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I figured I'd share the work I've done fleshing out the tribes of the Gnollheim Hills in Soderfjord for an upcoming campaign. I'd appreciate any feedback, suggestions, or criticisms you might have to share. And I hope maybe some of these ideas are useful!
I've generally tried to work within the published information that I'm aware of, while shaping Gnollheim into a diverse, interesting hub of gnollish civilization. The departures from published info that I know of are both discrepancies with GAZ7, which indicates that all gnolls in Gnollheim worship entropic immortals and lack wiccas. This remains accurate for the tribes with whom the people of the Jarldoms have the most conflict, but I took the liberty of introducing wiccas, magic-users, and other faiths to some of the other clans.
The association of Noumena with Gruugrakh gnolls is a departure from suggestions made in various fan sources. I ruled out Mealiden as too pro-elf and Zirchev as too anti-gnoll, and I think Noumena, as a former Nithian pharaoh, is a pretty good fit, but I'm definitely open to other suggestions.
Gnollheimby Patrick Sullivan
Overview of Gnollheim
The fifteen clans of Gnollheim are diverse peoples with little in common aside from the territory they inhabit. Conducting trade or warfare with their neighbors, the gnolls are a serious obstacle to the expansionist ambitions of the Jarls of Soderfjord and the kobolds of the Hardanger Range.
History as the Immortals See It
Soon after gnolls were first created through the dark experimentation of the Nithians, some of them rebelled and fled north, into the hills now called Gnollheim, to live free of human domination. As word spread of the Free Gnolls, more and more slaves sought escape. Many gnolls perished in escape attempts, but many, too, found their way to their promised land north of the Hardanger Range. The gnomes of the region, recognizing their distant kinship, allied with the gnolls, allowing them passage through their caverns and into the safety of Gnollheim. The Big Canyon, Black Cliff, Rockfall, and Dripping Fangs clans are direct descendants of these original settlers. Other rebel gnolls fled to what is now Karameikos.
In 888 BC, some survivors of the Traladaran invasion made their way to Gnollheim, where they established the Mountain Wolf, Dry Pass, and Bush Mesa clans.
Gnollheim’s population grew quickly, through escaped slaves and procreation, and soon the gnolls began spreading into other parts of the world. They maintained legends of their promised land in Gnollheim, and passed down from sire to whelp the knowledge that gnolls could always return to the northern foothills of the Hardangers for freedom and safety.
When Nithia was destroyed in 500 BC, the surviving Black Moon gnolls fled, and some found their way to Gnollheim, where they established the Long Drop and Double Rock River clans. In the wars between kobolds and gnomes, the gnolls generally fought alongside their trading partners and distant relations, the gnomes, and enmity between the kobolds and gnolls has lingered to the present.
In 491 BC, survivors of Queen Ubdala’s Great Horde made their way to Gnollheim, establishing the Gray Mountain and Bramble clans.
Between 500 and 520 AC, gnoll tribes fled southward before human settlers from Ostland, settling among their gnollheim relatives and forming the Vulture, Brown Rocks, and Birch Creek clans.
In 780 AC, a band of Gruugrakh gnolls arrived in the region, fleeing over hundreds of miles from persecution by elves, and founded the Hill Wolf Clan.
A horde of gnolls fleeing fearsome human warriors on horseback boiled out of a previously-undiscovered cavern north of Gnollheim in 804 AC. They found the surrounding wooded hills suitable for their reindeer herds, so they settled the region, becoming the Green Tree Clan.
When Nizam Pasha led his crusade against followers of Pflarr in the late tenth century AC, several Gnollheim tribes joined him, pursuing travelling to northwestern Ylaruam to fight against the infidels, and forming an alliance against the Dripping Fangs Clan, killing or enslaving them. Many gnolls who participated in this glorious war fought humans in Ylaruam along their path, then returned home to regale other gnolls with tales of delicious human meat.
Recent incursion into gnoll territory by the humans of Ozurfold and the construction of the Sodervirk have led some gnolls to see humans as a serious threat, as well as an opportunity for further raiding and human meat. Some clans have gone so far as to ally with the hated kobolds against these human interlopers.
Between 962 and 985 AC, Chief Suant of the Black Cliff Clan has carefully built a confederacy of allied gnolls, seeking to construct a unified nation that can stand proudly alongside its human neighbors. Member clans that have allied with the Black Cliff Clan include the Birch Creek, Green Tree, Big Canyon, Bush Mesa, Vulture, and Long Drop clans. Each has agreed to come to the defense of any confederacy member if it faces an organized attack. Warriors from the northern clans journey to the Hardanger Range to defend the southern clans against kobold assaults—the benefit to the northern clans is that unruly young warriors are sent away, rather than allowing them to cause trouble with dangerous human neighbors. The gnolls of the confederacy’s member-clans are forbidden from attacking humans, dwarves, gnomes, or gnolls, and from eating any of these races.
Recently, the confederacy has been threatened from within, as young warriors seek to ally with the kobolds and attack humans. The Sodervirk and punitive raids from Soderfjord’s humans against the Mountain Wolf Clan also threaten the confederacy, as Soderfjord soldiers have sometimes crossed into Bush Mesa territory, attacking gnolls that they believed had been raiding homesteads in the Whiteheart Valley. Confederacy leaders suspect that Kaberu has been deliberately leading soldiers toward Bush Mesa and are actively working to thwart Kaberu’s efforts.
When the humans of Soderfjord began construction on the Sodervirk, the Rockfall and Mountain Wolf clans were dismayed at the loss of territory that they once claimed. Chief Kaberu of the Mountain Wolf Clan, a charismatic leader and brilliant tactician, attempted to unify the gnolls against the human interlopers. The Rockfall clan, who had lost the most grazing land, gladly joined, and Kaberu easily bullied his subordinates in the Gray Mountain Clan to join. The strong Double Rock River Clan willingly joined, eager to focus raiding efforts in eastern Ozurfold to prevent retaliatory expeditions into their own territory. Kaberu has been unsuccessfully courting other gnoll clans, but he has made considerable headway with the once-hostile kobolds of the Hardanger Mountains, who gladly trade gnoll attacks on their territories for plunder from humans.
Kaberu would like to see the Sodervirk dismantled, but he does not want Ozurfold abandoned completely—the raiding is too good. Therefore, his raiders tend not to push their advantage after gathering some plunder. He hopes to expand raiding into other human dominions of southern Soderfjord, rather than destroying Whiteheart.
Big Canyon Clan—Geb’s Republic
Location: Gnollheim Hills north of the Angevin River and south of Gnatni
Area: 390 sq. mi. Population: 1,200
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous theocratic pseudo-republic
Industries: mountain sheep; agriculture: beans, potatoes, and grains
Patron Immortal: Geb (Terra)
Description: Geb’s Republic is comprised of the drainage basin of Big Creek and its tributaries, which cut deep, steep-sided canyons into the dry plateaus north of the Angevin.
Big Canyon society is divided into main groups: the toppers and the bottomers. The bottomers, who outnumber toppers by about two to one, live in crowded tenements and caves clustered on the canyon floors, scratching a living from the earth and the fickle flow of local streams. The toppers live a nomadic life, herding mountain sheep atop the hills and plateaus of the region.
