Gorellik was once the primary patron of gnolls and flinds, but as those races have turned to other gods, he has languished and lost power. I’ve always thought Gorellik was an under-appreciated deity in the game, and a pretty interesting individual. I’ve tried to embellish his history a bit with some additional speculation on his origins, and set him up to be a more useful deity to DMs who want to make more varied gnollish cultures. Enjoy!
Gorellik (PDF Version)
(The Loner, King of Hyenas, Hyena King, Bone-Crusher, Marrow-Gnawer)
Demipower of the Planes, CE
Portfolio: Hunting, hyenas, hyaenodons
Domain Name: None/Wanders
Symbol: White, mottled hyaenodon’s head
Wor. Align.: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Once the chief deity of a small but diverse gnoll pantheon, Gorellik (GOR-el-ick) has declined to obscurity and insignificance. He hunts with his pack of hyaenodon servitors throughout the lower chaotic planes, calling no permanent place home; as the ages have past, he has found comfort in the simple savagery of a bestial form, caring for little else but hunting prey with his entourage pack.
Most gnolls and flinds barely remember their former master, due in no small part to the absence of a creation story from their myths through which he could hold sway over them. It is said he encountered the infant race of gnolls in his ancient wanderings when he was a more powerful deity, admired for his strength and might. He was known even then as the King of Hyenas, and taught the gnollish races how to master and tame hyenas and hyaenodons as hunters and guards. He has always been a loner, counting no other deity as kin or mate, not even the other powers of the nascent gnollish pantheon, although he held dominion over them. With no mythology to hold the pantheon together and bind the gnolls to him, his followers began looking to other, more powerful gods, for he taught them too well to value might. They first looked to Annam’s brood, envying the height and strength of the giants and hoping that through worship they could gain similar power. In the end, however, most turned to Yeenoghu, the self-styled Demon Prince of Gnolls, for the magical and clerical power he promised them and his chosen form, so much like their own. Some devotees still clung to the old gods, but the lack of worship caused most of the pantheon to slowly die and disappear, forgotten even amongst sages of the divine, leaving only the King of Hyenas himself and the goddess of fear, Refnara.
Gorellik’s own origins are lost in the mists of pre-history. It is known that he had no hand in the creation of gnolls and flinds; he simply was drawn to them due to the similarity in character. Sage speculation focuses on his animalistic side, believing him to be an ascended animal spirit, or perhaps even a hyaenodon or hyena lord from the Beastlands who took the step few of them are able to and became a fully-fledged deity. At the height of his power, he was at least a lesser power, and perhaps even an intermediate power, but the drain of worshippers from his faith to others has left him as barely a demipower, only marginally more powerful than the other remaining member of the gnollish pantheon, Refnara. Neither has had contact with the other in centuries or more. Gorellik no longer cares enough about the activities of other gods to pay attention or hold grudges, with the sole exception of Yeenoghu himself; he has a deep seething hatred of the tanar’ri lord, and dreams of one day slaying him. The situation for Gorellik may be changing a bit in recent years; the Time of Troubles in Realmspace seems to have brought his dwindling faith into stark relief for him, and he has since been slowly bringing about changes to his priestly servants, granting them more powers and creating an order of specialty priests to lead his followers. It seems clear he now desires to restore his position of pre-eminence with gnolls, and is actively working towards that goal.
Gorellik is still able to send his sole avatar to the prime material plane, one of the last vestiges of his former power, but in the past few centuries, he has done so only infrequently. In general he prefers to use manifestations, but these are only common in comparison to the appearances of his avatar. On the occasions he does manifest his avatar, his actions have been erratic, often running with a pack of hyenas or appearing before a gnollish tribe and demanding reverence. With his more active role in the past few years, it seems likely his avatar will be a more common appearance in his followers’ lives.
Gorellik’s Avatar (Ranger 23, Cleric 12)
Gorellik appears as either a tall, mangy gnoll or a mottled white and tan hyaenodon, preferring neither form over the other. As a gnoll, he wears well-worn clothing and armor appropriate to the terrain and climate. In both forms, his ears are tattered and he sports many small and long-healed scars; overall he has a shabby, unkempt, and vaguely unhealthy appearance in either form. He casts spells from those spheres available to his priests, favoring those of Animal, Protection, and Travelers.
