Gnomes trace their lineage back to the mysterious realm of the fey, a place where colors are brighter, the wildlands wilder, and emotions more primal. Unknown forces drove the ancient gnomes from that realm long ago, forcing them to seek refuge in this world; despite this, the gnomes have never completely abandoned their fey roots or adapted to mortal culture. As a result, gnomes are widely regarded by the other races as alien and strange.
The Gnomish homeland is a cluster of buttes rising hundreds of yards from the Ocean’s surface. Intricate honeycombs of tunnels and chambers form massive, multi-layered cities that span from the peak to the water, and towers that are close to each other are linked by long suspension bridges to create clusters of cities. Travel between clusters is by airship. Very few of the towers can be accessed from the ocean’s surface. Typically one tower in each cluster will have a port carved into the side at sea level, making invasion next to impossible.
Physical Description: Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Their hair tends toward vibrant colors such as the fiery orange of autumn leaves, the verdant green of forests at springtime, or the deep reds and purples of wildflowers in bloom. Similarly, their flesh tones range from earthy browns to floral pinks, frequently with little regard for heredity. Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and many have overly large mouths and eyes, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual.
Society: Unlike most races, gnomes do not generally organize themselves within classic societal structures. Whimsical creatures at heart, they typically travel alone or with temporary companions, ever seeking new and more exciting experiences. They rarely form enduring relationships among themselves or with members of other races, instead pursuing crafts, professions, or collections with a passion that borders on zealotry. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, while females often proudly wear elaborate and eccentric hairstyles.
Gnomish communities tend more towards anarchic collectives than recognizable political structures, and just like everything else Gnomes make what structure there is is intricate and complex and constantly being tinkered with.
Relations: Gnomes have difficulty interacting with the other races, on both emotional and physical levels. Gnome humor is hard to translate and often comes across as malicious or senseless to other races, while gnomes in turn tend to think of the taller races as dull and lumbering giants. They get along well with halflings and humans, but are overly fond of playing jokes on dwarves and half-orcs, whom most gnomes feel need to lighten up. They respect elves, but often grow frustrated with the comparatively slow pace at which members of the long-lived race make decisions. To the gnomes, action is always better than inaction, and many gnomes carry several highly involved projects with them at all times to keep themselves entertained during rest periods.
Alignment and Religion: Although gnomes are impulsive tricksters, with sometimes inscrutable motives and equally confusing methods, their hearts are generally in the right place. They are prone to powerful fits of emotion, and find themselves most at peace within the natural world. Their racial pantheon are complex and individual as well, and most Gnomes have two or three gods they feel a connection to.
Adventurers: Gnomes’ propensity for wanderlust makes them natural adventurers. They often become wanderers to experience new aspects of life, for nothing is as novel as the uncounted dangers facing adventurers. Gnomes make up for their weakness with a proclivity for sorcery or bardic music.
Gnome Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, –2 Strength: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their attitude makes them naturally agreeable.
Small: Gnomes are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Slow Speed: Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.
Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light. See Additional Rules.
Defensive Training: Gnomes get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant type.
Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with a Charisma 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 Charisma modifier.
Hatred: Gnomes receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the reptilian and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
Illusion Resistance: Gnomes get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells or effects.
Keen Senses: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Obsessive: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.
Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes treat any weapon with the word “gnome” in its name as a martial weapon.