Gnome (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Gnome
DnD gnome.png
Characteristics
Alignment Usually Neutral Good

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, gnomes are one of the core races available for play as player characters.[1] Some speculate that they are closely related to dwarves; however, gnomes are more tolerant of other races and of magic, and are skilled with illusions.[1] Gnomes are small humanoids, standing 3–3.5 feet (91–107 cm) tall.

Publication history[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

The gnome first appeared in the original 1974 edition of Dungeons & Dragons,[2] and in its second supplement, Blackmoor (1975).[3]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition[edit]

The gnome appeared as a player character race in the original Player's Handbook (1978).[4] The gnome also appeared in the original Monster Manual (1977).[5] A new gnomish subrace, the deep gnome (svirfneblin), was presented as a character race in the original Unearthed Arcana (1985).[6] Another gnome subrace, the tinker gnome (minoi), was presented in Dragonlance Adventures.

Gnomes were originally introduced to Dungeons & Dragons as a new alternative to dwarves, elves, and halflings.[7] They were developed from mythology from a number of different sources, originally being a bearded, short race similar to halflings and dwarves. The gnome's niche in play was made magical, to separate it from the more warrior-like dwarf and the more rogue-like halfling.[8]

Dungeons & Dragons (Basic/BECMI)[edit]

The gnome appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set as a "monster". The gnome appeared as a player character class in Top Ballista (1989).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition[edit]

The gnome appeared as a character race in the second edition Player's Handbook (1989).[9] The gnome also appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989).[10] Four gnomish races – forest, rock, tinker, and deep (svirfneblin) – were detailed as player character races in The Complete Book of Gnomes and Halflings (1993).[11]

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition[edit]

The gnome appeared as a character race in the third edition Player's Handbook (2000),[12] and in the 3.5 revised Player's Handbook.[13] Gnomes were detailed for the Forgotten Realms setting in Races of Faerûn (2003).[14] Gnomes were one of the races detailed in Races of Stone (2004).

Throughout D&D history, up to and including the third edition Player's Handbook, spellcaster gnomes were either illusionists or had illusionist as their favored class.[15][16] However, in Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5, gnomes' favored class has been changed to bard, as the favored class of "illusionist" was a subset of the wizard class. The wizard favored class was also already used by elves. In D&D v.3.5, gnomes are inventors and alchemists who love pranks and excel at engineering. The tinker gnomes of Dragonlance are mechanically skilled, though their devices are quite prone to backfiring. It has been suggested that gnomes be given the Eberron class artificer as a favored class, due to their technical aptitude.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition[edit]

Gnomes appeared in 4th edition as a player character race in Player's Handbook 2 (2009).[17] The gnome appeared in the Monster Manual (2008).

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

The gnome was included as a player race in the 5th edition Player's Handbook (2014).[18] Two subraces were introduced with it: the forest gnome and the rock gnome. The Player's Handbook connects the rock gnomes to the tinker gnomes of the Dragonlance setting.

The deep gnome (svirfneblin) is also referenced in the Player's Handbook, and is fully detailed in the 5th edition Monster Manual (2014).[18][19] The Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015) presents the deep gnome as a player race.[20]

Subraces[edit]

Gnomes in Dungeons & Dragons have been further divided into various subraces:

