The material below is Open Game Content
Gnomes are a colourful addition to any campaign world, representing the strength of hard work and relentlessness. They are usually either the most technologically advanced race or one of the most mysterious, but certainly at the forefront of technical or magical advancement. Hidden behind stacks of blueprints or under deep foliage, gnomes live their lives as they wish and care little for what others think of them, more out of absent-mindedness than hostility… which is still the case for some of the more xenophobic gnomes.
This chapter provides general guidelines on portraying the sub-races’ society, outlook and methods, as well as the necessary information for using them as player characters. There are also three new sub-races to play around with: the industrious steam gnomes, the amphibious lake gnomes and the dreaded garden gnomes.
Some of these sub-races like the deep gnomes and the steam gnomes are more powerful than a standard beginning character race. In order to balance play, they are given ‘monster levels’ as detailed in the SRD. Add these sub-races’ ‘monster level’ to the character’s class levels to find a power equivalent. This way, a 1st level deep gnome fighter (monster level 1) is equivalent in power to a normal 3rd level character. Only the sub-races with monster levels list this information, all others are ‘monster level 0’, that is, normal races no different from those found in the SRD.
The members of this sub-race are so common that they are, for all considerations, the main gnomish bloodline. Small and hardy, the rock gnomes are practically everybody’s friends, with a warm and open attitude that fosters trust amongst the members of other races. It also gives those other races a reason to tolerate the gnomes’ oddities.
Gnomish communities look a mess, if they can be found in the first place. Despite their curiosity and restlessness, gnomes have a strong homey streak that keeps them in place, enjoying the good things in life from the comfort of a self-rocking chair. Gnomish communities are the very definition of ‘laid-back’ in their mood, but still consisting of hard workers who keep it running come hell or high water.
Government appears improvised, with authority being delegated, sometimes even imposed, on the town’s eldest or a council of elders, but only because they are experienced craftsmen, since gnomes are ruled by meritocracy, with a person’s deeds speaking louder than his birth or any appointed station. Gnome kingdoms are exceedingly rare and the various communities that comprise one speak of their king as they might speak of a well-respected neighbour.
Since they like to move a lot, gnome settlements cannot fail but to keep in constant touch with each other, either by sharing gossip in markets, by listening to wandering bards and tinkers, or through their more magical means. Let us not forget the messenger pigeons, courier foxes, smoke signals and more bizarre means of communication. Gnomish lands are therefore quick to mobilise in case of disasters or other threats. An invading band of goblins may ambush one caravan, but they will not have the advantage of surprise the next time.
Gnomes do not like direct confrontation and their defences are more a matter of trickery and misdirection. A traveller will not find sentry towers in gnomish lands. He will not find the underground bunkers either, but that is because they are perfectly camouflaged, not because they are not there. Twisting roads that only a gnome can follow are the most common defences. A traveller may not realise he is within a stone’s throw of a gnomish settlement, nor that he is being watched. Gnomes hide their communities through a combination of illusion and natural concealment, with the most accomplished towns being all but invisible until the visitors are standing dead centre in the town square.
Gnomes are a friendly race who like to maintain good relationships with their neighbours. Only evil races are spared gnomish hospitality and amiability, with goblins and kobolds taking the first place on the gnomes’ list of unwelcome guests. Among the other races, they prefer the company of halflings, as they share their easy-going nature as well as being able to look eye-to-eye with them. Other races do not get the cold shoulder, but gnomes are a bit more cautious, since who knows how a stuffy human, dour half-orc or self-important elf will react to a prank? They define their relationship with their cousins on a case-by-case basis. They do not have much contact with the deep gnomes and the two races meet with mutual wariness. Rock gnomes try to maintain relationships with the forest gnomes, but the latter’s isolationism keeps such overtures politely ignored at best. Steam gnomes and rock gnomes get along famously, although the ‘steamers’ do not understand the fascination their cousins still hold for animals. Lake gnomes get along better with their forest cousins than they do with their rock ones and garden gnomes are no more than tales to scare little rock gnome children.
Gnomish culture is based on mutual respect and hard work. Even if a gnome does not have a head for magic or technology, as long as he works hard and makes his own contribution to the community, he will always have the respect of his fellows. He may be the butt of more pranks than usual, but he can prank back with the best of them. The culture of humour and pranks reveals a hidden wisdom that is lost on most members of other races, as the constant pranking not only lightens the mood and strengthens the bonds between gnomes, it also gives them repeated chances for self-evaluation and improvement.
