Dungeons & Dragons
A constant hum of busy activity pervades the warrens and neighborhoods where gnomes form their close-knit communities. Louder sounds punctuate the hum: a crunch of grinding gears here, a minor explosion there, a yelp of surprise or triumph, and especially bursts of laughter. Gnomes take delight in life, enjoying every moment of invention, exploration, investigation, creation, and play.
A gnome’s energy and enthusiasm for living shines through every inch of his or her tiny body. Gnomes average slightly over 3 feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their tan or brown faces are usually adorned with broad smiles (beneath their prodigious noses), and their bright eyes shine with excitement. Their fair hair has a tendency to stick out in every direction, as if expressing the gnome’s insatiable interest in everything around.
A gnome’s personality is writ large in his or her appearance. A male gnome’s beard, in contrast to his wild hair, is kept carefully trimmed but often styled into curious forks or neat points. A gnome’s clothing, though usually made in modest earth tones, is elaborately decorated with embroidery, embossing, or gleaming jewels.
As far as gnomes are concerned, being alive is a wonderful thing, and they squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of their three to five centuries of life. Humans might wonder about getting bored over the course of such a long life, and elves take plenty of time to savor the beauties of the world in their long years, but gnomes seem to worry that even with all that time, they can’t get in enough of the things they want to do and see.
Gnomes speak as if they can’t get the thoughts out of their heads fast enough. Even as they offer ideas and opinions on a range of subjects, they still manage to listen carefully to others, adding the appropriate exclamations of surprise and appreciation along the way. Though gnomes love jokes of all kinds, particularly puns and pranks, they’re just as dedicated to the more serious tasks they undertake. Many gnomes are skilled engineers, alchemists, tinkers, and inventors. They’re willing to make mistakes and laugh at themselves in the process of perfecting what they do, taking bold (sometimes foolhardy) risks and dreaming large.
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 simple illusions. Welcome visitors are quickly ushered into the bright, warm burrows. Those who are not welcome are unlikely to find the burrows in the first place.
Gnomes who settle in human lands are commonly gemcutters, engineers, sages, or tinkers. Some human families retain gnome tutors, ensuring that their pupils enjoy a mix of serious learning and delighted enjoyment. A gnome might tutor severaI generations of a single human family over the course of his or her long life.
Gnomes love names, and most have half a dozen or so. A gnome’s mother, father, clan elder, aunts, and uncles each give the gnome a name, and various nicknames from just about everyone else might or might not stick over time. 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 ‘stuffy’ about names, a gnome learns to use no more than three names: a personal name, a clan name, and a nickname, choosing the one in each calegory that’s the most fun to say.
Male Names: Alston, Alvyn, Boddynock, Brocc, Burgell, Dimble, Eldon, Erky, Fonkin, Frug, Gerbo, Gimble, Glim, Jebeddo, Kellen, Namfoodle, Orryn, Roondar, Seebo, Sindri, Warryn, Wrenn, Zook
Female Names: Bimpnollin, Breena, Caramip, Carlin, Donella, Duvamil, ElIa, ElIyjobell, ElIywick, Lilli, Loopmottin, Lorilla, Mardnab, Nissa, Nyx, Oda, Orla, Roywyn, Shamil, Tana, Waywocket, Zanna
Clan Names: Beren, Daergel, Folkor, Garrick, Nackle, Murnig, Ningel, Raulnor, Scheppen, Timbers, Turen
Nicknames: Aleslosh, Ashhearlh, Badger, Cloak, Doublelock, Filchbatler, Fnipper, Ku, Nim, Oneshoe, Pock, Sparklegem, Stumbleduck
Seeing the World
Curious and impulsive, gnomes might take up adventuring as a way to see the world or for the love of exploring. As lovers of gems and other fine items, some gnomes take to adventuring as a quick, if dangerous, path to wealth. Regardless of what spurs them to adventure, gnomes who adopt this way of life eke as much enjoyment out of it as they do out of any other activity they undertake, sometimes to the great annoyance of their adventuring companions.
Gnomes in Faerûn
Small of stature and dwelling in the corners of Faerûn away from prying eyes, gnomes are one of the least populous and influential races in the world, called the ‘Forgotten Folk’ by some. This appellation doesn’t bother the gnomes; they generally prefer their anonymity and the protection it affords them.
According to legend, the first gnomes in Faerûn sprang from mystic gems buried deep in the earth—an event that accounts for both the gnomes’ love of gems and the cozy embrace of their underground warrens. It is said that mystic diamonds became the rock gnomes, emeralds birthed the forest gnomes, and rubies turned into the deep gnomes. Since the time of their creation, gnomes have settled in hidden places away from other races, concerned that their way of life couldn’t survive wider exposure.
Gnomes gladly socialize and work with humans, elves, and dwarves, but they always keep in mind that, as a small and relatively insignificant race, their interests can become secondary even among their allies.
Indeed, members of other races sometimes thoughtlessly treat gnomes as second-class citizens, perhaps thinking highly of their gnome friends but rarely giving credit to gnomes as a people. Gnomes are regularly underestimated, and they use that lack of esteem as both a defense and an offense, when need be.
Like dwarves, gnomes have long battled for territory with kobolds, goblinoids, and orcs, but gnomes and kobolds share a special hatred for each other. Both races believe in a legend that, long ago, the deity Garl Glittergold tricked the kobold god Kurtulmak, collapsing the earth and trapping him in an endless underground maze and earning his everlasting enmity.
