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A group of Firebrand adventurers rescues captives from kholo slavers.

A kholo hunter.
This article covers the ancestry. For their common language, see Kholo (language). For the culture specific to the Mwangi Expanse sometimes referred to generically as kholo, see Mwangi Expanse kholo.

Kholo, also known as gnolls or hyenafolk, are a humanoid ancestry with traits that resemble hyenas, and are renowned for their brutal, pragmatic efficiency in both life and battle. Structuring themselves into pack-like clans, kholo maintain deep connections to their ancestors and are renowned for both their ruthlessness and loyalty.12


Large and powerfully built, kholo resemble a hybrid of humanoid and hyena that stands taller, bulkier, and furrier than a human. A kholo's upright stance is probably their most humanoid feature, though with a noticeable hyena-like hunch to its back. Their torso is also more humanoid than a hyena's though still covered in mangy fur, and their muscular arms end in clawed hands as dexterous as a human's.3

A kholo's legs are double-jointed like a hyena's, which gives them an odd lopping-hopping gait when they run on their hind legs. Though capable of walking upright, a kholo's canine-like hindquarters allow it to drop to all fours like a dog for greater mobility. A kholo's head features the hyena's short blunt muzzle, muscular bone-crunching jaws, black eyes, and rounded ears.3

As adventurers

Some kholo leave their clans to work as mercenaries and adventurers, learning new skills, earning wealth, and gaining allies that will one day benefit their people. Other adventuring kholo have no clan, left orphaned by some disaster, or exiled—fairly or not—for some crime. Kholo are strongly pack-minded and tend to adopt their friends as honorary packmates.4

The ranger is the archetypal kholo class, a cunning warrior of the wilderness, but kholo also make excellent barbarians and fighters, and their love of clever tricks make them outstanding rogues.4

Bonekeepers of the kholo are usually witches who treat their ancestral spirits less as objects of worship than as argumentative colleagues, while kholo storytellers are typically bards.4


Kholo are predominantly from northern Garund, particularly the Mwangi Expanse, Nex, and Osirion, but also live in Avistan and Casmaron, with a large population in Katapesh.5 Kholo prefer hot deserts and warm plains, although they can also live in warm mountains and sunny forests, and sometimes even underground.6



The kholo of Katapesh consider the land their providential homeland and barely tolerate its other inhabitants. So numerous are the kholo of Katapesh that an entire district of the capital, Dog Town, is devoted to them and the slave trade they once brought in.7

Mwangi Expanse

The culture of the kholo of Garund's Mwangi Expanse, from which the term kholo originates, focuses on the pragmatic. They view efficiency as a moral imperative, eschew concepts like honor, and employ ruthless ambush tactics and terror to ensure their victory in battle. Such tactics make them inherent enemies of many of their neighbors, though their culture extends a degree of respect to strong foes.4

Other regions

Kholo also live in the deserts of Thuvia and Rahadoum. They once lived in Geb and the deserts that are now the Mana Wastes, but centuries of magical warfare drove the kholo that once dwelt there to seek safer pastures.8


Kholo are less common in Avistan, generally sticking to warm forests and plains rather than deserts. They live in small bands in the wilds of the disorganized River Kingdoms and chaotic Galt, but also live in the more organised Razmiran and even in parts of Kyonin.8

Avistani kholo have been on the decline since the fall of ancient Thassilon. Before Earthfall, they were citizens of Haruka, the domain of Krune, Runelord of Sloth, where their laziness was appreciated. They served as fearsome slave drivers as well as scouts and forward observers in Krune's armies. With the Earthfall, the kholo population was halved and most fled what would become Varisia for easier hunting grounds.8


A kholo and their pet hyenas fighting in Katapesh.

Kholo, despite their intelligence, interact with the natural world more like animals rather than humanoids as they do not alter their environment.3 In fact, despite their vicious nature, they are scavengers without compare who will happily wolf down rancid carrion left by more discerning creatures.9

While capable predators, the average kholo hunter does very little active hunting, since that requires too much effort. They prefer to drive weaker predators away from their kills.9

Kholo pups are typically delivered in litters numbering between three and five. Young kholo are dangerous by their third year and physically mature by their eighth year. Females are normally fertile between their 10th and 18th years.3


For kholo, the pack is everything. None would choose a life alone.6

Katapeshi kholo

Katapeshi kholo always travel in packs, normally with a single male leader who takes on a lofty, often pretentious title like "Emperor", "Consort of Lamashtu" or "King of all Kholo". The leader maintains their position through violence, and their authority extends only as far as their claws can reach.3

Mwangi Expanse kholo

See also: Mwangi Expanse kholo

Leadership roles among the matriarchal kholo clans of the Mwangi Expanse are reserved for women, and women most commonly fill roles of spiritual and historical advisement. Lamashtu is rarely worshiped among kholo of the Mwangi Expanse, and only as a deity of last resort, preferring instead Calistria, Shelyn, and Nethys.4


Paizo published a major section about kholo in Monster Codex and an article on them in The Mwangi Expanse.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Laura-Shay Adams, et al. “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 111–112. Paizo Inc., 2021
  2. Paizo referred to all kholo as gnolls until the publication of The Mwangi Expanse, and renamed all gnolls to kholo across Player Core, GM Core, and Monster Core. For details, see Meta:Kholo.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Wolfgang Baur, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 11. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Laura-Shay Adams, et al. “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 111. Paizo Inc., 2021
  5. Logan Bonner, et al. “Age of Lost Omens” in GM Core, 158. Paizo Inc., 2023
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wolfgang Baur, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 10. Paizo Inc., 2008
  7. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 16. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Wolfgang Baur, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 14. Paizo Inc., 2008
  9. 9.0 9.1 Wolfgang Baur, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 12. Paizo Inc., 2008