Gnomes Species in Ayn | World Anvil
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In game mechanics
Gnomes will follow Pathfinder's rules as defined here, except for minor changes. The following changes are made:   Ability Score Modifiers: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their intelligence is well known. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, and –2 Strength.   Social difficulty: ★★☆☆☆ - Gnomes are eccentric and difficult to understand. While not mistrusted, they are often considered a nuisance. Gnomes can be considered useful by some and may be consulted for complex problem solving, but this is rare. They are welcome in most civil cities, however, so a gnome's stay in Ayn is not considered a hostile one.
Curious, whimsical, short - All common adjectives fit to describe the gnome. Created by Ciel - Goddess of Life as an answer to dwarves being unable to maneuver too deep into Ayn since the core, made up of pure essence, affected and killed them. However, because of their environment, the gnomes of present are far different than the gnomes of yore.

In fact, gnomes both resemble other races and stand out completely. On a surface level they appear like diminutive mixture of dwarves and humans, standing just above 3 feet in height, with standard anatomy. Yet they are distinguished by their incredibly unique skin colors. Although it retains the properties of flesh, the colorization has been warped by essence to take on vivid colors like how gemstones may. The color happens at random, as two parents may have a child of entirely different shades and hues than their own skin.   Because of the essence that attached itself to them, some are born with pointed ears while most are rounded. Unlike elves, those with pointed ears are not able to hear better, as their underground chambers have no need for deft hearing. The more common, rounded ears grow to large sizes, comical to other races.   Like dwarves, they are capable of growing a large beard and facial hair. Unlike dwarves, however, they often style their hair in wild and unusual ways, from pointy mustaches to wild mohawks, and, to match their skin color, they are oft to dye their locks to express themselves even more.

Unlike halflings that blend in due to their charisma and unassuming looks, gnomes stand out at almost every corner. Disregarding their short stature and bright colored skin, they often lack the same social grace that guides others comfortably through interactions. Instead they opt to get to the point and may be considered a bit blunt as they poke and prod their way through their curiosity.   Gnome adventurers are often driven by an intense, external need of some sort. This could be to find the rare widget to help complete their life's work or to test out their new 'Dragon Sneeze Inducer' on as many different colored dragons as possible. Most gnomes recognize their small stature and the limits that come with it and will often seek a traveling party to help reach their goals.

Basic Information

Ecology and Habitats

Gnomes were originally created to tend to the small caves tucked into mountains. While a dwarf might carve the mountain to suit their needs, gnomes are content with building around cave walls or using the stalactites to their advantage by hanging ropes or hammocks from them. It's in these caves that they've built modes of transportation such as steam powered mine carts and gnome shaped suction tubes to pull them from place to place. Although crystals act as a light source, they've also taken to hanging up lanterns, creating a mesmerizing effect for newcomers.   Gnomes are far too focused in their work to devote time to building sprawling kingdoms or participating in political affairs. Because of this, their settlements lean more on function over form.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Gnomes value whimsy in their naming conventions but often do not work to make the last name connect with the first. This will lead to complex and odd sounding first names, and surnames that sound as if they came from a child's book, often celebrating their inventive nature.   Some will also adopt nicknames for themselves and come up with far-fetched excuses as to why they need a nickname, such as 'What if we're caught by orcs who speak our language and are separating us through alphabetical means. I may need a nickname so they know to put me in the same room as my best friend!' The real answer is, more often than not, they just like having a nickname.
  Male: Klindicock, Lorkiriko, Gadelkizz   Female: Affelspia, Biriryl, Klibi-ibi   Surnames: Puddlebell, Wobblewrench, Bizzwhistle   Nicknames: Pockets, Mr. Little, Stuffy, Mousse, Mitsy, Bullseye

Average Technological Level

Gnomish technology is a league all of its own. Commonly referred to as impractical, complicated, and nonsensical, it is rarely used outside of gnome circles, and often counted more as a liability than a necessity. Their pursuit of technology is fueled more by curiosity and a desire to learn and grow rather than financial or power gains, favoring the journey of their mind's advancement rather than simply producing an end result. Despite their clear enthusiasm for the craft, they are avid over thinkers, often taking longer to draw up schematics and blueprints, or to conceptualize the many steps and materials than actually creating or testing the product.   It's this impracticality, time taken to produce the creation, as well as how poorly optimized the final product turns out to be that causes other races to not fear gnomes taking over the world through their technological brilliance.
"I've got an idea! Step powered, shoe fire extinguishers! If your shoes catch on fire, you run in place to charge them up, then lift one shoe over the other to extinguish that fire! Then power it up again to extinguish the other shoe!   Why, it's brilliant!"
— Nibble "Bolts" Spitzwoggle, Gnomish Inventor Extraordinaire
If offered an alternate, more practical use for their creation, or an adjustment that would rationalize the item, they will often deny the merit, not out of stubborn pride, but a simple inability to recognize the justification. An example might be, "Why would I make my gas powered chicken feet cooker cook other foods? It cooks chicken feet just fine!"   That said, they are capable of producing quality, helpful goods, but these are rare as they often bore the inventor since they are 'too normal'


