Alright, one of my favorite kinds of posts again, humanoids as monsters. This week we cover Gnomes. Existing games, such as World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons, differ greatly in their portrayal of Gnomes. So, in keeping with tradition, I’ve come up with what I believe to be a unique portrayal of Gnomes as well. Of course, in any Mind Weave setting Gnomes can be made to have behavioral stereotypes like those from other places, but we make an effort to make Gnomes unlike Dwarves and Elves and Halflings as best we can.
Gnomes are in general paranoid and stern. Not as stern as dwarves, but they tend to be very opinionated. They will often argue and debate about which school of magic is superior, the relative quality of legendary enchantments, and what the proper technique for swinging a sword versus a pick ax is. Gnomes are fairly neutral when it comes to conflict of good vs evil, though their lives deep below the earth, surrounded by evil, causes them to lean to the side of good in general. Gnome rulers are generally highly lawful, possibly is direct reaction to the chaotic nature of their citizens. This disconnect, combined with Gnomish paranoia, often results in Gnome leaders taking a “Big Brother” approach to government. Power in Gnome society is a function of intelligence, age, and ancestry.
Gnomes are well known for the enchanted goods they produce, and sometimes for other interesting devices of a mundane nature. Gnomes are hardy, with +3 to constitution and +1 to strength. Their greatest virtue is in their +4 to intelligence. Gnomes are pretty funny looking (big noses, ears and foreheads, and they bald young), and by no means social magnates; they get a -2 to charisma. Gnomes are capable of Echo-location as a means of seeing in the dark, using it in much the way Cave Swiftlets do. Being among the smaller races, gnomes have a speed of 18 rather than 24 for human sized races.
Gnomes have an incredible affinity for magic, often having the ability to sense it inherently. The bulk of their religious pursuits are magic oriented, seeking out deities that promise to aid mages or empower magically. Much of their social structure is geared toward discovering new powers and tools, whether through magical or engineering research. Though they are the most academic of the races, they are also very apt at application.
Gnome classes are focused on magic, though they are not above having the most rudimentary form of defense in the form of fighters.
Fighter-While most gnomish societies will favor magic and cunning over brute force, their tough composition makes them fairly well suited to marshal combat. Most gnome societies will consider fighters lesser citizens than mages (though above miners and other laborers), but some societies will favor fighters, considering magic and enchantment a means to support the fighter class.
Magic-user-As has been said, Gnomes are most defined by their incredible affinity for magic. Magic-users are quite common for everything from combat to construction. Gnome elders will hold spirited debates over magical issues and schools of magic are more likely to exist among gnomes than any other race.
Illusionist-Given their penchant for cunning and deception, Illusion is the natural next step for Gnome mages of exceptional power. Illusionists, being somewhat uncommon, will be used primarily to support defenders with misdirection, but also as counselors and spies for Gnomish rulers. Their ability to create Sensory Extensions makes them ideal for monitoring the citizenry.
Enchanter-Gnomes take great pride in their magical achievements. Enchanted items reflect well upon their society as a whole. For this, Enchanters are the most respect caste in most Gnome societies. Enchantment is not an easy thing to learn, even for gnomes, and Enchanters will often come into the skill in their later years.
Gnomes live deep below the ground, deeper than dwarves. They live deep enough to be surrounded by their cousins, goblins, and within the deadly reach of the dark elves. Regardless of their conditions, Gnome societies will focus invariably on improvement and invention, mining and smithing only to that end.
Cunning and inventive gnomes. Would you play one? Their pros are almost unequaled, and a mage can live with their cons. How would your character deal with a suspicious gnome society they stumble into? Let us know in the comments below!