Government is, in name, republican. All candidates must be approved by the supreme leader, Maktohep, however. Geb’s Republic maintains membership in Suant’s Alliance and sends its troublemakers south. Raids against neighboring gnoll tribes are forbidden, but Geb’s Republic exerts little control over the toppers, who sometimes launch raids against Gnotni. Relations with neighbors in the Birch Creek and Black Cliff clans are cordial, and the republican government sends food to try to prop up the Bush Mesa clan.
Big Canyon gnolls usually profess their faith in Geb loudly and follow standards of covering their bodies, except for their faces, with brown cloth. They fear Makhotep’s secret police and only the bravest or most foolhardy will speak out against Makhotep’s decisions.
Big Canyon gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hilaris. Clan members do not willingly show their mohawks, as they are covered by brown robes, but many dye their mohawks bright colors in private.
Notable Sites: Bottom, the largest of the bottomer settlements, is located at the top of the spectacular waterfall formed when Big Creek cascades down to the Angevin. This settlement, the seat of Makhotep’s power, has the most reliable supply of water and, thus, the richest farms. The village also hosts the fortified entrance to a network of caverns, with exits below the Big Creek waterfall and at several locations on the plateaus above.
History: The Big Canyon gnolls say that they have lived here, farming and herding, since the sun first rose. For centuries, the bottomers and toppers engaged in persistent cycles of peace and warfare, shunning interactions with other tribes who had forgotten the ancient wisdom of Geb.
A young bottomer named Maktohep joined with a band of adventers—Suant, Ashk, and Hrapp—in 956 AC, and earned fame throughout the eastern clans. In 962, he returned to Big Canyon and assumed leadership, formalizing government and enforcing peace between toppers and bottomers. Since then, he has built up a secret police force to ensure that his will continues to dominate, at least among bottomers. Many toppers support war with the Green Tree or Mountain Wolf clans, or independence from the Republic.
Important Figures: Makhotep (Supreme Leader), Ashk (itinerate wicca)
Flora and Fauna: The arid plateaus and canyons of Big Canyon are home to brown bears, wolves, mountain lions, giant scorpions, and many varieties of snake.
Birch Creek Clan—the Jarldom of Hrappsfjord
Location: Gnollheim Hills between Olvasfjord and the mouth of the Angevin, east of the Stone River
Area: 555 sq. mi. Population: 1,700
Languages: Gnollheimer, Septentrionum dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous kingdom ruled by a Jarl
Industries: mountain sheep, mining (quartz, copper, arsenic, and pyrite), and piracy
Patron Immortal: Loki
Description: The hills of Hrappsfjord are a broad plateau, cut by the valleys of the Stone River, Birch Creek, and their smaller tributaries. Thick pine and birch forests grow in the northern hills; farther south, the woods are confined to the valley floors, and the hilltops are rocky meadowlands. The eastern and southern borders are sheer, unscalable cliffs dropping to the ocean and the Angevin Gorge.
The Birch Creek gnolls are prosperous, thriving on trade and the quality herding lands of their territory. Hrappsfjord maintains trade relations with the Green Tree and Big Canyon clans, as well as with the Jarldom of Olvasfjord in Soderfjord. The gnolls export wool and attempt to export pyrite: the traders of Wilmik and the Big Canyon gnolls know better than to purchase unverified gold, but Birch Creek gnolls sometimes find unwitting customers among rural humans and travelling traders; the Green Tree gnolls willingly purchase pyrite, though at lower prices than a foolish human. Alcohol and poultry, purchased from the humans of Olvasfjord, are consumed locally and traded to other tribes.
Jarl Unn Hrappdottir, ruler of the Birch Creek Clan, has maintained her authority in the decade since the death of her father through strength and wise rule. Her alliance with Suant of the Black Cliff Clan allows her to send away the most troublesome young gnolls, and her careful policies of raiding only settlements miles away while cultivating relations with neighbors has allowed Hrappsfjord a high level of prosperity. Eating gnoll, dwarf, and human meat is forbidden among the Birch Creek clan.
The common Birch Creek gnolls are all considered Freegnolls, and enjoy full privileges at the Thing. Concerned about the rising number of foreigners in Hrappsfjord, Unn freed all thralls several years after taking the throne and forbade future slavery: human and dwarf thralls were exiled to Wilmik, while most gnoll thralls chose to remain with the Birch Creek clan.
Birch Creek gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Septentrionum. Some clan members follow Unn in dying their mohawks blue. Birch Creek gnolls dress much like their human neighbors in Hrappsfjord, and warriors prefer to wear horned helms.
Notable Sites: Unnhall, the great longhouse that serves as Unn’s fortress and seat of power, sits at a natural harbor where Birch Creek flows into the Stone River. Unnhall, which appears much like any other longhouse in Soderfjord, houses the Jarl’s longship, the Dog’s Breath, and a second longship under construction. Raiding with Unn aboard a longship is considered a great privilege. The pirates conduct nighttime raids several times a year, focused against the Soderfjord jarldoms of Suddland and Hordamark. Unn forbids raiding against her Olvasfjord neighbors or any other gnoll clan.
History: The Birch Creek clan was, for centuries, a loosely-organized confederacy of warlike nomadic herders. In 947 AC, a young gnoll named Hrapp was taken prisoner by a raiding party from Ostman Island. His ferocious personality earned him the respect of the Ostmans, and he was granted a place among their raiders, learning Northlander customs and language. In 956, during a raid against Wilmik, the longship on which he sailed was burned and many of his fellow pirates were slain. He slipped away from the combat, heading south back toward his homeland. There he joined with Suant, Ashk, and Maktohep in an adventuring band that earned fame throughout the eastern clans. In 962, he returned to the Birch Creek clan and set about reforming it into a unified, centralized Jarldom. Upon his death ten years ago, his daughter Unn tool leadership and has maintained most of her father’s policies and customs.
Important Figures: Unn Hrappsdottir (jarl), Ashk (itinerant wicca)
Flora and Fauna: The forests and hills of Hrappsfjord are home to boars, brown bears, elk, wolves, and mountain lions.
Black Cliffs Clan—the Kingdom of the Winds
Location: Gnollheim Hills south of the Angevin River
Area: 555 sq. mi. Population: 1,800
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: kingdom
Industries: mountain sheep, silver mining, hunting, fungus cultivation
Patron Immortal: Zephyr (Odin)
Description: The Kingdom of the Winds is comprised of the drainage basin of Ice Creek and its tributaries, which cut deep, steep-sided canyons into the dry plateaus south of the Angevin. The extreme southern reaches of the kingdom include high mountain slopes and glaciers. A complex network of caverns underlies the entire region and is fully incorporated into the kingdom. Powerful, warm winds blow through the caverns and out the entrances, forming small areas with hot, dry microclimates around each cave mouth.
Black Cliff gnolls living above ground herd mountain sheep, spending summers in the high peaks of the Hardanger range, and taking their flocks north into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Those living in the caverns raise fungus, hunt the wildlife and monsters of the caves, and mine silver.
Chief Suant forbids warfare against other gnoll clans, and his warriors are generally kept busy fighting the various monsters that well up from the cavern’s depths, and with occasional border skirmishes with kobolds. Recently, though, a band of young warriors has sought alliance with the kobolds to overthrow Suant and launch a war against mankind. Suant aspires to be recognized as the peer of the Sultan of Ylaruam and the monarchs of Vestland and Ostland, so he forbids killing humans, elves, gnomes, Halflings, or dwarves, as well. This is easily enforced, as no humans or demihumans ever visit the kingdom, and the few surviving gnomes never show themselves.