Player Character Information
Rock gnomes are the standard gnome race described in the SRD. You can find all of the necessary information for playing a rock gnome character there.
Sinister in looks and reputation, the deep gnomes live where no other gnome would even consider living: deep underground. Neighbours to some of the most terrible civilisations like the drow, kuo-toa and mind flayers, these quiet and sneaky gnomes must do everything within their power and ingenuity to survive and, luck and skill willing, even thrive. Of a much more sombre disposition, the deep gnomes toil and work, asking for no quarter and giving none.
Like the rock gnomes, the deep gnomes value hard work, but in their case, it is really hard. Their communities entrench in deep and spacious caves that give them access to their precious mines, which form one of the pillars of their society. Mining is the raison d’être of the deep gnomes, it is why they endure all the hardships of their subterranean existence and why they are willing to face some of the vilest enemies in the world.
Bent on survival, deep gnomes are nowhere near as cantankerous as their surface cousins and definitely not as friendly. Nobody can blame them when their closest neighbours are more eager to eat them or enslave them than to share a cup of tea. Insular by necessity, they view outsiders with distrust and wariness. deep gnome communities resemble city-states, for they are as large as many human cities and are ruled by a king and a queen. Their spartan way of life divides labour between the sexes, with males in charge of all the mining activities and of the community’s defence and females in charge of managing supplies and tending to fungi crops, fishing and housekeeping. This is a division born of necessity, not prejudice; even the king and queen are subject to this aspect of deep gnome culture, each sharing power in equal measure and responsible for their gender-assigned tasks.
Deep gnomes are not tinkers; their racial ingenuity expresses itself in the ways in which they work stone: pragmatically, ingeniously and, in the oldest settlements, even serenely elegant.
Player Character Information
Deep gnome characters have the following characteristics:
Personality: Although they appear sour and outright spooky, deep gnomes are still gnomes, even if not as outward as their surface relatives. They refuse to give in to desperation and cling to their work with dogged enthusiasm, revelling in the discovery of a new vein or the cold beauty of a polished gemstone. Their jokes tend to lean towards black humour and they do not give pranking such high esteem as rock gnomes, but they enjoy a good evening with friends and a peaceful gathering not worrying about something coming out of the shadows to disembowel them.
Physical Description: Deep gnomes are slightly shorter than rock gnomes, standing a little below three-and-a-half feet but otherwise with a similar build as their cousins. Most of that build is muscle, however, as the deep gnomes are wiry and with somewhat gnarled limbs. Their skin has the coloration of rock, ranging from deep brown to greyish beige in order to blend with their surroundings. Their eyes have pale colours, usually grey but sometimes clear blue, creating a rather disquieting stare for some surface dwellers. Men are bald and women have stringy grey hair. Their clothing is austere and utilitarian, with dark shades of brown or grey prevailing. They adorn themselves with lovingly-crafted gems on special occasions, but such festivals are rare and unpredictable, so they like to keep their best clothes in good care for the next festivity. They have a life expectancy of 280 years and reach adulthood at the age of 50 years.
Relations: Deep gnomes do not keep stable relations with anybody, considering that almost everyone they know wants them dead. They even avoid dwarves, since they mostly come across the haughty and isolationist deep and mountain dwarves, or their more dangerous cousins the duergar and derro. Individually, they may open up a little to someone who helps them, but as a whole, they prefer to be left alone.
Alignment: The constant threat of extermination has washed out the deep gnomes’ cheer and general good-will, forcing them to adopt a more pragmatic outlook. They believe that ends justify the means, so long as the means do not turn them into that which hunts them. Most deep gnome are true neutral due to this, but some of them find the strength of spirit to lean towards good.
Deep Gnome Lands: The deep gnomes make their home in caverns deep underground, where no light can possibly reach. They use magic and craftsmanship to carve their cities out of the living rock and hide the caves and corridors that connect them to the rest of the underground complexes that harbour them. They have little or no contact with other deep gnome communities because travel between them endangers both, exposing them to discovery by their countless enemies.
