Of Gnolls And Men



    An Informative Guide to the Khajiit Subspecies


    The Gnolls of Elsweyr where first noted in the Fourth Era, whence the Great War was still raging. An Imperial soldier (whose name was never recorded) stranded in Elsweyr after a failed skirmish, who had been travelling for days, his skin burnt from the sun, his throat drier than the sand below him. His feet ached like nothing had ever ached before, and he felt like he was constantly swimming in burning water, due to the waves of sweat that rolled down his body. Late in the afternoon (the day is unknown due to the fact the soldier had lost all sense of time) he saw a grand visage on the Horizon. He dared not hope, because mirages such as this one had plagued him for days. Surely, it could not be real? He advanced towards what stood about a mile or so from his location; A grand forest of green trees. He could hear water running. A dear sprinted through the woods, kicking dirt up behind his heels. He staggered forward, his legs bowed from ages of endless walking. The moon rose. Later that night, the soldier arrived roughly around 100 metres (so it is believed; as his diary states) from the forest. He ran, despite his legs burning and his hands turning to lead. The whole time, he was expecting it to dissapear, like all the cruel mirages before this one. But it wasn't. According to his writing, he stepped foot within the Forest and was instantly revitalized. He felt a rush of energy, and a searing pain. He looked down, and noticed his burns subsiding. (such is written in his diary) He looked around, and a gorgeous green forest surrounded him. Lakes dotted the ground. Somehow, he could sense they were freshwater. The grass was green. The trees were tall and healthy. It would have been perfect, except for the onimous chanting. The heavy boom-boom of drums echoed throughout the clearing. The soldier didn't care, though. He was thirsty. He lunged at the water, and as he writes in his diary, 'Drunk like I had never drunk before. Even more so than that one time with that one guy who I can't quite remember.' And then the hands grabbed him. 


    'Gnolls are a very Tribal people. The Heirarchy of each tribe is determined by the Shaman, who chooses a mentor before his passing to lead the Tribe. They have a strong tie with Family, believing it to be of more importance than battlefield glory, and have been noted to retreat to heal their friends on the Field of War.'  

     - Fighting Styles of Tamriel


    The soldier was taken to a encampment deep in the forest. Tents made of hide littered the area. Larger towers and tents sat towards the back of the encampment. A wooden building sat between two towers, made of pine and rope. (such is the building style of Gnolls, as recorded in the guide, Architecture of Tamriel) Pillars of bones and hides were placed at each four points of the camp; and a large Bonfire burned in the middle. This didn't surprise the soldier, who had seen things like this during his post in the Black Marsh. What surprised him where the occupants. They stood upright, and their bodies were covered in shaggy fur, that ranged from a greenish brown to a golden colour. They had scraggly manes that curled down their back, often in reddish brown hair. Their ears were rounded. They had long snouts, almost wolflike, and black wet noses. They wore all sorts of apparel, from steel plate armor, robes, and mixtures of hide and bone. They were fast, and some were absurdly tall (7 to 8 feet, if his diary is to be believed) They spoke a sharp, guttural tongue, often interspersed with an incromprehensible high-pitched laugh. The soldier was unable to decipher it. They released him, and gave him the notebook he had when he was captured. He motioned with his hand, mimicking drawing. One of the creatures nodded, and ran into the large building. He came back out with a stick of charcoal, and motioned with his paw. The soldier drew a crude version of the creatures, and wrote a name above the picture. He closed the notebook, and gave the stick back. (according to his diary, Gnolls are friendly unless angered) He looked back at the creatures, then his notebook. He called them Gnolls. 


    'It is said that Gnolls are the most adaptable of the Races of Tamriel. Their ranks consist of Archers, Mages, Thieves, Assassins, Warriors, Shamans, Healers, and Alchemists. They do, however, excel in Light Armor, Archery, Sneak, and One-Handed. It is said that Sheogorath himself gifted the Gnolls with their laugh, and said laugh has the ability to render their opponents immobile.' 

    - Hidden Species of Tamriel


    The Gnolls of Elsweyr were long hidden from their fellow Khajiit. If legends are to be believed, Sheogorath, who favoured the Gnoll's unique appearance, transported the entire species to a glade far to the east of Elsweyr. He wanted the Gnolls to be his special project, and so he taught them to Laugh. The Gnolls learnt to use their laughter to incapacitate enemies, or soothe them. Soon after, Sheogorath taught the other races to laugh, but they weren't able to utilise it like the Gnolls. It is said that the Glade went undisturbed for four Eras, and was finally uncovered by an abandoned Imperial Soldier. Still, the Gnolls remained in the shadows, sticking to the forests and glades that dotted Tamriel. They were known about by few, save scholars and scribes. They worshipped the Daedra over the Aedra, believing that change is more important than creation. The main gods to the Gnolls are Namira, and Sheogorath, The Foodmother, The Laughsinger. The Foodmother is Namira, the Daedric Prince of Revulsion, and she is known for being the patron of Cannibals. (This was noted down by a Bosmer researcher) Most Gnolls are not in fact Cannibals, as they never eat other Gnolls, but Human flesh is often a treat. The Laughsinger gave them their laugh, their skills, their stealth. He is the God of Madness, and the Gnolls are his servants, his guardians. They also worship Azura, The Lightgiver, because they are a Khajiit Subspecies and rely heavily on Dusk and Dawn, Moon and Sun. The Gnolls are a heavily religious society and will perform rituals, sacrifices when going off to war or other equally important decisions. Rituals would be invoked to gain the favour of their Deitys.