Originally they were simply shorter dwarves with a child like exterior, but as they spent their time in the cavernous depths, they found that essence concentrated itself in large amounts, mostly in the crystalline nodes that littered the walls and floors. Of course this didn't concern them, content to toil about their simple existence, but slowly it would infect and shape their new guests, the essence dispersing to join with that which made up the gnomes originally.   This changed them in subtle ways at first. They grew more capricious and intelligent, curious not only about the world but mechanization, engineering, and inventing. Their skin began to change colors with each generation, turning into more vivid, gem-like hues. Some gnomes inherited pointed ears, some retained rounded ears. Many began to explore magic and how it could be used to improve their lives. This was the dawn of a new, different gnome.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

For gnomes, creating long standing and fulfilling relationships is an uphill battle. Not only do other races find them difficult to take seriously due to their aesthetic both physically and audibly, gnomish thought processes are incredibly difficult to follow, likened to scattered and unconnected dots. This can manifest itself in strange ways, such as inside jokes between friends that, even if the other person isn't present, they may refer to in random thought and then burst into hysterics, unable to understand why it isn't particularly amusing to everyone who isn't in the know.   Although fascinated by most all other races, they find the best company in humans and dwarves. The former has interacted with enough races that they tolerate the gnomes and can sometimes get along with them, and the latter begrudgingly obliges their antics, mildly praising their inventiveness and ingenuity, while equally scorning their juvenile behavior.   Halflings share a kindred spirit as the 'other short race', but they are quite different. Gnomes are more eccentric and capricious, often bumbling through conversation, while halflings embody a more free and laid back spirit.   Although Shroomen are close cousins of the gnome, they are considered a de-evolution and backwards troglodytes. Gnomes have adopted a racial slur, 'Fungaloid', to verbally ridicule.

Alignment And Religion

Gnomes are more logic oriented and thus think less on moral right and wrongs, but instead if things are 'good and bad' in a mechanical sense. For example, a gnome may not think it's morally wrong to steal because of basic laws of empathy and the fact that it's taking from another person, but rather they may find it bad because it takes too much time and effort that could be diverted to other pursuits, as well as the extra items may clutter their workspace. It's this scattered thought process that lends them to a more chaotic alignment, though they often don't pursue forms of explicit 'good' or 'evil'. If they do it is more of a side effect of doing what is logically more sound for the situation, or what is logically more disabling for their perceived opposition.   A good oriented gnome may pursue inventions to improve people's lives, finding no merit in needless violence as better moral harmony often results in minds working together for the sake of progress. Adversely, an evil gnome may be stricken by a sense of ego at their heightened intellect and begin to see others are inferior, unfit, and more importantly, out to topple their superior mind. Evil gnome inventions are often more violent and ill intended.   While gnomes rarely find time or merit in worship, those that do pray often do so to deities within the knowledge domain.
Scientific Name
Homo Pollus
210 Years
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Thanks to the crystals deep within the mountains, their skin takes on varying hues any color of the rainbow, ranging from muted, flesh tones to vibrant and bright arrays.
Related Ethnicities
Growth Rate & Stages

Although Gnomes have a child like aesthetic all through their life, they are actually one of the slowest growing races, reaching adulthood at 40 years and middle age at 100. Those that haven't blown themselves up in an unfortunate engineering accident usually reach death at 210 years of age.

Dietary Needs

Gnomes prefer to eat for substance rather than flavor and place little value in gourmet food. Because of their underground environments they have developed a taste, and recipes, for fish, bivalve mollusks, and most of all, mushrooms.


Gnomes speak Common, Gnomish, and Dwarven.   Often when gnomes begin a project in a group setting, their jargon can become difficult to understand as they weave in technical jargon to dizzying degrees.

"No no no! You need to put the ionized impulse accelerator before the anomalous frequency modulation drive! Only then will the ventral dynamic hyperwave recharge the microfilament pulse scrambling device!"
— A frustrated inventor to his assistant.

Articles under Gnomes

Cover image: by Matt Forsyth


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9 Jul, 2019 03:48

Before Dragonborn were created Gnomes were the ONLY race I placed. Kudos on a version of them I would beg to play!