Gnomes

One of the empire’s founding races, the gnomes have never had a homeland of their own. Living scattered throughout the lands of the dwarves, kithkin, and vedalken, the gnomes are a clandestine people who live in small enclaves within their host nations or in tiny villages in the wild. They are thought to be close relatives of the dwarves, and indeed they were once close friends and allies of the stout folk before the dwarven tyrant Havor Ironfoot arose and set his people against them. Since Havor’s overthrow fifty years ago the gnomes have returned in small numbers to the dwarf-holds, but most now live scattered across the continent.

Gnomes are somewhere between dwarves and kithkin in size, standing about 3 and a half feet tall. Their bodies are wiry and tough; their heads, hands, and feet appear proportionately larger than other races’. Gnomes’ facial features tend toward large eyes, long thin noses, and small pointed ears.

Arcane Gnomes
Since the days before the empire’s founding the arcane gnomes lived alongside the dwarves in their northern holds, but growing distrust of these secretive people among the stout folk led to a series of brutal wars that ended in the gnomes’ diaspora across the continent. Today the arcane gnomes’ largest populations still lie in the southernmost dwarf holds, but there’s not a major city in the empire without a sizable gnomish enclave. Arcane gnomes are much sought after as alchemists, spies, and diviners.

Arcane gnomes have dark features, with nut-brown skin, black or dark brown hair, and dark green or violet eyes. Women keep their hair cut short; men wear it longer, and often sport curled goatees. They are fond of sweeping robes or dresses with elaborate and highly colorful patterns. The race is known for their distinctive pointed felt caps; the triangle is a sacred shape to the gnomes, as the tapered peak represents the educated few and the wide base the ignorant many.

Arcane Gnome Racial Traits
  • Usually lawful.
  • -2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom
  • Small: +1 size bonus to Armor Class, +2 size bonus on attack rolls, +4 size bonus on Hide checks, uses smaller weapons than Medium characters, lifting and carrying limits three-quarters of a Medium character.
  • Arcane gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
  • Low-light Vision.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Arcane gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions.
  • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against all illusion spells cast by arcane gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects, such as the Spell Focus feat.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against Large humanoids.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen and Craft (alchemy) checks.
  • Use Magical Device is always a class skill for arcane gnomes.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: An arcane gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; DC 10 + gnome’s Cha modifier + spell level.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Gnome. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Goblin, Orc, Sylvan, and Vedalken.
  • Preferred Classes: Wizard (especially enchanter and illusionist), bard, rogue.

River Gnomes
The river gnomes are a quiet, secretive people who have lived in the marshy delta lands about the vedalken cities since time immemorial, as well as inland along the River Tronwyn and other northeastern waterways. They were mostly untouched by Havor’s wars. Dwelling in riverbank burrow-villages, river gnomes are garrulous and playful among their own kind but quiet and reserved toward outsiders.

River gnomes are natural swimmers with no body hair and lightly webbed fingers and toes. Both sexes tend to keep their hair cut very short. They prefer simple, loose clothes that can be quickly removed for a dip.

River Gnome Racial Traits
  • Usually neutral.
  • -2 Strength, +2 Constitution
  • Small: +1 size bonus to Armor Class, +2 size bonus on attack rolls, +4 size bonus on Hide checks, uses smaller weapons than Medium characters, lifting and carrying limits three-quarters of a Medium character.
  • River gnome base land speed is 20 feet. They also have a swim speed of 20 feet; this grants them a +8 racial bonus to any Swim check to perform a special action or avoid a hazard. They can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if rushed or threatened when swimming. River gnomes can use the run action while swimming, provided they swim in a straight line.
  • Low-light Vision.
  • Weapon Familiarity: River gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
  • Hold Breath: Although they do not possess any inborn ability to breathe water, a river gnome can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to four times her Constitution score.
  • +1 racial bonus to initiative checks. River gnomes are graceful and quick to spring into action.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions.
  • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against all illusion spells cast by river gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects, such as the Spell Focus feat.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against Large humanoids.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks and any Craft checks made involving wood.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (river-dwelling animals such as fish, ducks, and otters only). Caster level 1st.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Gnome. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Goblin, Kithkin, Sylvan, and Vedalken.
  • Preferred Classes: Ranger, bard, rogue.

Gnomes

Empire of Ald Filby