    'The Gnoll Shamans show a strange connection with the ethereal, the spiritual. From notes, references, interactions and sightings, it has been revealed that the Shamans are able to raise the dead, paralyze enemies, and even learn the languages of other races by casting a special spell known only to the Shamans of the Gnoll Tribes'

    - Magicians of Tamriel


    Gnolls are unique among the Races of Tamriel in that they have long, furry snouts, rounded ears, and scraggly manes. They are roughly 7 to 9 feet in height, as tall as most Altmer. They are a peaceful race, but anger quickly. They move quickly and easily, and are more at home in the woods, as opposed to deserts and mountains. There are two species of Gnoll; The Gnol, the generic Gnolls, they generally become Archers, Beast-tamers, Laughsingers, Shamans, and Flag-Bearers, and The Gnol-Raht, bigger, stronger, slower Gnolls that generally become Warsworn, Frontrunners, and Shieldfists. (an excerpt from the soldiers diary) The Gnol-Raht are generally far angrier, whereas the Gnol often negotiate rather than fight. However, when fighting is necessary, The Gnolls know what they're doing.


    'Gnoll Bo'Barra are renowned as some of the best archers in Tamriel, only surpassed by the Bosmer. The Gnolls natural connection with the Wild allows them to take advantage of their surroundings, controlling the beasts to do their will. They are the best sharpshooters in all of Tamriel, and it's said they can hit the eye out of a skeever in the dark'

    - Guide to Archery


    Gnoll Warfare is sophisticated. Each Gnoll has a different role to play, and are divided at birth into Warsigns, small groups that are dedicated to a specific form of combat. Warsigns vary from Mages to Archers, Warriors to Illusionists. The Warsigns that a Gnoll is born into determine his Wa'Pak, which in the Gnoll Tongue means 'War Family' These are his friends, his brothers. What you are about to read is a translation from a Gnoll Scroll recovered from a camp near Falkreath, so the grammar may not be perfect.

    The Law of the Warsigns; As decreed by the Shaman of Tribe Ani'Barra, The Animal Warriors. 
    Warsigns determine a Gnoll's combat specialization. They are decided by the Shaman of a tribe, who 'reads' a young Gnoll's future, and determines the best Warsign for him or her. As follows, these are the Warsigns of the Gnolls.

    Frontrunner: The Frontrunners are the foot soldiers of the Gnoll Tribes. They wear light armor, and wield greatswords. Frontrunners excel in tearing up an enemies frontline, so that the other Tribesmen can finish them off. 

    Bo'Barra: In the Gnoll Tongue, Bow Warrior. Bo'Barra are natural born marksman and hunters, and know the wilderness like the back of their hand. They excel as scouts and beastmasters, able to command the animals to destroy their enemies.

    Spellhand: Spellhands are the mages of the Gnoll Tribes. Unlike Shamans, they excel in destruction magic, focusing the elements into powerful destructive energy capable of annihilating enemies.

    Laughsingers: The Gnoll Wild Cards, Laughsingers use pure chaos magic channeled through strange staffs to turn the enemy into completely random things. They are also masters of Illusion and Manipulation. They are also the voice of Sheogorath, speaking to the Tribe through him.

    Warsworn: The Warsworn are the Warleaders of a Gnoll Tribe. They are heavily armored, and wield dual axes to maximum effect, destroying enemy troops.

    Shamans: The Leaders of a Gnoll Tribe, Shamans are masters of Conjuration and Alteration. They raise the dead, make the important decisions, and commune with the deities, with the exception of Sheogorath, who the Laughsingers deal with.

    As the above script shows, Gnoll warfare is complicated and planned out, which one would not expect of a Tribal group of Khajiit. 
    Many foes underestimate the Gnolls, and end up dead for it. Then, they probably get eaten.

    Gnoll Culture is a fascinating thing, and their Race is amazing. Their endurance, adaptability, and Heirarchy is truly inspiring. I, InnocentKhajiit, the famous author of this book you've just read, thank you for reading it. I hope you have been thoroughly informed on the Gnolls and their Culture. 

    Until next time, 









1 Comment   |   Sotek likes this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 5
    I have to admit I really like this. There's plenty of background along with story which makes a compelling read. Looking forwards to see what you come up with IK.