Gnomes are welcome everywhere as technicians, alchemists, and inventors. Despite the demand for their skills, most gnomes prefer to remain among their own kind, living in comfortable burrows beneath rolling, wooded hills where animals abound.
Gnomes adore/love/admire/like animals, beautiful gems, and jokes of all kinds. Members of this race have a great sense of humor and while they love puns, jokes, and games, they also relish tricks-the more intricate the better. They apply the same dedication to more practical arts, such as engineering, as they do their pranks.
Gnomes are inquisitive. They love to find things out by personal experience. At times they're even reckless. Their curiosity makes them skilled engineers, since they are always trying new ways to build things. Sometimes a gnome pulls a prank just to see how the people involved will react.
Gnomes stand about 3 to 3-1/2 feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their skin ranges from dark tan to woody brown, their hair is fair, and their eyes can be any shade of blue. Gnome males prefer short, carefully trimmed beards. Gnomes generally wear leather or earth tones, and they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Gnomes reach adulthood at age 40 and they typically live around 350 years, though some can live almost 500 years.
Gnomes get along well with dwarves, who share their love of precious objects, their curiosity about mechanical devices, and their hatred of goblins and giants. They enjoy the company of halflings, especially those who are easygoing enough to put up with pranks and jests. Most gnomes are a little suspicious of the taller races-humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs-but they are rarely hostile or malicious. Gnomes despise kobolds, a feeling that is mutual between them.
Gnomes are most often good. Those who tend toward law are sages, engineers, researchers, scholars, investigators, or consultants. Those who tend toward chaos are minstrels, tricksters, wanderers, or fanciful jewelers. Gnomes are good-hearted and even the tricksters among them are more playful than vicious. Evil gnomes are as rare as they are frightening.
Gnomes make their homes in hilly, wooded lands. They live underground but get more fresh air than dwarves do, enjoying the natural, living world on the surface whenever they can. Their homes are well hidden by both clever construction and illusions. Those who come to visit and are welcome are ushered into the bright, warm burrows. Those who are not welcome never find the burrows in the first place.
Gnomes who settle in human lands are commonly gem cutters, mechanics, sages, or tutors. Some human families retain gnome tutors. During his life, a gnome tutor can teach several generations of a single human family.
The chief gnome god is Garl Glittergold, the Watchful Protector. His clerics teach that gnomes are to cherish and support their communities. Pranks are seen as ways to lighten spirits and to keep gnomes humble, not as ways for pranksters to triumph over those they trick.
The Gnome language, which uses the Dwarven script, is renowned for its technical treatises and its catalogs of knowledge about the natural world. Human herbalists, naturalists, and engineers commonly learn Gnome in order to read the best books on their topics of study.
Gnomes love names, and most have half a dozen or so. As a gnome grows up, his mother gives him a name, his father gives him a name, his clan elder gives him a name, his aunts and uncles give him a name, and he gains nicknames from just about anyone. Gnome names are typically variants on the names of ancestors or distant relatives, though some are purely new inventions. When dealing with humans and others who are rather "stuffy" about names, a gnome learns to act as if he has no more than three names: a personal name, a clan name, and a nickname. When deciding which of his several names to use among humans, a gnome generally chooses the one that's the most fun to say. Gnome clan names are combinations of common Gnome words, and gnomes almost always translate them into Common when in human lands (or into Elven when in elven lands, and so on).
Gnomes are curious and impulsive. They may take up adventuring as a way to see the world or for the love of exploring. Lawful gnomes may adventure to set things right and to protect the innocent, demonstrating the same sense of duty toward society as a whole that gnomes generally exhibit towards their own enclaves. As lovers of gems and other fine items, some gnomes take to adventuring as a quick, if dangerous, path to wealth. Depending on his relationship to his home clan, an adventuring gnome may be seen as a vagabond or even something of a traitor (for abandoning clan responsibilities).