Religion: The deep gnomes worship the same deities as the rock gnomes, but picture them as members of their own race. They pay special homage to the Protector, whose favour has allowed them to survive in their harsh homes, but also hold a special place for the Stoneworker (see the Secrets of the Gnomes chapter for the gnomish pantheon).
Language: Deep gnomes speak Gnome with a raspy and guttural accent, but have surprisingly not developed their own dialect. They use dwarven runes for their texts, though they are not fond of writing in the first place.
Adventurers: Deep gnomes found alone far from their communities are explorers and prospectors, looking for new wealth and possibly new places to found a city or emergency shelter. Lone deep gnome adventurers set out to hunt down and fight their race’s enemies, taking the fight far from their homes. They rarely venture above ground and are often the victims of ignorance when they do, even from other gnomes.
Deep gnomes have the same traits as rock gnomes with the following differences.
† +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength, -4 Charisma.
† Darkvision: Deep gnomes can see in the dark up to 120 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight and deep gnomes can function just fine with no light at all.
† +2 racial bonus on all saving throws (no special bonus against illusions).
† +4 dodge bonus against all creatures (not only against giants).
† +2 racial bonus on Hide checks, which improves to +4 in darkened underground areas.
† Automatic Languages: Common, Undercommon and Gnome.
† Bonus Languages: Terran, drow.
† Stonecunning: Stonecunning grants deep gnomes a +2 racial bonus on checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new constructions (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings and the like. Something that is not stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A deep gnome who comes within ten feet of unusual stonework can make a check as if he were actively searching and a deep gnome can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A deep gnome can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
† Instead of any proficiency with illusions, deep gnomes can use blindness, blur and change self, each once per day as a wizard of their level (save DC 10 + spell level).
† All deep gnomes have a continuous nondetection ability as the spell of the same name, using their character level as a caster level for purposes of piercing their nondetection through scrying.
† Spell Resistance 11 + character level.
† Favoured Class: Rogue. Deep gnomes have learned to be sneaky and to depend a lot on their skills in order to escape their enemies.
† Level Adjustment +1
The smallest and most reclusive of all the gnome sub-races, forest gnomes are often confused with fey due to their elusiveness and their romanticised way of life deep within the woods. Truth be told, there is nothing particularly fey about the forest gnomes, even if they match the storybook image that some non-gnomish bards have spread about the ‘Wee Folk’ and the ‘Little People’. Forest gnomes live peacefully in their woodlands homes, in harmony with their surroundings and an integral part of the land’s protection.
Forest gnomes, far from living an idyllic life of gathering berries in the forest, living alongside furry animals and singing songs, share the risks associated with any other community. The truth of forest gnome communities is that, while certainly quieter than rock gnome towns and far safer than deep gnome strongholds, their villages are still exposed to dangers from the wild kingdom as well as their natural enemies, the orcs, goblinoids and reptilian humanoids that sometimes live nearby.
Forest gnomes keep to themselves because they are not comfortable around others and this is not because they are the smallest of the gnome sub-races and have to strain their necks, even to talk with halflings. They consider themselves part of nature, and with the exception of the elves and a few other gnomes, all the other races seem to live at odds with nature. Like the wild beasts they befriend, forest gnomes’ placid demeanour turns into primal ferocity when their homes and forests are threatened. They fight with cunning and vigour, darting between the trees and cutting down their enemies with hails of arrows before disappearing as suddenly as they attacked. When they are at peace, their daily lives are filled with pleasant work and pleasant company. Their gnomish inventiveness comes across through their woodcarving, an art they practice with joyful abandon, creating delicate works of art for their own fulfilment.
They trust the village’s patriarch to dictate policy and dispense his considerable wisdom, as forest gnomes are the longest-lived of their race so are they the smallest. The patriarch trusts the advice of the eldest hunters, gatherers and craftsmen to decide what is best for the community.
Player Character Information
Forest gnome characters have the following characteristics:
Personality: The face that forest gnomes show to others (when they show it at all) is of a shy and overly-timid people. It is true that they are reclusive, but when alone or in the company of trusted allies, their quiet and introverted behaviour changes to one of supportive companionship. They give their trust rarely and, once given, it is rarely withdrawn.