AC 0; MV 12 or 30; HP 150; THAC0 −4; #AT 2 or 1
Dmg 1d6+7 (spear +2, +5 Str) or 1d6+7 (long bow +1, flight arrow +1, +5 Str) or 3d8 (bite)
MR 10%; SZ L (9 feet tall or 12 feet long)
Str 18/95, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 15
Spells P: 6/5/5/3/2/2
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: Gorellik can shapechange between his hyaenodon and gnoll forms in one round, as often as he wishes; doing so heals him of 3d6 points of damage. In his gnoll form, he wields Oryx Horn, a spear +2 tipped with the horn of an Oryx Lord the Loner slew on the Beastlands long ago. Any creature of less than average intelligence struck with this spear must make saving throw vs. paralyzation or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. Gorellik also carries a long bow +1 known as Deerbane and a quiver of 18 flight arrows +1, which replenishes daily. Any normal animal struck by one of these arrows must make a save vs. death or be slain.
In his hyaenodon form, Gorellik bites once per round for 3d8 points of damage. If he successfully bites a limb (50% chance on any hit), he crushes the bones of the limb, as per the rules on page 104 of Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics. Once per turn he can utter a chilling laugh that forces all those within 150 feet to make a save vs. paralyzation or be affected as if by the 4th-level wizard spell fear.
Gorellik is accompanied 50% of the time by 2d4 of his pack, which are hyaenodons of the largest size (hp 40, Dmg 3d4+3, SD permanent prayer, ML 18). The King of Hyenas can communicate with hyaenodons and hyenas at will, and is able to issue a single command to an individual of either species or a gnoll once per round, in addition to any other actions he takes. No natural carnivorous mammal will attack him, and four times per day he can charm carnivorous mammal (as the 2nd-level priest spell charm person or mammal). Gorellik is immune to weapons of less than a +1 enchantment, and is unaffected by any harmful spell from the Animal sphere.
Gorellik rarely manifests his power to his followers, preferring that they use their own strength and the powers he grants to overcome problems. On very rare occasions when he deems a goal too important to fail, or when he notices a third party (most often Yeenoghu) tipping the scale against them, he may send a hyaenodon from his pack (as described above) to assist his followers. Finally, on the rarest of occasions, he may manifest his power directly upon a group of his followers. For the duration of the boon, the fur or hair of his followers appears mottled white and tan, and they gain the benefits of the spells prayer and aid, and are completely immune to magical fear.
Gorellik is served primarily by hyenas and hyaenodons. However, he occasionally works through bar-lgura tanar’ri, displacer beasts, gnashers (normal and winged), leucrotta (greater and lesser), shadow hounds, tyrg, vorrs, and werehyenas. The Loner rarely sends omens to his followers; when he does, it usually takes the form of a disembodied hyena vocalization. The specific type of vocalization indicates pleasure or displeasure, and he expects his followers to know hyenas well enough to discern for themselves the intent.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: Special, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Gorellik receive religion (gnoll) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. All priests are required to take the Hunting nonweapon proficiency. Due to Gorellik’s antipathy towards Yeenoghu, his clerics cannot command undead, but can turn them instead. The Loner is particularly lax regarding the alignments of his priests; so long as they keep to his teachings and perform the duties expected of them, he is happy to grant them spells.
Gorellik has long since lost his position of prominence within gnollish spiritual life; his former status as the chief god of their race is mostly forgotten. Gnoll tribes that still worship the Loner are generally those who have rejected Yeenoghu or the faiths of giant-kind; they often bear great enmity towards those that they deem betrayers for following usurpers and false gods. The only faith that ever coexists alongside that of Gorellik is that of Refnara, another of the old gnollish gods that has fallen into obscurity, although the relationship between the two faiths is quite strained.
The faithful of the King of Hyenas build few temples, believing that open spaces are the best places to worship their deity. When they do build temples, they are usually located in shallow surface caves with well-concealed entrances. They prefer natural spaces, doing little to alter the caves other than leveling and smoothing the floor. Animal skins decorate the floor and walls, with hunting trophies often placed in natural niches or mounted high on the walls. Altars are usually located centrally along the innermost wall, and placed behind a sacrificial fire pit that is always kept alight. The altar is always kept clean, and usually made of pale limestone; relics holy to the priesthood are kept on it, and it is never used for sacrifices. Much more common than temples are simple shrines that can be moved with a nomadic tribe. These shrines usually take the form of a small fire pit with an arch of bones above it, surmounted with a hyena or hyaenodon skull.
Novices of Gorellik are known as Cubs or Whelps. Full priests are known as Packmembers, with the clergy collectively known as the Pack of Gorellik. The clergy uses no individual titles with the exception of the most powerful priest, known as the Packlord. The rest of the clergy has a hierarchical organization based strictly on personal power, and all lesser priests are expected to be deferential to their more powerful brethren. Specialty priests are known as huntmasters, and while they are a very recent addition to the clergy, they have risen fast through the ranks. The clergy of Gorellik contains gnolls (75%), flinds (20%), werehyenas (4%), and a handful of other races (1%). Gorellik’s clergy is fairly egalitarian; about 59% are male, the remainder are female. The clergy of Gorellik is heavily dominated by shamans (72%); however, his clerics (20%) and specialty priests (8%) invariably make up the highest ranks of the priesthood when found together.