The Black Cliffs Clan maintains limited trade with its neighbors, generally exporting silver and mushrooms. Commerce with Geb’s Republic is conducted on rafts travelling between well-hidden caverns opening onto the Angevin Gorge.
Black Cliffs gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Most clan members dye their Mohawks, or even their entire bodies, black. They usually wear drab-colored tunics or robes.
Notable Sites: The Palace of the Winds, Suant’s capitol, is an ancient stonework fortress located atop the largest entrance to the underlying caverns. Hot air rushes throughout the entire palace, keeping it comfortably warm even in midwinter.
Ice Mountain, the northernmost major peak of the eastern Hardanger Mountains, is a glacier-covered summit visible for miles around. The gnolls graze sheep on the lower slopes of Ice Mountain, but they do not venture into the snowfields. Ice Mountain is the home of an ancient gold dragon, whom the gnolls fear and leave offerings to prevent his wrath. The gold dragon, Ashk, lives in the hollowed-out summit of the mountain, attended by several hundred gnomes, the last remnant of the Hardanger gnomish culture.
The Fiery Passage, the southernmost reach of the caverns of the kingdom, extends southward, three miles beneath the summit of Ice Mountain. A perpetual fire rages in this part of the caves, and hot winds rush northward in the passage. The Black Cliff gnolls maintain a strong garrison at the northern end of the Fiery Passage, where the heat is tolerable, against the fire monsters that occasionally wander north. Unbeknownst to either the gnolls or the wizard, the Fiery Passage extends far to the south, into the realm of Barimoor.
History: The Black Cliff gnolls say that they have lived here since the wind first blew. These gnolls kept sacred the teachings of Zephyr and claim that they first introduced the worship of Odin to the humans of the Northern Reaches.
Suant, the young prince, joined in an adventuring band with Maktohep, Ashk, and Hrapp in 956 AC, earning fame throughout the eastern clans. In 962, after receiving word of his father’s death, he returned to the Kingdom of the Winds and assumed leadership. Since then, he has steadily built alliances with neighboring clans and consolidated leadership of the region.
Important Figures: Suant (Chief), Ashk (itinerant wicca and gold dragon), Chela (young warleader secretly allied with the kobolds)
Flora and Fauna: The arid plateaus and canyons of the Kingdom of the Winds are home to pronghorns, brown bears, wolves, mountain lions, giant scorpions, and many varieties of snake. The southern mountains host wolves, mountain lions, kobolds, gnomes, and a gold dragon.
Bramble Clan—Land of the Briars
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of the Great Marsh
Area: 335 sq. mi. Population: 900
Languages: Gnollheimer, Bramble Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: loose confederation of tribes
Industries: mountain sheep, hunting, trapping
Patron Immortal: Atzanteotl
Description: The Briar Kingdom is comprised of the drainage basin of Tangle Creek, Thorn Creek, and their tributaries, which cut deep, steep-sided canyons into the dry plateaus south of the Great Marsh. The canyons are overgrown with dense, thorny bushes. The extreme southern reaches of the kingdom include high mountain slopes.
Most Bramble gnolls spend summers herding mountain sheep in the Hardanger range, taking their flocks northwest into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Young warriors maintain constant watch in the mountains against kobolds, and occasionally raid kobold settlements. War leader Th’agash directs these forces against the kobolds.
The eight tribes of the Bramble gnolls bicker among one another, but they unite to present a strong front against any invasion. The Bramble Clan is highly xenophobic and overtly hostile to other gnolls. They trade occasionally with human and dwarven homesteaders in the Great Marsh, but do not tolerate humans or demihumans in their grazing lands.
Bramble gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Meridionum. Clan members occasionally dye their mohawks, if suitable dye is available. Bramble gnolls wear only breechcloths made from animal skins.
Notable Sites: Briarmere, a forbidding spire of black rock resting at the edge of the Great Marsh, serves as the home of Order of the Blue Knife, an order of vicious shamans. Gnolls, humans, demihumans, and even most wild animals carefully avoid the area.
History: The Bramble gnolls remember with pride their ancestors’ participation in the Great Horde of Queen Ubdala. They view neighboring gnoll tribes as craven and inferior for never having participated in such a glorious rampage—never mind that no Bramble gnolls have done so in over 1,500 years.
Important Figures: Th’agash (war leader)
Flora and Fauna: The plateaus and canyons of the Land of the Briars are home to jackrabbits, pronghorns, wolves, mountain lions, and brown bears. Various swamp creatures occasionally wander out of the Great Marsh and into these hills. The southeastern mountains host wolves, brown bears, and kobolds.
Brown Rocks Clan—the Jarldom of Grrrr
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of the Great Marsh
Area: 275 sq. mi. Population: 800
Languages: Gnollheimer, Septentrionum dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: petty kingdom ruled by a Jarl
Industries: mountain sheep, raiding
Patron Immortal: Loki
Description: The hills of Grrr are a broad plateau, cut by the valleys of many small streams. The plateau summits are open, rocky scrubland, and the valley floors are tangled with undergrowth. The southernmost portion of the Jarldom is rocky slopes and high alpine meadows in the Hardanger Range.
Most Brown Rocks gnolls spend summers herding mountain sheep in the Hardanger range, taking their flocks north into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. A frequent pastime in Grrr is trying to figure out how to ferment various substances. So far, swamp water from the Great Marsh, without any additives, appears to be the most effective, but blindness is an occasional side effect. Most Brown Rocks gnolls consider it worth the risk.
Jarl Bran Moderson, ruler of the Brown Rocks Clan, enjoys nothing more than making treaties with his neighbors, and then breaking the treaties at times that prove disastrous to his rivals. The Bramble Clan will not have anything to do with Brown Rocks gnolls, which is considerably less fun, so the Jarldom must confine its peacemaking and treachery to the Hill Wolf Clan of gnolls and the kobolds of the Hardanger Range.
About 10% of the population are thralls, slaves captured from the Hill Wolf or Bramble clans and forced to work for Brown Rocks gnolls.
Brown Rocks gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Septentrionum. Many clan members follow Bran in dying their mohawks brown. They dress in a fanciful, misinformed interpretation of northlander costume, with little sense of what pieces belong together. For example, a Brown Rocks warrior might wear furry boots, an embroidered barmaid’s dress—complete with ample prosthetic bosom—and a helmet with eight horns.
Notable Sites: The Big Brown Rocks, near the center of the clan’s grazing territory, is a circle of ancient brown obelisks covered in runes or hieroglyphs that none understand, each standing about 40 feet high. The gnolls use this as a meeting place.
History: The Brown Rocks Clan claim to have defeated the Great Horde, taught the Ostlanders how to make boats, given the Thyatians the idea for an empire, sold the Orclands to Darokin, and done any number of other important and outlandish deeds. No one, except maybe Glurylan, believes them.
Bran is the most recent in a long line of jarls who have seen the power of Grrr gradually diminish in the face of their continuing treachery. He shows no inclination to stop the treachery, though, and in this he is supported by the shamans of Loki.
Important Figures: Bran Moderson (jarl)
Flora and Fauna: The hills of Grrr are home to boars, brown bears, elk, wolves, and mountain lions. Swamp horrors occasionally crawl up from the Great Marsh. The mountains seem perpetually full of all manner of giant insect.
