One D&D gets gnomes close to perfect

Long-time visitors to this site might remember I've long advocated for a single unified version of gnomes as the tricky little guys who -- as a society -- can't outfight their enemies, who outnumber them and would slaughter them in a fair fight. Instead, they have to outthink them.

As someone who both DMs folks playing gnomes, has a major gnomish culture as a key part of the first half of my longest running campaign (now located on the other side of the continent from the main action, alas), and someone who's played the gnomiest gnome that ever did gnome for almost 12 years now, I like a lot of what I see in the One D&D document.

Gnomes are magical folk created by gods of hard work, invention, trickery, and life underground. The earliest gnomes were seldom seen by other folk due to the gnomes’ secretive nature and their propensity for lairing in sylvan forests, hillside burrows, and sprawling warrens under mountains. What they lacked in size, they made up for in cleverness and cunning. They confounded predators with elaborate traps and low, narrow, labyrinthine tunnels. They also learned useful magic from gods like Garl Glittergold, Baervan Wildwanderer, and Baravar Cloakshadow, who often lived among them (usually in disguise).

Gnomes are petite folk with big eyes, pointed ears, and wistful imaginations. Harkening back to a time when their ancestors hid in tunnels and under thick forest canopies, many gnomes like the feeling of a roof over their head, even if that “roof” is nothing more than a hat.

chef's kiss

That's a gnome that AD&D readers who read Roger E. Moore's The Gnomish Point of View would recognize as well as those who came to gnomes in the WotC era.

Gnomish stats are very good -- advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma saving throws feels very good and very thematic -- but I don't love the lineages.

Gnomish Lineage. You are part of a gnomish lineage that grants you supernatural abilities. Choose a lineage from the Gnomish Lineages table: Forest Gnome, the lineage of magic-filled
forests, or Rock Gnome, the lineage of primeval mountains. You gain the benefits of that lineage.
Forest Gnome: You know the Minor Illusion cantrip. You can also cast the Speak with Animals Spell with this trait. You can cast it with the trait a number of times equal to your Proficiency
Bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a Long Rest.* You can also use any Spell Slots you have to cast the Spell.
Rock Gnome: You know the Mending and Prestidigitation cantrips.

In addition, you can spend 10 minutes casting Prestidigitation to create a Tiny clockwork device (AC 5, 1 HP), such as a toy, a fire starter, or a music box. Casting the Spell in this way consumes 10 GP worth of raw material (string, gears, and the like), which you provide during the casting.

When you create the device, you determine its function by choosing one effect from Prestidigitation; the device produces that effect whenever you or another creature takes a Bonus Action to touch the device and activate it. If the chosen effect has options within it, you choose one of those options for the device when you create it. For example, if you choose the spell’s ignite-extinguish effect, you determine whether the device ignites or extinguishes fire; the device doesn’t do both.

You can have three such devices in existence at a time, and each one dismantles itself 8 hours after its creation. You can also touch one of your devices and dismantle it as an Action. After a device is dismantled, the 10 GP of materials used to create it can be reclaimed.
OK, first off, I don't buy that these are two distinct cultures (see my Unified Theory of Gnomes link above for more). But even if they are, wow, these two lineages are not even close to as good as one another. One gets two free spells that lots of spellcasters would choose anyway, and the other one gets to spend 10 gold to flavor Prestidigitation in a way that lots of DMs would just handwave as free roleplay flavoring?

Of all the little used tool proficiencies, tinkering is currently the most nebulous and useless one of all. (I have someone with the Brewing proficiency and it has been used in play.) Since very few people are likely wanting tinkering in its real world version in D&D ("I'd like my character to be a traveling merchant who can repair pots and pans"), why not make the rock gnome magical-mechanical effect how the tinkering proficiency works generally? It's not unbalancing -- it's not even as good as a lot of subclass ribbons.

Dump the idea of gnome lineages, make the default PHB gnome a forest gnome and either give them a free tinkering proficiency (which we're generally not doing, but it's hard to see what rock gnomes are doing as something completely uncoupled from proficiencies) or rename the Artisan background the "Gnomish Tinker" background instead, to steer folks that way, for all the gnomes from Krynn and Mystara.
 
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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I also think they should be one.

I think they should have 2 of Mending/Minor Illusion/Prestidigitation AND be able to cast through the Artisan's Tool they decide to pick ala Artificer light.

Then, the Speak with Animals/Plants (or rocks for the gnomes) and Invisibility-light of the Firbolg should be given to them.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah, even if they don't change a word of this between now and 2024, this is a substantial upgrade to what we have today.
I do suspect, based on some wording here and in the Feats, that we will see Artificers in this PHB. I wouldn't even be surprised if the September packet is just Artificers. Positioning Gnomes as the archetypal Artificers.in the PHB us a major role upgrade.
 

I'm pretty happy with the Forest Gnome implementation, if they also got Fade Away I'd say it was perfect.

Rock Gnomes getting Mending and their contraptions having any Prestidigitation effect was a house rule we've had a long time. I'd agree they need a little something extra. Maybe a long rest use of Fabricate?

I'd personally be fine with the Forest Gnome being  the Gnome and the tinker stuff being offloaded to a background, but I think WotC wants to accommodate the folks that want a strait up Dragonlance or World of Warcraft style Gnome.
 

I'd personally be fine with the Forest Gnome being  the Gnome and the tinker stuff being offloaded to a background, but I think WotC wants to accommodate the folks that want a strait up Dragonlance or World of Warcraft style Gnome.
Yeah, I think you're right about wanting to accommodate those two interests. Rock gnome needs something more than they've got, though.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm pretty happy with the Forest Gnome implementation, if they also got Fade Away I'd say it was perfect.

Rock Gnomes getting Mending and their contraptions having any Prestidigitation effect was a house rule we've had a long time. I'd agree they need a little something extra. Maybe a long rest use of Fabricate?

I'd personally be fine with the Forest Gnome being  the Gnome and the tinker stuff being offloaded to a background, but I think WotC wants to accommodate the folks that want a strait up Dragonlance or World of Warcraft style Gnome.
I feel like that might be better served with entirely seperate Race options, as with the Deep Gnome or all the Elves in Monsters of the Multiverse. Give the two a bit more of a different structure.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I was going to do a joke rant about how Gnomes are already perfect, and it's heresy to suggest that they're "close to perfect", but decided against it.

I agree. I really like the changes to Gnomes here. I personally would like Svirfneblin to be in the PHB (especially because with this new format of "subraces", it really wouldn't take much space to print them), but otherwise I think they're pretty much good. Changing Rock Gnome's Tinkering into magic at least fixes the whole issue with putting cultural traits into racial mechanics, but I'm not sure how I feel about their current tinkering ability besides that.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I'd personally be fine with the Forest Gnome being  the Gnome and the tinker stuff being offloaded to a background, but I think WotC wants to accommodate the folks that want a strait up Dragonlance or World of Warcraft style Gnome.
The tinker gnomes came from Dragonlance, by designer Jeff Grubb in particular.

Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995) introduced tinker gnomes to Azeroth. The Warcraft creative team was into D&D and Warhammer, and you can see the influences all over the place.

Incidentally, both Richard Knaak (Dragonlance novelist) and Jeff Grubb (creator of Dragonlance's tinker gnomes) have written novels for Warcraft, both having written their first novels for the Warcraft universe in 2001: Day of the Dragon and The Last Guardian, respectively.

Jeff Grubb also was a story and lore developer for Guild Wars starting with Nightfall (the 3rd expansion), and the Asura he developed in Guild Wars: Eye of the North and Guild Wars 2 have a lot of conceptual overlap with tinker gnomes as well.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I also think they should be one.

I think they should have 2 of Mending/Minor Illusion/Prestidigitation AND be able to cast through the Artisan's Tool they decide to pick ala Artificer light.

Then, the Speak with Animals/Plants (or rocks for the gnomes) and Invisibility-light of the Firbolg should be given to them.
Change the Speak With Animals spell into a cantrip instead.

Then, the gnome can choose two from: Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Mending, and Speak With Animal. Additionally, the gnome can cast these cantrips thru a gadget.

Fewer lineages, with more versatility, is my hope for ODD design.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Change the Speak With Animals spell into a cantrip instead.
I would prefer if the ability to speak to animals and rocks was not a spell, just a supernatural ability for the magically inclined fey race.

Fey Ancestry.
You have advantage on saving throws and ability tests you make to resist or notice illusion spells.

Small-Folk Nimbleness.
You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours and you can move through and stop in a space large enough for a Tiny creature.

Hidden Steps.
As a bonus action, you can magically turn invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Speech of Earth and Beast.
You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with Beasts and stone creatures. You can speak Terran and Sylvan. If a beast do not have a language, they can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Charisma checks you make to influence them.

Hard-Working.
You know the Prestidigitation and Mending cantrips and you gain proficiency in an Artisan's Tool of your choice. You can cast those spells using the chosen tools as a spell focus. When you take a long rest, you can spend at least six hours in an intense focused state working with the tools you are proficient with. In this state, you appear absent-minded, but it doesn't render you unconscious, and you can see and hear as normal.
 

Jeff Grubb also was a story and lore developer for Guild Wars starting with Nightfall (the 3rd expansion), and the Asura he developed in Guild Wars: Eye of the North and Guild Wars 2 have a lot of conceptual overlap with tinker gnomes as well.
Man that explains a lot, because Grubb is also keen on Kender (to the point of inflicting one on the FR!), and Asuras have personalities which seem to combine many of the worst traits of Tinker Gnome and Kender - huge amounts of egotism combined with child-like whimsy and faux-vulnerability is pretty goddamn irritating. I knew I hated them for a reason!
 

I would prefer if the ability to speak to animals and rocks was not a spell, just a supernatural ability for the magically inclined fey race.

Fey Ancestry.
You have advantage on saving throws and ability tests you make to resist or notice illusion spells.

Small-Folk Nimbleness.
You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours and you can move through and stop in a space large enough for a Tiny creature.

Hidden Steps.
As a bonus action, you can magically turn invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Speech of Earth and Beast.
You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with Beasts and stone creatures. You can speak Terran and Sylvan. If a beast do not have a language, they can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Charisma checks you make to influence them.

Hard-Working.
You know the Prestidigitation and Mending cantrips and you gain proficiency in an Artisan's Tool of your choice. You can cast those spells using the chosen tools as a spell focus. When you take a long rest, you can spend at least six hours in an intense focused state working with the tools you are proficient with. In this state, you appear absent-minded, but it doesn't render you unconscious, and you can see and hear as normal.
I like this but I'd suggest do not redefine Fey Ancestry without changing the name, this actively unhelpful and actively causes misunderstandings/confusions. Fey Ancestry is used in quite a lot of races, and it always means the same thing post-MotM (correct me if I'm wrong).
 


Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I like this but I'd suggest do not redefine Fey Ancestry without changing the name, this actively unhelpful and actively causes misunderstandings/confusions. Fey Ancestry is used in quite a lot of races, and it always means the same thing post-MotM (correct me if I'm wrong).
Would this replace Gnome Cunning? If so, that would be a major nerf, for no appreciable gain.
This was the idea, yeah. I preferred it to Cunning because it affected ability checks rather than just saves, since Illusion often use Intelligence check to resist o spot illusion magic.

I could make it advantage on Int/Wis/Cha saves and ability check to resist and spot illusion and enchantment magic?

The school restriction is because I find it weird that the cunning mind of the Gnome, often associated with their taste for beguiling magic, make's them better at resisting things like being slowed, eyebite, banishment etc. It would still make it cover most of the mind-affecting spells while removing the weird ones, IMO.

As for the name, I'm not keen on ''Gnome Cunning'', I'm looking for something that sounds a little more supernatural and related to their Feywild origin.
 

Just convert 4e gnome as closely as possible.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
Man that explains a lot, because Grubb is also keen on Kender (to the point of inflicting one on the FR!), and Asuras have personalities which seem to combine many of the worst traits of Tinker Gnome and Kender - huge amounts of egotism combined with child-like whimsy and faux-vulnerability is pretty goddamn irritating. I knew I hated them for a reason!
I don't mind asura. I enjoy them more than WoW's tinker gnomes, which feels far more played up for laughs.
 

I don't mind asura. I enjoy them more than WoW's tinker gnomes, which feels far more played up for laughs.
Yeah WoW's tinker gnomes are basically straight-up imported from Dragonlance, just significantly higher-tech, and like, if they make tech off-screen it works, but if they make it on-screen, it goes wrong.
 

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