Christina Stiles Presents: Races Revised, Cackle of the Gnolls (Pathfinder)
Publisher: Super Genius Games
Page Count: 13
Release Date: 7/10/2013
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com
Christina Stiles Presents: Races Revised Cackle of the Gnolls, written by Mike Welham, is the latest in a series of Pathfinder supplements designed to expand upon races that are generally only used as NPC threats. In this offering we are presented with rules and options for creating more diverse and interesting variations of the standard gnoll. The PDF is thirteen pages long with one page being dedicated to the cover artwork and the final page presenting the OGL license, leaving eleven pages of content.
I will be honest and preface this by saying that I have always been a fan of gnolls and found this supplement to be both interesting and useful. I enjoy the thought of packs of gnolls, accompanied by cackling hyneas, prowling the savannah seeking out prey. The way they are powerful hunters yet often rely on simple scavenging and living off the cast-off of others gives them an interesting feel that most creatures simply don’t have. They are, simply put, lazy predators like vultures – only cooler. Of course there is the fact that I like them visually as well.
The supplement begins by giving a general overview of the gnoll race including a detailed physical description as well as information pertaining to the type of weapons and clothing they prefer. The gnoll racial traits are presented on the first page for making quick character and NPC generation easier. After the descriptions of the race we move on to an in depth look at the gnoll society and how they relate to other races. Included in this section are notes on gnoll adventurers as well as their relative age and size categories as well as modifiers that affect a gnoll as they get older.
As is necessary for any new player option there is a well presented section of alternate racial traits and subtypes. There are also a variety of other racial tidbits including new racial archetypes, feats, and spells specific to gnolls. The gnoll racial traits rage from Feral which grants the character additional class skills at the cost of their Intelligence, to the Savant which gives some information about the rare hairless gnolls that are adept at spell-casting.
The racial archetypes include the Feral Soul, which is a sub-type of the Oracle class, and the Pack-Bonded Hunter, which is a variation of the Ranger. For me the Pack-Bonded Hunter is at the center of being a gnoll as it represents their innate desire to form “packs” with others, even if their compatriots are non-gnolls. The new feats provided range from Bone-Crushing Jaws which improves the characters bite attack, to those that improve the gnolls teamwork abilities and one, Unsettling Foe, that aids the gnoll in intimidating others. While many of the new feats are combat oriented it is nice to see several that provide the character with advantages in other areas such as Desert Runner which provides the gnoll a bonus to their base movement rates.
In addition to all of this there are a variety of magic-oriented details such as a handful of new magic items. A new cleric sub-domain Ferity, which is based off of the animal domain helps bring out the characters bestial nature. Finally there are four new spells including Bloodlust which improves the targets ability to battle their opponents.
Personally I would have really liked to see a picture or perhaps a better description of the gnoll triple-flail found in the equipment section but this is a minor quibble really. The artwork that is presented is clean and evocative of the race.
All in all I give Cackle of the Gnolls a thumbs up. It is excellent not only for creating gnoll player characters but will also help to make great NPC foes and foils for a party of adventurers. By using this product there is no reason to simply use run-of-the-mill gnolls anymore and you can really throw a party for a loop when introducing all the options available here.