Gnomes are the most prevalent of the “smallish” peoples and can be found worldwide filling positions as artisans and craftsmen. They are infamous for their knack for inventing as many of their creations have a penchant for breaking down in glorious explosions. Many are right to worry when a gnome suggests they can “fix” something and a wary eye is often cast upon them when they come in contact with metalwork. All gnomes have an inborn talent for taking things apart and cobbling them back together. They are also born with magical abilities which they often include in their inventions.
Those who progress beyond the basics of inventing go on to become the worlds foremost specialists in hydraulics and steam machines, setting them apart from others in the inventing world. Many craftsmen have long aspired to reach the level of skill displayed by the finest of Gnomish inventors. Gnomes take great pride in their works and will often train those who display an aptitude for their crafts.
Gnomes hail from the underground of Saratta and are most at home in the mountains with access to caves and burrows where they make their homes. They are a wildly erratic people; playful and spontaneous. They always seem to be on the move seeking new experiences and have a burning desire to acquire knowledge. Their curiosity is on par with a human child and they often ask many questions about the world around them. As a gnome ages their schizophrenic focus will begin to level out allowing most to choose their way in the world and stick with it for some time.
They have an endless supply of humor and are often the life of parties when given the opportunity. Most gnomes love sweets and will go for such foods immediately upon spotting them. Their curiosity will lead them to investigate places where they do not belong (which consequently leads many to become investigators). They are very sharp minded and can quickly adjust their thoughts and plans to fit rapidly changing situations (this also leads to their inventions having unnecessary buttons and gadgets as the situation and need for the invention likely changed while it was being crafted).
Gnomes have a penchant for being superstitious and often bear a lucky charm that will protect them from harm. These trinkets are often hand crafted by themselves or handed down by a parent at an early age. This item will usually stay with the gnome for their entire life serving the ward off potential misfortune. Many gnomes understand that the object rarely has actual power, but the comfort provided is often more than enough.
Many in Saratta claim that gnomes have a chronic lack of discipline as their spontaneity leads them to abandon what they are doing. They may or may not return to the task when they have completed whatever distracted them.
Gnomes are a short people and stand between 3 to 3 ½ feet tall and weigh little more than a human child averaging around 50 lbs. Their general shape varies depending on the gnome. Some gnomes are thin and wiry from always moving and sneaking while others have clearly chosen the part of food and relaxation. They have cherubic facial features with wide rounded ears and bulb like noses.
Gnomes usually have short brown hair and meticulously groom themselves to always look their best (A popular gnomish bard song even captures this, telling the story of a gnome who did battle with a malfunctioning machine and after it exploded he ran a hand through his slightly scorched hair, smoothing it out simply to look “photogenic”). Gnomes almost never have facial hair as their hair is very slow to grow. Females take great pride in keeping their hair long and are often excited when their hair finally grows down to their shoulders. It is said that some gnomes will even mourn the loss of theirs or even the hair of others.
Their eyes are almost always blue or green with speckles of various colors mixed in. In some gnomes the iris speckles are so prominent that they are said to have “kaleidoscope eyes”. Their skin is usually pasty white skin from time spent beneath the surface of the world. A gnomes teeth are flat for grinding plants and berries. Gnomes can survive on diets made entirely of plants, though some have a penchant for meat. Gnomes claim that those who like meat have some goblin in their blood.
Gnomes will often use their inborn magic to make changes to their appearance, transforming the color of their hair and eyes based upon their moods.
Gnomes live an average of 75 years. A lack of good record keeping on the part of the gnomes means there is no recorded “oldest” gnome but many gnomish tall tales claim an ancestor lived to the ripe age of 300.
Gnomes tend to get along with everyone they come in contact with (or they are at least inclined to belief that). They rarely hold grudges and their cheerful demeanor puts others at ease. Between themselves gnomes strive to find common grounds when working on projects or in discussion. In disagreements they seek to find things they can agree on and leave it at that, going their seperate ways and will not to bring up the subject in future meetings.
