Gnolls are dead. The species was almost entirely found in the Free World. Gnolls were extremely tribal creatures, a slight bit on the uncivilized side of things. The humans in the Free World grew in size and population and territory, forcing gnolls to be pushed either further out into the wilderness or into the slums and dark places in the world. Some acclimated to their new surroundings, others died off. There were a large group who, however, found peace in the arms of the sem. Through a twist in genetics, they were able to have children, but those children were different from both parents. Some of the gnolls fled with the sem when they escaped to Cathemega, and the children they had continued to have children of their own. These are known as the gnollen. There are two types of gnollen – mountain and forest.
What the two types of gnollen have in common is many. They are short humanoids who resemble wolf-like dogs. Both races tend to have spotty or striped fur. They are both still fiercely tribal creatures. They are very short lived – a gnollen usually not living more than thirty or forty years. They do, however, have large families, making up for the short lifespan. A single pregnancy most often produces two or three pups, with upwards of seven or eight not unheard of. Genetic diversity remains strong because families try to avoid having their children marry the same other families.
Both gnollen types have a chieftain who keeps watch over the entire tribe. He or she is the leader of the tribe as well as its primary priest and ritual leader. Each family is headed by its father, though due to the progressive nature of everyone around them, mothers are given equal share of responsibilities. Though the chief rules over all, it is mostly a figurehead type ruling, because decisions are made primarily through the families themselves.
Both tribes have a communal type structure, where every member of the tribe puts their own skills and their own abilities towards the betterment of the tribe. Each gnollen, around their eighth birthday, is considered ready to begin the rites of adulthood, and by the time they’re ten, they step into their skillset and become a tribe member. If they refuse, or are unable to show a skill, they are considered an extra mouth, and given the last of everything – the scraps of food, the smallest homes, the last of the clothes.
Mateship is usually a choice between the two young gnollen. They approach their prospective mate’s parents and tell them they wish to become mates. The parents approach the chieftain for his or her blessing. Very rarely do parents refuse a mate and very rarely does the chieftain not give a blessing to the union. Mountain and forest gnollen have different rituals for mateship.
The mountain gnollen are a larger breed, standing about four feet tall. They have thick fur, usually of lighter colors than their forest kin. They worship both Golem and Siren, the elementals of the earth and wind, because they are both closest to the sky and embraced within the mountainous arms of the earth. Their rituals are very heavily evocative of the wind and the earth.
They are excellent smiths, able to create impressive metallic objects, including the extremely difficult gun. Gnollen are the only species to use firearms – since magic is so prevalent with all other races. They cannot cast their own magic, so for defense the mountain gnollen use the musket or flintlock type weapon. They are extremely regimental and very well trained at defense.
The forest gnollen are a more slender, shorter breed – only about three feet tall. Their fur is thin and dark. They are worshippers of Luna and Stella, the elementals of the moon and the stars. Luna has always blessed the forest gnollen, and her eyes (the moons) are always watching over them. The gnollen use the subtle changes in the moon as part of their ritual cycle, as well as using the positions of the stars.
Forest gnollen are woodcarvers mostly, able to use wood to their best advantage. They are expert trackers and trappers as well. Their chief defense against those who may seek to harm them are their traps and tricks.