On the Shoulders of Heroes
Legends tell of protective spirits of home and hearth. These creatures come in many shapes but they all keep the evil away from our families. History gives them many names, Spirits, Fey or Gnomes. They live in burrows and often keep badgers, or dire badgers, as guard dogs.
Gnomes are little men with squad, powerful bodies. Their heads tend to be small and round, with no hair and short necks. Gnomes have beady eyes, tiny, flat noses and large round ears. Compared to the rest of their bodies, they have big, bushy ears and well developed fingers and hands and short, stubby legs. Females tend to be more slender build, with shorter ears.
The origin of the Gnomes lies in the caverns and inhospitable mountains of Vuorilas. They have always lived underground where they are safe from most enemies. This made them vulnerable to attacks from Goblins and Kobolds however, and the Gnomes became their hated foes. It is said the underground war rages on to this day, but Gnomes are too proud and stubborn to let the surface dwellers into their burrows. Gnomes have always had good relations with the Dwarves of Bakkesat, who introduced them to the other common races. They cared little for the lifestyle of the larger peoples, although they did show a great interest in their trade goods. Gnome, although a simple people, have a great knowledge of digging and mining. Gems and diamonds are priced especially by both Gnomes and the common folk.
Gnomes have a hard time trusting all common races but the Dwarves. They tend to keep to themselves mostly and keep an air of mystery surrounding their burrows. Those that have visited them speak of immense tunnel systems, underground villages with storage rooms, homes, mushrooms farm and even stables. It is a rarity if Gnomes are seen in the big cities aboveground, often they seek to trade their goods at small fairs on the outskirts of civilisation. Many city folk have a hard time believing that Gnomes exist at all. They tell their children of the guardians in the ground. Still, Gnomish jewellery is highly regarded, although often thought to be crafted by Halflings instead.
Like their cousins the Dwarves they have a great affinity towards the earth. Unlike Dwarves they also care a great deal about all creatures of the earth, and have a deeply rooted bond with many of them. Many older creatures call Gnomes “Earth friends”. Gnomes typically live in large group of multiple families, lead by an elder. Male Gnomes are tasked with protecting their homes and mining, while female Gnomes do household chores and tend to the mushroom farms. Babies are born with a layer of fur, which makes them look like strange animals. Children are considered infants until they lose their hair, which usually happens around age six. In their early years a matron raises them, while they play and learn, when they are adults they are assigned a mentor to guide them. This assures that burrows grow steadily and that each profession is practised.
Gnomish culture revolves about independence: each individual member of a tribe is expected to do their part. This independence makes Gnomes seem unfriendly to other people, who prefer working together. It is extremely rare for Gnomes to ask help from outsiders. Instead they commonly use small animals to carry messages to other burrows. They keep badgers, or dire badgers, to excavate and expand their burrows. These animals are kept in especially high regard and injuring or killing them is considered a crime punishable by exile or death. When a Gnome or badger dies they are buried in special excavated tombs, hewn high in the mountainside.
Gnomes have a fondness for beautiful things such as gems or diamonds. They spend a lot of time decorating their clothing and homes. Like their cousins the Dwarves, the Gnomes have a warrior-like culture. They all share a great sense of responsibility for their own safety and that of their animals and property. They craft wonderfully adorned weapons and armour.
Although some Gnomes worship the deities of the common races, especially those living on the surface, most of them pray the Goddess of the Earth. They have a great respect for their deity, who they believe protects all who embrace the earth. The Gnomes themselves protect what is theirs and fight the evil that threatens their burrows.
When a Gnome leaves their burrow they typically take small bags of earth along with them. Gnomes do not wed like most peoples, but they do mate for life. They appease their goddess with carvings, decorated with precious stones, and by sacrifice.
- +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence. Gnomes are tough but simple minded.
- Small: As a Small creature, a Gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks, but he uses smaller weapons than medium creatures use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a medium character.
- Gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
- Low light vision.
- +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against Kobolds and Goblinoids.
- +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the Giant type. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
- +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Scent: Gnomes have an excellent sense of smell. A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.
- +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison.
- A Gnome can speak with a burrowing mammal (a badger, fox, rabbit, or the like, see below). This ability is innate to Gnomes. See the speak with animals spell description. They also speak Terran.
- Favored Class: Fighter.