Dogma: The hunt is life. Revel in the thrill of the hunt. A tribe that does not hunt is too weak to survive. Strength and endurance are the keys to bringing down prey. The hunting pack is as one; they live and die together; so should it be for tribes. Always seek power and strength, and always seek to take down bigger game. Hunt the followers of the usurper Yeenoghu; they are the biggest game of all.
Day-to-Day Activities: Hunting is the prime duty of Gorellik’s priests. They lead the hunting parties, and as such are primarily responsible for feeding their tribe. They teach the younger generations how to hunt, track, and kill prey. Strength and endurance training is also frequent, so their people have a better chance of taking on larger creatures and running them to exhaustion. The thrill of the hunt and the victory of bringing down their prey is particularly enjoyable to them; while the type of prey is not important to the King of Hyenas, many have chosen intelligent creatures as their favored prey for the challenge. Twice per month, on the quarter moon, priests are expected to burn offerings of a heart or liver from prey their tribe has slain recently; this is done in order to thank Gorellik for teaching the ancient gnolls their hunting skills, and for his continued guidance and protection on future hunts.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Outside of their twice-monthly sacrifices, priests of Gorellik observe few holy days, and these are generally local events that celebrate a famous or important hunt. The Loner requires no additional celebrations or sacrifices, although he does not discourage them.
Major Centers of Worship: There are no known major temples of Gorellik, in part due to the nomadic nature of many of his worshipers. Those sedentary tribes that have built temples have so far maintained secrecy of their locations.
Affiliated Orders: While Gorellik has not seen fit to create any martial orders amongst his clergy, he is quite popular amongst gnolls who have taken to bounty hunting. They see the obvious parallels between that role in a society and his teachings. In addition, a number of werehyenas have adopted the King of Hyenas as their patron, and have spread his worship to far flung communities of those lycanthropes.
Finally, there is a Wasp spelljammer operating in Greyspace that is captained by a pair of twin gnoll specialty priests with the sole mission of hunting down every gnoll and flind priest of Yeenoghu in existence. It is said they witnessed the slaughter of their tribe by Yeenoghan ghoulmasters as novice priests, and have been half-crazed ever since.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb of Gorellik’s clergy includes a full animal skin cloak of some large predatory mammal; hyaenodons are preferred, but bears, lions, and other such cloaks are common. Beneath the cloak, they keep their chests bare during the summer and wear a brightly decorated shirt covered in bones, teeth, claws, and other small trinkets from hunted beasts. In all seasons they wear long kilts that are similarly decorated; footwear is optional, but boots are common. An animal skull helmet is occasionally worn as well, with hyaenodon and deer skulls being the most common. The holy symbol of the priesthood is a large canine tooth from a mammal; as with everything else, hyaenodon canines are preferred.
Adventuring Garb: When hunting, priests of Gorellik favor light clothing that doesn’t restrict movement. Leather armor is common, and their clothing is usually composed of tans, yellows, and browns to better blend in with their environment. When engaging in combat with other humanoids and intelligent creatures, they don heavier armor, especially chain mail, for the added protection. They favor spears, bows, javelins, and slings as weapons.
Specialty Priests (Huntmasters)
Requirements: Strength 11, Constitution 10, Wisdom 11
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Alignment: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Armor: Any up to chain, no shield
Major Spheres: All, animal, divination, healing, protection, summoning, travelers, weather
Minor Spheres: Combat, creation, necromantic, sun
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Hunting, spear
Bonus Profs: Animal handling (pick one: hyena or hyaenodon), tracking
- Huntmasters must be gnolls, flinds, vorrs, or werehyenas.
- Huntmasters are not allowed to multiclass.
- Huntmasters may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
- Huntmasters can track as rangers.
- Huntmasters can turn ghouls and ghasts as if they were two levels higher, and affect 50% more. However, they turn all other undead as if they were two levels lower. They may also turn Shoosuvas (see Yeenoghu’s entry) as if they were mummies.
- Three times per day, huntmasters can cast animal friendship (as the 1st-level priest spell) and speak with animals (as the 2nd-level priest spell); both spells work with hyenas and hyaenadons only.
- At 3rd level, huntmasters can cast Tasha’s uncontrollable hideous laughter (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) or call animal (as the 2nd-level priest spell in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Vol.I) once per day. The only animal they can call with this ability is a hyena.
- At 6th level, huntmasters can cast call pack (as the 3rd-level priest spell in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Vol.I) once per day. The only animals they can call with this ability are hyenas.
