A greater race in Azolin
Gnomes are welcome everywhere as technicians, alchemists, and inventors. Despite the demand for their skills, most gnomes prefer to remain among their own kind, living in comfortable burrows beneath rolling, wooded hills where animals abound.
Gnomes adore animals, beautiful gems, and jokes of all kinds. Members of this race have a great sense of humor, and while they love puns, jokes, and games, they relish tricks—the more intricate the better. They apply the same dedication to more practical arts, such as engineering, as they do to their pranks. Gnomes are inquisitive. They love to find things out by personal experience. At times they’re even reckless. Their curiosity makes them skilled engineers, since they are always trying new ways to build things. Sometimes a gnome pulls a prank just to see how the people involved will react.
Gnomes stand about 3 to 3-1/2 feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their skin ranges from dark tan to woody brown, their hair is fair, and their eyes can be any shade of blue. Gnome males prefer short, carefully trimmed beards. Gnomes generally wear leather or earth tones, and they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Gnomes reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 350 years, though some can live almost 500 years. They show more of the effects of age then other long-lived races. A gnome over the age of 100 has gray or white hair and skin that shows the wrinkled and weathered lines of a century of laughter, but even the oldest gnome retains the strength and agility of youth.
Gnomes get along well with dwarves, who share their love of precious objects, their curiosity about mechanical devices, and their hatred of goblins and giants. They enjoy the company of halflings, especially those who are easygoing enough to put up with pranks and jests. Most gnomes are a little suspicious of the taller races — humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs — but they are rarely hostile or malicious.
Gnomes on Azolin
Gnomes make their homes in hilly, wooded lands. They live underground but get more fresh air than dwarves do, enjoying the natural, living world on the surface whenever they can. Gnomes dwell in homes dug among the roots of trees, easily overlooked and cleverly concealed by camouflage and illusion. Those who come to visit and are welcome are ushered into the bright, warm burrows. Those who are not welcome never find the burrows in the first place. They are fond of the burrowing mammals that share their habitat, such as badgers, foxes, and rabbits, and have a sense of kinship with these small animals that share their forests.
Unobtrusiveness is a virtue among some gnome subraces (see whisper gnomes). They grow up on games of stealth and silence, in which the winner is the last to be discovered. An adult gnome who draws attention in a crowd is considered dangerously rude. Gnome folk heroes are not mighty warriors, but tricksters who slip out of captivity, play great pranks without being detected, or sneak past magical guardians. They deflect both aggression and attention with humor, and they guard their thoughts with friendly laughter.
Gnomes also value a quick mind and the ability to come up with a clever solution to any problem. They appreciate witty conversation, especially rapid-fire repartee. They are inventive and resourceful, and some have extreme aptitude for the kind of technology found in human cities (see tinker gnomes). They have an innate talent for magic and a love of illusion, music, poetry, and story.
Eager to see what the world has to offer and willing to be awed by its wonders, gnomes greet the world with open curiosity. Gnomes who are drawn to adventure are most often driven by curiosity and wanderlust above any desire for wealth or glory.
Gnomes are not fond of goblins or kobolds, but in typical gnome fashion, they avoid creatures they dislike rather than crusading against them. They are fond of eladrin and other friendly fey, and gnomes who travel the world have good relations with elves and halflings.
Gnomes who settle in human lands are commonly gem-cutters, mechanics, sages, or tutors. Some human families retain gnome tutors. During his life, a gnome tutor can teach several generations of a single human family.
Gnomes are most often good. Those who tend toward law are sages, engineers, researchers, scholars, investigators, or consultants. Those who tend toward chaos are minstrels, tricksters, wanderers, or fanciful jewelers. Gnomes are good-hearted, and even the tricksters among them are more playful than vicious. Evil gnomes are as rare as they are frightening.
The chief gnome god is Garl Glittergold, the Watchful Protector. His clerics teach that gnomes are to cherish and support their communities. Pranks are seen as ways to lighten spirits and to keep gnomes humble, not as ways for pranksters to triumph over those they trick. Other deities the gnomes hold in favor are in the Feyfolk Pantheon.
The Gnome language, which uses a form of the Dwarven script, is renowned for its technical treatises and its catalogs of knowledge about the natural world. Human herbalists, naturalists, and engineers commonly learn Gnome in order to read the best books on their topics of study.
Gnomes love names, and most have half a dozen or so. As a gnome grows up, his mother gives him a name, his father gives him a name, his clan elder gives him a name, his aunts and uncles give him names, and he gains nicknames from just about anyone. Gnome names are typically variants on the names of ancestors or distant relatives, though some are purely new inventions. When dealing with humans and others who are rather “stuffy” about names, a gnome learns to act as if he has no more than three names: a personal name, a clan name, and a nickname. When deciding which of his several names to use among humans, a gnome generally chooses the one that’s the most fun to say. Gnome clan names are combinations of common Gnome words, and gnomes almost always translate them into Common when in human lands (or into Elven when in elven lands, and so on).
Male Names: Boddynock, Dimble, Fonkin, Gimble, Glim, Gerbo, Jebeddo, Namfoodle, Roondar, Seebo, Zook, Alston, Alvyn, Brocc, Eldon, Frug, Kellen, Ku, Nim, Orryn, Pock, Sindri, Warryn, Wrenn.
Female Names: Bimpnottin, Caramip, Duvamil, Ellywick, Ellyjobell, Loopmottin, Mardnab, Roywyn, Shamil, Waywocket, Breena, Carlin, Donella, Ella, Lilli, Lorilla, Nissa, Nyx, Oda, Orla, Roswyn, Tana, Zanna
Clan Names: Beren, Daergel, Folkor, Garrick, Nackle, Murnig, Ningel, Raulnor, Scheppen, Turen.
Nicknames: Aleslosh, Ashhearth, Badger, Cloak, Doublelock, Filchbatter, Fnipper, Oneshoe, Sparklegem, Stumbleduck.
Gnomes are curious and impulsive. They may take up adventuring as a way to see the world or for the love of exploring. Lawful gnomes may adventure to set things right and to protect the innocent, demonstrating the same sense of duty toward society as a whole that gnomes generally exhibit toward their own enclaves. As lovers of gems and other fine items, some gnomes take to adventuring as a quick, if dangerous, path to wealth. Depending on his relations to his home clan, an adventuring gnome may be seen as a vagabond or even something of a traitor (for abandoning clan responsibilities).