Bush Mesa Clan—the Barony of Grag
Location: Gnollheim Hills north of the Angevin, east of the Whiteheart Valley
Area: 390 sq. mi. Population: 900
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous barony
Industries: mountain sheep, agriculture
Patron Immortal: Leptar
Description: The hills of Grag are a broad plateau, cut by the valleys of the Grag and Blan creeks and their smaller tributaries. Thick pine and birch forests grow in the northernmost portions of the Bush Mesa gnolls’ territory; in most of the land, the woods are confined to the valley floors, and the hilltops are rocky meadowlands. The southern borders are sheer, unscalable cliffs dropping to the Angevin River far below.
The Bush Mesa gnolls are a clan in decline, scratching what living they can from small-scale agriculture and herding mountain sheep. Grag benefits from the largesse of Geb’s Republic, which seeks to maintain the barony as a buffer between them and the Mountain Wolf Clan. Baron Kriklok collects taxes from the goods that cross the Rope Bridge, but Grag produces no marketable products itself, so commerce is limited.
Bush Mesa is a member of Suant’s confederacy, and Kriklok is happy to see the most rambunctious young gnolls sent south to fight kobolds, but he still exerts little control over the lands north of the Rope Bridge. Attacks on humans, dwarves, and other gnolls are forbidden, but Bush Mesa raiding parties frequently disregard the orders of a distant emperor, joining the Mountain Wolf warriors in attacking the Whiteheart Valley or plundering the reindeer herds of Gnotni.
Worship of Pflarr is forbidden on pain of death. Wiccas and witchcraft are forbidden in Grag, but the clan has many shamans.
Kriklok attempts to navigate a cautious diplomatic path, refusing formal alliance with his powerful Mountain Wolf neighbors, but winking at raids launched from Bush Mesa territory. Kaberu suspects Bush Mesa of harboring worshippers of Pflarr, but Kriklok has so far managed to convince him that he is dedicated to rooting out infidels. Kriklok seeks to maintain cordial relations with the other members of Suant’s confederacy without appearing as a threat to Kaberu.
Bush Mesa gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Many clan members dye their mohawks yellow. Most Bush Mesa gnolls drape whatever furs or hides they can find over themselves for warmth.
Notable Sites: Castle Gragovitch, Kriklok’s seat of power, is an ancient stonework castle guarding the northern end of the Rope Bridge. This massive fortification was built to withstand any attack, but it is understaffed and ill-maintained.
History: The Bush Mesa gnolls believe that they had no home until Leptar, wielding his club, smashed the Gnollheim Hills, creating the Angevin gorge and giving them its northern side. Long one of the most powerful clans, Bush Mesa has declined in the past half-century, primarily because of the massive number of deaths the clan endured when they joined Nizam Pasha’s crusade against the Dripping Fangs Clan and the gnolls of northeastern Ylaruam. This lesson has convinced Kriklok that he must avoid allying again with Kaberu or Nizam, but he also seeks to avoid antagonizing them. Kriklok joined Suant’s confederacy in 985 AC, desperate to save his barony. Kriklok and his retainers have bought into Suant’s vision, but most of the clan is highly dubious of setting aside their warlike ways.
Important Figures: Kriklok (Baron)
Flora and Fauna: The hills of Grag are home to boars, brown bears, elk, wolves, and mountain lions.
Double Rock River Clan—Rockheim
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains, south of the headwaters of the Double Rock River (Otofjord River)
Area: 390 sq. mi. Population: 1,300
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: autonomous petty kingdom
Industries: mountain sheep, agriculture (beans and grain), raiding, trade
Patron Immortal: Ranivorus
Description: The hills of Rockheim are a broad plateau, cut by the valleys of the Double Rock River (the two branches of the Otofjord River) and smaller tributaries. Thickets of conifers and brush crowd the valley floors, and the hilltops are rocky meadowlands. The mountainous terrain of the southwest includes rocky scree fields and high alpine meadows.
Many Double Rock River gnolls spend summers herding mountain sheep in the Hardanger range, taking their flocks northeast into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Intensive agriculture is conducted in terraced slopes above the Double Rock River, primarily by slaves.
Rockheim is a close ally of the Mountain Wolf Clan and maintains strong trade relationships with the Dry Pass and Rockfall clans. Double Rock River warriors frequently join Mountain Wolf raiding parties in the Whiteheart Valley. Rockheim has an uneasy truce with the kobolds, as part of Kaberu’s alliance against humankind. Relations with the Bramble Clan are overtly hostile, and Double Rock River gnolls occasionally raid their herds.
Rockheim has, additionally, forged a strong alliance with the Heldannic Knights. In exchange for water, provisions, and safe docking, Heldannic Warbirds bring Thyatian armor and weapons to the gnolls. Over the objections of the shamans of Ranivorus, Chief Pard allows the knights of Vanya to practice and proselytize.
Worship of Pflarr is forbidden on pain of death. Wiccas and witchcraft are forbidden in Rockheim.
Pard’s relationship with Kaberu is based on mutual respect and genuine affection. Kaberu trusts his Double Rock River allies and appreciates the weapons and armor that they contribute to the war against Soderfjord.
Double Rock River gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Many clan members dye their mohawks gray. Most Double Rock River gnolls wear simple woolen tunics, but smart Hattian uniforms are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among the young.
Notable Sites: Mount Rani, a gnoll-made masonry pyramid located between the branches of the Double Rock River, is the center of Double Rock River Clan worship and the stronghold of Pard. On the altar atop the 400-foot pyramid, worn-out slaves and unruly captives are sacrificed to Ranivorus.
Angerheim is a new stronghold built high in the Hardanger Range. It is a large, well-defended hangar that can house up to two Heldannic Warbirds, docked for trade or repair. Its defense is the shared responsibility of Double Rock River gnolls and Heldannic Knights.
History: The Double Rock River gnolls believe that history is for the weak. The clan’s history is primarily a series of minor skirmishes and limited trade with all its neighbors. Rockheim joined Nizam Pasha’s crusade against blasphemers among the Dripping Fangs Clan and Ylari gnolls, and has remained a firm ally of the Mountain Wolf Clan since that time, though they do not maintain contact with South Gnollistan.
When a Heldannic Warbird was forced to make an emergency landing in 997 AC, its crew was attacked by Double Rock River gnolls. After standing bravely and holding their own against the attackers, the knights earned the respect of their attackers, who arranged a meeting with Pard. This initial meeting quickly blossomed into a productive working relationship, and the Angerheim hangar is now an important resupply point for the Heldannic Knights. Increasingly, young gnolls are attracted to the cult of Vanya.
Important Figures: Pard (Chief), Jakob Doll (Resident Ambassador from the Heldannic Knights)
Flora and Fauna: The hills of Pard are home to boars, wolves, and mountain lions. The southeastern mountains host wolves, brown bears, and kobolds.
Dry Pass Clan—the Emirate of Nahruk
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains, between Rockheim and the Ylari frontier
Area: 220 sq. mi. Population: 1,200
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect; Ylari Coinage: barter
Government Type: autonomous petty kingdom ruled by a self-styled emir
Industries: trade, mountain sheep, ice-cutting
Patron Immortal: Al-Kalim
Description: The bleak foothills of Nahruk are windy, dry, and surprisingly warm. Weather in the mountains is highly variable: heavy snowfall is possible year-round, but the hot south wind melts it from all but the most sheltered surfaces within a few days.
