About half of Meckelorn's gnome minority are descended from the gnomes that joined the Meckelorner dwarves during their time of exile and about half of the gnomes migrated to Meckelorn after the Meckelorners reclaimed the Great Stone in 1313. Those who have family surnames recognized as those that fought beside the dwarves during the Great Exile are held in higher status and respect by Meckelorner dwarves, these gnomes are nicknamed "Iron Gnomes" and in game terms most of these gnomes have the "honorary dwarf clan member Merit". Regardless of their origins, Meckelorn's gnomes are generally culturally similar. They value peace, friendship, and cooperation but they recognize that peace sometimes requires a stout shield and a sharp axe to maintain. While not nearly as militarized as the dwarves, the gnomes of Meckelorn are among the hardiest and battle ready gnomes in all of Scarterra. Not every Meckelorn gnome can fight, but very few if any of them are philosophical pacifists. The gnomes of Meckelorn are patriotic and supportive of their nation's military efforts. When gnomes do participate in Meckelorn's military endeavors they tend to be masters of dirty fighting, both perpetrating espionage and spotting and preventing enemy espionage. A lot of gnomes in Scarterra have optimistic views of eventually brokering a lasting piece between orcs and goblins and the humans and demihumans, but no Meckelorn gnomes hold this view, at least not out loud.
Major language groups and dialects
Culture and cultural heritage
"We gnomes of Meckelorn have lived beside dwarves so long that we picked up a little bit of their lore of metal and stone. I can handle simple repairs on my weapons without needing to run crying to a dwarf every time, but for the most part we leave metal and stone work to our dwarf brethren. We couldn't possibly compete with them even if we wanted to. Also, we gnomes don't really have many weavers or seamstresses among, as the our batfolk brethen have this niche sewed up, pun intended. That doesn't mean we don't practice our own craftsmanship, we just deal with softer materials than stone and metal, but harder materials than cloth and rope. A lot of the best woodworkers, leatherworkers, and potters in Meckelorn are gnomes. We are not barred from any profession, really. Only merit matters in Meckelorn as we like to say. -Drudlunk, Meckelorn gnome warrior.
Shared customary codes and values
Meckelorn gnomes have assimilated a lot of values of Meckelorner dwarves. They value tradition, family honor, hard work and courage highly. To a lesser extant they value blunt honesty, stoicism, and machismo. Relative to other gnomes, Meckelorn gnomes are more likely to make it a point to make sure every man and woman has at least basic familiarity with common weapons, especially crossbows (which help compensate for most gnomes' lack of upper body strength).
Common Dress code
"We often have fancy threads for when we go on trips or greet outsiders, but most of the time we favor simple unadorned clothing, durable and functional. Like our dwarf friends, we don't waste a lot of time and resources on fancy dyes, though I suppose we do favor brighter and sunnier colors than our dwarf brethren. We dress pretty similar to our dwarf friends in this regard. Sometimes this causes confusion with outsiders given our smaller bodies, so that adult gnomes are sometimes mistaken for dwarf children. That said, very few dwarves have trouble telling us apart. Even wealthy Meckelorn gnomes find it distasteful to flaunt wealth, so we rarely wear jewelry, even less often than our dwarf friends." -Fielwa, gnome serving wench
Foods & Cuisine
"Throughout Scarterra, it is well known that most of the best cooks are gnomes. The Meckelorner gnomes are good cooks...in their own way. Generally cooks want to create the best flavorful, olfactory and visual experience for the people they serve. Meckelorners generally have a different priority. Their number one priority is to avoid waste and to stretch their food stores as far as possible. When it comes to managing food supplies fairly efficiently, Meckelorner gnomes are unsurpassed. When it comes to the flavor of their food, they are adequate. Meckelorn gnomes don't even bother with visual presentation, they just dump their food on the plates of those they serve. -Roodnat, gnome chef
"In our defense, our plates, cups, and cutlery are works of art in and of themselves. Usually the metalwork is done by our esteemed dwarf allies, so it is of course of unsurpassed quality. The ceramic and wood items we eat with are usually crafted and adorned by us, often with beautiful painted or carved patterns. Most other gnomes dine on crude wooden plates or simply use bread trenchers...which they then throw away!" -Fielwa, serving wench
Fancy dwarven plate by Me, using Nightcafe
Birth & Baptismal Rites
"Like our dwarf allies, we usually do not name our babies after eighteen days. We don't make a giant ceremony of it like the dwarves do. It is generally assumed that if a gnome baby survives eighteen days, it's probably going to be able to make it in the long term. We have a formal ceremony 40 to 60 days after a child is born. Why do we wait this long? To give extended family time to visit. We schedule a priest or priestess from one or more of the local clergy, preferably a gnome and invite as many extended family members, family friends and well-wishers. It is a sign of honor and trust to invite a non-gnome to such a ceremony but it is not particularly uncommon to do so. The child is annointed on the forehead with a mixture of soil, ash, and blood (or either their parents or grandparents) and then ritually bathed. The ceremony speaks of both the hardships of joys of life and the presiding priest or priestess asks the Nine and the assembled witnesses alike to bestow their blessings and protection on the child so he or she can weather life's hardships so that the child can grow up to enjoy life's joys as much as possible. The immediate family of the child then throws a big and rather expensive feast for all the assembled guests, but the guests bestow the child and his/her parents with a great many gifts and sometimes binding promises of babysitting. It's like a human baby shower that occurs after birth. -Fielwa, serving wench
Coming of Age Rites
Like most gnomes throughout Scarterra, we recognize our young men and women as full adults on their thirty-fifth birthday (not their thirty-fifth name day).