- At 9th level, huntmasters can cast bone crusher (as the 4th level priest spell) or call pack (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day. The only animals they can call with this ability are hyaenodons.
- At 12th level, huntmasters can cast pack mind (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
Hypnotic Scent (Pr 1; Enchantment/Charm)
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: 15-ft. radius
Saving Throw: Neg.
With this spell, the priest is able to exude special pheromones that can hypnotize 1d6 creatures within the area of effect. Individuals, who must have the ability to smell or process scents, become susceptible to a suggestion—a brief and reasonable-sounding request (see the 3rd-level wizard spell, suggestion). The request must be given after the hypnotic scent spell is cast. Until that time, the success of the spell is unknown. Note that the subsequent suggestion is not a spell, but simply a vocalized urging—the caster must speak a language the creature understands for this spell to work. Creatures that successfully roll their saving throws are not under hypnotic influence. A creature that fails its saving throw does not remember that the caster enspelled it, only that they smelled something pleasant and enjoyable.
Mesmerizing Gaze (Pr 2; Enchantment/Charm)
Range: 20 yds.
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Special
When this spell is cast, a priest is able to mesmerize creatures by staring into their eyes. To be affected, a creature must have low intelligence or better, and at least one non-compound eye. The caster can focus his gaze on one creature per round, to the exclusion of casting or attacking. Creatures targeted must make a saving throw vs. spell to avoid the effects of the gaze. Those who fall under the sway of the mesmerizing gaze stand prone with a slack expression. They make no attacks and take no action to defend themselves (losing Dexterity bonuses); they can be led around by another person, however. They stay in the stupor for 1d4 rounds, plus 1 per level of the caster. The priest can affect up to 1 creature for every 2 levels he has achieved, one per round; he cannot attack or cast another spell in any round that he uses the mesmerizing gaze. The mesmerizing gaze spell ends after one turn, even if the caster has not affected his maximum number of creatures.
Bone Crusher (Pr 4; Enchantment/Charm, Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 7
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Special
This spell empowers the caster to bite with tremendous strength, enough to crush limb bones. Once his jaws are enchanted, the caster must make an unmodified attack roll against a target to make a successfully bite attack, dealing 3d4 points of damage. Unarmored victims, or those armored only in chain or soft armor (leather, padded, hide, etc.), must make a saving throw vs. death or have the bone of the bitten limb crushed (as per the rules on page 104 of Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics). The DM decides which limb is crushed, based on the combat situation and the foe attacked. If the limb is armored with types other than those listed above, the armor must make a saving throw vs. crushing blow or be destroyed; the victim suffers no further damage and must be attacked again in order to suffer damage or have their limb crushed. Creatures with stone-like or metallic skin, or protected by spells like stoneskin, cannot be harmed by this spell. The priest can make one such attack per round, to the exclusion of other attacks or spell casting, although he can forgo a bite in favor of his normal melee attacks. This power imbued by this spell expires after the priest has made 1 attack per 3 levels he has achieved, regardless of the success of the attacks, or after 24 hours.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a tooth from any large carnivore.
Pack Mind (Pr 5; Enchantment/Charm)
Range: 1 mi.
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 3 creatures + 1 creature/level
Saving Throw: None
When cast, this spell forges a link between three or more gnolls (including flinds), uniting them into a “group mind” that heightens their abilities and allows them to act as a single unit. At least three gnolls are needed to properly cast the spell, with one creature acting as pack leader; this leader represents the “dominant” mind of the group. The priest does not need to be the leader, although he or she must be a part of the pack for the duration of the spell. If the priest leaves the pack or is slain, the spell is ended. If the number of pack members ever drops below three, the spell is ended as well. This spell lasts no longer than 24 hours.
Once cast, pack mind gives each member of the pack a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a −1 bonus to initiative for every three creatures united under the spell. (Thus, three pack members gain a +1, six members gain a +2 bonus, and so on.) In addition, the chance of surprising the members of a pack decreases by one for every three pack members. The tracking ability of a pack increases as well; pack members can track as per the Tracking nonweapon proficiency with a score of 16, acquiring a +1 bonus per three pack members to a maximum of 19. In addition, all pack members know when one of their number is attacked or attacking.
The pack leader is an important part of the pack mind. At will, the pack leader can command any other pack member, as per the 1st-level priest spell. The pack leader can also allow more gnolls into the pack once the spell is cast, to a maximum of twenty creatures, some of which can be hyenas or hyaenodons. Since this pack leader is the lynchpin of the pack mind, its presence is essential to the enchantment; if the pack leader is killed or forcibly removed from the pack mind through psionics or spells, the spell is broken immediately.
The material component for this spell is a length of chain, at least three links long—one link for each pack member at the time of casting. The item is not consumed in the casting and may be reused.