Author Topic: Gnomes  (Read 1938 times)

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Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 18, 2005, 09:50:27 PM
Industrious, intelligent, and good-natured, gnomes have few enemies.  They are not a numerous race, and for many centuries, gnomes have survived and thrived by keeping a low profile.  Avoiding the notice of larger folk obsessed with empires and mighty magic, the gnomes have quietly spread across Faerun in tiny settlements and hidden villages that often go completely unnoticed by their neighbors.

There are three distinct sorts of gnomes living on Toril:  deep gnomes, forest gnomes, and rock gnomes.  They all share a slight stature (gnomes are little more than half the size of a grown human), innate magical gifts, and a great love for gems.  The furtive deep gnomes, also know as svirfneblin, make their homes in the depths of the Underdark.  The diminutive – even for gnomes- forest gnomes are even more shy and retiring than the svirfneblin.  Rock gnomes are the most outgoing and numerous of the three kindreds.  Their inquisitive nature draws them out of their well-hidden villages and clanholds to explore the wider world.

Throughout Faerun, the gnomes play the role of intermediary between other races or peoples.  Few count the gnomes as their friends, but even fewer consider the gnomes their enemies.  Although gnomes have not escaped the great cataclysm and upheavals of the past, few gnomes have ever become embroiled in war, remaining neutral in such things.  Some say this is because gnomes are cowards, afraid to become involved with the violent affairs of the larger people.  In fact, gnomes can show bravery and physical resolve that would put larger folk to shame, but they are careful to pick their fights.  They remain neutral because wars are usually fought over goals about which the gnomes care little, such as rights of commerce and settlement, or the drive to achieve and wield power in the world at large.

As the human realms continue their ages-old expansion and reach remote areas in which gnomish settlements are hidden, some gnomes have started to question their traditional doctrine of noninterference.  It seems that while they may not care to go off to the violent world of the larger races, that world is already knocking on their collective door.

Mr. Cheez-It

  • Guest
on: October 21, 2005, 03:05:50 PM

Rock gnomes are the gnomes that most people are familiar with, so much so that when someone says “a gnome”, he or she is almost always speaking of a rock gnome.  Unlike their reclusive cousins, the deep gnomes and the forest gnomes, the rock gnomes are an inquisitive and loquacious people.  They are renowned throughout Faerun as technicians, alchemists, and inventors, as well as illusionists of the highest order.  They do not care much for living in larger cities, where their talents are in high demand, and prefer the rolling hills of the countryside.  But anywhere they find themselves, they display an amazing zest for life and all the pleasures it holds.

Rock gnomes are far friendlier and more outgoing than the other gnome kindreds.  They are well known for their love of jokes, pranks, as well as their fondness for finely made things.  As with all gnomes, they adore gems of all kinds, but rock gnomes have a particular passion for the purity and perfection of the diamond.

Rock gnomes average between 3 and 3 1.2 feet tall, and weigh between 40 and 45 pounds.  Their skin comes in many different shades of brown, but is unaffected by exposure to the sun.  The hair of young gnomes can very greatly in color, but in adulthood they all tend toward gray or white.  The males wear their beads neatly trimmed.

From a rock gnome's point of view, life is meant to be enjoyed in all its facets:  work, play, and otherwise.  Again, it's the process that's important, not the goal, even if those goals – like, say, finely cut gems – do end up being valuable on their own.  This shows in just about everything a rock gnome does, from making a meal to working a mine to playing a practical joke.  They care they put into their actions always shines through.

Young rock gnomes have carefree childhoods.  During their adolesence, rock gnomes are expected to learn the basics of a useful trade and to master the basics of self-defense.  They are encouraged to dabble in all sorts of pastimes until they find something that perfectly fits their temperaments.  They come of age at 40, an occasion for the largest party of their lives.  From there, the average life expectancy is about 350 years, altough some have been known to reach 500 years in age.


Rock gnomes are generally optimistic.  They view the world as a puzzle that the gods – in their infinite wisdom – have laid before them as the ultimate challenge, one that cannot ever be fully met.  It is their greatest joy to be involved in the unraveling of the mysteries of creation, an act they feel brings them closer to the gods with each passing day.

In their adolescence, rock gnomes are encouraged to dabble in as many different things as possible.  Eventually, they find something that truly intrigues them, fires their imaginations, and sets them on the path of a career that may last them the rest of their lives.  Almost every rock gnome enjoys what she does for a living, which is one of the reasons that they have such positive dispositions.

Of course, rock gnomes enjoy their leisure time at least as much as their work.  They are known for hosting wild celebrations on the thinnest of pretenses.  When they really have a reason for cheer, the parties have been known to last for tendays.

While most gnomes are homebodies at heart, a number simply can't resist the urge to go out into the world to explore.  Inquisitive by nature, gnomes often find themselves almost compelled to do everything they can do to learn about anything they want.  Others, the greedier ones, set off in search of fame and fortune.  Sadly, these are fleeting dreams, as even the most famous of gnomes is usually just another member of her community when she returns.