Many Dry Pass gnolls herd mountain sheep in the hills and lower mountain slopes of Nahruk. Others conduct trade with their neighbors, organize caravans to travel to other clans, or live lives of contemplation or study. The standard of living in Nahruk is very high, and all Dry Pass whelps are required to study reading, writing, and the scriptures of the Eternal Truth of Al-Kalim.
Nahruk maintains friendly relations with the Double Rock River and Rockfall clans, trading extensively with both clans. Dry Pass gnolls’ caravans travel throughout the eastern clans, with the exception of the Scarp Empire, and conduct more limited trade with all of these clans. Nahruk does not have direct contact with the kobolds (kobold caverns run deep beneath their territory, but there are no entrances nearby), and the Dry Pass gnolls are happy to allow commerce with the kobolds to go through intermediaries. Nahruk trades extensively with the nomads of northern Ylaruam, although their caravans do not normally enter Ylari territory. The Ylari government has officially recognized the Emirate of Nahruk, but administrators in Ylaruam are generally unaware of or apathetic toward its existence.
Worship of Pflarr, witchcraft, sorcery, blasphemy against Al-Kalim, and shamanism are forbidden in Nahruk. The clan has many clerics.
Dry Pass gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Many clan members dye their mohawks or fur green. Dry Pass gnolls where Ylari-style clothing.
Notable Sites: Dry Pass itself is a narrow cleft between towering peaks of the Hardanger range, with a summit of 7,100 feet above sea level. Peaks over 11,000 feet high tower on either side of the pass. The southern end of the pass is a spectacular, barren, and rocky hanging valley, with a 2,000 foot sheer cliff towering above the box canyon below. After a snowstorm, snowmelt cascades over this cliff in a striking white ribbon of water. The hot south wind howls almost continuously through this pass, broken only by the most powerful of snowstorms, scouring the defile of all but the hardiest of shrubs and lichens.
Cascade Caverns is primarily-vertical cave network connecting the hanging valley in the southern end of Dry Pass to the valley floor below. Water pours continuously through a series of spectacular subterranean waterfalls here, and the surrounding limestone caverns include stalactites, stalagmites, and rock columns up to 800 feet high. A sometimes-narrow path winds among the chambers, allowing passage between the two ends of the caverns. The Dry Pass gnolls have established settlements in several side passages, including the residence of Emir T’shamal. Defensive fortifications surround both the upper and lower entrances to the caverns.
The Cavelight Madrasa is a monastery, convent, and school located in a high side room of the Cascade Caverns with natural skylights. The madrasa serves as the clan’s center for learning, scholarship, and contemplation. Trusted Ylari clerics occasionally accept invitations to visit or teach at the madrasa. Resident clerics of sufficient level are obligated to cast one Continual Light spell per day somewhere in the Cascade Caverns that requires illumination. The brothers and sisters of the madrasa have begun cultivating all manner of plants, with variable success, in the illuminated portions of the caverns, seeing this as part of the Dream of the Desert Garden.
History: The clan’s history, as recorded in the Cavelight Madrasa, relates that, following the failed assault on Traladara, their ancestors wandered in darkness until, in 921 AC, their human brethren brought them into the light of the Eternal Truth. Since then, they have worked to bring about the Dream of the Desert Garden in their barren homeland.
Important Figures: T’shamal (Emir)
Flora and Fauna: The hills and mountains of Nahruk are home to boars, brown bears, elk, wolves, and mountain lions. The Cascade Caverns have been cleared of hostile inhabitants, although all manner of burrowing creatures occasionally break through the walls.
Gray Mountain Clan—Gray Rocks Realm
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of the Angevin River’s headwaters
Area: 335 sq. mi. Population: 800
Languages: Gnollheimer, Gray Mountain Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous kingdom
Industries: mountain sheep, hunting
Patron Immortal: Thanatos
Description: Gray Rocks is comprised of the drainage basin of Cold Creek and its tributaries, which cut deep, steep-sided canyons into the dry plateaus south of the Angevin. The extreme southern reaches of the kingdom include high mountain slopes.
Most Gray Mountain gnolls spend summers herding mountain sheep in the Hardanger range, taking their flocks northwest into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Young warriors are encouraged to join the raiding parties of the Mountain Wolf Clan that prey on humans in the Whiteheart Valley of Soderfjord.
Big Chief Blast is the most senior and respected chieftain of the ten tribes of the Gray Rocks. The other chieftains only reluctantly acknowledge his authority, and constantly challenge it. Blast’s control over the beer trade with the Vulture Clan, though, helps keep the other tribes in line.
The Gray Mountain gnolls are loosely allied with the kobolds of the Hardanger Range. They pay tribute to their powerful Mountain Wolf Clan neighbors. Blast does what he can to prevent raids against neighboring clans, as he fears Kaberu’s retaliation and losing Floki’s beer imports.
Gray Mountain gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Meridionum. Clan members often dye their mohawks gray. Gray Mountain gnolls wear only breechcloths made from animal skins.
Notable Sites: Gray Mountain, the sacred center of the clan, is a prominent knob jutting northward from the main ridge of the Hardanger Range. Blast and the highest-ranking shamans of Thanatos live in a dank cavern in the mountain’s flank known as the Gray Mountain Monastery.
History: The Gray Mountain gnolls say that their ancestors created the world, centered around Gray Mountain, and the immortals. The clan has lived here ever since that creation.
In 980 AC, Blast succeeded his father, also named Blast, as chieftain of fang tribe. Within two years, he consolidated power and forced all the rival chieftains to acknowledge him as big chief. Several rivals have challenged his rule unsuccessfully over the years, but as he grows older—some say senile—a change of power seems increasingly imminent. Blast’s alliance with the kobolds, formalized in 989 AC, seems strong, but many young gnolls resent that they must forgo the easy food source that kobolds present.
Important Figures: Blast (big chief)
Flora and Fauna: The arid plateaus and canyons of Gray Rocks are home to jackrabbits, reindeer, wolves, mountain lions, and lynx. The southeastern mountains host wolves, brown bears, and kobolds.
Green Tree Clan—the Realm of Gnotni
Location: Gnollheim Hills west of the Stone River
Area: 390 sq. mi. Population: 1,000
Languages: Gnotni (a language unrelated to other Gnollheimer dialects); Gnollheimer, Angevin Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: loose confederation of tribes led by shamans and wicca
Patron Immortal: Cretia
Description: The cold hills of Gnotni are series of wooded plateaus, cut by v-shaped stream valleys. Widely-spaced pine and spruce forests with occasional meadows dominate most of the hilltops, although the southeastern hills are drier, with scrubland on top. The streambeds are choked with coniferous trees and heavy shrubbery.
Green Tree gnolls live a nomadic life, following their reindeer herds. They make use of every party of the reindeer, living in reindeer-hide tents and incorporating antlers and bones in their tools and weaponry.
The shamans of Gnotni enforce a strict taboo against fighting gnolls, humans, or dwarves except in self-defence. The Green Tree gnolls, however, generally attack and kill horses on sight, as they compete with reindeer for forage. Those who ride horses may find themselves under attack by the Green Tree gnolls, despite the general taboo.