Physical Description: Standing at barely two-feet-tall, the small forest gnomes are as small as they come (except for the fabled garden gnomes, but let us not talk about them yet). Their skin is the colour brownish or grey-green tones and rich, dark hair that whitens with age. Beards are a mark of pride for males, who never cut theirs except to care for it and style it in points. Females have the same attitude towards their hair, although they do not let it grow past their knees. Their clothing is not as barbaric as it would be believed, consisting of buckskin trousers, skirts and jackets dyed green or earthen tones.
Relations: The only friendships that forest gnomes keep is with elves, who share their respect and love for the woodlands. High elves and wood elves are the ones most likely to meet a forest gnome, although not even they can find their settlements if uninvited. Otherwise, they do not let themselves be seen by anybody else.
Alignment: Like their more abundant cousins, forest gnomes are laid-back about how their society works but have traditions they respect, remaining neutral between law and chaos. Their gentle attitude towards their fellows and their surroundings speaks of a clear tendency towards good.
Forest Gnome Lands: Only found deep in the woods, preferably in hidden grottos, forest gnomes build their homes from wood carefully cut from trees, whose permission was asked, and carved with all the care and love in the world. The villages are thoroughly hidden from view by shrubbery and thick foliage and the homesteads blend so well with the woods that they are hard to distinguish with an untrained eye. Sometimes, they build their homes in the hollowed-out trunks of great trees, which yield multi-storied homes with small rooms on top of each other.
Religion: Nature is a central part of forest gnomes’ religious practices, with special reverence paid to Woodsrunner over even the Protector (see the Secrets of the Gnomes chapter for the gnomish pantheon). Many forest gnomes do not worship a deity, but rather the abstract concept of Nature, making them druids in the rough.
Language: Forest gnomes speak Gnome without trouble and many learn Elven in order to communicate with their few allies from outside their race. Common is not exactly valued, but a few learn it in order to understand what people encroaching on their forests are saying.
Adventurers: ‘Adventure’ and ‘forest gnome’ are two terms that do not go together in general; the few of them who venture out of their protected villages do so in service of their communities, scouting the territory in search of threats in order to warn their fellows. They rarely take a proactive stance, preferring to hide and wait problems out, which does not make them the best of adventurers. There are a few who feel that of the forest, with there is something more to the world than their isolated settlements and give the outside world a chance, although most of those daring forest gnomes return shortly after, either convinced that there is no place like home or eager to speak of all that they saw.
Forest gnomes have the same traits as rock gnomes with the following additions.
† +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears), orcs and reptilian humanoids.
† +4 racial bonus to Hide checks, which improves to +8 in a wooded area.
† Automatic Languages: Gnome.
† Bonus Languages: Elven, Sylvan.
† Forest gnomes have an inherent ability to speak with animals that differs slightly from the spell’s effect, although they can use it as a spell-like ability just like forest gnomes. They can communicate with all sorts of forest animals, but they can only understand and communicate on a very basic level.
† In addition to their spell-like abilities, forest gnomes have the constant ability to pass without trace as the spell of the same name.
† Favoured Class: Druid; forest gnomes have very close ties to nature and find druidism a natural career choice.
Scruffy, soot-stained and generally incoherent, steam gnomes are enamoured with the tinker’s way of life. They have shunned their ties to nature, preferring the trappings of civilisation that make life easier and more comfortable. Or so they say, for their warrens are something out of a forest gnome’s nightmares and are generally places that only they find pleasant. Steam gnomes, or ‘steamers’ as rock gnomes call them, prefer the ring of a forge’s hammer to the chirping of birds in the morning, taking the smell of a well-oiled machine over the scent of blossoming flowers.
What steamers share with their rock gnome cousins is their respect for a person’s merits over any status. They govern themselves by a committee of master craftsmen which works much like a council of elders, but staffed by the best and brightest among their numbers, not necessarily the eldest.
Appointment to the committee lasts for two years and new members are chosen by the votes of each guild in steamer territory. Lots of bickering happens in committee meetings and it usually fall to the members’ aides to actually carry out policy, creating a sort of shadow cabinet composed of people who have real managerial skills, if not craftsmanship.
Male and female work side by side, hiring themselves out to other races as technicians, engineers and general trouble-shooters. This causes the population of a steamer settlement to rotate constantly, so that nobody knows exactly how many gnomes are in the settlement at any one time. Steamer settlements are usually part of a large city, generally human or dwarven, who appreciate the value of a good technician better than the tree-hugging elves. Other gnomes consider their attitude towards nature a little callous, as the steamers see resources where other gnomes see a picnic spot. They are not out to exploit nature either, but wish to find a balance between the natural and the artificial. They receive their name because of their fascination with steamworks, surpassing even the rock gnomes in their technological expertise when dealing with these machines.
If it is about transforming raw materials into a useful artefact, steam gnomes are up to it, building, fixing and improving anything that falls into their hands.
Player Character Information
Steamer characters have the following characteristics:
Personality: Intense and curious, steam gnomes feel the tug of progress in their hearts and souls. They are thoroughly convinced that they can make life better with their designs and have the best intentions when they offer their advice voluntarily. They are quite nosy and enthusiastic about anything that catches their interest and have no qualms about pestering anyone around them in their quest for answers.
Physical Description: Steam gnomes are short and stocky, measuring just below 3 feet tall on average. Their hair is spiky and naturally dishevelled, with colours ranging the full spectrum between yellow and red, although rarer heritages show greenish and bluish tints. Whatever the hair colour is, it is bright. Males keep their hair short and favour goatees, while females braid theirs and have no facial hair. Their eyes are usually very dark browns and blues, but as exotic as the green and blue hair are violet and amber eyes. A child showing both odd hair and eye coloration is said to have a great future ahead of him. Their clothes are thick, resistant and two-sided: they can turn their work jackets and females’ skirts inside out to reveal clean and modest fashions. They are very proud of this feature.
Relations: Steamers get along very well with humans and dwarves, two races who also have a marked interest in technology. Steamer enclaves exist within the cities of these races when the chapter of a guild sets down to be closer to its customers, followed by others. Their relationship with elves and half-orcs are similar for different reasons: elves do not care much for technology and half-orcs are generally too dumb to understand it. Halflings have an on-off relationship with steamers, fascinated by their intensity but driven off by their narrowness of focus.
Alignment: A strong work ethic is the core of steamer society, with tenets that echo a lawful philosophy even when their practice looks wild and disordered. They are focused, but very intensely so. They tend to lose sight of the moral results of their creations, with the worst of them capable of great evil in the name of progress. While frowned upon, such practises are not persecuted, revealing a neutral stance in the conflict between good and evil.
Steamer Lands: Besides their enclaves in other races’ cities, steam gnomes have ‘headquarters’ in small cities of their own, built in mountains and canyons that let them dig deep for their work to remain undisturbed, but closer to the surface than dwarven holds. In cities, their homes are below ground level, accessible through stairs from the street, with the top levels devoted to storerooms, laboratories and workshops
Religion: Steam gnomes are the least religious of all gnomes, which makes them all but atheistic. They give a nod to the gods of the gnomish pantheon and acknowledge Smith as their patron deity when they pay attention to the divine at all (see the Secrets of the Gnomes chapter for the gnomish pantheon).
Language: Gnome is the steamer’s official language and they speak it in precise, if sometimes rapid sentences. The problem comes when they start using jargon, at which point their chatter becomes incomprehensible except to people who practice their craft. They speak Common and Dwarven fluently because of their constant relationship with humans and dwarves and use an expanded form of the dwarven alphabet in their texts.
Adventurers: Steam gnomes call their adventures ‘field trips’. They consider adventures as excellent opportunities to test their latest creations and theories and take copious notes after each encounter, even the unsuccessful ones. Those steamers with an actual interest in the original goal of an adventure are not satisfied until the goal is accomplished and devise plans to turn defeats into victories with tenacity and stubbornness.
Steam gnomes have the same traits as rock gnomes with the following additions and differences.
† +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength, -2 Wisdom.
† Darkvision: Steam gnomes can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight and deep gnomes can function just fine with no light at all.
† +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poisons and gasses; steam gnomes are used to smelling quite foul substances. They have no bonuses against illusions.
† Steam gnomes have no particular enmity against goblinoids and do not gain the +1 racial bonus against them. They do gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against kobolds.
† +2 racial bonus on Alchemy and +4 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks; they are used to squeezing through tight spaces to reach a malfunctioning valve.
† Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome.
† Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Terran.
† Steam gnomes cannot speak with animals. However, they claim to understand the language of technology and gain a +4 racial bonus to repair items by ‘listening’ to their complaints. Use Magic Device and Disable Device are always class skills.
