Gnomes are believed to be faeries that have somehow lost their ties to the land, though they are still very earthy, and love the forests and hills. Some sages claim that the gnomish race is descended from a magical cross between faeries and dwarves, though all three races deny this vehemently. Gnomish communities are actually fairly rare, there being only the single major settlement of them in the east, in the village of Lightelf. Other gnomes are encountered uncommonly in the cities and towns, the deep forests, and haunted hills.
Unlike other many other races, there are no relevant subdivisions of gnomes. Their racial characteristics and general description are uniform across the Wilderlands. They follow the rules laid out in the PHB, with the following modifications for their former fey status:
- Gnomes enter the trance-state called reverie, as elves do. Unlike elves, while in reverie they automatically enter the Dream, and do not suffer any skill check penalties while in the Dream.
- Knowledge (Dream) is always a class skill.
Gnomes can become illusionist wizards without training in Tula. They have counted illusionists among their numbers since long before the Rainbow City trained its first pupil. Wizard is a favored class for gnomes if they specialize in the school of Illusion.
There are several cultural differences worth noting:
- City Gnomes: City gnomes have dwelt in dwarven, elven, and human cities since time immemorial. They are a sorcerous race, steeped in the ways of illusion and phantasms. They also are highly respected as alchemists and herbalists, and perhaps second only to the dwarves in renown as brewers of ale and beer. Some are renowned tinkers, and no few city lords have a gnome sage, teacher, or mechanic in their employ, to work on interesting clockwork golems, clocks, and other unusual constructs.
- Forest Gnomes: Forest gnomes are pudgy, roly-poly recluses who live in deep forests, away from other creatures save sylvan animals and faeries. They form fast friendships with woodland animals. They live in burrows, tree-stumps, and earth-covered homes, similar to halfling burrows, much like brownies and leprechauns, who are their greatest allies. They wear pointed hats in mixed company (usually brown or green, never red-colored) and rarely leave the forests. Like their city cousins these gnomes are renowned for their herbalism and brewing skills. They are mistaken for simple comical, whimsical, rustic creatures by other races, and as such their powers are often underestimated.
- Lightelf Gnomes: Lightelf gnomes are unlike their cousins in that they have abandoned the ways of magic in favor of martial studies. They are hunters, and trappers, farmers and gatherers. They are an embittered people, stuck between the human powers of the Skandiks and the City State, lorded over by the former, corrupted by the latter. Their society is in flux, and on the edge of extinction. Many Lightelf gnomes have left their home to find a better living elsewhere. They seek in most cases to serve their city cousins as guards and mercenaries; most accept them, though they are wary of them, for the Lightelf gnomes are a comparatively grim lot. Forest gnomes dislike them, while the Red Caps hate them no more or less than they hate everything.
Gnomes tend to be very private about their family connections. What most outsiders assume to be their family names are actually nicknames they pick up during their youth, or adopt in their travels. Gnomes rarely speak or write their family names, and outsiders learn not to ask why.
Male Names: Frimmian, Dolly, Morris
Female Names: Sweetie, Loona, Teegle
Surnames: Nogglewink, Slimpoodle, Simperdoon
Family Names: Sinterian, Otimaster, Zelarusst