Gnomes trace their lineage back to the mysterious realm of the fey, a place where colors are brighter, the wildlands wilder, and emotions more primal. Unknown forces drove the ancient gnomes from that realm long ago, forcing them to seek refuge in this world, and they became slaves to the elves.
Traditionally, a gnome household would serve an elven household, and their offspring would serve once they are of eligible age. However, about one thousand years ago, an elven decree was made to emancipate all gnomes. Every gnome was given the choice to leave Elven lands or continue to serve their masters, not as a slave but as a paid servant. Most chose to continue to live under the protection of their previous masters but some chose to give up their past to seek a better future on their own.
Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Their hair tends toward vibrant colors such as the fiery orange of autumn leaves, the verdant green of forests at springtime, or the deep reds and purples of wildflowers in bloom. Similarly, their flesh tones range from earthy browns to floral pinks, frequently with little regard for heredity. Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and many have overly large mouths and eyes, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, while females often proudly wear elaborate and eccentric footwear.
Gnomes prefer to form small, tight communities which rely on each other for survival. They generally organize themselves such that each family in the community is in charge of providing for a particular need. For example, one gnomish family would specialise in foraging or hunting for food for the community, while another would specialise in woodwork and construction. Most Gnomes rarely form relationships outside of their communities, instead choosing to pursue crafts, professions, or collections with a passion that borders on zealotry.
Gnome offspring spend some time of their youth working with different families to discover their aptitudes for the various crafts and professions. Once a clear picture of the craft or profession that the gnome is suited for emerges, he is usually married into that family when he comes of age.
Gnomes make their dwellings in the ground as they are creatures of nature and because of their past as slaves (the elves made their homes in the treetops). The traditional gnome dwelling is a circular 5-foot-deep hole dug into the ground, with a roof made from natural material such as dried leaves. A central pillar made of wood is usually used to hold up the roof. However, modern construction techniques have enabled Gnomes to remove the central pillar, yet maintain the same amount of support for the roof. It goes without saying that having such a design in a home is considered fashionable and highly desirable.
Gnomes have difficulty interacting with the other races, on both emotional and physical levels. Gnome humor is hard to translate and often comes across as malicious or senseless to other races, while gnomes in turn tend to think of the taller races as dull and lumbering giants. They are attracted to the capricious nature of the halflings and humans and get along well with them, but dislike, or are overly fond of playing jokes on dwarves and half-orcs, whom most gnomes feel need to lighten up. They respect elves, but often grow frustrated with the comparatively slow pace at which members of the long-lived race make decisions. To the gnomes, action is always better than inaction, and many gnomes carry several highly involved projects with them at all times to keep themselves entertained during rest periods.
Gnomes have a deep hatred for goblins (forest/jungle) and reptiles (swamp/lake/river) as they have traditionally borne the brunt of their attacks because they make their dwellings on the ground, unlike the elves who make theirs on treetops.
Alignment and Religion:
Although gnomes are impulsive tricksters, with sometimes inscrutable motives and equally confusing methods, their hearts are generally in the right place. They are prone to powerful fits of emotion, and find themselves most at peace within the natural world.
Gnomes generally do not like to travel out of their communities, but due to their recent emancipation by the elves, there exists a growing number of younger gnomes who are curious to learn more about the world they live in. They often become wanderers to experience new aspects of life, and to seek modern technologies to develop their craft or to bring back to their communities.
Although gnomes are physically weaker that other races due to their stature, they are surprisingly hardy and ave an innate talent for sorcery and bardic music.
- +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, –2 Strength: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their attitude makes them naturally agreeable.
- Small: Gnomes are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB) and Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD), and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
- Slow Speed: Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light (see low-light vision.)
- Defensive Training: Gnomes get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
- Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with a Charisma of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities:
o 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, and speak with animals. The caster level for these effects is equal to the gnome’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the gnome’s Charisma modifier.
- Hatred: Gnomes receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the reptilian and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
- Illusion Resistance: Gnomes get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells or effects.
- Keen Senses: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
- Obsessive: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.
- Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes treat any weapon with the word “gnome” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Languages: Gnomes begin play speaking Common, Gnome, and Sylvan. Gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc.
Sample Gnomish quests:
- It is rumoured that the entrance to the gnomish ancestral home lies buried underground somewhere. Finding that location would provide a place for the gnomes to be united under a single banner instead of continue to live as the subordinates of the elves.
- Travelling to pursue further knowledge and technologies to improve their craft/profession.
Possible gnomic village families: