|-10 people per turn.|
Available on Shore:
Gnolls are a type of mammalian humanoid, canine in appearance and nature and yet possessing sufficient intelligence on par with early Human development. Ferocious and strong, they can be extremely threatening to behold, and dangerous to fight.
Gnolls are physically stronger than any other Arcanian races, and fight with teeth and claws as well as various wooden and steel weapons. Gnolls lack the intellectual capacity to create advanced empires, so instead they subjugate their neighbours and force them to do what the Gnolls themselves cannot.
Gnolls use highly offensive and rapid strategies, putting their strength to good use early on in order to establish themselves as dominant before other empires can match their fighting capabilities. Without the aid of other races, Gnolls will simply be left behind. Fortunately, Gnolls do not generate much antagonism in races they conquer, and themselves are quite docile whenever subjugated by other races. This is part of their canine heritage - the ability to assume a disposition in accord to their standing within any society.
Gnolls work well with most of the magical Realms. The Nature and Chaos will provide powerful units to augment the Gnoll army as it is slowly outclassed by enemy races, while Life magic can help large Gnoll armies advance uninterrupted.
Physical Features Edit
Gnolls are mammalian humanoids, resembling wolves or hyenas walking upright on their hind legs. They are covered in brown fur from head to toe, and may seem quite intimidating to others on account of their large fangs and claws. They are significantly more evolved than their beastly ancestors, but are nonetheless primitive creatures bordering between animal and civilized behavior.
Gnolls are taller and stronger than all other Arcanian races. However their physical strength is pretty much their only advantage. They do possess working hands, and can manufacture tools and build somewhat complex structures. Due to the fur that covers their bodies, Gnolls have no real need for clothing, but they do wear simple rags and loincloths, presumably for the same reasons of modesty common amongst other intelligent races.
Gnolls are descended from carnivorous pack animals, and their society reflects this greatly. A strict hierarchical structure defines the position of each Gnoll within his/her own community, and struggles for leadership are common.
Gnolls have made several advances in survival-related technology, enough to learn of agriculture and to correctly exploit the lands around their settlements. They do not herd cattle (their natural instinct is to hunt herbivores, not grow them), but have learned how to tame less-intelligent canines, particularly wolves, for use as riding animals.
Gnolls do have religious organizations, and they are quite well-developed. Furthermore, they have learned to work iron, but use it primarily for the construction of heavy weaponry. Their warlike culture does not allow for cultured pastimes, which has stagnated their society in terms of advanced concepts like economy and magic. Therefore, Gnolls often resort to subjugating their neighbours, forcing them to do what Gnolls are incapable of.
Gnoll communities under subjugation, on the other hand, tend to remain docile. They maintain a level of respect towards their masters, even when treated harshly, and seldom rebel. Over the centuries, this has made them a target for stronger empires - who conquer them for purposes of enslavement. The strength of the Gnolls is thus used as a tool by their masters.
Gnolls have certain physical properties, particularly their exceptional strength, which make them terrifying combatants. They use not only metal weapons but also their teeth and claws during hand-to-hand combat, and will do so ferociously.
In game terms, this is expressed by a Melee Attack bonus of +2 for most Gnoll Normal Units, which allows them to easily tear through enemy armor. During much of the early game, and possibly even the mid-game, Gnoll armies can be quite dangerous and difficult to stop.
Gnolls will also make good use of their special units, the Wolf Riders, as both scouts and cavalry troops. They can rapidly cross great distances in order to attack and subdue far-away towns. A Gnoll empire's survival may depend on their ability to do so.
Unfortunately, Gnolls field a rather limited variety of units, and even their best units are no match for most of the high-tier Normal Units and Fantastic Units in the game. If they cannot secure an advantage early on, Gnoll armies will eventually become inferior to the armies of other races.
Army List Edit
|Gnoll Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||5||2||4||1||Large Shield|
|Gnoll Halberdiers||40||1||6||1||6||3||4||1||Negate First Strike|
|Gnoll Bowmen||30||1||6||1||3||1||1||4||1||Ranged Attack x8|
|Gnoll Settlers||60||1||1||1||2||1||4||10||Create Outpost|
|Galley||100||1||1||3||8||2||4||6||20||Ranged Attack x8, Transport 5|
Force Composition Edit
Gnoll armies offer little in the way of variety. With only 3 infantry types, 1 mounted type and 1 ranged type, there really isn't much room to mix and match. In fact, since Gnoll Bowmen are as weak as they are in ranged combat, it is often best to completely forgo them.