On a gnome's thirty-fifth name day, we tend to have a little party with extended family and close family friends. It's not as big deal as the Name Day rights, but it follows the same basic format (though the visiting priest or priestess doesn't glob gross things on the subject's forehead). Blessings and well wishes are bestowed, a nice meal is shared, and the young man or woman is bestowed with several gifts. This is probably the last time the gnome in question is likely to receive gifts (besides their wedding of course). From now on the gnome is expected to provide gifts to others. Typically the gnome has already begun his or her trade by this time, so the gathering will try to showcase the fruits of his/her professional labor if possible and appropriate. These gatherings are often used as a networking time to try to find the young gnome ongoing employment or if they are craftsment, to connect them with long-term customers. -Fielwa, serving wench
Funerary and Memorial customs
"Our funerals are pretty simple affairs. We consider the souls of the deceased and the memories they leave in the hearts and minds of the living to be of far greater importance than the fate of the remains. Most gnomes throughout Scarterra value their families greatly and our dwarf brethren practice formal filial piety that includes some form of ancestor worship. It is no surprise that we gnomes also practice formal filial piety and maintain extensive family shrines, and books and oral stories chronically the deeds of their ancestors. We gnomes of Meckelorn are less patrilineal than our dwarf brethren so it is more common for us to venerate both sides of their family going way back. Thus our records of ancestors tend to be very extensive and detailed." -Drudlunk Meckelorn gnome warrior
Physically most Meckelorn gnome are a bit stouter than most other gnomes. Meckelorn gnomes nearly always have very pronounced Earth ethnic traits often to the point where it eclipses all other traits though minor secondary traits are hardly unheard of for the other three elements. Gnomes in general have a mild bias towards watery traits, Meckelorn gnomes are probably the least watery gnomes in all Scarterra though certainly more watery than Meckelorner dwarves. Meckelorn gnomes are about equally likely to have secondary watery traits as they are to have secondary airy or fiery traits. As a result of all their earthiness, Meckelorn gnomes usually stand shorter than most gnomes elsewhere but they have more meat on their bones and better muscle tone. Appearing outwardly healthy and strong is considered attractive to both sexes. Skin tones lean towards greys over browns in a roughly 60/40 split. Hair tends towards dark brown or black. Women commonly wear their hair long in simple braids. Men may choose to braid their hair or keep their hair short. Unsurprisingly, most Meckelorn gnome men have beards but they tend to keep them fairly short and neat, rarely opting to keep beards as long and bushy as their dwarf allies. Meckelorn gnomes rarely try to make bold fashion statements with their choices in clothes and they almost never use cosmetics. Most Meckelorn gnomes take pride in their scars, especially the men.
Meckelorn gnomes are generally noticeably more patriarchal than most gnomes as a whole but noticeably less patriarchal than their dwarf allies. On paper, Meckelorn gnome women join their husband's clan (just like their dwarf allies), but in reality this doesn't matter at all to Meckelorn gnomes themselves who make it a point to keep in regular contact with all branches of their kin, no matter how far removed geographically or genealogically.
Like Meckelorner dwarves, Meckelorner gnomes often face a lot social pressure from their parents, aunts, uncles, and grand parents to pair up and have children. Gnomes who want to stay bachelors and spinsters had best join a priesthood or choose a profession that has a lot of extensive travel if they want to avoid this pressure. Like their dwarf allies, most marriages between Meckelorn gnomes are arranged. Unlike the dwarves, compatiability of partners is usually the first concern, above family dynamics or social status though there is some pressure for gnomes from the so called Iron Families to marry into other Iron Families. Given that gnomes are pretty good at reading social dynamics, it is rare for arranged marriages to end with either partner resenting the other.