  • Rock gnomes are the standard gnome subrace of Third Edition. They live in burrows beneath rolling, wooded hills.
  • Tinker gnomes are the common gnomes of the Dragonlance campaign setting. In that fictional universe, they dwell in the Mount Nevermind in the world of Krynn.
  • Svirfneblin, or deep gnomes, dwell in cities deep underground. They are more dangerous than the common rock gnome.
  • Forest gnomes are smaller than rock gnomes. They are a shy, secretive folk, living deep in wooded areas.[21] Friends to animals, forest gnomes have a racial ability that allows them to speak with small animals.
  • River Gnomes are graceful and quick. They live in homes dug into the side of riverbanks and speak with river dwelling animals in place of burrowing mammals. They are non-magical but gain +1 to initiative and are proficient swimmers.
  • Arcane Gnomes are city dwellers. They generally keep to a small community within a larger city. Arcane gnomes are focused on the pursuit of knowledge making their populace, in large part, over-eager inventors or wizards.
  • Chaos gnomes are the most flamboyant gnomes. Brightly colored and rare, they are strongly inclined towards chaos, as their name suggests.[22]
  • Whisper gnomes lack the jovial outlook of other gnome races. Sly and suspicious, they are creatures of stealth.[22]
  • Ice gnomes dwell in the region of Frostfell in the Eberron campaign setting
  • Fire gnomes live on Bytopia, on the Outer Planes, where they help Flandal Steelskin, the Gnomish god of metal and crafting, in his work.
  • Sky gnomes appear in the Creature Crucible Top Ballista PC2 published in 1989. They are cunning engineers living in the flying city Serraine above the World of Mystara.

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, gnomes are also known as the "Forgotten Folk".

Society[edit]

Gnome society had changed greatly over the different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. In the first edition, they were portrayed as intensely curious and intellectual, keeping in theme with their spell-casting niche, with an interest in gemstones.[15] They typically lived in hills, and acted as intermediaries between dwarves, elves, and halflings.

In the second edition, gnomes received further background. According to The Complete Book of Gnomes and Halflings,[23] gnomes have an intricate society based on their love of all kinds of arts, pranks, and their long lives. Their society is based on art; all gnomes must take up some form of art whether music, painting, cooking, building, or any other form that is considered creative by the time they come of age.

Gnomes are naturally friendly, highly social and fun loving people. They are respected by Elves for their communion with nature and knowledge of arcane magic, admired by Halflings for their humor, and sought out by Dwarves for their gemcutting skills.

Religion[edit]

In the Greyhawk cosmology, the primary gnome deity is Garl Glittergold. In many campaign settings, the gnome pantheon also consists of Baervan Wildwanderer, Baravar Cloakshadow, Flandal Steelskin, Gaerdal Ironhand, Nebelun, Segojan Earthcaller, Callarduran Smoothhands and Urdlen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tweet, Jonathan (July 2003). Player's Handbook Core Rulebook I v.3.5. Renton WA: Wizards of the Coast. 
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  3. ^ Arneson, Dave. Blackmoor (TSR, 1975)
  4. ^ Gygax, Gary (1978). Players Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-01-6. 
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  6. ^ Unearthed Arcana, by Gary Gygax, published 1985, ISBN 978-0-88038-084-3
  7. ^ "Q&A with Gary Gygax - Page 180". www.enworld.org. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  8. ^ "Q&A with Gary Gygax - Page 180". www.enworld.org. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  9. ^ Cook, David (1989). Player's Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-88038-716-5. 
  10. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  11. ^ Niles, Douglas. The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (TSR, 1993)
  12. ^ Tweet, Jonathan; Cook, Monte; Williams, Skip (2000). Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1550-1. 
  13. ^ Tweet, Jonathan; Cook, Monte; Williams, Skip (2003) [2000]. Player's Handbook v.3.5. revised by Andy Collins. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7. 
  14. ^ Boyd, Eric L.; Matt Forbeck; and James Jacobs. Races of Faerûn. Wizards of the Coast, 2003
  15. ^ a b Gygax, Gary (1978). Player’s Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-01-6. 
  16. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  17. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4pr/20090202
  18. ^ a b Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast. 2014. 
  19. ^ Monster Manual. Wizards of the Coast. 2014. 
  20. ^ "Elemental Evil Player's Companion". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  21. ^ "Gnome :: d20srd.org". www.d20srd.org. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  22. ^ a b Noonan, David (August 2004). Races of Stone. Renton WA: Wizards of the Coast. 
  23. ^ Niles, Douglas. The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (TSR, 1993)