Gnomes are sly tricksters who excel at avoiding notice as they move between the Feywild and the world, driven by curiosity and wanderlust. When they are noticed, they tend to use humor to deflect attention and hide their true thoughts.

Description and Homelands

Gnomes, known also as the Forgotten Folk, are somewhat rare in Faerûn. Small communities exist in the Western Heartlands, Elturgard, and along the coast of the Shining Sea. Many gnomes dwell in the Underdark, and these are known as svirfneblin or deep gnomes. These svirfneblin are careful to keep themselves and the location of their cities concealed. They often settle near dwarves and maintain polite relations with their neighbors.

Gnomes have a strong sense of curiosity, and they are particularly interested in all things magical. This interest has led many to become affiliated with various arcane institutions. They generally lack the ambitions and motivations of big folk, and are content to lead simple lives. Their curiosity manifests in a variety of ways, depending on an individual gnome's interest. Some gnomes are content to wander between libraries and temples, gleaning knowledge from books and tomes. Others crave to explore lost ruins, delve deep into the world, and snoop around arcane laboratories. Despite the gnomish capacity for avoiding attention, many a gnome has met with an untimely demise at the hands of a sadistic dracolich, a malevolent mindflayer, or an enraged archmage.

Gnomes are smaller even than halflings, rarely exceeding 4 feet in height. Apart from their size, they resemble elves or eladrin, with pointed ears and chiseled facial features such as high cheekbones and sharp jaws. They have a more wild look than eladrin do, though, particularly in the hair that sprouts from their heads in random directions. Some male gnomes sprout tufts of hair from their chins, but they otherwise lack body hair.

Gnome skin tone ranges from a ruddy tan through woody brown to rocky gray. Their hair can be virtually any color, from stark white to blond and various shades of brown to autumnal orange or green. Their eyes are glittering black orbs. Gnomes are as long-lived as eladrin, living over 300 years, but they show more of the effects of age. 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.

Playing a Gnome in Toril

In quiet forests of the Feywild and remote woodlands in the world, gnomes live out of sight and mostly beneath the notice of larger races. Gnomes dwell in homes dug among the roots of trees, easily overlooked and cleverly concealed by camouflage and illusion. 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 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 rapidfire repartee. They are inventive and resourceful, although they have little interest in or aptitude for the kind of technology found in human cities. 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 were once enslaved by the fomorian rulers of the Feydark, the subterranean caverns of the Feywild. They regard their former masters with more fear than hatred, and they feel some degree of sympathy for the fey that still toil under fomorian lashes—particularly the spriggans, which some say are corrupted gnomes. 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.

Gnome Characteristics: Affable, clever, crafty, curious, funny, guarded, inconspicuous, inventive, secretive, sly, tricky
Male Names: Alston, Alvyn, Brocc, Eldon, Frug, Kellen, Ku, Nim, Orryn, Pock, Sindri, Warryn, Wrenn.
Female Names: Breena, Carlin, Donella, Ella, Lilli, Lorilla, Nissa, Nyx, Oda, Orla, Roswyn, Tana, Zanna.

Gnome Racial Traits

Average Height: 3' 4"–3' 8"
Average Weight: 50–75 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
Size: Small
Speed: 5 squares
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Common, Elven
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Stealth
Reactive Stealth: If you have cover or concealment when you make an initiative check, you can make a Stealth check to escape notice.
Fade Away: You can use fade away as an encounter power.

Fade Away Gnome Racial Power
You turn invisible in response to an enemy's attack.
Encounter ✦ Illusion
Immediate Reaction Personal
Trigger: You take damage.
Effect: You are invisible until you attack or until the end of your next turn.

Play a Gnome if you want…

  • to be curious, funny, and tricky.
  • to rely more on stealth and deception than on brute strength and intimidation.
  • to be a member of a race that favors the bard, sorcerer, warlock, and wizard classes.
  • to suck balls.

Character Races
Player's Handbook DragonbornDwarvesEladrinElvesHalf-ElvesHalflingsHumansTieflings
Player's Handbook 2 DevasGnomesGoliathsHalf-OrcsShifters
Player's Handbook 3 GithzeraiMinotaurShardmindWilden
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide DrowGenasi
Character Races

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