† Steam gnomes have a knack with machines. A steam gnome with an Intelligence score of 10 may invoke a +10 bonus to a Craft or Disable Device check once per day as a supernatural ability.
† Favoured Class: Rogue, they seldom lean towards the illegal practices of the class, preferring to use the class abilities of agility and high skills for other pursuits.
Rock gnomes cannot repress a chuckle when encountering lake gnomes on the grounds that they have funny faces. Lake gnomes chuckle back at their cousins’ shorter stature and stubby fingers. Lake gnomes are an enigma, even for a race without much worry about creation myths. The lake gnomes are the platypus of gnomedom, an aquatic race that bears all the characteristics of gnomes but has the unique feature of living in the water. What all gnomes seem to agree is that their lake cousins must have been an experiment by an ancient gnomish civilisation to experiment with their own bodies, which opens up the possibility of swamp gnomes, arctic gnomes, sea gnomes…the possibilities are endless. When a scholar posited this as a possible origin of the mythical garden gnomes, he was immediately hushed.
While they are excellent swimmers thanks to their webbed hands and feet, lake gnomes are not water-breathers; they just hold their breath for a very long time. Nevertheless, they are still builders and construct amazing structures in their lakeside homes that appear to be makeshift, but are very efficient and sturdy. A lake gnome village appoints a leader with total authority over the comings and goings of the community as a whole. This leader is very often a female, but lake gnomes do not consider either gender as inherently suitable to rule. The leader may step down from office at any time or can be challenged for the position by any other lake gnome during a yearly festival in a contest of wits.
Lake gnomes are carefree, even for gnomes. Much of their time is spent playing and fooling around, looking for fishermen or trader ships to prank and trick along rivers flowing into their lake homes. Despite their fondness for fun and games, these gnomes do not shirk from work and farm the lands around their lake, with all villagers rotating the work amongst them (it is an undesired but necessary chore) when they are not fishing or growing more water-friendly crops like rice.
Player Character Information
Lake gnome characters have the following characteristics:
Personality: Lake gnomes seem rather scatter-brained and definitely have a short attention span when something does catch their attention. They love to play and do not take anything seriously, not even tragedy. This does not mean that they are heartless, it is just that they have light spirits and treasure the joyful memories more than the sad ones. This also does not mean that they are irresponsible; they adhere to their duties without question, only with a joke.
Physical Description: Lake gnomes are the tallest of the gnomish races, slender and lean to the point that they resemble halflings, except for their broad features, their webbed hands and feet, of course. Their mouths tend to be rather big and always appear to be grinning (the source of rock gnomes’ mockery) and their noses are small and pointy, rather than large and bulbous like the rest of gnomedom’s. They have several shades of brown for hair, which only grows on the top of their heads, their brows and nowhere else (not that anyone has been so rude as to check everywhere), with both males and females wearing it long, males tying theirs in ponytails and females in braids. Deep blue or green eyes shine with a sparkle of mischief that echoes their perpetual grin. Since clothing weighs them down in the water, lake gnomes wear as little as possible, favouring loincloths and simple vests and bibs for both males and females. They are the second longest lived of the gnome race, able to live up to 300 years.
Relations: Due to their natural habitats, lake gnomes have occasionally ventured into forest gnomes’ drinking spots, adopting their sylvan preferences so that they become friends. They also develop strong friendships with rock gnomes, elves and humans who respect their territory, agreeing to build dams and canals that benefit both human and gnomish farmlands. They do not see enough of dwarves and other mountain and underground people to form an opinion, although a couple of lake gnome villages are built on underground lakes.
Alignment: Well-intentioned to the extreme, lake gnomes cannot help but be aligned to good. Their festive attitude shows a strong chaotic streak, although there are an equal number of responsible, neutral gnomes.
Lake Gnome Lands: They claim lakes as their homes, building underground burrows on the shore that can only be entered through underwater tunnels. These burrows are not primitive lairs, but very comfortable dwellings with sufficient air and light holes, secured with stone and wood treated against water.
Religion: Not overly religious, lake gnomes nonetheless observe simple rituals of reverence to Howler, Woodsrunner and the Protector, usually by leaving dried fish offerings at small shrines at the entrance to their homes.
