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Version 0.22: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

This article covers the player species. For the monster, see Gnoll (monster). For a list of all monstrous gnolls, see List of gnolls.

Gnolls are a race of caniform humanoids originally hailing from the arid deserts and grasslands of the east. In recent history they have become unusually attracted to the Dungeon, establishing tribes around and even inside of it. Unfortunately their long stay in the Dungeon has exposed their somewhat fragile minds to excessive amounts of its magic.

On the one hand, their bizarrely altered brains now have incredible proficiency at learning every skill. On the other, these same alterations have rendered Gnolls incapable of selective learning. They learn all skills equally at the same time, so it's hard for them to learn more about any one thing.

In order to survive with this limitation, Gnolls use their universal knowledge and excellent physical attributes of strength, intelligence, and dexterity to take advantage of every resource they find in the Dungeon. They also have powerful noses have adapted to the Dungeon's scents, allowing them to easily locate where treasures lay hidden.

Innate Abilities

  • Gnolls' experience applies equally to ALL skills
  • Gnolls have very sharp teeth (fangs 1)
  • Gnolls' uncanny sense of smell can sniff out nearby items (strong nose)

Gnolls have a base Strength of 10, Intelligence of 10 and Dexterity of 10 (before Background modifiers).

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Difficulty of Play


Gnolls are jacks of all trades, but masters of none, so using what the game provides you as far as items and spells is essential. On the other hand, you will always have skill with any great weapons you find, which makes gearing easier. Gnolls also have less difficulty with triple school spells than most other races due to training all the schools at once.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 8 Armour 8 Spellcasting 8
Short Blades 8 Dodging 8 Conjurations 6
Long Blades 8 Stealth 8 Hexes 6
Axes 8 Shields 8 Charms 6
Maces & Flails 8 Summonings 6
Polearms 8 Necromancy 6
Staves 8 Translocations 6
Unarmed Combat 8 Transmutation 6
Fire Magic 6
Throwing 8 Ice Magic 6 Invocations 9
Slings 8 Air Magic 6 Evocations 8
Bows 8 Earth Magic 6
Crossbows 8 Poison Magic 6 Experience 0


Given that a gnoll's skills will be at around 16 at character level 27, going for level 9 spells will be a challenge and min delay with heavier weapons will not be possible without boosts from Okawaru or Ashenzari. This leads to a a hybrid character that should soften up targets with ranged weapons/spells before engaging in melee. You will also be able to use most buffing spells on yourself to enhance your combat. Okawaru is a popular god choice for gnolls because of his gifts and skill boosts. Since gnolls can use every weapon equally well, Oka's gifts are easier to use and never require retraining when you getting something absurdly powerful.

Cheibriadosʼ stat boosts enable a gnoll to comfortably use any item or spell the game throws at it, at the cost of slow movement speed. This speed penalty may be worth paying in exchange for being able to deal with practically any situation before it becomes dangerous.

The gnoll's ability to use all and everything has the downside that inventory management becomes even more of an issue than for all other characters.


Added in 0.21

Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianHalflingTrollGhoul
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnCentaurSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreDeep DwarfGnoll
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidBarachiMummy