discouraging slaves from escaping and for bull rushing pesky adventurers onto ). These guys are mostly going to be Warriors a few levels shy of the group and typically 3-4 Rangers per 10 tents. Give the players an opportunity to sneak over the spikes without getting seen if no runners made it back from patrols, but make it hard. Also, to make it realistic to support such a large populace, maybe put a few crops here. It would be impossible to survive on pillaging alone, but it would also be impossible to survive on farming alone. I'm not suggesting something a normal human farmer would have, like grain or green beans, more wild plants that the gnolls are caring for, like winter peas.

    Past the warcamps is the cave. This is the main base of operations, with your baddy at the back. At this point, every gnoll has class levels, and the only slaves are going to be kobolds and dwarves tunneling the place out. At this point it should get fairly tough. All gnolls should be within 2 ECL of your party's average level (both up and down).

    If you're like me and want to be as realistic as possible, have the kobolds smuggle you into the slave's quarters when the party needs to rest, as repayment for attempting to kill their captors. You may want to roll a die (pick your favorite) to see if they get caught or not.

    Ultimately, it's up to you. This is just my suggestion (based mostly on a campaign I played through). Good luck.

    Dude. This is AMAZINGLY useful advice. Thank you!

    To learn to be a better DM, can you please tell me how you came upon the various enemy numbers you did? It seems so perfect, I want to know how you pulled it together. Pure experience?


    p.s. Oh, and I guess each of the warcamps (which will be ranging from Thorp sized to Large Town Sized) could have been former Gnoll bands and tribes which have been subjugated?

    Also, should the camps be randomly scattered? If they are not, how do you explain them getting bigger and bigger as you get closer? Please remember that I will be placing all these on my overland Fractal Mapper Map.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharikov View Post
    Gnolls don't really establish civillisation themselves, so why not base their tents and encampments around the ruins of cities, castles and churches that they previously overran and destroyed?
    Oooh. More good advice tidbits.

    Humans recently obliterated themselves a century back, so I am guessing I can make some of those camps former human ruins.

    Would one assume they are in the hands of only the biggest of the warcamps/former tribes, since they would probably fight among themselves for these prebuilt semi-strongholds (going by their being lazy fluff)?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    My own gnoll stronghold is based in an abandoned fortress - old, partially in ruins, origins somewhat uncertain.

    Being not entirely unintelligent - but absolutely unwilling to do any real work themselves - they've captured the people of several small villages, and told them to repair everything. The villagers, not being engineers, masons or the like, have done as best they can, resulting in a something of a mess ... but none the less a highly defensible base for the creatures.

    Now gnolls (to my thinking) are more cruel than they are clever. Their most vaulable ressource, the slaves, are slowly being killed off. They are being pitted against each other, killed for minor failings, worked to death, and so on. Meanwhile, the crops the slaves helped plant to feed the fortress are slowly failing.

    Gnolls are evil, militaristic, but undisciplined. In my fortress there are frequent attempts to displace the top dog, while fights to rise high enough in the pecking order to challenge (or attempt to assasinate) the leader are constant.

    For looks, the fortress is an absolute eyesore. The corpses of slaves are tossed pretty much randomly - and gnolls are by no means above eating them if they are hungry. There is refuse and junk everywhere, smoky firepits, tents - as well as a scaffold, torture devices, a snakepit and so on, all for the slaves.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Need help. What is a Gnoll settlement like? (Players don't look!)

    I always saw gnolls as more nomadic than anything. Nothing too permanent, certainly no crops. I could see gnolls herding things to later slaughter for rations when hunting isn't so good, though.

    They're mostly raiders, however, so they travel from place to place, stopping in an area for a couple weeks before moving on to better hunting grounds, occasionally fighting other tribes of gnolls and generally causing mayhem across the countryside. A strong leader may set up a central location for the roving bands but that's sort of a stretch, I think. Maybe they took over some ruins or caves and built them up a little but these are gnolls, not hobgoblins. They don't want slaves to build things, they hunt and slaughter, not conquer, capture and work.

    Also, flinds aren't really a subrace, they're more relatives than anything, like human and neanderthal. They occasionally are birthed to lucky gnoll parents and quickly grow powerful and overbearing, till they take over a tribe.
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