If a problem cannot be solved by agreeing to disagree, or involves more than one party, gnomes will create a Board. Boards are a group effort, drawing from the skills and opinions of gnomes that are present at its calling. A Board convenes on the spot and can consist of members of other races if there are not enough gnomes present at its calling. Once made, the Board will review the problem at hand and begin discussing possible solutions to solving a problem. The most common solution is for the Board to abandon the issue and take themselves and the involved parties to the nearest tavern.
Awaiting permissions or authorizations from a Board can be a test of patience for anyone other than a gnome. Most gnome regard the Board as a wonderful, insightful system that lets all parties weigh in and create a solution to any social or societal issue that might arise. A Board may convene for as little as a few minutes, or can be drawn out for years. The longer a Board lasts the less likely the initial problem will be dealt with as gnomes will keep adding or changing the original purpose for the Board.
Boards are commonly practiced in places with a high concentration of gnomes as other races lack the patience or understanding necessary to stay “on task”.
Humans tend to interact the most with the gnomes thanks to the close proximity of their borders, and despite several conflicts in the past the two races are on very good terms with one another. Gnomes find humans to be a fascinating species that is always on the move just like they are. The constant needs of human society has been a source of great prosperity for the gnomes who are often employed to get a task completed quickly. Human impatience plays perfectly for the gnomish inventor who does not spend large amounts of time focusing on what might go wrong with something. They simply build what is needed for the project. Humans in turn like the quick response time they get when a gnome focuses and will often pay extra to make sure their focus remains.
When not being employed by humans, gnomes are regarded with mixed feelings. Some humans feel that they are a nuisance and cause unrest because of their chaotic nature. Others delight in the carefree nature that gnomes possess which is especially helpful at parties or for easing a potentially tense situation.
Gnomes are extremely competitive when engaging with their lifelong rivals, goblins. Gnomes and goblins have not always seen eye to eye and often make poor companions because of their opposite natures. Gnomes view goblins as a pushy race that focuses far too much of their energies toward perfection when there are great ideas around every corner. A gnome seeks to leave a legacy behind them and are always trying to make something that will stand the test of time. To spend multiple years on a single project blows multiple opportunities to achieve greatness.
Interactions between gnomes and goblins will remain civil until they begin crafting at which point things slide steadily down hill. Bickering and name calling are common between gnomes and goblins and the two groups have been known to quickly get on each others nerves, though not before pushing everyone else around them to their wits end.
Dwarves and gnomes get along quite well. They form lasting bonds quickly which some attribute to gnomish humor and and love for ale. Unions between the two races are not common but when they do occur their children are Halflings.
The gnomes make their home in the mountainous region of Retroth. There the Askaren Mountain Range begins and consumes the land, spreading east into Naltronia. Gnomes have had to fight to keep control of their home, once confronting the Human nation of Naltronia, but more often they are tested by the countries dragon population. The number of Wyrms that frequent the mountains forced the gnomes to burrow beneath the surface where they have access to most of the materials they require for their inventions.
Once gnomish settlements strethed into the Northern peninsula of Thamresh but as their homes were destroyed by encroaching Wyrm's they were forced South. Now all but the craziest have abandoned the North, preferring their southern-most strongholds at Rachet Mound and the dome of Gnomehold. A vast beach runs along the very southern portion of the country where the water currents have deposited sands from as far away as the deserts of Darilach. This shore is strewn with failed machines and half completed creations and has small ports scattered along it to ensure the trade of goods from Ratchet Mound.
The surrounding lands are plentiful in coniferous tree cover and supports a wide variety of game animals of all sizes. Massive Krasier, a wooly moose, lumber the game trails in solitude providing for great hunting sport along with the mountain goats that can be found in great numbers. The mountains provide easy access to common and rare metals along with granite and marble which are exported based upon demand. Gnomish cities are generally self sufficient and require little in the way of imported resources beyond vanity items or supplies that can only be found in different parts of the world.