Therefore, primary Gnoll armies will often consist of as many Gnoll infantry units as you can get, preferably high-level Gnoll Halberdiers. It is often also a good idea to mix in a few Wolf Riders to serve as a flanking force - these will rush forward to take care of weaker enemy ranged units while the bulk of the army advances.
Wolf Riders will sometimes be grouped into their own raiding packs. These move very quickly across the overland map (particularly across open terrain such as Grassland or Deserts), to scout the continent and locate promising targets. A large enough group of these may be able to successfully engage a wide variety of targets, well into the mid game.
Remember that you have no support troops nor any powerful Ranged Attackers. However, Gnoll empires will generally be able to recruit these from subjugated towns and/or as Mercenaries, so don't pass up that opportunity if it presents itself.
Gnoll Settlers are the only way to create a new Gnoll town. Of course, Gnolls generally expand their empire via conquest, but there are plenty of cases where a player will want to expand into an unpopulated area, and must create Gnoll Settlers to do so.
Think carefully before creating new Gnoll settlements. While settling Gnolls early in reach of Iron Ore and/or Coal will eventually allow you to create very large packs of fast-moving Wolf Riders, other races offer faster growth and greater potential to the land, and none of them truly seethe under a Gnoll government. Gnoll military units are best at a stage of the game where any new settlement would be struggling to get its buildings and population up-to-speed. It is almost always better to rely on conquest instead of colonization.
Note that Gnoll Settlers are some of the few Settlers units that can make a Melee Attack (thanks to their +2 racial bonus), but should not attempt to use this ability. 2 on a Single-Figure unit has virtually no chance of inflicting any damage on even the weakest of enemy units, and Settlers are too expensive to waste on such attempts.
Gnoll Spearmen are significantly stronger than most other Spearmen, and actually strike harder than most Swordsmen units. This makes them quite dangerous on the battlefield, and their low Production costs mean that you can make many of these. They are particularly useful as garrison troops, and will usually end up serving in this role after being systematically replaced with Gnoll Swordsmen or other better units.
Gnoll Spearmen can effectively engage any other Normal Unit during the early portion of the game and have a fairly good chance of winning such engagements. A horde of Gnoll Spearmen can be quite sufficient for many dozens of turns, particularly as these spearmen gain more and more Experience.
Gnoll Swordsmen are even stronger than Gnoll Spearmen, and are thus very dangerous early on. Their Large Shields will also protect them adequately from early enemy Ranged Attackers, allowing these swordsmen to advance unimpeded during combat.
Gnoll Swordsmen are only marginally more expensive than Gnoll Spearmen, and should replace them gradually over time. Gnoll Spearmen are then reduced to garrison duties. Gnoll Swordsmen should eventually be replaced by Gnoll Halberdiers, though they can still come in handy when engaging enemy Ranged Attack units.
Gnoll Halberdiers are essentially a step up from Gnoll Swordsmen, having slightly better combat statistics but also an increased cost. Unless the Gnolls are augmenting their army with units from other races and/or Fantastic Units, it should be imperative to try and manufacture a few Gnoll Halberdiers for your front lines as quickly as possible.
Gnoll Halberdiers possess the rare ability of Negate First Strike, and are thus quite capable against enemy Cavalry. Their high Melee Attack strength is comparable to that of a mid-tier or high-tier Normal Unit, so they can dominate combat well into the middle of the campaign if used properly.
Gnoll Bowmen are very basic Ranged Attack units, which will accompany and support other Gnoll units. Gnoll Bowmen are stronger than other Bowmen types in Melee combat, but are not better-armored, so expect them to get slaughtered if used in this capacity. Remember that like other Bowmen types, Gnoll Bowmen are quite ineffective at low Experience Levels. They do get better with time though.
It is generally recommended to try and advance Gnoll Bowmen towards the enemy before unleashing their Ranged Attacks. This allows them to minimize or negate any To Hit distance penalties, making their attack a little less worthless. If necessary, the bowmen can then charge in for a kill.
