Gnolls are aggressive hyena like humanoids, they aren't very fun to have around for the fact that they fight for really anything and have almost no attentions span. Actually Gnolls are really dangerous for humans.

It's not uncommon seeing Gnolls kill each other for things like:

''You bastard! Don't you dare peeing on my tree I'm gonna kill you!''

So Gnolls are fighting each other most of the time and they are actually quite stupid.

But a particularly ''smart'' Gnoll managed to get all the other gnolls to actually listen to him and he organized various attacks against human villages.

How does a Gnoll slightly more intelligent than the other gnolls manage to get the attention of a large group of actual imbeciles?

  • $\begingroup$ I fail to see any behavioral differences between your gnolls and the average human, and yet we manage to unite for whatever every once in a while. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Oct 27 '18 at 22:34
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Any preschool or kindergarten teachers out there? $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Oct 28 '18 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Correct me if I'm wrong, but gnolls are either half-wolf, half-human or half-hyena, half-human in every fiction I can think of that includes them. And since humans, wolves, and hyenas all form social groups with leaders, I don't see why you need to explain how gnolls are able to have a society. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Oct 28 '18 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ Are those Gnolls close to real hyenas? Or the generic bad guys from D&D? $\endgroup$ – Sasha Oct 28 '18 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ hyenas... didn't actually know there were wolf gnolls $\endgroup$ – user56555 Oct 28 '18 at 7:13

Gnoll pheromones.

The recent ancestors of gnolls were pack hunters who kept social order largely through pheromonal communication. Pheromone secretion corresponded to dominance and that kept the peace - one sniff and usually you could tell where you stood. Only in the case of meeting an equal was combat required, with the pheromones of the winner and loser adjusting themselves accordingly.

The bottleneck event which led to gnoll intelligence unfortunately resulted in most gnolls having the same strength pheromones fixed at the same spot - so they are compelled to fight for dominance over and over, often with the same individual.

An occasional gnoll has pheromones fixed randomly high or low. The fixed low ones get in few fights and no-one wants to fight them: they are perpetual epsilons and they slink around, tails between legs. No-one wants to fight the alphas either, and the alphas think they are the mightiest and so often wind up getting killed trying stuff they feel like they should be able to do, but can't.

Your mutant is an alpha who also happens to be smart - a lucky combination because no-one wants to fight him, he also thinks he is all that (because of his biology), but he is smart enough to avoid situations that will be the end of him. He might be mutant in other ways too - maybe smaller, or different colored or the like.


It's a female

In real life, hyenas are a matriarchal species with females being bigger and stronger than males.

At some time in the past, humans tried to colonize the hyena's lands and in the process they tried to impose human's customs to the tribes, it resulted in a complete break in the gnoll's society.

The humans would be supplying weapons and armors to certain gnolls groups they believe to be "The good ones", causing decades of strife and conflict between the gnolls.

At some point, a female gnoll manages to rise as a warlord, proclaiming herself as the one that will bring the gnoll's glorious past back, backed by their old traditions.