Vol. 88: Gnomes
Racial Character Class
RPS: 2/10 (can vary depending on class)
At a Glance: Gnomes are tiny people with a wide variety of classes available to them. They specialize in “tinkering” and inventing/engineering. They are known for their kindness and their hats.
Appearance & Lifestyle: Gnomes look like tiny, slightly chubby humans. Some say they are almost Cherub like in appearance, but with beards and mustaches. Some Gnomes do choose to go clean shaven, but most grow some facial hair. They delight in growing elaborate mustaches and often have contests to show them off. Even the female Gnomes will sometimes grow large mustaches and their society finds this very attractive.
Their most notable fashion is their hats and their shoes. They tend to wear wooden shoes they cobble themselves. But the shoes (like their hats) are more function than fashion. Since ancient times they have enchanted their shoes to grant them enhanced speed. Being far smaller than almost every other race their speed was a detriment. But in their shoes, they move as fast as any other race. Many who have faced a Gnome battalion in battle say one of the most frightening things is seeing the mass of Gnomes coming toward you at such velocity. They always tend to look like they are moving much faster than they should. Note: This is not supernatural speed. The shoes simply allow them to move as fast (or perhaps slightly faster) than a normal human while running or walking. Still because of their diminutive size it makes them LOOK like they are moving at faster than normal speeds.
The most important thing to a Gnome is their hat. Gnome hats are remarkably enchanted, and they will not be seen without one on by choice. They even wear them to sleep. They prefer to wear the large pointy gnome hats by day and the floppier, “smurf-like” style at night or to sleep in. Gnome hats all come with a few basic enchantments. They are all almost impossible to remove except by the Gnome themselves. Unscrupulous people will pick up a Gnome by the hat like lifting someone by their hair. The hat will not come off. Other hat enchantments depend on the Gnome’s class but each gnome will start Level 1 with one other hat enchantment of their choice and gain another one every 5 levels. There is even a class of Gnomes that specializes in Hat Magic.
Gnomes can and do use “normal” weapons like swords, spears, and even armor, but as it all must be specially forged to fit this is not as common. More commonly Gnomes specialize in fighting with darts. Don’t be fooled. Gnome Darts can cause A LOT of damage. They enchant their darts with all manner of effects: acid, poison, explosive, fear, and more. A frequent enchantment used returns the dart to the user after it strikes, forgoing the need to retrieve the dart after use. There is also, of course, a Gnome class that specializes in darts.
The most striking thing about gnomes is probably their size. Even among their own people it varies greatly. On average they range from about 3’ tall to about “3 apples high” or a foot tall. (Gnomes use standard measurements of course but with their own people they are known to measure things in “apples”) Most fall in at about 2.5’ tall.
Gnomes are just as comfortable living above ground as below. Some races like the Naga and Dwarves and others prefer to live ONLY underground but Gnomes prosper in both settings. Their cities are usually very clean and have a steampunk vibe, with all manner of contraptions and machinery doing mundane work throughout. Gnomes will usually have at least one section of their city built for “Tall People” which will include inns, shops and more, but the rest of the city will be built to their smaller proportions, which can be frustrating for other races when they visit.
Powers & Abilities: Gnomes are open to most classes. They can be mages, psionics, warriors, and more. Wizard gnomes are some of the best Illusionists in the multiverse, considered by some to excel in this area of magic even more than the elves and the humans.
They have total night vision. Necessary for living underground. But their sight in general is exceptional. Gnomes are +1 to all perception checks involving sight.
They are also brilliant engineers and receive bonuses to all skills involving engineering, math, and crafting. They are +1 to intelligence. And despite their size they are astonishingly stalwart, healing at double the normal rate of most humanoids.