Rock gnome characters with close ties to their communities are often clerics, wizards, or rangers (although their low strength score means that they'll likely favor ranged combat).  Rock gnomes infected with wander lust almost always become bards and rogues.


Rock gnome life is filled with long days of work that stretch on for tendays at time, punctuated by jubilant celebrations in which these hard-driven workers finally get to blow off some steam.  This is the kind of life that most gnomes prize, and they feel blessed by the gods that they are mostly able to manage it.

Once a gnome reaches adulthood, she is expected to take up a career and work at it tirelessly to become the best at it that she can be.  Some gnomes switch vocation later in life – some do it several times, in fact – but this is relatively rare.  The vast majority of gnomes find something they like to do and then stick with it for as long as they can.

Even on the job, though, gnomes are usually friendly and fun-loving people.  They are constantly telling jokes throughout their days, many of which leave their coworkers in stitches.  Practical jokes are fine too, as long as they don't disrupt the work environment too much.  Every gnome loves a good prank, but they all insist on getting their jobs done too.

Many gnomes work as miners.  While they may bot be as aggressive at it as dwarves, they're actually much better at getting the most possible out of a vein of ore.  Others practice stonecutting or gemwork.  Their metalworkers prefer to work with safer metals – gold, silver, and so on – although they do a fine job with harder metals like steel too.  They also make excellent woodworkers and carpenters.  Faerunian rock gnomes are among the finest artisans working in the fields of toymaking, clockwork engineering, and gunsmithing.  It's common for rock gnomes to be armed with smokepowder pistols.

Gnome cooking is not much of a draw to outsiders.  It tends to be bland and overcooked or overcooked and over-salted; reliable gnome-friends claim to have tasted some that was bland and over-salted, though no one knows quite how the gnome cooks managed this.  Their (salty) bread is unleavened.  All gnomes are very fond of rock candy, and some eat rock salt with equal relish.

Gnomes do, however, make excellent brewers and vintners.  Many of them are talented musicians as well.  These two facts contribute greatly to the reputation of gnomes as wonderful party guests and even better hosts.

Most rock gnome settlements are small.  It's rare to find one with more than five hundred adults in a widely scattered area.  However, these communities are usually found clustered close together, usually within a few day's or tendays' travel of each other.

Rock gnome burrows are uaully small but tidy.  Any married couples have rooms to themselves, but the children usually share a single room.  Adolescents are segregated by gender, each sex having its own room.  Each burrow usually connects to those of the same clan by tunnel, meaning that many gnomes rarely if ever have to go outside during a day.  This is one reason why their communities can go unnoticed by the larger peoples for so long.

When traveling or adventuring, gnomes appear both singly and in small groups.  These groups are usually composed of a number of close friends or family members of both.


Rock gnomes are not particularly devout in practice, although they are forever talking about their gods in conversation.  They attend  services about once a tenday, but not with any kind of fervor.  They believe that the gods are with them everywhere, so it's not always necessary to make the trip to a temple to see them.

Garl Glittergold is the patriarch of the gnome gods, and patron of the rock gnomes in particular.  To look at them, one might think that most rock gnomes model their lives on Garl's behavior, including the constant tricks he plays on the other gods.  Many gnomes do the same to their friends whether they are gnomes or not.  Clerics of Garl Glittergold keep themselves endlessly busy with the planning of revels, feasts, and celebrations to bring good cheer, sustenance, and wisdom to their followers.

Rock gnomes also venerate Baervan Wildwanderer.  The protector of the forests and glades that rock gnomes call home, Baervan is also the patron of gnomish rogues.  If there's anyone who could possible outdo Garl in the prank department, it's Baervan.  The two have been trying to top each other since the down of the gods, and the friendly rivalry is still going on.

Relations with Other Races

Rock gnomes get along famously with almost all the standard character races.  They are particularly fond of dwarves of all kinds, with whom they share a love of finely wrought jewelry and mechanical devices.  They also have a great love for halflings who can take a joke.  Their common style of housing and their similar sizes would be bonds enough, but their shared joy of living is what really brings them together.

Rock gnomes are a bit more cautious around the larger peoples, but these reservations usually quickly give way to enthusiasm when someone shows any sort of interest in or knowledge about the gnome's work of other passions.

Orcs, kobolds, and goblinoids find an especially cold place in a rock gnome's heart.  Although rock gnomes find it hard to hate anyone, long experience with these races has told them that it's better to never cut them any breaks.  Besides, none of them can take a joke.

Mr. Cheez-It

  • Guest
on: October 21, 2005, 05:42:35 PM

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 gain nicknames from just about anyone. Gnome names are typically variants on the names of ancestors or distant relatives, though some are purely new inventions. The dealing with humans and other who are rather “stuffy” about names, gnomes learn to act as if they have 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).

Male: Burgell, Colmarr, Dorgan, Falrinn, Halbrinn, Orlamm, Rondell, Stolig.
Female: Calanddra, Eriss, Iyiss, Jaree, Lissa, Meree, Nathee, Zelzadda.
Surnames: Blackrock, Blimth, Greatorm, Rivenstone, Tavartarr, Uvarkk, Whitehorn.