In most ancient lore, gnomes are considered to have been a race of elvenkind. Rarest of the major races, gnomes love magic and music
above all else (an alternate name for them is the “loresong faen”). They dwell throughout the lands of Cherubar, Rhoth, Palastan, and the
Gnomes are welcome everywhere as technicians, alchemists, and inventors. Despite the demand for their skills, most gnomes prefer to remain among their own kind, living in comfortable burrows beneath rolling, wooded hills where animals abound.
Gnomes adore animals, beautiful gems, and jokes of all kinds. Members of this race have a great sense of humor, and while they love puns, jokes, and games, they relish tricks—the more intricate the better. They apply the same dedication to more practical arts, such as engineering, as they do to their pranks.
Gnomes are inquisitive. They love to find things out by personal experience. At times they’re even reckless. Their curiosity makes them skilled engineers, since they are always trying new ways to build things. Sometimes a gnome pulls a prank just to see how the people involved will react.
Gnomes stand about 3 to 3-1/2 feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their skin ranges from dark tan to woody brown, their hair is fair, and their eyes can be any shade of blue. Gnome males prefer short, carefully trimmed beards. Gnomes generally wear leather or earth tones, and they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Gnomes reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 350 years, though some can live almost 500 years.
Gnomes get along well with dwarves, who share their love of precious objects, their curiosity about mechanical devices, and their hatred of goblins and giants. They enjoy the company of halflings, especially those who are easygoing enough to put up with pranks and jests. Most gnomes are a little suspicious of the taller races—humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs—but they are rarely hostile or malicious.
Gnomes are most often good. Those who tend toward law are sages, engineers, researchers, scholars, investigators, or consultants. those who tend toward chaos are minstrels, tricksters, wanderers, or fanciful jewelers. Gnomes are good-hearted, and even the tricksters among them are more playful than vicious. Evil gnomes are as rare as they are frightening.
Gnomes make their homes in hilly, wooded lands. They live underground but get more fresh air than dwarves do, enjoying the natural, living world on the surface whenever they can. Their homes are well hidden, by both clever construction and illusions. Those who come to visit and are welcome are ushered into the bright, warm burrows. Those who are not welcome never find the burrows in the first place.
Gnomes who settle in human lands are commonly gemcutters, mechanics, sages, or tutors. Some human families retain gnome tutors. During his life, a gnome tutor can teach several generations of a single human family.
The chief gnome god is Garl Glittergold, the Watchful Protector. His clerics teach that gnomes are to cherish and support their communities. Pranks are seen as ways to lighten spirits and to keep gnomes humble, not as ways for pranksters to triumph over
those they trick.
The Gnome language, which uses the Dwarven script, is renowned for its technical treatises and its catalogs of knowledge about the natural world. Human herbalists, naturalists, and engineers commonly learn Gnome in order to read the best books on their topics of study.
Gnomes love names, and most have half a dozen or so. As a gnome grows up, his mother gives him a name, his father gives him a name, his clan elder gives him a name, his aunts and uncles give him names, and he gains nicknames from just about anyone. Gnome names are typically variants on the names of ancestors or distant relatives, though some are purely new inventions. When dealing with humans and others who are rather “stuffy” about names, a gnome learns to act as if he has no more than three names: a personal name, a clan name, and a nickname.
When deciding which of his several names to use among humans, a gnome generally chooses the one that’s the most fun to say. Gnome clan names are combinations of common Gnome words, and gnomes almost always translate them into Common when in human lands (or into Elven when in elven lands, and so on).
Boddynock, Dimble, Fonkin, Gimble, Glim, Gerbo, Jebeddo, Namfoodle, Roondar, Seebo, Zook.
Bimpnottin, Caramip, Duvamil, Ellywick, Ellyjobell, Loopmottin, Mardnab, Roywyn, Shamil, Waywocket.
Beren, Daergel, Folkor, Garrick, Nackle, Murnig, Ningel, Raulnor, Scheppen, Turen.
Aleslosh, Ashhearth, Badger, Cloak, Doublelock, Filchbatter, Fnipper, Oneshoe, Sparklegem, Stumbleduck.
Gnomes are curious and impulsive. They may take up adventuring as a way to see the world or for the love of exploring. Lawful gnomes may adventure to set things right and to protect the innocent, demonstrating the same sense of duty toward society as a whole that gnomes generally exhibit toward their own enclaves. As lovers of gems and other fine items, some gnomes take to adventuring as a quick, if dangerous, path to wealth. Depending on his relations to his home clan, an adventuring gnome may be seen as a vagabond or even something of a traitor (for abandoning clan responsibilities).
- +2 Constitution, –2 Strength: Like dwarves, gnomes are tough, but they are small and therefore not as strong as larger humanoids.
- Small: As a Small creature, a gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
- Movement: Gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
- Low-light Vision: A gnome can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
- +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions: Gnomes are innately familiar with illusions of all kinds.
- Illusion Talents: Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by gnomes. Their innate familiarity with these effects make their illusions more difficult to see through. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects, such as the Spell Focus feat.
- +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids (including goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears): Gnomes battle these creatures frequently and practice special techniques for fighting them.
- +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants): This bonus represents special training that gnomes undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too. The Monster Manual has information on which creatures are of the giant type.
- +2 racial bonus on Listen checks: Gnomes have keen ears.
- +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks: A gnome’s sensitive nose allows him to monitor alchemical processes by smell.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome.
- Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc. Gnomes deal more with elves and dwarves than elves and dwarves deal with one another, and they learn the languages of their enemies (kobolds, giants, goblins, and orcs) as well. In addition, a gnome can use speak with a burrowing mammal (a badger, fox, rabbit, or the like, see below). This ability is innate to gnomes.
- Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute).
- A gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities that can be used once per day:
- Dancing Lights
- Ghost Sound
Caster level 1st save DC 10 + gnome’s Cha modifier + spell level.
- Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass gnome’s bard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty