Gnomes

Zulithe

Explorer
In recent threads regarding race preferences, Gnomes have faired poorly, probably no noone's surprise.

I am starting a new campaign soon and I do not want to remove Gnomes, but I agree with many that Gnomes just don't cut it.

What are your ideas for changing or customising Gnomes to make them more interesting and a more viable choice for player characters? They seem almost like a "second dwarf" or halfling, they are just too similar and don't stand out enough, even with the new 3.5e changes.
 

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SylverFlame

First Post
Check out the Minoi, the Ansalon (Dragonlance) Gnomes. Now, they are unique. If they are too crazy for you, check out the gnomes of...ooh, whats it called, anyway its the other continent on Krynn, I think its Talados or something like that. You have the engineering gnomes without the crazyness. These less crazy guys make cities in volcanoes and survive. It's pretty neat.
 

Derfel

First Post
In my own homebrew worlds I've tackeled this in a variety of ways. Some of my more recent methods were:

1. Make them Fey. In a recent campaign I made gnomes fey instead of humanoid. They acted as a go-between, if you will, between the faerie races and the remaining mortal races. Often this role is given to elves, but I felt that it made the gnomes stand out more. While I made few changes to their statistics (this was a 3.0 game not the revised) just changing this one aspect of their race went a long way to making them unique.

2. In a second world I had two races of gnomes. One was akin to the typical race from the PHB, while the other was much more mystical. Statistics wise, they gained Detect Magic (in addition to their other innate spells). I believe their ability score modifiers were also different(can't remember the exact details at the moment, intelligence or wisdom bonus I believe). Where they really differed was the culture. They lived in small tribes that kept themselves isolated and hidden for the most part. Their society was theocratic, where their spirtual leaders also managed many secular matters. I tried to emphasize their reliance on magic in general, which pulled them away from the typical image my players had of tinker gnomes. And this reliance on magic was a larger step away from the very non-magical image my players still have of dwarves.

3. My most recent campaign has the gnomes being a nomadic race that live in a region called the Sinking Forest (forest/swamp) where they are skilled hunters and warriors. In this situation I made Ranger their favored class and in general I try to emphasize some of their combat skills and abilities. Gnomes are a small race which makes them great stealth warriors. Of course it also helps that in this game the primary dwarven group is a barbaric mountain race so the cultural differences are more pronounced.
 

Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
In the Scarred Lands we have a kind of shamanist druid gnomes. Think those lost african tribes or those buried deep in the Amazon.
 

nopantsyet

First Post
In my campaign, gnomes are the most prevalent non-human race. Instead of medieval fantasy, it is renaissance fantasy, where they fit very nicely as tinkers and scientists of a materialist inclination. I've tried to maintain the standard disposition, but giving them some tangible pursuit makes them much more substantive.

I'd say try to take the aspects of the race that you like, and build on it in a way that fits your world. Unfortunately, I don't believe any of the core classes work as a proper preferred class for gnomes, so I've gone with a tinker style rogue.
 

kirinke

First Post
give them dire-bunnies with big teeth!

give them dire-bunnies with big teeth and a mean disposition. i mean, these guys are supposed 2 be the creme-dela-creme of alchemists or should be anyway. can we say poison tipped arrows as a joke? and can you imagine those suckers on big hippity hops charging through an army of orcs, shooting merrily away with their mechanical wasis?
lol. no way the orcs r gonna win. not with cute fluffy demons chasing them. ^_^
 

ergeheilalt

First Post
In my campaign, anything that is beyond common building technique is the domain of gnomes. The gnomes on the mainland continent (ie: the one I've developed the most) are very good at building clockwork stuctures, golems, and some mechanical weapondry. They are the only people where engineering is a common profession - be it seige, civil, or research.

The other group of gnomes in my campaign have combined mechanical devices with magical foci to create a type of magic called mechanomancy (ideas borrowed from Mongoose Publishing's Power Class - Artificer.) They have city aided by steam powered works and golems comparible to the intelligent ones on the plane of Mechanus.

The first group tend toward chaotic alignments, while the second tend toward lawful alignements.

Erge - who may be slightly biased towards tinker gnomes being an ME major at a polytechnic school ;)
 

maddman75

First Post
What I've done with them is to make them the diplomats and traders. My gnomes were once in control of a powerful magical nation, but it fell during one of the great wars. The gnomes were scattered and found their niche as advisors and counsellors to the humans now in control of their lands.

Even though I'm not 3.5, bard makes a lot more sense as a favored class than illusionist.
 

