A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Bleached Skull Gnolls

Bleached Skull Gnolls by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It is therefore covered by the Open Game License and some of it is considered to be Open Game Content. This supplement is one in a series that detail tribes of nonhumans, with this particular one living in the Tangled Wood of The Lonely Coast mini-setting.

Bleached Skull GnollsThis is a twenty-three page bookmarked PDF that is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.99 but was purchased at the vastly reduced price of $0.13 as part of a special bundle. The Bleached Skull Gnolls are also one of the tribes featured in the compilation PDF TRIBES Anthology I. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for print and the other for screen.

Two pages of the PDF are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers. One page is blank and three pages are the front matter and Contents, with the Contents page also listing all the stat blocks by CR, new adept spells, new magic items by cost and new feats. One page has around a third of it on identifying magical and mundane treasure with the rest being the Open Game License and one page is on Reading Stat Blocks, a standard inclusion which explains how the stat blocks are calculated.

Bleached Skull Gnolls has a full page title and is then followed by two pages on the tribe’s ecology, society, lair, religion, combat and tactics. These gnolls dwell in the forest, which is not normal terrain for them.

New Feats is one page long and details six new feats, all combat in nature.

New Adept Spells is also one page, and gives a spell list for the tribe’s adepts, which is different to normal adept lists, as well as six new spells, including one that is skull-based – appropriate for the tribe.

New Magic Items details three new magic items created by the tribe, with one of these also being skull-based.

Stat Blocks, Allies & Encounters has a full page title. Two pages list different encounters with the gnolls at different ELs, referencing stat blocks from this section. The encounters have a level, but these can be adjusted up or down by one by using certain alterations. There is also a sidebar on fighting in woodland.

Three pages have stat blocks for eight different tribe members, two of which are non-combatants. The garb of the different types of gnoll are listed, as are stat blocks for two familiars.

One page has a map and explanation for a typical tribal encampment.

The final two pages detail two new monsters, the Bloodspawn Treant, which is created by the tribe’s bloody nature rites, and the Human Blood Zombie, which the treant can raise.

The PDF is very well bookmarked with major and minor sections covered and the Contents, although not as thorough, is hyperlinked. Consequently, navigation is above average. The text maintains a two column format and no errors were spotted. There are a number of black and white illustrations which would appear to have been created specifically.

The tribe may be intended for the Lonely Coast setting, but dropping it into another comparable woodland area should not be a problem. If it is used in the Tangled Wood, encounters with the tribe are quite likely for any players going on journeys in the wood, such as on adventures that are set in it, like Road of the Dead.

The tribe itself is an interesting twist to the standard gnoll theme. Magic items and magic with a skull motif and the use of skulls around their encampments, as befits a tribe named after skulls, and new creatures related to their bloody rites, as well as feats that focus on combat and strength, all combine to make a consistent and potentially dangerous enemy. The tribe is unlikely to be encountered as a result of any plots, but could certainly be bumped into in the wilderness. Bleached Skull Gnolls is a nicely detailed and well put together humanoid tribe and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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