Gnotni is a member of Suant’s confederacy, and troublemakers are frequently exiled to serve in the border wars. Gnotni’s primary trade partners are the Birch Creek gnolls, who provide wool, bronze, and pyrite in exchange for reindeer products.
The shamans and wiccas of Gnotni use their imported pyrite in a complex plot of retribution against members of the Bush Mesa and Big Canyon clans that attack Gnotni. Captured raiders are charmed, equipped with false holy symbols and amulets of Pflarr, made with Pyrite, and sent against the Mountain Wolf clan in hopes of inciting the Mountain Wolfs to declare a crusade against their rival tribes.
Green Tree gnolls are the only known members of Canis Erectus Lapphundus. They have thick, soft hair; pointed, upright ears; coats of white, tan, black, and brown, with lighter-colored rings around their eyes; and bushy manes, in addition to the mohawks that older gnolls develop. The Green Tree gnolls do not usually dye their fur. They wear very bright, multicolor tunics, shawls, and hats.
Notable Sites: Gnatnar, the secret stronghold of Gnotni, is located atop an isolated plateau in the central portion of the territory. Here, each tribe maintains a stronghouse, a large log cabin raised about fifteen feet above the ground on sturdy tree trunks. Goods are stored in the stronghouses, and each maintains a constant garrison. In the face of any serious attack, the guards will send up smoke signals that alert the entire clan to come to the defense of Gnatnar: outsiders who have seen the stronghold must be hunted down and slain.
History: Green Tree legends tell of their history far to the northwest, but there are no legends about how they came to reside in Gnotni. They have lived here beyond the memory of any tribe members. The Green Tree clan joined Suant’s confederacy in 981, and have enjoyed relative peace as their young troublemakers leave to fight on other soil. Suant and the other leaders do not trust the Green Tree gnolls to aid them in an attack on the confederacy, but they see nothing to gain from aggression against Gnotni. The shamans and wiccas that lead Gnotni are divided about the confederacy: southern tribes support open war with the Big Canyon Clan; western tribes support attacking Bush Mesa; while northwestern tribes support closer alliance with Suant’s confederacy.
Flora and Fauna: The forests and hills of Gnotni are home to treants, boars, brown bears, wolves, and mountain lions.
Hill Wolf Clan—New Graakhalia
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of the Great Marsh and east of Castellan
Area: 335 sq. mi. Population: 900
Languages: Graakhalian (a language only distantly related to other Gnollheimer dialects) Coinage: barter
Government Type: elective democracy ruled by a council
Industries: hunting, gathering, fungus cultivation, mountain sheep
Patron Immortal: Noumena
Description: The hills of New Graakhalia are a broad plateau, cut by the valleys of many small streams. The plateau summits are open, rocky scrubland, and the valley floors are tangled with undergrowth. The southernmost portion of New Graakhalia consists of rocky slopes and high alpine meadows in the Hardanger Range. This terrain above ground is known as New Brekvarg. The large cavern complex underlying the territory, New Lahkvarg, is a twisting, dark labyrinth.
Most Hill Wolf gnolls spend a majority of their time in the dark caverns of New Lahkvarg, cultivating fungal crops and hunting the various blind creatures native to the dark using their preferred weapon, the longbow. A minority of Hill Wolf gnolls herd mountain sheep, summering in the Hardanger range, and taking their flocks north into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Hill Wolf gnolls value innovation and clever strategies for increasing survivability in their harsh homeland. Hill Wolf gnolls occasionally mount hunting and gathering expeditions into the southern reaches Great Marsh, where they carefully avoid human and dwarven homesteads, but conduct trade with Gjaflaud, a young onyx dragon who lairs in the marsh.
The gnolls of New Graakhalia are divided into six bands, each of which elects a leader and a councilmember. The ruling council, chaired by Glurylan, sits in judgment and manages New Graakhalia’s foreign policy. When the council is deadlocked, they break the tie ceremonially with the roll of a carved wooden die. The gnolls strive for peace with all their neighbors, but will fight to defend their herds and to prevent discovery of New Lahkvarg. The Hill Wolf gnolls distrust and fear elves: they will react with hostility to elves or any party with elven members, but they suffer a penalty on morale checks when facing these dreaded adversaries, unless they are defending New Lahkvarg.
Hill Wolf magists, who deprecate the title “wicca,” are, along with the wiccas of the Vulture Clan, the most powerful magic-users in Gnollheim. The Hill Wolf clan also has a higher percentage of shamans than do any other clans.
Hill Wolf gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Gruusum. They have very short hair, ranging from light brown to black, often with darker spots. Their large ears stand upright. Hill Wolf gnolls do not normally dye their mohawks. When available, Hill Wolf gnolls wear pieces of armor, or even complete armor sets. Those without armor and magists wear woolen pants and open-breasted shirts.
Notable Sites: Dartshtok, located on the slope of a plateau about eight miles south of the Great Marsh, is the only known entrance to New Lahkvarg. The gnolls have reconstructed the slope for 500 feet on either side of the main entrance, burrowing defensive positions, then covering them once more with boulders and shrubbery to appear as a normal hillside. These defensive fortifications are staffed at all times, and any foreigners who look too closely are slain. The interior of Dartshtok is a narrow stone spiral staircase, descending 200 feet into the highest levels of New Lahkvarg. The staircase only allows single-file passage for anyone larger than a kobold, and a stone tower with many arrow slits guards this descent.
History: The Hill Wolf gnolls are the descendents of Gruugrakh gnolls who settled long ago in Graakhalia, far to the west. They lived for centuries alongside Sheyallia elves, cooperating with them, but in 722 AC an elven revolt led to killing some gnolls: a band of about 200 gnolls, the ancestors of the Hill Wolf Clan, fled from the mighty elven rebels. Over the next six decades, the band travelled eastward, carrying with them spores of some of their favorite fungal crops and searching for a new homeland. Repeatedly attacked along their route, particularly by the vicious elves of the Canolbarth Forest through which they travelled, a remnant of only 120 gnolls reached the hills that they had heard served as a gnollish homeland.
After a hostile reception from the Brown Rocks Clan, the band encamped in the hills west of Grrr to make new plans. The council deadlocked between those who wanted to circumvent Grrr to find other gnoll clans and those who wanted to continue the search farther north. When the sacred die was rolled to settle the dispute, an earthquake occurred: a sinkhole opened up in the hillside right next to the altar stone, and the sacred die rolled into the darkness. The Hill Wolf gnolls recognized this as a powerful omen from Noumena, and set about exploring the new homeland granted to them. The altar stone remains in place directly in front of the entrance to Dartshtok.
Since settling New Graakhalia, the clan has thrived despite repeated attacks from outsiders. The council remains committed to finding a solution for peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, and Glurylan has signed dozens of treaties with the Brown Rocks gnolls, the Hardanger kobolds, and the Jarldom of Castellan. Each time, within a few months, another raiding party or adventuring band has been launched against New Graakhalia. The council has been approached twice in recent years by representatives of the Mountain Wolf Clan, offering silver and gems in exchange for alliance against the humans of Soderfjord. The council, so far, has refused their advances.
Important Figures: Glurylan (chairman of the council)
Flora and Fauna: The hills of New Brekvarg are home to boars, brown bears, elk, wolves, and mountain lions. Swamp horrors occasionally crawl up from the Great Marsh. The mountains are home to wolves, elk, and kobolds. New Lahkvarg is home to cave locusts; blind snakes, spiders, and insects; and all types of molds, funguses, oozes, and jellies.