Gnomes also have a wide variety of specialty classes. We have mentioned a couple of them above. One of their most common Racial Character Classes is Tinkerer. Gnomes produce fantastic devices and machines which they can deploy on the battlefield or in friendly settings. Tinkerers are able to compress these devices into Pumpkin Seeds making them easy to carry. A Gnome Pumpkin Seed can contain any type of Contraption built by the Gnome. Mini Turrets, Self-Boiling cauldrons, traps of all kinds, even tiny gnome size vehicles. These seeds look exactly like pumpkin seeds, but each one is covered in a pattern of some kind which is unique to each Gnome, like a fingerprint. You can also tell how powerful the contraption is inside a pumpkin seed by the color of the pattern on it. Low level contraptions are black, and then move to blue, purple, red, pink, and then hot pink at the highest level.
To deploy a contraption a Gnome has 2 options. If they are someplace where the seed can be put into the ground (Which only takes a single action) the contraption will deploy the very next action and can be used on the following action! If they are someplace where the seed can not be buried it can also just be placed on the ground but using the seed this way will cause it to take 2 rounds to deploy (30 seconds). For this reason, it is not surprising that many Tinkerers will carry a small bag of dirt or soil with them to cover the seed with when necessary.
Some Tinkerers further specialize into Turret Specialist building and deploying only turrets. These turrets however can pump out an immense amount of damage and can be enchanted with a variety of effects. These Gnomes are powerhouses on the battlefield dealing astonishing damage as more and more turrets are deployed.
Contraptions can be recalled to their pumpkin seed form with an action IF it has not taken more than 40% damage. Damaged contraptions must be abandoned in most cases as they are too bulky to handle. However, all contraptions come with a Self-Destruct feature and can create mighty explosions. A self-destructing contraption will deal 3d6 damage (+1d6 per 4 levels of the Gnome) in a 3’ radius (+1 ft per 4 levels of the Gnome) This feature allows for some interesting and explosive game play.
History: The Gnomes are a very old race. In their earliest existence they lived completely underground, but soon moved to the surface and began occupying both spaces. Gnomes tend to be friendly and jovial naturally. They are natural comedians delighting in laughter and tend to maintain their cheery disposition even under dire circumstances.
This is exceptional because Gnomes for much of their history have been slaves to other races. Their small size and high intelligence made them sought after as slaves by many other races. Dwarves, Dark Dwarves, the Naga, Humans and others have all at sometime held Gnome slaves. Luckily as the multiverse matured so did the attitudes of most races and now the only race still known to slave Gnomes are the Dark Dwarves.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Gnome’s history is that it is so unremarkable. As a people they have never known civil war, never been conquerors, and beside the races that enslaved them (admittedly many) they have never really had any substantial conflict with any other race.
This is in part due to the way the Gnomes live. For the most part they live as isolationists. When not bothered Gnomes are happy to live in their tiny cities, engineering marvels, and tinkering. Because they have been so often oppressed most gnome cities have Baffling Spells placed on them, making them nearly impossible to find.
But they are in no way opposed to mingling with other races when the opportunity presents. They are gracious hosts and have been friends to the Elves and True Dwarves for countless lifetimes. It’s just when left on their own they tend to be self-absorbed, reveling in their own inventions and festivals, of which the have many.
Surprisingly Gnomes are not considered on the same technological level as the Centaurs, Humans, or the Graze. This is because Gnomes are generally more interested in creating unique things than technologically advanced things. Some of the things they create borderline on the absurd to most outsiders but the stranger and more whimsical the design the more the Gnomes love it. Gnomes call their inventions Contraptions and include things like tiny mechanical attack elephants that spew oil, vacuum cleaner music boxes, tables and chairs that can walk, and almost any other crazy combination of things you can think of.
In the end Gnomes are amazing companions and are welcome in almost any adventuring group. They have not allowed their oppressive history to be daunting to them and continue to be cheerful and kind despite all that has happened to them. Perhaps there are many lessons the multiverse can learn from this clever and amicable people.
About the Illustration: Here we see a sneak peek of a VIP Character we will not meet for some time! He is a humanoid ant with supernatural strength! You’ll be seeing more of him one day! And as a bonus I’ve included a quick sketch of a Destiny Elf using a powerful psionic attack!