Stereotypes Borderlander gnomes
"Better than the Borderlander humans for sure, but not by much. The Borderlander gnomes are a hodgepodge of cast-off gnomes from all the West Colassian groups so they while they keep their families close, they don't really have a true community beyond this and their selfishness shows." -Fielwa
"They might be a hodgepodge of different groups, but the Borderlander gnomes have more Meckelorner blood than they do any other group, so they are still our kin. If the these gnomes are harsh it's because they live in a harsh land which makes them kindred spirits given what Meckelorn endured." -Drudlunkforest gnomes
"I never met a forest gnome, but I consider them kindred spirits. We are very similar to forest gnomes in many respects. Most gnomes are assimilated with humans, and they like us have adapted to the customs of non-humans. Relatively insular non-humans at that. But because of this, they created strong mutual ties with the wood elves much as we have created strong ties with the Meckelorner dwarves." -Drudlunk
"I met a forest gnome once, on one of hose Rumspringas or whatever you call them. He was friendly enough, but he seemed jumpy and paranoid underground, as if he expected a monster to leap out of every dark corner. Meckelorn may be isolationist, but it is down right welcoming and open compared to Codenya. Maybe if Codenya wasn't so closed, the locals wouldn't be so scared by the unknown. -FielwaFumayan gnomes
"I am proud to call these gnomes kin. A lot of Fumayan lords and ladies have trusted gnome advisors and this has led to the human's credit. At the same time, this influence has not corrupted the Fumayan gnomes. I look forward to any excuse to visit Fumaya. The Fumayan gnomes are gracious hosts and make some of the best food I've ever tasted. -Fielwa
"I don't disagree with anything you said. In fact, I will add another compliment upon them. They are hardworking and strong. Outside of Meckelorn, this is one of the few places you regularly see gnomes serving in the army. -DrudlunkStahlheimer gnomes
"The Stahlheimer gnomes share much blood with us but little else. Living in Stahlheim has made them soft, gnomes rarely if ever support Stahlheim's military. Stahlheim gnomes are friendly and charming but more than a little greedy, like feather-less tengku. -Drudlunk
"My grandmother is from Stahlheim. In her defense and the defense of the Stahlheim gnomes in general, they don't have much martial edge because they don't need a martial edge. It's not the Stahlheimer's fault that their nation is not attacked by orcs and monsters nearly as often. The Stahlheim gnomes are trying to look after their loved ones like everyone else. It just is the lot they were dealt with that this often revolves around diplomacy and mercantile endeavors as opposed to acts of valor and working with their hands." -FielwaKantoc gnomes
"I met a few Kantoca humans passing through, but I've never met a Kantoca gnome. We are gnomes of the mountains, they are gnomes of the open plains. I'm sure they are nice people, but we really don't have anything in common with them, and we rarely cross paths." -Fielwa
"It may not seem like it, but the pony riders are pretty similar to us in many ways. They are tough and hardy and venerate Hallisan. That is good enough for me." -DrudlunkSwynfaredian gnomes
"In many human lands, gnomes are trusted advisors to kings and queens. In Swynfaredian, the dragon bloods don't often take on gnome advisors because they nepotistically want to give all the managerial appointments to their squib relatives. The Swynfaredian gnomes are largely shut out of Swynfaredian society on every social level. Swynfaredia has far fewer gnomes in the skilled trades than most other lands because these jobs are all snatched up by humans. It is a wonder why the Swynfaredian gnomes have emigrated out en masse." -Fielwa
"I've only been to Swynfaredia once. I found the Swynfaredian gnomes to be very welcoming and friendly folk. It is true that the dragon bloods shut out gnomes from high society here, but neither are they cruel. The gnomes here are usually left to their own devices and the gnome villages in Swynfaredia are like islands of peace and comraderie in a hostile sea of petty human politics." -DrudlunkUskalan gnomes
"I never traveled to Uskala and I never want to. Gnomes shape themselves to fit into the lands they inhabit and Uskala is a poisoned land." -Drudlunk
"In the defense of the Uskalan gnomes, it is not their fault they live in a pit of vipers. Even then, I'd just assume never interact with any of them. In their arrogance, they don't view Meckelorn as being worth their time, and I don't feel the need to correct them. -FielwaZegdelian gnomes
"I never met one of these reindeer riders but I would very much like to. Anyone who can survive the Great Colassian Tundra is quite resilient and thus worthy of respect. They must be able to tell amazing stories." -Drudlunk
"My cousin is friends with a kalazotz who is friends with a dwarf ranger who once met a few Zegdelian gnomes and bartered with them. That is the closest thing I have to a first-hand account of what the Zegdelians are like. I'll reserve judgement until I can get more information, but the reindeer riders don't seem to have much interest in socializing with outsiders much and that seems...ungnome-like. -Fielwa