New Age Rising
Gnomes are distant relatives of the fey, and their history tells of a time when they lived in the fey’s mysterious realm, 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. Though gnomes are no longer truly fey, their fey heritage can be seen in their innate magic powers, their oft-capricious natures, and their outlooks on life and the world.
Physical Description: Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Despite their small frames, however, gnomes are extremely resilient, and not as weak as many of their foes assume. The coloration of gnomes varies so wildly that many outsiders assume gnomes commonly use dyes and illusions to change their skin and hair tones. Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and their proportions often don’t match the norm of other humanoid races. Many have overly large or small facial features, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual. Gnomes rarely take pride in or show embarrassment about their features, but members of other races often fixate on a gnome’s most prominent feature and attempt to use it as the focus of insults or endearments.
Society: Unlike most races, gnomes do not generally organize themselves within classic societal structures. Gnome cities are unusual and gnome kingdoms almost unknown. Further, gnomes have no particular tendency to gather in specific neighborhoods even when a large number of them live among other races. While specific laws meant to contain the potential impact of gnomes on a society may require a “gnome quarter,” and societal pressure sometimes causes all non-gnomes to move away from areas with high gnome populations, left to their own devices, gnomes tend to spread evenly throughout communities that allow them. Despite their extremely varied backgrounds and lack of a unifying homeland, gnomes do possess some common cultural traits. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, often wearing the most expensive and ostentatious head-covering they can afford (and that their chosen careers will allow them to wear without causing problems). Females rarely cover their heads, but proudly wear elaborate and eccentric hairstyles that often include intricate jeweled combs and headpieces.
Relations: Gnomes have difficulty interacting with the other races, on both emotional and physical levels. In many ways the very fact other races see gnomes as odd is itself the thing gnomes find most odd about other races, and this leads to a strong lack of common ground upon which understanding and relationships can be built. Gnomes generally assume some mutually beneficial arrangement can be reached, no matter how different their beliefs and traditions may be. The inability or unwillingness of members of other races to make the same effort when dealing with gnomes is both frustrating and confusing to most gnomes.
Gnomes get along reasonably well with halflings and humans, who at least have some traditions of bizarre, gnome-like humor. Gnomes generally feel dwarves and half-orcs need to lighten up, and attempt to bring levity into their lives with tricks, jokes, and outrageous tales the more dour races simply cannot see the sense of. Gnomes feel a certain kinship to half-elves, sharing mutal roots to the fey. To 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. What may seem a malicious act to a non-gnome is more likely an effort to introduce new acquaintances to new experiences, however unpleasant the experiences may be. Gnomes are prone to powerful fits of emotion, and find themselves most at peace within the natural world. They are usually neutral good, and prefer to worship deities who value individuality and nature, such as Cayden Cailean, Desna, Gozreh, and Shelyn.
Adventurers: Gnomes’ propensity for wanderlust, deep curiosity, and desire to master odd or esoteric skills and languages make them natural adventurers. They often become wanderers to experience new aspects of life, for nothing is as novel as the uncounted dangers facing adventurers. Many gnomes see adventuring as the only worthwhile purpose in life, and seek out adventures for no other motive than to experience them. Other gnomes desire to find some lost lore or material that has ties to their chosen vocation and believe only dragon hoards and ancient ruins can contain the lore they need, which can result in gnomes who think of themselves as bakers or weavers being just as accomplished adventurers as those who declare themselves to be mages or scouts. Most adventuring gnomes make up for their physical weakness with a proclivity for sorcery or bardic music, while others turn to alchemy or exotic weapons to grant them an edge in conflicts.
Male Names: Abroshtor, Bastargre, Halungalom, Krolmnite, Poshment, Zarzuket, Zatqualmie.
Female Names: Besh, Fijit, Lini, Majet, Neji, Pai, Queck, Trig.
GNOME RACIAL TRAITS
- Ability Score Racial Traits: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their attitude makes them naturally agreeable. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, and –2 Strength.
- Type: Gnomes are Humanoid creatures with the gnome subtype.
Size: Gnomes are Small creatures and thus 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.
- Base Speed: (Slow Speed) Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.
Languages: Gnomes begin play speaking Common, Gnome, and Sylvan. Gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc.
- Defensive Training: Gnomes gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
Illusion Resistance: Gnomes gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells and effects.
- Keen Senses: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Obsessive: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.
- Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with Charisma scores 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 because of their special training against these hated foes.
- Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes treat any weapon with the word “gnome” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Click here for game information on alternate racial traits and options available to gnome characters. DM approval is required if you wish to make use of the alternate traits and rules provided by the Pathfinder SRD.
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