Long Drop Clan—the Scarp Empire
Location: Gnollheim Hills near the Ostfold Scarp, south of the Angevin River
Area: 275 sq. mi. Population: 600
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous kingdom ruled by a self-styled emperor
Industries: mountain sheep, hunting
Patron Immortal: Ranivorus
Description: The Scarp Empire is comprised of rocky, dry plateaus cut by many intermittent streams with v-shaped valleys. The empire’s eastern boundary is a sheer cliff rising 500 feet above the rough, crashing waves of the Western Sea of Dawn. To the south, the empire borders a small stretch of dry grassland and broad beach in the Ylari Emirate of Nithia. The Long Drop clan’s summer pasteurland, high rocky meadows in the Hardanger Mountains, borders kobold-held territory.
Long Drop gnolls spend summers in the Hardanger range, and take their flocks northeast into the dry hills during the cooler seasons.
The cult of Ranivorus is very strong in the Scarp Empire, and executions—conducted by tossing the convict over the eastern cliff—are considered sacrifices to the glory of Ranivorus. Executions are common: capital sentences are imposed for offenses like standing in the presence of the emperor, wearing brown or yellow, witchcraft, saying the name Suant, overeating, failure to pay the annual tax of one kobold scalp, or thinking about change.
Emperor N’ssad maintains an alliance with Suant’s confederacy, but he loathes his dependence on his neighbors. Afraid of angering Suant and eager for more sacrifices, N’ssad forbids—on pain of death—raids against other gnoll tribes. Troops from the confederacy help guard the southwestern border with kobolds, and members of the Long Drop clan resent their protection and their slaughter of kobolds, which Long Drops see as their rightful trophies. The Long Drops occasionally raid the plains of Ylaruam, but they are easy marks in the open grass, so the nomads easily turn them back.
In exchange for the protection of confederated warriors, the empire must provide food for the troops. Aside from this, the Long Drops have no products that anyone else wants to trade for.
Long Drop gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Clan members generally dye their entire bodies black, lest they be convicted of wearing yellow or brown. They generally do not wear any clothing, but will huddle in gray blankets in cold weather.
Notable Sites: The Imperial Pavilion is a permanent tent built on the easternmost point of the Ostfold Scarp. The canopy is supported by the trunks of the seven largest trees that once grew in the empire, along with one other massive tree trunk that Suant deigned to provide. It is from here that most sacrifices are thrown over the cliff.
Fort Hassk, high in the Hardanger range, is a pair of stone towers that guard the largest pass into the empire. Kobolds rush this position several times a year, and it is garrisoned by confederacy troops and Long Drop volunteers year-round. Confederacy troops remain in one tower and attempt to minimize contact with the Long Drops, who are widely considered to be inferior beings and suspected of cannibalism.
History: The Long Drop gnolls say that they have lived here since Ranivorus created them. The oldest clan members say that the clan was once much larger, but kobolds have killed tens of thousands of Long Drops. While kobolds have killed many gnolls, the truth is that far more gnolls have been tossed over the cliff.
In 995 AC, a young warrior named N’ssad was convicted of treason for criticizing the then-king’s policy of alliance with Suant. N’ssad survived the drop from what was then the royal tent, lived off of raw fish for weeks while nursing his wounds, then climbed back up the cliffs, a grueling task that took four days. The shamans say that he could not have endured this experience if he were not blessed with the gift of Ranivorus, so his other personalities could keep him company. Upon reaching the top, near starvation, N’ssad strangled and began eating the old king. The shamans hailed this as a sign from Ranivorus that a new king had been granted to the people. After securing his power, N’ssad had these shamans thrown off the cliff for daring to suggest that he was a mere king, and not an emperor. N’ssad has sought a way out of Suant’s confederacy, but he recognizes that the double threat of kobolds and hostile Black Cliff neighbors would doom the clan. Suant has not yet upset him sufficiently to convince him to sacrifice the clan for his pride.
Important Figures: N’ssad (emperor)
Flora and Fauna: The arid plateaus and canyons of the Scarp Empire are home to jackrabbits, wolves, mountain lions, and many varieties of snake. The southwestern mountains host wolves, mountain lions, and kobolds.
Mountain Wolf Clan—Lupistan
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains, north and west of the Angevin, south and east of the Whiteheart Valley
Area: 390 sq. mi. Population: 1,600
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: petty kingdom
Industries: raiding, hunting, agriculture (beans, grain, potatoes, and cotton), mining (silver and coal)
Patron Immortal: Orcus
Description: The hills of Lupistan are a broad plateau, cut by the v-shaped upper valleys of tributaries to the Angevin and Otofjord river. The valley floors that have not been terraced for agriculture are tangles of brush and bramble, and the hilltops are rocky meadowlands. The extreme southern terrain in the Hardanger range is characterized by rolling, barren sandstone buttes, with dry grasslands in between. The upper Angevin gorge forms part of the southern and eastern border, with sheer cliffs dropping to the river below.
About half of Lupistan’s population are slaves, mostly from the destroyed Dripping Fangs Clan. The slaves work to make crops grow in the marginal terraces along some streambeds, or to scratch silver and coal from ramshackle mines subject to frequent cave-ins. The other half of Lupistan’s population, members of the Mountain Wolf Clan, enjoy the fruits of their slaves labor and engage in hunting and raiding.
Lupistan enjoys dominance over its neighboring clans. The Gray Mountain and Rockfall clans pay tribute to Kaberu and join with him in raids against Ozurfold. Kaberu’s alliance with the Double Rock River Clan is based on mutual respect and genuine affection for Chief Pard. Kaberu has forged an alliance with the kobolds of the Hardanger range against the humans—he does not trust them, and is vigilant against treachery, but finds their support useful. Lupistan enjoys strong trade relations with the Vulture and Dry Pass clans, but so far Kaberu has been unsuccessful in convincing them in joining his alliance against humans. Kaberu seeks to bring all the clans into his alliance against humans, but he suspects that many of them are secretly harboring adherents of Pflarr. Lupistan has a cautiously friendly relationship with Suant’s confederacy, and Kaberu publicly states that he shares Suant’s vision of a unified Gnollheim. Lupistan is allied, too, with South Gnollistan, though Nizam gives little thought to his distant brethren.
Worship of Pflarr is forbidden on pain of death. Wiccas and witchcraft are forbidden in Lupistan, but the clan has many shamans.
Mountain Wolf gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hillaris. Many clan members dye their mohawks black or gray. Mountain Wolf Clan members wear turbans and lightweight cotton robes that they can layer for protection against the cold.
Notable Sites: Lupistan Palace, a ramshackle collection of wooden huts surrounding a larger central wooden hut, is located where the Upper Gnollheim Trail (running east from Dry Pass Clan territory, through the land of the Rockfall, Mountain Wolf, Gray Mountain, Vulture, and Black Cliffs clans, all the way to the Imperial Pavillion in Long Drop Clan country) fords the upper reaches of the Angevin. The palace includes many forges, ovens, and stoves for cooking, crafting, and warmth. These are powered by coal from the slave mines, but fire frequently spreads to the various wooden huts, and portions of the palace are continuously being rebuilt.