Oni

First Post
The way I had pictured gnomes for the setting I came up with the for the WotC setting search was as the race that was the most knowledgeable. Commonly found as advisors to royalty, as sages and diplomats. Also they where perhaps the most universally wealthy of the races, commonly being merchants and travelers and controlling a vast merchantile network. Gnomes are city creatures.
 

Moe Ronalds

First Post
Derfel said:
3. My most recent campaign has the gnomes being a nomadic race that live in a region called the Sinking Forest (forest/swamp) where they are skilled hunters and warriors. In this situation I made Ranger their favored class and in general I try to emphasize some of their combat skills and abilities. Gnomes are a small race which makes them great stealth warriors. Of course it also helps that in this game the primary dwarven group is a barbaric mountain race so the cultural differences are more pronounced.

So, you combined Gnome, Gungan, and Ewok?

;)
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
I'm almost ashamed to pimp this for the 3rd time in one week... almost :cool:

Gnome 2.0

Tiny size (+2 Attack & AC, +8 Hide checks, 50% carrying capacity)
Base Speed 20 ft.
Str -4, Cha +2
Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as Martial rather then Exotic weapons.
+2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions
Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by gnomes
+1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids (including goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears)
+4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type (such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants)
+2 racial bonus on Listen and Craft (alchemy) checks
Low-light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Automatic Language: Common.
Bonus Languages: Sylvan, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Orc and Terran. In addition, a gnome can speak with animals once per day. This ability is innate to gnomes. See the speak with animals spell description.
Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day -- Speak with Animals (duration 1 minute). A gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 3/day -- Prestidigitation. Caster level 1st or Gnome's character level, whichever is higher; save DC 10 + gnome's Cha modifier.
Favored Class: Bard.



Special: Gnomes may take a 4-level Racial Prestige Class. (As a PrC, these levels cannot cause an XP penalty.)

Gnome PrC
HD: d6
BAB: Half (as Sorcerer)
Good Saves: Reflex, Will / Bad Save: Fortitude
Skill Points: 6 + Int bonus
Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowlege (any) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis) and Swim (Str).

Code:
[u]Level   BAB   Fort	Ref	Will	Spellcasting 	Special Abilities[/u]
1	+0	+0	+2	+2	-- 		[i]Faerie Fire[/i], [i]Speak with Animals[/i] 3/day
2	+1	+0	+3	+3	+1 Level Bard	Improved Illusion
3	+1	+1	+3	+3	-- 		Fey Sight
4	+2	+1	+4	+4	+1 Level Bard	Fey Wings, +2 Charisma

Special Abilities:
  • Faerie Fire (Special): The Gnome gains the spell Faerie Fire as an extra known 1st level Bard spell. If the Gnome cannot yet cast 1st-level Bard spells, he gains Faerie Fire as a spell-like ability usable once per day until he can cast 1st-level Bard spells.
  • Speak with Animals (Sp): The Gnome can use his Speak with Animals spell-like ability thrice per day, and his caster level increases
  • Improved Illusion (Ex): The Gnome's racial bonus to Illusion spell DCs increases to +2.
  • Fey Sight (Su): The Gnome perceives the world as though under a constant See Invisibility spell, which cannot be dispelled. Due to his improved visual acuity, he gains a +2 racial bonus to Spot and Search checks.
  • Fey Wings (Ex): The Gnome gains faerie wings, which give him a fly speed of 40 ft., with Good maneuverability. He may choose dragonfly, butterfly or bird wings.
  • Charisma Increase (Ex): This bonus is gained as though through level advancement.

-- N
 

AFGNCAAP

First Post
I can understand your issue with gnomes: I've had a bit of a problem trying to define their role in my own homebrew game. However, here's a few ideas on what you can do to work with them:

1) Leave the gnomes as is, stat wise, but put a twist on their culture/habitat/appearance/etc. Perhaps the gnomes dwell in a secluded territory, such as an arctic ice cap, the heart of a desert, the depths of a jungle, etc. Maybe gnomes have green hair & orange skin. Maybe gnomes have a pseudo-Greek style of culture. You get the idea...

2) Make gnomes a variety of fey: there's been plenty of examples for that...

3) Use another gnome race as your world's sole gnome race--maybe use forest gnomes or deep gnomes instead of the standard rock gnomes. Or even use the spriggan instead.