Language: Lake gnomes speak Gnome normally and do not care much for learning other languages. Unlike other gnomes, they use the elven alphabet for their writing and carving, since they like the flowing script better than the stark dwarven runes.
Adventurers: Most lake gnomes go adventuring just for the fun of it. They get excited easily and embark on the most ludicrous jobs if they think it would be fun. While they prefer to stick close to fresh water, they can live on land without any ill effect, except their constant whining about how bad the food is. Some lake gnomes join the crews of seafaring ships, adapting easily to salt water.
Lake gnomes have the same traits as rock gnomes with the following additions and differences.
† +2 Constitution, -2 Strength.
† Lake gnome base speed is 20 feet on land and they have a 40 feet swim speed.
† Low-light Vision: Lake gnomes can see four times as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish colour and detail under these conditions.
† +2 racial bonus on Spot and Search checks which improves to +4 under the water. Lake gnomes have very good eyes and know their underwater environs very well.
† +1 racial bonus to attack rolls and +2 dodge bonus to Armour Class against aquatic creatures of Medium-size and larger. Lake gnomes can literally swim circles around their foes and know special techniques to fight underwater creatures.
† +4 racial bonus to Swim checks.
† Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome.
† Bonus Languages: Aquan, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Undercommon.
† Once per day a lake gnome can use speak with animals as a spell-like ability to speak with an aquatic mammal (otters, beavers, dolphins, etc.). This ability is innate to lake gnomes. It has a duration of 1 minute (the gnome is considered a 1st-level caster when he uses this ability, regardless of his actual level).
† Lake gnomes have no special ability to produce or withstand illusions, but they can resist water hazards much better. A lake gnome can hold his breath for a number of minutes equal to twice his Constitution score. After this time, he must make a Constitution check (DC 10) every minute in order to continue holding his breath, with the DC increasing by 1 each minute. Lake gnomes also have a +4 racial bonus to Fortitude checks to withstand water pressure.
† Favoured Class: Ranger, lake gnomes love exploring their natural habitats.
† Level Adjustment +1.
One of the deepest secrets of gnomes is the existence of garden gnomes. Little gnome children hear tales that depict this vile species as bogeymen and only the eldest know the truth about them. As elves have drow and dwarves have duergar, the true evil counterpart to gnomes are not the deep gnomes, but these little devils. The garden gnomes have a mysterious agenda that exploit their uncanny powers of stealth and trickery, driving members of other races insane through subtle, yet mind-eroding tricks, gaining great joy from the fear and paranoia they engender in others.
Garden gnome society seems like a perversion of the way of life of rock and forest gnomes. They respect their elders but only if they cannot kill them. Theirs is a society based on one-upmanship, where status is gained through proving oneself better than the rest, usually by pushing the rest down rather than reaching up. Living underground like most other gnomes, the garden variety distinguishes itself by the fact that they do not make villages of gnome-only residences, but instead excavate under the grounds of other races’ lands, particularly lawns and gardens (from where they get their name). Living in small family units, the garden gnomes skulk beneath their unwitting host’s feet, playing contests of pranks amongst themselves to see who causes the big people to move out or go insane first.
Player Character Information
Garden gnome characters have the following characteristics:
Personality: Devious, underhanded, cruel and infinitely patient. Garden gnomes subvert the gnomish traits of humour and ingenuity into tools of evil. Their egos are inversely proportionate to their size, as they see every other creature in existence as beneath them. Quite a feat for the smallest of gnomish sub-races. Garden gnomes’ patience and indeterminate age help them set incredibly lengthy pranks in motion, waiting for results years in advance. Their methodical use of their talents helps them achieve their goals with a high success rate, even if success comes a decade later.
Physical Description: Standing shorter than even forest gnomes, garden gnomes are stealthy and quick, learning many tricks to avoid detection and capture. Their skin is pale and deceivingly rosy, with clear blue, green or grey eyes betraying the dark soul that hides behind them. All of them have white hair since birth and males let their beards grow down to their ankles (not much distance anyway). As a mockery of their other cousins, garden gnomes dress in loud and garish combinations, with chequered or striped pants and skirts, deep green shirts and ridiculous bright red pointy hats. They have a strange sheen on their skin which they spread to their clothing by oiling it every time they go out.