Gnomes believe that they were made by the god Sploron, the Great Crafter. Sploron taught them the ways of crafting and earth-making, raising them to seek out the glittering objects of the world because they were the best objects from which to form marvelous creations. The god's gift to their race was self determination, the right to choose the god they would worship without having to blindly follow like the other races. He instilled in them a great curiosity called “The Wandering” that leads all young gnomes on a world quest to discover themselves before they could be at peace in their homes. Seeing the world gave them new ideas and let them contribute to the world's creation when Sploron asked them to assist.
According to the gnomish Book of Creation, there came a fateful day in the Great Crafter's chambers. A rose colored orb sat upon his bench, calling to his gnomish helpers to look and observe. They approached the orb and peered within, only to discover a swirling storm of red mist. They picked it up, determined to learn what it was to better help their Father. When they touched it one by one they felt a shock and a feeling of loss, followed by great elation and delight in the wonders of the Workshop. When they finally put the orb down they were shocked to find others standing in the room with them.
Their opposites stood in direct contrast to them, with rows of jagged teeth and hooked noses and not a drop of humor to speak of. When Sploron entered the Workshop he was amazed to find the hideous creatures he called goblins. The god immediately put them to sleep and spoke with the gnomes. He asked his children what kind of realm they would want to live in and they asked only for what they needed, and Sploron made it so and the world was right. When he asked what should be done to the goblins they told him only the truth. The goblins could be greedy but clearly they were meant to be brothers and sisters. The goblins would need their own place in the world, a room to grow and live within without the risk of greed. And so it was made, and the world was right.
Gnomes speak Gnimish, commonly referred to as gnomish by the rest of the world. Gnimish is a strange language that incorporates the gnomish perspective of the world into its telling. For instance, if a gnome were to describe the location of an object he or she might say, “it is 500 steps to the sun sets, sitting upon the white tree”. An interpretation of what they said: The object is 500 gnomish steps (any other stride would go against what has been said. Gnomish steps also incorporate weaving, ducking, and dodging so it is a wonder that gnomes always manage to find the location that another gnome describes) to the west. A white tree could be an object near the ground shaped like a tree, or possibly the tree itself.
Many words in Gnimish have a half dozen other words that mean the same thing with minor differences that only a gnome would completely understand (gnomish perspective again). Even language experts well versed in the gnomish language have difficulties determining the exact meaning of a sentence in Gnimish but gnomes seem to have little trouble understanding what was said or implied.
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom: Gnomes are hardy and ingenious, but often throw caution to the wind.
- Small: Gnomes gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a -1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. Small races have a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.
- Slow: Gnomes have a base speed of 20. It is believed that gnomes would be much quicker if they were not so easily distracted.
- Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Dazzling Artist: Gnomes can cast Prestidigitation at will as a spell-like ability.
- Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with Intelligence scores of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 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 Intelligence modifier.
- Hatred: Gnomes gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the Goblin subtype because of their special training against these hated foes.
- Illusion Resistance: Gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusion spells or effects.
- Imbue with Power: Gnomes are able to magically enhance their own creations with magic to get them to function in a manner that would be deemed impossible under normal circumstances (ie. perpetual motion, gears on a watch turning on their own, etc). Spells used to Imbued items must be known to the caster (or inscribed upon a scroll) and may only be 0-Level. At level 10, Gnomes may imbue 1st-Level spells as well. Dispel Magic will end the effect of Imbue with Power, often at the expense of the machine. The DC to dispel Imbue with Power is 10 + character level + the characters Intelligence bonus.
- Master Tinker: Gnomes gain a +1 bonus on Disable Device and Knowledge (Gnomish Engineering) checks. Gnomes are also treated as proficient with any weapon they have personally crafted.
- Mechanical Aptitude: Gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus to Craft (Gnomish Engineering) checks.
Languages: Gnomes begin play speaking Common and Gnomish. Gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, Giant, and Undercommon.