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Gangris Riverpaw

World of Warcraft
by yo go re

In Dungeons & Dragons, gnolls are anthropomorphic hyena men, so that's what they are in World of Warcraft, too, and thus Gangris Riverpaw is a suitable choice for Werewolf Wednesday!

"Riverpaw" is a pack of gnolls led by the notorious Hogger, one of the toughest bosses anywhere in the game; he's known for taking down 40-man raids in seconds! He can kill Game Masters! Presumably, Gangris is part of that same pack, so he must be an equally impressive warrior!

Gangris was released in Premium Series 1 of DC Direct's WoW figures, which isn't to be confused with the normal Series 1: the line was divided into regular Series, Premium Series, and Deluxe figures; on top of that, some "deluxe" figures were mixed in with the normal series. It's all needlessly complex. The point is, Gangris is a little larger and a little more expensive than the normal releases.

This toy is 7⅜" tall at its highest point, but he's hunched over and has a big ridge of fur running down his back, so he looks much shorter. His stylized head, with its crazy eyes, squared-off snout, and lolling tongue (which sticks out the wrong side, honestly) is only about 4" from the ground. He's basically folded in half!

WoW gnolls come in several different colors. Riverpaw is tan, with dark spots and a black mane. His outfit is basically just a leather harness with a few metal rings linking them together. There are metal plates strapped to his thighs, and he's wearing metal bracers with small bones wrapped around them. On his left shoulder is a large pauldron that seems to be made from a giant skull. Are giants even a thing in WoW? They must be, because this skull is huge. Compare it to the normal human skulls on his knees. Like a big puppy, he's wearing a spiked metal collar, and like He-Man, he has a metal belt holding up his loincloth.

Gangris Riverpaw has a whopping three points of articulation: his hips and his tail swivel. Basically, don't expect this to be a poseable figure, because it's not. He's got one pose, and he's already in it when you open the package. Oh look, his shins swivel too. Basically, you can make sure he's balanced, but that's all.

He does get some impressive accessories, though. There's a horn hanging on his hip (possibly from a Tauren?), but you can't remove it, so that hardly counts. However, he is armed with two massive, wicked blades, each rough and sharp and intimidating. One is clearly a sword, with a bone hilt and a large, fanged skull on the front, while the other is some sort of double-cleaver. His fists are fully closed, so the hilts are removable to allow you to get them into his hands. The cleaver-thing has a real metal ring hanging from the bottom blade.

Today, gnolls are hyena-men, but that wasn't always the case. That came about in 1977's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; in the original 1974 D&D, Gary Gygax described them as a cross between gnomes and trolls. Even then, it was a tribute to Lord Dunsany's 1912 Book of Wonder, which included a story called "How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon the Gnoles" - that story didn't describe them at all, but it was based on a piece of art that showed a man being grabbed by fuzzy black creatures. The transition to cat-dogs is unexplained, but I'm glad it was made. Still, this Gangris Riverpaw figure is a little too stylized (and a lot too unarticulated) for my liking: he's okay, but not especially good.

-- 10/28/15

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