Wolf Riders are the Gnolls' equivalent to a Cavalry unit. While they do not possess First Strike like other cavalry, they make up for it with a powerful Melee Attack and a higher movement rate. This makes them great flankers that can easily take out weak units in the enemy's rear early in the battle. They can even outmaneuver and gang up on enemy Cavalry if necessary.
Wolf Riders also make great scouts, moving out to explore your surroundings and find targets for your primary armies - or raiding targets on their own. A large pack of Wolf Riders can be difficult to catch or fight against, thanks to their high speed.
The Trireme is a Ship which can transport up to 2 Walking units across bodies of water, and can travel at a fairly good rate. Early in the game, Triremes can help empires expand rapidly across short continental gaps or large inland seas. This is very important for Gnoll empires, particularly when looking for suitable races to conquer before the mid-game phase occurs.
Triremes are not very effective in combat. If one is lost, and units it was transporting at the time will sink with it, so it is important to avoid combat. Try not to rely on these for long trans-oceanic journeys.
The Galley is a strong transport Ship, which can carry up to 5 Walking units across Oceans quite rapidly. This is a good ship to have in the later game, when an empire is expanding into or has gained a foothold on another continent. This will be important for more Gnoll empires as they run out of races to conquer on their home continent, or for rapid colonization across the water.
Galleys are fairly good in combat, is quite tough, and can be relied upon to transport troops over larger distances. Nonetheless, if a Galley does sink, all units it was transporting will immediately drown.
Gnoll citizens look like this:
Gnoll towns grow a little slower than the base rate, at -10 people each turn on top of the town's basic Population Growth rate. This means that expanding a Gnoll empire through peaceful colonization is rather inefficient, and is one of the reasons why Gnolls prefer conquest instead.
Of course, if many Gnoll towns can be set up, they can (and probably will) each contribute to the growth of the empire's Gnoll armies. Gnoll towns have little else to do except build units, so with plenty of towns it may be possible to simply overwhelm an opponent empire with army after army of seemingly endless Gnoll troops.
Unrest in Gnoll towns shouldn't be much of a problem throughout the game. Since Gnolls cannot build Parthenons to combat it, this could become a problem in larger towns. As a result you may need additional means (possibly magical ones) to minimize that Unrest.
Gnolls are some of the most technologically-backwards species on either Plane. They can barely advance beyond the most basic structures, though they don't have any particular deficiency in any of the construction branches.
In other words, while Gnolls cannot advance as far with their technology as other races can, their towns are still pretty efficient with Food and Production outputs. Furthermore, the lack of structures to build means that most Gnoll towns will manage to complete the entire technology tree fairly early, and will be free to start producing large quantities of Normal Units with which to keep up the rate of attacks on any neighbouring empires.
Remember that the lack of Universities and even some less-advanced structures means that Gnoll empires will likely suffer Mana shortages - unless of course an ample number of Nodes can be secured to augment this, or many non-Gnoll towns can be acquired.
Gnolls' initial and end-stage productivity is compared below, taking into account the extent of productivity-enhancing Town Buildings available to this race, and assuming a Tax Rate of 2 Gold for comparative purposes.
|Gnoll Farmer||2, ½, 2||2, 1, 3|
|Gnoll Worker||2, 2||4, 3|
The Building Chart Edit
The chart below shows all Town Buildings that can be constructed in Gnoll towns, as well as the buildings that cannot be constructed. It also shows the requirements to construct each building.
|= Not available|
|= Available only if the town is constructed next to a Shore|
|= Has no prerequisites.|
Interracial Relations Edit
Gnolls are surprisingly amicable towards other species, and other species do not show extreme hatred towards Gnolls either. This allows Gnolls to serve fairly well as both subjects to other races, and as subjugators of other races.
While an empire's Fortress is inside a Gnoll town, all other Gnoll towns belonging to this empire feel no adverse effect to their Unrest levels. Thus, the level of Unrest in each such town is based only on the current Tax Rate and other external factors.
The same applies to any Beastmen, Halfling, Orc and Troll towns under the control of a Gnoll empire - they feel no extra Unrest. Similarly, a Gnoll town under the rule of a Beastmen, Halfling, Orc or Troll empire feels no extra Unrest either.