Relations: Even more antisocial than the deep gnomes, garden gnomes ally with no one. Everyone is their enemy and they have no friends. Sometimes, they cannot even stand their own company. Garden gnomes can and do organise in large groups when they have a common goal.
Alignment: Irredeemably evil, garden gnomes have a strong sense of self-preservation and obey the rules they have established for their outings, showing a lawful bent.
Garden Gnome Lands: As mentioned earlier, garden gnomes have no lands of their own, but live as parasites under others’ lands. They dig their burrows beneath gardens, hiding the entrances near fountains, shrubs and other ornamentation. They always have a sentry near the entrance: a garden gnome standing so still as to seem a statue and projecting a subtle mental influence so that passers-by believe that they are indeed looking at an innocent, even if a paragon of bad taste, statuette.
Religion: Garden gnomes worship the Blackness, following its precepts to the letter and discarding completely the rest of the gnomish pantheon. They dedicate to it every nightmare they cause and every nervous sideways look from their victims as a psalm to the dark force of evil that they follow.
Language: The language spoken among garden gnomes is, like many of their other cultural traits, a slap in the face of normal gnomish society. They speak Gnome, but littered with barbarisms and phonetic structure taken from Goblin and Orcish.
Adventurers: Very often, young garden gnomes get fed up with their family cell and go out in search of their own garden. They seldom join other adventurers, since they prefer to keep the existence of their sub-race hidden, so they pretend to be a fey creature rather than confessing to be a gnome. Other gnomes would react in horror at the sight of a garden gnome and beg the party’s paladin to squish the little vermin. Scouting garden gnomes can be seen standing very still in other people’s gardens, only to disappear the next morning, much to the concern of the garden’s owner.
Garden gnomes have the same traits as rock gnomes with the following differences.
† +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.
† Tiny size. Garden gnomes gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls and to Armour Class.
† Gnome base speed is 20 feet.
† Darkvision: Garden gnomes can see in the dark up to 120 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight and garden gnomes can function just fine with no light at all.
† +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting magic.
† +4 dodge bonus against Medium-size and larger humanoids. Garden gnomes learn how to evade bigger foes as special training.
† +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks. Garden gnomes lie and deceive very naturally.
† Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome.
† Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin and Orc.
† Once per day a garden gnome can stand so perfectly still that people mistake him for a statue and ignore him, even if the ‘statue’ happens to be where it should not (like not being there before). The garden gnome has a +10 bonus to Hide. His modified Hide check becomes the DC for observers who, after defeating the result with a Spot check of their own, must still make a Will save or dismiss the garden gnome as an inconsequential statue, although a vague sense of uneasiness remains.
† Garden gnomes with Intelligence scores of 10 or higher may cast the following spells twice per day each: cause fear, expeditious retreat and ghost sound. These are arcane spells. The gnome’s caster level is half his character level or his full caster level if he is a spellcaster, plus half his levels in any other non-arcane spellcasting class.
† Favoured Class: Enchanter, which is a wizard who specialises in casting Enchantment spells.
|Sub-race||Adulthood||Middle Age||Old||Venerable||Maximum Age|
|Rock gnome||40 years||100 years||150 years||200 years||+3d% years|
|Deep gnome||50 years||125 years||187 years||250 years||+3d% years|
|Forest gnome||100 years||250 years||375 years||500 years||+5d% years|
|Steam gnome||30 years||75 years||112 years||150 years||+5d% years|
|Lake gnome||60 years||150 years||225 years||300 years||+3d% years|
|Garden gnome||54 years||135 years||200 years||?? years||??|
Random Height and Weight (male / female)
|Sub-race||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Rock gnome||3’ / 2’ 10”||+2d4||40 lb. / 35 lb.||x 1 lb.|
|Deep gnome||3’ / 2’ 10”||+1d4||40 lb. / 35 lb.||x 1 lb.|
|Forest gnome||2’ / 1’ 10”||+2d4||30 lb. / 25 lb.||x 1 lb.|
|Steam gnome||2’ 10” / 2’ 6”||+2d4||35 lb. / 30 lb.||x 1 lb.|
|Lake gnome||3’ 2” / 3’||+2d4||40 lb. / 35 lb.||x 1 lb.|
|Garden gnome||1’ 4” / 1’ 4”||+1d6||25 lb. / 20 lb.||x 1 lb.|