Gnolls are terrible canine headed humanoids live somewhere to the East of the Desert Lands. They are cruel beyond imagining and delight in torture of all forms. The men of the West first discovered their existence during the crusades, and ever since they have been a constant terror to those living in civilized lands.
Gnolls occasionally make their way into human lands with peaceful motivations. They often hire themselves out as mercenaries, where their feared reputation is best put to use. Lawful men and women would seldom hire such beings, but the sinister cults of the Anti-Church frequently utilize these vile beings to serve their own ends.
Few superstitions surround Gnolls as they are quite rare within the Dark Country itself. In the West men say that Gnolls were once humans. Ruled by the great king Prestor John they built a city larger and more beautiful than the world had yet seen. But they soon became decadent and immoral. Their king begged them to renounce their wicked ways. Infuriated, they stormed his palace, ripped him to shreds, and devoured his flesh. For their crimes the God of Law gave them faces to match their hearts, turning them physically into the predatory creatures they had become.
Supposedly, the God of Law then returned Prestor John to life, and placed him in a city on the opposite side of the world. There he reigns in glory as an example that subjects should always listen to their kings, or so the chancellors in the kingdoms of the West are quick to remind men and women who have not payed their taxes.
The people of the Dark Country have little time for such nonsense. Gnolls are not unknown; in fact, they are more likely to be seen in its brooding forests and dark mountains. The natives claim that the fanciful tale of Prestor John is merely a product of the West's lack of contact with these fiends. No creature that savage could ever have been human. Besides, the people of the Dark Country are capable of creating equally fantastic and nonsensical stories without the aid of outsiders.