4) One idea links gnomes & dwarves: Classify gnomes as a type of "dwarf" (ala the "elf blood/orc blood" concept for half-races, & thus considered a dwarf for particular effects). Gnomes are the original race: dwarves are actually half-gnomes (half human, half gnome; you may want to decrease the dwarven age range if you consider this), though they became a race of their own through continued breeding with other half-gnomes. It explains the link between dwarf & gnome, as well as the signifact size difference between these two "cousin" races.

5) Make gnomes elementals/elemental-blooded. (According to the theory of Paracelsus, gnomes were elemental beings that inhabited the earth, just as salamanders were beings of fire, undines beings of water, and sylphs beings of air). Gnomes could become a race native to the Elemental Plane of Earth (ala the azer dwarves of the Plane of Fire), with abilities/powers related to that status (maybe using a half-earth elemental template).

Or, perhaps gnomes are a variety of earth genasi (planetouched)--either mix their abilities with those of an earth genasi, or simply use a staright-up earth genasi, except reducing them to Small size, & using the gnome height/weight (& maybe age) ratios for them.


Well, that's just a few ideas on how to put your own twist on gnomes. Some are rather intensive, while some are as simple as adding a bit of flavor text.
 

Ackem

First Post
Make the Gnomes Jewish.

I'm not kidding.

Think of the real Jews, they were often the Mystics, Scholars, Industrialists, Traders, and Advisors of the real Middle Ages. We're ascribing many of these roles to Gnomes but we need more flavor to them, we need to figure out the whys-and-hows of what being those things means. So draw upon the treatment and attitude of the Fuedal/Renaissance Jews and twink it to fit your tastes and apply it to the Gnomes.
 
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psychognome

First Post
Ackem said:
Make the Gnomes Jewish.

I'm not kidding.

Think of the real Jews, they were often the Mystics, Scholars, Industrialists, Traders, and Advisors of the real Middle Ages. We're ascribing many of these roles to Gnomes but we need more flavor to them, we need to figure out the whys-and-hows of what being those things means. So draw upon the treatment and attitude of the Fuedal/Renaissance Jews and twink it to fit your tastes and apply it to the Gnomes.
Well, hey, gnomes like gems, don't they? And as Joan Rivers said, "I'm Jewish. I don't work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the floor." :D

So, gnomes would become bankers, and a people that nobody really trusts, and who are opressed into living in their own little ghettos. They'd also have their own little banter based on Common that they'd use just to confuse other people.

I can just see it: A gnome shouting "Oy Vey!" It just fits perfectly! :D
 

Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
LOL! :) Jewish gnomes. That will make for some very neurotic(sp) sons of gnomes with mothers! :p :) Maybe even one gets a scandal after becoming a famous playwright! ;)
 

CCamfield

First Post
Just to toss another idea in the ring, in The Deed of Paksenarrion and Oath of Gold (by Elizabeth Moon) gnomes are extremely lawful, with a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on fairness, the law, and equality, to the point that they don't like the idea of anyone giving them anything - it has to be a fair trade or it puts an obligation on them. Quite different from the standard D&D gnome, but also pretty distinct from dwarves too.
 

maddman75

First Post
For another historical tidbit, there's a reason that European Jews tended to banking in the middle ages. The Church had declared that usury (banking/moneylending) was sinful, and that Christians couldn't practice it. Therefore the Jews were the only ones that could be bankers, and they did rather well at it.

/me contemplates ways to file the serial numbers off this and pop it into his world.
 

Derfel

First Post
Moe Ronalds said:
So, you combined Gnome, Gungan, and Ewok?

;)

Hey if it works :)

Actually one of the benefits in my campaigns is I have a player who frequentlly plays gnomes so I tend to try and spend a bit more time working on the race in order to make it as interesting as possible. Right now he's playing a gnome fighter who specializes in the Bladed Gauntlet. Which has had the interesting side-effect of making his character an absolutely brutal close-quarters melee warrior. High AC + High crit range has resulted in the gnomish-equivalent of the Tazmanian Devil.
 

Gez

First Post
I define my gnomes as "druid loremasters".

Gnome etymology yadda yadda means "thought" in greek yadda yadda same origine as gnosis yadda yadda knowledge yadda yadda alchemy yadda yadda secret of transmuting metals yadda yadda talk with animals yadda yadda live hidden in secretive places yadda yadda.

There it is. After the 4th year, I'm becoming tired of repeating it.

If there's a race I would have changed their favored class to bard, it's the elves. Magic and swordplay, check; all artsy-like check; frequently found beautiful, check; good knowledge of enchantment magic, check.

But gnomes, gnomes should definitely be druids.
 

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