- Ability Score increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
- Age. Gnomes mature at the same rate humans do, and most are expected to settle down into an adult life by around age 40. They can live 350 to almost 500 years.
- Alignment. Gnomes are most often good. Those who lend toward law are sages, engineers, researchers, scholars, investigators]], or inventors. 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.
- Size. Gnomes are between 3 and 4 feet tall and average about 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
- Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
- Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
- Gnome Cunning. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Gnomish. The Gnomish language, which uses the Dethek script, is renowned for its technical treatises and its catalogs of knowledge about the natural world.
- Subrace. Choose one of the following subraces.
The reclusive forest gnomes live simply in hillside dwellings deep in the woods. A neighbor could live only a few miles from a forest gnome settlement for a lifetime and never know it. In these communities, anonymity and stealth help to ensure protection, peace, and survival.
If they are discovered and treated well, forest gnomes make fine neighbors, but they usually avoid contact even with civilizations that seem friendly.
Forest gnomes use their affinity with small animals and their knack for illusions to help them remain hidden. When necessary, a forest gnome community defends itself with all the resources at its disposal. Many settlements, however, simply vanish if they are discovered, retreating to some uncharted corner of the forest to begin anew.
The rare forest gnomes who leave their people to become adventurers often draw upon their closeness to nature and their magical gifts to serve as guides, scouts, or mystics. Living close to nature also makes forest gnomes likely to take up roles as druids, who serve various forest spirits and deities.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
- Natural Illusionist. You know the minor illusion cantrip. lntelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
- Speak with Small Beasts. Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts. Forest gnomes love animaIs and often keep squirrels, badgers, rabbits, moles, woodpeckers, and other creatures as beloved pets.
When most folk on the Sword Coast and in the North talk about gnomes, they mean rock gnomes. Unlike their shy forest cousins, the inquisitive and irrepressible rock gnomes interact regularly with individuals of other races, especially if those individuals have something to teach them. Rock gnomes prefer to live on the edges of other settlements in their own enclaves, though the occasional adventuresome rock gnome takes up residence in a human or dwarven city.
Rock gnome communities are most common in the Western Heartlands and along the coast of the Shining Sea; but gnome wanderers travel between communities across Faerûn in order to trade with or learn from outsiders, including members of other races.
Rock gnomes who leave their communities often find work by using their racial aptitudes to their advantage. Their heritage and their interest in precious stones leads many rock gnomes to become skilled gemcutters and jewelers. Rock gnomes also use their affinity with machines to work as tinkers, alchemists, and engineers. In human communities, rock gnome tutors and sages are popular, since their comparatively long life spans enable them to acquire and pass on knowledge for generations.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
- Artificer’s Lore. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to magic items, alchemical objects, or technological devices, you can add twice your proficiency bonus, instead of any proficiency bonus you normally appIy.
- Tinker. You have proficiency with artisan’s tools (tinker’s tools). Using those tools, you can spend 1 hour and 10 gp worth of materiaIs to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC 5, 1 HP). The device ceases to function after 24 hours (unless you spend 1 hour repairing it to keep the device functioning), or when you use your action to dismantle it; at that time, you can reclaim the materiaIs used to create it. You can have up to three such devices active at a time.
When you create a device, choose one of the following options:
Clockwork Toy. This toy is a clockwork animal, monster, or person, such as a frog, mouse, bird, dragon, or soldier. When placed on the ground, the toy moves 5 feet across the ground on each of your turns in a random direction. lt makes noises as appropriate to the creature it represents.
Fire Starter. The device produces a miniature flame, which you can use to light a candle, torch, or campfire. Using the device requires your action.
Music Box. When opened, this music box plays a single song at a moderate volume. The box stops playing when it reaches the song’s end or when it is closed.
Deep Gnomes (Svirfneblin)
Also known as svirfneblin, the deep gnomes of the Underdark are a stark contrast to their surface kin, dour and serious compared to the cheerful and generally optimistic rock gnomes and forest gnomes. They share their cousins’ obsession with privacy, and their homes below the surface of Faerûn are well guarded and deeply hidden.
Owing to the hostility of their Underdark neighbors, particularly the drow, the settlements and kingdoms of svirfneblin are in constant danger of being relocated, conquered, or destroyed. Such was the fate of Blingdenstone, one of the grandest deep gnome strongholds, which existed for more than two thousand years until it was overrun a little more than a century ago by the dark elves of Menzoberranzan. The deep gnomes recently reclaimed their old home, and now struggle to rid it of malign influences that have crept into the tunnels and warrens in their absence.
Deep gnomes are lean with dark, earthen skin tones of gray. Males are bald and beardless, while females have hair on their heads. Both sexes have little or no body hair and a stone-like look to their skin.
Deep gnome adventurers are just as curious and daring as those of other races. Some find their purpose living among other subterranean races, and a few make their way to the surface. Those who study the arcane arts of illusion in particular often range far from home, seeking knowledge unavailable in their own lands.
Unlike other gnomes, svirfneblin tend to be neutral, they weigh 80 to 120 pounds, and they reach maturity at 25 and live 200 to 250 years.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
- Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
- Stone Camouflage. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in rocky terrain.
- Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write Undercommon
Your deep gnome character has the option of taking the following feat.
Prerequisite: Gnome (deep gnome)
You have inherited the innate spellcasting ability of your ancestors. This ability allows you to cast nondetection on yourself at will, without needing a material component. You can also cast each of the following spells once with this ability: blindness/deafness, blur, and disguise self. You regain the ability to cast these spells when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.