The Wall of Tears, in the hills three miles east of the Sodervirk, is a rock face where the shamans of the Dripping Fangs clan carved many sacred hieroglyphs. Most of them have been defiled by their conquerors, but the site remains sacred to those slaves who still secretly worship Pflarr. The Mountain Wolf gnolls tend to shun this place, believing it haunted, and several raiding parties have disappeared nearby.
History: The Mountain Wolf gnolls believe that they are the original inhabitants of Gnollheim, and the other clans owe their very existence to Mountain Wolf generosity. When Nizam Pasha’s emissaries came to Lupistan seeking allies in the crusade against followers of Pflarr, the old Chief was reluctant to join. Kaberu collaborated with the ambassadors to murder him during the negotiations, and immediately assumed leadership. Since then, Kaberu has led the Mountain Wolf Clan to glorious victories over the hated Dripping Fangs and many successful raids against the human interlopers.
Important Figures: Kaberu (Chief)
Flora and Fauna: The hills and mountains of Lupistan are home to wild mountain sheep, boars, brown bears, deer, elk, wolves, and mountain lions.
Rockfall Clan—The Rubble Chiefdoms
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of Ozurfold
Area: 335 sq. mi. Population: 800
Languages: Gnollheimer, Angevin dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous feudal chiefdoms
Industries: mountain sheep, raiding
Patron Immortal: Demogorgon
Description: The hills of the Rubble Chiefdoms are broken rocky plateaus, cut into v-shaped valleys by the intermittent tributaries of the Otofjord River. The extreme southwestern terrain in the Hardanger range is characterized by rolling, barren sandstone buttes, with dry grasslands in between.
Rockfall gnolls primarily herd mountain sheep, moving with them between high mountain pastures in the summer and the dry hills in the colder seasons. An important secondary source of income is raiding against the humans of Ozurfold. Sometimes young Rockfall gnolls launch their own raids, but more frequently they join in Kaberu’s better-planned raids.
The fourteen tribes of the Rubble Chiefdom are each ruled by a sub-underchieftain, whose word is law. The sub-underchieftains all owe allegiance to Underchieftain Letak, who in turn has pledged her loyalty to Kaberu, Chief of the Mountain Wolf Clan. The Rockfall gnolls pay tribute to the Mountain Wolf Clan, and are loosely allied with the Double Rock River and Gray Mountain clans, along with the kobolds of the Hardanger range, against the humans. Trade relations with the Dry Pass Clan are strong, although the two clans distrust one another. The Rubble Chiefdom is home to three known Modrigswerg dwarves, with whom the Rockfall gnolls trade when the Modrigswerg are willing.
Worship of Pflarr, witchcraft, and wiccas are forbidden. Shamans are rare.
Rockfall gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Hilaris. Clan members dye their fur and mohawks brightly and wear all manner of clothing in order to express their creativity.
Notable Sites: Demogorgon’s Mouth is a dark pit, eight feet in diameter, located in the central portion of the Rockfall Clan’s territory. During the afternoon and evening, a powerful draft of wind blows into the pit, and those standing near the edge must be very careful not to be blown in. In the late night and morning, the pit exhales a strong breeze of warm, moist, fetid-smelling air. Torches dropped into the pit fall for nearly a minute before vanishing into blackness. Sacrifices to Demogorgon dropped into the pit are never heard from again. The sub-underchieftains, underchieftain, and shamans hold council seated in a ring around Demogorgon’s Mouth.
History: When questioned about their history, the Rockfall gnolls insist that they belong in the Rubble Chiefdoms and have not done anything unbecoming, and it is none of your business anyway. The tribe has paid tribute to the Mountain Wolf Clan for at least a century. The Sodervirk prevents them from accessing some of the most fertile grassland on which they once grazed, so the Rockfall gnolls wholeheartedly support Kaberu’s alliance against the humans.
Important Figures: Letak (Underchieftain)
Flora and Fauna: The hills of the Rubble Chiefdoms are home to boars, brown bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Wolves, kobolds, and Modrigswerg dwarves may be found in the mountains.
Vulture Clan—the Principality of Doom
Location: Gnollheim Hills and Hardanger Mountains south of the Angevin River
Area: 275 sq. mi. Population: 800
Languages: Gnollheimer, Septentrionum Dialect Coinage: barter
Government Type: semi-autonomous principality
Industries: mountain sheep, hunting, agriculture
Patron Immortal: Hel
Description: The Principality of Doom is comprised of the drainage basin of Black Creek and its tributaries, which cut deep, steep-sided canyons into the dry plateaus south of the Angevin. The extreme southern reaches of the kingdom include high mountain slopes and glaciers. Cold winds blow northward year-round from the Hardanger range.
Most Vulture gnolls spend summers herding mountain sheep in the Hardanger range, taking their flocks northwest into the dry hills during the cooler seasons. Gnollish slaves, called thralls, farm grain for brewing on the Black Creek valley floor. The wiccas of the Vulture Clan are widely recognized as among the most skilled magic-users in Gnollheim, along with their rivals in the Hill Wolf Clan.
Prince Floki serves as supreme judge of the Vulture Clan, but a dozen chieftains maintain direct control over their tribes. Floki jealously guards trade over the Rope Bridge and manages the clan’s breweries. Floki has forbidden offensive raids against other gnoll clans.
The Vulture Clan is a willing partner in Suant’s confederacy. The added protection against kobolds offered by confederated troops frees up Vulture gnolls to work Floki’s grain fields and stills.
In exchange for the protection of confederated warriors, the empire provides food for the troops. The weak beer brewed by Floki fetches high prices among the Bush Mesa, Gray Mountain, and Black Cliffs clans. In response to raids from Gray Mountain gnolls, Floki cuts off alcohol exports, quickly bringing Blast to offer reparations and another peace treaty.
Vulture gnolls are members of Canis Erectus Septentrionus. Clan members often dye their mohawks red. Vulture gnolls usually wear heavy bearskin or wolfskin clothing to protect from the cold.
Notable Sites: The Rope Bridge is the only permanent crossing of the Angevin Gorge downstream from its headwaters. Most trade between the northern and southern clans comes across the Rope Bridge, and Floki levies taxes from his stronghold at the southern end. This fortress is strategically located, overlooking the grain fields to the east and the pass into Gray Mountain Clan territory to the west. Floki carefully maintains the Rope Bridge, and his court wiccas regularly apply strengthening and fire-proofing balms to the ropes.
The Carrion Wall is a series of fortifications and camps in the Hardanger Mountains. Confederation troops, supplemented with Vulture gnoll warriors, guard this wall against kobold incursions.
History: According to clan legend, the Queen of Hel knitted together the world after the cataclysm, and the Rope Bridge was her stitch. She set the Vulture gnolls the task of protecting this connector, lest the worlds split once more, and they have never failed in their vigil.
Floki has led the Principality of Doom since AC 800 and shows no sign of losing his vigor. For decades, the Vulture gnolls participated in occasional unproductive raids against the Gray Mountain and Black Cliffs clan, but when Suant initiated his confederacy, Floki willingly joined, viewing this as the way of the future.
Important Figures: Floki (prince)
Flora and Fauna: The arid plateaus and canyons of the Principality of Doom are home to jackrabbits, reindeer, wolves, mountain lions, and lynx. The southeastern mountains host wolves, giant lizards, and kobolds. Several nagpas also live in the principality, occasionally trading with the Vulture gnolls but preferring solitude.