As with all other races, Gnoll do not like to be ruled by a Klackon empire, with each Gnoll town in such an empire suffering +20% Unrest. Similarly, Klackons do not like being ruled by any other race, so Klackon towns will suffer +20% Unrest while subjugated by a Gnoll empire. These same values apply to Gnoll-Dark Elf relations, as these two races don't seem to get along very well. Perhaps the Dark Elves, a very intellectual and intolerant race, have no respect for the primitive Gnolls.
All other races not mentioned above hold only mildly-strained relations with the Gnolls. This results in a +10% Unrest penalty in towns belonging to those races while under the rule of a Gnoll empire. Similarly, Gnoll towns under the rule of those other races suffer +10% Unrest.
The table below breaks down all race relations regarding Gnoll empires. The same values are used for Gnoll towns controlled by empires of different races.
Complementary Magic Edit
A wizard can either actively play to the Gnolls by including good Unit Enchantments and Combat Instants among his starting spells, raising their level of threat, or he can lean on the Gnolls' inherent strength while he gets out of the doldrums. Most colors lend themselves to either of these strategies, and the real decision comes down to how he distributes his Power: whether to generate mana for battle, or to get started early on research and skill training.
Alchemy is one of the better retorts to take with Gnolls, as being without an Alchemists' Guild they cannot furnish themselves with Magical Weapons normally; it also gives the wizard the option of rolling taxes and plunder over into his mana reserves so that he can focus on developing his powers. Warlord extends the viable lifespan of the Gnoll military and that of any subjugated advanced race, though it is expensive.
With solid early Unit Enchantments and plenty of different tools to keep momentum after mid-grade Normal Units have run their course, Life Magic is always strong, and always the best complement to Warlord.
Earth Lore and Water Walking help the Gnolls make quick early moves. Wolf Riders love Path Finding, though the spell is difficult to guarantee. Gnolls make a reasonable basis for 11 Books, where the wizard uncovers the map straight-away and bull-rushes everything in reach.
Unfortunately Nature does not provide any way to boost resistance and Gnolls generally have low resistance. So while Nature offers many benefits to Gnolls, these may all prove useless against Death and Sorcery wizards who can easily counter Gnolls with resistance based attacks.
Immolation, Eldritch Weapon, and Chaos Channels make Gnoll units very dangerous. Chaos can either extend their viability with Combat Instants or eventually replace them with its high-tier Fantastic Units.
Gnolls can offer a stronger early game to Sorcery, which is generally lacking in early offensive power. Sorcery's Resist Magic can be critical in protecting the low resistance Gnolls from Death and Sorcery effects while Guardian Wind protects against early ranged units. Likewise, Phantom Warriors facilitate the rapid conquest of towns and Sorcery Nodes. Sorcery wizards can use their plunder to develop powerful heroes, counter/control spells, and Fantastic armies to extend power in the late game.
The Death Realm interaction is limited, but pointed. The Gnolls are among the best fighters on Arcanus, so there is little use pursuing low-tier summons to replace them, or in decimating Towns that are better-off captured intact. Use the Gnolls' strength to simply plunder and capture the way to a large Power Base or a stockpile of Mana Crystals, in pursuit of the life-stealing Wraiths and Death Knights.
Gnoll empires need to exploit the advantage that they have over other Arcanian empires immediately. Their Normal Units are very dangerous, whereas their domestic industry will fall well-behind the other races. Locating and conquering neutral and enemy Towns early on is a high priority. Gnolls will want to try and locate towns belonging to advanced races in particular, so that the urban development of the empire as a whole will not stagnate.
As a rule, do not bother with colonization. Gnoll Towns utilize land poorly in all ways except as Normal Unit production sites, and there is rarely a situation where more than one or two of these sites are necessary.
As discussed previously, Gnolls work well with various types of magic but cannot afford to dawdle. As a militaristic race they tend to present the choice of either offering good targets for Unit Enchantments, or serving the Wizard's advancement on their own strength. The Gnoll Wolf Riders are straightforward fast cavalry with cheap building requirements. Use these to grab as many cities as possible. Expect a lot of damage at tough Lairs, but a swarm of Wolf Riders can attack and retreat in waves, preventing outright losses.