Gnomes
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The human scholars of Candlekeep refer to the gnomes as the Forgotten Folk, for their willful evasion of the great wars and tragedies that color the history of Faerûn’s other races. While the gnomes have been slaves of powerful nations such as Netheril and Calimshan in the past, they have never been conquerors. For the most part, they have lived in out-of-the-way forests and hills, untroubled by the conflicts that occupy human, elven, and dwarven attention.

That has changed as the strength and number of humans in Faerûn has grown. Many gnome youngsters now question the wisdom of attempting to remain completely separate from other societies. Change within gnome communities is slower than in human ones, but more and more young gnomes are leaving home to live as travelers or adventures.

When Gond, the god of invention, appeared to the world in the form of a gnome, many young gnomes took that as a sign that it was time for gnomes to invent a new way of life. These followers of Gond share the standard gnome distaste for joining organizations that are too big, so they tend to organize themselves into small groups of like-minded inventors rather than trying to remake gnome communities in their own image.

Deep Gnome

Hidden in the depths of the Underdark live the svirfneblin, or deep gnomes. Reclusive, suspicious, and resentful of intrusion into their cavern homes, the deep gnomes share little of the humor or openness of their surface cousins. Where a rock gnome community bursts with energy, excitement, and laughter, a svirfneblin city is a dull and colorless place of echoing silence and furtive motion in the shadows. All hands are raised against the svirfneblin—or so the deep gnomes believe, anyway.

The deep gnomes may be the world’s stealthiest and most elusive folk. Centuries upon centuries of surviving the deadly perils of the Underdark have bred in this race an amazing gift for avoiding attention. In their cavern homes they are nearly undetectable with magic, and even in the strange and threatening (to them) surface world, the deep gnomes’ natural stealth makes them difficult to spot or catch.

Svirfneblin have gnarled physiques, brown or gray skin, gray eyes, and gray hair (although males are bald). They tend to be sullen, withdrawn, and suspicious to a fault.

Regions

Very few of the Underdark towns and strongholds of the deep gnomes are known to the surface world.

Four years ago, several hundred svirfneblin from the city of Blingdenstone were driven to the surface in the Silver Marches when their city was overrun by drow-summoned demons. These exiles sought refuge in the lands of Silverymoon and are occasionally seen in the North.

Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength. Svirfneblin are quick but not terribly strong.
  • Small: As a Small creature, a svirfneblin gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
  • Svirfneblin base land speed is 20 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: A svirfneblin can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Darkvision: Svirfneblin can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and svirfneblin can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Stonecunning: This ability grants a svirfneblin a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A svirfneblin who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a svirfneblin can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A svirfneblin can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Svirfneblin have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Svirfneblin may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects. Svirfneblin are resistant to magic.
  • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by svirfneblin. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids. Svirfneblin battle these creatures frequently and practice special techniques for fighting them.
  • +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class against all creatures. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks. Svirfneblin have keen ears.
  • +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks. A svirfneblin’s sensitive nose allows him to monitor alchemical processes by smell.
  • +2 racial bonus on Hide checks. A svirfneblin is an expert at remaining unseen. This bonus improves to +4 underground.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute). A svirfneblin with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + svirfneblin’s Cha modifier + spell level. 1/day—resistance, daze, lullaby. Caster level equals one-half character level, DC 10 + spell level + Cha modifier.
  • Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass svirfneblin’s rogue class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.

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Rock Gnome

Rock gnomes are the most common type of gnomes in Faerûn, and are usually just called gnomes, since they are the only sort that surface dwellers ever see. The rock gnomes of Faerûn are nearly identical to the gnomes portrayed in the Player’s Handbook. They are inquisitive, irrepressible, and at time insincere.

Equipped by nature with keen curiosity and a knack for mechanical workings, gnomes excel at intricate crafts such as gemcutting, toymaking, and clockwork engineering. They happen to be the finest gunsmiths in Faerûn, and they are the most likely of any race to arm themselves with smokepowder firearms.

Regions

If the rock gnomes had a homeland, they would probably count it as the half-mythical island of Lantan. Other than in Lantan, rock gnomes do not dwell in quantity in any particular country or city. Instead, small communities of a dozen families or so might be found almost anywhere, well hidden in wild terrain or sometimes in their own urban neighborhood. They favor temperate climates, and a number of gnome settlements are known to exist in the Western Heartlands, the Dalelands, and the woodlands of the Great Dale and Thesk.

Racial Traits

  • +2 Constitution, –2 Strength. Like dwarves, rock gnomes are tough, but they are small and therefore not as strong as larger humanoids.
  • Small: As a Small creature, a rock gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
  • Rock gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: A rock gnome can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Rock gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions. Rock gnomes are innately familiar with illusions of all kinds.
  • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by rock gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids. Rock gnomes battle these creatures frequently and practice special techniques for fighting them.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. This bonus represents special training that rock gnomes undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks. Rock gnomes have keen ears.
  • +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks. A rock gnome’s sensitive nose allows him to monitor alchemical processes by smell.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute). A rock gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + rock gnome’s Cha modifier + spell level.
  • Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass rock gnome’s bard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.

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