Gnomes, known as “noniz” in the Flan tongue, are one of the primary civilized races of the Flanaess.
Physical Description: Gnomes average about three and a half feet in height and weigh about 80 pounds. They do not tan, but their skin typically ranges from tan to brown to gray-brown to nearly black, and they normally have gray or white hair, though adolescents have the same range of hair color as humans. Their eyes are usually blue, though shades of green and even yellow or brown can occur. Males are capable of growing beards, but females are not except perhaps in extreme cases. Gnomes are tough and resistant to many poisons and spells. They can consume as much alcohol as dwarves can; while excessive alcohol tends to make dwarves more belligerent, it makes gnomes euphoric and playful. There are several different subraces of gnomes:
•Steinneblin, or rock gnomes: Rock gnomes live in burrows beneath rolling, wooded hills. Friends to animals, rock gnomes have a racial ability that allows them to speak with burrowing animals.
•Svirfneblin, or deep gnomes: Svirfneblin dwell in cities deep underground. They are more dangerous than the common rock gnome.
•Forstneblin, or forest gnomes: Forest gnomes are a shy, secretive folk, living deep in wooded areas. They are more likely to be druids than illusionists or alchemists. They are smaller than rock gnomes.
Society: Gnomes have an intricate society based on their love of all kinds of arts, pranks, and their long lives. Gnomes love indulgence, and they make most celebrations on a grander scale. They are freer in their courtship rites than dwarves, with some courtships lasting centuries. Gnome weddings last for a week, even though gnomes don’t view love the same way humans do. If love begins to go wrong between a couple they may break up, believing it was a prank by Garl Glittergold. Their society is based on art; all gnomes must take up some form of art (whether music, painting, cooking, building, or any other form that is considered creative) by the time they come of age.
Relations: Gnomish communities are loosely knit and prone to friendly competition. Typical gnome jobs include jewelry making, mining, metalworking, toymaking, a minor amount of farming (which they are typically poor at), spellcraft (expecially illusions), bardcraft, alchemy, brewing, hunting, and the military. Many gnomes are merchants, and they have mastered the art of currency exchange. Merchant lords are the unofficial nobility of gnome society, forming the cornerstone of the local economy and sometimes taking part in politics as well. Their less industrious relatives often amuse themselves with illusions, pranks, and elaborate balls. The middle class supports the merchant class, often desiring the things the lords have greatly. Countering the merchant lords and middle class are the artisans, adventurers, and rebels, who work outside of mainstream society or actively work against it. The rebel class is a peculiarly gnomish tradition, accepted patiently by other gnomes as a matter of long tradition, even though the rebels seek to bring an end to all traditions. Some of the greatest gnomish philosophers were rebels at some point.
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. Gnomes have their own pantheon, known as the Lords of the Golden Hills, led by Garl Glittergold. These deities include:
Many gnomes are very secular, seeing their deities and myths in as close friends and mentors rather than as all-powerful beings, and many see them in more of an allegorical than literal sense. There is a strong tradition of skepticism in gnomish culture. Most gnomish communities have at least a chapel or shrine to the gods, though only cities have full-fledged temples. The clergy remains an important element in gnomish life, though, acting as councilors, mediators, and judges in non-criminal matters. Gnomes are not, as a rule, superstitious; their analytical minds will naturally seek to discover the source of their problems rather than simply accept what they are told.
Most gnomes lack a creation myth, believing instead in a steady-state cosmos with no beginning or end. However, some gnomes believe that Garl Glittergold created their race from gems he discovered in a cave.
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.
•Arcane School Spirit
•Breadth of Experience
•Extra Gnome Magic
•Gnome Weapon Focus